Beach Landings Played a Significant Role in This War: Discuss Each of the Allied Maritime Beach Landings and How/Why They Were Important
Allied leaders agreed that an invasion could decide the outcome of the war- it could set up a quick victory or a long struggle depending on the results.
Allied numbers and material support clearly had an impact, but it was significant that the fighting forces had defeated even the most fanatical German formations in the field. The battle for Normandy was an impressive feat of arms as well as an exposition of Allied logistical and industrial muscle. The Allied advance in north-west Europe would slow dramatically that autumn as German resistance stiffened on the borders of the Reich. The war would not be over by Christmas. But D-Day had opened another major front, where the bulk of America's rapidly expanding army could at last be brought to bear. It led to the liberation of France, denying Germany any further exploitation of that country’s economic and manpower resources. The U-boat ports, V-weapon sites and a large section of Germany’s air defence network were captured or rendered useless. And it convinced the German High Command - other than a few ardent Nazi generals - that total defeat was now inevitable.
A pair of young girls from the surrounding villages placed wreaths on the beach, and a U.S. Air Force Flying Fortresses passed over, firing rockets and dropping flowers. The anniversaries of the early 1950s reflected the tenor of the times, evoking both the economic and military Cold War projects of the U.S. in Europe: the Marshall Plan and NATO. Barry Bingham, head of the Marshall Plan Mission in France, used the occasion of the 1950 D-Day commemoration ceremony to praise France’s postwar recovery efforts.Held in the middle of the Korean War, the 1952 D-Day commemoration at Utah Beach proved an opportunity for General Matthew D. Ridgway, Supreme Commander Allied Forces in Europe and a D-Day veteran, to speak of U.S. purpose in the Cold War against “a new and more fearful totalitarianism.” He warned the Communist powers not to “underestimate our resolve to live as free men in our own territories (The New York Times, 6 June 1949). We will gather the strength we have pledged to one another and set it before our people and our lands as a protective shield until reason backed by strength halts further aggression….”
A significant psychological blow, it also prevented Hitler from sending troops from France to build up his Eastern Front against the advancing Soviets. The following spring, on May 8, 1945, the Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. Hitler had committed suicide a week earlier, on April 30.
“Normandy Marks D-Day Anniversary,” The New York Times, 6 June 1949, 1.
“Recovery in France is Hailed,” The New York Times, 6 June 1950, 2.
“Reds Warned by Ridgway to Avoid War,” Washington Post, 7 1952, 3.
“Eisenhower Day Serene,” The New York Times, 6 June 1954, 30.
“Eisenhower Cites D-Day Solidarity,” New York Times, 6 June 1954, 30.
Val Adams, “Eisenhower going to Normandy to film D-Day program,” The New York Times, 15July . 1963, 43.