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June 6, 1944: The Great Crusade

 

 

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS
ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

(Signed, ‘Dwight D. Eisenhower’) Continue Reading

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Buchenwald

I have reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it, I have no words.

Edward R. Murrow at Buchenwald, April 15, 1945

1944 was seventy years ago, and on this blog we will have numerous posts depicting the battles fought in the wake of D-Day up through the fall of the Third Reich.  As we recall this, I think it is also important to recall the type of tyranny that the Third Reich was, and why it was necessary to utterly vanquish it at a hideous cost in human lives.

When Buchenwald death camp was liberated, General Patton was so outraged that he ordered military police to go to Weimar, the nearest town, and bring 1000 German civilians back to tour the camp to see what their leaders had done.  The MPs were just as outraged, and brought back 2000.  Edward R. Murrow did a radio broadcast from Buchenwald on April 15, 1945 that is absolutely unforgettable.  Evil can grow so strong in this world that it has to be stopped, no matter the cost.  Here is the transcript of Murrow’s broadcast:

Permit me to tell you what you would have seen and heard had you had been with me on Thursday.  It will not be pleasant listening.  If you are at lunch, or if you have no appetite to hear what Germans have done, now is a good time to switch off the radio for I propose to tell you of Buchenwald.  It is on a small hill about four miles outside Weimar, and it was one of the largest concentration camps in Germany, and it was built to last. Continue Reading