The End of World War II in Europe : The History of the Final Campaigns That Led to Nazi Germany's Surrender
*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the fighting during D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of Berlin, and more. *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents By the end of 1943, with Allied forces firmly established in Italy and the Soviets on the verge of turning the tide in Russia, the British and Americans began to plot the invasion that would liberate Europe from the Nazis. During the first half of 1944, the Americans and British commenced a massive buildup of men and resources in the United Kingdom, while Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower and military brass planned the details of an enormous and complex amphibious invasion of Europe. Though the Allies used misinformation to try deceiving the Germans, the most obvious place for an invasion was just across the narrow English Channel, and the Germans had built coastal fortifications throughout France to protect against just such an invasion. The invasion across the Channel came in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944. That day, forever known as D-Day, the Allies commenced Operation Overlord by staging the largest and most complex amphibious invasion in human history. The complex operation would require tightly coordinated naval and air bombardment, paratroopers, and even inflatable tanks that would be able to fire on fortifications from the coastline, all while landing over 150,000 men across nearly 70 miles of French beaches. Given the incredibly complex plan, it's no surprise that General Eisenhower had already written a letter apologizing for the failure of the invasion, which he carried in his coat pocket throughout the day. After the successful amphibious invasion on D-Day in June 1944, the Allies began racing east toward Germany and liberating France along the way. It was Hitler's belief that by splitting the Allied march across Europe in their drive toward Germany, he could cause the collapse of the enemy armies and cut off their supply lines. Part of Hitler's confidence came as a result of underestimating American resolve, but with the Soviets racing toward Berlin from the east, this final offensive would truly be the last gasp of the German war machine, and the month long campaign was fought over a large area of the Ardennes Forest, through France, Belgium and parts of Luxembourg. From an Allied point of view, the operations were commonly referred to as the Ardennes Offensive, while the German code phrase for the operation was Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein ("Operation Watch on the Rhine"), with the initial breakout going under the name of "Operation Mist." Today, Americans know it best as the Battle of the Bulge. After resisting the German attack, the Allied armies began advancing, and with that, the race to Berlin was truly on. In April 1945, the Allies were within sight of the German capital of Berlin, but Hitler refused to acknowledge the collapsed state of the German military effort even at this desperate stage, and he confined himself to his Berlin bunker where he met for prolonged periods only with those that professed eternal loyalty, even to the point of death. In his last weeks, Hitler continued to blame the incompetence of military officers for Germany's apparent failings, and he even blamed the German people themselves for a lack of spirit and strength. As their leader dwelled in a state of self-pity, without remorse or mercy but near suicide, the people of Berlin were simply left to await their fate as Russians advanced from the east and the other Allies advanced from the west. The battle would technically begin on April 16, 1945, and though it ended in a matter of weeks, it produced some of the war's most climactic events and had profound implications on the immediate future. In the wake of the war, the European continent was devastated, leaving the Soviet Union and the United States as uncontested superpowers.
- Paperback | 140 pages
- 152 x 229 x 8mm | 195g
- 25 Jun 2015
- Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
- Illustrations, black and white