As an event D-Day had various meanings for different people and different countries. For the Allied countries the D-Day landings had been eagerly anticipated. On the other hand, for the Germans the D-Day landings were awaited with a strong sense of foreboding.
For everybody at the time of the D-Day landings was aware that the success or failure of those landings would be prove to be a pivotal moment in World War Two. The landings made on D-Day were intended to open a second front to bring about total victory for the Allies, as well as taking German forces away from the Eastern Front.
For Britain, the D-Day landings had a great deal of meaning and significance. Britain had fought alone for more than a year after the fall of France, surviving the miracle of Dunkirk, and the Battle of Britain. The survival of Britain meant that the Germans had to assume that attempts would be made to invade France from Britain. Although British forces had fought the Germans in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, the opening of a second front in France was the best way to win the war. Invading France was seen as a very difficult operation that had to be completed as quickly as possible. The forces that were needed to carry out the D-Day landings had to be launched from Britain, which had to be base American and Canadian forces for a couple years before the invasion.
For the Americans the D-Day landings were an opportunity to demonstrate that their forces could be highly effective units capable of providing the bulk of strength needed to successfully open the second front. The Americans were responsible for providing the majority of the equipment that was used to successfully carry out the invasion of France, as with every front in the war. D-Day was significant to the Americans as it also demonstrated the strength and the success of their alliance with Britain. The Anglo-American alliance was bound to be on the winning side as long as the D-Day landings were a success, careful planning as well as the bravery of the Allies forces involved ensured their fulfilment. For the Americans the D-Day landings were regarded as being instrumental in the defeat of Nazi Germany and hopefully the re-emergence of liberal democracy throughout Western Europe.
The French obviously regarded the D-Day landings as being very significant for their country. This was essentially down to the landings being the starting point of their liberation from the occupation of their country from Nazi Germany. Though the landing forces were mainly from Britain, Canada, and the United States, Free French forces as well as the French resistance groups were involved in the subsequent fighting. French hopes of liberation were soon realised with the Germans leaving Paris by September and having been driven from French soil by December 1944.
The Germans regarded the D-Day landings as very important as the success of those landings meant the defeat of Germany was brought nearer to fruition. The successful invasion of France left the Germans with difficult choices as to whether they were better reinforcing their units in France or concentrating their strength upon the Eastern Front. D-Day made the defeat of Germany inevitable rather than just highly probable.
Holmes R (2007) Battlefield
Roberts (1996) A History of Europe
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