D-Day in Perspective: What if the Allied Invasion of Normandy Failed?

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On June 6, 1944 the Western Allies launched Operation Overlord – better known as D-Day – an amphibious invasion of northern France that was a dramatic and unprecedented gamble for the future of Western Europe. It’s success ensured the defeat of Nazism by creating a western Second Front in Europe opposite the Soviet Union’s Red Army in the east. Their presence also guaranteed that Soviet influence would not extend beyond their furthest reach in the occupied eastern portion of Central Europe.

Today, D-Day is rightly remembered as a day of heroes with forces from every Allied nation assaulting the heavily defended beaches of Normandy. Through its mythologized retelling, countless consider the landing’s success a historical inevitability. However, that belief could not be further from the truth. Overlord’s architects who planned and executed the offensive understood that their efforts may have instead been mourned as one of the greatest disasters in military history. Yet with profound conviction Allied leaders accepted the risk because success might ensure the freedom of humanity from one of the greatest evils it had ever faced. On the other hand had it failed, world history would have become unrecognizable compared to our own.

To appreciate the sacrifice of those who boldly attacked the Atlantic Wall 73 years ago today, one must consider the world they risked their life to avoid. As we take a moment today to honor their sacrifice, let’s consider what that other course of history may have entailed. This piece postulates what turns the war may have taken if Germany had succeeded in repelling the Normandy attack, squashing the Allied invasion, and leaving the Second Front stillborn.

By Paul K. DiCostanzo Managing Editor

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V-E Day in Perspective: How Different Originally Were Each of the Allies Own Plans to Defeat Hitler?

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Today May 8th, 2017 is the 72nd anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. The very day the guns fell silent in Europe, and the world rejoiced in the defeat of Nazism. Yet in the popular narrative of the Second World War, the cooperation between the Allies is taken for granted. The reality of the Alliance full of growing pains and family squabbles as they learned to fight as an effective coalition is often glossed over in favor of representing a monolithic force of Allied “good” verses Hitler/Axis “evil”. Though a commendable aim, the process of how such varied and diametrically different global powers as the United Kingdom, United States, and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics could compromise to create a plan to liberate Europe is more laudable still.

So, how did these three very different Allies envision total victory, and how did they make the most successful military alliance in history work?

By Paul K. DiCostanzo Managing Editor

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The Complete Guide to WWII in 10 Books

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It’s fair to ask, “Could there possibly be a comprehensive list of books that encompasses the greatest cataclysm in human history?” Never mind accomplishing such a feat with only ten books. The final decision must ultimately be left to the reader, but what follows is a credible assemblage of works worthy of being called “a complete guide” to the Second World War.

First, the ground rules guiding the title selection:

This collection does not contain any first person memoirs or accounts from major political figures (e.g. Winston Churchill’s The Second World War). Neither does it contain any biographies, nor what might be considered “traditional” choices on the subject (e.g. William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich). Finally, encyclopedic A-Z volumes of World War II have not been included because, while informative, this group tends to lack a greater sense of contextual focus.

Each title listed below is meant to examine a highly specific and very important aspect of the war. When taken as a whole, these 10 books will provide a vast and varied perspective of the war.

By Paul K. DiCostanzo Managing Editor

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Pearl Harbor in Perspective: What Happened Around The World The Day Japan Attacked?

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December 7th, 1941 holds a singular place in America’s historical memory. It is the day that changed the national identity and destiny as few others. Like many Americans, my early introduction to the Second World War began with the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the war in the Pacific. It is natural for one to be drawn to the history of their own country, however it is but one piece a midst the greatest cataclysm in human history. For everything Pearl Harbor entails in American history, it is one of several major events in the war on that day. So, what kind of world did this attack draw the U.S. into? This is a global snapshot of that global conflict as it was on that quiet Sunday morning, 75 years ago today.

By Paul K. DiCostanzo Managing Editor

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Royal Find at King Arthur’s Legendary Birthplace

 

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Gallos sculpture by Rubin Eynon is on the Tintagel campus.

By Kristen E. Strubberg Editor-in-Chief

Cornwall, United Kingdom – A five year archaeological dig at Tintagel, the location of King Arthur‘s birth according to chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth – has shown that the site may indeed have been a royal seat.

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