D-Day was too late

The Normandy Invasion of June 6, 1944 was too late for European Jewry. Why wasn't it launched in spring or summer 1942?

Professor Gerald Aranoff

OpEds Churchill's grandson next to bust
Churchill's grandson next to bust
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"The massive armada from England crossed the Channel to the French coast at Normandy on June 6, 1944 was too late” to save European Jewry, wrote courageous anti-Nazi Friedrich Kellner, then justice inspector in Laubach, Germany, in his later to be revealed diary.

I am reading Winston Churchill’s 4 volumes on World War II closely, with my extra free time these days and was surprised to read that after Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, both Stalin and Roosevelt urged Winston Churchill to plan for a massive armada attack on Hitler during the summer of 1942. 

Hitler attacked England 1940 with Churchill the prime minister. Churchill took over after Chamberlin’s terrible attempt to appease Hitler - boasting of "peace in our time" - by agreeing to Hitler conquering whole areas of Europe, including large armies and factories making war material during the years1938-1939.

Surely, had Churchill agreed with Roosevelt and Stalin’s idea of summer 1942  to attack Hitler directly,  Hitler would have fallen sooner and many millions of Jews saved.

Churchill opted for attacks in North Africa during 1942 and 1943.  Most of Hitler’s soldiers were trapped and dying in Russia 1941-1942  because of the Fuhrer's insistence, against the advice of his military advisors, on attacking Russia, betraying the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that had ensured a quiet Eastern front during the time the Nazis swept through Europe. The attacks in North Africa were successful in the end, although Hitler threw in 100,000 more soldiers into Tunisia and fought hard. 

Churchill writes in his World War II volume 4 pp. 433-4 debates he had with Stalin early August 1942:

“I emphasized that we wanted to take the strain off the Russians.  If we attempted that in Northern France we should meet with a rebuff.  If we tried in North Africa we had a good chance of victory, and then we could help in Europe.  If we could gain North Africa, Hitler would have to bring his Air Force back, or otherwise we would destroy his allies, even for instance, Italy, and make a landing.  The operation would have an important influence on Turkey and on the whole of Southern Europe, and all I was afraid of was that we might be forestalled.  If North Africa were won this year we could make a deadly attack upon Hitler next year.  This marked the turning-point in our conversation. 

"Stalin then began to present various political difficulties.   Would not an Anglo-American seizure of “Torch” [code name for operation against Rommel in Africa] regions be misunderstood in France? What were we doing about de Gaulle? I said that at this stage we did not wish him to intervene in the operation. The [Vichy] French were likely to fire on de Gaullists but unlikely to fire on Americans.”

The Normandy Invasion was thus postponed. Even delaying the attack on Hitler until summer 1943 would have been too slow and too late for the Jews. It had to be summer 1942. Stalin argued to have de Gaulle prominent in attacking the Vichy pro-Nazi regime in the summer of 1942 because of de Gaulle’s intense animosity for the Vichy French.  All good-hearted people the world over hated the traitorous Vichy French.  

We now know that the governments knew of the death camps in the summer 1942.   The Warsaw uprising was on Passover 1943.  Stalin’s idea of attacking Hitler in the summer of 1942 would have saved the Jews.  Interesting, there is evidence in Churchill’s book that Roosevelt agreed with Stalin and did express his opinion, but failed to persuade Churchill. 

At that time Churchill was fired up to attack Rommel.  Rommel conquered Tobruk June 2, 1942.  Churchill dismissed Stalin’s views and made attacking Rommel and Mussolini in Africa the war aim for England 1942-1943. 

The British victory at Al Alamein, where Montgomery defeated Rommel, did prevent the Nazis from carrying out the plans, agreed on with the Mufti of Jerusalem, to slaughter the Jews living in Palestine. But those plans could have been thwarted by a decisive Allied attack in Europe as well.

Alas, had Churchill agreed with his allies and attacked Hitler in 1942 in Vichy France, this would have demoralized Hitler. “M. Stalin emphasized the importance of striking at the morale of the German Population.” 

The lesson we can glean from this fateful delay? Good people must be vigilant to fight evil, to fight hard and do so immediately.  



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