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Operation Overlord Essay

3589 words - 14 pages

Operation Overlord
The Allied position in early 1942 seemed unpromising. Hitler still had
all the ground he had obtained in his blitzkrieg campaign of the
previous five years and was gaining ground in Russia. The Nazis now
also had a large foothold in North Africa and were ready to seize the
oil fields of Arabia. Without large scale successful intervention by
the Western Allies (Great Britain, America and Canada) it looked very
likely that Nazi Germany would win the war.

1. GREAT BRITAIN took part in Operation Overlord for a number of
reasons. One such reason was pressure from other countries. As far
back as early 1942 Josef Stalin, Soviet Union premier, had requested
that the Western Allies of Great Britain and America open up a second
front in Western Europe to distract the German forces fighting his
troops in the East. This would give his Red Army a greater chance of
defeating the Germans and thwarting their “Operation Barbarossa”, the
Nazi plan to overrun Russia, destroy communism and exterminate the
Slavic peoples of the East. Operation Barbarossa began with German
insertions into Russia in June 1941. The German battle groups had
reached Stalingrad in Western Russia by August but had been held back
by a strong Soviet defence. Even during the Stalingrad episode it
looked unlikely that Russia would be able to keep the military might
of Nazi Germany from defeating the Red Army of the U.S.S.R. and the
Russian government was concerned that Moscow and St. Petersburg may be
overrun by the Nazis, resulting in the fall of the Soviet state. A
victory for the Russians and the failure of Operation Barbarossa was
in the interests of Great Britain and her government as it would mean
a loss for Britain’s enemy and a greater chance that she could be on
the Second World War’s winning side. The Free French also wanted their
country to be liberated by Great Britain and America. The Western
Allies would have thought that beating the Germans in France would
have been an essential victory over the Germans but also an excellent
position from which to mount an attack on Germany and destroy the
Third Reich.

An invasion of France would also significantly reduce the threat from
U-Boats, the submarines that patrolled the Atlantic in so-called wolf
packs destroying Allied shipping. Although technological and
engineering advances meant that craft in the Atlantic Ocean could be
kept safe from U-Boats the threat still existed. Many U-Boat pens were
along the French Atlantic coast and were used as docks for the Nazi
submarines. The invasion of mainland Europe and the liberation of
France would mean that these docking places would be taken out of Nazi
use and the Atlantic would be safer for international merchant
shipping. Safer seas may have worked to relieve the supply...

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