"The Fateful Facade" Essay

5679 words - 23 pages

Stories are told of two people on ships off the coast of the French port of Dieppe. One, an old man with a cane; the other a young tourist, roughly 20 years of age. As they gaze at the beautiful white bluffs of Dieppe, tears form in their eyes. Their thoughts, very similar, both thinking of that fateful day so long ago. A maple leaf is embroidered on the tourist's backpack, and on the old man's navy barre there is also a maple leaf. They share a common bond, for they are both Canadian, and as they stare at the cliffs of Dieppe, a solemn sense of pride grips them as the horror and the dignity of a nation are remembered. The old man knows all too well the horrors of the place, for on August 19, 1942, he was one of 5000 Canadian soldiers sent to storm the beaches of Dieppe, only to meet a wall of lead spit out of machine guns from the cliffs above. The young tourist can only wonder what it must have been like on the dreadful summer day, and they both wonder why so many young Canadians were sent to die on that fateful day. This same question is still being asked today, as controversy over the Dieppe raid continues.Before Canadian troops were dispatched to Dieppe in 1942, with no prior battle experience, they had been sitting idle in England for two and a half years. At Dieppe, they were slaughtered like fish in a barrel and a nation still yearns to find the answer to the question why so many young Canadians were sent to die. The raid on Dieppe, codenamed Operation Jubilee, is one of the most controversial events of the Second World War. This work will discuss some of the reasons the Allies called for such an invasion and why the raid on Dieppe was destined to failure, while examining the looming question as to whether the Germans knew an attack on Dieppe was imminent.In the aftermath of tragedy, and the lessons supposedly learned, a nation's shame would try to prove to be the Allies triumph, as the importance of Dieppe led to invaluable lessons. This however is the crux of the matter. Perhaps Dieppe proved nothing that the Allies did not already know. In the following years after the tide turned and the Allies marched towards Berlin, questions would arise that would challenge the popular belief that Dieppe served a deeper purpose. The following account of Dieppe will seek to find the answers to such questions, answers that are hidden deep beneath the surface of a glorified tragedy.Initially planned as Operation Rutter, the impetus for launching an assault in Europe came about because of pressure from the Soviet Union, the United States and Canada. To begin, one must turn to the Russian front in 1942. Little had gone well for the Red Army and the Germans seemed to defeat them at every turn. It appeared that the only way Russia could fend off the German advance was if the Allies would open a second front in Western Europe, diverting German troops and thus weakening their Russian front. Stalin was pressuring Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great...

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