The 80th anniversary of the D-day landing at Normandy, France, reworked a scenario imperialist officials have used before to bolster their prestige, increase their electability or mobilize for battle against their foreign enemy of choice. 

The powerhouses of imperialist propaganda — think Hollywood — present World War II and especially the Normandy landing as the Western imperialist powers’ contribution to a heroic victory of Western democracy over totalitarianism, meaning over Adolf Hitler and Nazism. 

President Joe Biden — called “Genocide Joe” for his support of Israel in Gaza — chose D-day to urge NATO members to be “freedom fighters” and escalate NATO’s current offensive against Russia. This goal is the most dangerous misuse of the Normandy landing and must be countered. 

Before June 6, 1944, little of the Allies’ anti-Nazi propaganda had turned into effective participation in the war against Germany. Until then, most U.S. military action was directed against Japan as these two imperialist powers fought for control of the Pacific.

D-day itself was the first major Allied intervention, opening a Western Front against Germany. Some 150,000 U.S., British and Canadian troops made the largest amphibious landing ever on the beaches of Normandy. Airborne troops jumped behind German lines the night before. 

On D-day alone, about 6,000 German troops and 4,400 Allied troops were killed. By the beginning of 1945, the Allied troops, along with France’s Communist-led partisans, had liberated France from the German occupation. In May of 1945, Germany surrendered. 

It distorts history, however, to call D-day the decisive battle in the war against Nazi Germany. It was small in comparison to battles on the Eastern Front, where the Soviet Union made much greater contributions to the defeat of German imperialism.

Impact of war on the Eastern Front

Until the Battle of Stalingrad, in Russia, the German Army seemed omnipotent. The socialist Soviet Union’s victory there on Feb. 22, 1943, marked a turning point in the war in Europe. The combat in Stalingrad left approximately 1 million dead on both sides. With this defeat highlighting Germany’s weaknesses, the morale on the Allied side rose throughout Europe, while that among Axis troops fell. 

Despite its own great casualties in Stalingrad, the Soviet Red Army continued on the offensive. Soon it was confronting two million German troops in the Battle of Kursk, considered the largest tank battle in history. Some 7,500 Soviet tanks faced more than 3,000 German tanks. More than 2,000 German aircraft faced 3,400 Soviet planes. 

During the months of fighting around Kursk, there were a half-million troops killed on each side, and many more wounded or captured. The German army again lost this decisive battle.

As significant as the Normandy landing was for the troops who fought, it was small in comparison to battles on the Eastern Front. It can only be described as grotesque that during a ceremony commemorating Normandy, the Western imperialists minimized the Soviet contribution — including the contribution of the Russian republic. Consider that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics lost 27 million people, half of them civilians. 

The imperialist leaders, “Genocide Joe” Biden above all, had the gall to use the ceremony to try to mobilize NATO for war against Russia. Only 10 years ago, at the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landing, with Vladimir Putin present, then French President François Hollande had made sure to praise the Soviet contribution to the victory over Adolf Hitler’s Germany. 

This year, following the ceremony, current French President Emmanuel Macron — who recently called in 3,000 French troops to stop a righteous rebellion in Kanaky — turned 180 degrees from Hollande’s 2014 comments. 

Macron said France would provide Ukraine with Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets and would train Ukrainian pilots to fly them against the Russian forces. He said that French pilots would train Ukrainian pilots to fly the jets and added that France would equip and train an entire brigade of 4,500 Ukrainian soldiers.

By their distortion of the Normandy landing in a war against Nazi Germany, the imperialist leaders present at the ceremonies obscured their siding with Ukrainian fascists in their current anti-Russian offensive and took another step toward a conflagration in Europe. It is apparent that what is needed worldwide to stop that conflagration — and especially in the NATO countries — is a popular mobilization against war and against NATO.

(For more details on the threat of a major war, see workers.org/2024/06/79079)

John Catalinotto

John.Catalinotto@workers.org

Share
Published by
John Catalinotto

Recent Posts

Philadelphia: Response to police attack on Palestine rally

The following is a statement issued by the Philly Palestine Coalition in response to police…

July 13, 2024

Math proves that Israel’s stated goals are an epic lie

This article first appeared on The Electronic Intifada at tinyurl.com/2a736esa, on June 27 and has…

July 13, 2024

As NATO meets, Israel bombs four schools in four days

As the NATO military alliance was meeting in Washington, D.C., Israel bombed four schools in…

July 13, 2024

Zionism and government attacks on the UAW

The United Auto Workers union is under attack by the federal government. A court-appointed monitor,…

July 13, 2024

What a difference a debate makes

[President] Joseph Biden’s recent performance at the nationally televised debates with former U.S. President Donald…

July 13, 2024

Portland police force Muslim woman to remove her hijab

Portland, Oregon Serine Abuelhawa, a leading Palestinian activist, was arrested at Portland's Grand Floral Parade…

July 13, 2024