D-Day Was a Big Event but It Was Churlish Not to Have Invited Vladimir Putin
6 June 1944 is an important day of World War II. On this day the allies mounted an amphibious invasion off the coast of Normandy. It was the biggest sea - air-land operation in the history of warfare. More than 170000 soldiers crossed the English channel to begin the drive to free France.
One important point that must be mentioned is that this invasion took place after the battle of Stalingrad in 1943 and the tank Battle at Kursk. Joseph Stalin had been requesting for a second front to be opened since 1942. However, the allies failed to comply with the Russian request. One reason was that the allies were waiting to see the course of the battle in Russia. The German armies had penetrated almost 2000 km into Russia and there was every chance that in case the Wehrmacht had prevailed and defeated Soviet Russia the allies would have had a very tough time facing the government of the fifth republic.
It does look unlikely now but a defeated Russia would have meant the West had to come to some accommodation with Germany. The allies delayed the invasion of Europe by 2 years waiting to see that Russia would be on its last legs. Once the Russians prevailed over the Wehrmacht and 93000 soldiers were taken POW at Stalingrad the die was cast for the defeat Germany.
The Allies mounted the invasion on 6 June 1944, which has now come to be called D- Day. Without detracting from the merit of this operation there is every chance that this invasion would have failed, in case Russia had been defeated. The success of D day was entirely dependent on the operations on the eastern front. The Germans involved in a life and death struggle in the East were unable to transfer the extra troops needed to stop the Allied invasion on the beaches at Normandy. Nevertheless, D-Dayday is an important day in the history of the world and has been commemorated for the last 75 years The only point which I am making is that the success of the landing was entirely due the conditions of battle in the East.
Celebration and politics
This year leaders of 16 nations led by Donald Trump and the lame duck Prime Minister Theresa May have celebrated the 75th anniversary of the landing at Normandy. The surprising part of the conclave was the invitation to Germany which was the power that was opposed by the West. I do not know what the German Chancellor was doing there. it gives a feeling that the Germans are shy and almost ashamed of having been defeated in the Normandy landings as well as the regime that ruled at that time. They seemed to gang up with western powers against Russia. For centuries Russia has been at the loggerhead with western Europe right from the time of Peter the great and Lenin and Stalin. Russia has been a beacon against imperialism and Russia has always charted a path that is quite different from the west.
The Western powers would now like to deny that victory over Germani was primarily due to the Soviet effort. Eminent historians like Liddle Hart and Major General Fowler have opined that the West could not have won the war against Germany in case the Soviets did not engage the Germans. When the 75th anniversary of the landing was being celebrated the Western Powers have pointedly not invited Vladimir Putin for the celebrations. it was like an attempt to insult and snub the Russians and deny them their rightful place in world history.
A look at the countries which took part in the celebration is food for thought. The fact is apart from the USA and UK the other countries which attended the conclave only had a marginal role to play in the invasion. To my mind, the presence of the French president Macron was the biggest anachronism of the event. In 1940 the French were defeated by the Wehrmacht inside 40 days and the Vichy government headed by Marshal Petain became an ally of Germany. A few Frenchmen fought against the Germans but overall their contribution was negligible. Similarly, the other countries also had practically little to do in the invasion across the English channel.
Russia and the political statement
The allies attended only to show solidarity with the Americans. Even England which took such a major part of the invasion is now only is a shadow of what it was at that time. The British controlled a vast empire and ruled over India. World War II so exhausted the British that they lost their empire and along with with with it their great power status. One can recollect that Nikita Khrushchev the Soviet leader had once threatened England that 5-6 H-bombs would wipe England off the face of the world. Politics aside, Russian leader Vladimir Putin should have been invited to commemorate the celebrations of the Normandy landings. There is not an iota of doubt that the invasion would not have been a success in case the Germans and applied their full power on the Western front. The Wehrmacht in real terms deployed 80% of the human resources on the eastern front facing Russia and the Germans and in my opinion, fought a half-hearted battle in the west.
Germany had always been wary of a 2 front war. Unfortunately, they dug their own grave by fighting on two fronts. In case the Germans had consolidated their hold on the Eastern front Hitler's dream of a 1000 Reich could have happened.
Talking of the commemoration, it was certainly desirable to ensure that the western powers appreciate the role of the military. One can recollect Donald Trump telling the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the democratic world to survive must have a strong military. One hopes that this lesson will go down in the mind of the Indian leadership, which is on the way to becoming the second power in Asia to China.
The commemoration was a wonderful event and deserves all the publicity it got Donald Trump rendered a wonderful speech and the veterans who took part in the landing and are still alive have been honored. The only jarring note of the conference was the performance of the French president Macron. One really wonders how he was moving around as an equal along with the British and the American leaders. France had practically no say in World war II having been resoundingly defeated and occupied by Germany. In addition, the majority of the French Nation collaborated with the Germans and it is on record that the capital city of Paris was given up without firing a shot. This was something the British would never do.
Now that the celebrations are over, it is clear as day that the west wanted to make a political statement that Russia and China are their enemies. In particular, they wanted to show solidarity against Russia and Vladimir Putin, for the simple reason that once again he is taking Russia to the position it was when Nikita Khrushchev and Brezhnev ruled.
This celebration is a political statement of the unity of the western powers against Russia. In 2014 Putin was called to the seventieth anniversary of the D-Day landings. The scenario has changed now and with Russia flexing its muscles is not to the liking of the United States and the small countries that ride piggy-back on it. One thing is clear that this celebration and commemoration of the landings shows that world peace is not reachable at the moment. History records that the power pendulum keeps swinging and there's a good chance that this time it is moving towards the East. Russia- China axis is almost a reality and that will not be good news for the West.