USM Open Source History Text: The World at War: World History 1914-1945

Phase #3: D-Day and Final Victory

The successful allied landing in Normandy France in June of 1944 and the opening of the western front in Europe ensured Nazi defeat. The entry of the United States meant a radical transformation of the warring coalition against the Nazis. President Franklin Roosevelt struck deals with U.S. industrial powers and the United States transformed itself from a sluggish civilian economy to a robust wartime manufacturing behemoth. By 1944, the allies were far out-producing the Axis powers in all major war materiel, foremost in tanks, aircraft, ships, and artillery pieces and shells.

Late spring and summer 1944 saw the German armies collapsing in all theaters of war. The Russians pushed through Romania and Hungary, into Slovakia and the Protectorate, and deep into German-occupied Poland. The Western allies pushed the Germans out of France and into Belgium. Unlike in 1918, the Nazi command and Hitler especially was not considering a surrender that might save Germany proper from seeing war on its territory. Indeed, war was coming to Germany in any case in the form of massive allied aerial bombing campaigns of German cities, the most famous of which was the bombing of the city of Dresden in February of 1945. In the fall and winter of 1944, the Nazis carried out one final counter-attack. Though it wasn’t without localized successes (producing the “bulge” on the Western front) it was ultimately yet another useless expenditure of life. Allied offensives began again in early 1945 as the Western powers and the Stalin’s Red Army raced to capture Berlin.

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