This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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The Fight Between Good and Evil
The brave soldiers who fought at the shores of Normandy on D-day have often been called the “Greatest Generation.” Staring death and tyranny in the face, they knew the fate of the world rested on them.
Many wars fought throughout human history have been the result of royal or political scuffles. That being said, few wars would classify as true conflicts between good and true evil. World War II, however, was one of those conflicts, and it exemplified that persona in every way imaginable.
Empires Collapsed, New Ones Arose
The first world war was the last war fought by the great empires of the world. With an Allied victory in 1918, the German, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires collapsed. A few empires remained, however, including those of Britain and Japan. The Russian Empire also dissolved alongside those of the Central Powers, having been taken over by the Red Army. It would become the Soviet Union, or, as President Reagan coined it, the “Evil Empire.”
In this imperfect world, there will always be evil.
The Treaty of Versailles held Germany almost solely-accountable for the war’s blame, and the nation was thrown into a great depression. With the German Empire dissolved, the Weimar Republic was formed to take its place. Out of the ashes of the German Empire, a young man – a veteran of the German army – sought to form a new political party.
This party, he decided, would shape the nation’s future. It would be a socialist regime, but unlike the communism sought by the Marxists and Leninists. This socialism would have nationalist roots, and it would place eugenics at the forefront of its societal structure.
The Tyranny Begins
In 1933, the Nazi Party assumed power in Germany. With Adolf Hitler as chancellor, Nazi Germany quickly grew into one of the world’s next superpowers. Alongside Nazi Germany, the world witnessed the rise of Mussolini’s fascist Kingdom of Italy, Stalin’s Soviet Union, and Hirohito’s Japanese Empire. In 1937, Japan invaded the Chinese Province of Manchuria. From there, they inflicted unspeakable horrors upon the Chinese people.
In the West, totalitarianism engulfed Europe. France fell quickly to the Germans and became a Nazi puppet state. So, too, did many other nations. With Hitler breaking pacts and treaties, Europe was all but completely lost to authoritarianism. The British Empire, one of the last vestiges of hope in Western Europe, and now under Winston Churchill’s command, seemingly stood alone against Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini in the West, and Japan in the East.
Then, one of the first of the war’s tides turned. In 1941, Hitler broke the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, betraying and invading the Soviet Union. Just months later, the Japanese Empire launched an attack on the US Naval Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. With the Axis Powers advancing at an alarming rate, the US had now joined the fight alongside Britain, and the USSR sought an alliance with the US.
The Greatest Turning Point in History
There have been many great turning points in wars throughout history. During the American Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is considered the turning point. Until then, Confederate forces in the east had won almost every major battle. At Gettysburg, Confederate forces were driven back, and they never fully recovered.
During World War II, Stalingrad and Midway are often considered the war’s turning points, respectively for the Russian and Pacific fronts. D-Day, however, would have to be the greatest of the war’s turning points. Together, Allied troops from the US, Canada, and Britain stormed the beaches of Normandy in France.
With many of them facing certain death, they accepted their mission and undertook it with utmost bravery. After long hours of intense fighting, Allied troops broke through the German wall. With the world watching, the Allies made their way into Nazi-occupied France. The long-awaited downfall of the Third Reich had officially begun. Europe was now on its way to salvation.
Evil Will Always Exist
We owe every bit of gratitude to God, first and foremost. Sometimes, when the world is in its darkest hours, we see God’s light and salvation the most. We also owe an unspeakable amount of gratitude to those who fought at the shores of Normandy. Words cannot express how grateful we are. Those brave soldiers helped rid the world of an unspeakable evil.
It is important to remember that, in this imperfect world, there will always be evil. With the fall of Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire, the Soviet Union would be next to dominate the evil side of the world’s power stage. Following World War II, the globe would stand on the brink of another disastrous conflict that, fortunately, would never see the full light of day. Though we engaged the Soviet Union through numerous proxy conflicts, we can be grateful that the world was spared another global fight between enormous superpowers.
There will always be evil in this world. However, evil times produce heroes who will rise to give hope to the world. Evil may rise, seemingly time and time again, but it will always be defeated. To all of our veterans who fought valiantly on that heroic day, on those heroic shores, we owe you our endless gratitude.
General Eisenhower’s D-Day Address to the Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed people of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely. But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the great Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man.
Our air offensive has seriously reduced their ability to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.
The tide has turned! The freemen of the world are marching together to victory! I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory! Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.