On June 6, 2019, an online edition Sputnik-Abkhazia published an article related to the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings, titled: “Zakharova on Overlord: One must not Exaggerate the Role of the Allies in the Victory”. The article regards Operation Overlord which denotes the opening of the second frontline by the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States against the Nazi Germany in western Europe, Normandy during the World War II. The Speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Maria Zakharova noted that nowadays, the role of the Allies is intentionally exaggerated which is aimed at minimizing the role of the Soviet Union. She also added that the Soviet Union bore the lion’s share in defeating Germany in the World War II.
Myth Detector presents you some important facts about the Operation Overlord.
1. D-Day is the first day of Operation Overlord.
Operation Overlord, denoting the landing of the Allied armies in Normandy, is one of the most important episodes of the World War II. “D” is a military term denoting the initiation date of an operation. The operation lasted from June 6, 1944 until the end of August. The attack was carried out at Nazi-occupied France from sea, land, and air. The operation aimed to free France and north-western Europe from Nazis. The USA was one of the largest actors in the operation. General, and subsequently, the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed as the Supreme Commander of the operation.
Map of the Allies’ Offensive
2. Operation Overlord opened “the second frontline”.
The allies agreed on the plan during Tehran Conference in November 1943. They aimed to fully liberate the northern France from Nazis and deal the final blow to Germany. Following the operation, the Allies decided to enter Germany to unite with the Soviet Army that fought on the Eastern Front against Germany.
3. D-Day was a joint international effort against Nazis.
It took wide international engagement to successfully initiate Operation Overlord. As of 1944, a 2-million army from 12 different countries was training in Britain in the anticipation of the start of the operation. The D-Day core army was comprised of Americans, British, and Canadians, however, French, Greeks, Czechs, Norwegians, New Zealanders, Belgians and others were assisting, too. The statement that the role of D-Day in the victory against Germany in the WWII is exaggerated, is manipulative, as both during and prior to D-Day, Western countries contributed a large amount of resources to counter Nazi Germany.
French poster: Aall united for a single victory
4. D-Day is the largest marine, land, and air operation in history
The Allies landed approximately 132,000 infantrymen and a high amount of military equipment (1,550 tanks, 12,500 military vehicles, 4,450 bombers, 120 warships, 670 gliders, 100 frigates etc.), resulting in a tactically strong position. The main goal was to land as big an army as possible, so that Germans could not defend. German Army conceded France on August 25, 1944.
5. Germany experienced immense losses due to the operation
Operation Overlord is considered one of the turning points of the WWII due to several reasons. First, Germany conceded French lands. Prior to the operation, Germany had been the dominant country in the region for more than four years already. The losses in the German Army were quite high. Germany lost 200,000 soldiers and nearly the same number of soldiers were taken as prisoners by the Allies. US Army reached the German border on September 16 and in March 1945, the Allies already crossed Rhine, paving way for uniting with the Soviet Army and a final strike on Germany.
The role of the US in the WWII
Besides the Operation Overlord, the United States sent a large army to defend Britain and to support it in the fight against Germany. The army comprised 2,876,439 units – 1,931,885 infantry units, 659,554 air, and 285,000 marine units. On September 2, 1940, President Roosevelt signed a special agreement that gave Great Britain 50 more destroyers.
According to 1941 Lend-Lease act, the United States supplied France, Britain, China, and the Soviet Union with food, oil, fighter jets, ships, and weapons until 1945.
The Soviet Union also benefitted significantly from Lend-Lease program, the aim being its strength in the fight against Germany to efficiently counter the latter. The aid included fuel, military vehicles, food, steamships and other necessary equipment. It is noteworthy that since then, the Soviet Union and, subsequently, Russia have been trying to hide all sources proving that they received any aid from abroad. The Soviet Union wanted to make it look like only they were the winners in the war.
William H. Standley, the Ambassador of the United States to the Soviet Union commented on the Soviet Union’s denial of foreign aid during a press-conference in Moscow in 1943:
“Apparently, the Russian Government wants to hide that it receives aid from abroad. It is evident that they would like their people to think that the Red Army fights the war alone.”
Alexander Werth, a BBC Moscow journalist, later recollected:
“After a tense 5-hour telephone conversation, Russian censure allowed Standley’s text to be published… Those working in press department were furious, while the Chief Censor Kozhemyako turned white of anger as he was stamping the telegram.”
Britain’s aid to the Soviet Union
In 1941, the Soviet Union received tanks (3,830) and aircraft (4,280) from Britain. Between June 22 and December 31, 1941, the Soviet Union lost 20,500 tanks and only had 670 left to defend Moscow. The total cost of the weaponry sent by Britain amounted to GBP 308 million.
Soviet General Kuznetsov leaving a British Hawker Hurricane
Clement Attle, then the Prime Minister of Britain, noted:
“We are glad that we managed to help our ally Soviet Union to equip and resist in a fierce battle against a common enemy”.
Britain also supplied other raw materials to the Soviet Union:
- Alluminium – 2,000 tons (GBP 720,000);
- Copper – 13,000 tons (GBP 773,000);
The Soviet Union was also supplied with different raw materials from British colonies. The total cost of the raw materials amounted to GBP 47,841,000.
Prepared by Irakli Iagorashvili
Regional Network of Media Literacy Lab