WW2: Neville Chamberlain declares war on Germany in 1939
Operation Overlord was the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe by the Allied forces. It started with the Normandy landings as more than 5,000 vessels sent 160,000 troops across the English Channel on the first day. The Allies failed on their objectives for the first day but gained a tenuous foothold that they gradually expanded when they captured the port at Cherbourg and the city of Caen.
A second invasion was launched from the Mediterranean Sea of southern France just two months later, and the Liberation of Paris followed within days as German forces retreated east.
But YouTube channel ‘DarkDocs’ revealed how the closing stages of the war exposed vastly different opinions among the Allied leaders, and, ultimately, led to Sir Winston being overlooked.
The series said: “Initially known as Anvil, Operation Dragoon was a successful Allied operation that occurred in southern France in August 1944.
“It was initially going to be executed simultaneously with Normandy in June, but logistical problems ensured it was not possible.
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“The operation itself would reveal how relations between the US and British changed.
“Dragoon showed the political and military differences each country had during the penultimate year of the war.
“The conference held in Quebec in August 1943 set the timeframe for the 1944 invasion of northern France and Normandy, better known as D-Day.”
The series went on to detail how the cracks began to show among Franklin D, Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and Sir Winston.
It added: “A second operation was proposed for the concurrent invasion of southern France with the codename Anvil.
“At first it was viewed sceptically by the British, who maintained a cautious attitude.
“They considered it a better idea to focus the Mediterranean war effort to liberate the Italian peninsula from Axis hands.
“During the Cairo and Tehran conferences held in November and December 1943, Anvil was brought to the table.”
The documentary detailed why Sir Winston disagreed with his peers.
It added: “Churchill wanted to advance operations in the Mediterranean, preferably against the Balkans, he did not like the idea of invading southern France.
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“However, Dwight D Eisenhower, Roosevelt and Stalin supported the invasion of southern France.
“By 1943, the US and the UK had confirmed their suspicions over Soviet hunger for new territories.
“At Tehran, Roosevelt and other Allies agreed to Stalin’s demands for more land in Eastern Europe for the tremendous effort of the USSR.”
Despite Churchill’s objections, the operation was authorised by the Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff on 14 July, 1944.
He was said to have been furious, and his fears would be justified at the end of the war.
The series continued: “Churchill knew that the Soviets would become an enemy 10 times more potent at the end of the war than Germany itself.
“He feared that the alliance with communism would not last long and he wanted to put a stop to the Soviet ambitions, he apposed a landing in Southern France.
“Instead, by taking the Balkans the US and British forces could surround the Germans and put a defensive line around Eastern Europe to neutralise the Soviet forces.
“But Churchill was not considered highly by the Allied command. The Cold War that followed would seem to prove Churchill’s point.”
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