OUR OPINION: ‘Too early to measure fate of our invasion’
Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of France — June 6, 1944. To commemorate the anniversary, here is an edited copy of the Herald’s editorial from June 7, 1944 — D-Day plus one, too early for the invasion’s success to be assured, but early enough for Americans to know that the Allies had secured a beachhead.
While there is cause for thankfulness and high hope in the initial success of the Allied invasion of Hitler’s Europe, it is too early to estimate with any assurance of accuracy just what will be the tide of the invasion effort in the weeks lying just ahead.
Certainly we should be thankful that our heroic forces suffered casualties far less than the lowest advance estimates in their first landings, and the more men and materiel we are able to put ashore before any large counter blow, the better will be our prospects of ultimate success with minimum loss of men.
There will be a strong counter-attack, of course, for the Nazi war-lords know full well that unless they can hold the invaders at the outset, their hope of doing so becomes less with each passing day in which the Allies can build their offensive force.
Perhaps the element of surprise played largely in the ease with which we effected our first landings from sea-going craft, and also enabled the airborne troops and parachutists greater opportunity for organization after landing from the skies.
But it is quite likely, too, that the devastating destruction wrought by the Allied air craft and the heavy bombardment by Allied battleships and cruisers has rendered untenable the defensive works ashore and had nullified their effectiveness.
There is further reason for gloom for the Nazi mad men in Prime Minister Churchill’s statement that the landings are only "the first of a series."
Assuming we can consolidate and expand our initial beachhead and thus give land support to aerial and sea blows from England, finally defeat should soon appear inevitable even to Adolf’s warped mind.
June is sure to go down in history as the month of decision — not ultimate decision in the total defeat of the Nazis, but the beginning of the end that may approach with much greater rapidity than even the most optimistic of the Allies now expects.
The effect on German morale will be great if the Allies can continue reasonably steady progress, and there may come pressure from within Nazi-land for a real effort to end hostilities.
It may be expected that peace proposals soon will be presented on behalf of Germany, and likely one of the first agencies through which these will come will be the Vatican.
In suggesting that Rome be declared an open city, Hitler unquestionably had in mind the value of maintaining whatever Vatican friendship he could for use of the Pope in overtures for peace. In this country, he will have the advantage of "Peace Now" propaganda and the agitation of so-called "nationalists."
He will find pleas for negotiation useless, however, for obviously the Allies have no reason to negotiate with Hitler, except as the end of a bayonet might be considered a form of negotiation.