Operation Overlord

June 6th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Operation Overlord commenced 68 years ago today. It was and is the largest military operation in the world with 12,000 planes, a staggering 7,000 vessels and three million troops – 160,000 whom landed on the first day.

There were 226,000 Allied casualties in Operation Overlord – around 73,000 killed or missing and 153,000 wounded. Around 4,100 aircraft were destroyed – a third of their total number.

While there were a few setbacks, it was overall one of the more successful military operations and marked the beginning of the end of . A key factor was the weather and June the 6th was the last suitable day for two weeks, and as it happened there was a terrible storm a fortnight later.

 

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99 Responses to “Operation Overlord”

  1. DJP6-25 (1,313 comments) says:

    We owe all these soldiers a debt we can never repay.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  2. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    No doubt the largest amphibious operation, but wouldn’t the German invasion of the Soviet Union be a larger military operation overall?

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  3. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    Mikenmild- You may be correct…

    From Wikipedia-

    “Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union during the Second World War.Beginning on 22 June 1941, over 3.9 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a 2,900 km (1,800 mi) front- the largest invasion in the history of warfare. In addition to troops, Barbarossa involved 600,000 motor vehicles and 750,000 horses….”

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  4. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    Not at all to underestimate Operation Overlord and the effect it had on the War…
    Well said David Prosser!

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  5. immigant (950 comments) says:

    You owe Soviet Union much more than you America when it comes to WW2

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  6. WineOh (608 comments) says:

    Also not to undermine the importance or bravery of the Normandy invasion, but the amphibious invasions on D-Day involved 156,000 forces against 10,000 axis defenders (according to Wiki anyway). Use of overwhelming force certainly has its advantages.

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  7. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    You owe Soviet Union much more than you America when it comes to WW2

    America sided with the Nazi’s to invade and divide Poland and start WWII?

    Gosh, the history you learn from the left-wing. Amazing.

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  8. KiwiGreg (3,224 comments) says:

    @ tom more the fact that 80% of German soldiers fought on the eastern front and the war was won and lost there.

    At Wineoh I dont think the 10000 defender number is at all correct. From memory there were 27 odd divisions in France at the time.

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  9. James Stephenson (2,096 comments) says:

    Use of overwhelming force certainly has its advantages.

    Use of smarts such as Operation Bodyguard (the whole deception, “We’re going to invade through the Pas de Calais” thing), the Mulberry Harbour, PLUTO etc etc has it’s advantages…

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  10. WineOh (608 comments) says:

    Kiwigreg, I was talking about Operation Neptune, or just the Normandy landings, not the entire Operation Overlord that included the fight to Berlin.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normandy_landings
    Stating 156,000 Allied forces and 12,000 total casualties.
    Estimated 10,000 Axis defenders with 4,000 – 9,000 casualties.

    Total Invasion of Normandy over about 6 weeks the numbers change dramatically as the germans mobilise and the allied forces advance:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Normandy
    1,332,000 Allied forces, 120,000 casualties
    380,000 Axis forces, 113,059 casualties.

    So still a use of overwhelming force.

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  11. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    @Kiwigreg

    This morally bankrupt left-wing theme comes up during WWII discussions every single time, because the USSR was the left-wing’s shining city on a hill for so long, even “accepting that mistakes were made”.

    Pathetic.

    My definition of “owe” does not rely on the base use of statistics, but on the reasons for fighting against the Nazi’s. I don’t “owe” anything to a massively murderous totalitarian regime that just happened to fight for it’s survival against another massively murderous totalitarian regime that finally attacked it, particularly when the two of them colluded to start the whole firestorm in the first place.

    Individual Russians who fought for their land and people I have all the time in the world for, especially since they’re the ones that sprung my dad from his POW camp. But he was no under no illusions about them either, which is why he and a mate got away through their lines one night and headed for the Yanks. Dad did so after listening to a radio broadcast inside one of the command T-34′s where they caught a broadcast from Churchill that the European war was over and cheering this fact, only to be informed by the tank commander that the war would only be over when Stalin said so. My Dad’s discussion with his mate was that they were going to get the hell out of there before they got caught up in another war. He also made damned sure to lift all his records from the POW camp before he left, being aware of the NKVD’s stellar reputation. Sensible decision as it turned out, since the NKVD took the camp over for its own use.

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  12. Don the Kiwi (1,650 comments) says:

    immigant

    1.22. pm.

    You forget the huge amount of logistical support that the USSR received from the other allies – North Sea convoys, arms, equipment and food delivered to the soviets.

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  13. davidp (3,558 comments) says:

    James S>Use of smarts such as Operation Bodyguard (the whole deception, “We’re going to invade through the Pas de Calais” thing), the Mulberry Harbour, PLUTO etc etc has it’s advantages…

    I’ve been reading the recently published Britain’s War Machine by David Edgerton. He puts the case that Mulberry and Pluto were massively over-hyped. Pluto wasn’t able to pump any fuel until September and at its peak delivered only 7% of the total supply. The US relied on tankers. Mulberry A broke up after 3 days use and was never replaced. Mulberry B handled only around a third of British traffic and none of the US, who landed huge quantities of men, vehicles, and supplies directly on to the beach until a port was captured. The Mulberrys were phenomenally expensive, both directly and in terms of the opportunity cost.

    It seems that Churchill liked gadgets. And the British public liked to think that these gadgets mean Britain’s scientists were the best in the world.

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  14. hmmokrightitis (1,572 comments) says:

    It was Hitlers stupidity of opening a second front that we owe a lot. Without that, the whole outcome would have been completely different. The Russians were more than happy to pick up the scraps they could (barely) manage, and the very bloody nose they got from the Finnish highlights the ability of their leader-depleted army.

    So, handbags down girls, its neither the russians, nor the yanks. Hitlers stupidity.

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  15. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    Hitlers stupidity.

    There’s a certain amount of truth in that, but it implies that Hitler could have made a different choice. While strictly true, the nature of him, his ideology, and his resulting regime, mean that such an attack was going to happen sooner or later. Lebensraum would pull the Germanic people eastward whether they “chose” or not.

    So stupidity, but not quite in the everyday understanding of that word as applied to choice.

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  16. Andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    This morally bankrupt left-wing theme comes up during WWII discussions every single time, because the USSR was the left-wing’s shining city on a hill for so long, even “accepting that mistakes were made”.

    I’m not of the left but I know damn well the Red Army did the heavy lifting in WW2 and would have defeated Germany without the Normandy invasion – they had the Germans on the ropes before June 6th 1944 and that’s a fact.

    Brits actually lost WW2 despite being at the victors table

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  17. gravedodger (1,528 comments) says:

    Of course had the megalomaniac Stalin not slaughtered much of his military leadership, his political colleagues, and destroyed the productive capacity with insane socialist dogma Hitler would have struggled to get past the bit of Poland he actually occupied.

    That inconvenient fact escapes the lovers of the great Red Army who waited for the snows and cold of the second Russian winter before the Red Army could turn the tide, supported as stated above by supplies and arms from the West delivered at considerable cost in lives and equipment.

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  18. KiwiGreg (3,224 comments) says:

    /shrug I dont think anyone is under any illusions of the ghastliness of both totalitarian regimes, I was merely pointing out the facts. If that’s a “left-wing theme” then colour me red.

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  19. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    @ Andre

    I’m well aware of that, but the word “owe” implies a hell of a lot more than that – especially in relation to the endless theme of comparing the USA to the USSR. It’s the moral and ethical comparison that ticks me off, particularly since it buys into a left-wing debate framing exercise that runs down through subsequent years and serves other political purposes.

    My point is that Stalin and the Red Army did not have a choice. Had the USA been led by the same sort of people as the USSR, they would have just washed their hands of the whole affair, sat on the other side of the protective moat of the Atlantic, dealt with the Japanese, and let the Russians and Nazi’s duke it out to exhaustion. Hell, there were a small number of political and even senior military voices (Anglophobe Admiral King foremost among them) who felt that such a course was exactly what the USA should follow.

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  20. RRM (9,667 comments) says:

    *Profound remark.*

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  21. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    Sometimes you have to wonder if it was all worth it. Europe is hardly a guiding light when it comes to democacy and freedom. Sickly dishwater socialism rules, they are broke, run by 60,000 bloated parasities feathering their own nests in Brussels. The mongrels put ever sort of trade barrier on countrys trying to export there, these same countries are usually the ones who fought to free them, graitude, yeah right. Yeah hitler was a nasty peice of work and had to be put out of his misery but has Europe learnt. Europe to me dosen’t have seen to learnt that totalatarism is bullshit, the same ruler clowns in Europe would herald in the NWO in a heartbeat. When it’s all said and done I hope those that gave their lives did not do so in vain.

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  22. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    The ten weeks of WW2 from June the 6th to August 19th 1994 saw the Axis powers suffer three smashing defeats, and you can’t view at least operations Overlord and Bagration in isolation from each other, and taken TOGETHER (as Allied operations and all) represent the biggest military defeat ever inflicted on a nation in such a short period.

    On June 5th, the Nazi empire stretched from the Atlantic ocean in the west to 500km from Moscow in the east. By the time the Red Armies Bagration offensive finished on August 19th along the Vistula river (the same day Paris was liberated, signalling the end of the battle of Normandy) the Germans had seen two of their army groups totally destroyed and their armies hurled back to the borders of the Reich. In the East, an entire Army Group (Army Group Centre) was annihilated, suffering 450,000 casualties out of combat strength of 486,000 men and in the west in a similar annihilation of Army Group B and Panzer Group West 450,000 German soldiers were killed, wounded or captured in the same time period, along with the bulk of the best trained and equipped German armoured formations. Thus, the Nazis lost close to a million men on all fronts in ten weeks of fighting.

    At the same time, far away in the Pacific Ocean, the United States showed it’s ability to effortless fight a two front war by assembling the greatest Naval force ever seen (including fifteen aircraft carriers) to smash the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, sinking three Japanese carriers, destroying 600+ Japanese aircraft and underlining the hopelessness of the Japanese position in the Pacific.

    The newspapers in June – August 1944 would have been filled with nothing but news of Allied victory.

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  23. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    Sometimes you have to wonder if it was all worth it.

    Then you remember, “oh yeah, the Holocaust.”

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  24. cha (3,856 comments) says:

    The Evening Post: 7 June 1944, Page 4.

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  25. Kiwi Dave (82 comments) says:

    And to fish_boy’s list should be added the lesser, but still significant Commonwealth counter offensive after the defensive victories at Imphal and Kohima.

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  26. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    cha: The Evening Post: 7 June 1944, Page 4.

    Thanks!

    And we complain about the news media today. Talk about repeaters, there are articles there that today would only appear on Scoop.

    After the announcement … the following statement was issued by the Acting PM:

    [statement quoted in full]

    Congratulations (and my thanks) to Nand Singh for exhibiting outstanding dash, however.

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  27. davidp (3,558 comments) says:

    cha>The Evening Post: 7 June 1944, Page 4.

    Only page 4? And even then smaller than an article swooning over some speech the King had made, and incorrectly reporting that the allies had parachuted in to the Channel Islands.

    So what news was more important?

    Page 3: YMCA centenary. The organisation, not the Village People.

    Page 2: What’s on at the cinema.

    Page 1: Births, deaths, and marriages. And the classifieds. “Look dear, the allies have landed in Normandy and someone wants to buy a Number 10 Circular Knitting Needle”.

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  28. cha (3,856 comments) says:

    The advertisers of the day may well have expected to be on the front page davidp with newspapers in 1944 being an altogether different beast than they are today.

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  29. Andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    My point is that Stalin and the Red Army did not have a choice. Had the USA been led by the same sort of people as the USSR, they would have just washed their hands of the whole affair, sat on the other side of the protective moat of the Atlantic, dealt with the Japanese, and let the Russians and Nazi’s duke it out to exhaustion.

    FYI Stalin tried to get Chamberlain and Daladier to protect Czechoslovakia in 1938 and said he would ally with them if they went to war with Germany to do it.

    Likewise in 1939 when Germany occupied Slovakia, this filled Stalin with alarm since it could be and was used to launch an attack on Poland and again he urged France and England to ally with him to defeat the Nazis and again he was rebuffed.

    Thus he wrote the western powers off as losers and signed the non aggression pact with Germany later in 1939 – in part because at that time he was also threatened by the Japanese who were looking to take Siberia, a threat that was countered at Khalkhin Gol in August 1939 but was only fully neutralized when the Japanese took on the Americans.

    Stalin did not want to fight a two front war and managed for better or worse to avoid that.

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  30. davidp (3,558 comments) says:

    Andrei… You’re missing the whole “invaded Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia” thing.

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  31. DJP6-25 (1,313 comments) says:

    Longknives 1:17 pm. Thanks. It’s a public holiday here. Memorial day for the start of the Korean War on June 25th.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  32. DJP6-25 (1,313 comments) says:

    Immigrant 1:21 pm. Yes, their contribution was vital. America financed and equipped the allies. The Red Army destroyed the Whermacht. The Chinese armies [KMT, and Comunists] tied down the Japanese Kwantung army. China was a quagmire for the Japanese. The USN, and RN transported the necessary supplies and troops to and fro. Bomber command tied up hundreds of fighters, and thousands of flak guns. These fighters and flak guns would have gone to the Eastern front otherwise. The 88mm flak gun had excellent dual purpose capability. Especially as an anti tank gun. The Axis didn’t coordinate their attacks and strategy.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  33. Andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    You’re missing the whole “invaded Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia” thing

    You forget or didn’t know that these lands were all part of the Russian Empire until 1919, nor that their borders were ill defined and matters of armed dispute throughout much of the inter war period.

    When the map of Europe was redrawn after WW1 with new nations created – WW2 became inevitable one way or another, there were all sorts of little time bombs ticking away that were unleashed during the war

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  34. Alan Johnstone (1,082 comments) says:

    The main success of Operation Overlord was preventing the Soviet domination of Western Europe.

    The Germans were dead on their feet. Stalingrad and Kursk had destroyed the Wehrmacht as a offensive force. The German army died on the eastern front, that much is not for debate. The constant bombing from the west by the RAF and USAF had crippled German industrial capacity and greatly aided them.

    The Red Army started rolling west in Nov 42 with operation Uranus. Without the Normandy landings Zhukov and Timoshenko would have raced to Paris and the world would have been a very dark place

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  35. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    FYI Stalin tried to get Chamberlain and Daladier to protect Czechoslovakia in 1938 and said he would ally with them if they went to war with Germany to do it.

    Do you have a link for that, because multiple searches from different angles has not produced one for me. The closest was this history site, and it’s rather vague:

    Also, France had signed an agreement with Czechoslovakia offering support if the country was attacked. However, Hitler could all but guarantee that in 1938, the French would do nothing. The USSR had also given Czechoslovakia a promise of help but the USSR was in internal chaos during this time and unlikely to help Czechoslovakia out. If war did break out, it seemed likely that it would be between Germany and Czechoslovakia. However, victory for the German army could not be guaranteed.

    Similarly for your next statement:

    Likewise in 1939 when Germany occupied Slovakia, this filled Stalin with alarm since it could be and was used to launch an attack on Poland and again he urged France and England to ally with him to defeat the Nazis and again he was rebuffed.

    I could easily see Stalin watching the Wehrmacht launchpads grow closer a year later and thinking along these lines, but again, do you have a link?

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  36. Colville (2,191 comments) says:

    cha, the evening post link, awesome.

    @ paragraphs on right hand side, storm in lower south island and power outages due to snow.. SNAP!

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  37. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    l always thought it was Britain and France seeking assistance from Russia over Czechoslovakia.

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  38. Martin Gibson (230 comments) says:

    I’m going to watch my copy of Patton again to celebrate, and again wonder what would have happened if . . .

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  39. davidp (3,558 comments) says:

    Andrei>You forget or didn’t know that these lands were all part of the Russian Empire until 1919, nor that their borders were ill defined and matters of armed dispute throughout much of the inter war period.

    That’s all irrelevant. That fact that an independent country used to be part of some empire doesn’t give the empire (or its successor state) the right to invade and occupy it.

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  40. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    i thought this post was about the meeting/planning key and cameron are doing…

    ..phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  41. hmmokrightitis (1,572 comments) says:

    MG, good point, think I might watch Saving Private Ryan again. American, but still good stuff.

    And if you have the chance to go to Normandy, take it. The American cemetary there is huge, humbling and scary all at the same time.

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  42. Andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    Do you have a link for that, because multiple searches from different angles has not produced one for me

    Not in English though Wikipedia alludes to it using a German reference.

    Hitler from the very beginning made no secret that the Soviet Union was his enemy and that he would gain lebensraum for the German people in European Russia and Ukraine. This is an openly stated aim in his writings and speeches.

    There are plenty of people in England and the USA who would have agreed with this aim and support it at that time

    Stalin worried that Hitler would ally with Britain and France to try and carve up the Soviet Union – this has historical precedents eg Crimean War and is not an unreal possibility in 1938. When Czechoslovakia gets carved and especially after Slovakia occupied by German troops Germany now has direct access to the Soviet Union.

    It is also not an unreal possibility that when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union that an Armistice with Great Britain might have been possible and that Great Britain could have joined the Nazis in fighting the Soviets – it didn’t happen but with a different Prime Minister other than Churchill it damn well could have.

    Stalin behaved the way he did because he was under threat in the far East from the Japanese and in the West from the Germans – it played out the way it played out.

    The Geo politics of today is no different – the EU plays up European tribal differences just the way Hitler did to fragment and Balkanize Nations so as to rule over them.

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  43. kowtow (7,953 comments) says:

    Band of Brothers, excellent.

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  44. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Stalin is not an innocent in WWII, however, Andrei. His desire to take back Poland and from there spread Communism to the West started much earlier. Norman Davies has a book on it White Eagle, Red Star. Because he fought in the 1920 Polish/Soviet war, my grandfather and his entire family were sent to Siberia in WWII .

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  45. David Garrett (6,786 comments) says:

    The debates about “who did the most to defeat Naziism” are very interesting – and I am not being sarcastic – but the more sobering thing for me is thinking about how we would go if we depended on the face peirced hair product wearing egocentric children that are today’s equivalents of “the greatest generation”…seriously…Squadron Leader Phil Lamason who died recently was 30 when he was captured – an old man by the standards of the time. Captains of bombers who flew to Germany “night after night ” – to quote the title of Max Lambert’s book on New Zealand’s contribution to Bomber Command – were in their 20′s

    Straw poll here guys…who knows of a 22 year old who you think would have the cojones and discipline to get in a bomber night after night and fly to Germany knowing that each time they had a 30% or greater chance of not coming back? Sadly, I know of none….

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  46. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    DG

    ..cometh the hour cometh the man… there are 22 year olds out doing amazing things in combat and in NZ

    I suggest reading ” Bomber” by Len Deighton, a very under rated novel.

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  47. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    Lucia

    Care to talk us through the disgusting actions of the Vatican during the later stages of WW2?

    I would love to hear you defend their actions in helping some of the very worst Nazi’s evade capture. Mind you, given that the current pope was apparently a member of the Nazi youth it comes as no surprise.

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  48. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    I’m with David Garrett on this one- Although there are many fine soldiers currently serving in New Zealand’s armed forces they are an exception to their generation rather than the rule.
    Most 22 year-olds these days came through our current school system that has no absolutely concept of self discipline or respect for others- i:e no punishment if they misbehave and no respect for their elders.
    It is rather hard to imagine the “I know my rights, you cant discipline me” generation packing up and heading off to fight for their country!
    I have a few staffmembers this age and their discipline, attitude to work and work heirarchy is fucking atrocious to say the least.
    My generation (I’m 37) would never talk back and spout ‘I know my rights’ to a teacher/boss/cop etc if they were in trouble- Now I’m not saying corporal punishment was a good thing but hell at least we learned respect….

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  49. David Garrett (6,786 comments) says:

    PEB: Yes, I have read it…and “Fighter” by the same author…and your point is? These novels are about the Greatest Generation, not the snivelling punks who are their contemporaries today… I am entirely with Longknives here…thank God the conditions of the 1930′s are unlikely to be repeated…

    BB: My apologies mate…yes, I am a pedant..there is no apostrophe in “Nazis”…

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  50. Johnboy (15,594 comments) says:

    Ah the best thing about Normandy was that Churchill didn’t have to use half his manpower to shoot the blokes that turned and ran as Stalin did on a regular basis.

    Proper thinking blokes would say that was because our chaps wanted to deal to the Hun.
    Leftie turds would say the channel solved that problem for him! :)

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  51. Nostalgia-NZ (5,045 comments) says:

    David Garrett there are plenty of Cadet groups operating, in fact they’re the largest youth group in the Country. Some good males and females among the ranks. There is a rift in the experience of younger people today because we, apart from farmers, mechanics and the like, are not so hands on but cadets helps with that as do gruff bastards engrossed with the need to get things done. I think there’d be a big wake up call for some but our young people of today do the Country proud once the switched into the mechanism that is discipline and survival of your mates but I for one don’t want to see that happen again. The cost has already been too great.

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  52. Andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    thank God the conditions of the 1930′s are unlikely to be repeated…

    We are living in a time just as dangerous as that Mr Garret – the cork is about to pop and the dogs of war unleashed.

    Here on this little Island in the middle of the vast oceans it seems all is well but our leaderships across the board are even more incompetent than the leaders of the thirties, perhaps the most woeful bunch in the last 100 years, the decadent elites have squandered the wealth of previous generations and the ancient tribal rivalries are stirring.

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  53. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..My generation (I’m 37)..”

    wow knives..you are an ‘old’ 37..eh..?

    ..you write like a cantankerous reactionary pensioner talkback person…

    ..has anyone ever called you a young fogie..?..before..?

    ..and people shouldn’t ‘speak back’/up for their rights..?..eh…?

    ..just butt-kiss/kow-tow..?..eh..?

    ..is that what you have always done..?,

    ..and you recommend a good spanking..eh..?

    ..as a general rule…?

    ..whoar..?

    ..do you prefer to give..or to receive..?..

    phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  54. RRM (9,667 comments) says:

    It is rather hard to imagine the “I know my rights, you cant discipline me” generation packing up and heading off to fight for their country!

    It is hard to imagine right at this moment; but then, there is no world war on at the moment, and no approaching enemy to galvanise people into action…

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  55. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    DG

    Sniveling punks -is referring to your former colleagues in Wellington.= I presume.

    My point regarding Deightons books are that the majority of the fighter pilots were from the dilatory late 30′s who would ” never have to fight because of the Great War.” – life was all wine and roses, these were the varsity boys

    It is impossible to write off the youth of today until ,and hopefully this does not happen, something happens – in a word
    your comment is hyperbolic rubbish aimed at the lowest common denominator, I would have thought several months here would have got you out of your political habits.

    And regarding “The greatest generation” – a phrase coined by a news reader, or more likely his publisher, I contend that Robert Graves, Siegfred Sasson and Erich Maria Remarque may disagree considering the deprivations they suffered in the trenches.

    Today our armed forces are full of highly educated highly trained kids who would take you to task on your comment

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  56. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    thank God the conditions of the 1930′s are unlikely to be repeated

    You mean a time when politicians are hamstrung from addressing real, present threats by peace activists calling them warmongers?

    Yea, it’s ever so unlikely that we’ll fall into *that* trap again!

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  57. Johnboy (15,594 comments) says:

    “wow knives..you are an ‘old’ 37..eh..?

    ..you write like a cantankerous reactionary pensioner talkback person…

    ..has anyone ever called you a young fogie..?..before..?”

    “so…the trolls are all here..

    ..never heard a cogent argument from any of them…

    ..spewing bile is pretty much all they have…”

    Never a fuckin truer word really! :) :) :)

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  58. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    “..My generation (I’m 37) wow knives..you are an ‘old’ 37..eh..?..you write like a cantankerous reactionary pensioner talkback person…”
    -Long time listener- first time caller mate!

    “..has anyone ever called you a young fogie..?..before..?”
    -Nope. But I’m fucking stoked anyone would consider me “young”!

    “..do you prefer to give..or to receive..?”
    -Why? What would it matter? are you a homophobe Philu??

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  59. RRM (9,667 comments) says:

    thank God the conditions of the 1930′s are unlikely to be repeated…

    Formerly-comfortable countries on the brink of bankruptcy, Europe in depression, and full of muttered discontent about how there are too many foreigners filling up their countries and taking all their jobs… Yeah, nothing at all like the 1930s!

    Seriously… a calamitous war between Islam and the West would be a pretty real threat right now IMHO, if we didn’t still have all those clever, deliverable nuclear weapons that the generation after “The Greatest Generation” developed during the 1950s and 60s. I’m all for peace activism, but an ability to defend yourself from others who may not believe in peace activism is a good thing to have too.

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  60. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    garrett and knives..

    ..armchair-warrior-blowhards…

    ..cocks in hands…

    ..phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  61. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    i didn’t realise spanking was sexuality specific there..knives…

    ..and yes..you are only 37..

    ..but yr claims to be ‘old’..are quite cogent/believable..

    ..fuck..!..imagine what a steaming reactionary you will be by the time you are actually old..!

    ..phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  62. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    You mean a time when politicians are hamstrung from addressing real, present threats by peace activists calling them warmongers?

    Bollocks.

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  63. KH (694 comments) says:

    Stalin was a vicious murderous meglomanic.
    And yes they were commies – hate them for it if you like.
    But the Russian people were fantastically patriotic, and performed fantastic feats organisationally, industrially and military.
    The Russians were the heavy lifters of the war in Europe.
    And Tom. Your ‘left wing’ cat calls undermine any other view you express in this most interesting discussions held by the others.

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  64. Leaping Jimmy (16,111 comments) says:

    There’s some brilliant histories on WWII but re: Overlord and its aftermath can I recommend “The struggle for Europe” by Chester Wilmot. It’s one of the Reprint Society books and if you EVER see it in a second hand store, grab it.

    Wilmot was sadly killed in one of the 50′s Comet crashes but this book covers the buildup to Overlord, the invasion, the tactics, strategy and aftermath more insightfully than I’ve ever read.

    As the title suggests it goes on to cover the whole allied campaign but the early chapters cover the subject of this thread, like I say, better than any other book I’ve read.

    I suspect if Wilmot had lived, Breuer would never have become as popular as he has. But even the best of Breuer is nothing by comparison to Wilmot.

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  65. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    ‘Bollocks’. Yes, the present-day peace activists didn’t seem able to stop us sending troops to kill Afghans.

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  66. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    LJ
    That is a very, very good book. The best overall WWII history I have read is Weinberg’s ‘The World at Arms’.

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  67. Johnboy (15,594 comments) says:

    Afghans aint proper folks like us. Apart from religion, I mean all that obsession with their flocks and stuff!

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  68. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    And Tom. Your ‘left wing’ cat calls undermine any other view you express ….

    As I have repeatedly said, I have all the time in the world for patriotic, ordinary Russians who fought for their lives and their land. I can even make some practical, pragmatic assessments of the weight they carried in helping to defeat the Nazi’s.

    But that does not mean that I have to think that we “owe” them a debt in the same way we owe ourselves in the so-called Anglo-sphere. And it is left-wing commentators who have joined discussions like this in the past in order to drag down the US contribution and bolster the Soviet Communists, following in the footsteps of many Western-leftists who pumped that line for decades after June, 1941 – as opposed to the period up to then from September 1939, when US communists regularly and loudly argued and organised against the US joining an “imperialist” war.

    Let me put it another way, we owe Stalin and his system in the fight against the Nazis in the same way that we owe a debt to criminal gangs wiping each other out. I can acknowledge the practical “good” outcome while objecting to those who wish to calculate gratitude on the basis of comparative weight of numbers. As PaulEastBay said above, had the USSR driven all the way to Paris it would have meant another 40 years of darkness – perhaps more – for all of Europe.

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  69. Leaping Jimmy (16,111 comments) says:

    Asymetric warfare JB. This is the new paradigm.

    Thank fuck the media is doing its job and educating the whole public about the differences between this new paradigm and the old one.

    What a relief.

    At least everyone understands the whole thing now, even if they don’t agree with it.

    Isn’t that lucky, that the MSM back in 2002 and onwards told us the difference.

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  70. Johnboy (15,594 comments) says:

    There is a cure for asymmetric warfare Jimmy. It’s called use your nukes on all the assholes.

    One of my heroes Curtis LeMay and I were in mutual agreement on mutually assured destruction it’s just that we were ahead of our time and wanted to do it before the Russkies could really retaliate. Winston agreed with us both.

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  71. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    Yeah, nothing at all like the 1930s!

    Well said RRM.

    … how we would go if we depended on the face pierced hair product wearing egocentric children …

    Possibly not well. But I would point out that the 1930′s were filled with literature that decried the generation coming of age in the 1920′s and 1930′s: the phrase The Hollow Men being the abiding assessment of the people and their time.

    They rose above that. Perhaps modern generations can also, but the real question is whether we would want to. That’s less because of the debate over whether it was worth it – as Kimble said the Holocaust pretty much answers that question, no matter how disappointed we might be with how Europe has treated us since – than whether we would, once again, try to save the Europeans from themselves in facing anything less than a modern equivalent of something as evil and powerful as the Nazis.

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  72. Leaping Jimmy (16,111 comments) says:

    Asymmetric warfare is conquered by propaganda and real on the ground changes Johnboy.

    It’s the ultimate hearts and minds.

    But is the west bothering to try that, or is it just using its big weapons, regardless of the fallout in the living rooms of the muslim nations and in the various diplomatic capitals of the world who have the potential to be the greatest friends or, alternatively, the greatest enemies.

    The worst part is, the US is currently painting those who have chosen to be ‘greatest enemies’ as people who’ve never been influenced at all by US actions, as people who are just so filled with irrational hatred that of course, out of the womb, they just naturally chose to bomb the ‘great satan’ without any reason at all.

    Such is so far from the truth as not to be entertained at all, but yet, such is de riguour, in today’s ‘war on terror’ as played on the nightly news.

    This to me is the great distinction between WWII and today. Then, there was a cause, clear and true. Now.

    ??

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  73. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Longknives,

    I’m surprised that you’re 37 as well. I was picking you as 87 or so given this comment you made a while back.

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  74. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    Lucia

    Are you not going to tell us all about the Vatican and the Nazis?

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  75. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Big Bruv,

    When are you going to stop beating your wife?

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  76. Leaping Jimmy (16,111 comments) says:

    One of my heroes Curtis LeMay and I were in mutual agreement on mutually assured destruction it’s just that we were ahead of our time and wanted to do it before the Russkies could really retaliate.

    You know that’s what Patton wanted to do as well? His “accident” is an interesting story.

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  77. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..But that does not mean that I have to think that we “owe” them a debt..”

    had the russians not entered the war…britain would have been invaded/toast…

    ..of course the west ‘owes’ them…the sacrifices the russian people made are amongst the biggest..

    phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  78. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Philu,

    Phooey.

    Had the Russians not entered the war, there wouldn’t have been a war.

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  79. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    what..?

    ..”..Had the Russians not entered the war, there wouldn’t have been a war…”

    would the nazis and the english aristocracy have held hands and sung kum-baya..?

    phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  80. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Phil,

    Maybe. But as it stands today, the Nazis didn’t invade Poland until they knew the Russians would as well. As it was the Russians were too chicken to do it at exactly the same time and had to wait until the 17th of September. Maybe memories of 1920 were still too raw for Stalin.

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  81. chiz (1,131 comments) says:

    davidp:It seems that Churchill liked gadgets. And the British public liked to think that these gadgets mean Britain’s scientists were the best in the world.

    “Allies won WWII because our German scientists were better than their German scientists” – Sir Ian Jacobs, Churchill’s military secretary

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  82. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    Lucia

    Feeling a little tender are you?

    Now…how about telling us why the Vatican helped some of the worst war criminals escape at the end of WW2.

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  83. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Big Bruv,

    For the same reason the Americans helped the Martians escape the Nazi prisoner of war camps in Russia.

    ie, they didn’t. Some one has just made shit up and you’ve believed them.

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  84. Leaping Jimmy (16,111 comments) says:

    ie, they didn’t. Some one has just made shit up and you’ve believed them.

    Lucia faith vs ignorance is almost the story of daily politics, as played out here and everywhere. But anyway, the Catholic network does appear to have been involved in smuggling Nazi criminals here there and everywhere, as, one may add, were the OSS/CIA as well. Operation Paperclip (the major US Nazi repatriation effort) after all in part, in very minor part, saw Von Braun installed as head of NASA. Rudolf Gehlen’s German network and files became the foundation of the CIA, being as how it contained all the Nazi intelligence against the Russian networks. etc etc etc.

    Only the naive think history is as told on Disney. In fact…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratlines_(World_War_II)

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  85. Andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    There was always going to be a war Lucia, from the moment Hitler took Czechoslovakia Russia was on notice.

    Stalin used the von Ribbentrop pact to try and build a buffer between him a Hitler. The parts of Poland Stalin took weren’t Polish but mostly Ukrainian and Belorussian and that is what they are today parts of Belarus and Ukraine not Poland.

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  86. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Andrei, the parts Stalin took were where my father’s family lived. And they were most definitely Polish.

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  87. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    12 years of fine Catholic Education Lucia! -Taught by the nuns for 7 long years then 5 years of quality education from the drunken Christian Brothers!

    Makes me as much of a Catholic as you ‘eh’?? (To borrow a catchphrase from my old mate Philu…)

    Proud Doolan but I guess I’m just not a ‘born again’ wowser with no sense of humour like some…

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  88. Andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    Andrei, the parts Stalin took were where my father’s family lived. And they were most definitely Polish.

    Sure but it was not nice and tidy what was Poland and Polish and what wasn’t. There are still Polish villages in Western Ukraine and Ukrainian villages in Eastern Poland, heavens there are even still Tartars in 21st century Poland. Mostly the people in modern Poland with its modern borders are Polish, in part because of population transfers and assimilation but it wasn’t so back then. Different peoples, including Germans all mixed up

    Poland came into being because of the Treaty of Versailles and the Polish/Soviet War but the borders especially in the East were indeterminate – it was a mess.

    Have a look on the map where your roots are – is it in Poland today? Was your Grandfather born a subject of the Tsar? Bet he was.

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  89. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    le may and patton..

    ..both bloodthirsty maniacs…

    ..phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  90. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    The parts of Poland Stalin took weren’t Polish but mostly Ukrainian and Belorussian …

    Wow. Just …. wow.

    About a year ago my eldest son had to conduct an interview with a WWII veteran or other survivor, and since we were visiting Chicago he chose one of my elderly in-laws – who just happened to have lived in those Eastern, “Ukranian” parts of Poland. The stories he told my son were ones I’d never heard nor ones his kids had. To say that they were bone-chilling is an understatement, and the chilling parts related to what happened after the Nazi invasion but before the Russians hit, and had nothing to do with either. Basically the Ukrainian peasants decided to come across the border for the spoils of the Polish peasants, before the official business started. Think Tutsi-Hutu.

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  91. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    Yes, the present-day peace activists didn’t seem able to stop us sending troops to kill Afghans.

    No, they haven’t for the simple reason that after 9/11 everyone knew what had to be done. But they’ve chipped away ever since, and now the number of nations willing to commit has dwindled continuously.

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  92. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Andrei,

    Poland came into being because she always existed from as far back as A.D. 1000, if not in fact, then in the hearts of minds of her people.

    Sure, my Grandfather, when he was born, would have been a subject of the Tsar. But everything changed again as you say, after the Treaty of Versailles, and Poland was Poland once more, rather than being separated by three different Powers. And in 1939, where my Grandfather lived was Poland. As it had been Poland prior to the dismemberment spearheaded by Russia in the late 1700′s.

    So, if the argument is, that part of Poland wasn’t Poland because it was Russian prior to 1919, why is 1919 the pivotal year? Why not use 200 years before as the pivotal year or 400 years ago? Russia certainly wasn’t Russia any more in 1919, what with the Revolution and the Tsar and his entire family being dead, and the country being run by mad Communists.

    In 1939 it certainly was Poland – not Ukrainian and Belorussian – and Russia (or the Soviet Union, same thing sort of) invaded it. And then refused to give the eastern part up, even when sides had been changed because the Nazis turned on them. There aren’t many Polish people there now, well, because they were killed or deported. That part of Poland is now gone.

    But to say it wasn’t actually Polish at the time of WWII is somewhat wrong, and just because Poland was partitioned for 123 years doesn’t mean she didn’t exist or didn’t struggle to exist. There was always the dream for Poland to come back to life. And Poland was never something that the Treaty of Versailles had just created. That would be disregarding a huge part of history, and quite frankly, is somewhat insulting.

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  93. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    Lucia

    Now you are telling bare faced lies.

    Why don’t you tell us all about the “rat lines” Lucia, the networks set up by the Catholic church that allowed an estimated 800 murderers to escape on passports provided by the Vatican.

    The fact that the Catholic church continues to lie about this should come as no surprise of course, when they have people as brain washed as you they can pretty much say what they like (even in the face of a mountain of evidence) and the mindless faithful will believe them. Hell, I bet even you used to say that the thousands of young boys who claimed to have been sexually abused by Priests were telling lies as well.

    Face it Lucia, the superstition that you follow is nothing short of pure evil.

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  94. Bogusnews (461 comments) says:

    My view for what it’s worth is this:

    I believe that the Russians did the most in the Euro war, certainly had the most casualties, (about 20 Mil if I remember rightly), but kudos to America for getting involved in something they didn’t need to.

    However, I firmly believe we owe the most to America because of the pacific conflict. If not for America we’d all be talking Japanese right now (depending on how many of us were left, the Japs had a rather unpleasant way of dealing with peoples they had subjugated, think Nanking and Okinawa). While in Australia the last time I was struck by the maps of Aussie still up from that time. THey clearly showed the dividing line that they would let the Japanese get to once they had invaded Australia before they would fight. This was a desperate, desperate time.

    America stopped them after the battle of the Coral sea and thank God they did. Had Germany have beaten Russia, America would have had to have faced Germany eventually as Hitler had the “Alexander the Great” complex. Fortunately the Russian involvement did most to stop them first.

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  95. Nostalgia-NZ (5,045 comments) says:

    Interesting post Bogusnews. It seems unthinkable that Australia would have considered such a position, but as you say desperate times.

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  96. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    I am entirely with Longknives here…thank God the conditions of the 1930′s are unlikely to be repeated…

    Maybe it works both ways? The young people of today aren’t in a fit state to defend the country in a war, but the young people of other countries are similarly inclined, so there’s no-one to start a war, either.

    That said, I suspect if you look back before World War II, you’d probably have had a bunch of WWI veterans complaining about how the young people of the 1930s had nothing on them and didn’t know what it was to fight in a war etc. etc.

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  97. geo_kiwi (43 comments) says:

    I noticed you haven’t said anything about the pivotal Battle of Midway fought between the Americans and the Japanese over control of Midway Island in 1942. Its 70th Anniversary was on Monday.

    http://willsheberight.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/one-for-uncle-sam.html

    This article was written by Washington Post:

    http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/making-waves-hawaii-perspective-washington-politic/2012/jun/4/anniversary-of-battle-of-midway/

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  98. Bogusnews (461 comments) says:

    Quite right Geo_Kiwi,

    Midway was an extraordinary battle that could very easily have gone the other way. Didn’t mention it for no other reason than I ran out of time and didn’t want to be too boring.

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  99. adam2314 (377 comments) says:

    We owe all these soldiers a debt we can never repay !!..

    Not only those soldiers DP.

    Every man woman and child that helped in the entire war..

    I well remember collecting scrap metal.. Unwanted jam jars .. newspaper.. rags..

    Passing on ” stuff ” that was washed up onto the police..

    A collective effort that today is being let down by apethy..

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