Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Our Look Back at Normandy

What our generation might have said a month later in July, 1944

by Victor Davis Hanson

Private Papers

Al Gore: General George Marshall—You, you…. You, go now! You approved of it; you signed off; you gave us the Philippines disaster, the B-17 slaughters, and now this. So go! Go, go, now!

General Eisenhower? You resign now too! General—who else but you ordered our boys into a roaring surf? You—no one else—were told of rough weather at least 24 hours before the landing. What did you know of those weather warnings—and when did you know it? Henry Moorrrrgeeeenthhhhhaaauuuuuuuuu—you leave now! Tell us why you thought our boys would have a cakewalk bringing democracy and freedom to poor Frenchmen!

John Kerry: Let me just say as a veteran—and one with some experience in military affairs—that you don’t just pull up to a beach and expect to trot into Europe. And I will add as well, as I have on previous occasions, that this was the worst planned American operation in our entire history. As is the custom in this hallowed nation, someone now, some person, has to, must, and should be held accountable for this mess. In my capacity as a leader in foreign affairs in the Senate, I have with all candor tried to tell this administration to slow down and get the League of Nations back into the peace process. But as I have repeatedly warned, when you unilaterally go off to invade some continent, this is what you get.

This administration talks grandly of the “Allies;” but as I have demonstrated on numerous occasions, what they are really talking about are just two countries on the beach with us, and as expected I have warned about just what we are seeing now, that those who die will be Americans and those who pay for it all will be us. As a humanitarian, of course, I agree that Hitler was a tyrant and has to go—but there are more subtle and sober ways to do just that than blindly landing on a stormy beach and sending Americans to their slaughter.

Howard Dean: YYYuuuuuuuuucccccckkkkkkkkeeeeeeeee!!!!!

Ted Kennedy: This entire disaster was cooked up in Hyde Park. The British didn’t want it. Our commanders in the Pacific were against it. The French people surely didn’t want “freedom” falling as bombs from the air.

Madeline Albright: We had Hitler is his box. In the air and sea we had him cornered. He couldn’t move without us knowing it. But Omaha Beach is what you get when you mix in triumphalism, machismo, testosterone, and unilateralism.

George Soros: Now after this mess maybe we can feel what the inferno of Hamburg was like a year ago. They’re about the same thing after all–only now they’re doing to us what we did to them.

Tim Robbins: See my new play On the Beach opening in London.

Sean Penn: I’m going to Berlin to stop this madness so that my kids won’t have to live in a world of Shermans and Tigers.

General Zinni: Too few troops. No harbors. Inadequate equipment. Hare-brained glider landings. Add that up and you get the disaster we are in now. Count how many tanks made it to the beach. All this fancy new airborne stuff, the floating tanks, the engineers are no substitute for boots on the ground. Ask a Mark Clark or other great generals privately what they think of Marshall and you’ll get an ear full. Some day the American people will learn the real reason why we switched over to landing on the beaches in Europe. Read my book.

General Odom: Get out now. Cut your losses. Leave that pocket. Amphibious landings are bad ideas. Night air-drops are lunatic. No plan to deal with the follow up. Too few troops to break out. No help from the so-called French resistance. Who thought this up? Pull out, regroup and ask who is our real enemy in this war and how we can better attack him. I was under the impression that the Japanese, not the Germans, bombed Pearl Harbor.

Ted Koppel: Tonight I will read the names of the dead of the 101stAirborne, tomorrow the 82nd. Have patience with us. There really are thousands of American casualties—and this was just on the first day of what we know is more to come later this month. And while our leaders don’t wish to deal with it, we at ABC do—and think you do as well.

Bill Clinton: One could argue that there were other ways of invading Europe, but this is not the time to attack each other over the details. As you know, I supported the decision to invade. In fact, I crafted the entire Europe First strategy. So now is not the time for self-flagellation about the too few troops, the poor weather forecasts, the shoddy equipment, the lack of good intelligence, the…

Moveon.org: Maybe now the American people will finally grow up when they see their children slaughtered on a French beach and huddled in hedgerows waiting to die. But what they don’t know is that thousands of poor conscripted Russians and eastern Europeans were innocent targets whom our boys killed on so-called D-Day. And does America want to deal with the five thousand French civilians who died in our secret bombing campaign before the invasion? Let those who said we’d be greeted with roses explain the charred bodies of women and children to the French public.

Noam Chomsky: It is well recognized that there is already a pipeline across the Channel. On good authority we know that petroleum is already flowing to this new captive European market. As leading scholars have pointed out, to understand the barbarism at Normandy one must learn about Standard Oil and British Petroleum—and the Rockefeller-Ford nexus.

Michael Moore: I have secret footage of Prescott Bush with unidentified Nazis! And a secret tape of Eisenhower admitting defeat—never released, but proving he knew it was a failure before he started.

Senator Hollings: Why hit the Third Reich head-on at Normandy in order to go eastward? The answer is obvious. I think you better ask our Jewish friends exactly why they preferred this expenditure of American blood and treasure.

Senator Byrd: And don’t forget the Zionist movement.

Harper’s Magazine, June 1944:

Our Canadian embedded reporter spends a year with the Waffen SS—why they fight and why we can’t do anything about them!

—The refugee Jews and how their intelligentsia diverted us from Japan—and are crafting a secret plan to turn Germany into a pastoral country.

—The werewolf movement to come!

Paul Krugman: The real story is the French didn’t want us. Most of them were treated a lot better by the Germans than by us who bombed them for three years. Do you blame them? I warned about this in May.

 

NPR: Today we speak with Pierre Lang, a Normandy dairy farmer and once proud owner of four cows—until the morning of June 6.

Farmer Lang: “The Germans? They never blew up my cows! No—only you did that. Look at the craters, the burned barn, the dead animals. Who are the real Nazis?”

NPR: Perhaps you should ask Mr. Roosevelt that question, Mr. Lang.

 

The New York Times: The unfortunate slaughter of the last month and the present quagmire in the hedgerows are the unfortunate wages of a certain American arrogance— that we can always simply go where we wish, count on locals to admire us, and see the world in terms of black and white, of “good” Americans and “bad” Germans. As we saw last month, simplistic logic leads to careless planning that in turn results in thousands of dead and wounded Americans on a stormy beach and the survivors huddled a few miles away in a hostile countryside that shows no desire to be “liberated.”

Jacques Chirac: We don’t believe in unilateral solutions. It is our country and we have our own ways of dealing with the Germans, who after all are in our country, not yours. Where, for example, are Frenchmen now dying—in Normandy or Vichy?

© 2004 Victor Davis Hanson

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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