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D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches

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It is the young men born into the false prosperity of the 1920s and brought up in the bitter realities of the Depression of the 1930s that this book is about. The literature they read as youngsters was anti-war and cynical, portraying patriots as suckers, slackers and heroes. None of them wanted to be part of another war. They wanted to be throwing baseballs, not handgrenades; shooting .22s at rabbits, not M-1s at other young men. But when the test came, when freedom had to be fought for or abandoned, they fought (from the Prologue).

656 pages, Paperback

First published June 6, 1994

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About the author

Stephen E. Ambrose

187 books1,963 followers
Stephen Edward Ambrose was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon. He received his Ph.D. in 1960 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In his final years he faced charges of plagiarism for his books, with subsequent concerns about his research emerging after his death.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 836 reviews
Profile Image for Tony.
906 reviews1,515 followers
January 26, 2012
May 8, 1994

Dear Prof. Ambrose:

I have read most of your books and enjoyed them immensely. I was therefore eagerly awaiting the publication of your new book about D-Day. It finally arrived at our bookstore and I immediately began, greedily, to devour it.

As it turns out, last Tuesday, I journeyed to Altoona, one-hundred miles east of here, to take my father to a hospital for some exploratory surgery. My father was an army medic, helping to chase Rommel through North Africa. He made it to Sicily where he suffered shrapnel wounds. Even now, when I read your histories of brave young men, I hear my father's stories of horror, joy, friendship and courage.

I was obviously very concerned about the surgery my father faced and the possible results of the concurrent tests. I knew I would have a long, lonely wait in the hospital waiting room. I brought your book. It helped. For long stretches of time the worry surrounding me abated as I turned the pages of that day on the beaches of Normandy.

Hours passed and the room filled with patients and their families. An old man came in, alone, and sat next to me. He smelled seasoned. I did not look up from my (your) book.

Finally the old man shouted at me, "What's that book about?"

I showed him the cover and said, "D-Day."

"I was there," he said.

I looked from his ice-blue eyes, down his unshaven face, to his windbreaker. There, over his heart, was a Screaming Eagle.

It happens that this man, George Adams, was a paratrooper in C Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne. I showed him your book and he began slowly looking through the pictures. After awhile I began to wonder if he would ever give me the book back without a fight. If so, I didn't like my chances.

I asked him if he was still close to the men he jumped with that day and his jaw set in a way that I've never seen before and cannot adequately describe. He says he goes to the reunions annually. He's thinking about going back this June to jump on the anniversary.

I gave him the address for The Eisenhower Center and urged him to write to you. I hope he does. Anyhow, he said he was going to buy your book.

I wanted to buy him a hundred beers and ask him a thousand questions. I wish my own reasons for being in that waiting room were not hanging like a cloud. But my concerns kept me there and George Adams was called out next.

We shook hands and I thanked him. He thanked me. I wanted him to know that there are many of my generation who appreciate what he did. I think we both felt our coincidental meeting was more special than odd.

He left and I sat there holding your book, full of heroes like George Adams and the man I was waiting for.

My Dad was all right: just some hemorrhoids. I pried him loose from the nurses and drove him home.

I wanted to share this story with you and to thank you for the gift you share with readers like me.

Profile Image for Tim.
199 reviews88 followers
June 21, 2017
As a brit this book really annoyed me. It’s not about the Normandy landings; it’s about the American landing on Omaha Beach. At every opportunity Ambrose trivialises and criticises the British, Canadian and other allied forces while giving us a chest thumping partisan view of the unequalled bravery of the Americans. The bias is embarrassing and a colossal show of disrespect to the soldiers of every other nation in the allied forces.
Profile Image for Jill Hutchinson.
1,459 reviews105 followers
February 19, 2022
Winston Churchill said "We have to prepare for the invasion of Europe.....unless we go and land and fight against Hitler and his forces on land, we shall never win the war". Although that wasn't quite the case, without a cross-Channel attack, the war might not have ended until 1946. So there had to be an assault since the Allies had the edge; control of the air and sea and the mass production of landing craft. They had only to pick the time and place and it became Operation Overlord, commonly known as D-Day.

This history is extremely detailed and is a slow read but certainly not a dry one. The author follows individual men and platoons, as well as the larger picture and relates the mistakes made by both the Allies and the Nazis and the victories won. The Nazis from Hitler to every key German commander believed that the landing at Normandy was a invasion, not the invasion. So, even with the Atlantic Wall that had been built, they were unprepared as far as troop and Panzer positions were concerned.

I do have one complaint about the author's approach. He barely touches on the forces of Britain, her colonies/territories and the Free French landings on D-Day, focusing strictly on the Americans. This makes the book's title somewhat misleading and I was disappointed and surprised at the exclusion.

Even with this glaring omission, the book is an interesting look at the largest invasion in the history of warfare and I would recommend it to the WWII buff.
Profile Image for Rhonda.
21 reviews
May 14, 2010
My father (Warner Hamlett -D-Day vet and still doing well) was interviewed and quoted in this book. He is 93 years old and relives WWII every night in his dreams. He still goes out to his homemade bomb cellar during thunderstorms and screams in his sleep.

Stephen Ambrose is an excellent author. He double checks his details and sources, using first-hand accounts of events. My father was in the 29 infantry out of South Boston, VA when they stormed Normandy Beach. The book tells the story of D-Day soldiers through their own words.

I can tell you myself, Daddy’s stories have never changed over the years and Mr. Ambrose (who interviewed my father personally) did an excellent job of telling his story and quoting him verbatim.
Profile Image for David.
1,630 reviews105 followers
March 22, 2021
D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches by Stephen E. Ambrose Looks at the planning and execution of the largest invasion force ever put together up to that time. The logistics alone were mind boggling to coordinate the invasion itself; the false information to throw off the Germans about where they would be landing; as well as all of the support activities to bring in supplies and equipment to support the advancing troops in the liberation of France and the low countries. As is the case with this author's other books it has been thoroughly researched including first-hand accounts where possible.

It is the young men born into the false prosperity of the 1920s and brought up in the bitter realities of the Depression of the 1930s that this book is about. The literature they read as youngsters was anti-war and cynical, portraying patriots as suckers, slackers and heroes. None of them wanted to be part of another war. They wanted to be throwing baseballs, not hand grenades; shooting .22s at rabbits, not M-1s at other young men. But when the test came, when freedom had to be fought for or abandoned, they fought (from the Prologue).
Profile Image for Henry.
637 reviews28 followers
June 6, 2021
The definitive account of D-Day written by one of the best historian-writers in America. The facts upon which Ambrose bases this epic are gathered not only from the historical record, but also from over a thousand oral histories and interviews of the men who were there on June 6, 1944, from General Eisenhower to the soldiers and sailors on the beaches and in the airborne divisions. It is no wonder that they are considered to be the greatest generation. In the words of Dwight Eisenhower with which this books concludes: "But they did it so that the world could be free. It just shows what free men will do rather than be slaves."
Profile Image for Deacon Tom F.
1,771 reviews133 followers
January 29, 2021
This book is an absolute masterpiece about D-Day. It's a combination of in In-depth Statistics; Oral History; & lots of fantastic interviews.

Kinda long but highly recommended.
Profile Image for Checkman.
512 reviews75 followers
January 13, 2016
Stephen Ambrose enjoyed tremendous popularity in the 1990's with his WWII books about the fighting in Northwestern Europe. The books were massive bestsellers and made him a household name. Of course a historian enjoying such popularity means that other historians and history buffs will be examing his/her's work with a fine tooth comb. Late in his life ,and continuing since his death, reports surfaced documenting/alleging longtime patterns of plagiarism and inaccuracies in many of his published writings and other work. Additionally Ambrose has come under not unjustified criticism for his unabashed flag-waving and concentration on the men who made up the "elite" units rather than the poor kid who was drafted and thrown into the meat grinder with just a few weeks of training. Though ground combat is ground combat there is a difference between a highly trained paratrooper who had to be motivated just to get through the training and the eighteen year old who was assigned to the infantry with no say in the matter. That will shape perceptions and there are many who feel that Ambrose ignored the grunt because the grunt wasn't going to give a more rah rah account.

Well as I wrote at the beginning this is a not unjustified critique of Ambrose. However I feel that it should be pointed out that "D-Day:June 6, 1944" is a little different. There is flagwaving and you can hear the stirring music in the background (albeit faintly), but in all fairness to Ambrose many of the vets who were interviewed were average soldiers - not paratroopers and Rangers and commandos. As a result I think "D-Day" presents a more balanced account of the fighting and the soldiers. No there is not the anger or cycnicsm that one will find with other writers such as Paul Fussell, but there is also not so much chest thumping as was in "Band of Brothers". This isn't a bad book. It didn't present anything new to me. This day has been covered by hundreds of writers in the past seventy years, but it's still a readable account. He does especially fine work covering Omaha Beach.

If you're determined to hate Ambrose then you won't like this book . But if you're not very familiar with the war ,or don't have any strong academic opinions, then "D-Day: June 6, 1944" will prove to be informative and an involving read. It's popular history and sometimes that's enough.
25 reviews
March 12, 2012
Reading this you'd be forgiven for thinking that the US was alone at Normandy. One-eyed puffery and tabloid in its execution, as is Ambrose's way.

There are vastly better books on D-Day (Beevor and Hastings for a start).
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,579 reviews103 followers
August 28, 2022
I really enjoyed this. It's my first by Ambrose (who wrote Band of Brothers, which HBO turned into a miniseries) and I don't think it'll be my last. I really liked his approach here. He goes over all the events leading up to and during D-Day, on both the Allied and German sides. He manages to provide a comprehensive history that's clear and concise.

In between all the big events, he also examines the human side of the war. This isn't glamorized history, but the accounts of the actual men who lived through it, their fear, their bravery. Many had tragic endings, many were lucky to see the end of the war. Some found ways not to fight, others found themselves fighting when they didn't expect to. He does mostly focus on American forces, with British and German after, but there's also accounts of Canadians, Polish and others. Ambrose also touches on something that I personally haven't seen acknowledged in other histories I've read or seen (admittedly, that's a small number) about why some of Hitler's forces weren't that eager to fight: he used a lot of conscripted soldiers from countries he'd conquered. Of course, those soldiers won't exactly want to kill the people coming in to hopefully liberate their home countries.

There's a lot of info here, but it's never overwhelming, and it's laid out well so it's easy to follow how events unfolded like they did.

I did have some issues with the narrator, though that's not the narrator's fault. He's very clear in his narration, and he doesn't "act" out any of the accounts. But he does have a timbre of voice that was soothing - a little too soothing, since I had trouble listening to him at first, lol. If you don't think that would be an issue for you, I recommend this audiobook.
Profile Image for RJ - Slayer of Trolls.
765 reviews179 followers
August 21, 2021
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

- General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, Order of the Day, June 6, 1944

D-Day, the Allied assault of the German-occupied French coastline in WWII, may be the single most important day in not only military history but in the 20th Century as well. Stephen E. "Band of Brothers" Ambrose details all of the meticulous planning that paved the way for the invasion and he documents the occurrences of the day from every perspective. Some of the details presented can be dry at times, and much of the information could have been more thoroughly explained for those who are not well-versed in military terminology, but the first-hand accounts from survivors as well as the anecdotes from behind the scenes are fascinating for even the casual reader.
Profile Image for Kuszma.
2,196 reviews153 followers
November 29, 2019
Amiben Ambrose nagyon jó, az a partraszállás léptékének érzékeltetése. Hogy ez az egész micsoda képtelen erőkoncentráció volt. Hogy mikor nekilódultak (a több mint ötezer hajó, a durván tizenegyezer repülő), az micsoda hátborzongató látvány lehetett. És micsoda eszméletlen vállalkozás egyetlen nap alatt a hajók bendőjéből egy ellenséges partra bocsátani vagy százezer embert. Teljesen át tudtam érezni az egész vállalkozásnak a lenyűgöző és egyben pokoli voltát. Olyannyira, hogy még flesseim is voltak. A Nyugatiban a vonatra várakozók között arra gondoltam, ez maga az Omaha-part, ha meg felbukkant egy ordítóan gyenge verseskötet, úgy veselkedtem neki, mintha vasbeton ütegállás lenne 105 mm-es lövegekkel: fel a kaptatón a géppuskatűzben, és püff, pörköljünk oda a lángszóróval. Van ereje a kötetnek, ami nem kis részben annak köszönhető, hogy az angolszász történészek hagyományosan jobban támaszkodnak a szemtanúk emlékeire.

Amiben viszont valóban érheti szó a ház elejét, az az elfogultság. Számítani azért lehet rá – tudjuk, Ambrose Eisenhower elnök titkára is volt, no meg az Eisenhower Center igazgatója, és hát azért az öreg Ike szerintem is megérdemel minden dicséretet, hisz az adott pozícióhoz az ő képességei tökéletesek voltak*. Még azt is elfogadom, hogy a partraszállásból a szerző amerikai hőseposzt csinált, mert valóban az is volt. Gondoljunk bele, a szövetségesek megcsinálták, amit a hadtörténelemben előttük senki: a tengerről támadtak beásott szárazföldi ellenfelet, és közben elérték, hogy azok ne férjenek hozzá tartalékaikhoz, ellentétben a partraszállókkal, akik viszont folyamatosan kapták az utánpótlást. Szemére leginkább azt vetném, amikor ez a fajta elfogultság már szakmai hiányosságokhoz vezet – ilyen például a háborús hátországokról szóló fejezet, aminek uszkve 90%-a az amerikai hátországokról szól, a többiek meg kell elégedjenek pár bekezdéssel. Pedig hát – gondolom – a német hátországról is lehetett volna bővebben témázgatni.

De azért nem nagy dolgok ezek, mert közben meg Ambrose bravúrosan feledteti könyvének kimerítő aprólékosságát lendületes írásmódjával. Ha bele is megy némi hadtudományi péniszméregetésbe**, azért mégiscsak a partraszállás egyik megkerülhetetlen alapműve marad.

* Hogy közben meg tankhadosztályt Észak-Afrikában valószínűleg nem tudott volna vezetni úgy, mint Rommel, teljesen más kérdés. Rommel meg a statikus harcban vallott kudarcot, valószínűleg hiba is volt őt megbízni a partvédelemmel.
** Hogy kik voltak a legjobb katonák, a németek, az amerikaiak, esetleg az oroszok, amúgy is nagyjából értelmetlen kérdés. Ennek teszteléséhez gyakorlatilag steril körülmények között kellett volna egymásnak ereszteni őket, ugyanannyi embert, akik ugyanolyan tapasztalatokkal és parancsnoki lánccal rendelkeznek, egyiküket sem segítik kiépített erődítmények, és azonos méretű ipari teljesítmény áll a hátuk mögött. Ilyen körülmények a valódi háborúban természetesen nem léteznek.
Profile Image for Carol Storm.
Author 28 books182 followers
September 15, 2019
Compelling, suspenseful, inspiring and heartbreaking. The pace of the narrative never flags. Absolutely the finest popular history ever written about the D Day Invasion. Ambrose has the right mix, combining an endless series of fascinating personal accounts from English, German, and American troops, plus balancing out the strategic overview with detailed analysis.
Profile Image for Jim.
562 reviews85 followers
June 10, 2017
This book is based on the oral histories of 1,400 men who were involved in D-Day. The majority of the book deals with one 24 hour period. Midnight, June 5/6 until midnight June 6/7. I learned about D-Day growing up. Mostly this was facts and figures. I have seen several movies about D-Day. Some were good. With the exception of a few names such as Roosevelt, Churchill, Eisenhower, and Montgomery I didn't know the people involved in one of the most historic events of the 20th century. In this book you get to meet and know some of the men who were there. Citizen soldiers as Ambrose refers to them. They were the children of the Great Depression. For many of these men it was their first time in combat. I call them men but many were teenagers. In this book you meet a 15 year old (he lied about his age in order to enlist) and a 16 year old. No matter their age they were men. This is not an easy read. It is full of military terms and acronyms. I often had to flip to a map in order to try an orient myself to the events taking place. I am glad I was reading the hardback version so that I could do this easily. There were many times in the book when the horrors of war were vividly brought home. Many of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who were involved suffered grievous wounds and continued to fight. Even those who did not suffer a physical injury saw things that stayed with them and can only be described as a living hell. They did not come as invaders. They were there to liberate. There have been many movies about D-Day and they can be entertaining but to really learn about this day in history and appreciate the men who made this happen I would recommend reading this book.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,617 reviews429 followers
January 17, 2014
-Si bien no definitivo, bastante completo.-

Género. Historia.

Lo que nos cuenta. Tras un breve prólogo dedicado a perfiles de soldados que participaron en el comienzo de las hostilidades esa jornada de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, repaso del Desembarco de Normandía analizando las fuerzas defensoras, las atacantes, sus líderes, la elección de los lugares de desembarco y el momento, la preparación para la Operación Overlord y el desarrollo de la propia operación.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

5 reviews3 followers
October 18, 2011
Extraordinarily interesting anecdotes? Check. Chest-thumping patriotism? Check. Unbiased, carefully vetted history? Ehhhhhh.
Profile Image for Emily.
128 reviews
September 15, 2019
"The beach was just a complete shambles. It was like an inferno. There were bodies everywhere and some wounded being attended to. As I went by a tank I heard people screaming for morphine. The tank was on fire and they were burning to death. There wasn't a thing that I could do about that... Around midnight... I remember thinking, 'Man what a day this has been. If every day is going to be as bad as this I'll never survive the war.'" - Captain James Roberts (Easy Red Sector, Omaha Beach)

This book took me a very long time to finish (in no small part because I'm a slow reader - a reality exacerbated in this case by how frequently I found myself pausing and staring existentially into the void).

The material isn't all dark. In a brief moment of respite I found myself laughing out loud at a Royal Marine Commando with enough presence of mind for a quip upon landing at Gold: "Perhaps we're intruding. This seems to be a private beach."

But the accounts (sometimes merely sentence-long observations) of the individual soldier alone on his "own little battlefield," suffering, became recurring reflective exercises for me. Unable to stop myself from imagining the exact instant a life ceased to be - the before millisecond and then the after - I returned to a singular train of thought: What would it be like to die in that way with no witnesses available to emotionally reckon with the moment? What would it be like to die with no one to REALLY notice?

This lens shaped my entire reading of the book, and it continues to weigh on me in the sense of an urgent need to seek, to learn, to share veterans' stories. I wish to be able to take the time that for their brothers on the battlefield was an impossible luxury: the time to mourn their passing and feel deeply its implications. A brief trip to Normandy earlier this year offered a tiny peek into what that responsibility entails. I long to go back. In the interim, works like Ambrose's and the introspection they provoke can remind us of our responsibility, even when on their own they feel entirely insufficient.

Unfortunately Ambrose truly glosses - I'm talking paragraphs in a 600-page historical record - over the racist and sexist oppression by a people fighting against oppression. Minorities are almost entirely excluded from the narrative. Rather than dwell on this oversight, I choose to focus on each and every story included in the book, all of which deserve to be told. The exclusions simply amplify our responsibilities to each other as fellow Americans to learn as many more stories as we can. "The trouble is you think you have time."
Profile Image for Don Stanton.
153 reviews3 followers
March 10, 2010
Probably one of the top three of all of his books concerning the war in Europe. It is a great place to start reading his series of books about WWII. It would be great to read this and Pegasus Bridge at the same time.
If you have an ability visualize, you will be moved.
I was in France in September of 2008. I'm not a tour guy, so we just go were and when we want to go. Chelly, my wife, and I went to the cemetery in Normandy. I was nearly overwhelmed at the sight. When We came to the long stairway that lead to Omaha Beach, I couldn't go down to the beach.
Standing there with the dead behind me and the sacred shore before me, I felt a huge surge of sadness, suffering, patriotism, honor, sacrifice and holiness wash over me all at once.
I felt honored to be at the cemetery, but unworthy to walk where those men willingly, knowingly gave there lives. That very alter of selfless sacrifice for freedom.
With over 9,000 emblems of Christ's sacrifice for us behind me, and the sandy emblem of those 9,000 dead in front of me, all I could do was weep.

Ambrose got it right.
Profile Image for Megan.
342 reviews4 followers
August 27, 2008
Wonderful. I highly recommend Ambrose for historical reading. He makes things interesting and detailed and you feel like you really get to know somewhat what it was like being there. I will definitely be reading his other books. It's embarrassing that it took me almost 7 months to read this one though!
This book was a testimony to me that Heavenly Father was with those soldiers that day. It reminded me of Captain Moroni and the title of liberty-when you are fighting for your liberty and your wives and children then God will be with you.
Profile Image for Abigail.
90 reviews19 followers
April 22, 2011
I am currently listening to this audio book while at the same time reading the paperback of Anthony Beevor's D-Day book. I don't usually do that, listen to an audio book and read a paper copy book on the same topic. But in this case I am enjoying doing it, as I am really getting a full scope picture of this fascinating time in American history.
Profile Image for Jesse.
79 reviews1 follower
January 22, 2020
Good pacing and organization. Great first person anecdotes. The dark humor quotes by soldiers injected some great comedy. I'm no historian, but I felt some obvious US bias when negative actions of the Americans were overshadowed by worse examples of the Germans immediately after. Interesting read and look at a different time.
Profile Image for Kathlyn.
187 reviews6 followers
May 5, 2012
This book was terrible. It was biased, factually inaccurate and reflected the author's sycophantic relationship with Eisenhower rather than any objective understanding of the events of June 6 1944.
Profile Image for Jason Long.
1 review
April 14, 2019
Too much American "Hoo-ah" and not enough credit given to the British and Canadian forces (only the last 10% of the book is allocated to them). Ambrose even repeatedly sees the need to reiterate that the British could have done more had they not continuously stopped for tea.
Profile Image for Mac.
295 reviews5 followers
September 21, 2018
Ambrose sacrifices research for the sake of a flowing narrative.
3 reviews2 followers
September 28, 2018
My name is Jackson Shampanier-Bowen and today we will be sitting down with Erwin Rommel for an interview. Erwin Rommel is a historical figure who is featured in the book D-Day June 6, 1944 The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose. Erwin Rommel was a German Field Marshal during World War 2, known as the Desert Fox, who, after fighting in the North African deserts, was sent to defend the AtlantikWall against the incoming D-Day invasions. All his genius plans and ideas to fend off a naval assault across the channel were foiled by higher ups and even the Fuhrer himself. We’ll be taking a look at his early decision making, his choices, his downfall, and examining his very complex character.

Jackson: “For someone to have been such a rule breaker in their early years, would you have ever thought yourself to be one to join the army, let alone be one of its capable generals?”

Rommel: “Probably not, as my family had very little military tradition or history and I was never a stickler for the rules as you mentioned. Despite what most say, my father’s brief career as an artillery commander before I was born always inspired me and I wanted to be just like him. I had the utmost respect for my country, the German Empire, and a strict love for the Kaiser, and when The Great War began, I could think of no better thing than to join the Deutsches Heer, or German army. I performed very well in my early years in the field and was highly decorated with the Pour Le Merite, and the Iron Cross. It was said that I inspired those around me and maybe that is why I became a general.”

Jackson: “When did you realize your goals and ambitions for a new German Empire were doomed to fail? Why did you feel this way? What happened to you because of it?”

Rommel: “I first realized Hitler was delusional at the first and second Battles of El Alamein. It was my first major defeat in my entire career, and the second German defeat of the war. After the Battle of Britain, our first major defeat, the Luftwaffe was so badly damaged, it might have cost us the war. This was put on full display at the infamous battle of El Alamein. A fleet of fifty transport planes guarded by a Luftwaffe squadron were supposed to bring us our munitions and supplies, but out of the fifty transport planes, forty five were shot down mid-flight. This was mostly because many of the planes sent to protect the transports never showed up to begin with. I marched out into the desert with my young battalion commander, Major Baron Hans von Luck, and I expressed my feeling of incoming disaster for the German Afrika Korps. Hitler began talking about me behind my back, calling me a “Defeatist”, but the German War Cabinet, ever weary of our mounting losses, called me a realist. This “Defeatism” or “Defeatist Attitude” would eventually lead to my downfall. I became twisted up in an elaborate assassination plot against the Fuhrer and he allowed me to commit suicide and leave my reputation and family alone.”

Jackson: “How did it feel to be assigned to guard the AtlantikWall, after all of your great military campaigns in Africa and France? Did you feel that your talents were wasted? Would you have rather been sent to the Eastern Front? Did you feel this reassignment was a sign of the Cabinet losing faith in you?”

Rommel: “At first I was a little annoyed, but after a little while I came to the realization that this was the most important assignment in all of the war theaters. We knew an Allied invasion was coming but we didn’t know where, so the AtlantikWall defenses were supposedly constructed to fend off such an invasion. However, when I arrived at the site, the task was being utterly mismanaged. I got to work straight away to fix the abomination. I wouldn’t say that my talents were wasted per se, but I do feel I could have been better utilized elsewhere. I may have been one of the few right for the job, but the job still was a downgrade, and I shouldn’t have been needed in the first place if the others had done their jobs. In the case of the Eastern Front, yes, I would’ve much rather been sent there. I think I could’ve been able to turn the war around, maybe even have made the final push to Moscow, but instead I was stuck digging trenches in French mud. I don’t feel that this was the Cabinet losing faith in me, no. I think this is a case of the Cabinet having no other options because I was the only one who could get this very important job done right, whereas others could command the advance.”

Jackson: “If I were to ask Dwight D. Eisenhower, he would probably say the theme of this battle is something along the lines of “Hard work and dedication pays off, especially when someone needs it the most.” I assume it would be different for you as your story played out a little differently. What would you say the theme of the story is from a German perspective?”

Rommel: “I would say, at least from an officer’s perspective, the theme was the importance of self reliance. Yes, it is important to get help from others when you need it, but never lean on people you don’t fully trust, and especially not any more than you have to. I lost many battles because I didn’t have the supplies to fight, because someone else messed up and the squadron sent to protect the transport planes never showed up. Had I known something like this could’ve happened, I would’ve preserved the resources we had more acutely. Again, when I was attempting to counterattack the beginnings of what was to become the Normandy Landings, I needed Hitler’s personal approval for the use of tanks, which he refused to give because he was convinced Normandy was a diversion. I should’ve rallied the tanks regardless, and maybe then I would have been able to push them back out to sea, but I’m not sure if that would have made a better or worse outcome.”

Jackson: “It is said that many people other than yourself can be to blame for your losses. Do you believe that it is the fault of others and not your own? Why? Who do you blame most, your enemies, or your ‘friends’?”

Rommel: “I believe that in most cases, it was the incompetence of others that lead to failure, not my mistakes. Surely I made mistakes, but there were many cases where it I was lacking supplies or unable to use assets because an incompetent higherup made a bad decision. I don’t particularly blame my enemies for my failure, that's just stupid. They are just following their orders, as I was mine, it is not their fault they had better resources and more practical orders.”

Jackson: “There are many myths surrounding your name, particularly because of all the NATO Propaganda you were featured in during the war, used to show motive for West German Rearmament. How do you feel in your character being portrayed in this way? How much of it is true?”

Rommel: “Well, my name is often used to portray an apolitical great commander who stood against Hitler and met his end because of it. It is true that I am not as extreme as most, but in the earlier years of Hitler’s rise to power, I supported him through and through. I generally am against all the anti-Semitism the Nazis imposed on the public, and most Nazi ideals. Also I never knew the true extent of the Holocaust and I surely would have stood against it had I known more. As for how I felt about my name being slandered in useless Allied propaganda? I loathe it. Even the Nazi propaganda I feel is going too far. Although I did enjoy the fame, I am always one for facts and logic, and this mix of lies and propaganda around my name angers me.”

Jackson: “Despite all of this propaganda surrounding your name, you still did stand against Hitler and the Nazi ideology, so why did you stay in the Wehrmacht under his command?”

Rommel: “Even though I hated the Nazis, I had a love of my country and I couldn’t bear to see my country fail and have another Versailles forced upon it. I fought in the Great War honorably, but even with my best efforts I was unable to prevent its downfall. I have much pride for my great honorable nation. Versailles and the years following the war were so terrible that I would do anything to keep my nation and its people from suffering again. The Entente tore apart Germany and then the Great Depression kicked us while we were down. Although the Nazi regime was bad, in my eyes, they were a better alternative to the country-destroying, economy-mauling Allies.”

Jackson: “If you could change one thing about your life or the war, what would it be?”

Rommel: “Probably the ending, as in my career I had not committed any war crimes and would have likely gotten off the hook. I could’ve lived out my days peacefully with my family, or even had a successful political career in West Germany. Similar to Dwight D. Eisenhower, I was a renowned war hero back home.”

Jackson: “Of all your greatest accomplishments, which do you value above all the others?”

Rommel: “In my eyes, the achievements that outshine all my other achievements are probably my service for my country in The Great War, and my family. I was and always will be insanely proud of my country and its great peoples and the fact I was able to serve it will always be important to me. The Great War, especially because not only did I serve admirably, but I was fighting for something good, something much better than what I fought for in the Second World War. I also my family is also one of the things I am most proud of and I ended up taking my own life dishonorably rather than have my family hurt because of my actions.”

Jackson: “What would you say you like the most about Dwight D. Eisenhower?”

Rommel: “Honestly, I admire the man. I admire his ability to stay calm in stressful situations, utilize his assets to his advantage, and his leadership skills. We are both very alike in many, many different ways. There are many comparisons to be drawn and if we had known each other we surely would’ve been good friends. We were both commanders who liked to get their hands dirty but I usually jumped right into the action, while Eisenhower often took his time and planned his moves. That could be a very important skill in the heat of a battle. I’d say the only thing I ever truly and completely bested him at was that he was an avid smoker. He smoked almost four packs a day, while I never smoked one. Other than that I’d say we are either equal or he narrowly wins everytime.”
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Beth Cato.
Author 109 books537 followers
November 15, 2021
A phenomenal book on a devastating and pivotal event. Ambrose is easy to read; it's the subject matter that is difficult here, the death and gore and sheer loss. All necessary for the cause of freedom, yet horrific.
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August 28, 2009
Biar Menghayati ditambah membaca pidato Ike pada saat D-Day

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have
striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The
hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on
other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war
machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well
equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of
1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats,
in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their
strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home
Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions
of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.
The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in
battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great
and noble undertaking.


Dwight D. Eisenhower

Suaranya dapat didengar di link youtube ini

Kalau tentara Indonesia pernah mendapat pidato menggugah dari Jenderal Soedirman,

Pidato pertama sesudah pelantikan,

Hendaknya perjuangan kita harus didasarkan atas kesucian. Dengan demikian perjuangan kita lalu merupakan perjuangan antara jahat melawan suci, dan kami percaya bahwa perjuangan suci itu senantiasa
mendapatkan pertolongan dari Tuhan.(18 Des 1945, di
Yogyakarta, sesudah pelantikan Pangsar)

Anak-anak ku, Tentara Indonesia, kamu bukanlah serdadu sewaan, tetapi prajurit yang berideologi, yang sanggup berjuang dan menempuh maut untuk keluhuran tanah airmu. Percaya dan yakinlah, bahwa kemerdekaan suatu negara yang didirikan di atas timbunan runtuhan ribuan jiwa harta benda dari rakyat dan bangsanya, tidak akan dilenyapkan oleh manusia siapapun juga.” (Pangsar Sudirman, 5 Oktober 1949)

Pidato lain yang banyak dikutip di dunia maya,

Anak-anakku, tentara Indonesia, kamu bukanlah serdadu sewaan tetapi tentara yang berideologi yang sanggup berjuang dan menempuh maut untuk keluhuran tanah airmu. Percaya dan yakinlah, bahwa kemerdekaan satu
negara, yagn didirikan diatas timbunan runtuhan ribuan jiwa harta benda dari rakyat dan bangsanya, tidak akan dapat dilenyapkan oleh manusia siapapun juga. Berjuang terus, saya tetap memimpin kamu sekalian. Tuhan insya Alloh melindungi perjuangan suci kita.
(Jan 1948, halaman Candi Borobudur)

(Sumber: dikutip dari link ini,) [pidato itu waktu acara latihan perang di Borobudur itu bukan yah?:]


Pidato di atas, buat saya mengingatkan pada sebuah game RTS (Real Time Strategy) yang latar ceritanya perang jaman Romawi. Setiap menjelang pertempuran, seorang jenderal sambil menunggang kuda akan berpidato di depan para prajuritnya. Inti dari pidato itu berisi alasan dan tujuan untuk meyakinkan bahwa pertempuran itu secara "moral" sah dilakukan. (Sebisa mungkin diklaim sebagai just war barangkali). Hal yang sama dari pidato jenderal virtual itu dapat ditemukan dalam pidato dari dua jenderal dunia nyata.

Lebih menarik lagi adalah memperhatikan pidato Eisenhower. Alinea ketiga merupakan uraian fakta. Misinya yang diuraikan di alinea pertama (the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world) tidak langsung dikuatkan dengan kalimat penambah semangat saja. Alinea kedua malah mengingatkan bahwa musuh yang dihadapi adalah musuh yang tangguh. Namun, ketangguhan itu dijawab dengan data di aline ketiga.

Ini yang menarik buat saya. Seolah Eisenhower mengatakan, lawan yang tangguh itu tidak lebih yang kuat dari prajuritnya yang lebih tangguh. Kemenangan Nazi Jerman yang pernah dicapai pada tahun 1940-1941 tidak lagi berarti dihadapan kekuatan mereka saat itu. The tide has turned! Selanjutnya ia kembali pada alur sebuah pidato pengobar semangat, dengan menekankan pada dua alinea penutupnya: tanggung jawab kemenangan dan segenap restu dari Tuhan dalam kerja mulia prajuritnya.

Pidato yang cukup singkat itu masih menyisipkan rasionalitas yang layak disampaikan. Kenyataan musuh yang tangguh tidak ditutupi, meski keyakinan mereka lebih tangguh tetap harus ditekankan.

Semangat bukan berarti meremehkan kenyataan. Begitu catatan saya atas pidato Ike.
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