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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 6, 2009 9:00am-9:30am EDT

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the russians are going to be on the atlantic ocean. d-d d-day, june 6, 1944, the war had been going on for several years and most americans don't know the barbarossa. that was the story of the russian efforts in world war ii. .
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without a doubt. but nobody talks about that. you know, we went in in north africa and then mired down in italy, and it's just not -- the facts aren't given. basically, the russians had already defeated the germans. >> thanks for your call. tell us a little more about that. >> first, i'd like to thank john for his service and for calling in. i think that's made the show today. i'm really pleased to hear from them. now, as to the question or comment that we just had, i would take issue with this caller. if the germans had been defeated by the summer of 1944, then they would have been defeated. in other words, if it was over the soviets would have been in berlin and they would not have wanted the normandy invasion to occur.
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what the evidence shows is that all the way up into the invasion, stalin was lobbying for the invasion to happen. so that tells you he did need the support of the western allies and -- and, as i pointed out earlier today, there is a great appreciation in the last 10 to 15 years of the soviet contribution to the war. it is significant. borderline immense. but the german army, although it had been beaten up quite a bit by the summer of 19 44, it was not finished. it fought very, very hard for that next year, both east and west, and it took a monumental effort to defeat it, among many countries. the sofe yet union, france, united states, great britain, canada, poland, just to name the primary actors here. so again, i would take issue that the soveyts had defeated the germans by the summer of 1944. they actually had not. and there is quite a bit of
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evidence of the soviet contribution and quite a few good books on that. but many, many others. i would look at john ericson's work and anything by david glants. i highly recommend. because you will get a good look at the eastern front. >> next up is around from caller: i was calling to in defense of the russia. they certainly -- we wouldn't have been able to invade normandy, and we would have done it at a much higher cost if they hasn't taken so many troops away from the east. that's basically all i had to say. thanks. host: thank you. john, go ahead. guest: that's an excellent point. the cost of invading normandyy would have been much higher if the sofeyts hasn't done what
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they had done over the last two to three years. that was the point stalin was making was, hey, you've got to help me out here. you've got to have a major effort to sifen off part of the german army because i'm dealing with most of it here. that's why stalin didn't feel like the campaign in north africa or italy were really valid second fronts. and that's why he wanted a bone fide invasion of france from the beginning of the big three at the end of 1941 when the u.s. was in the war all the way through 43, stalin is lobbying pretty consistently. and that doesn't change until the spring of 44. so he is as delighted because he is still dealing with the bulk of the german army at that point. so that's an excellent point. host: the next call comes from washington. go ahead. caller: hi.
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thank you for having this program. my dad was a sergeant in the army in the pacific theater. and i've always found it harder to find out what was going on on d-day in the pacific theater and did it affect what was going on in europe? guest: most definitely. you've got by the summer of 19 44 a monumental not just allied effort but american effort. we're looking at this from the american perspective. think of it this way. you had a major effort in italy and further fighting from there. you have a massive strategic bombing campaign in europe. then the normandy invasion. in the pacific at this very same time, you have fighting going on in new guinea, mcarthur's campaign in new guinea at that point still raging on. and you have the centerpiece of
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the allied effort in the pacific that year, the invasion of the mariannas was about to take place. so we are about ten days before the invasion of sigh pan. and is an effort not quite equal to the normandy invasion but pretty close because it's subsequently followed up by invasions of guam. these are huge campaigns and they certainly were all subconnected in one way just to draw on what we're talking about earlier was landing craft. having enough landing craft to go around was an issue, whether we would have enough for the pacific invasions versus the invasion of normandy, all these things had to be considered and yines hour was a major player. so, for instance, the normandy campaign was originally scheduled -- or the normandy invasion was originally scheduled for may. eisenhower had to push it back because they didn't have enough
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landing craft and because many had been slotted for the pacific invasions that were going to happen the same year. so the whole thing is interconnected. and that's why i say, if you look at the bigger picture from an american historian perspective, this is really the time when the united states becomes a world super power at that point. and it has to for the normandy invasion to happen. host: we've got shots up of the normandy cemetery in france. and we will be hearing from president obama as well as the french president and the british prime minister. and we'll go to that as soon as those gentlemen start speaking. first, back to the phones. chris on the line. good morning and welcome. caller: good morning. my respect to all the d-day veterans still with us. my dad was with the army air
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corps group that went from north africa into france and germany. but a lot of people talking about the russian effort. with our effort to go after the energy resources of germany, the bombings in all cordors, getting them out of north african africa and stuff, didn't that happy and could you expand? thank you. guest: sure. that's a great point. one way the soveyts were hated by the western powers is the strategic bombing campaign that they could concentrate on having their air force just provide close air support for their armies along the eastern front and the campaign to bomb germany abserbs about a million plus german soldiers for antiaircraft duties and things of that nature, plus much of the german air force is redeployed home. this definitely aided the
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soviet 81 an. no question about it. the commander of the strategic air forces in europe at that point initiated the oil plan which was designed to basically destroy germany's oil refining capacity and paralyze their effort that way because, fuel was so important. and that is really to some extent the most successful element of the strategic bombing campaign in europe. germany was very much hurting for fuel by the end of 1944 and it was impacting on what they could do. the battle of the bulge being a good example. it's a meckniesed at25k but they don't have enough fuel to go as quickly or as far. so i think the larger message out of this whole thing is the allied victory is a product of teamwork. everyone was needed, both east around west. they both relied on the other. and that's what it took to defeat nazi germany. and also in the pacific, it took teamwork to defeat japan,
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china's role, britain's role, the united states and australia with key roles as well. host: we've been talking with john mcmannis. and right now we're watching president barack obama getting ready to make a speech at the normandy american cemetary and memorial. and he will be followed by the leaders of france, great britain, and canada, and thousands of veterans and active service men and women who have come to attend this service. we're going to take one more call from maryland. caller: i just called really to -- my family,, my grand mother had five sons, my uncles who were all in the war. my one uncle lost his arm. and then my dad's side of the
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family, my grand ma she had three sons in the war, including my dad. he never talked about the war. he did always give accolades to general paten. and he obviously never also spoke about a mental breakdown that he had that would only be years later that he ever -- he still never talked about it. my other uncle that was in close prompt -- prompt -- proximity to him, he said my dad was in a hospital after he had seen his buddy's head blown off. but ni dad was also in the pacific. he was in europe. he was on communications lines right after the -- they had bombed -- you know, the bombings on japan.
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and he was stringing the lines on that for communications. retie communications. host: thanks for your call. john, how common was it for troops who had been stationed in europe to, once the war was starting to wind down in europe, for them to be reassigned to the pacific? guest: not very common. because the war in europe ends in may of 1945, the war in the pacific ends three months later. some were preparing to redeploy, a few did redeploy. but not very common for ground soldiers. for sailors that would be another thing altogether because ships were constantly going back and forth. so you do have some ships that participate in the normandy invasion and eventually then go to the south france invasion and then participate in other invasions like okinawa in the pacific. so that would be fairly common. but among ground troops, most did not redeploy. most spent the summer in
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occupation in germany. host: we are awaiting the beginning of the speech by president obama. we want to mention that his grand father and great uncle landed on omaha beach. there you see prime minister gordon brown on the left side of the screen and on the right side the french president. we want to thank john mcmannis for being our guest. we are going live to normandy as we await the speech by the president. ♪ ♪
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♪ [applause]
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>> president obama, your royal high ness, prime minister brown, prime minister harper,
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distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. it's our privilege to welcome all the visitors joining us today. we extend a special welcome to the d-day and world war ii veterans and their family members in attendance who honor us all with their presence. [applause] today, we commemorate the 65th anniversary of the d-day landings that took place in the early morning hours of 6 june, 1944. today's ceremony will honor the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who made the supreme sacrifice so that europe might be
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liberated. included among those so honored are the 3,881 who lost their lives on d-day at omaha beach and the 9,387 of our dead who are buried at this cemetary. [speaking in french]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please bow your heads in prayer for the invocation delivered by u.s. army chaplain colonel thomas mcgregor. [speaking in french] >> our gracious and loving father in hen, we ask for the blessing of your presence on this significant event that touches the lives of the families and citizens of the grateful nations here represented. magnify yourself this day as we pause to fittingly remember those men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the
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freedom of france and the allied nations during the second world war. truly, this is sacred ground, for those are the remains of those hero warriors whose dreams were cut short and who have entered their eternal rest. many cried out to you as they breathed their last. many seeking help from him who alone is the resurrection and the life. oh, god, savel now the hearts of those who mourn. grant them your comfort and peace. tempor the memories of those who whose loved ones perished in the horrific conflict at sea and on these bloody fields of bat m so many years ago. lovely lovingly support the family and friends who grieve
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the loss of a loved one both past and present. help each of us to look ahead to that grand and glorious day when you shall return, loved ones be rejoined once again and all wars shall cease. oh, god, speed the day of your coming, we ask. guard this day, the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen of our several nations who fight for liberty and the freedom of oppressed peoples. grant each a special measure of your presence, protection, and abiding grace. indeed, yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. in jesus name. amen.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the french republic. [applause] [speaking in french]
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