By Philip Vickers
The notorious SS Das Reich department was once resting in Montauban, South West France whilst the Allies invaded Normandy in June 1944. whilst ordered to hurry North, they bumped into a sequence of French Resistance, SAS and SOE delaying activities. This ruthless department reacted violently and their reprisals culminated within the bloodbath at Oradour. This booklet tells the tale of these heroic and tragic days from the British, French and German viewpoints.
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Additional info for Das Reich: 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich": Drive to Normandy, June 1944
The British, threatened like Russia in both East Asia and Europe, concentrated their attention, like the Russians and later the Americans, on what was perceived as the more dangerous threat in Europe. While beginning to rearm, their belief that a war anywhere would eventually involve them led the London government to try for local peaceful solu tions of specific issues or, as an alternative procedure capable of simul taneous implementation, to secure a general settlement with Germany in which economic and colonial concessions would be exchanged for German acceptance of the essentials of the status quo in Central and Eastern Europe.
From one war to another ij the last war, civilians can be castigated with equal justice for trying to avoid it. In both cases, there is a measure of value in circumspectly drawn lessons of limited application, but the conceptualization is inher ently faulty even if understandable. One can no more avoid a war one has already been in than one can refight a conflict that is over; but as the recurrent discussion in the United States of not getting into another Vietnam should remind one, these obvious truths rarely prevent anyone from trying.
This, of course, is nonsense. All the reparations were paid: the devastated towns were rebuilt, the orchards replanted, the mines pumped out and all the pensions to survivors were paid (with some still being paid). The bill was simply shifted to other shoulders, primarily the very countries that had seen their economies suffer most from the war. This shifting of the burden of repair costs from the less damaged German economy to the more damaged economies of others thus served to redouble rather than off-set the impact of the war itself.