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A Radio Broadcast from the BBC, 4 June, 1944: the State of the War

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June 4, 1944

A Radio Broadcast from the BBC:



This is London calling in the Home Service of the BBC.


White flags flutter from the storied windows of Rome as throngs of Italian citizens cheer the columns of arriving Allied troops who have today occupied the city.


Meanwhile, the Germans on their Eastern Front suffer a rising tide of defeats, while the Japanese in the Pacific cannot seem to hold back the steady Allied offensives.


In Britain, evidence grows of an imminent Allied invasion of Europe with the arrival of ever-larger quantities of soldiers and supplies, ships and aircraft.


By all measures, we appear to be on the brink of a turning point. The war machines of the Axis stumble backward as the Allies gain momentum.




Here in the south of England, our forces muster and look finally to that great obstacle that has haunted us for so long: Hitler’s Atlantic Wall.


To this obstacle we turn, knowing that but one more blow, one new front, might be enough to wake us from this nightmare of war.



* * *


As we stand upon the brink, looking toward the hope of a future, it might serve us to look back and see how we got here.

We can yet remember the time when it seemed that Britain stood alone, that Moscow would soon fall, that the United States might tarry in neutrality. That time is passed.



In the Pacific, American naval forces, still battered from the attack on Pearl Harbor, inflicted a resounding defeat upon Japanese naval power at Midway in 1942. The previously invincible Imperial forces found their aircraft carrier force lamed. A rash of defeats has since thrown the Japanese Empire into a downward spiral.


Yet only a few days ago, the Japanese dashed a Kuomintang army and captured Luoyang, proving their remaining strength. The fate of Asia remains uncertain.


On the Eastern Front, Soviet forces ordered “not one step back” and repulsed the German war machine at Stalingrad in 1943. In January of this year, the Red Army finally broke the 872 day siege of Leningrad. The Wehrmacht, stubborn to the last, is nonetheless in almost full retreat.


In Italy, the Fascist government collapsed after the Allied liberation of Sicily. Italy surrendered to the Allies on 3 September, 1943. Last month, Allied victories at Anzio and Monte Cassino set the German forces in Italy on the back foot up the peninsula.



Yet amidst all this, a front has yet to be opened in Western Europe. The Atlantic Wall still stands. We must assume that the build-up we now see in southern England will become an attempt to breech the Wall. But when, where, and how, we can only speculate - and hope.


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