Academic journal article Military Review

Defeat and Triumph: The Story of a Controversial Allied Invasion and French Rebirth

Academic journal article Military Review

Defeat and Triumph: The Story of a Controversial Allied Invasion and French Rebirth

Article excerpt

DEFEAT AND TRIUMPH: The Story of a Controversial Allied Invasion and French Rebirth, Stephen Sussna, Xlibris Corporation, Philadelphia, PA, 2008, 737 pages, $28.99.

There are histories and there are memoirs. Often, they are not interchangeable. Defeat and Triumph works as both a history and a memoir. The author, Professor Emeritus Stephen Sussna is a Professor of Law at Baruch College, City University of New York, and is a respected urban planner. During World War II, he was the helmsman on LST 1012, a U.S. Navy amphibious landing craft that participated in Operation Dragoon-the invasion of Southern France. Unlike most World War II veterans who write books based on their experiences, Professor Sussna has taken his time to examine the events surrounding his war, his operation, and his role in all of it.

The invasion of Northern France through Normandy is known by the most casual students of history. Operation Dragoon, the equally successful and less-costly invasion of Southern France through the French Riviera, is less known, only because it followed two months later. It was successful, but it was also controversial. Winston Churchill opposed it because it took assets that could have been used in a thrust through the Balkans-the "soft underbelly of Europe"-to prevent future Soviet influence in the region. Lieutenant General Mark Clark, whose Fifth Army was struggling up the Italian Peninsula, also opposed it. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, however, pushed it through. Operation Dragoon captured some 80,000 prisoners, destroyed the German XIX Army, and drove 500 miles to link up with Patton's Third Army. It liberated Southern France, obtaining the ports of Toulon and Marseilles for Allied logistical efforts. …

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