". . . [W]hen the war of the giants is over, the wars of the pygmies will begin."
ON THE MORNING of June 6, 1944, Allied forces began their long and carefully planned invasion of Hitler's Europe.
Assisted by tactical surprise and vastly superior firepower in overcoming fierce German resistance, the Allied forces managed within a few days to establish a firm beachhead in Normandy. During the first forty-eight hours alone some 250,000 troops poured ashore, and despite the most strenuous efforts of Hitler's legions the Germans could not dislodge the Allied troops and drive them back into the sea. By breaching the elaborately constructed defenses of Festung Europa, the Allies thus scored a decisive initial victory in their struggle to destroy Nazi Germany. Stalin was undoubtedly correct when, in a generous message to Churchill on June 11, he hailed the successful invasion of Europe: "History will record this deed as an achievement of the highest order."
Yet the initial Allied victory did not lead immediately to further successes. Hitler had ordered his commanders in France to hold every foot of territory, and for nearly six weeks German forces managed to contain the Allied troops in their initial landing area. Nonetheless, for the Allies the delay was time well spent. By July 25 Allied troops in France numbered 1.45 million, of which 810,000 were Americans and 640,000 British and Canadians. On that date the Allies, aided once again by their overwhelming supremacy in men and firepower, could at last overturn enemy resistance and begin the strategic breakout that led them, by the last week of August, to the liberation of Paris and most of northern France. Between June and September the Germans