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December 16, 1944

Today is the 69th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. It was the Third Reich's last gasp and Panzer units attacked and surrounded embattled towns like Bastogne and caused the Allied lines to be pushed back. The soldiers were thinking about Christmas and were mentally unprepared for the brutal struggle ahead.

Europeans said it was one of the worst winters in memory, and many soldiers froze to death as well as were killed in action. Allied planes were grounded due to bad weather and it was the largest land battle that American soldiers would ever be involved in. During the battle (which lasted well into January), the infamous Malmedy Massacre took place, with the S.S. killing dozens of American POWs. There was spy business going on as well, as trained Germans pretended to be Americans and misdirected American troops and switched signs, etc. It was a distressing time for people, hoping for the end of the war as they tried to celebrate the holidays back home, and the titanic struggle exploded just nine days before Christmas.

By the time the Allies pushed the Nazis back, many lives had been lost, but Germany was finally broken. They would never again put up a fight on the scale of the Battle of the Bulge, and the war would be over in Europe in May of 1945.

It was said that many of the American soldiers who were replacements and pretty green acquitted themselves well in this battle, and that when cut off from their units, they took the initiative without orders from superiors. The Germans were the better soldiers but the Americans were better at independent action when necessary.

Please remember the veterans of World War II and all veterans of all wars. Thank you.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
gilda_elise
Dec. 17th, 2013 12:09 pm (UTC)
I recently read about this in Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 by David M. Kennedy, a truly wonderful book. It was a terrible battle, however necessary. So many brave men lost.
bradygirl_12
Dec. 17th, 2013 05:28 pm (UTC)
I recently read about this in Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 by David M. Kennedy, a truly wonderful book. It was a terrible battle, however necessary. So many brave men lost.

Yes, and civilians as usual suffered a great deal. Their towns were destroyed and lives lost as the two armies struggled.

One of the most famous incidents was the German commander surrounding Bastogne sending a message under a white flag for the Americans to surrender. The American commander responded with one word: "Nuts!" The Germans were puzzled but the story made it back home and was a favorite for many. :)
hpstrangelove
Dec. 17th, 2013 12:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the post; there is so much of my own history I don't know about. My parents lived through all of this and I remember them talking about it at times, but as far as knowing actual details of the war - there is so much, sadly, to know. Beside the name 'Battle of the Bulge', I know nothing about it.

I've learned more in your post than I ever learned in any of my history classes.
bradygirl_12
Dec. 17th, 2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the post; there is so much of my own history I don't know about.

You're very welcome!

My parents lived through all of this and I remember them talking about it at times, but as far as knowing actual details of the war - there is so much, sadly, to know. Beside the name 'Battle of the Bulge', I know nothing about it.

I've learned more in your post than I ever learned in any of my history classes.


*beams*

I don't think history classes cover much World War II anymore? A pity, since so much of our world was shaped because of that war.

I was always impatient with my history classes because we'd never finish the textbook. I'd read ahead just to find out what happened! :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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