Allied forces landed and established five beachheads

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Allied forces landed and established five beachheads along the Normandy coast, with theAmericans landing at positions known as Omaha and Utah beaches. It was a difficult bat-tle with massive casualties. At least 10,000 Allied troops fell, and German troops sufferedbetween 4,000 and 9,000 casualties.V-E DayIn succeeding weeks more than a million Allied troops followed the initial invaders on shore.Once troops amassed, the Allies began their slow march toward the German capital at Berlin.Opening up a crucial second Western Front, the Allied troops began taking substantial num-bers of Axis prisoners. Two months later, in late August, Allied forces liberated France fromNazi control.The Allies followed the land war with new bombing attacks targeting civilian populationsin cities such as Dresden, Germany, in February 1945. They argued that the important mili-tary advantage they offered in crippling the Axis war effort and destroying transportationlines overcame the humanitarian objections to killing as many as 25,000 people in a series ofbombings that was so aggressive, much of the city center erupted into a firestorm. To support-ers, such acts achieved the desired effect: On April 30, 1945, just 2 months after the Dresdenattack, Hitler committed suicide in a Berlin bunker. That same month an army air force histo-rian visited a Nazi death camp at Buchenwald. After seeing the bones from the crematoriumand the Jewish inmates who suffered from typhoid, he said, “Here is the antidote for qualmsabout strategic bombing” (as cited in Schaffer, 1985, p. xiii). Germany surrendered uncondi-tionally on May 8, 1945, on what is known asV-E Day, or Victory in Europe.
Section 9.3Over ThereThe HolocaustCelebrations for the Allied victory in Europe were tempered by the horrific images andreports of Nazi atrocities that emerged following the liberation of multiple concentrationcamps. During World War II Hitler ordered the systematic murder of 11 million men, women,and children. Six million were Jewish, but Roma (Gypsies), religious and political dissenters,homosexuals, and others also fell victim to theHolocaust.Persecution of the Jews began when Hitler came to power in 1933. Preaching about the supe-riority of Aryan Germans, Hitler used the legal system, the press, and even force to attackJewish communities in Germany. Jews were important members of German society, withmany holding posts in business, popular culture, and the intellectual community. Hitler andmany Germans came to believe that Jews contributed to a modern society that challenged thenation’s traditional culture (Abzug, 1999).Although such anti-Semitism was not new, when combined with the extreme nationalismof Hitler’s Fascist regime, it proved deadly. During the 1930s the Nazis systematically beganto strip German Jews of their civil and political rights. They were forbidden to serve in themilitary or own land and banned from holding such occupations as lawyers, doctors, den-tists, and accountants and eventually from owning businesses. Jews were first required to

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