Hutchinson's Pictorial History of the War, Series 25 No. 1

HISTORY of the WAR PROGRESS OF THE WAR by (he Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill P.C. C.H. M.P., Prime Minister In surveying the progress of the war in the House of Commons on 28th September 1944 Mr. Churchill said :Little more than seven weeks have passed since we rose for the summer vacation but this short period has completely changcd the face of the war in Europe. When we separated the Anglo- American armies were still penned in the narrow bridgehead and strip of coast from the base of the Cherbourg Peninsula to the approaches to Caen, which they had wrested from the enemy several weeks before. The Brest Peninsula was untaken. The German army in the west was still hopeful of preventing us from striking out into the fields of France. The Battle of Normandy which had been raging bloodily from the date of the landing had not reached any decisive conclusion. What a transformation now meets our eyes. Not only Paris but practically the whole of France has been liberated as if by enchantment. Belgium has been rescued part of Holland is already free. The foul enemy who for four years inflicted his cruelties and oppression upon these countries has fled losing perhaps 400000 fn killed and wounded and leaving in our hands nearly 500000 prisoners. Besides this there may well be 200000 cutoff in the coastal fortresses orin Holland whose destruction or capture may now be deemed highly probable. The allied armies have reached and in some places have crossed the German frontier and the Siegfried Line. All these operations under the supreme command of General Eisenhower have taken place and all were the fruit of the world-famous Battle of Normandy the greatest and most decisive single battle of the entire war. Never yet has the exploitation of victory been carried to higher perfection. The chaos and destruction wrought by the Allied Air Force behind the battle-front has been indescribable in narrative and a factor of the utmost potency in the actual struggle. T hast far surpassed and reduces to petty dimensions all that our Army had to suffer from the German Air Force in 1940. Neverthe­less when we reflect upon the tremendous fire-power of modern weapons and the opportunity which they forgive defensive and de­laying action we must feel astounded at the ex­traordinary speed with which the allied nrmies have advanced. The vast and brilliant encircling movement ol the American armies will ever abe model of the military art and an ex­ample of the propriety 01 running risks not only in the fighting— because most of the armies are ready to do that— but even more on the “Q.” a?side or the Americans put it the logistical side. It was with great pleasure that all of us saw the British and Canadian armies who had so long fought against heavy resistance by the enemy along the hinge of the allied movement show themselves also capable of lightning advances which certainly had not been surpassed anywhere. Finally by the largest airborne operation ever con­ceived or executed a further all-important forward inbound the north has been achieved. Here I mast pay a tribute which the House will consider due to the superb feat of arms performed by our 1st Airborne Division. Full and deeply moving accounts have already been given to this country and to the world, of this glorious and fruitful operation which will take a lasting place in our military annals and will in suc­ceeding generations inspire our youth with the highest ideals of duty and of daring. The cost has been heavy. The casualties in a single division have been grievous but for those who mourn there is at least the consolation that the sacrifice was not needlessly demanded nor was it given without result. The delay caused to the enemys advance upon Nijmegen enabled their British and American comrades in the HUTCIIllNSOJNij PJCTORIA L BACK FROM CANADA Mr. Churchill setting out for the House of Commons the day after his return from Canada.
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