World History 1944

About the history of the world in 1944, World War II continues, the D-Day invasion, Allies enter Paris, the Battle of the Bulge begins.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1944

* Russian offensives in the Ukraine took over another 16,000 sq. mi. of territory from the Nazis.

* Wave after wave of Royal Air Force bomber squadrons dropped their payloads on Berlin in an attempt to bring Hitler to his knees quickly. Although parts of the city were destroyed, Nazi nightfighters brought down so many British planes that Allied commanders diverted thousands of sorties around the capital to industrial targets elsewhere in Germany. Meanwhile, Hitler launched a missile attack against London with the newly developed V-1 and V-2 rockets, but, again, damage to the English capital had little effect on the course of the war.

Jan. Allied forces under Gen. Douglas MacArthur began island-hopping around Japanese strongholds in the southwest Pacific in preparation for MacArthur's daring reconquest of the Philippines later in the year.

June 5 Allied forces entered Rome.

June 6 D-Day: Three Allied airborne divisions paved the way for over 156,000 troops in nearly 4,000 transport ships and landing craft to slam the beaches of Normandy, France, under the cover of 8,000 Allied planes overhead. Meanwhile, 800 Allied warships pummeled German defensive positions from the English Channel. The largest amphibious operation of all time, Operation Overlord, as it was known then, was the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany.

July The Red Army, in a giant pincers movement, trapped 100,000 retreating Germans at Minsk.

July 31-Aug. 1 Polish underground forces rose up in Warsaw and almost wrested the capital from Nazi control. The Germans crushed the rebellion; soon thereafter, Russian troops took Warsaw.

Aug. 25 The Free French 2nd Armored Division under General Leclerc proudly marched into Paris to receive the surrender of General von Choltitz, Nazi commander of the Paris garrison, who had ignored Hitler's order to defend the capital at all costs. In order to preserve what was left of his ragtag regiment and to spare the city needless shelling, Choltitz had cooperated with the French underground to maintain order there until a formal surrender could be arranged. Soon, the apotheosis of French resistance to Nazi tyranny, Gen. Charles de Gaulle, marched into liberated Paris to the wild cheers of thousands and set up offices in one of the government buildings. On the 27th, Generals Eisenhower and Bradley tried to slip into Paris to meet with De Gaulle privately but were spotted at the Arc de Triomphe and swarmed over by grateful Parisians. At the meeting, De Gaulle asked the Americans for a couple of divisions to maintain a show of force in the capital while he tried to restore some sort of administrative order to the disheveled bureaucracy. Ike begged off, saying he could not spare any men from the battlefield, but arranged to have two divisions march through Paris in ceremonial review on their way to the front. This satisfied De Gaulle, and thus the maneuver provided, as Eisenhower later wrote, "possibly the only instance in history of troops marching in parade through the capital of a great country to participate in pitched battle on the same day."

Oct. Soviet units shot through the Tatar Pass through the Carpathian Mountains into Hungary and dashed toward Budapest.

Oct. 22-27 Battle of Leyte Gulf: In the largest naval battle in history, 166 U.S. ships and 1,280 planes virtually destroyed the Japanese navy, knocking out 5 carriers, 4 battleships, 14 cruisers, 43 other ships, and some 7,000 aircraft.

Dec. 16 The Battle of the Bulge began. The bulge was 15 German divisions poking 60 mi. into Allied lines in Europe in the last Nazi offensive of the war. With the help of General Patton's 3rd Army, the bulge was smoothed out by Jan. 31, 1945.

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