The success of the Normandy invasion resulted in heaps of destruction. People were hungry and homeless, but with practically nothing left after the long battle, they welcomed the Allied troops with open arms. Never would you expect to see such smiling faces in the midst of such ruins.
They were just glad the Nazis were finally dead or captured. Finally, they had real lives ahead of them again, a future to work on, and regain what had been lost. This was a major victory for the Allies. Without Normandy, the Germans could no longer send reinforcements through France to the Eastern Front to deal with the crawling Soviets. This proved a major disadvantage to them, and it would turn the tide forever against their cause.
The Battle Of Saint-Lô
This photograph shows US soldiers marching in Saint-Lô after another major victory, on July 1944. Whatever beauty the place had was lost after a heavy Allied bombardment destroyed 95% of the city. Saint-Lô was later on referred to as “The Capital of Ruins,” because that is all that was left after it was finally conquered.
After the invasion of Normandy, this section of the country remained a vital point because of its strategic crossroads where food, medical supplies, and ammunition were sent through to keep the enemy strong. The Americans knew they had no choice but to win back the area. It was one of three major conflicts in the Battle of Hedgerows that occurred between July 9th and 24th.
The Aftermath At Saint-Lô
This photograph shows two boys, likely brothers, perched atop a tree, witnessing the Allied victory in Normandy. It doesn’t seem very much like the happy moment they must have anticipated when imagining the day the last of the Axis troops would be rooted out of their hiding place. The once proud buildings became badly perforated, some reduced to sticks, no bigger than toothpicks when viewed from a distance; in heaps of splinters, burning, broken, a shadow of Saint-Lô used to be before the war.
The Americans reached the Seine River, and Paris was liberated from the Nazis not long after. This was the last phase of the Battle of Normandy, and the objectives were veering towards Germany. They planned on meeting the Soviets from the East, so they could team up and surround the base of the Nazi regime and chop it down.
Inside A Jewish Ghetto
This photograph was taken by Hugo Jaeger at the Kutno Ghetto, in 1940. Jaeger was a loyalist to the Nazi movement down to the very end, and he enjoyed taking images of Nazi parades, and the big crowds that showed its dominion. He even traveled to take such photographs after the blitzkrieg of Poland. Adolf Hitler himself was amazed by Hugo Jaeger’s work.
Above, Jewish women palaver behind the barbed wires that surrounded the Kutno Ghetto. The irony is expressed in their smiles; 30 miles from the Polish city of Lodz, most of them would be taken en masse to the Chelmno extermination camp.
Impromptu Graveyard In Warsaw
Poland had its back against the wall when the German forces invaded their country on September 1st, 1939. They would put up a fight against the invasion, however, on September 17th, the foreign forces would be further buttressed by the Soviets. They were attacked in every which way—air, land, and sea—and soon their cities and towns were stacked up with dead bodies.
Preoccupied with the ongoing war, they no longer had time for the proper ceremonies normally afforded to the dead. Instead, they were forced to simply bury them wherever the ground seemed suitable.