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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
D-Day: How did it change the world?
We commemorated the D-Day landings in our phone-in programme, Talking Point.

6 June marks the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings, a day that changed the course of World War II - and the 20th century.

Operation Overlord constituted the largest combined sea, land and air operation in history with 150, 000 allied troops landing on the beaches of Normandy to begin the long-awaited liberation of Europe.

Up to 10,000 British veterans will mark the anniversary by travelling to Normandy for the commemorations.

They will be joined by the Queen, Prime Minister Tony Blair, President George Bush, President Jacques Chirac, President Vladimir Putin, as well as the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

What are your memories of D-Day? Were any of your relatives involved in the invasion? How do you think it changed the world? What has been learned from the sacrifices made 60 years ago?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far.

I visited the beaches at Normandy earlier this year and could not help but feel completely humbled by the experience. The bravery and courage of all the men that took part in the invasion should never be forgotten and it is our responsibility to teach the next generation what huge sacrifices these soldiers, sailors and airmen made for us. They should never be forgotten.
Fiona Cuddeford, London

My father's ship was torpedoed while crossing to North Africa
Arnold, Blackburn

I was born in 1950 and consequently brought up on war films which I discussed with my dad who served in the Royal Artillery from 1938 to 1945 and was in the North Africa campaign. It was the film The Longest Day which I saw at 11 years old which made me take a more serious look at the War. The TV series the World at War helped me put everything into context. I was part of the hippie generation but there are times when you have to fight for what is right.

I have always admired and respected the men and women who fought for my freedom and the continuation of our great British traditions and culture which has given so much to the world. This thankfulness was reinforced by seeing Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan a few years ago. My father's ship was torpedoed while crossing to North Africa and he was lucky to be able to tell the story of his time spent adrift in a life boat.
Arnold, Blackburn, Lancashire

My great-grandfather came running away from Alsace during the Great War. At this time, the fascism wasn't as it was during the WWII. D-Day remains in our minds and hearts as the biggest military offensive of all times. I personally admire the people who fought and died and survived on the beaches of Normandy, perhaps they knew they were making history or not, but I'm sure they fought as brave warriors who know the real value of liberty. May God bless them all!
Tony Sabonge, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, CA

I felt so proud of all the old chaps, I lost my father at Christmas and he would have loved to see all the tributes, he was in France, Germany, Italy, Korea and the Suez and a very brave man. My grandfather was awarded the military medal in Russia so it seems only fitting that he was also brave. I cannot imagine the horrors of that war even though he told us lots of stories. How proud and thankful I am to him and all those who fought for us and died for us. It was a privilege watching mostly through tears.
Jacqui Chapman, Wraysbury, UK

Not so much a victory for the Allies but a victory for alliance
Alex, Edinburgh
Not so much a victory for the Allies but a victory for alliance. There is no way the USA, Canada, Britain and its oft-forgotten colonies, the Marquis or any of the many other participants could have succeeded without the help of the others.
Alex, Edinburgh

A few years back I visited the Normandy war cemeteries. I stood, gazing in shock and humility at the fields and fields of white crosses. This was everyman; this generation, along with the one before it in the Great War, suffered and gave on a scale unimaginable to young people like myself, growing up today in the comfort and security of the world they helped shape. I thank them all for the life I am allowed to lead.
Nigel Cubbage, Redhill, Surrey

I was one of the Royal Naval Reserve's Young Officers driving the picket boats at Britannia Royal Naval College during the filming of the "Destination D-Day: The Raw Recruits" series in March, and was privileged to have the veterans on board for the morning. It was an honour to speak with these men who served during the D-Day landings in both the Reserve and regular forces - in roles I and my colleagues would have filled had we been alive then.

The Royal Naval Reserve/Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (the "Wavy Navy", which provided around 3/4 of the strength of the Royal Navy by 1945) continues to support the Royal Navy in times of crisis, tension, stretch and war, as do the reserves to the other Armed Forces. On behalf of myself and my Reservist colleagues (if I may be so presumptuous!), thank you for your commitment, and I hope we may live up to your example.
Andrew, London UK

D-Day secured a safer world, at least for 58 years. Thank you veterans and those no longer here, for your sacrifice.

We all owe them a debt of eternal thanks
Nigel Darwent, Trinidad and Tobago
We all owe them a debt of eternal thanks. All of my secondary schooling was done during the colonial era here, and all our teachers were Brits who served in some capacity in the British armed services. They were wonderful people to whom I owe two main debts, one our liberty today and the other the education that they kindly but firmly drove in to my resisting head. I am what I am today because of them.
Nigel Darwent, Trinidad and Tobago

I'm English and proud of it, but my closest friend is German. Sixty years ago we'd have been trying to kill each other. Now we can raise a glass and appreciate our different cultures. That's what was won for us on D-Day. A peaceful Europe. Thank you.
Eddie, Southampton UK

My father served aboard B17 bombers during the war. His bomber squadron flew over Normandy on D+2. They were performing bombing support right on the beaches so they flew with bomb bay doors open over the English Channel. Someone in the squadron started bombing early and the whole squadron began bombing in the assumption that the order had been given. Many bombs fell into the Channel but many also fell on Allied troops on the beaches. All wars are filled with mistakes no matter how much we'd like to believe differently, even in "good wars" like World War II.
Philip, San Francisco, USA

My father was born in the first war and served in the second, during which he met my mother. They were able to raise their family after the war in some sort of peace since then. I can never overlook that their young years were lived against the backdrop of wars and the fear of wars, of the blitz, of the worry, the uncertainties of war, the chance that they and their families might not survive or that, indeed, Germany might be victorious. I cannot begin to really imagine what that was like and that they all fought, in their own ways, united against the Nazi threat to democracy and our way of life. D-Day (and then V-E day) was the culmination of the sacrifices made since 1939 and was magnificent.
Randy, High Wycombe, UK

We are forever in their debt
Nick, Birmingham
Watching the D-Day commemorations I felt both profoundly moved and immensely proud to be British. Being in my 20s I am of an age that would have seen me eligible to fight in the war and, knowing that 60 years ago so many young men gave their lives for our freedom, it makes me value that freedom so much more. We are forever in their debt and I will do I that I can to make sure their sacrifice will not be forgotten. To all those that fell and those that lived on, thank you.
Nick, Birmingham

I watched the D-Day ceremonies on the TV, the raw emotion was heart wrenching and in that instant I knew that I would always remember the D-Day landings. It also sent out a clear message that I will ensure that my two year old daughter never forgets the sacrifice that these brave souls endured.
Simon Cooper, Yorkshire

I just wanted to say how moved I was watching the D-Day ceremonies and that I will now look at our older generation of men with different eyes. Whilst I've always known what they did for us all in Britain and for the whole of Europe, somehow seeing the ceremonies brought it into sharper focus and made me realise how deeply appreciative we should be. I hope they know this and that we are able to convey this to our future generations.
Sophie, London

I would like to thank all those who sacrificed so much during WWII. It is a huge debt we owe them - one too large to ever be repaid. We owe our lives and freedom to these very brave men and the very least we can do is ensure that they are treated with the respect they deserve and are never EVER forgotten.
Amanda C,

This is not the site for political comment. I have been privileged to visit one of the War cemeteries in Normandy and I defy anyone to do the same and not feel completely inadequate and humbled. There are only two words appropriate to ALL the allied forces who took part in D Day. THANK YOU
Chris Barber, Shipley, West Yorkshire, UK

Our children are here and free because of them, my children will always be aware of that
Lucy, A Brit in Virginia, USA
I am a grandchild of soldiers who fought and a mother of two very young children. One of my most important roles in this generational bridge is to ensure my children remember, understand and appreciate the sacrifices of all those young soldiers, sailors and airmen. As each day passes, thousands of those veterans are now dying. It is our explicit responsibility to keep their memory alive in our children's minds - they are human beings, heroes; not mere statistics in history books.

May we never forget, may we always be thankful of their sacrifice and never let their efforts be in vain. Teaching our children of their value and valour is one small step in assuring their future doesn't involve the same need for sacrifice. Our children are here and free because of them, my children will always be aware of that.
Lucy, A Brit in Virginia, USA

I have read many of the very moving experiences of D-Day. For me it emphasises the horror of war but in this case a necessary horror. In my opinion World War 2 was the last war that Britain and America had to fight. There is something obscene about Bush and Blair, the current aggressors in the world, having anything to do with commemorating the heroes of a just war.
Mark, Bristol

We should also remember that New Zealanders participated to D-Day too as well as being actively involved in the war effort as a whole. Although they were fighting under The Australian and New Zealand Army Corp one always focuses on the Australians' participation. D-Day had a great impact on the outcome but the battle of Al Almenein and Stalingrad determined the outcome of the war.
Sylvia, London

This weekend is one of remembrance, for honouring the brave men and women of the day
Nicola Taunt, York, England
My great-uncle served with the Royal Navy in WWII and landed US soldiers on Omaha Beach on D-Day. So profound was the effect on him that he did not mention his part in Operation Overlord to his family until nearly 50 years later when I was living in Caen. To him and to all the men who took part in D-Day, those that survived and those that gave their lives, we owe the greatest of debts. This weekend is one of remembrance, for honouring the brave men and women of the day. I salute them all. We must never forget.
Nicola Taunt, York, England

To everyone who fought and sacrificed for the freedom we enjoy (and often abuse) today. And I mean everyone; the men, women, British, American, Canadian, Australian, Russian, French, everyone: thank you so much.
Jamie N, Plymouth, UK

My maternal grandfather served in the American 36th Infantry division and collected a fair amount of shrapnel while fighting in Italy. He recouped in hospital and later on served in France and Germany until the end of the war. My father served in the Pacific against the Japanese at Tarawa and Okinawa. How did D-Day change the world? In 1985, forty years after the war's end, I was in Germany, having lunch with a German friend and a Japanese friend in an Italian restaurant. The only thing we argued about was who was going to pay the lunch bill. Yes, I think there has been some progress made in the world, thanks to the sacrifices made by some very brave men and women before I was even born.
John, USA

Two days ago I stood on the beach at De Panne in Belgium (just north of Dunkirque in France).This is where my father swam for his life all those years ago. Having now passed away, I can be content to have been there for him at this time....
Ian Newman, Cambridge, England

My heartfelt thanks to every single one for the freedom I am able to enjoy today
Grahame, Southsea, Hampshire
I stood today (Sat 5th June) with my partner and watched as the ships sailed out of Portsmouth Harbour accompanied by Spitfires and a Lancaster Bomber. I was covered with goosebumps at the sight, it was as if the emotion of the occasion prickled me with a reminder for every life lost, injured or surviving from that day. My heartfelt thanks to every single one for the freedom I am able to enjoy today, I salute you all.
Grahame, Southsea, Hampshire

Early in my career I worked at a veterans' hospital and took care of a lot of WWII veterans. They were some of the most delightful, non-demanding, nicest and grateful patients I have ever come across. It was their heroism, patriotism and unselfishness that made possible the progress that we enjoy today.
Francesca Peak, San Francisco, USA

While many people may remember and visualise the first D-Day assault from the shores of Normandy, let's not forget the brave men of the 101st and 82nd US Airborne, and the British 6th Airborne. These men were dropped under the cover of complete darkness, but came under extreme anti-air defence as well as being spread out and separated from their comrades. Behind enemy lines, with the enemy surrounding them from all sides, they were successful in capturing key points in Normandy. While it is hard to determine, their efforts may have been the key to the success of the D-Day battle.
Michael Owen, Perth, Australia

I strongly believe that visiting the Normandy battlefield should be part of the national school curriculum. Unless our kids learn about the freedoms they take for granted, history is bound to repeat itself.
Bob Jenkins, Telford, Shropshire

My father was a soldier with the troops going in on Gold Beach. He died a few years ago, and so is not here to see the 60th anniversary. I live in France, now, and have 2 grown-up sons. It is part of the school curriculum for the children to learn about the two world wars. My youngest son went to Normandy, 2/3 years ago, with his class, to see the beach-heads, visit the cemeteries and the museums. He told his teacher that his grandfather had been there - and in front of all the other pupils, his teacher shook him firmly by the hand, and said; "Thank you, from us all, for what your grandfather did for us".
Linda Sansome, Scar, France

The courage pervading that morning affects millions
John Logan, Washington, DC
My late father, Charles Logan, was Captain of the minesweeper USS Pheasant. In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, while sweeping in tandem off Omaha Beach with the USS Osprey, the Osprey struck a German mine. My father related he felt the blast and saw the Osprey jump out of the sea. Over half of the Osprey crew, including its Captain, died that morning and rest to this day off Omaha. The crew of the Pheasant boarded the sinking Osprey and evacuated the survivors. The courage pervading that morning affects millions.
John Logan, Washington, DC

To all those brave men, a simple message: Thank you.
Paul Kilmurray, Detroit, USA

My father flew Coastal Command Sunderlands during WW2 for the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force). He volunteered in 1939. At the end of WW2 Canada had the third largest navy in the world and the cost in lives and resources was enormous.
Dennis Gauss, Victoria, Canada

I would just like to thank all the veterans who fought to give us the freedom that we take for granted today, and I hope we never forget the ones who never came back. To all the veterans, THANK YOU.
Ian Blackie, Brantford, Canada

Simply honour the people who died in what was a just cause
Andrew Crawley, London, England
To all those people who are making politically ideological statements on this site, you are dishonouring the names of those who gave their lives in the name of freedom. Don't try to make political mileage out of the events of the next few days. Simply honour the people who died in what was a just cause.
Andrew Crawley, London, England

D-Day did change the world for the better. If it was not for the brave soldiers who liberated Europe, the protests in Europe against America would not have been possible today. Ironic indeed.
Alex, Boston, USA

My father was 22 when the war ended. He was a member of the SAS from Brussels, Belgium. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to him and his companions for their sacrifices. My heart bleeds for all the youngsters out there in the Middle East, they are in my thoughts and prayers.
Lyndsey Pecher-Benito, Westfield, New Jersey, USA

I find it annoying that no mention is made of the 15,000 Canadians who went in to France on D-Day. They were a 100% volunteer army, contrary to the others, and the Canadians made the farthest advances inland of any of the invading forces.
Dick McRae, Vancouver, Canada

I don't believe the D Day 'celebrations' have much to do with D Day or the Second World War. They are actually all about trying to revive a sense of common purpose by getting back to a moment when the west was united, in other words they are really all about the current political situation and remembering the past is just an excuse.
Clive, Manchester, UK

My job was initially to ferry soldiers to the beaches of Sword and Juno
R.C. Willard, Alicante
I was a very young sailor during the invasion of France. My job was initially to ferry soldiers to the beaches of Sword and Juno. I later helped to ferry supplies to the Omaha and Utah beach heads. I have spent the last 40 years being surprised at the assumption that only Americans landed on the beaches. I clearly recall British, Canadians, and a small contingent of Free French as well as small numbers of Poles, Czechs, Dutch and indeed many others.
R.C. Willard, Alicante

My grandfather was with the WAFF during the 2nd world war and though none of my relations were in the landing he often talked of Col. Warden. That was Churchill's code name and that landing gave to African colonies independence. Cheers.
Tajudeen Bakre, Lagos, Nigeria.

Changed the world? Definitely not as much as Stalingrad or Kursk!
Chadi Bou Habib, Lebanon

I salute the veterans of D-Day but to me the most glaring irony is that in order to celebrate their victory and honour their sacrifice, we need thousands and thousands of troops and police to protect them and the leaders of the countries attending the celebrations. Have we really gained? I mean as humans.
David, Simonstown, South Africa

By deciding to invade Normandy, Dwight Einsenhower, paved the way to Victory, ending the war sooner, and securing Democracy to the Allied Countries, and destroying the myth of the supreme race.
Dr. Jose Nigrin, Guatemala

Everyone of those men are my heroes
Pacharo Kayira, Lilongwe, Malawi
Recently I watched a documentary on D-Day. Tears came to my ears. So much courage. Everyone of those men are my heroes. I cannot even begin to comprehend how they felt on that day. The fear of not returning, the fear of being blown apart. I wonder when we will have such a generation of brave men and women. And leaders. Freedom is so expensive. Unfortunately that war never ended all wars and human suffering. The battle rages on. As we look back to D-Day we should know that the world has not run out of evil men. Humanity has be ready to fight to save civilization. Difficult decisions have to be made. I pray for the souls of those who lost their lives and their families.
Pacharo Kayira, Lilongwe, Malawi

BBC World broadcast a segment recently discussing French attitudes toward America in the context of the 60th anniversary in which the correspondent refers to the American and British landings. Were I a Canadian, I would be deeply offended. Canadians made up a full 10% of the invasion force and the entire assault force at Juno Beach. What is more Canadian losses at Dieppe in 1942 helped planners prepare for Overlord.
Bill Both, West Hempstead, NY USA

My Dad fought in WWII but he never talked about it apart from saying that wars were fought for the rich by the working classes. Many soldiers must have thought this because the Labour Party got power resoundingly after the war and the working class benefited from true left-wing policies of universal education and healthcare. Perhaps the current exploitative war of the coalition will power another revolt of the working class and a revival of socialism in the UK and, unbelievably, in the USA.
Barrie F. Taylor, Miami, USA

When World War II ended it was cited as the war to end wars. Leaders promised that if the young men who died on, among others, D-Day did not die in vain then they would have to make sure that such carnage never occurred again. There were promises made by leaders never to take countries into such wars again and to resolve their differences without throwing away the lives of young people. And Bush talks of learning from History! Hah!
Evan, UK

I agree with a number of earlier comments that we owe a great debt to the people of the old Soviet Union. Had the Germans been able to use their forces engaged in the Soviet Union then there is little chance that D-Day would have been successful. The war was won in the East because that is where the bulk of the German Army was tied down and eventually destroyed. This is not to take anything from those Allied troops from many nations who took part in the invasion. Their ultimate success ensured that the West sat down at Potsdam on a more equal footing with the Soviets.
Ian Peebles, Dundee, UK

While D-Day is historic, historians in the US and UK hardly ever mention the Russian contribution, as well as the Russian winter. 80% of the Nazi forces were engaged with the Russians on D-Day. Everyone should appreciate that fact, as well as the unimaginable human toll the Russians paid: 10m servicemen, and 7m more civilians. Without the Russians fighting on the other front, how successful would D-Day have been?
Kevin Dailey, Jersey City, NJ, USA

To Kevin Dailey, Jersey City NJ, I agree that the Russians deserve a lot of credit for their significant contribution to the allied victory. Keep in mind, however, that their post-war behaviour eliminated the good-will that they had gained. While the US created and funded the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, the Russians occupied Eastern Europe for 45 yrs. in order to collect reparations for their "liberation".
Lajos, Eger, Hungary

As a veteran of the Resistance in France, I lived those days, sixty years ago, and will never forget the day when the last SS men left and the French flag was hoisted. This was, I think, the last war which can be justified and it is absolutely illegitimate to use it to justify aggressions whose motivations are to enlarge profits and power.
Gerhard Hoffmann, Vienna, Austria

My dad was there (RAMC), never has talked about it much. One wonders if such an undertaking is even possible today, given the media 'experts' carping and second guessing every move, let alone the number of casualties. Nevertheless it had to be done and we owe them all a large debt.
Stan, UK

Our grandfathers' generation sacrificed so much and in the UK of today they are treated so badly. The D-Day veterans should be treated with respect and given a peace fit for heroes not the country they currently live in.
Rob Thomson, Sheffield, UK

It's amazing to think that there were so many young people willing to risk and lay down their lives in the name of freedom
Tim , London
I write these words because with the state the world is in today with wars, rampant consumerism, its desire for celebrity for doing nothing whatsoever, and everyone seemingly out for what they can get for themselves, it's amazing to think that there were so many young people willing to risk and lay down their lives in the name of freedom.
It makes me feel utterly worthless in this modern world of ours. What is there that my generation (born 1969) can point to that we have done to change the world? I have been to many of the Normandy beaches and cannot imagine how terrifying it must have been to try to come ashore there that day. We should never forget D-Day, if it wasn't for those men, I would not be here now writing these words. If we could all try to make our lives mean just a fraction of what those soldiers lives meant by their selfless actions, maybe then we can truly move on together as the human race.
Tim , London

Important and necessary that it was, D-Day wasn't the single event that won the war - the Eastern front did that. While honouring those who fought on the beaches we should also remember that for every Allied soldier killed in the west, 15-20 Russians were killed in the East - something I for one was not taught at school during the height of the Cold War. However, D-Day did change the world by shortening the war in Europe and more importantly, allowed the West a share of post-war Germany. Without it, Europe would not look like it does today.
Mick, UK

D Day did not change the world! Those that took part brought freedom to many. However, one only has to read daily of the mayhem and suffering around the world to know that very little has changed. Having said that let's be clear that those that took part in this historic event should be remembered along with all the others who gave their health and lives to free Europe from a real evil. God bless them all!
P Stanton, Boston UK

Freedom has been a hard struggle
Tom Mailey, Stirling, Scotland
60 years ago and what we see today should be a reminder that freedom has been a hard struggle and if we forget how it was achieved we will lose it. Don't have them die in vain.
Tom Mailey, Stirling, Scotland

D-Day was symbolic to the Allied Forces as it was the return of its troops in Northern Europe. My Grandfather was at D-Day and I couldn't be more proud of the sacrifices his generation made for us all. Something the current generations should be made aware of.
Dan, Harrogate

Not too sure about it changing the course of WW2. Surely Stalingrad, Moscow, Battle of Britain and Kursk had more impact?
Jon S, Reading

D-day changed the world simply because it showed the world that governments were prepared to sacrifice thousands of its citizens for the sake of imperialism. The war was never about prevention of Nazi atrocities, mass indoctrination, racism or anything else like that. These facts only began coming to light after the D-day landings had occurred and the allies were halfway across Germany.
Karl lynch, London England

Karl Lynch's interpretation of history is one I have not seen before. Thank God cynicism was not the vogue in 1944.
Graham, London, UK

The sacrifice of the thousands who gave there lives is an awesome thought. Almost mind boggling in today's society. The respect and dignity of a generation can be seen on this one day. How has it changed the world you ask-put it this way, we can write about it in complete freedom - there's you answer. God Bless those who lost their lives and for those who served.
Mike Daly, Miami, FL - USA

I am of an age where 60 years ago I would have been on those beaches. I cannot even begin to think about how I would be able to do what these men did. Thinking about what they did for me brings tears to my eyes.
Matt, Cambridge

My Father was in RAF Bomber Command and was on numerous raids prior to and immediately after D Day in support of the invasion. D Day itself did not teach the world many lessons, the fact that the war was eventually won did. The war taught the world that an ideology, when linked to oppression, murder, mass indoctrination, extreme racism and the like will not be tolerated by freedom loving people.
Mike Hall, Chipping Norton, UK

Freedom costs lives - that should be the lesson
Charles, Bolton UK
D-Day changed the world because it was a stepping stone to the return of democracy to western Europe. Many people think victory for the west was assured after the landings succeeded, but overlook the awesome fighting power of the German army and the allied losses necessary to defeat it - in Normandy three allied lives for one German. Freedom costs lives - that should be the lesson.
Charles, Bolton UK

While the Russian offensive in the east made the defeat of Germany inevitable, the June 1944 landings and subsequent campaign shortened the war and limited the area of Europe that was eventually trapped for years behind the Iron Curtain.
Terry King, Bangkok Thailand

My Granddad was at Omaha Beach on a Royal Navy minesweeper. The vessel was tasked with clearing the path for the landing craft, then later evacuating the wounded US soldiers from the beach. He is still full of admiration for those brave young Americans that he met that day! This is a time when we should all be grateful to all of the allied armed forces involved in that operation, be they Americans, Brits, French, Canadian, Indian etc. For your tomorrow they gave their today.
Dan, UK



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