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D-Day in History and Memory

The Normandy Landings in International Remembrance and Commemoration

Edited by Michael Dolski, Sam Edwards, and John Buckley

Publication Year: 2014

Over the past sixty-five years, the Allied invasion of Northwestern France in June 1944, known as D-Day, has come to stand as something more than a major battle. The assault itself formed a vital component of Allied victory in the Second World War. D-Day developed into a sign and symbol; as a word it carries with it a series of ideas and associations that have come to symbolize different things to different people and nations. As such, the commemorative activities linked to the battle offer a window for viewing the various belligerents in their postwar years. This book examines the commonalities and differences in national collective memories of D-Day. Chapters cover the main forces on the day of battle, including the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France and Germany. In addition, a chapter on Russian memory of the invasion explores other views of the battle. The overall thrust of the book shows that memories of the past vary over time, link to present-day needs, and also still have a clear national and cultural specificity. These memories arise in a multitude of locations such as film, books, monuments, anniversary celebrations, and news media representations.

Published by: University of North Texas Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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List of Figures

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

As those who commanded the D-Day invasion knew all too well, collaborative, transatlantic, ventures are a challenging enterprise in both planning and execution. This book was no exception. Admittedly, as editors our endeavor was of a rather different sort and scale to that of Ike in June 1944 (we used far fewer ships and hardly any aircraft...

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Michael R. Dolski, Sam Edwards, John Buckley

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pp. 1-42

Over the past seventy years, the Allied invasion of Northwestern France in June 1944 has come to stand as something more than a major battle in an increasingly distant war. The assault itself formed a vital component of Allied victory in the Second World War. The hard-fought invasion on that sixth day of June opened a new European...

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1. “Portal of Liberation”: D-Day Myth as American Self-Affirmation

Michael R. Dolski

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pp. 43-84

The early morning gloom pulls back to reveal a foreboding shoreline dominated by stark bluffs. Looking to the right and left, you notice an armada of ships advancing toward shore. Geysers in the water announce nearby explosions, accompanied by the high-pitched whine of bullets ricocheting off the sides of water...

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2. The Beginning of the End: D-Day in British Memory

Sam Edwards

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pp. 85-130

In November 2003 Prime Minister Tony Blair was widely criticized in the tabloid press for comments questioning the British “fixation” with World War II. For Blair, this fixation hindered full participation in a forward-looking European Union. One newspaper even quoted the Prime Minister as remarking...

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3. Canada’s D-Day: Politics, Media, and the Fluidity of Memory

Terry Copp, Matt Symes

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pp. 131-158

When the idea of developing a book on the ways in which various nations had constructed a memory of D-Day was first proposed, we were pleased to have an opportunity to contribute a chapter. We have been involved in projects designed to “improve everyman’s memory” of Canada’s role in the Second World War for many years...

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4. Gratitude, Trauma, and Repression: D-Day in French Memory

Kate C. Lemay

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pp. 159-188

Beginning on 6 June 1944, Norman French were put into the challenging role of welcoming the Allied military forces that had inadvertently killed thousands of Normans, those citizens unfortunate enough to live in Norman urban centers used as communication hubs by the German military. For those Normans living through the...

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5. “Sie Kommen”: From Defeat to Liberation—German and Austrian Memory of the Allied “Invasion” of 6 June 1944

Günter Bischof, Michael Maier

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pp. 189-220

The Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest battle on the Western Front in World War II. Yet the Western Allies’ invasion of Normandy “has become the symbol of World War II in Europe” and is at the forefront of the former Allies’ remembrance culture and politics of history.2 For Germans and Austrians, meanwhile, the Normandy...

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6. “Their Overdue Landing”: A View from the Eastern Front

Olga Kucherenko

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pp. 221-256

During a meeting of cinematographers in June 1963, the Soviet director Ivan Pyriev shared his thoughts on the Oscar-winning American epic, The Longest Day (1962), which he had seen while on a business trip to the United States. Noting the film’s cinematographic qualities, authenticity, and attention to minute detail, the...

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Michael R. Dolski, Sam Edwards, John Buckley

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pp. 257-268

D-Day was a transnational event of obvious importance to those involved. While those touched by the battle naturally reacted to it in varying ways, what was not so obvious at first was the manner in which the participant societies would conceive of the day’s events. It was by no means certain as to how politicians, press, and the...


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pp. 269-296

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Contributors’ Biographies

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pp. 297-300

Günter Bischof is the Marshall Plan Professor of History and the Director of Center Austria at the University of New Orleans; he was appointed a university “research professor” in June 2011. He served as a visiting professor at the Universities of Munich, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna, the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, the Economics University of Prague...


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pp. 301-308

E-ISBN-13: 9781574415582
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574415483

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 12 b&w illus. 1 map.
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 878263343
MUSE Marc Record: Download for D-Day in History and Memory

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Subject Headings

  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- France -- Normandy.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- France -- Normandy -- Social aspects.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Historiography.
  • Nationalism and collective memory.
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