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Q7. The ‘Second Front’ heralded the end of War. Comment

After massive losses in Battle of Stalingrad in early 1943, the fascist countries began to suffer reverses in other areas also. Japan had failed to capture Australia and Hawaii. In North Africa, the German and Italian troops were routed by early 1943. The destruction of the fascist army in North Africa was also a major turning point in the war. In July 1943, British and American troops occupied Sicily. Many sections in Italy had turned against Mussolini. He was arrested and a new government was formed. This government joined the war against Germany. However Mussolini, who had escaped with the help of Germans, headed a pro-German government there. Meanwhile, British and American troops entered Italy and a long battle to throw the Germans out of Italy followed. The Soviet Union was attaining significant victories against Germany and had already entered Czechoslovakia and Rumania which had been under German occupation.

Since 1942 in Europe the most ferocious battles had been fought between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Soviet ‘Union had been demanding the opening of the second front for long, as this would compel Germany to fight on other fronts also and would thus hasten the defeat of Germany. From this time onwards the German armies were on the run on all fronts.

On 6 June 1944, more than 100,000 British and American troops landed on the coast of Normandy in France. By September their number had reached 2,000,000. The opening of second front played a very crucial role in the defeat of Germany.

After 6 June 1944, German armies had to face the forces of the Allies from three directions. In Italy, the British and American troops were advancing. Northern and western France and the city of Paris had been freed and the Allied troops were moving towards Belgium and Holland On the eastern front, the Germans were facing a collapse. The Soviet army from the east and other Allied troops from the west were closing on Germany. On May 1945 the Soviet armies entered Berlin. Hitler had committed suicide on the morning of the same day. On 7 May 1945 Germany unconditionally surrendered. The end of all hostilities in Europe became effective from 12,00 a.m. on 9 May 1945.

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