Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France
Ignoring the adage “victors write history,” Bourque sets out to expose the untold horrors suffered by the French civilians at the hands of the Allied invasion. After surviving the Nazi invasion of 1940, many people lost everything, including family members, from the devastation of Allied bombing missions over heavily populated cities and villages. With the accompaniment of maps, photographs, and personal narratives, Bourque makes a painful point. Among the most heartbreaking are echoes of the last words of a father holding his children as the Americans rained fire from the sky over Longueau: “It is well they bomb us to deliver us.”
Borque arranges the material in such a way as to reveal the conflict between strategic bomber commanders who objected to using such devastating firepower over civilian populations and those leaders tasked with orchestrating the largest beach assault in recorded history. As usual, the civilians lose the debate. Then when the official reports gloss over civilian casualties as “enemy propaganda,” they lose the right to mourn their dead with the fallen heroes in uniform.
Passionate from start to finish, Bourque details the merciless flattening of the ancient cities of Rouen, Caen, Le Havre, Saint-Lo, and Boulogne-Sur-Mar for the sake of a ruse to keep the Nazis guessing. He questions the rationale of orders from on high to deliberately miss military targets, a decision that cost thousands of innocent lives. Despite remarkable diligence, most of the answers remain as buried as those lost beneath the rubble.
|Author||Stephen Alan Bourque|
|Page Count||376 pages|
|Publisher||Naval Institute Press|
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