LISTENERS to the King's speech on Tuesday evening heard an
utterance of manly sincerity in deep contrast to the apologetic
whine and fluffy indecision that too often pass for religious
King George prefaced the invasion of western Europe by the
Allies with a simple call to prayer for God's blessing and a direct
affirmation that their purpose is to put God's will first. He
sealed the enterprise with a spirit of true religion.
As he spoke, news was coming in from the beaches, telling of
initial difficulties triumphantly surmounted and unexpectedly small
losses in the opening phase; whether owing to surprise or policy,
or because the preliminary offices of the air commands had been
conducted so efficaciously, the enemy made no very strenuous
opposition to the landings, and the Navy put the troops ashore with
brilliant organization and dash.
Paratroops, gliders and infantry, tanks and guns and engineers,
touched down on French soil four years and a day after the
completion of the evacuation from Dunkirk.
By the time that these lines are being read, the fierce local
conflicts reported from Caen and elsewhere may have given place to
bloody fighting between masses of men and machines.
The Nazis are naturally unwilling to commit their main forces of
resistance to the Normandy coast until they have had some chance to
judge, first, what is the immediate Allied objective, and, second,
whether the present landings are to be followed by others at
different points on the north coast of France.
It is clear from the news bulletins, Allied and Nazi, that the
Germans are fishing for clues which the Allies have no intention of
disclosing. Nothing more precise can be affirmed than that the
Allies have occupied a wide stretch of coast between Cherbourg and
Le Havre and have penetrated some miles inland.
Their position was well chosen to threaten both ports and to
prepare for an advance along the left bank of the Seine with the
river guarding their flank. The next week is the crucial period for
them to make good their footing and to establish bases.