From the moment that Allied forces established the first beachhead in Normandy on D-Day, the end of the war in Europe was in sight. But although many soldiers joked about being in ‘Berlin by Christmas’, tenacious German resistance soon brought home the realisation that there were to be no quick victories. It was a nearly a year before the defeat of Nazi Germany was complete and Hitler’s Third Reich lay in ruins – a year of murderous struggle in the hedgerows of the bocage, exhilaration at the liberation of Paris, tragedy in the ill-fated Operation Market Garden and panic as the Wehrmacht stunned the Allies with a full-blooded offensive in the Battle of the Bulge.
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