June 06, 2004


On Thursday I read an article in the Stars and Stripes that unfortunately was only in the dead-tree version of the paper. The article was called "German pupils have different view of war" and began:

Young Germans say they weren't taught that D-Day and the ensuing battles brought the defeat of Germany in World War II.

The reporter talked to students at the University of Heidelberg and found that many of them have never heard of Joe and Tommy:

Some of the Heidelberg students hadn't even heard of D-Day. "'Saving Private Ryan?'" said Anna Fischer, 19, of Karlsruhe. "Oh, that's D-Day."

Merde in France found that young people in France have also forgotten about Joe and Tommy:

Most French high school history textbooks are skimpy on the details of D-Day. They tend to focus closely on the challenges and dilemmas of living in occupied France. In a leading text, the Normandy invasion is described in just two paragraphs.

The young people in France and Germany have forgotten, but the Dissident Frogman has not. Last year he wrote Consecration:

To the eye, Bloody Omaha is just a sandy beach.

No white crosses, no huge memorial, no visible signs of those who sacrificed themselves and fought for freedom. No sign of those who fell for it.

Yet I remember "Joe" and "Tommy", heroes with no names but so many faces, who came here one day, fighters for a just cause, in a liberation army.

I was told about them, I read books about them, I saw pictures of them, and I watched interviews and movies. I heard their stories. The Joe and Tommy who got through this, told me about their brothers who didn't.

And they show me why they didn't fall in vain.

I have not forgotten either, though I know no one who was personally there. But I know who Joe and Tommy are, and I felt them with me when I took these pictures five years ago.



We must do what we can to keep Joe and Tommy alive. Read Consecration today. Visit Blackfive and get the history lesson that students in Germany and France are no longer receiving. Or simply take a moment to look at those white crosses -- and note the Star of David too -- and silently thank Joe and Tommy for what they did 60 years ago today.

Posted by Sarah at June 6, 2004 07:46 AM

In my ingnorance I had no idea that the young people in France and Germany have not been taught about D-Day. That breaks my heart.

Posted by: Tammi at June 6, 2004 07:34 PM

Looks like Gerhard Schroeder doesn't get it either:


Posted by: beth at June 7, 2004 01:05 AM

I don't know any French or any German who haven't been told about D-Day. Were the precise figures given in the Stars and Stripes? This information looks very strange to me. WW2 and DDay in particular are central points in history teaching programs in France and in Germany. Nobody underestimates nor forgets what happened

Posted by: emmanuel at July 1, 2004 05:27 PM