For many years after the Second World War there was silence on both sides of the Channel about the embarrassing fact that France's British and American allies killed far more civilians in the north of the country than the Germans ever did. Told in the words of French, German, and Allied eyewitnesses, this is the nightmare story of Normandys war.
This narrative history tells the story of the German occupation of Normandy (1940-44), and the Allied liberation. Following the fall of France in 1940, Normandy formed part of the Reich's western border and its history for the next four years. On the coast, vast defenses were built up, and large numbers of German troops were stationed throughout the region, all in the midst of the local population. Much of the story is told in the words of French, German, and Allied participants, including last letters of executed hostages and resisters, accounts of everyday life and eyewitness reports of aerial, naval, and ground combat operations during the Liberation. When the Allies landed in Normandy in June 1944, all were witness to the greatest amphibious landing in history. This, then, is the story of the 51-month-nightmare that was Normandy's war, told while it is still possible to record the personal stories of survivors, which very soon will not be the case.