WWII Liberation. An Analysis of Allied and Soviet Methods

Essay, 2014

11 Pages, Grade: 95.0


The contrasts between Allied and Soviet styles of liberation in the Second World War are most apparent, on the surface, when one takes a look at the split of Berlin, but to fully comprehend these styles, one must regard other areas of Liberation, understand the foreign Policy of the time, and look through the eyes of the liberators as well as the liberated. This independent study did just that. The destinations that were investigated include the Allied-liberated capital of France, Paris, the Allied-landing point in France, Normandy, and the main Allied headquarters and capital, London, United Kingdom. The main site for investigating Soviet liberation of Nazi-occupied territories was Prague, in the Czech Republic. This investigation also incorporated surveys and interviews from natives of these locations about their beliefs and the beliefs of the older generation on the subject of liberation. By looking back at the liberation of the east and west, one could better comprehend the modern political ideologies and socio-economic environment of Europe.

Immediately after the fall of the Third Reich and the liberation of its occupied territories, there was a power-struggle in Europe between the capitalist west and the communist east. This struggle split Germany into two territories, split Berlin, and created the Iron Curtain which isolated East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Croatia, and all territories eastward from the rest of the world. This split caused these two halves of Europe to develop independently with little contact with one another for nearly half of a century.

The first part of this study was conducted in France, specifically Paris and Upper Normandy, which at the time of the Second World War was combined with Lower Normandy. This was the site of the Allied Powers’ push to liberate western Europe from Nazi control. The actions of the allies at this time were based on Game Theory.[1] Game theory is based on a study of strategic decision making. It is "the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers."[2] The theory primarily addresses zero-sum games, meaning it assesses what one person gains to the net losses of the other participants.[3] To simplify it, the Allies based their moves off of the actions of the Soviet army. Their plan of action for liberation was not so much focused on if they could gain more territory than the Soviets and benefit more, but how they could minimize the actions of the Soviets.

The intention of the Allies was to beat the Soviet Union to Berlin, liberating their occupied allies in a manner that would minimize the contributions of the Soviets. In the latter years of the war in Europe, the western front of the European Theatre, much like it was in the Great War, was more slow-paced. Smaller distances of land could be gained or lost than on the Eastern Front. There were often long stalemates, such as at the Battle at the Bulge, whereas in the Eastern Front the Nazi invasion of Russia was initially stalled and included the Siege of Leningrad, also known as the “900 Days Siege,” but in the last few months of the War was very quick-paced as the Soviet Army swept westward toward Berlin. Once it was inevitable that the Russians would be first in Berlin, the Allies made it their mission to assault Adolf Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at the southern tip of Bavaria. Because of the initial stalling in the Eastern Front, the Allies felt that there was no need to rush into Germany and opted to stay in Paris and other liberated western areas as an occupying police force while planning out Operation Market-Garden in the Netherlands and the Battle at the Bulge in Belgium.

The Marshall Plan, the United States’ economic recovery plan for Europe, supports the idea that the Americans and other western Allies were doing all that they could to limit the influence of the Soviet Union and communism in Europe. By providing war-torn parts of Europe with economic support, these areas would be more accepting of the western Allies and shy away from the Soviets.

The first location of this study was in Paris, the capital of, and largest city in, the French Republic. Whilst there, several museums and exhibits that are dedicated to the war were visited. These include La Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Le Musée de l'Histoire de France at l’Hôtel de Soubise, and l'Hôtel National des Invalides which hosts Le Musée de l'Armée. At l'Hôtel National des Invalides, often just called Invalides (referring to those wounded in combat) there was a special show called La Nuit aux Invalides, that they have done several years now. This show was particularly special because it marked the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris, the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War and the 69th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

Also while in Europe members of the local populace were sampled and surveyed for their opinion of the war and liberation as well as the liberation of other parts of Europe. Questions on this Survey included: What do you know about the Allied/Soviet liberation of Paris/Prague? What do you think is the popular contemporary view of the liberation? What is your view about the liberation? What do you think of the actions of the Allies/Soviets after the liberation? What do you think their intentions were? Do you think the city or country benefitted from it? If so how? What do you think would have happened if the other side had liberated your country instead?

Many Parisians were willing to answer these questions, especially restaurant workers and shop owners. The most common answer to what they knew about the allied and soviet liberation of Europe was that the Americans and British were working with the French Resistance to free the occupied territories of Europe while the Soviets were working to replace the Nazis as occupiers. Though this was still preferable to the Nazis as they Soviets were not as brutal and caused less devastation than the German army. The most common contemporary opinion is that the liberation was good for both sides even if there were some negative side effects in the past. Many of the Parisians believe that the Allied liberation of France was better for them than Soviet liberation would have but, they do feel that the Allies, Americans specifically, over-stayed their welcome after the liberation but still preferred it to possibly being liberated by the Soviets. They felt that if their city and country had been liberated by the Soviets that they would have had great financial and economic difficulties decades after the war. They would not have been able to start recovering until about 1990 or so. So, while many Parisians are grateful for the Allies assisting the French Resistance, they feel that the Americans overstayed their welcome.[4] This is one reason for some of the animosity that exists from the Parisians toward Americans today. Evidence from the show La Nuit aux Invalides at l'Hôtel National des Invalides in Paris seems to support this.

Part of this study brought the investigation to Normandy, France, the landing point of the Allied invasion of occupied northern Europe and the starting point of French liberation. D-Day, also called the Normandy Landings and Operation Overlord, were being celebrated across Lower and Upper Normandy though all of May and June to celebrate their 70th anniversary as well. The biggest of these celebrations was being held in the city of Bayeux, Lower Normandy. Bayeux, home of the Bayeux War Cemetery, hosted many celebrations and expositions regarding the 70th anniversary of the liberation of France at the time of this study.

Many people do not quite realize the scale of the cooperation that went into organizing and planning out D-Day and Operation Overlord. In the Eastern Front of the War, Russia was the main liberating force, using some assistance from partisans and small resistance groups. In the Western Front, the Allies had formed a coalition that included the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This also included free forces of France, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, and even Czechoslovakia, and Poland.[5] It is interesting that Czechoslovakia and Poland chose to provide aid and assistance to the Western Allies as opposed to the Soviets.


[1] Ambrose, Stephen. Rise of Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938, 9th Revised Edition, Penguin Publishing: UK, 1971. Print.

[2] Roger B. Myerson. Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict, Harvard University Press: MA, 1991. Print.

[3] Roger B. Myerson. Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict, Harvard University Press: MA, 1991. Print.

[4] Fotitt, Hilary. War and Liberation in France: Living with the Liberators, Basingstoke: England, 2004. Print.

[5] Major L.F. Butler, Sir James, Victory in the West, Volume I: The Battle of Normandy. History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series, Naval & Military Press: Uckfield, UK, 1962. Print.

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WWII Liberation. An Analysis of Allied and Soviet Methods
Westminster College
Independent Study
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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537 KB
independent study, france, paris, czech republic, prague, london, england, world war ii
Quote paper
Michael Gorman (Author), 2014, WWII Liberation. An Analysis of Allied and Soviet Methods, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/323315


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