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The Second World War: Final Stage

The Second World War left a huge mark in history for many countries of the world. Almost every person has a relative who necessarily took part in the fighting. This essay is devoted to the final stage of the bloody war when the Western Front opened, and the rapid advance of Anglo-American troops deep into Europe began. To describe those events, it is worth referring to documents, articles, and the memories of the participants of the events themselves.

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One of these is the memory of the son of Czech emigrants, Joseph M. Halicek, who found himself in Europe after the invasion began. He was a soldier of the 94th Infantry Division of the United States and made his way from France to Czechoslovakia. For the next few months after appearing in the European theater of operations, he faced many dangers while fighting desperate German troops. His interview is attractive because he pays great attention to details; for example, he describes how he had to jump in the trenches in his socks because shoes deteriorate quickly or describe German weapons.

He saw all the fear and horror of the people who participated in the battle in the Hurtgen Forest. The soldiers said that it was a straight meat grinder, after which the Allied troops had to retreat and no longer appear there. Having equal opportunities but poor command, the troops were forced to leave and are preparing for a new operation, which has already become successful.

The new operation was connected with the offensive in the Ardennes and allowed the Allied troops to invade German territory. The author of the memoirs vividly talks about the battles he saw when the Allied tanks opposed the German Tiger and Panther tanks. Thanks to the redeployment of troops and a skillful tactical move (the capture of German divisions in the cauldron), the Wehrmacht soldiers were forced to be defeated (Smith 88). Joseph M. Halicek was wounded and returned to the ranks already on the Rhine when the Allied forces the Reich trooped to capitulate.

Joseph M. Halicek’s journey did not end there and moved to Czechoslovakia, where clashes with the Soviet army began. As the son of Czech immigrants, he found that his language skills were helpful in the battles against the USSR, which continued the occupation of Czechoslovakia far beyond the end of the war (Valenta and Condoleezza 129). The author of the memoirs made a thin line to the fact that the world was on the verge of a new war due to strengthening the USSR’s positions. He mentioned the US plan to rebuild Europe and the USSR’s aspirations for the expansion of Eastern Europe. In Czechoslovakia, Jonathan acted as an interpreter rather than a soldier and shared various stories from his stay: being beaten because of wine or shots fired at Czech police officers.

This story tells not only about the horror of war but also about the everyday trifles that surrounded the soldiers in the process of their advance into enemy territory. There is a uniqueness here that helps us have a complete picture of the past, but this may not always be objective. Many memories are substituted, displacing the opposing sides, or have an ideological character. But such sources can and should still be used, and this is invaluable information about one of the most terrible wars in history.

Works Cited

Smith, Robert. “Blood and Steel, The Wehrmacht Archives: Volumes I Normandy 1944; Volumes II Retreat to the Reich: September to December 1944 and Volumes III the Ardennes Offensive: December 1944 to January 1945. Edited by Donald E. Graves. Frontline Press: London: 2013.” Saber & Scroll Historical Journal vol. 7 no.1, 2018, pp. 87-90.

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Valenta, Jiri, and Condoleezza Rice. The Czechoslovak Army. Routledge, 2019.

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