As British and American troops meet up at Normandy, Stalin Rejoices
U.S. General Omar Bradley, following orders from General Eisenhower, links up American troops from Omaha Beach with British troops from Gold Beach at Colleville-sur-Mer. Meanwhile, Russian Premier Joseph Stalin telegraphs British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to announce that the Allied success at Normandy “is a source of joy to us all,” and promises to launch his own offensive on the Eastern Front, as had been agreed upon at the Tehran Conference in late ’43, and thereby prevent Hitler from transferring German troops from the east to support troops at Normandy.
On this day in 1941, British and Free French forces enter Syria and Lebanon in Operation Exporter.
In May, the pro-Axis Rashid Ali rose to power in Iraq and refused to allow British maneuvers within his country in accordance with the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930. Britain quickly restored the status quo ante by driving Ali and his followers out of Iraq. And to ensure that German military supplies shipped to Ali via Syria did not result in Axis control of that country and neighboring Lebanon, Britain decided to take preventive action. With Australian and Indian support, as well as that of Free French forces, Britain invaded both Syria and Lebanon, fighting Vichy French garrisons loyal to Germany. Resistance lasted five weeks before an armistice was finally signed on July 14, giving the Allies control of both Syria and Lebanon. Among those wounded in the fighting was the 26-year-old leader of Palestinian volunteer forces, Moshe Dayan, the future hero in the fight for an independent Jewish state. He lost an eye.