The D-Day landings in June 1944 were just the beginning of a hard-fought campaign. German resistance on the eastern flank of the front held the British back, while the Americans broke out to the west. Hitler’s directive that German troops should not make tactical withdrawals meant that in France, as in other theatres of war, they were eventually trapped and destroyed. Paris was liberated on 25 August 1944. Meanwhile the Allies were advancing inexorably up the Italian peninsula, taking Rome in June and reaching the ‘Gothic Line’ in August, poised for an autumn offensive directed at the Ljubljana Gap. On the eastern front, Finland had fought to hold back the Russians in June and reached a peace settlement in September. The Red Army had begun a major onslaught on the eastern front, reaching the Vistula in July, where – their supply lines over-extended – they halted. At the same time the left wing of the Red Army wheeled west through Romania and Bulgaria.
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