The War in Europe 1943–1944
The War in Europe, 1943–1944
When the American forces arrived in Europe, they planned with Allied leaders to begin their attack in the Mediterranean region. Under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. forces invaded North Africa in November 1942. At this time, France was entirely under German control: the northern half was occupied by Germany, and the southern half was ruled by the puppet Vichy regime. Morocco and Algeria were under Vichy control. In spite of fierce resistance from the Vichy army, the combined British and U.S. forces soon controlled North Africa and blocked supply lines between Germany and Italy. In May 1943, the Allies forced the surrender of Axis troops in Tunisia, the last Axis stronghold in Africa.
With North Africa under their control, the Allies then turned their attention to Italy. They invaded Sicily in July 1943 and soon controlled it. From here, they intended to launch an attack on the Italian mainland. Italy gave way promptly, signing an armistice with the Allies that brought Italian troops over to the Allied side. Allied armies took over Naples in October 1943 and Rome in June 1944. By this time, Italian rebels had located Mussolini and executed him.
Throughout 1943, the Allied air force bombed Germany. Their goals were to destroy railroad lines, munitions factories, weapons arsenals, and other strategic locations. They also hoped to break the spirit of the German people by destroying their civilization, just as the German air attacks on Great Britain had been intended to break the British spirit. Allied bombs killed tens of thousands of German civilians and destroyed about 70 percent of the buildings in virtually every large city in Germany, including some of its oldest and most beautiful cities, such as Dresden.
The Battle of the Atlantic was fought between the navies of the various nations. German U-boats piled up an impressive record of attacks on Allied ships until 1943. By that time, the Allies had improved sonar technology to help them to pinpoint the underwater locations of the submarines . By 1944, the Allies had again taken control of the seas.
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