"There's 60 million people who die in World War II. It's a death every three seconds for six years." said Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Atkinson
In his new book about the liberation of Europe, "The Guns at Last Light," Atkinson quotes a German general as calling the battle for Normandy "a monstrous blood mill."
"Eisenhower had written a message accepting full responsibility for the failure of the landings,"
"and he never had to use it." said Atkinson,
"The troops, the air, and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone."
"War does bad things to people in general," said Atkinson. "It makes good soldiers do bad things, and it makes bad soldiers do terrible things."
"There is a great deal of war trauma, and as a result there was a great deal of alcoholism and just misbehavior," said Mary Louise Roberts
"There [were] many rape accusations on the part of the Norman women."
"The French high command sends a letter to Eisenhower saying, 'Look, this is not acceptable. Our women are afraid to go out at night if they're unaccompanied,'" Atkinson said.
"the large incidence of crimes such as rape, murder, assault, robbery, housebreaking, etc."
"The GIs had a preconception of France as — as one journalist put — a gigantic brothel," said Roberts.
"And in fact Hitler also called France the brothel of Europe."
"At one point the mayor wrote the colonel and said, couldn't we have a controlled brothel by the military base?" .
"Because the GIs were literally having sex everywhere — in the parks and cemeteries and abandoned buildings." said Roberts
"Well, the GIs often went on leave,"
"That was the place to go in the winter of '44-'45 and, the GIs only had 48 hours and they were not going to Paris to go to the Louvre. They were going to Paris to visit the brothels." she Roberts
"There are 12,000 charged with felonies in Europe in 1944 and '45;"
"That's out of an army of several million." said Atkinson.
"The notion that all the brothers were valiant and all the sisters were virtuous is nonsense,"
"That's not the way it works in a war. We should know that whether it's a war that happened 70 years ago or whether it's a war that's underway now, war really flays open the soul, and it makes good people do things that they wouldn't do had they not been subjected to the stresses of war." said Atkinson
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"The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945" &"The Liberation Trilogy" by Rick Atkinson; "What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France" by Mary Louise Roberts