The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

June 6, 1944, "They believed they were dying for democracy and freedom"

Jun 7, 2004

Leaders of the major imperialist powers went to France to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S. landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

This invasion was supposed to mark the "liberation" of France from Nazi barbarism. In fact, June 6, 1944, was first of all a slaughter. Of the 327,000 U.S. and Allied troops that landed in Normandy on D Day and the five days after, 209,000 were either killed or wounded. Further, over 200,000 Germany troops were killed or wounded, as were tens of thousands of French civilians caught in the bombing.

Even today, historians and politicians claim that the U.S. troops thought they were giving their lives for freedom and democracy. In fact they died for other reasons.

The U.S. went into World War II to establish its hegemony all over the world. Not only were German and Japanese imperialism broken by the war; but U.S. imperialism used the war and its aftermath to force England and France to open up their colonies to U.S. investments. In the decades following World War II, the U.S. supplanted British and French domination over hundreds of millions of people, giving free rein to U.S. corporations to exploit the cheap labor in these lands.

The victory of U.S. imperialism didn't bring "democracy" and "freedom" to the world, but dictatorship and poverty. In Europe itself, the U.S. propped up dictatorships in Spain and Portugal for decades after World War II. In Greece it supported the king in a bloody civil war against the workers and peasants in the 1940s and later supported a military dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s. In Africa, Asia and Latin America, the U.S. propped up a whole series of dictatorships and absolute monarchs. All this was done to protect the "freedom" of the U.S. corporations to fully exploit the workers of these countries. The fact that the U.S. dominated the world led to the extremely bloody wars in Korea and later in Viet Nam – wars it carried out to stop a growing movement in underdeveloped countries attempting to break free of imperialism's control.

The current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are simply the latest addition to the numerous wars U.S. imperialism has been fighting for many decades. The social order it imposes isn't free or democratic.

The U.S. soldiers who died sixty years ago on the beaches of Normandy may have believed they were giving their lives for freedom. The bitter irony is that they died to assure the profits of giant U.S. corporations.