The Supreme Allied Commander

On this day in 1944, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower is named Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) by FDR, serving in a dual role until the end of hostilities in Europe in May 1945. He was charged in these positions with planning and carrying out the Allied assault on the coast of Normandy in June 1944 under the code name Operation Overlord, the liberation of Western Europe and the invasion of Germany.

By coincidence, also on this day one year later in 1945, Adolph Hitler descends into his Fuhrerbunker, where he would remain for 105 days until his suicide on April 30th that year. 55-feet under the chancellery, the shelter contained 18 tiny rooms in which Hitler would pathetically attempt to manage dwindling German defenses in the face of swiftly encroaching Soviet armies from the East and the Allied Expeditionary Force under Ike from the West.

It is noted that hours after Hitler’s marriage to Eva Braun, he first tested cyanide tablets on his beloved dog Blondi and her litter, before he and his new bride ingested them; Hitler shot himself as well for good measure.

For our final coincidence, on this day in 1991, the first combat aircraft were launched from Saudi Arabia and off US and British aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf on bombing missions over Iraq, marking commencement of the Persian Gulf War. As the rapt world watched, coalition forces pounded targets in Baghdad on live television. At 7:00 PM, Operation Desert Storm, the code-name for the massive US-led offensive against Iraq, was formally announced by Pres. George HW Bush at the White House.

And here our instructive coincidences on the perils of autocracy and ignorance endeth.

Author: Bill Urich

A tail-end baby-boomer, Bill Urich was born in Cleveland to a grade school teacher and her Navy vet husband, and reared in Greater Detroit. Working his way through school primarily at night, Mr. Urich holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University. In his legal career he has acted as an assistant state prosecutor, city attorney, special prosecutor, mediator, magistrate, private practitioner and mayor of Royal Oak, a large home-rule city in Michigan. Mr. Urich continues in private practice and municipal prosecution, is on faculty to DePaul University, pens regular contributions to political publications, and remains active in selected campaigns and causes related to labor, social and criminal justice. A father of three mostly-grown sons, he spends his precious free time on family, friends, the pursuit of happiness, beauty and truth, three rescue cats, and fronting the rock band Calcutta Rugs from behind the drum kit.