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Pyrrhic Victory

On the 73rd Anniversary of D-Day

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

It is my belief that Britain was more than short changed from the victory over the Nazi's, Mussolini's Fascist's and imperial Japan. When the world drew a sigh of relief with the end of hostilities in 1945, Britain stood alone once again, but this time was almost callously singled-out to lose more than any other of the allies.

Britain was exhausted, over-committed and in debt.Its cities were broken, its people uncowed but punch-drunk by the Blitz, its Empire demanding independence as war reparations for its contribution to the war effort, losing wealth and income, raw materials and manpower. It recoiled and imploded- Churchill became a peripheral figure at home and abroad. Some Brits said they'd been used as collateral damage whilst the emerging superpowers (USA and USSR) grew in size and global influence. Had Britain been had? Territorially the Cold War superceded Britain's say, and Britain cut a pathetic sight as if an antiquated vessel being hauled to the scrap yard, like something depicted in one of Turner's paintings.It was Britain that actually metaphorically signed the 'Versailles Treaty in 1945, where it appeared to have lost the War and was required to pay reparations.

Britain had been gutted by several factors at the same time, domestically and internationally. War torn by the blitz, the huge 'War effort' that saw off Hitler from invading whilst Britain stood alone,whilst losing its Empire, and moey to help European countries was being redirected else where. Germany was soon in full-swing in rebuilding ,prioritized by US money to provide a buffer zone against the Iron Curtain. Britain had actually suffered a pincer attack on its markets and its colonies where brutal wars were fought all over the globe whilst US pacifism reigned before Pearl Harbour. Britain's total war economy had been stretched in a way that the US hadn't had to, and whilst American's grew rich during the War, Britain seemed to be so committed to the war effort that there was nothing left in the kitty. The USA had had no domestic industrial or infrastructural damage compared with Britain, and the US GDP increased expedentially whilst Britain's cities took another nightly pounding. For a while when the US sneezed we had a full-on cardiac arrest whilst fighting Hitler et al with a wheel barrow and a kitchen fork. Britain's place at the top table was probably referred to by those that most benefitted from Britain's demise, and many eyed-up Britain's global trade greedily., as if the superpowers were dividing up the Empire with a pocket compass.


The real Versailles Treaty was signed by Britain in 1945, consigning Britain up until the 1980's as the sick old man of Europe and the 'has been' of the world. It wasn't until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 that Britain truly recovered its identity and not necessarily Brexit last year. But both mark a point in British history since 1707(Act of Union) that we should celebrate as our 'greatest hour' of Britain's victory with her allies in the 2nd world War, and not just the defeat of Nazism,,Fascism and extreme nationalist Japan. Further more, if Britain has suffered and gone into the introspection of Welfarism from which it has now recovered, then it was a price worth paying that still should have been equally shared by all the Allies.

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