It was disconcerting to read, on the anniversary of D-Day, David E. Fishman’s statement that in World War II “most of America’s armed forces were dedicated to the war against Japan in the Pacific,” and were not in Europe (“Our Debt To The Red Army: Now It Can Be Told,” June 7).
Just a few facts: In June, 1944, the United States had 26 divisions in Europe and 14 in the Pacific. The Russians, when they liberated the camps in spring 1945, were able to sweep westward so quickly because the U.S. and allies had the Germans tied up fighting them as the Allies pushed eastward into Germany. The dropping of the atomic bomb was in part to stave off having to bring the huge number of troops massed in Europe over to the Pacific to intensify the Pacific war.
The Russians liberated the camps one month before the war ended. It has been written that the Allies tried to move eastward as quickly as possible to limit the amount of territory the Russians would retain power over and thus limit the post-war problems. While it may be doubtful that we could have won in Europe without Russia, it is strange to read the article’s statement that we almost weren’t there.