D-Day invitation 'showsGermany equal to allies'

28th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

28 May 2004 , BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Friday his invitation to 60th anniversary ceremonies of the D-Day landings in France next month marks Berlin's acceptance as an equal partner by its former enemies. Schroeder, whose father was killed serving in the Nazi army during the war, will be the first German leader to attend celebrations marking the 1944 allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944. "The real meaning of this invitation is that the Second World War is over - once and for a

28 May 2004

BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Friday his invitation to 60th anniversary ceremonies of the D-Day landings in France next month marks Berlin's acceptance as an equal partner by its former enemies.

Schroeder, whose father was killed serving in the Nazi army during the war, will be the first German leader to attend celebrations marking the 1944 allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944.

"The real meaning of this invitation is that the Second World War is over - once and for all," said Schroeder in an interview with the news magazine Der Spiegel.

Schroeder told Focus magazine the invitation underlined Germany's development as a solid democracy in the almost 60 years since Adolf Hitler's Third Reich was defeated.

"My presence will make clear ... that we are accepted as an equal partner by the former (World War II) allies," said Schroeder.

Der Spiegel, quoting aides to former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, said contrary to a commonly held view, the veteran leader had never sought an invitation to D-Day ceremonies.

Kohl's older brother, Walter, was badly wounded during D-Day and later killed in a strafing run by an allied aircraft.

"D-Day was simply too traumatic for Kohl," said Der Spiegel quoting former top aides to Kohl.

French President Jacques Chirac will host the D-Day ceremony which is also being attended by US President George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin and both British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Queen.

Operation Overlord, as D-Day was formally called, in effect ended three months following the 6 June landings, after 600,000 casualties, with the liberation of Paris.

Nazi Germany capitulated in May 1945.

DPA

Subject: German news

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