UK press doubts repetition of D-Day bravery

7th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, June 7 (AFP) - Following the D-Day ceremonies for the soldiers who unflinchingly went into battle to liberate Europe from the Nazis 60 years ago, Britain's newspapers wondered on Monday if today's generation of young Europeans would be ready to make the same heroic sacrifice.

LONDON, June 7 (AFP) - Following the D-Day ceremonies for the soldiers who unflinchingly went into battle to liberate Europe from the Nazis 60 years ago, Britain's newspapers wondered on Monday if today's generation of young Europeans would be ready to make the same heroic sacrifice.

"It is an open question whether the present generation that now takes peace in Europe virtually for granted and which is groomed to expect wars without casualties, could ever again be motivated in the same way as the soldiers of the second world war," said the left-leaning Guardian.

The daily reminded its readers that 4,500 soldiers were killed on the first day of the Normandy landings and that the Soviet union, whose astonishing resistance in the East fatally weakened the German war machine, lost 20 million men.

The popular tabloid newspaper The Sun said that 200,000 soldiers died in the weeks following D-Day and asked: "Would we have the guts and discipline to jeopardise our comfortable lives in the cause of a just conflict?"

Comparing today's fight against global terrorism to the struggle against Nazism, the paper, which is owned by US media magnate Rupert Murdoch, told its readers: "Whatever your doubts about Iraq, we need the United States now as much today as we did on June 6, 1944."

"Senior government, military and intelligence figures fear Islamic fanatics will eventually oust the Saudi royal family. That would hand Osama Bin Laden with a third of the world's oil and two of the most important Islamic cities, Mecca and Medina," the paper said in an editorial.

"Al-Qaeda could cripple the global economy and trigger coups elsewhere in the Islamic world - like Pakistan, which has the nuclear bomb," said The Sun, Britain's biggest selling daily.

"In such circumstances, who would you turn to for help - America or the EU?
The EU has been useless in the face of any military challenge. It is, and hopefully always will be America we can turn to the next time a tyrant threatens world peace," the paper said.

The Guardian called in its editorial for the British to turn the page on World War II.

"Of all the people of Europe, the British have been the slowest to seek closure with the events of 1939-45. Our reluctance to put the war behind us is legendary," it said.

By accepting French President Jacques Chirac's invitation to take part in the commemorations, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder drew "a symbolic line in the sand of great importance."

"It is now time for all the people of Britain, while never forgetting, to put the war and its seemingly perpetual baggage behind them too," the paper said.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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