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The Hidden Dangers of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

The heart is one of the most important organs in our bodies as it performs very essential functions in our life systems supplying oxygen and nutrients to body cells and tissues. It is very well protected from external injury or damage by the rib-cage. The biggest threat for the heart is, however, not external, but internal threats collectively referred to as cardiovascular disease-CVD. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that on average, 17,9 million worldwide people die from cardiovascular disease every year. The good news is that most of the factors responsible for causing cardiovascular disease are preventable. Knowledge and early detection of these factors is key to their prevention and a longer life.

And yet, we seem to have resigned ourselves to the fact that at one stage in our lives, we are going to die from one form of cardiovascular disease or another. In this article, we are going to examine the various types of heart diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and diseases of the blood vessels such as angina, atherosclerosis, cardiomyopathy etc. Knowledge of these diseases goes a long way towards taking the right decisions on your cardiovascular health to prevent them while on the other hand, ignorance may prove to be very costly both in terms of the quality of life and the financial implications of receiving treatment once the disease has set in. We will look at the various forms that cardiovascular disease take:

Heart Attack or Myocardial Infarction (MI)

It occurs when the arteries of the heart become too narrow due to atherosclerotic deposits or blood clots restricting blood flow to the heart muscle. The heart muscle is then starved of oxygen causing part of the muscle to die. As a result of this, the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the rest of the body. Symptoms of a heart attack are a sudden severe chest pain, spreading to the neck, jaw and down the arms. When the body does not receive enough oxygen and nutrients as a result of insufficient blood circulation, the patient will experience sweating, nausea, shortness of breath and dizziness.

Heart Failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently around the body as a result of damage to the heart muscle caused by disease. Blood circulation becomes slow, causing excess fluid to be retained in the body which may accumulate in the lungs in the case of left heart failure (LHF) or in the lower limbs in the case of a right heart failure(RHF).

Arteries and vessels of the Heart

Stroke

Stroke, aka cerebrovascular accident (CVA) occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted caused by a clot blocking a blood vessel to the brain or when the blood vessel is ruptured resulting in bleeding. Because of lack of oxygen and nutrients, brain cells begin to die. When the brain cells die, vital messages are no longer transmitted from that part of the brain to the limbs resulting in weakness of the limbs in the case of a mild stroke or paralysis in moderate stroke or coma and death in the event of a severe stroke.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) & Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD)

The arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle are known as coronary arteries.When these arteries harden and become narrow as a result of fatty deposits on the inside lining of the vessel walls, coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs. These fatty deposits increase gradually further narrowing the arteries and reducing blood flow to the muscle of the heart, depriving the heart muscle of oxygen leading to ischaemic (IHD) heart disease and damage to the heart muscle.

Angina

Angina refers to pain in the left side of the chest which occurs on exertion such as walking up stairs, when coronary vessels are partially blocked restricting oxygen supply to the heart as a result of restricted blood flow to the heart muscle. It manifests itself as chest pain or discomfort which may spread to the jaw, neck, shoulders, arms or to the back. It is aggravated by exercise or emotional pain. Angina is an indication of the existence of atherosclerosis (plaque build-up) in the coronary vessels. The term is also used when there is a suspected heart attack but hospital tests do not reveal damage to the heart muscle on the electrocardiogram (ECG) or blood enzyme tests. Doctors perform an ECG or stress ECG, which involves walking on a treadmill, to confirm the diagnosis. If angina is confirmed, it is important to be closely monitored and that the correct medication is taken.

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries caused by a slow build up of plaque on the inside walls of the arteries. It is a slow progressive disease that may eventually impede blood flow to the arteries of the brain, heart, kidneys and arms and legs or in a worse situation may block the flow of blood to these organs.

Cardiomyopathy,

Cardiomyopathy is the disease of the heart muscle, which becomes enlarged, thick or rigid causing the heart to be ineffective in pumping blood to the whole body.

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD)

Rheumatic heart disease is a condition in which the heart valves have been permanently damaged by rheumatic fever. The heart valve damage may start shortly after untreated or under-treated streptococcal infection such as strep throat or scarlet fever. An immune response causes an inflammatory condition in the body which can result in on-going valve damage.

Causes of RHD
A patient looking feverish

Rheumatic heart disease is caused by rheumatic fever, an inflammatory disease that can affect many connective tissues, especially in the heart, joints, skin, or brain. The heart valves can be inflamed and become scarred over time. This can result in narrowing or leaking of the heart valve making it harder for the heart to function normally. This may take years to develop and can result in heart failure. 

Rheumatic fever can occur at any age, but usually occurs in children aged 5 to 15 years old. It’s rare in developed countries like the United States.

Untreated or under-treated strep infections can increase the risk for rheumatic heart disease. Children who get repeated strep throat infections are at the most risk for rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.

In the next article we will be looking at risk factors for heart disease and who is at risk of developing heart disease. These series of articles are not meant to be a complete medical advice, but are meant to raise awareness to these medical conditions. In the event of any symptoms related to the topics discussed herein proper medical advice should be obtained from your doctor.

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Horrific Mass Shootings in El Paso and Dayton Exposes Loopholes in US Gun Control Laws.

We the People – Constitution of the United States of America

In the wake of the latest mass shooting in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in which 22 and 10 people respectively, were killed, the question arises whether gun control laws in the US are adequate to prevent persons who are unfit to possess firearms from being in possession of such arms. Statistics have shown that 8 in every 10 Americans are in lawful possession of a firearm. This is a very high number when you compare it to what the position is in other countries. This high number of firearms in the hands of citizens would not be an issue if there were no incidents such as the ones in El Paso and Dayton. If citizens were handling their firearms in a responsible manner, then no problem. However, that is not the case in the US today. The frequency of mass shootings has gone out of proportion. The people rely on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and was ratified by Congress on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. This provision in the Bill of Rights was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. The amendment was ratified by the States and authenticated by the Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, and reads as follows:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The English settlers at the time viewed the right to bear arms or raise militias as important for one or mire of the following reasons, namely:

  • to enable the people to organise a militia,
  • the right to self defence,
  • to repel an external invasion,
  • as security against a tyranical government,
  • to enable the citizens to participate in law enforcement,
  • to suppress insurrection including slave revolts.

Today, the United States, with almost 330 000 000 million people, and one of the best trained and equipped army and police force in the world, those concerns raised by the founding fathers appear to have lost their validity and yet the country has held onto the provisions to its own peril. In Dist of Columbia v Heller (2008), the Supreme Court affirmed that the the right belongs to the individual, exclusively for self defense in the home and that the right is not unlimited and does not preclude the the existence of certain prohibitions such as those forbidding the possession of firearms by felons and mentally ill persons. Although there is a certain measure of screening and checks and balances when people apply for permission to purchase a firearm through a licensed weapons’ dealer there are loopholes in the system to such an extent that 1 in 5 firearms transactions are finalized without necessarily going through the screening process.

According to the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), anyone can sell a gun without an FFL (Federal Firearms License) from their home, online, at a flea market or at a gun show as long as he or she is not conducting the sale as part of regular business activity. One example would be someone who sells a firearm from his or her personal collection. Others who are exempt include those giving guns as gifts. Only individuals whose “principal motive” is to make a profit via sale must obtain an FFL. 

Commonly referred to as the “gunshow loophole,” this ambiguity also explains how a purchase can occur without a background check — and without breaking the law. A 2017 survey by Harvard and Northeastern universities estimates that roughly one in five transactions occur without a background check.

Scene of a mass shooting

Perhaps the United States can learn something from those countries with very strict gun control legislation. In South Africa, for example, licenses to possess a firearm are controlled by a single central registrar within the police department and only one licence to possess a firearm for self defense purposes can be issued . No licence for an automatic or semi-automatic weapon can be issued for self defense purposes. As a result there are very few legal firearms in private hands. Penalties for illegal possession of a firearm are very stiff . Although criminals do acquire illegal firearms and use them in the commission of crimes, they know that if they are caught, they will have to answer for both the crime committed and the possession of the illegal firearm and ammunition. This serves as a deterrent as people know that the punishment for the unlawful possession of a firearm is harsh. On the other hand, in the United States, there has been several mass shootings in several states where a number of people lost their lives or were injured leaving them with both physical and emotional scars. The reasons appear to be disillusioned youth, mental illness, workplace conflicts, as well as family disputes. President Trump has vowed to bring an end to the scourge of violence in the USA. We hope that this happens sooner before another mass shooting happens.

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It is not raining, but pouring on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

For some odd reason, the Public Protector appears to have been in a hurry to make decisions against Minister Pravin Gordhan and President Cyril Ramaphosa in two separate matters, one involving an investigative unit within the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the other involving a donation by Bosasa to President Ramaphosa’s campaign for the ANC presidency in 2017. Both Minister Gordhan and President Ramaphosa have indicated that they are referring the reports to the courts to request them to review the findings and to suspend the implementation of the remedial actions suggested by the Public Protector pending the outcome of the review proceedings, both of them claiming irrationality on the part of the Public Protector for their applications for review. The allegations of irrationality are very serious allegations against the Public Protector as they come at a time when there are those who are calling for parliament to inquire into her ability to hold office.

Public Protectoe Busisiwe Mkhwebane during a Court hearing

In the matter against Minister Gordhan, the High Court on monday, 29 July 2019, found in favour of Minister Gordhan and suspended the remedial action recommended by the Public Protector. The case involving President Cyril Ramaphosa was postponed by the High Court on tuesday 30 July 2019 as no judge was allocated to hear the matter. In that case the public Protector had recommended that the Speaker of the National Assembly should drag the President before the parliamentary Ethics Committee and conduct an inquiry on the grounds that the President had deliberately misled parliament when he answered a question relating to the R500 000.00 payment to his son, Andile, by Mr Gavin Watson of Bosasa. The President had said that the payment was in relation to a financial consultancy to Andile Ramaphosa by Bosasa, but later changed that statement and said that the amount was a donation for his election campaign in 2017.

In the meantime, on 22 July 2019, the Constitutional Court had dismissed an appeal by the Public Protector against a decision of the High Court, Pretoria, in a matter involving the Reserve Bank. In that matter, the High Court had ordered the Public Protector to pay 15% of legal costs on a punitive attorney and client scale including the costs of three counsel, incurred by the Reserve Bank, again in taking her report on review. The costs amounted to approximately R900 000.00 and she had to pay the 15% out of her own pocket. The majority judgement found that personal costs orders are not granted against public officials who conduct themselves properly but against those who have shown themselves to have acted in bad faith. In the meantime, the EFF had been very supportive of the Public Protector throughout, especially so in the case involving Minister Gordhan. It is not clear why the Public Protector continues to release the nature of reports that she does and why the Courts continue to find that she acts in bad faith and makes falsehoods in affidavits before the courts.

Meanwhile, the Dep Public Protector, Adv Kevin Malunga, has distanced himself from Mkhwebane’s ABSA-Bankorp report, alleging that he was not consulted when that report was made. The SACP has claimed that Busisiwe Mkhwebane is a hired gun. Can this explain her conduct in the recent past? Only time will tell.

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The South African National Defence Force is Deployed to the Cape Flats.

Cape Town, South Africa

CAPE TOWN, with its deep blue skies, the two oceans and table mountain in the background, is one of the most beautiful cities in the World, and yet it is ironic that just a few kilometers from this most beautiful city, which is an attraction for both domestic and international tourists and home to South Africa’s legislative authority, rages some of the most bloodiest gang battles in the world. The Cape Flats, townships such as Mitchell’s Plain, Manenburg, Phillipi, Delft, Bishops Court and others. Very romantic names, and yet people in those areas live in conditions no different from a war zone.  Gangs such as the Hard Livings, the Americans, The Clever Kids, The Thug Life and up to 130 others are competing for territory with deadly consequences for the gang members and for members of the communities in which they operate. For years, the measures taken by the Government were inadequate to address the growing problem which is fueled by drug deals, poverty, unemployment, lack of adequate housing and ineffective schooling. It is hard to imagine how it should be for women and children living in these areas. Gun battles erupt at any moment during the day or night in the streets. Hundreds of residents, mainly children, have been caught in the crossfire, and in most cases, have been killed by stray bullets. The police have been trying to maintain some resemblance of law and order with very little success as shown by the number of murders reported particularly on weekends.

Gang Violence on the Cape Flats

Recently, gang violence has skyrocketed, so much so that in one weekend, up to 50 people were reported killed. The Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, had very little choice than to turn to the South African National Defence Force for assistance. The State President authorised the deployment of the Defence Force and immediately thereafter, the gangs were outgunned and the guns were silenced.

Members of SANDF on parade.

There are those who have cautioned against the deployment of the army in a matter which might seem to be a purely police matter. But in this instance, the police were running out of options and the place resembled a war zone. The residents of those areas welcomed the deployment of the army. Within a week of their deployment, community leaders reported a huge decline in gang violence, an indication that the army was already succeeding in its objective. It is only hoped that the deployment will remain in place until the violence has been eliminated for the sake of the people of the Western Cape. No one deserves to be murdered or to live in fear of being murdered.

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Battle Lines are Drawn Between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, at loggerheads with the Public Protector.

Following the release of the public protector’s report that President Cyril Ramaphosa has deliberately misled parliament in connection with a donation of R500 000.00 by Bosasa to his campaign for the ANC presidency in 2017 and that there is evidence of money laundering against him, President Ramaphosa has decided to refer the report on judicial review. The Public Protector says that she has referred the money laundering issue to the National Prosecuting Authority-the NPA, for further investigation. By releasing this report, the Public Protector has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons. There are a whole lot of consequences that will arise from her report that will impact on the programmes that the President has embarked on. The timing of the release of the report, when former President Jacob Zuma was testifying before the Zondo Commission, and while he was at pains to withdraw from giving any further evidence under cross-examination, only serves to strengthen the arguments that the Public Protector has taken sides in the divisions within the ANC and that her actions are designed to strengthen the Zuma faction against President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane

If you consider the PP’s report on the Estina Dairy Project, which is also under the spotlight at the Commission on State Capture, and the ruling made by the Court in that regard, then questions should be legitimately asked whether the PP has any desire to assist South Africans in the fight against corruption, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa. If questions are placed upon the President’s integrity, then his capacity to fight corruption will be undermined. Add to that the PP’s report and recommendations relating to Minister Pravin Gordhan, also another anti-corruption campaigner, on whom the PP has also cast suspicions. All these reports and their timing, only serve to weaken the fight against corruption and to dash away the hopes of millions of South Africans who are really struggling to make ends meet as a result of the plundering of state resources. It is understandable that the Public Protector did not start to investigate these matters out of the blue, but that she did so following complaints lodged by certain individuals, but it is the timing of the release of these reports, and the enthusiasm with which she is pursuing cases against the current President and his supporters, that gives the impression that those who benefited from the corruption of the past are desperately fighting back with serious disregard for the economy and the country.

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa, Johannesburg

The Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, has dismissed the Public Protector’s appeal against a cost order granted by the High Court in Pretoria, that the Public Protector, in her personal capacity, pays 15% of the legal costs incurred in a matter involving ABSA Bank and the Reserve Bank, in which she had found that ABSA was liable to pay back an amount of R1.125bn bail out provided by the Reserve Bank to Bankorp between 1985 and 1992. All these decisions are a bad reflection on the Public Protector in that she appears to be making wrong decisions on a frequent basis. The impact of her decisions on those who are affected is tremendous. It is not clear as to what could be prompting the Public Protector to make these hasty decisions. The SACP has accused her of being a hired gun, a charge which she has denied. It may also be speculated that, perhaps there are powerful individuals in her office, who are churning out these reports and misleading the Public Protector. Why would the Public Protector be prepared to damage her reputation? Who is pressurising her to make these reports which all seem to be designed to protect those who are accused as being the masterminds and active participants in the State capture projects?

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Five Simple Ways to a Healthy and a Longer Life.

Although disease and illness are beyond our control, our lifestyle choices determine whether we will eventually develop certain disease and illness. Heart disease is the number one killer of most men and women in the world. Factors that lead to the risk of developing heart disease are preventable. A few apparently simple actions on your part can add up to 10 or even more quality years to your life. Those steps are simple and not complicated at all and can be summed up as follows:

  1. exercise for at least 45 minutes, 3-4 times a week,
  2. drink alcohol in moderation,
  3. avoid smoking,
  4. eat healthy, ie, more fruits and vegetables,
  5. avoid stressful factors,

These five simple steps help reduce: (a) abdominal obesity, (b) high blood sugar, (c) high cholesterol, (d) high blood fats, (e) high blood pressure and (f) stress.

More than 250 000 000 people worldwide live with diabetes and what is worse is that the majority of them are unaware that they are living with this condition. Clinical depression is fast becoming a major health crises affecting millions of people in the world. Early detection of disease and illness can make a huge difference. Regular check-ups with your doctor are very important for early diagnoses of chronic illness. Investing a small amount of time in your health can indeed make a huge difference in the quality of your life and can save you huge expenses in terms of time and money at a later stage. Information is critical in helping you to make informed decisions about your health issues.

In the next issue, we will be discussing Cardiovascular Disease(CVD). Please send us your details as well as your email address to enable us to advise you whenever we release any new articles.

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Zuma threatens to withdraw from the State Capture Enquiry in South Africa.

Judge Raymond Zondo, Head of the Zondo Commission into State Capture in South Africa

Former President Jacob Zuma’ s lawyers have questioned the line of questioning adopted by evidence leader for the commission, Adv Paul Pretorius. Former President Zuma always said that he would like to be given an opportunity to clear his name as he says that he has continually been targeted by the media on allegations of having allowed state institutions to be captured by the Guptas. Now that the former President has been given the platform, he should be utilising it to the full.

Former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, in the witness stand at the Commission.

He has been implicated by a number of witnesses who testified before the commission. It is only fair that their vesions be put to him so that he can get an opportunity to put the correct version on record. Listening to the arguments by his advocates, one would get the impression that they are being overprotective of him and are afraid that the case might implicate him more. Withdrawing from further participation in the commission might also leave the evidence before the commission unchallenged and might lead the commission to make negative findings against him. But perhaps further participation might be even worse. But to say that the evidence leader should limit his questions will leave many questions unanswered.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – Adv Paul Pretorius

In the meantime, Zuma’s supporters have vowed to stand by him during the inquiry. Carl Niehaus of the MK Veterans said that they will support Zuma and ensure that he is not treated unfairly by the commission, but that they are not against the work of the commission. It is a show down between those who blame state capture for South Africa’s economic woes and those who deny its existence. Developments that will be even more interesting in the weeks to come. President Ramaphosa has been placed in a very difficult position because his tough stand on corruption is alienating many of his erstwhile comrades. No doubt that his tough move has already stemmed the tide of corruption, particularly with the exit of the Guptas from the country and the expulsion of Bosasa from Correctional Services, but more support is needed for the mop up operations to clean municipalities, which is another frontier where the country was bleeding rands and cents.

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Watch “Phalaborwa, Kruger National Park Kids Show No Fear for Lions.” on YouTube

The story about the 14 lions that were spotted in the area around Foskor Mine in Phalaborwa, South Africa, has been widely publicised. On our recent tour of the town, we found that people were not at all concerned about the lions.

The town of Phalaborwa is the only town in South Africa which directly shares its border with the world renowned Kruger National Park. So sightings of wild animals in this town is not an unusual occurrence. Some of the locals told us that they are living in harmony with the wild life. Elephants can be seen foraging for plants and reeds on the banks of the Selati river which is just within walking distance from the town. At night, hippos can be spotted crossing the streets in town and drivers have to be careful when they drive around town at night as the hippos are not clearly visible at night due to their dark brown colour. Other than that, and for time immemorial, there has never been any incident of wild animals attacking humans in this town. A local tour guide told us that other than the crocodile, no other wild animal, including lions and leopards, will actively hunt for humans. They prefer to keep a safe distance from humans and will only attack humans if threatened.

However, recently, and ironically at the same time as the 14 lions were spotted near the town, an elephant trampled a security guard, contracted to Foskor Mine, to death. The circumstances under which the incident occurred are not known as the guard was alone on night duty at one of the mine’s work sites at the time of the the incident.

Despite this, the locals insist that their town is very safe and they appeal to both domestic and international tourists to visit their unique town in order to experience nature first hand.

Nature enthusiasts are streaming from as far afield as Germany, the Netherlands , France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Britain, the USA, Canada etc to come and enjoy the hospitality of this town. South Africans are also not to be outdone in this gold rush.

There are many local lodges, hotels and guest houses specifically designed to cater for these international and domestic tourists. The local Phalaborwa Accommodation Association has registered in excess of thirty establishments ready to serve the needs of these tourists. For anyone travelling to Phalaborwa and looking for the best accommodation, TT can be contacted at thete-at@nix.co.za or +2779 581 1841 to get in touch with any of the establishments. The tourism association has said that Phalaborwa is referred to as the town with two summers as there is hardly any winter here with the lowest average temperature being 15 degrees Celsius.

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Ramaphosa’s Dream City: A Missed Opportunity for Zuma.

In his State of the Nation address on 20 June 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke about building the first city since the end of apartheid in South Africa. This idea and its potential to solve a multitude of social and economic problems is long overdue. If Zuma had had such a dream, and spent the billions of rands lost to state capture in building such cities, we could have had at least three such mega cities and the population composition of places such as Soweto and Alexander would be very different today as masses of people from these townships would be encouraged to settle in the new cities. And President Zuma would have been justified in naming the city after himself. Imagine Zuma City, a lasting legacy for South Africans.

Zuma had bad advice, and we are where we are today. But it is not too late for Ramaphosa to start with the project and no doubt the support from the private sector will be tremendous as there will be enormous benefits to be gained from such a project. In my view, once the first city is well under way, then a second one should commence, then the third one.And President Ramaphosa can have the pleasure of naming it after himself. Imagine Ramaphosa City or Matamela City or even RMC City. Then a lasting legacy would have been bequeathed to successive generations of South Africans.

This project in my view, should start tomorrow as it will solve our unemployment and crime problem at once. There is plenty of land between existing towns and cities as for example, between Johannesburg and Witbank/Emalahleni or between Pretoria and Emalahleni. There is no need to wait.

TT Thete is a contributor for DigiiNewsNetwork

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D-Day: 06 June 1944 -The Invasion of France by the Allied Forces.

D-Day 06 June 1944, the Invasion of France by the Allied Forces

Background to the Invasion: Germany invaded France on 10 May 1940 and the battle of France began. By 26 May 1940, German troops had advanced deep into France, trapping over 336 000 British, French, Belgian, Dutch and other allied troops at the port of Dunkirk. Hitler ordered his forces to halt. This gave the British an opportunity to organise the biggest evacuation of troops in history. Historians do not agree as to the reasons why Hitler would have made such an order as the French and British troops were trapped at Dunkirk and their defeat was a foregone conclusion. There are those who argue that he was persuaded by Herman Goring, chief of the Luftwaffe, to halt the advance of the ground forces so as to give the Luftwaffe and opportunity to finish the battle and claim victory for themselves. Others would say that he wanted to give the rest of the German infantry a chance to catch up with the panzers which had advanced rapidly across France. Yet others would say that he wanted to give Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister,  an opportunity to negotiate for peace under favourable terms, while others would say that the German panzers advanced so rapidly into France that Hitler was convinced that the French and British forces would strike back viciously while the German troops were over-stretched and vulnerable. Whatever the reason was, the British were given an opportunity to evacuate thousands of troops within a matter of days. The French sued for peace and it so happened that France, for the next four years, until June 1944, remained under German occupation while elsewhere in Europe and the World and on the Eastern Front, the war raged on.

A meeting of Allied Commanders Planning for D-Day.

Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings (Operation Neptune, commonly known as D-Day). A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, and more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August.

The decision to undertake a cross-channel invasion in 1944 was taken at the Trident Conference in Washington in May 1943. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed commander of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), and General Bernard Montgomery was named as commander of the 21st Army Group, which comprised all the land forces involved in the invasion. The coast of Normandy of north-western France was chosen as the site of the invasion, with the Americans assigned to land at sectors codenamed Utah and Omaha, the British at Sword and Gold, and the Canadians at Juno. To meet the conditions expected on the Normandy beachhead, special technology was developed, including two artificial ports called Mulberry harbours and an array of specialised tanks nicknamed Hobart’s Funnies. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deceptionOperation Bodyguard, using both electronic and visual misinformation. This misled the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings.  Adolf Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in charge of developing fortifications all along Hitler’s proclaimed Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an invasion.

The Allies failed to accomplish their objectives for the first day, but gained a tenuous foothold that they gradually expanded when they captured the port at Cherbourg on 26 June and the city of Caen on 21 July. A failed counterattack by German forces on 8 August left 50,000 soldiers of the 7th Army trapped in the Falaise pocket. The Allies launched a second invasion from the Mediterranean Sea of southern France (code-named Operation Dragoon) on 15 August, and the Liberation of Paris followed on 25 August. German forces retreated east across the Seine on 30 August 1944, marking the close of Operation Overlord.

The ruins of Caen, World War 2

The battle for Caen.

Summary of the scale of the battle: The invasion took place from 06 June 1944 until 30 August 1944 in northern France and resulted in victory for the allies.  Soldiers from the following countries took part In the invasion on the side of the Allies namely, The USA, the UK, Canada, France, the French Resistance, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Danish sailors. On the Axis side, only Germany was involved, Italy having been taken out of action with the demise of Benito Mussolini on 25 July 1943. Japan was preoccupied with the United States in the Far East and could not come to the assistance of the Third Reich.

General Bernard L. Montgomery watches his tanks move up.” North Africa, November 1942

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel  and General Bernard L. Montgomery

The Commanders: The Allied Forces were commanded by Dwight Eisenhower as the Supreme Allied Commander, Arthur Tedder as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander and Bernard L Montgomery as Commander in Chief of Ground Forces. The German Forces on the Western Front were under the overall command of Adolf Hitler himself, Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt OB of the Western Front and Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, commander of Army Group B. The Allies deployed just over 2 million soldiers while Germany could only manage to deploy just over 640 000, just a quarter of the troops deployed by the allies.  Close to 40 000 civilians were killed during this phase of the conflict.

TT Thete is a World War II Historian based in Phalaborwa, South Africa.

This Article is published courtesy of Wikipedia. Pictures are supplied by Goodfreephotos.