Are you visiting Normandy for the 70th D-Day anniversary?
I’m only days away from my visit to Normandy for the 70th D-Day anniversary and I could not be more excited to be back in such a beautiful place! It’s difficult to imagine when looking across the stunning, seemingly endless, rapeseed-filled fields that 70 years ago this was the battlefield for all of Europe.
When the tide of German troops flooded France on the 10th May 1940, the French were both shocked and confused by the speed and scale of their defeat. Life in France only hardened after Marshal Pétain launched the “National Revolution” which would, in his opinion, enable the “moral and intellectual recovery of France”. Life in occupied France meant heavy restrictions, daily shortages and economic pillaging for French civilians. The number of Resistance workers fighting against the occupying forces increased in the run up to D-Day despite Vichy and German officials continuing to hunt them down and punish those who rebelled or protected Jewish citizens.
When I visited the Mémorial de Caen last year I learnt a great deal about what the French people had to endure during the Second World War and what was arguably, France’s darkest period in history. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to return to Normandy next week to commemorate the D-Day Landings and meet these courageous French civilians who lived through the occupation.