Learning Technologies Podcast- Sept 10 – History Example
Topic: World War II Atlantic Wall
Lily: Welcome to Emily and Lily’s Podcast!
Emily: Today’s topic is The Atlantic Wall from World War 2
Lily: The Atlantic Wall was a massive building effort ordered by Adolph Hitler. The “Atlantic Wall” spanned almost 2,000 miles, in Norway, along the Belgium and French coastline to the border with Spain. The Atlantic Wall contained 19 million tons of steel and concrete, minefields, all kinds of weaponry, and concrete bunkers for 300,000 soldiers. 260,000 workers, and, of course, all kinds of weaponry and minefields.
Emily: The Atlantic Wall was Germany’s defense from invasion along the western coast of Europe and Scandinavia against invasion of mainland Europe by Great Britain and the Allies of World War II. It was completed in May of 1943.
Lily: The Germans had highly experienced men, heavy infantry weapons, and powerful anti-tank capabilities to defend the Atlantic Wall. Germany assumed the attack would most likely occur in Normandy, France and they concentrated their efforts at this location. There was some controversy about the building of this wall as French construction companies were hired to build much of it, then after the war these same companies were hired to reconstruct the area or take it down. The construction workers were not prisoners and at first were able to go home on Sundays, but after the Battle of Stalingrad they were fenced into a work camp with barbed wire. Those working the wall were paid a minimal wage for the work they carried out.
Emily: The allies bombed the Germans’ occupied territories relentlessly, day and night. An invasion was eminent. In 1943 Field Marshal Erwin Rommel took over command of the Atlantic Wall construction.
Lily: Soon Rommel realized that he wasn’t going to prevent an invasion, but rather he needed to use the Atlantic Wall to prevent the Allied forces from gaining ground quickly during their invasion through Europe. So General Rommel built up a defense of over 6 million landmines and gun emplacements along roads away from beaches. Rommel set slanted poles with pointed tops to stop gliders and parachutists and did everything he could to defend the beaches.
Emily: Rommel’s realization was correct. The Allied forces did attack on June 6th, 1944 at the beaches of Normandy, France. This day was better known in history as D-Day or Operation Overlord.
Lily: General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Commander of the Allied troops. More than 160,000 Allied troops landed at Normandy, France and breached the Atlantic Wall. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the invasion giving the Allies the foothold that German General Rommel feared. The Atlantic Wall was effective to some point as the cost to the Allies was high: over 9000 Allied casualties. By nightfall of the first day, British, American, and Canadian infantry divisions forced Hilter’s troops to retreat.
Emily: The Atlantic Wall was built to stop an Allied attack on Nazi occupied Europe. Remnants of the Atlantic Wall still exist today although it has fallen into disrepair. Many structures have fallen into the ocean, some have been demolished, and others have been dismantled.
Lily: In recent years historians have begun movements to preserve the remaining structures in order to preserve the memory of what existed during World War II.
Emily: This has been “Emily and Lily’s Podcast.” Join us again next time!
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