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Episode Synopses
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EPISODE ONE: “A Necessary War”
EPISODE TWO: “When Things Get Tough”
EPISODE THREE: “A Deadly Calling”
EPISODE FOUR: “Pride of Our Nation”
EPISODE FIVE: “FUBAR”
EPISODE SIX: “The Ghost Front”
EPISODE SEVEN: “A World Without War”
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Episode Four
“Pride of Our Nation”
June 1944-August 1944

By June 1944, there are signs on both sides of the world that the tide of the war is turning. On June 6, 1944 — D-Day — in the European Theater, a million and a half Allied troops embark on one of the greatest invasions in history: the invasion of France. Among them are Dwain Luce of Mobile, who drops behind enemy lines in a glider; Quentin Aanenson of Luverne, who flies his first combat mission over the Normandy coast; and Joseph Vaghi of Waterbury, who manages to survive the disastrous landing on Omaha Beach where German resistance nearly decimates the American forces. It is the bloodiest day in American history since the Civil War, with nearly 2,500 Americans losing their lives. But the Allies succeed in tearing a 45-mile gap in Hitler’s vaunted Atlantic Wall, and by day’s end more than 150,000 men have landed on French soil. They quickly find themselves bogged down in the Norman hedgerows, facing German troops determined to make them pay for every inch of territory they gain. For months, the Allies must measure their progress in yards, and they suffer far greater casualties than anyone expected.

In the Pacific, the long climb from island to island toward the Japanese homeland is well underway, but the enemy seems increasingly determined to defend to the death every piece of territory they hold. The Marines, including Ray Pittman of Mobile, fight the costliest Pacific battle to date — on the island of Saipan — encountering, for the first time, Japanese civilians who, like their soldiers, seem resolved to die for their emperor rather than surrender.

Back at home, while anxiously listening to the radio, watching newsreels and scanning casualty lists in the newspapers for definitive information from the battlefront, Americans do their best to go about their normal lives, but on doorsteps all across the country, dreaded telegrams from the War Department begin arriving at a rate inconceivable just one year earlier.

In late July, Allied forces break out of the hedgerows in Normandy, and by mid-August, the Germans are in full retreat out of France. On August 25, after four years of Nazi occupation, Paris is liberated — and the end of the war in Europe seems only a few weeks away.

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NEXT EPISODE: "FUBAR"
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