In June 1944, Hitler faced a period of desperation, the worst he had encountered since the Stalingrad debacle seventeen months earlier. On June 18, the Americans reached Barneville at the western tip of the peninsula and within a week were outside Cherbourg. Von Schlieben and his men exited the city with a white flag. The German 7th Army suffered a total of 116,000 casualties, and its commander, Friedrich Dollmann, committed suicide.
On the eastern front, Operation Bagration commenced. The massive Soviet offensive forced the Germans to send almost all available reserves eastward. On July 15, Rommel wrote to Hitler: “The troops are fighting heroically, but the unequal struggle is nearing its end.”
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