Let us see clip 1 of a Discovery Channel video (language caution):
The breaking of German air power in the skies over Germany at awful cost, followed by the invasions in Normandy and Southern France, then the slog through the Battle of the Bulge then on into Germany and other German held territories set the base for Europe to recover from tyranny.
(And let us not forget, all of this was under the shadow of a secret race to nuclear weapons on both sides. Had Hitler won, the consequences would have been beyond calculation. Let us ponder that as politicians in our day play games with Iran.)
The victory of course was flawed, it left half of Europe under the Communist boot heel. And so for another generation, the line had to be held at great cost and under the shadow of the mushroom cloud.
Then, after another half Century, Communism also fell.
But, even though they served a master, Stalin, who was also an aggressive mass murdering dictator, let us not forget the sacrifice of the Russians and Poles etc serving under Russian colours, that actually fought the bulk of the German Army. At, casualty exchange rates that would never be accepted by a Western Power. (Russian military deaths are perhaps up to 10 - 13+ mn, with total deaths probably 24 - 26++ mn. Poland lost almost 6 mn, including half of the Jewish holocaust. German and allied military deaths in the East were perhaps 5+ mn. Western deaths for the European was were perhaps 1 mn.)
The Russians too, played a key role in the defeat of Nazism.
Thanks to Wiki, a tabulation:
And so, today, let us remember, let us thank the remaining veterans, and let us thank the many more who sacrificed so much for us. END