Until Sunday, this place, for me, was a Tom Brokaw book, a History Channel show. But as we talked with Nicholas on the hour trip back to Caen, we wondered what would have happened if the Germans hadn't been repelled from France. Would England have been next? And would the emboldened Germans then have crossed the Atlantic and tried to take America? Would our way of life, our football and our baseball, our corner bars and big universities, have been forever changed? The Super Bowl just monopolized the lives of so many in North America. It was one of the highest rated TV programs of all time. Imagine a world without it.
Peter is apparently unaware of the fact that the Americans, Canadians, and British faced roughly 20% of the Wehrmacht because the remaining 80% was almost entirely committed in the East. Moreover, by June 1944, the Red Army had essentially won in the East, as they were rolling towards Poland and had achieved massive superiority in terms of troops and tanks by this period. So, to answer Peter's questions:
1. The Germans were going to be repelled from France; it was just a question of whether the Soviets or the Western Allies were going to march under the Arc du Triomphe.
2. If the Germans couldn't attempt an invasion of England in the summer and fall of 1940, when they were not at war with the USSR or the US, they sure as hell weren't going to do so by 1944. And if they weren't coming across the English Channel, they sure as hell weren't coming across the Atlantic. So no, we wouldn't be the Western division of the Bundesliga if not for D-Day.
This is not to say that the US didn't do a good deed by forcing the Axis into a war. The US did do some good by degrading the Germans' industrial capacity and deflecting a few divisions away from the East. We also did some serious good in defeating the Japanese in the East and ending their genocidal activities in Manchuria (although they were ultimately replaced by Mao, so be careful what you wish for). However, my pet peeve is lionizing the D-Day invasions and ignoring the fact that the Soviets were the ones who really beat the Germans. The Soviets sustained 10,700,000 combat deaths as compared to the US's 407,000. It's cool that Peter King showed enough interest to go to the Normandy beaches and pay homage to our war dead. Most Americans probably couldn't find France on a map, let alone find their way to Normandy. That said, I get bothered that few in this country recognize the role that the Soviets played in defeating the Nazis (and I'm primarily talking about Soviet citizens, as their leadership was criminally inept for much of the war and doesn't deserve plaudits). Either that or I just like playing the role of history snob. It dovetails nicely with European football snob.