The day of the long awaited invasion of western Europe in Normandy, France, 6 June 1944. After a long campaign of deception the allies attacked the coast of Normandy on five beaches to begin their march on Nazi Germany. Often explained as Decision Day, though this is entirely correct. The D stands for Day as generally used in military language. In this case it means an operation beginning on day D at hour H. Hence “Jour J“ in French.
City in the German state of Bavaria where the Nazis established their first concentration camp.
Short for Deutsches Afrikakorps. German expeditionary army, sent out in 1941 to support their Italian allies in their desert war in North Africa.
Dam Busters
Nickname for the group of pilots of 617 Squadron who attacked and destroyed some of the dams in the Ruhr valley in the night of 16-17 May 1943. Although this difficult and daring and attack was successful the damage to the German (war) effort was limited. Besides that a large number of foreign forced labourers and allied POW were killed. Eight out of 19 Lancasters were shot down. However the moral and propaganda value were quite high.
Small vessels, sometimes refitted (auxiliary) mine sweepers or cutters that mark swept sea lanes by placing buoys.
Short for Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or German Labour Party. Established by Anton Drexler in 1919. The principles of the party all had in common the perceived treason behind the frontlines during the Great War by Jews and Marxists. Hitler became a member of the party when as a military liaison officer he investigated extreme right wing parties in post war Germany. Hitler also influenced the addition of national socialist to the name of the party, thus becoming the NSDAP.
From the Greek: demos (the people) kratein (rules). Democracy is a form of government elected by the majority of the people in which the people can check on the leaders and have the government resign in case a majority of the people no longer agrees with the government.
Post war policy of the allies in Germany to punish Nazi war criminals and to remove known Nazis from positions of power or public service.
Depth charge
Projectile with a large amount of explosives in a barrel with a variable fuse pre-set to explode at a certain depth, causing a huge pressure wave capable of sinking of damaging a submarine or damaging or forcing it to surface. Can be dropped from vessels or aircraft.
Very light, fast and agile warship, intended to destroy large enemy ships by surprise attack and eliminating them by using torpedoes.
Deutsche Ahnenerbe
German for “inheritance from the ancestors”. Ideological institute of the SS, established in 1935 by amongst others Heinrich Himmler as a research institute that studied and published knowledge about its ancestors’ heritage or Geistesurgeschichte (prehistory of the mind) of the so-called Aryan race. They searched for scientific, archaeological and anthropological evidence that the Aryan race was superior to all other races.
Deutscher Luftsportverband (DLV)
The joining of four different air sports associations in 1993 to create one large military group of pilots. This merging was the logical predecessor of the later established Reichsluftfahrtministerium or Ministry of Aviation led by Hermann Göring.
A form of government where the power in a country is in the hands of one person, the dictator. Originally a Roman regime in case of an emergency where total power would rest with one person during six months in order to face a crisis.
Military unit, usually consisting of one upto four regiments and usually making up a corps. In theory a division consists of 10,000 to 20,000 men.
Death, Non Battle. Died, but not due to enemy.
Dodenherdenking, nationale
Dutch national commemoration on the 4 May, commemorating the war dead during and since World War 2. Introduced after the war as a day of national mourning. The flags in the whole country fly at half-mast and at 8 pm two minutes of silence are observed.
Dog tags
American term for the two identification tags worn around the neck. Primarily used for identification of the dead or wounded soldiers.
Died of injuries.
Died of wounds.
Dual State
Term introduced in 1939 by the German social democratic political scientist Ernst Fraenkel who had just immigrated to the USA. With this term he meant the form of government of Nazi Germany which he considered to be dual or double. On the one hand there was the “Normenstaat” or legal state bound by laws and rules and consisting of formal institutions, such as ministries and justice. On the other hand there was the “Massnahmenstaat” or prerogative state, non-statutary body under Hitler’s power meaning his authority was above the law. In reality this meant that everything done by order of or along Hitler’s lines had a “legitimate” basis, including crimes such as the ”night of the long knives” and the extermination of Jews.
British equivalent for the Ashcan, i.e. the British detention centre for high ranking Nazi officers.


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