I don't know, dear, but they wouldn't have used a bidet

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The Independent Online
A CHILD'S Guide to the D- Day Landings:

Mummy, what is D-Day about?

It's very complicated, dear.

Well, why did our soldiers invade France 50 years ago? Didn't we like the French very much?

We weren't fighting the French, dear. We were fighting the Germans.

Then why didn't we just invade Germany?

Because the Germans were in France.

Then who was in Germany?

The Germans were there too, dear. But they were allowed to be in Germany. That was their own country.

Weren't they allowed to be in France?

No.

But when we were on holiday in France last year, there were lots of Germans there then.

The Germans are allowed to be there now. As long as they don't bring guns and order people about, and shoot them, they can go anywhere.

Did they do that in France in the war? With guns and everything?

Yes. They did that everywhere. They did it in Holland and Norway and Russia and Poland and everywhere.

Gosh. Were there enough Germans to do all that?

Just. Most of the people left behind were old or women or children or politicians.

But if all the healthy Germans had gone abroad and taken their guns with them, why didn't we invade Germany if there was nobody left there who could fight?

Perhaps Mr Churchill didn't think of that.

Who was Mr Churchill?

He was our leader.

Did he land in Normandy? Was he the first to run up the beach?

No, he was too old for that. He was a very old man who stayed behind in London to smoke his cigar and drink his brandy and tell us how to win the war.

So we kept all our old men and children, like the Queen, at home too, did we?

Yes.

I see. So the war was fought to get the Germans out of France, was it?

Well, eventually. But it was started to get the Germans out of Poland and Czechoslovakia. You see, we were friends with the Poles and promised that if anyone invaded them and tried to boss them around, we would come to their help.

And did we get the Germans out of Poland?

After a long time, yes.

And then did the Poles run their own country?

No.

Why not?

Because the Russians invaded them and bossed them around.

Oh. Did we come to the Poles' help again and fight the Russians?

No.

Why not?

I'm not exactly sure, dear.

Well, anyway, when we had landed in Normandy and beaten the Germans, was the war over?

No. We still had to beat the Japanese.

Were they in France too?

No. They had invaded countries like Burma and Malaya, and were bossing people around. And it looked as it they were going to invade India as well.

And we had made a promise to go and help the Burma and Malaya and India people if anyone did that?

Well, not go exactly. We were there already.

Gosh, that was clever of us] We knew that the Japanese were coming, did we? And we were waiting in ambush for them?

No, nothing like that at all. We had been there for a long time already, running those countries, so we had lots of guns there already.

So we had gone put to Burma and Malaya and India with our guns to tell the people what to do?

Yes, dear.

Just like the Germans did in France and Holland and Poland and Czechoslovakia . . .

No, dear, it wasn't the same.

And the Japanese were helping to get rid of us, just as we were helping to get rid of the Germans?

It's much more complicated than that, dear. Look, why don't you just ask one more question?

Well, why was it called D-Day?

Well, D was short for . . . I haven't the faintest idea what it was short for. Maybe it wasn't short for anything. Maybe they had already had A-Day and B- Day and C-Day . . . No, they wouldn't have had B-Day.

Why not?

Well, it sounds too much like a bidet.

What's a bidet?

Oh, for heaven's sake go and watch television or something.

But it's all D-Day on TV, and I don't know what it's all about . . .

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