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Hollande to lead 'southern D-Day' tributes, 70 years on

French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech in Paris, on July 26, 2014President Francois Hollande leads ceremonies on Friday to mark 70 years since the Allied invasion of southern France which, two months after D-Day, pushed the exhausted Nazi army back towards Germany and hastened the end of World War II in Europe. Joining Hollande will be 15 leaders from France’s former African colonies, in recognition of the key role troops from these countries played in liberating France from the scourge of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis. They and representatives of the other 13 countries that took part in the landings will attend an international ceremony on board the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, anchored off the southern city of Toulon. After the success of the Normandy beach landings, the Allies needed to open up a second front in France to squeeze the demoralised German army and retake the ports of Marseille and Toulon to resupply forces pouring into the hole smashed into the line on D-Day.

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