By December 1944, the momentum of World War II was clearly in the Allies’ favor. The new front in Europe, opened on D-Day, was costly. But Germany was losing on all three fronts. Still, it reportedly took the appearance of P-51s with paper mache drop tanks to drive home the point to German leaders.
Italy was essentially lost, with German troops holding a small sliver of the northernmost territory. Russia was roaring back across the oil fields of eastern Europe, cutting Germany off from vital fuel sources. And American, Canadian and British forces were pushing for the German border.
Germs and pestilence—and not merely the people who bore them—have shaped inflection point after inflection point in our species’ timeline, from our first major successful foray out of Africa to the rise of Christianity, to even the United States’ bloody bid for independence.