Just the Facts

Five Facts on D-Day

By Emma Petasis
June 6, 2019 | Blog

Thursday, June 6, is the 75thanniversary of D-Day, which marked a decisive turning point in World War II. These are the facts: 

1. D-Day was the largest land and water invasion in history.

With more than 13,000 aircrafts and 5,000 ships, the Allied troops landed on five French beaches to fight Nazi Germany. More than 156,000 American, British and Canadian troops landed in Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 and faced a contingent of German troops and artillery.[1]The name D-Day signified that it was the launch date of an important invasion.[2]

2. The D-Day invasion was planned for years. 

Years before the U.S. entered World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill were working behind the scenes to develop a strategy to defeat Nazi Germany. But the U.S. did not formally declare war against Germany, Japan and the Axis powers until after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Allies were not prepared for a large-scale invasion right away, but by 1944, saw an opportunity to strike at the heart of the Nazi regime in France.[3]

3. The allies managed to keep D-Day a secret from the Germans.

In order to guarantee success, D-Day was kept secret. Forming a disinformation campaign, the Germans were convinced that the D-Day invasion was just a diversionary tactic for the real operation and did not send additional troops to the beaches. By midnight on the day of the invasion, the allied forces had full control of the beaches, and would begin pushing into German-occupied territory throughout France. 

4. D-Day was originally scheduled for June 5. 

After postponing the operation multiple times, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower set June 5 as the fixed date for the invasion. Bad weather ultimately set in, forcing Eisenhower to decide on a 24-hour delay. When a break in the weather occurred the morning of June 5, the ships began to leave their ports and embark for the French beaches.[4]The weather ultimately cleared providing an opening for the allies to storm the beaches on June 6.

5. German troops surrendered the French capital shortly after D-Day.

D-Day marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany, and the fighting continued in France until August of 1944 when the allied forces had pushed their way into Paris. By August 25, just two and a half months after the D-Day invasion, German troops had surrendered in Paris.[5]






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