War and Conflict

The War in Europe

What happened at Normandy?

Normandy, a region in northwestern France that lies along the English Channel, is known for the June 6, 1944, arrival of Allied troops, which proved to be a turning point in World War II (1939–45). Officially called Operation Overlord (but known historically as D day) and headed by General Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969) of the United States, the initiative had been in the planning since 1943 and it constituted the largest seaborne invasion in history. After several delays due to poor weather, the Allied troops crossed the English Channel and arrived on the beaches of Normandy on the morning of June 6. Brutal fighting ensued that day, with heavy losses on both sides. At the end of the day, the Allied troops had taken hold of the beaches—a firm foothold that would allow them to march inland against the Nazis, eventually pushing them back to Germany. While it was a critical Allied victory (which history has treated as the beginning of the end for German chancellor and führer Adolf Hitler), the invasion at Normandy was still to be followed by 11 more months of bloody conflict; Germany would not surrender until May 7 of the following year.


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