Was it necessary to invade the European continent to defeat Nazi Germany, or could the continual aerial bombing of towns and factories alone have done the job? Or was the invasion really mounted to forestall a Soviet victory and communist takeover of Europe? Some historians still debate the question.

D-Day

Code named Operation Overlord, the D-Day Invasion occurred on June 6, 1944, as elements of five Allied infantry and three Allied airborne divisions assaulted the Normandy coast of Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Under the overall command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the landings on Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, and Omaha beaches succeeded in establishing a foothold on the continent. Following an arduous campaign in Normandy and savage fighting across the German frontier, troops of the Western Allies met the Soviet Red Army, advancing from the East, and Nazi Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.

An American machine gunner sprints for cover while carrying his Browning .30-caliber machine gun as an ammunition carrier follows, his rifle slung across his back. This photo was taken in the French arrondissement of Sarreguemines at the height of the fighting in the Colmar Pocket during early February 1945.

D-Day

The Path of Heroism

By Stephen J. Ochs, PHD

On the morning of April 18, 1945, amid street fighting in rubble-strewn Nuremberg, Germany, 20-year-old U.S. Read more

Hitler did all in his power to create an impenetrable “Fortress Europa” and prevent an Allied invasion, but it wasn’t enough.

D-Day

Building the Atlantic Wall

By Allyn Vannoy

The popular image of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall (Atlantikwall) is one of massive bunkers and huge artillery pieces recessed in concrete casemates stretching the length of the Reich’s coastline. Read more

D-Day

Demise of the Japanese Navy

By Christopher Miskimon

The Japanese superbattleship Musashi was steaming east along with a fleet of other battleships, cruisers, and destroyers on their way toward what was expected to be a climactic battle at Leyte Gulf. Read more

D-Day

D-Day+1: Canadians at the Battle of Buron and Authie

By Herb Kugel

On June 7, 1944, D+1, two volunteer Canadian 3rd Division, 9th Infantry Brigade regiments, the North Nova Scotia Highlanders (the North Novas) and the 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment (the Sherbrooke Fusiliers)—together with volunteer units from the Camerons of Ottawa and Forward Observers from the 14th Field Regiment—fought an important but now generally forgotten battle in Normandy. Read more

D-Day

“John Ford’s Navy”: A Filmmaker in the OSS

By Michael D. Hull

With such award-winning films as Stagecoach, Young Mr. Lincoln, Drums Along the Mohawk, The Grapes of Wrath, The Long Voyage Home, and How Green Was My Valley behind him, John Ford was one of Hollywood’s most respected directors by the time World War II broke out in 1939. Read more