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.

D-Day

Dudley Clarke’s Commandos

By Jon Diamond

After the British Expeditionary Force’s (BEF) debacle at Dunkirk in northern France in May 1940, the new prime minister, Winston Churchill, needed a novel type of fighting force to strike back at Nazi Europe. Read more

American GIs aided French children who suffered the raves of combat.

D-Day

Normandy’s Little Victims

By Kevin Hymel

War spared no one. As modern armies clashed in France’s Normandy countryside, French civilians found themselves in the crossfire or on the receiving end of bombs and heavy weapons. Read more

Bill Millin Played the Bagpipes during the Landing on D-Day.

D-Day

Piper Bill on the D-Day Beach

By Michael E. Haskew

The image of the Scottish piper standing erect under fire was commemorated in the film The Longest Day nearly two decades after the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944. Read more