Kristen Wright, The Florida Holocaust Museum’s Writer and Digital Content Manager
Today marks the 72nd Anniversary of D-Day, the invasion by Allied forces of Nazi-occupied Europe on the beaches of Normandy. On the morning of June 6, 1944, 156,000 allied soldiers landed in Normandy, ready to liberate northern Europe from Nazi control.
During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region.
The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Nazi Germany.
By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans.