Today we honor his bravery and the sacrifices made by the thousands of other American, British, and Canadian troops who took part in Operation Overlord, the Allied offensive which liberated northern France from Nazi rule and set the stage for the final push on Berlin. More than 70,000 soldiers, including 30,000 Germans, lost their lives during the two-month campaign, which began 63 years ago today. The idea for an invasion of western Europe had been discussed by the British as early as 1940, but pressure to act was ratcheted up a notch in 1942 by Josef Stalin, who wanted a second front opened against Hitler in order to relieve his bleeding and beleaguered Soviet armies.
Dwight Eisenhower chose June 5 as the day the operation would begin, but a patch of bad weather prompted him to delay it for 24 hours. The Allies divided Normandy into five beaches which they codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword, and Juno. Mr. Fantacone and tens of thousands of other American GIs were tasked with securing the first two. If you see a WWII vet today, shake his hand and offer a word of thanks.
comments powered by Disqus
- Russian History Receives a Makeover That Starts With Ivan the Terrible
- Parsing Ronald Reagan’s Words for Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
- Here's a look at history of 'religious freedom' laws
- ‘Hamilton’ Puts Politics Onstage and Politicians in Attendance
- Earth Tectonic Plate Simulation Reveals Our Planet Has Changed A Lot In 200 Million Years
- History's Grandin Wins Bancroft Prize for "The Empire of Necessity"
- Nobel prize-winning scientist writes a history of science
- Ken Burns tackles history of cancer
- If historians have their way, Americans will soon learn how important religion has been in US history
- Role-playing history game gets students jazzed