On this day 74 years ago, more than 150,000 Allied soldiers landed on the heavily fortified beaches of Normandy, France for Operation Overlord (more commonly known as D-Day). The Operation was incredibly complex, involving intricate planning, huge numbers of soldiers and materials, and technology that had never before seen use. The overall goal was to open a second European front in the war against Nazi Germany, which would hopefully hasten the conflict’s end. Had the landings been unsuccessful, it would have taken the Allies several more years before another attempt could be made (meaning that it might not have been possible to attempt again at all).
If you are interested in the complex history of D-Day and World War II, the library has a few classic books that you should read ASAP:
D-Day: June 6th, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose
“Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day is the definitive history of World War II’s most pivotal battle, a day that changed the course of history.
D-Day is the epic story of men at the most demanding moment of their lives, when the horrors, complexities, and triumphs of life are laid bare. Distinguished historian Stephen E. Ambrose portrays the faces of courage and heroism, fear and determination—what Eisenhower called “the fury of an aroused democracy”—that shaped the victory of the citizen soldiers whom Hitler had disparaged. Drawing on more than 1,400 interviews with American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans, Ambrose reveals how the original plans for the invasion had to be abandoned, and how enlisted men and junior officers acted on their own initiative when they realized that nothing was as they were told it would be.
The action begins at midnight, June 5/6, when the first British and American airborne troops jumped into France. It ends at midnight June 6/7. Focusing on those pivotal twenty-four hours, it moves from the level of Supreme Commander to that of a French child, from General Omar Bradley to an American paratrooper, from Field Marshal Montgomery to a German sergeant.
Ambrose’s D-Day is the finest account of one of our history’s most important days.” -taken from Amazon.com
The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan
“The classic account of the Allied invasion of Normandy.
The Longest Day is Cornelius Ryan’s unsurpassed account of D-Day, a book that endures as a masterpiece of military history. In this compelling tale of courage and heroism, glory and tragedy, Ryan painstakingly recreates the fateful hours that preceded and followed the massive invasion of Normandy to retell the story of an epic battle that would turn the tide against world fascism and free Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany.
This book, first published in 1959, is a must for anyone who loves history, as well as for anyone who wants to better understand how free nations prevailed at a time when darkness enshrouded the earth.” -taken from Amazon.com
The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 by Rick Atkinson
“It is the twentieth century’s unrivaled epic: at a staggering price, the United States and its allies liberated Europe and vanquished Hitler. In the first two volumes of his bestselling Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson recounted how they fought through North Africa and Italy to the threshold of victory. Now he tells the most dramatic story of all―the titanic battle for Western Europe.
D-Day marked the commencement of the European war’s final campaign, and Atkinson’s riveting account of that bold gamble sets the pace for the masterly narrative that follows. The brutal fight in Normandy, the liberation of Paris, the disaster that was Operation Market Garden, the horrific Battle of the Bulge, and finally the thrust to the heart of the Third Reich―all these historic events and more come alive with a wealth of new material and a mesmerizing cast of characters. With The Guns at Last Light, the stirring #1 New York Times bestseller and final volume of this monumental trilogy, Atkinson has produced the definitive chronicle of the war that unshackled a continent and preserved freedom in the West.” -taken from Amazon.com
Thanks for reading!