D-Day World War II: June 6th 1944

Updated on May 03, 2023. Originally added on Jun 05, 2019 by Kathy Pinna

With Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939 World War 2 began. The United States didn't enter the war until 1941 when Germany's ally Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.

The war was challenging not only on the military, but also for civilians. Incessant bombing of cities like The Blitz on London and other cities in Great Britain lasted around 8 months, every night, all night long.

Rationing of foodstuffs and other goods needed for the war effort, victory gardens, nights spent in the Tube, blackouts, and sending your children to the countryside for safety.

By 1944, the need to end the many years' long war became desperate. And so came D-day in 1944 - a plan to reclaim occupied ally France from the Nazis and to gain a platform from which to invade, and destroy, Nazism in Germany.

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Archival World War 2 D-Day Footage

About D-Day: June 6 1944: Under the command of British Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, 8 different navies - comprised of 6,939 vessels: 1,213 warships, 4,126 landing craft of various types, 736 ancillary craft, and 864 merchant vessels, involving 195,700 naval personnel (52,889 of whom were American) - invaded the coast of Normandy on 5 beaches in France. Accompanying the naval assault, 2,200 British, Canadian, and US bombers attacked targets along the coast and further inland.

Allied casualties on the first day were at least 10,000 - 4,414 were confirmed dead. The Germans lost 1,000 men. Civilian casualties were around 3,000. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the goal was to liberate France from Nazi invaders. While D-Day wasn't initially as successful as hoped, Paris was liberated by August. By May of the following year, the Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of the Nazis.

Total Fatalities: From 1939 until the end of World War 2 it is believed that about 70 - 85 million people (an estimated 3% of the world's population at the time) died in the war - troops and civilians included.

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