Allied Army Invades Europe

June 6, 1944

By May 1940, German forces had occupied nearly all of France.  When news of a potential Allied invasion reached Nazi Germany in November 1943, Adolf Hitler placed General Erwin Rommel in charge of Germany’s defense.  Rommel oversaw fortification of the Atlantic Wall, a 1,670-mile series of coastal structures that stretched from Norway to the French-Spanish border.  The wall was reinforced with anti-tank obstacles and enhanced artillery positions along the French coast.

In January 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed commander of Operation Overlord, the Allied plan for a European invasion. The invasion was originally scheduled for June 5th, but weather caused it to be delayed by one day.  Within a week, over 325,000 Allied troops had landed at Normandy and began their march across France. The June 6th Normandy invasions were the largest seaborne invasion in history. The Allies suffered more than 200,000 casualties including almost 40,000 killed.

While the Allies were penetrating Nazi forces in France and Germany, the machinations of the Holocaust continued to engulf the Jews of Europe.  The invasion at Normandy hastened the downfall of Nazi Germany.

The photo shows a grave of a Jewish soldier at the Normandy American Cemetery.