50 facts and figures about D-Day | World News
Stacker compiled a list of 50 facts and figures that defined the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944. Sources include the D-Day Center, Department of Defense, and the White House, as well as media reports, historical accounts, and information from memorial sites and museums.
By the late spring of 1944, Nazi Germany was being squeezed from two sides. Allied forces in Western Europe had slowed Adolph Hitler’s ruthless and relentless campaign of conquest and murder across the continent. In the East, the Russians were putting enormous pressure on German forces locked in a brutal war of attrition. Nazi Germany, however, was still firmly lodged in the continental fortress it had created, and scores of conquered nations were suffering under the brutality of their occupation.
Then came D-Day.
On that day, Allied planes, ships, vehicles, supplies, and men from the U.K., U.S., France, and Canada stormed the coast of occupied France’s Normandy region in numbers so staggering they’re hard to comprehend. The most massive undertaking in the history of warfare, the Normandy landings—or D-Day—were years in the making. Supported by meticulous planning and cunning deception, D-Day was a gargantuan effort to dislodge from Europe one of the most effective and destructive war machines ever assembled.
For the individual human beings who stormed the beaches, however, it was a day of chaos, terror, and death; Normandy became the final resting place for thousands.
The initial punch of the D-Day landings was the start of a grueling, months-long battle that culminated with the liberation of Nazi-occupied Paris. The German defenders, however, did everything they could to prevent that from happening. The Nazis used the wealth they plundered from the countries they conquered—not to mention armies of enslaved laborers they captured—to construct defensive fortifications that remain among the largest, most robust military entrenchments ever built. Those fortifications were manned by well-armed and battle-hardened German troops who fought savagely to defend the real estate they were charged with holding.
The result was one of the most epic battles in human history. Keep reading to learn 50 fascinating facts and figures behind one of history’s most consequential days at the beach.
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