National Archives News

Display Commemorates 75th D-Day Anniversary

By Kerri Lawrence  | National Archives News

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2019 — The National Archives marks a historic day in world history this week with a display of featured documents and public programs related to D-day.

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Landings at Omaha beach, 6/6/1944 (National Archives Catalog Identifier 513173)

Seventy-five years ago, on June 6, 1944, American, British, and Canadian forces stormed the 50-mile stretch of coastline in northwest France in the largest seaborne invasion in history. The invasion of Normandy, France,commonly known as D-day and codenamed Operation Overlord, was a turning point in World War II (1939–45). It was the initial assault in a massive operation that would eventually liberate Western Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany. Less than a year later, on May 7, 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender.  

On D-day, more than 150,000 Allied troops, 7,000 ships, and more than 13,000 aircraft crossed the English Channel and attacked the German-occupied territory. Twenty-four thousand paratroopers and glidermen dropped in from the sky, and the other troops stormed ashore from ships. While there is no official casualty figure for D-day, Allied casualty figures have generally been estimated at 10,000. As many as a quarter of a million Allied and German troops were killed, wounded, or went missing during the Battle of Normandy, which lasted until August 1944.  

The National Archives, which holds important documents from American history, will feature several key images, documents, and artifacts related to D-day. The display will include a collection of documents showing the dogged determination and endurance of the Allied forces that made D-day a triumph. The display includes General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s D-day Statement to Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force.

The document display will run in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Museum through July 2, 2019. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and admission is free.

In addition, former Secretary of Defense and Vietnam veteran Chuck Hagel will be the keynote speaker for a screening and discussion of the film The True Glory, an epic filmed record of the Normandy invasion. This special screening on Thursday, June 6, at 7 p.m. is free and open to the public, and will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Museum.  

More information on National Archives records related to D-day is available online. In addition, see the online exhibit "D-Day and the Normandy Invasion" from the National Archives on Google Arts and Culture and the “Pieces of History” blog posts, 75th Anniversary of D-Day and An Unforgettable Day.

The National Archives D-day program and featured exhibit is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of The Boeing Company.