We’re Still Living in the World That D-Day Made

We’re Still Living in the World That D-Day Made
British World War II veteran John King is greeted by a young girl prior to a service at the Pegasus Bridge memorial in Benouville, France, June 5, 2024 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo)

Thursday marked the 80th anniversary of a defining event in world history: the D-Day invasion. The operation by U.S., British and Canadian forces to cross the English Channel and land at the beaches of Normandy in France on June 6, 1944, launched the final phase of World War II in the European theater.  The goal was to open a second front against the German army, which was incurring heavy losses in the east against advancing Soviet forces. 

To this day, it remains the largest combined air, land and sea military operation in history. Involving 7,000 ships and well over 300,000 personnel who traversed 12 miles of water to assault a 50-mile beachfront, the operation was a military and logistical marvel. The scale of the operation and the subsequent race to Berlin make the Normandy invasion a major event in its own right.

But the Normandy invasion is also significant for how it subsequently shaped international politics, for the rest of the 20th century and even today. This can be seen in three ways.

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