On June 6, 1944, the Allied powers launched the largest amphibious invasion in world history, consisting of 150,000 troops under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower landing at five beaches along the coast of Normandy, France. The successful operation marked the beginning of the liberation of Europe, culminating in the defeat of Nazi Germany less than a year later.
This month, in commemoration of the 76th anniversary of D-Day, the Eisenhower Institute honors the Allied soldiers who, through their sacrifice, secured a beachhead for the war against European fascism.
Every time I come back to these beaches, or any day when I think about that day 20 years ago now, I say once more we must find some way to work to peace, and really to gain an eternal peace for this world.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1964
In a recent blog post, Susan Eisenhower reflected on General Eisenhower’s decision to launch the operation and the sacrifice of the Allied troops. She also participated in video commemorations for the U.S. Embassy in France, the Normandy Institute, and Gettysburg’s One Hundred Nights of Taps.
“We have to understand the underlying conditions that brought us to that place, that were responsible for that enormous sacrifice that we still talk about today,” she said in her remarks for the Normandy Institute. “History lives.”
The story of D-Day is a key case study in the Eisenhower Institute’s Strategy and Leadership in Transformational Times program, led by Susan Eisenhower, in which students learn to analyze the tenets of strategic thinking and apply them to contemporary challenges.
Honoring the legacy of D-Day also represents a core part of the Eisenhower Institute’s public mission. Last year, the Eisenhower Institute and Dwight D. Eisenhower Society hosted a symposium commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. You can watch lectures from the event, featuring Susan Eisenhower and other historians, at C-SPAN’s website.
Photo by Miranda Harple