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D-day, June 6, 1944, was the first and most critical day in Operation Overlord, the Western Allies’ effort to force the German troops out of western Europe during World War II. It was the beginning of the Allies’ efforts to create a beachhead on the Cotentin Peninsula from which the liberation of the rest of France and ultimately western Europe could be secured. This entry first describes the planning for the attack. Next, it details the German and Allied forces and the actual invasion. The entry concludes with a discussion of the aftermath.

Planning

The D-day landings on the beaches of Normandy in northern France were years in the making. The idea for such an effort dated to the United States’ entrance into the war in 1941. ...

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