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What is D-Day? How the Normandy landings led to Germany’s defeat in World War II | CNN

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What is D-Day? How the Normandy landings led to Germany’s defeat in World War II | CNN



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June 6, 2024 marks 80 years since D-Day, the first day of the Normandy landings that laid the foundations for the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

The invasion – codenamed Operation Overlord – saw of tens of thousands of troops from countries including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada landing on five stretches of the coastline of Normandy, France – codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches.

Planning for D-Day began more than a year in advance, and the Allies carried out substantial military deception to confuse the Germans as to when and where the invasion would take place.

The operation was originally scheduled to begin on June 5, 1944, when a full moon and low tides were expected to coincide with good weather, but storms forced a 24-hour delay. Allied divisions began landing on the five beaches at 6:30 a.m. on June 6.

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What does D-Day stand for?

The term ‘D-Day’ was military code for the beginning of an important operation, with the first ‘D’ being short for ‘Day.’ This means that D-Day actually stands for ‘Day-Day.’

According to the Royal British Legion, the phrase ‘D-Day’ was used fairly often before the Allied invasion in June 1944. After this, however, the two became synonymous, and now D-Day is commonly understood to refer to the beginning of Operation Overlord.

D-Day saw unprecedented cooperation between international armed forces, with more than 2 million troops in the UK in preparation for the invasion, according to the Imperial War Museums (IWM).

Most of these troops were American, British and Canadian, the IWM reports, but troops also came from Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Poland to participate in Operation Overlord.

The Allied troops’ invasion was coordinated across air, land and sea, in what can be described as amphibious landings.

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These were preceded by an extensive bombing campaign to damage German defenses, as well as the employment of deception tactics.

Operation Bodyguard was an umbrella term for the deception strategy leading up to the Allies’ invasion of Europe in June 1944. Operation Fortitude was a tactic under this umbrella specifically related to the Normandy invasion, and was intended to make Nazi Germany believe that the initial Normandy attacks were merely a diversion and that the true invasion would take place elsewhere.

According to the IWM, Fortitude North intended to trick the Germans into believing that the Allies would attack Norway, and Fortitude South was designed to convince the Germans that the Allies were going to invade Pas de Calais, a French department northeast of Normandy that is closer to the UK.

The US troops were assigned to Utah beach at the base of the Cotentin Peninsular and Omaha Beach at the northern end of the Normandy coast. The British subsequently landed on Gold Beach, followed by the Canadians at Juno, and finally the British at Sword, the easternmost point of the invasion.

By midnight, the troops had secured their beachheads and moved further inland from Utah, Gold, Juno and Sword.

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However, not all the landings were successful; US forces suffered substantial losses at Omaha Beach, where strong currents forced many landing craft away from their intended positions, delaying and hampering the invasion strategy.

Heavy fire from German positions on the steep cliffs, which had not been effectively destroyed by Allied bombing before the invasion, also caused casualties.

According to the IWM, Germany’s reaction to Operation Overlord was “slow and confused.”

Weather conditions on June 6 were still poor, many senior commanders were not at their posts, and Operation Fortitude convinced Adolf Hitler that the Normandy invasion was a feint before a bigger attack at Pas de Calais.

Germany’s air force was in action elsewhere, countering American bombing operations over Germany. Its navy ships were docked in ports or already destroyed by the Allies. This left only the German army to defend against Operation Overlord, according to the IWM.

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On top of this, the success of Operation Fortitude meant that many army units were kept away from the Normandy battlefield until July, as an attack in Pas de Calais was still expected.

German troops manning coastal defenses “did as much as they could have been expected to,” the IWM says, before eventually being “silenced” and Allied units advanced inland.

On D-Day alone, around 4,440 Allied troops were confirmed dead, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), with more than 5,800 troops wounded or missing.

Because Omaha Beach was the bloodiest landing beach, the US Army lost the most men in the amphibious landings. Some 2,500 American troops died in the beach assault and airborne operations on D-Day, according to the CWGC.

The precise number of German casualties on the day is unknown, but they are estimated to be between 4,000 and 9,000.

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Of the tens of thousands of troops that stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, 44 were soldiers, sailors and airmen from Bedford, Virginia, in the US.

Within minutes of reaching Omaha Beach, 16 of these men were killed and four were wounded. Another Bedford soldier was killed elsewhere on Omaha Beach, and three others were presumed killed in action, bringing Bedford’s D-Day fatality figure to 20 men.

According to the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, Bedford suffered the highest known per capita D-Day loss in the US.

Despite securing a stronghold on the French coast on D-Day, the Allied forces faced the risk that German bombardment could push them back into the sea.

They needed to build up troop numbers and equipment in Normandy faster than the Germans, allowing for a continued invasion into mainland Europe.

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The Allies used their air power to slow the German advance toward Normandy by blowing up bridges, railways and roads across the region. This allowed the Allies to gain total control of Normandy 77 days later and move on toward Paris, which they liberated in August 1944.

The US Department of Defense calls D-Day the “successful beginning of the end of Hitler’s tyrannical regime.” The IWM calls it the “most significant victory of the Western Allies in the Second World War.”

By being able to get forces into Normandy, the Allies were able to begin their advance into northwest Europe. Though World War II lasted nearly another year in Europe, the success of Operation Overlord led to the liberation of France and allowed the Allies to fight the Germans in Nazi-occupied Europe.

The US’ National World War II Museum says that a good way to appreciate the significance of D-Day is to imagine what would have happened if the operation had failed. According to the museum, another landing would have not been possible for at least a year.

In this time, Hitler could have strengthened Nazi-occupied Europe’s coastal defenses, developed aircraft and weapons, bombed the UK even more heavily and continued his killing campaign, the museum says.

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Fighting by the Allies on the western front and Russian soldiers on the eastern front eventually led to the defeat of the German Nazi forces.

On May 7, 1945, the German Third Reich signed an unconditional surrender at Reims, France. Victory in Europe (V-E) Day is celebrated the following day as that’s when the armistice went into effect.

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More Democratic lawmakers call for Joe Biden to withdraw from election race

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More Democratic lawmakers call for Joe Biden to withdraw from election race

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Eight more Democratic lawmakers, including a third US senator, have called for Joe Biden to withdrawn from this year’s White House presidential race, deepening the peril for his campaign for re-election.

In a joint statement on Friday morning, four US House members — Jared Huffman, Mark Pocan, Chuy Garcia and Marc Veasey — said it was time for the 81-year-old president to “pass the torch to a new generation of Democratic leaders”.

“We must face the reality that widespread public concerns about your age and fitness are jeopardising what should be a winning campaign,” the politicians added. House Democrats Sean Casten, Greg Landsman and Zoe Lofgren also called on Biden to drop out on Friday morning.

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Meanwhile, New Mexico senator Martin Heinrich became the third Democratic member of the upper chamber of Congress to urge Biden to drop out, joining Jon Tester of Montana and Vermont’s Peter Welch.

“This moment in our nation’s history calls for a focus that is bigger than any one person,” Henrich said, adding it was “in the best interests of our country” for the president to end his campaign.

Biden insisted on Friday that he would remain in the race, saying in a statement he “look[ed] forward to getting back on the campaign trail next week to continue exposing the threat of Donald Trump’s Project 2025 agenda”.

The president has been isolating at his holiday home in Delaware since testing positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. White House doctor Kevin O’Connor said on Friday that Biden’s symptoms had “improved meaningfully” and he would continue taking Paxlovid, the antiviral drug.

The new wave of lawmakers calling for Biden to quit comes as Democratic party grandees such as former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as the megadonors crucial to funding his campaign, heap pressure on him behind the scenes.

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The Financial Times reported on Thursday that donors and other senior party operatives believe Biden is very close to a decision to exit.

Chris Coons, the Democratic senator and close Biden ally, said on Friday that the president was getting the necessary advice to make a decision about his political future.

“I am confident he is hearing what he needs to hear,” he said while speaking on a panel at the Aspen Security Forum.

But Coons — who insisted Biden was “strong” and “capable” enough to carry on — acknowledged the unease within the Democratic party, saying: “There is a lot of concern and anxiety because the stakes are so significant.”

The latest interventions came a day after Trump formally accepted the Republican party’s nomination for president, less than a week after he narrowly escaped assassination in Pennsylvania.

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The former president has surged ahead of Biden in the polls despite his recent criminal convictions, building a lead across the crucial swing states that will decide November’s vote.

About 30 members of Congress have now said Biden needs to drop his re-election bid, a view shared privately by many more who have not yet gone public.

However, some Democrats, including many progressives, have supported him. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used an Instagram livestream in the early hours of Friday to fiercely defend the president and accuse “donors” and “elites” of trying to cast him and vice-president Kamala Harris aside.

Biden’s disastrous debate performance against Trump last month sparked panic in the Democratic party over his age and fitness for office. After testing positive for Covid in Nevada he was seen apparently struggling to ascend a staircase into Air Force One to return home.

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Escaped prisoner found in Georgia 30 years later, using the identity of a dead child

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Escaped prisoner found in Georgia 30 years later, using the identity of a dead child

Steven Johnson escaped from Mill Creek Correctional Facility in Salem, Ore., during a prison work detail in 1994. He was arrested on Tuesday in Macon, Ga., where had had assumed the identity of a dead child.

Oregon Department of Corrections/Bibb County Sheriff’s Office


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Oregon Department of Corrections/Bibb County Sheriff’s Office

An Oregon fugitive that escaped from prison 30 years ago was arrested at his apartment on Tuesday afternoon in Macon, Ga. According to authorities, he had been living under the identity of a dead child.

Steven Craig Johnson, 70, fled from a prison work detail at the Mill Creek Correctional Facility in Salem, Ore., in 1994. He was serving a state prison sentence for three counts of sex abuse and one count of attempted sodomy.

Johnson was listed on the Oregon Department of Corrections “Most Wanted” list. He was described as a pedophile who “presents a high probability of victimizing pre-teen boys.”

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At the time of his arrest, Johnson was using the alias William Cox. According to the U.S. Marshals Service, Johnson stole the identity of a child who died in Texas in 1962 after obtaining the child’s birth certificate and Social Security number in 1995.

Johnson secured a Georgia driver’s license in 1998, and had been living in Macon since 2011. The Oregon Corrections Department requested the U.S. Marshals to take on the search for Johnson in 2015. After pursuing multiple leads, new technology used by the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service helped uncover new leads this year.

The facility Johnson escaped from was a minimum-security prison with no fence around it. Mill Creek prison closed in June 2021 under an order from former Gov. Kate Brown.

Johnson was booked into Bibb County Jail after arrest. He currently awaits extradition to Oregon.

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Video: Trump Accepts the Republican Nomination

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Video: Trump Accepts the Republican Nomination

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Trump Accepts the Republican Nomination

Former President Donald J. Trump concluded the Republican National Convention on Thursday with a speech that ran for more than an hour and a half.

[music: “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood] I am running to be president for all of America, not half of America. Because there is no victory in winning for half of America. So tonight, with faith and devotion, I proudly accept your nomination for President of the United States. Thank you. We will very quickly make America great again. Thank you very much.

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