In military jargon, D-Day can be any targeted day. But the one that was destined to be the D-Day for the rest of history was June 6, 1944. That day, shortly after dawn on a cloudy and windy morning, the biggest ever combined land, sea and air military operation was launched on the cold beaches of northern France, at that time under Nazi occupation. It was the most audacious event in World War II and the one that would seal the war’s fate. As the commander in chief of the invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower told the thousands of soldiers participating in it: “You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of the Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.” Beforehand there were months of careful preparation, of deceiving the enemy over when, where and how the invasion would take place, of secrecy, diversion of military efforts, of gathering information on the thinking and weaknesses of the enemy. The result was such an accomplishment that for days afterwards the Germans did not know whether it was the real invasion or another cat-and-mouse ploy to divert their defending forces.

First to land were the American soldiers, then the British and the Canadians and other nationalities, all under a thunderous rain of fire. Thousands of lives were sacrificed. The stakes were high. After almost five years of war, it was the decisive struggle. Success or failure would decide the outcome of the war.

As soon as the allied forces landed on the shores of France, Eisenhower’s headquarters released a simple communiqué that prompted the biggest headlines in the reporting of the war, like this one in an extra edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Newspaper editing rooms went mad. One after another, newspapers began publishing extra editions reporting on every step in the battle to re-conquer Europe from Hitler’s thugs.

From then on, every piece of news was encouraging. The war had taken a decisive turn in favour of the allies

BREAKING NEWS Front pages through history

San Francisco Chronicle, US

Tuesday, June 6 1944
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