General Dwight D. Eisenhower's Order of the Day (1944)Almost immediately after France fell to the Nazis in 1940, the Allies planned a cross-Channel assault on the German occupying forces. At the Quebec Conference in August 1943, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt reaffirmed the plan, which was code-named Overlord. Although Churchill acceded begrudgingly to the operation, historians note that the British still harbored persistent doubts about whether Overlord would succeed.
This order was issued by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to encourage Allied soldiers taking part in the D-day invasion.
The decision to mount the invasion was cemented at the Tehran Conference held in November and December 1943. Joseph Stalin, on his first trip outside the Soviet Union since 1912, pressed Roosevelt and Churchill for details about the plan, particularly the identity of the supreme commander of Overlord.
Churchill and Roosevelt told Stalin that the invasion "would be possible" by August 1, 1944, but that no decision had yet been made to name a supreme commander. To this latter point, Stalin pointedly rejoined, "Then nothing will come of these operations. Who carries the moral and technical responsibility for this operation?" Churchill and Roosevelt acknowledged the need to name the commander without further delay. Shortly after the conference ended, Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower to that position.
By May 1944, over 2,876,000 Allied troops were amassed in southern England. While awaiting deployment orders, they prepared for the assault by practicing with live ammunition. The largest armada in history, made up of more than 4,000 American, British, and Canadian ships, lay in wait. More that 1,200 planes stood ready to deliver seasoned airborne troops behind enemy lines, to silence German ground resistance as best they could, and to dominate the skies of the impending battle theater.
Against a tense backdrop of uncertain weather forecasts, disagreements in strategy, and related timing dilemmas predicated on the need for optimal tidal conditions, Eisenhower decided before dawn on June 5 to proceed with Overlord. Later that same afternoon, he scribbled a note intended for release, accepting responsibility for the decision to launch the invasion and full blame should the effort to create a beachhead on the Normandy coast fail.
Much more polished is his printed Order of the Day for June 6, 1944, which Eisenhower began drafting in February. The order was distributed to the 175,000-member expeditionary force on the eve of the invasion.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the order of the day, "Full victory--nothing else" to paratroopers somewhere in England, just before they board their airplanes to participate in the first assault in the invasion of the continent of Europe
Library of CongressSummary
Photo shows General Eisenhower talking with American paratroopers on the evening of June 5, 1944, as they prepared for the Battle of Normandy. The men are part of Company E, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, at the 101st Airborne Division's camp in Greenham Common, England. Photo includes Sgt. Fred Lindsey holding a sketchbook, behind and to the left of Eisenhower's back (Source: Chad Lindsey, 2014), Russell Wilmarth, behind Eisenhower's chin (Source: Alan Offen, 2009); Lt. Wallace C. Strobel with a "23" tag (Source: "Dwight David Eisenhower: The Centennial, CMH Pub 71-40); possibly Ralph "Bud" Thomas or Arthur L. Wegener, to the left of Strobel (Source: Eileen Thomas Hayes, 2012 and Sandra Edwards, 2021); probably Corporal Donald E. Kruger, in front row, far right, wearing a musette bag on his chest (Source: Alice Kruger Bruns and Jason Bezis, 2013); and Joseph Burdette May, Jr. (1920-1995), above Eisenhower's thumb (Source: Ashley Barnes, 2018).
WikipediaThe June 6, 1944, order of the day was issued by Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force General Dwight D. Eisenhower to Allied forces on the eve of D-Day, the first day of the invasion of Normandy. The message was intended to impress upon the troops the importance of their mission which Eisenhower called a "Great Crusade". Eisenhower had been drafting the order since February 1944 and recorded a spoken version on May 28, that was broadcast on British and American radio on D-Day.
The invasion of Normandy and Operation Overlord as a whole was a significant moment in World War II. A British, American and Canadian Allied Expeditionary Force landed in northern France on June 6, 1944, (D-Day) to begin the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany. Millions of troops were massed in England under the command of Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Normandy landings were the largest amphibious warfare operation ever launched, with more than 166,000 crossing the English Channel to Normandy. As part of the planning, Eisenhower began drafting an order of the day, to be distributed to the invading troops, in February 1944.
The order is addressed to the "soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force ... about to embark upon the Great Crusade". It reminds the men that "the eyes of the world are upon you" and that the "hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you" before recognizing the contributions made by those fighting the Germans on other fronts. Eisenhower warns the men that the enemy is expected to "fight savagely" but that the "United Nations" have defeated German armies elsewhere and that the Allied air offensive has inflicted great damage; he also notes the Allied superiority in men, weaponry and munitions. He concludes by asking his men to pray for God to bless "this great and noble undertaking".