Day 15: D-Day
On the night of June 6, 1944, President Roosevelt went on national radio to address the nation for the first time about the Normandy invasion. His speech took the form of a prayer.
The date and timing of the Normandy invasion had been top secret. During a national radio broadcast on June 5 about the Allied liberation of Rome, President Roosevelt made no mention of the Normandy operation, already underway at that time.
When he spoke to the country on June 6, the President felt the need to explain his earlier silence. Shortly before he went on the air, he added several handwritten lines to the opening of his speech that addressed that point. They read: “Last night, when I spoke to you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.”
These color photographs show the troops getting ready for the D-Day assault at an British port. Most of the color stills in the National Archives show the preparations rather than the invasion.
You can see more color photographs on the Media Matters blog.
Image: 111-C-1258, “These American troops have loaded their equipment onto an LCT and are waiting the signal for the assault against the Continent.”
Image: 111-SC-1237, “American troops at a British port descend into barges which will take them to troop ships from which they will launch the attack against Hitler’s Fortress Europe.”
Image: 111-SC-1248, “Medics and litter bearers going up the ramp of an LCT which will take them to France for the assault against Hitler’s Europe.”
Image: 111-SC-1232, “American troops at a British port descend into barges which will take them to troop ships from which they will launch the attack against Hitler’s Fortress Europe. Note Barrage balloons in the background.”
The Paratroopers of D-Day
When we think about the Normandy Invasion, most of us remember the troops landing on the beaches under heavy enemy fire. Just as important were the contributions of Airborne troops who parachuted into France before amphibious landing began.
More about the Airborne Division and "Operation Neptune" from the Eisenhower Library.
Today we begin “Around the World in 80 Days with the Roosevelts.” Follow along as we journey around the world chronicling two lifetimes of travel and the Roosevelts’ common commitment to diplomacy and human rights.
Day 1: Eleanor Roosevelt in the South Pacfic
From August 17-September 24, 1943, Eleanor Roosevelt undertook a 25,000 mile trip to the South Pacific as a representative of the American Red Cross. During her trip she made 17 stops in Australia, New Zealand and a number of small Pacific Islands, including Guadalcanal, Bora Bora, Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and Christmas Island.
Eleanor spent most of the trip visiting about 400,000 servicemen at military bases, hospitals, nursing homes and American Red Cross recreation clubs. She chronicled her experiences in her “My Day” columns, the proceeds from which she donated to the Red Cross.
On this day, May 14, 1948, the United States became the first country to recognize the State of Israel.
At midnight, the Provisional Government of Israel declared the establishment of the State of Israel. At 6:11 pm that same day, President Truman released a statement recognizing the new state and the provisional Jewish government as its de facto authority.
The following day, after issuing a response statement, armies from nearby Arab states invaded Israel, beginning the first Arab-Israeli war.
Photo: Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of Israel, presents a Torah, or Holy Scroll, to President Truman during a visit to the White House. Donor: Rabbi Phillip S. Bernstein. May 25, 1948.
Happy 130th Birthday, Harry S. Truman! (5/08/1884 - 12/26/1972)
Abbie Rowe, photographer.
The photo of Truman smiling while he announces the end of the war in Europe (on his 61st birthday no less) is always one of our favorites. It was also a big hit with our “junior digital curator” who was helping out during our Take your Child to Work Day here at the National Archives—and who also shares a birthday with the 33rd President. In his words: “He’s probably thinking ‘This is an AWESOME birthday present!’”
It’s the Birthday of President Harry S. Truman
A brief timeline on what would have been Harry’s 130th birthday-
- 1884: Harry S. Truman is born in Lamar, Missouri on May 8. As a young man, he works briefly as a timekeeper for a railroad construction contractor, then as a clerk in two Kansas City banks.
- 1906: Harry begins working with his father to run the family farm. He continues working as a farmer for more than ten years.
- 1905-1911: Harry serves in the Missouri National Guard. When the United States enters World War I in 1917, he helps to organize the 2nd Regiment of Missouri Field Artillery, which is quickly called into Federal service as the 129th Field Artillery and sent to France.
- 1919-1922: Harry runs a men’s clothing store in Kansas City with his wartime friend, Eddie Jacobson. The store fails in the postwar recession. Harry narrowly avoids bankruptcy, and through determination and over many years he pays off his share of the store’s debts.
- 1922: Harry is elected to be one of three judges of the Jackson County Court.
- 1934: Harry is elected to the United States Senate.
- July, 1944: Harry is nominated to run for Vice President with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- January 20, 1945: Harry takes the vice-presidential oath. After President Roosevelt’s unexpected death only eighty-two days later on April 12, 1945, Harry is sworn in as the nations’ 33rd President.
- May 7, 1945: Germany surrenders unconditionally one day before Harry’s 61st birthday.
- 1948: Harry wins reelection despite a widely expected defeat.
- 1953: Harry leaves the Presidency and retires to Independence, MO.
- 1972: Harry S. Truman dies on December 26, 1972.
Photo: President Truman on the celebration of his 61st birthday, the day after the unconditional surrender of Germany in World War II. May 8, 1945.
-from the Truman Library
The Defeat of German Nazi Forces
On this day in 1945, German General Alfred Jodl signed an unconditional surrender at Reims, France.
This photo was taken in the War Room of the Allied Supreme Headquarters. On General Jodl’s left is General Admiral Von Friedenburg of the German Navy, and on his right is Major Wilhelm Oxenius of the German general staff. May 7, 1945. U.S. Army.
from the Eisenhower Library