Online Primary Sources for American History: D-Day

June 6, 1944 saw thousands of aircraft and ships carrying 150,000 men and vast tons of material heading for a fifty-mile wide section of beaches in Normandy. The second front in Europe had been opened; Operation Overlord had begun against Festung Europa. This was the culmination of years of planning and preparation. The Casablanca Conference (United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States. The Conferences at Washington, 1941-1942, and Casablanca, 1943)  set the stage for Allied cooperation for the invasion of Europe; it is at this conference that the term “unconditional surrender” is mentioned.

The presidential libraries of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Significant Documents Collection contains numerous letters and memos; Franklin D. Roosevelt, Papers as President: The President’s Secretary’s File (PSF), 1933-1945 features incoming and outgoing correspondence) and Dwight D Eisenhower (World War II: D-Day, The Invasion of Normandy includes his “order of the day” for June 6 and his “in case of failure” note along with numerous papers and reports) should be consulted for primary sources. The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States should also be perused for documents issued by Roosevelt in his official capacity.

Dozens of after action reports and other firsthand accounts of various American and British elements are available.

The Veterans History project sponsored by the Library of Congress has a special section for D-Day interviews; others are found at the Drop Zone Virtual Museum,  PBS, and D-Day Museum (Portsmouth)

The BBC has some historic D-Day broadcasts, and several videos/documentaries (including an episode from Victory at Sea) are available online as well. The Imperial War Museums has a special section on D-Day containing audio-visual material.


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