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Importance of Operation Overlord in the US History
The United States (US) has grown to become a global political and economic
superpower. However, this ascension to the top of the world has not been an easy journey; rather,
it has taken enormous efforts by the nation and various significant events in the country's history.
One of these significant events is Operation Overlord. Operation Overlord, the code name for the
Battle of Normandy, was a successful invasion of Western Europe in 1944. Its main aim was to
invade German-occupied territories and end the Nazi reign over Europe (Greenwald, 2019). In
this operation, the US collaborated with other nations to form the Allied forces and fight against
the dominance and rule of Nazis in Europe. The operation's success positioned the US as one of
the politically superior nations in the world and opened the way for the end of World War II.
This paper explores this event to explain the dynamics and details of the operation and the
significance of the event to the US and its history. Operation Overlord did not just ensure the
defeat of Germany by the Allied Forces in France, but it also accelerated the end of World
War II and positioned the US as a world political and security superpower.
Operation Overlord was simply the codename given to the invasion of western Europe
through Normandy. After the beginning of World War II, Germany invaded and occupied
Western Europe, where it was rapidly gaining control and dominance over other powerful states
such as France, the United Kingdom (UK), and the Soviet Union (Bailey, 2018). The dominance
and control of the Nazis over Western Europe served as a security threat to the region, with
Germany threatening to take over Europe. This dominance highlighted the success of the Nazis
and Germany in World War II, and without invading the Germans and their territories, European
nations risked a German conquest over the area. Notably, Germany had already invaded and
occupied Northwestern France in May 1940, while it had defeated and cut off the British, forcing
their evacuation from Dunkirk (Kennedy, 1999). Thus, Operation Overlord was an invasion
mission by the allied forces, consisting mainly of the US, the UK, Canada, France, and the
Soviet Union, to join forces and stage a major Allied invasion in France to liberate the nation
from Nazi rule and stop the control and dominance of the Germans in Western Europe.
While Operation Overlord occurred on June 6, 1944, the invasion took several years to
plan and indicated the beginning of the battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to
August 1944. Greenwald (2019) indicates that this operation is the largest known invasion force
in human history, which brought together Allied forces' air, sea, and land forces. The magnitude
of the operation and the involvement of different nations meant that planning had to be
meticulous and well-coordinated. Planning for this invasion began as early as 1940, whereby
after the retreat from Dunkirk, the British began to prepare for a return to the continental
mainland to face the Germans (The week, 2019). In these early stages, planning was on an
individual basis, whereby the US started to plan its invasion after Hitler declared war on the US
in December 1941 (Kennedy, 1999). In 1942, Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, began to press his
allies, Franklin Roosevelt, the US president, and Winston Churchill, the British prime minister,
to mount an allied front in Western Europe (Bailey, 2018). However, the nations were limited in
technicalities as the landing craft to bring a huge army across the English Channel had not yet
been built, and most of the nations were still forming and organizing their armies for the invasion
(Evans et al., 2014). Less inhibited by these technicalities, the US pressed for an early invasion.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was chosen to head the US invasion and design and plan for an
operational scheme for the allied forces. Finally, in an inter-Allied conference in Tehran in
December 1943, Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill agreed on the adoption of May 1944 as the date
for the invasion (Kennedy, 1999). With the US providing the bulk of men and equipment,
Eisenhower was tasked with the overall Allied forces commander role, working to consolidate
the Allied forces and coordinate them for the invasion (Bailey, 2018). Through this planning
process, under the leadership of Eisenhower, the Allied forces chose to stage the invasion in
Normandy rather than Pas de Calais, the closest point in continental Europe to Britain and set
plans for combined air, sea, and land invasions.
The execution of Operation Overload relied on the deception of the Germans regarding
the real nature of the attack. The Allied forces established Operation Bodyguard, aiming to
deceive and mislead the Germans on the date of the Normandy invasion and the area where the
invasion would take place (Kennedy, 1999). Specifically, the Germans expected the invasion at
Pas de Calais, and Operation Bodyguard reinforced this belief as Allied forces continued to
consolidate and land at Normandy. The Normandy invasion began with air support of around
1,200 planes, followed by an amphibious assault of around 7,000 vessels (The Week, 2019).
Through this invasion, the allied forces delivered five naval assault divisions to the beaches of
Normandy in Utah, Gold, Juno, Sword, and Omaha, catching the Germans by surprise
(Greenwald, 2019). The invasion began at 6.30 in the morning on 6 June 1944, and by the end of
the day, the Allied forces had successfully delivered 156,000 Allied troops, who stormed and
captured Normandy's beaches (Hansen, 2019). This invasion created five key access points for
Allied forces into France and Europe.
Operation Overlord led to success for the Allied forces. In previous battles, the Germans
had managed to overpower and cut off the Allied forces, especially in the Battles of France and
Dunkirk, with the British forced to evacuate their forces in the latter (The week, 2019). These
battles had created a dominance and control of the Nazis over Western Europe as the Germans
controlled the region and protected themselves from external attacks. With Operation Overlord,
the Allied forces gained five vital access points to France and western Europe and delivered huge
numbers of troops who faced the Germans in the Battle of Normandy. In this specific operation,
the Allied forces lost more than 4,000 soldiers who died on the day of the operation, while at
least 10,000 were injured and wounded (The week, 2019). However, this successful invasion set
on course the battle of Normandy, the subsequent defeat of Germans in France, and the
continent's liberation from Nazi rule. Following this invasion, the allied forces greatly depleted
the Nazi forces in Western Europe, giving them the ability to capture Paris by 25 August and
Brussels by 3 September (The Week, 2019). From Normandy, the Allied forces advanced deep
into German territory and liberated Munich by April 1945, which led to the surrender of Nazi
Germany on 8 May 1945, bringing World War II to an end (Evans et al., 2019). Thus, Operation
Overlord provided the Allied forces with an entry point into Western Europe, setting in motion
the liberation of Europe from Nazi rule and control.
Significance of Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord is a significant event in the history of the US for various reasons.
Firstly, the operation positioned the US among security and political superpowers in the world.
By collaborating and working with the Soviet Union and the British, the US was able to stop
Nazi rule and control in Europe. This operation's success shifted global power dynamics from the
Germans to the Allied forces, and as one of the key members of this coalition, the US emerged as
a security and war superpower across the globe (Greenwald, 2019). As a security superpower,
the US played significant roles in helping stop World War II and liberation of territories from
controlling and enslaving powers such as the Germans in Europe and the Japanese in Asia
(Hansen, 2019). Evans et al. (2014) highlight that this liberation led to the establishment of
democracies in many European nations, as Operation Overlord led to the defeat of fascism.
Secondly, this operation opened the way for the end of World War II. The invasion ensured that
the allied forces positioned troops in France, who then advanced to France, Belgium, and
Germany to liberate these nations from Nazi rule. By 1945, the Nazi Germans surrendered to the
Allied forces, ending World War II. Without Operation Overlord, the war would have continued
for years as the Nazis, and Hitler would have continued to expand their territory in Europe and
terrorize individuals and communities through their cruel power (The Week, 2019). Finally,
Operation Overlord provides significant war and battle lessons for the US and other nations. As
Greenwald (2019) highlights, the planning and execution of this plan by the Allied forces
showed the power and ability of joint forces in the war, especially where the enemy is an
organization, individual, or state that threatens global security and peace. This operation serves
as a guide and a master plan of how nations can come together to address any global problem
and challenge for the betterment of society and humanity.
Operation Overlord did not just ensure the defeat of Germany by the Allied Forces in
France, but it also accelerated the end of World War II and positioned the US as a world political
and security superpower. The operation aimed to stage an invasion of Allied forces into Western
Europe to allow the forces to face and fight against Nazi German rule in the area. The operation,
which occurred on June 6, 1944, was successfully executed through the collaboration of various
nations who pooled war resources and men to position forces on the beaches of Normandy,
allowing these troops to advance into Western Europe and liberate nations from Nazi rule. This
event helped push the US into a global political and security superpower, accelerate the end of
World War II through the defeat of the Nazis, and provide a master plan for future collaborations
in war and against global problems, enemies, and emerging challenges.
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