What is the significance of D-Day?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

D-Day is the World War II military operation which took place on June 6, 1944. It was code-named Operation Neptune, presumably because it involved a water landing by the Allies on the beaches of Normandy, France. It is the largest military operation by sea in history, and of course it had great significance to the war.

Before D-Day, the Germans were in the enviable position of only having to fight a war on one front: the eastern front, where the Russians were steadily encroaching on the territory Germany had won. Almost since the beginning of the war, Germany was in control of western Europe, so they had little fear of anything happening militarily from that direction.

D-Day changed everything. It is probably an exaggeration to say that the Normandy invasion was a turning point in the war, as the Allies had been making steady progress against the German forces for more than a year. What is fair to say is the tides turned against the German forces at Normandy, shortening the war and giving the Allies momentum on the continent of Europe. 

In addition to that, the events that transpired on D-Day allowed the non-Russian Allies to be a presence in the war's end as well as to curtail Russia's encroachment any farther into western Europe. Even though Russia was aligned with the Allies, it was making significant progress in capturing territory farther and farther west. The presence of American, Canadian, and British troops served both to stop Germany from its goal of world domination and to keep Russia from gaining any more territory in Europe.

In addition to its military significance, D-Day was then and still is a matter of national pride. The accomplishment was staggering in its boldness. The Allied military coordinated this surprise attack which included the 

landing of 24,000 British, US, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France starting at 06:30.

The fifty-mile stretch of beaches were swarming not only with troops but with armored vehicles, an astonishing feat, military or not--and even more arrived in the following days.

D-Day is commemorated as one of the significant landmark moments of World War II. The official D-Day Memorial is located in Bedford,  Virginia, and the images of troops landing on the beaches of Normandy are now iconic. They symbolize a superior cause and the ability to do the impossible, and that is what makes D-Day significant. 

jcstew2 | Student

There are a list of reasons that D-Day is a historically significant point of WWII.  First of all, there was a significant amount of misinformation that was released by the Allies before D-Day ever began.  Part of this plan was showing videos of Patton preparing his "army" to invade in a separate part of France.  However, most of his vehicles were blow up models of war machinery, and he had very few troops even in that area.

   Another, key reason that this event was significant is it gave the Allies a foothold in Europe for the remainder of WWII.  This foothold would give them a launching point for which to push back the Germans.  Equally important, about this event is that it was the largest amphibious invasion ever attempted.  While the loss of life was extremely high the invasion was considered an overwhelming success by commanders.  Finally, this event is considered a point of national pride due to its overwhelming success, and the amount of soldiers who gave their lives to see the mission through.