Remembering D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Pivotal Battle That Changed WW II

Jun 6, 2019

Thursday marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy, France — the pivotal battle that changed the course of World War II.

Much attention will be paid this week to those who took part in D-Day, including the man who planned the invasion: Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who grew up in Abilene.

While his parents were against war, Eisenhower eventually became the Supreme Commander of all Allied forces in Europe. Ike, as he was called, delivered a message to his troops, just before he launched the D-Day invasion.

"The eyes of the world are upon you," he said. "The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you."

Some historians have argued that the German defeat on D-Day was inevitable, but University of Kansas history professor Adrian Lewis disagrees.

"We could have lost," Lewis says. "If they had known the exact location of the landing, they could have met us there with overwhelming force."

Eisenhower shied away from taking credit for the D-Day victory, preferring instead to pay tribute to his fighting troops.