D-Day - 70th Anniversary of The Allied Invasion of Europe
70 years ago, Allied forces came across the English Channel and set foot on the coast of France. D-Day marked the invasion of Europe and ultimately led to the end of World War II. 150 000 troops, mainly from Great Britain, the US and Canada landed in France, about 5000 died during the invasion.
Hundreds of veterans from these countries have come to France to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Although many of them are very old, some can still recall precisely what happened on that day in 1944. Parachute landings were organized and speeches delivered. A 93-year-old veteran even made a remembrance jump with a parachute. Heads of state from many countries came to take part in the ceremonies.
Planning the invasion began in 1943. Although Germany had become weaker because of their defeat on the eastern front it still was very powerful and controlled most of Western Europe. The Allies thought that the only way to defeat Nazi Germany was to invade the continent.
The Germans knew that the Allied forces were going to attack, however, they assumed that the upcoming invasion would take place farther north , near Calais, where the distance between Britain and the continent was the smallest.
The Allies made plans to invade in Normandy. The landing area was divided into five sections: Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah. Commander of the Allied forces was General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who later became American president. The actual invasion should have taken place on June 5th but was delayed because of bad weather. On June 6th 24000 paratroopers landed behind enemy lines in order to take control of roads and bridges that the Allies would need. The seaborne invasion began in the morning. Allied troops met fierce gunfire from the German fortifications on the beaches.
By the end of D-Day, Allied troops had been able to secure key parts of the French coast from where they started there march towards Germany. A year later Adolf Hitler was dead and the Germans were defeated. Operation Overlord, as the invasion was called, was the first step to ending the war in Europe.
Allied landing on Omaha Beach
- Allied forces = soldiers from the countries that fought against Nazi Germany
- Allies = Great Britain, the USA, France and Russia were the most important countries that fought against Germany.
- although = while
- anniversary = date on which something important happened years ago
- assume = think, believe
- attack = to start using guns and bombs against an enemy in a war
- celebrate = to show that an event is important by doing something special
- ceremony = important event that is held in a formal way
- coast = where land meets the sea
- commander = officer who is in charge of an operation
- defeat = to win against someone
- delay = to wait until a later time to do something
- deliver = here: hold
- distance = space between two locations
- enemy lines = where the enemy is located and plans to defend themselves against attackers
- fierce = violent , brutal, heavy
- fortification = towers and walls built around a place in order to protect it
- head of state = the highest representative of a country, mostly a president
- however = but
- invasion = entering a country with an army in order to take control of it
- mainly = mostly
- parachute = cloth or soft material fastened to the back of a person who jumps out of a plane; it lets them fall safely to the ground
- precisely = exactly
- recall = remember
- remembrance jump = here: a jump like the one during the invasion
- seaborne = from the sea
- secure = to get under control
- set foot = here: invade
- troops = soldiers
- ultimately = in the end
- upcoming = happening soon
- veteran = someone who has been a sailor or soldier in a war