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Operation Overlord and D-Day

The international situation

As early as 1941, during the relatively early stages of World War Two, the Soviet Leader, Joseph Stalin had called for the enormous strain on his troops to be eased. If the Allies (Britain, America, Canada and the Free French) began an invasion of Europe in the west, this would create a ‘Second Front’. It would split German forces and give them no choice but to move soldiers in two directions.

[5555] Visit of Winston Churchill

magnify Visit of Winston Churchill to Southampton
America had joined the war in 1941 after being bombed by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, USA. They were also keen to create a Second Front in Europe so that after the invasion they could then turn their attention to the war with Japan. 

At a conference in Tehran, Iran, November 1943, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin agreed a date for the invasion. The date was set for 5th June 1944, although it was eventually delayed to June 6th because of bad weather. 'Operation Overlord', the official name for the invasion of Europe, was to begin.


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