Today in History: D-Day: The Normandy Landings
My travels as an au pair do not take me to the beaches, but rather to the medieval town of Gaillon, south of Rouen, still in the upper Normandy region. I am sure to visit the town’s memorial which reads, “Aux Morts/Aux Combattants 1914-1918~1939-1945; La Ville de Gaillon Reconnaissante”. While the names are sparse, they are significant, for it’s a small town whose population averaged just 2,500 in the given periods — and one that still remembers. I learn that Gaillon’s history began prior to the 12th century when the Dukes of Normandy defended themselves on the Norman border against their enemies, the kings of France. From the vantage point of the 16th century castle, I visualize Gaillon’s WW2 internment camp tucked somewhere down among the red and gray rooftops, but I hardly grasp the massive German occupation of the whole of northwestern Europe.
On June 6, 1944, the Allies crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy. This successful invasion by land, air, and sea under the command of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower marked the beginning of the end of World War II and the defeat of the German Reich. By the end of June, the Allied forces would amass approximately 850,000 troops and 150,000 military vehicles on the Northern French coast — all set to march across Europe in what was proven the most widespread and deadly theater of military history.
On the anniversary of D-Day we highlight relevant news and draw attention to the inclusion of the Normandy landings in the school curricula. The following articles are selected from Proquest Historical Newspapers, whose content serves to inform and inspire classroom teaching and learning.
- D-Day facts at a glance. (1944, Jun 06). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File)
- How D-Day dawned on France. (1944, Jun 06). The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- Invasion crowns allied reversal of trend set by axis in world-wide aggressions. (1944, Jun 06). New York Times (1923-Current File)
- How Allied Forces hit Normandy coast on D-Day 13 years ago. (1957, Jun 05). Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963)
- Sutton, H. (1966, Jul 03). The scene of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973)
- Mosby, A. (1974, Jun 06). Survivors remember D-Day, 1944. Chicago Defender (Daily Edition) (1973-1975)
- Wilgoren, D. (1994, May 29). Remembering: D-Day: a history lesson brought to life. The Washington Post (1974-Current File)
- Riding, A. (1994, Jun 01). Normandy veterans back with D-Day memories. The Times of India (1861-Current)
- Gott, R. (1994, Apr 18). Whose D-Day is it anyway? The Guardian (1959-2003)
Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword comprise the beaches of Normandy. To walk along them today is to gaze peacefully across the English Channel, thinking perhaps of the sea life that is portrayed with shades of army tan, black, white, and purple in Robert Burkert’s Normandy Beach (1970). Most certainly we link the Purple Hearts.
Need to keep current, look to the past, teach a topic? The Everett Cafe features daily postings of news from around the world, and also promotes awareness of historical events from an educational context.
Read here for additional announcements concerning special news displays in June.
Note: Robert Burkert’s Normandy Beach (1970) is part of the Federico Castellon Memorial Print Collection, consisting of over eighty prints designed and printed by printmakers in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, donated to Teachers College by established printmakers throughout the United States under the aegis of the Society of American Graphic Artists in 1972. The collection is dedicated to Federico Castellon (1914 – 1971), who taught in the Department of Art and Education at Teachers College from 1949 to 1961.