On June sixth, 1944, 156,000 troops from America, Britain, and Canada landed on five beaches along the coast of Normandy, in what would become the turning point of the Second World War in the European Theater. This was one of the largest amphibious assaults in history and was the beginning of Operation Overlord: the Allies’ plan to open up a second front in Europe, weakening Germany’s forces and causing them to surrender.
Nazi Germany invaded and took over France in 1940, before the Americans joined the war in December 1941. By 1943, the Allied forces had begun to plan an invasion of Normandy across the English Channel. After extensive planning, the invasion began as Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, code-named Gold, Sword, Juno, Utah, and Omaha. The troops were met with resistance from the German army, and over four thousand Allied troops were killed with thousands more injured or missing.
However, the Allies were successful in securing the beaches and began to liberate northern France. By August, 1944, the troops reached the Seine River and liberated Paris. They then began to focus on invading Germany and forcing the Nazis to surrender. On April 30. 1945, Hitler committed suicide as troops closed in from both France and Russia. A week later, on May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered and World War II officially ended in Europe.