The Allied Offensive in Europe

Map 5: Mark the Allied Offensive on your map
Gen Dwight D Eisenhower gives the order of the Day. "Full
victory - nothing else" to paratroopers in England, just before
they board their airplanes.
Operation “Overlord”: a cross-Channel invasion of France; Allied leaders planned it
for two years
General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke were responsible
for its direction. It would be an amphibious assault, on water and on land.
This was the first time this was attempted. French Normandy was the invasion point.
The operation depended on three conditions:
• Allies had to build up an enormous reserve of supplies for the invasion including
ammunition, trucks, food, construction equipment, medical supplies, tanks, and men.
• The second condition was secrecy. The Germans expected an attack but did not
know when or where it might come.
• The third condition was clear weather. A storm or fog would make paratroop landing
behind German lines and amphibious landings on the beaches close to impossible.
The Allies were also battling the Germans for air supremacy over Europe.
Around-the-clock bombing raids were carried out by the Allies on targets
such as oil refineries, munitions works, railroad centers, communication
terminals, airfields, and submarine pens.
Destroying these targets would cripple Germany’s military operations. The Allied
Power achieved their goal of gaining air supremacy by the time the cross-Channel
invasion was ready. This was crucial to victory.
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the
operation started at 2 a.m. with the
landing of parachute troops in
strategic inland positions.
This was followed by the arrival of
5,000 warships of all kinds, which
began shelling the German coastal
The Normandy landing was the largest amphibious assault ever.
The parachute assaults were under two commands, one British
and the other American
At 6:30 a.m. the first set of troops
stormed the beaches of Normandy,
the northwest province of France.
Within 24 hours, 120,000 troops were
landed at five different beachheads.
Map of D-Day landing beaches
The Germans were surprised by both the
location and the time but Allied causalities
were staggering.
The Allied troops succeeded in their
goal of establishing beachheads along
the coast of Normandy.
Within three weeks 800,000 more men joined the Allied troops in France.
Aerial view of beachhead
After desperate fighting the Allies broke through
the Germans’ defense line at the base of the
Normandy peninsula.
German resistance and bad weather contributed
to the slowness of the Allied powers in advancing
into the interior of France.
General Patton led an
assault across France.
With the help of the
French “underground”
and American-French
forces, Paris was
liberated in August
VE Day, 1945: Crowds gather to celebrate in Piccadilly Circus
The successful, cross-Channel landing
called D-Day started the long march
through Europe to Berlin, the capital of
This march was difficult. It included a
very bloody battle in Belgium called the
Battle of the Bulge.
• By early 1945 it was apparent that victory over Germany was near.
• Soviet Army had taken control in the east.
• Allies were making way through the industrial centers of western
Germany to Berlin.
• Allied bombers pounded Berlin, Hamburg, and other German cities.
• One particularly severe fire bombing leveled the entire center of the
city of Dresden.
Shortly before the war ended, American and Russian troops met at the
Elbe River, nearly 100 miles west of Berlin.
While Berlin was under attack by the Allied powers, Hitler was unable to
face defeat.
He committed suicide and killed his new bride as well. He had ordered
the bodies to be burned and buried.
Devastation in Berlin Soviet troops at the Brandenburg Gate
Admiral Karl Downitz became the new
German leader. He quickly recongnized the
fate of Germany.
He sent a delegation to meet with the Allied powers to negotiate a surrender.
The Germans signed an unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945.
The surrender brought joy and victory celebrations of V-E day across Europe and the
United States.
The excitement was diminished by three factors:
• The realities of the concentration camps were revealed to the world.
• The war in the Pacific continued to rage.
• President Roosevelt had died on April 12, 1945.
The War in the Pacific
Map of the Japanese Empire at its height in 1942
Map 6: fill in the areas that the Japanese controlled by 1942.
By 1942, the situation in the Pacific seemed
desperate. Japan controlled much of China, the
nations of eastern and southern Asia, and a
string of Pacific islands.
While the war was being fought in North Africa
and in Europe, the U.S. and its allies were also
fighting the Japanese in the Pacific.
As in Europe, the Allies had a long road to
victory in the Pacific.
The war against the Japanese differed than combat
in Europe:
• Most of the fighting was in dense jungles.
• The main American offensive was amphibious
landings of marines on small islands.
• Naval rather than air supremacy proved to be the
key to victory.
General Douglas MacArthur was
commander of the nation’s Army
forces in the Pacific.

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