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America Prepares For the Largest Land Invasion in History at Normandy (with Stephen Ambrose)

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
March 8, 2024 3:00 am

America Prepares For the Largest Land Invasion in History at Normandy (with Stephen Ambrose)

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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March 8, 2024 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, the late, great Stephen Ambrose tells the WWII story of the lead-up to Operation Overlord—the largest land invasion in history at Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.

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See AT&T.com slash Samsung for details. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people. Stephen Ambrose is one of America's leading biographers and historians. Ambrose passed in 2002, but his epic storytelling accounts can now be heard here at Our American Stories, thanks to those who run his estate. Here's Ambrose telling the World War II story and the lead up to Operation Overlord, the largest land invasion in history at Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.

Let's take a listen. By December of 1943, the United States and Great Britain had agreed that the major operation for 1944 would be the invasion of France, the opening of the Second Front. In December, Churchill and Roosevelt went to Tehran and Iran to meet with Stalin to discuss operations for 1944.

Stalin had only one question. Is there going to be a Second Front? Roosevelt assured him that there would be. Well, who's going to command it? Stalin asked. Well, we haven't decided that yet, Roosevelt answered.

Well, Stalin said, then I don't believe you're serious about this. Not until you've appointed a commander in chief for the operation. Roosevelt and Churchill returned to Cairo, Egypt after the meeting and there Roosevelt made his decision on who was going to have this most coveted command in the history of warfare. His personal choice was General Marshall. He felt that Marshall deserved the opportunity to lead an army in the field. Marshall had built this army. This was Marshall's strategy that was being implemented. Roosevelt told Eisenhower he feared that if Marshall didn't have a field command, he'd be forgotten in later years, just as Lincoln's chief of staff had been forgotten. Everybody knows Grant and Meade, but nobody knows who Lincoln's chief of staff is, said the president. For that reason, he wanted Marshall to have the appointment.

But there are a lot of objections to having Marshall take the job. He was chief of staff of the United States Army. He had worldwide responsibilities. To put him in command of overlord would be in a way to diminish his role in the war. Further, to move Marshall from Washington to London to take over the overlord command, would mean that someone would have to take Marshall's place in Washington. That someone was presumably going to be Eisenhower. That would have put Eisenhower in the position of being General MacArthur's superior.

Since Ike had served as a light colonel in the MacArthur for seven years, that was not something that made a lot of sense. In the end, Roosevelt turned to Marshall himself and asked him what he wanted. Marshall, who was a very great man, as well as a very great soldier, a real Spartan, said, and quite properly, that's not my decision to make, Mr. President. You're the commander in chief.

It is up to you to decide where I can serve you best. Roosevelt then made his decision. In Cairo, Roosevelt had Marshall sit down with him and then dictated a message to Stalin saying that the immediate appointment of General Eisenhower to the command of Operation Overlord has been decided on. Marshall wrote it down as Roosevelt dictated and then handed it to Roosevelt.

Roosevelt signed it. Marshall took that note down to the radio room and had it sent by cipher to Stalin in Moscow. And then Marshall typically of the man saved the note and sent it to Eisenhower with a little covering note saying, Eisenhower, I thought you might like to have this as a momentum.

Eisenhower had it framed and from then on, wherever his office was, finally, of course, in the White House, that's what hung behind his desk, that little handwritten memo that catapulted Eisenhower into the presidency. Of course, first of all, he had to win the battle. He had to be a successor as overlord commander before he was going to become president of the United States.

It almost sounds like his selection was by default. But actually, Eisenhower brought many positive qualities to the job. And we can see now that Marshall didn't have the temperament to deal with Montgomery and other British officers. He didn't suffer fools gladly. He didn't have the strength to suffer fools gladly.

And I could put up with more than Marshall ever was willing to endure. I think Eisenhower probably was the better field commander than Marshall would have been also. In any event, in my view, Roosevelt's selection of Eisenhower to command overlord was the best decision that Roosevelt ever made. Eisenhower arrived in London in January of 1944 to take up his duties as the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force in command of Operation Overlord. The first problem that he had to face was where is this attack going to take place? His orders from the combined chiefs of staff were to cross the channel, get into France, and destroy the German army. Everything else was left up to him. Where and when will this offensive begin was Eisenhower's to decide. The things that they kept in mind as they settled on a place were many, but one stood out above all others. There has to be surprise.

Without surprise, this operation has no chance of a success. At most, Eisenhower had enough left to bring five divisions ashore on the first day. Rommel, his opposite number who had taken up his post in France with the headquarters outside Paris, also in January of 1944, had 55 divisions available in France. So he outnumbered Eisenhower or Wood for the first few days of the attack by 11 to 1. And of those 55 divisions, nine were armored divisions and very good armored divisions at that. And Rommel had an absolute superiority here because Eisenhower was going to have no armored divisions in the first week of the battle. So the Germans had to be surprised that there was no chance of this operation working. And you've been listening to Stephen Ambrose recount the decision-making leading up to appointing the commander in charge of Operation Overlord.

And how interesting. I mean, there was almost no choice. It just simply couldn't be Marshall. That's what we learned because a lot of people have asked themselves over time who study the war, I'm one. Why wasn't it Marshall?

And I'd never known the answer until I heard Stephen Ambrose give that explanation. And it was prompted by Stalin's very incisive question. If you don't have a commander, you're not ready to invade.

Well, Roosevelt responded quickly with that. When we come back, more of this remarkable story, the story of Operation Overlord, the largest land invasion in world history. And we're talking about D-Day here on Our American Stories. This is Lee Habib, host of Our American Stories. Every day, we set out to tell the stories of Americans past and present, from small towns to big cities, and from all walks of life, doing extraordinary things. But we truly can't do this show without you. Our shows are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to OurAmericanStories.com and make a donation to keep the stories coming.

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Visit AppleVacations.com or call your local travel advisor to get started. And we continue with our American stories and with Stephen Ambrose's telling of the lead-up to Operation Overlord, the largest land invasion in history in Normandy, France on June 6th, 1944. Let's pick up where we last left off. Although the possible invasion front was very broad, there were many parts of it that were just unsuitable to an attack. The Dutch coastline, for example, too easily flooded. And when you get down here toward the Bay of Biscay and Brest, you're getting too far away from your objective. Remember, the final objective of this attack is Berlin, and more so than Berlin even, the Rhine-Ruhr region that is Germany's industrial heartland without which Germany could not possibly wage modern war.

So here's the objective here. And going down into the Bay of Biscay, although that was the least defended part of the French coast, made no sense at all because it put you so far away from your objective. The obvious line of attack was to come from Dover across to Dunkirk or into the Belgian coast in the area around the French province of the Pas de Calais.

That's the straight line to the objective. London, Dover, Pas de Calais, through Belgium, through Brussels, and on into the German heartland around the Rhine-Ruhr region. And these beaches were quite suitable for amphibious operations. For that reason, the Germans had built up by far their heaviest defenses here, the so-called Atlantic Wall. And in this area, it probably was what Hitler said the whole of the Atlantic Wall was, impregnable. The amount of steel-reinforced concrete that had been poured, the numbers of guns that had pre-positioned their targets, ranging from 205 millimeter down to the mortars and even to the rifle pits, were just too much. No force in the world could have broken through in those areas.

And you obviously couldn't achieve surprise in those areas. And in addition to the fixed defenses that Rommel had there and the infantry that were in these prepared positions, that is where about 70% of the German tank strength was located. Because above all else, the Germans had to prevent a landing here in northern France with its easy access to their factory system in Dusseldorf and Bonn and Cologne and the other great cities of the Rhine-Ruhr region. So here was Germany's vulnerability right here, very close to London, very close to Dover, and so this is where the German defenses were the strongest. When you get to the south and the north, you get to the south, you get to the south, and the west of the Seine River running from Paris here, the defenses weren't so strong. And the panzer divisions were not in place.

Here was where it was possible to affect the lodgement. The Germans, every time they studied the map, it was of course the same map the Allies were using, came to the conclusion they won't, it's just not possible that they would come here into Normandy because it's in the wrong direction. It's going south instead of east. And further, to go into Normandy was to put the Seine River and the Solme River between the Allies and their objective. So because the Germans felt that it was just out of the question that the Allies would come into Normandy, Eisenhower decided Normandy is where we're going to go.

There I know we can get ashore. And then we can be bringing in, from London, this vast buildup of men and supplies that has been taking place since 1943 in England, the outpouring of America's factories, and these marvelously trained young Americans in the divisions that have been formed in 42 and 43 could come into the battle. So Normandy was the place that Eisenhower picked. The time, he wanted to go as early in the spring as possible, as soon as good campaigning weather began, that is early May.

But he eventually postponed the target date to June 1st so that he could have another month's production of landing craft. The big shortage Eisenhower had was in landing craft. He had a lot of air. He had plenty of air. He had plenty of naval warships. He had more divisions than he could put into the battle until we had advanced well into France. But what he was short on was landing craft.

Landing craft had now become a top priority production item in the United States. And by postponing from May 1 to June 1, Eisenhower was able to get that many more LSTs, LCVPs, LCMs, LCTs, and the others into the battle. So where and when? Where will be Normandy?

When will be the 1st of June. And that meant that's the target date, the first date after the 1st of June on which the tide and moon conditions are right. This was because Rommel had begun in January of 1944 to build up the beach defenses, the obstacles of a myriad of types. Barbed wire, land mines, sea mines, tetrahedra, which came in a variety of forms, but basically were steel rails, railroad rails, welded together into a tripod and then a teller mine put on top of them and set out there so that at high tide they were just above, just below the water, meaning that any landing craft trying to come in at high tide was going to run into a mine sitting on one of these obstacles. High tide is the best high tide is the best time to attack in the sense that it shortens the distance on the beach, the distance from where the ramp goes down and the men charge out of their landing craft and they get to the first cover. Low tide is the worst time to attack because you've got that long stretch of open beach, all of it covered by German fire through which the attacking forces have to work their way. Rommel's beach defenses were designed to force the Allies to land at low tide and they did. Another requirement, I should add, was moon the night before.

At least a half a moon to provide enough illumination for a night drop. This is a very daring part of the Allied plan. One of the greatest assets that Eisenhower had was three magnificently trained divisions of light infantry.

The U.S. 82nd, 101st Airborne, and the British 6th Airborne Divisions. He wanted to use those airborne divisions to protect the flanks of the invasion, letting the Americans land on the right in the Cotentin Peninsula and the British 6th Airborne coming in on the left. He wanted to start putting them in at midnight so that they could secure positions, establish roadblocks, take key villages, knock down German communications, especially their telephone lines, all before the first attacks began.

These night drops are a very dangerous thing, not to be recommended. The risk had to be run. To make it an acceptable risk, it was necessary to have some moonlight the night before. So the conditions were not simply a low tide at dawn, but also moonlight the night before. And June 5th fit that date, had those conditions settled also.

So June 5th was picked as the date. Hitler had five divisions stationed in Norway. Now these were immobile infantry divisions of not very good quality troops. Nevertheless, at about 12,000 men per division, they had an awful lot of firepower. Rommel was screaming to get those troops out of Norway where they're not doing us any good at all, and that's get them down into France and put them in the trenches along the Atlantic wall. To immobilize those Germans in Norway, the Allies launched Operation Fortitude North to get the Germans fearful about what was going to come in Norway. Fortitude North was a shoestring operation. About two dozen overaged British officers with radio operators were sent to the north of Scotland, some of the most god-awful country in the world. They went up there in February and they began exchanging radio messages with each other. Where is this?

Where is that? All of this taken in the thousands of messages built this picture in the German mind of a forest gathering in the north of Scotland to attack Norway. And you've been listening to the late Stephen Ambrose tell the story of Operation Overlord, the largest land invasion in history in Normandy, France on June 6th, 1944, otherwise known as D-Day. The element of surprise was crucial. Indeed, we learned that's why Normandy was picked.

Nobody thought it was the best place to go. And then, of course, there's deception, always trying to lure your enemy into thinking you're doing something else. When we come back, more of this remarkable story, the story of D-Day as told by one of the best storytellers ever on World War II. Author of Band of Brothers. If you haven't seen the HBO series, watch it. It plays all day on Memorial Day. Any family should see it. Every family should sit down and watch it.

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Let's pick up with Stephen Ambrose where we last left off. They had wooden bombers set up on the airfield so that German reconnaissance planes coming out of Norway would take pictures of them. They had paper mache tanks. They had rubber tanks.

This is where the Allies put to good use the skills of the technicians in the Hollywood movie industry and the British movie industry. By early May, Rommel had just about convinced Hitler that nothing was going to happen in Norway and had Hitler on the verge of giving the orders to move these troops from Norway down into France in Belgium when a whole new flurry of messages were broken by the Abwehr, the German intelligence service, and these officers informed Hitler that the threat to Norway is very real. That you might wonder, what did Hitler care about Norway and why did he need five divisions in Norway?

You got to remember Norway was terribly important to Hitler because that's where his U-boats were based. And that was the last offensive weapon he had. He was an offensive-minded person. He hated being on the defensive. The submarines gave him a chance to hit the Allies where it hurt.

He was convinced that this attack was coming. At the last minute, he canceled the movement order that concerned in this first instance some 55,000 men who were to come from Norway down into France. Hitler canceled the order almost as they were boarding the trains. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, considering that it was 24 overaged British officers who pulled this off, never in the history of warfare have so many been immobilized by so few. Well, it didn't matter how badly you fooled the enemy. It was still going to be a fight. Germany didn't have an army in 1944 the equal to the army of 1941 in some ways.

In other ways, it was more powerful. And it was fighting on the defensive behind fixed positions. And when I say that the defenses were relatively less in Normandy, understand that this doesn't mean Normandy was undefended. Every beat that was suitable for landing craft was covered by artillery fire, heavily reinforced casements, an extensive underground communication system, thousands of miles of barbed wire, tens of thousands of landmines of all types. And infantry troops in prepared trenches running along the bluff back from the beak. So no matter how successful to repeat the second plan was, it still was going to come down to a bunch of 18 to 24-year-old kids who were going to have to fight their way out of those landing craft and get up to the high ground. To get them to do that, the training in England in the spring of 1944 was intense and continuous. The aim of the training was to make the men feel combat can't be worse than this. A lot of night drops for the airborne divisions and then three and four and five day problems in the field, living in the ground. Had a lot of casualties, used a lot of live ammunition, had a lot of practice exercises. The most famous took place in the south of England had slapped in sands in April of 1944. There were some terrible screw-ups.

Lessons were learned from slapped in sands by both sides. Hitler learned from it. Hitler was an amazing guy. He went to France only once in his life after World War I when he had fought in France. He had never been to England, never traveled to Russia, had never traveled and he was the man who set out to conquer the world and never hardly ever traveled outside of Germany. But he could read a map better than anybody that I've ever heard of. He heard about Exercise Tiger, that is his e-boats came back and said there were an awful lot of LSTs out there and they were performing some kind of an operation at this point on the English coast and Hitler took one look at it and he said that's just like the coast at Normandy.

That's the same gradient, that's the same kind of sand conditions, that's the same kind of bluff conditions. We better look a little closer at Normandy as a possible invasion site because if they're practicing there, maybe they're getting ready for Normandy. And so the defensive construction of the Atlantic Wall in Normandy was speeded up in the month of May.

A little bit too late, thank God. Eisenhower proposed to isolate Normandy to make it difficult, maybe even impossible for Ronald to get reinforcements into Normandy by knocking out the bridge system over the Seine River, knocking out the French railway system, hitting their marshaling yards, hitting their rolling stock, hitting their repair facilities. The big bomber boys led by Arthur Harris of Bomber Command and Tuy Spatz of the U.S. Army Air Force objected strenuously to this. They said we weren't built for this kind of an operation. Our job is to go inside Germany and conduct strategic warfare. Our job is to defeat Germany from the air. One of them said to Ike's chief of staff, Beetle Smith, at one point, Beetle, we wish you all luck in the world with Overlord but meanwhile let us get on with the real war.

Eisenhower never for a minute believed that the air forces could achieve victory on their own. He thought the Germans could take a pounding from the air from now until doomsday and they wouldn't quit. The only way you were going to force those Germans to quit was to put GIs and Tommies on the ground inside Germany with a gun in their hand. And to get them there, you had to first of all get ashore in France. And to get ashore in France, the biggest contribution the bombers could make would be to carry out this transportation plan as it came to be called.

The plan to knock out the French railway system and the bridges over the Seine River. Eisenhower had command of all the forces in the British isle except the big bombers. The combined chiefs of staff had withheld them from his direct control. They were operating their own war. Eisenhower in March of 44 went to the combined chiefs and beyond them to Churchill and Roosevelt and said, I want to carry out this transportation plan and if you're not going to give me command of the big bombers, my best asset to make sure overlord is a success, then I'll just have to resign my commission and go home.

Because I'm not going to fight this battle without being able to utilize every asset that I've got over here in the British isle. I was quite a threat when he was talking about giving up command of overlord. It hit everyone hard that he felt so strongly about it and eventually they gave in and gave him command of the bombers for the period before Operation Overlord.

He put the bombers to work on the transportation plan and it was a smashing success. Every bridge over the Seine River was knocked down. Marshalling yards were torn up, repair facilities destroyed. The German, the index of rail activity in France went from 100 in February down to 30 on June 5 of 1944. There were French casualties, which was something that everyone regretted, although they checked with de Gaulle who said we've got to take casualties to win this war and if it's necessary, it's necessary.

The French people are slaves now, they'll do anything to be free. The final plan for Overlord called for a landing five divisions strong with the British going in on the left and the Americans going in on the right. The Beech's code names were Gold, Juno, Sword for the British and Utah on the Cotentin Peninsula and Omaha on the Calvados coast for the American forces. And you're listening to the late Stephen Ambrose tell the story of Operation Overlord and my goodness, what a story. What a story about Hitler, though he never traveled anywhere. It turns out he understood maps, truly understood them and what is war? But the study of geography and topography and knowing, knowing every inch of the terrain and he understood that if Americans were practicing where they were practicing, it meant trying to fortify Normandy. Luckily, as Ambrose indicated, he didn't get to that until May of 1944, a bit too late. And then Eisenhower's threat, I mean, imagine the impudence of threatening to his highness commission if he didn't get control of those bombers, but without those bombers, boy, our boys would have been slaughtered. When we come back, more of this remarkable story is only Stephen Ambrose can tell it.

The story of D-Day, the preparation leading up to it, all the work, all the strategy, and so much more here on Our American Stories. with Colin Cowherd. Cheering on your favorite team has never been easier. A big screen TCL apps built in, you can stream straight out of the box.

You can even sing along to all your favorite music and radio on the iHeartRadio app. Looking for a smaller or bigger screen? Vizio offers unbeatable prices on all V-Series 4K Smart TVs.

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Visit AppleVacations.com or call your local travel advisor to get started. And we continue with Our American Stories and with the late great Stephen Ambrose, one of the great writers in this country on all things related to World War II. By the way, on Our American Stories website you'll see Ambrose on Eisenhower, on the B-24s, so many more stories about the war. Let's pick up now where we last left off on the story of Operation Overlord. The final plan for Overlord called for a landing five divisions strong with the British going in on the left and the Americans going in on the right.

The Beaches code names were Gold, Juno, Sword for the British and Utah on the Cotentin Peninsula and Omaha on the Calvados Coast for the American forces. The divisions chosen to lead the way were, for the most part, inexperienced divisions. One reason for this was that's the only kind of divisions that the Western allies had. The British had not been fighting since 1940 except down in North Africa, and those troops were now in Italy.

The British didn't have any experienced divisions inside England. They had long-serving troops, but they'd never been in battle. The reason that Eisenhower insisted on sending unproven, untried, untested troops, unbloodied troops into the first day of battle was he recognized one of the older axioms of war, a experienced infantryman is a terrified infantryman. People often talk about how much better veterans are than men who have never been in combat before. It's absolutely true on the defensive, and it's often true in other situations, but for an attack of this sort, you're way better off with somebody who has never seen what hot shrapnel does to a human body, who has never stood beside his buddy as his buddy's brains ooze out of a hole in his head, who has never seen one of his friends trying to stuff his guts back into his stomach, who has never seen someone carrying his left arm in his right hand because it's been blown off. Somebody who has seen these things happen tends to take fewer chances than someone who hasn't seen it.

Paul Fusil puts this very nicely in his book, Wartime, when he says that going into a battle for the first time, a young man always thinks, it can't happen to me. I'm too young. I'm too good-looking. I'm too valuable.

I'm too well-trained. In May of 1944, the movement of troops from all over England to the south of England began, some two million men on the road with God knows how many vehicles of all types moving with them to camps down along the south coast of England where they were put under camouflage and put under a very tight guard, not allowed in or out of their camps after they had been briefed on where this operation was going to take place. By June 1, everything was ready.

The mighty host in Eisenhower's words was as tense as a coiled spring, ready to vault its energy over the English Channel. These young Tommies and GIs and Canadians had been brought to a fever pitch in their training and were absolutely ready to go and eager to go. Nobody likes to go into combat, but they had some things going for them here that were very helpful to morale.

Number one, all these guys knew, I am not going home until we have brought about the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, so let's get on with it. So they'd been training for two years, preparing for this moment. They wanted to get it.

Now, let's go. And they all knew that this was a historic occasion. They knew that they were going into a battle that people would be writing about and thinking about and honoring and studying for decades, for centuries to come.

They were in on what Eisenhower called a crusade. The attack was supposed to begin on the morning of the 5th of June and the 3rd, the ships started sailing, some of them coming from as far away as Belfast, the big ships, the battleships. This is an immense operation, all of it done without computer, an immense operation involving in the first day alone 175,000 men to go ashore in France backed up by about 50,000 sailors and a total force of airmen that numbered into the many tens of thousands also. 6,000 ships of all types were involved, 7,000 airplanes. This is the biggest military operation for the United States of the war and in our history.

Bigger than anything Grant ever commanded, bigger than the forces of Schwarzkopf commanded in the Gulf War. To give you some idea of the scope of this operation, it was as if you took the cities of Green Bay, Madison, and Racine, Wisconsin and picked them up and moved them. Every man, woman, and child in every vehicle across Lake Michigan in one night against intense opposition.

And this is going on all across the south coast of England as I say. Schedules were very exact on when people would sail, to get into column, to go over to France. And all this began on the morning of June 2nd and began to pick up steam on June 3rd for a June 5 cross-channel attack when on June 3rd the weather, which had been marvelous all through May, gave way to a great storm coming in from Iceland. And it became a question of weight to see what the weather would be on June 5. After June 5 was too late. If you postponed on, after June 6, excuse me, if you postponed on June 5, that is we're not going to go on June 6, then the next suitable date when the tide would be right and the moon would be right was two weeks later. Eisenhower made the decision on the morning of the 5th of June at two o'clock in his headquarters at Suffolk House outside of Southampton when he heard his weathermen predict that the storm that was now raging, the rain was going to stop, the wind was going to fall off, there'd still be some pretty heavy seas.

But he thought the conditions on the night of June 5-6 for the airdrop would be acceptable. Eisenhower asked him for a guarantee and he gave a little nervous laugh and said, General, you know I can't give you the guarantee on this. Remember they didn't have satellites in those days. The weatherman left. His name was Group Captain Stagg, one of the great heroes of the war.

28 years old. Can you imagine standing in front of all those four stars at 28 and telling them what the weather is going to be tomorrow with the greatest invasion in history at stake here? But he did it. And he left and Eisenhower then asked each of his subordinates what did he think. He had a habit when he was in deep thought, Eisenhower did, of putting his hands behind his back and pacing with his chin down on his chest.

Then he would stop and shoot out his head. Monty, what do you think? Monty said, I should say let's go. I nodded, took that in, paced some more, turned and said, Tenner, what do you think?

This was his deputy. It's pretty cancy. I should say postpone. Vito, what do you think? And Vito Smith said, it's a hell of a gamble, but it's the best possible gamble.

Let's go. Ramsey, what do you think? I think we ought to postpone.

Lee Mallory was all for postponing. There were a dozen men in that room, six said let's go and six said let's postpone. Now Eisenhower was not taking a vote here. He just wanted to have their opinions from the point of view of their own specific service. He paced some more. Years later, I interviewed him about this and asked him what went through his mind. He said he thought about, he had brought these men up to this point, they were just ready, just dying to go. And to stand down now, God, that would be terrible. And then he thought about, on the other hand, geez, if we land and Stagg is wrong and they're going across in those little tiny Higgins boats doing this and doing this and doing this, they're all going to be throwing up and weak in the legs and incapable of fighting, probably can't even get off the landing craft.

And those landing crafts are going to get tossed over by the waves. He thought about the effect on the Russians of a postponement. Finally, he made his decision. And standing in front of these officers, or pacing in front of him, he came to a stop at the end of the table, shot out his chin and said, okay, let's go. And with that, a cheer went up in that room.

Ken Strong, the intelligence officer, told me in an interview later, you never heard middle aged men cheer like that in your life. And then they all rushed out to their various commands, leaving Eisenhower alone, which was wonderfully symbolic. Because until he gave that order, he was the most powerful man in the world at that moment. The fate of great nations and hundreds of thousands of men depended on his decision.

The minute he had given that decision, he was now powerless. The battle was in other people's hands. And a terrific job on the production and editing by our own Greg Hengler.

And a special thanks to Stephen Ambrose, who passed in 2002. But his voice is still heard here on our American stories, thanks to those who run his estate and what a voice indeed. And what a story, perhaps the most important invasion of the 20th century, perhaps in world history, saving the world. That's what our boys did. That's what our manufacturing operation did to here at home. We were producing all those planes producing all those tanks producing those Higgins boats, those landing craft. And that picture of Eisenhower seeking the input from his 12 most senior aides and the end when he said, let's go. Well, the war was now in the hands of the commanders of the American troops and the Nazis to fight it out. What a story.

One of the great Stephen Ambrose Operation Overlord here on our American stories. You wouldn't settle for watching a blurry TV, would you? So why settle for just okay TV sound, upgrade your streaming and sound all in one with Roku stream bar. This powerful two in one upgrade for any TV lets you stream your favorite entertainment in brilliant 4k HDR picture and hear every detail with auto speech clarity.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-08 04:26:37 / 2024-03-08 04:43:19 / 17

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