On June 6, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower oversaw the launching of the world’s largest armada as part of the D-day invasion and issued his Order of the Day, a remarkably succinct call to arms and rallying cry for battle. On this day, an extraordinary flotilla of 176,000 men, 20,000 vehicles, and thousands of tons of stores and munitions left the shores of England and headed toward Normandy in France. Eisenhower’s description of this colossal human enterprise in his Order of the Day drew from a spiritual, not secular, vocabulary. This Texas-born Presbyterian saw the invasion quite simply as “the Great Crusade.” He also sought “the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.” Essentially, Eisenhower’s appeal to the assembled forces—“Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force”—is built around no more than two full paragraphs; five exclamation points; less than three hundred words; and a terse, staccato, intensive series of short sentences. The tone of the Order of the Day, while calm and collected, is quintessential Eisenhower. His message is that the country was facing a monumental challenge and a daunting task but that the outcome could not be in doubt.
Read our complete coverage of Eisenhower’s Order of the Day, with in-depth analysis by the historian Scott A.G.M. Crawford of Eastern Illinois University.