The Dwight D. Eisenhower D-Day Speech That Never Happened - Intercollegiate Studies Institute

The Dwight D. Eisenhower D-Day Speech That Never Happened

Over 70 years has passed.

The National D-Day Memorial is located in Bedford, Virginia, a mere thirty minute drive from my home in Lynchburg. We arrived that morning to find the site nearly empty. The sky was a deep grey and the rain indecisively fell and stopped. As menial as it appeared, the weather that day reflected what it was like that fateful morning of June 6, 1944. It was impossible to see the artifacts and tributes without consciously drifting and imagining what it would have been like to be there. As I ran my hand across the pure bronze, sketched with the names of fallen heroes, I began to better understand, if only to a very small degree, what Eisenhower was facing. With the weight of the world upon his shoulders, he articulated one of the most famous speeches in American history.

You are about to embark upon the great crusade, the eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. … The tide has turned! The freemen of the world are marching together to victory! Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

Many Americans are familiar with this speech, as well as the circumstances surrounding it. But, “Ike,” as he was affectionately known, wrote a second speech. This speech was written in case Operation Overlord failed, and it entailed the most unimaginable outcome. In this second speech, Ike assumed full responsibility for the operation’s failure. His second speech embraced the reality of failure and its consequences.

Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops, my decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

It was only by the grace of Almighty God, that General Ike had no need for that speech. Though dithering, the allied invasion succeeded in bringing down Hitler and his Nazi regime.

Eisenhower’s unwavering resolve, commitment, and sense of responsibility proved resilient during one of America’s most harrowing days.

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