Ike at D-Day | History | Smithsonian
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Ike at D-Day

The rain he worried about. The Camel cigarettes he chain-smoked. The letter he wrote in case of failure. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower's defining moment comes to life in an excerpt from Michael Korda's best-selling new biography.

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The rain he worried about. The Camel cigarettes he chain-smoked.
The letter he wrote in case of failure. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s defining moment comes to life in an excerpt from Michael Korda’s bestselling new biography

As June 6, 1944—the date set for the massive Allied invasion of France—loomed, one man bore the full weight of that decision. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander, would alone decide whether the assault would go forward.

Conditions were not propitious: stormy weather and low clouds portended less than ideal circumstances. The risks, too, were crushing in their magnitude. Even in the hours preceding the invasion, much would depend on an unprecedented and dangerous paratroop operation. An airborne assault was, however, as Eisenhower perceived, essential to securing the flanks.

The weather that so concerned Ike, nevertheless would prove a boon. The German command, believing an invasion under such conditions to be tantamount to madness, departed the coast of France for Paris and Berlin.

Michael Korda takes us behind the scenes for a gripping and intimate portrait of Ike on the eve of World War II’s pivotal assault.

An adaptation of Ike: An American Hero, by Michael Korda, originally published in the December 2007 issue of Smithsonian. All rights reserved.

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