For years, the entire world passively watched Adolf Hitler's rise to power. After the annexing of France other countries woke up to the reality that global domination by Germany was inevitable. The development of Germany's secret V1 and V2 rockets pressured the Allies to react quickly and reclaim a foothold in continental Europe. The fate of Western Europe lied in the hands of three men: Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin. Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) was Great Britain's greatest 20th Century statesman. Franklin Roosevelt (1882 -1945), the thirty-second President of the United States, served longer than any other U.S. president and during his presidency faced the two greatest crises of American history: the Great Depression and World War II. Joseph Stalin (1879 - 1953), the secretary of the communist party in Russia, had a very strong influence in the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. (Microsoft Encarta)
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill's first choice to lead the invasion of Normandy was U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall who played an
important role in designing the overall American Military effort in Europe. After much consideration, Roosevelt decided that Marshall's presence in Washington was indispensable. The Allies soon agreed that General Dwight D. Eisenhower, another well-experienced officer, would be the Supreme Overall Commander of the Allied troops in Europe. Eisenhower accepted the job assignment and became the supreme commander of the invasion and commanding general of all United States forces in all European Operations.(AJP Taylor)
When Eisenhower returned to London, England he told the combined chief of staff: "Every obstacle must be overcome, every inconvenience suffered, and every risk run to ensure that our blow is decisive. We cannot afford to fail." (Microsoft Encarta) With this enthusiasm he drove not only himself but his troops with no mercy: "He worked 20 hours a day; the men trained with live ammunition." (Microsoft Encarta) Eisenhower wanted this plan to work. His biggest fear was how to bring in enough landing crafts to open the attack to the Allies 8 divisions, as opposed to the German commander Rommel's 50 divisions. (Microsoft Encarta)
Omar Bradley (1893 - 1981), an American General, was chosen to lead the ground troops in the invasion of Normandy. Under his direction, the 100,000 troops were the main American offensive efforts. He was an aide for Eisenhower until 1942. Under his command his troops stormed Bizerte, a German held city and took over 40,000 prisoners. He also commanded the center division on the Utah and Omaha beaches. (Microsoft Encarta)
George S. Patton (1885 - 1945) was ideally suited to command an army. "He was bold strategist and a good administrator who knew how to motivate his troops. However, his boldness also led him to words and actions that caused political difficulties." (Patton,George S) Patton was in charge of a fake army set up in southern France to be used as a diversion. He was in command of rubber tanks, fake planes, and fake army
vehicles. These were all used to divert the Germans from the actual landing site...Normandy. One of the most brilliant moves in the war was Patton's...