Watch LIVE

Today Is the 72nd Anniversary of D-Day: Do You Know What the 'D' Stands For?

News

"I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!"

Image source: Twitter

To military historians, millions of Americans, Europeans and especially the survivors and families of those who fought in World War II, June 6, 1944, is known solely as "D-Day" — a day widely recognized as a turning point in World War II.

On the morning of the historic day, a coordinated assault was launched involving more than 160,000 Allied fighters storming the beaches of Normandy, France.

Success on D-Day was critical to an Allied win over Nazi Germany. But, what does it mean? What does the "D" in D-Day stand for?

Could the "D" stand for decision, doomsday or even death?

While there is not complete agreement on the answer to the question, a couple of generally accepted explanations lead all possible answers.

The World War II Museum in New Orleans offers clarity on the topic citing author Stephen Ambrose's "D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II":

Time magazine reported on June 12 [1944] that “as far as the U.S. Army can determine, the first use of D for Day, H for Hour was in Field Order No. 8, of the First Army, A.E.F., issued on Sept. 20, 1918, which read, ‘The First Army will attack at H-Hour on D-Day with the object of forcing the evacuation of the St. Mihiel salient.’”

According to Time, the "D" in D-Day merely means "day."

Could it be that simple? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Another book, "War Slang" from Paul Dickson, offers the following accounts for consideration:

Many explanations have been given for the meaning of D-Day, June 6, 1944, the day the Allies invaded Normandy from England during World War II. The Army has said that it is “simply an alliteration, as in H-Hour.” Others say the first D in the word also stands for “day,” the term a code designation. The French maintain the D means “disembarkation,” still others say “debarkation,” and the more poetic insist D-Day is short for “day of decision.” When someone wrote to General Eisenhower in 1964 asking for an explanation, his executive assistant Brigadier General Robert Schultz answered: “General Eisenhower asked me to respond to your letter. Be advised that any amphibious operation has a ‘departed date’; therefore the shortened term ‘D-Day’ is used.”

The short answer here, the "D" in D-Day could mean day, departure, disembarkation, debarkation or day of decision.

The only real agreement on D-Day is the fact the invasion forever changed the course of WWII.

Need to more about the events of D-Day? You can follow a timeline of the invasion on Twitter.

Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook:

Most recent
All Articles