This day in Mohawk Valley history: June 6, 1944

The Freeman’s Journal, June 7, 1944. Cooperstown, Otsego County, NY

The Invasion of Europe is Under Way

Let us all pray to God to give wisdom to our leaders, protection to our fighting sons and victory to our arms.

Cooperstown Receives News of the Invasion

A thrill ran through Cooperstown Tuesday morning as rising listeners heard their radio announcers detailing the first moves of the invasion of the continent of Europe, which had then been in progress for several hours.

Although the news had been expected for weeks, and although there was always behind it the realization of the terrific cost in lives that must be paid on the final step toward complete victory of the Nazi enslavers of mankind, it brought a decided lift to the morale of the community. there were no jubilant demonstrations, but a feeling of tense excitement could be discerned wherever one went or wherever two or more people met. The tedium of waiting was gone at last and we were hearing the story of real action.

The Flag of the United States was profusely in evidence, and at 2 o’clock the schools and all places of business and other agencies closed in order that the people might spend an hour in prayer at their respective places of worship for victory and for their sons in the battle front. – NYS Historic Newspapers

D-Day: Operation Overlord

In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, Americans received word that three years of concerted war efforts had finally culminated in D-day—military jargon for the undisclosed time of a planned British, American, and Canadian action. During the night, over 5,300 ships and 11,000 planes had crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy. The goal of every soldier and civilian involved in that effort was to drive the German military back to Berlin by opening a western front in Europe.

The U.S. entered World War II without the infrastructure and logistical support necessary to win. To overcome this deficit, Americans worked around the clock. Donald Nelson, chairman of the War Production Board from 1942-44, said, “The American war-production job was probably the greatest collective achievement of all time.”

Ford turns to mass production of bombers. April 1942. Prints & Photographs Division

Ford turns to mass production of bombers. April 1942. Prints & Photographs Division

Sixty million Americans mobilized to win the war. They held concerts and sold war bonds to raise money; rationed foodstuffs and gasoline; and salvaged scrap metal to transform it into machinery. Civilians produced everything from guns to socks for the men in the field — 25 billion rounds of 30-caliber ammunition, over 88,000 tanks, and 460,000,000 pounds of cabbage. Every twenty-four hours, factory workers rolled five new B-26 bombers off of the assembly line. At the Higgins plant in New Orleans, the first fully-integrated work force in the U.S. produced 20,094 newly-conceived landing craft, 1500 of which put troops ashore on D-Day.

Today in History – June 6, Library of Congress