Today is the anniversary of D-Day, one of the most momentous days in modern history. On this day in 1944, the armed forces of Britain, the United States, Canada, and their allies, landed on the beaches of Normandy in France and began the long struggle to retake the continent of Europe from the occupying armies of Nazi Germany.
If you have older homeschoolers who are learning about World War II, one of the best approaches you can take to an event like D-Day is to listen together to some of the live news reports that were broadcast that day as the situation was unfolding.
Here are the very first tentative reports from CBS radio in New York, beginning just after midnight on 6 June 1944, made available by the Internet Archive (archive.org). Note that the first reports were coming from German sources, and the announcers were cautioning listeners that they may be disinformation:
You can listen to the whole day’s broadcasts on the Internet Archive’s index page here:
Historical anniversary days like this are also days for geography. Every homeschool should have a good atlas or collection of maps — we recommend the National Geographic atlas (riverhouses.org/books), but there are many other excellent ones available. In the National Geographic atlas, Plates 61 and 63 will show you the English Channel and the location of the invasion beaches. Keep one of those maps in view as you listen to the news broadcasts above and you will be able to locate the places being mentioned by the reporters.
Help your students to understand how news would have traveled in 1944 as well. There was no Internet, of course, and no cell phones. Television was limited. News reports came in (as you can hear in the broadcast) over teletype machines, and announcers would read and comment on the teletype reports. It was wartime, so there was censorship and disinformation all around. Today we can read simplified historical summaries of major events like D-Day, but as they were happening those events were often unclear and their outcomes uncertain.
What historical anniversaries are you remembering in your homeschool this week?