Today is the 76th 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 homeschool students who are learning about World War II, one of the best approaches you can take to an event like D-Day is to listen with them 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. They are quite gripping, and you and your students can listen to them just as the American public would have listened to them in the early hours of D-Day morning. Note that the first reports were coming from German sources, and the announcers were cautioning people that they might be disinformation:
You can listen to the whole day’s broadcasts — a true one-of-a-kind history lesson — on the Internet Archive’s D-Day 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 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 in real time.
Help your students understand how news would have traveled in 1944 as well. There was no Internet, of course, and no cell phones. Television was very 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 other historical anniversaries will you be remembering in your homeschool this Hercules Term?
❡ Explore more: For a quick homeschool review of the D-Day invasion and its place in the history of World War II, turn to page 399 (and the surrounding pages) in your River Houses history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books). 📚
❡ Stay in the loop: This is one of our regular Homeschool Holidays & Anniversaries posts. Add your name to our free weekly mailing list (riverhouses.org/newsletter) and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🗞