War and Conflict. World War Two. (D-Day). Invasion of France. pic: June 1944. American craft of all styles pictured at Omaha Beach, Normandy, during the first stages of the Allied invasion.

D-Day: The Beginning of the End of World War II

Photos from the day when 150,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy.

The beginning of the end of World War II? Many say that it started 74 years ago, on the beaches of Normandy, on what has come to be known as D-day. The largest seaborne invasion in history called for more than 150,000 troops to storm the beaches of northwestern France while the German army showered them with artillery. It took extraordinary courage to withstand the German firepower—casualties were massive— but, ultimately, the Allied forces prevailed and the invasion of Normandy was a success.

THEY CAME FROM THE AIR Hulton Deutsch/Corbis via Getty Images THEY CAME FROM THE AIR Early on June 6, allied forces parachuted into zones along the Normandy coast. "The eyes of the world are upon you," announced US General Dwight D. Eisenhower to the troops in his order of the day. "Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well-trained, well-equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely." All of which was true. A WET LANDING Roger Viollet/Roger Viollet/Getty Images A WET LANDING Ground troops landed on the five beaches code-named, Omaha, Juno, Utah, Gold, and Sword. Here, Royal Marine Commandos make their way onto 'Nan Red' Beach, Juno area, at about 9 am on, 6 June 1944. WAITING ON UTAH BEACH Bettmann/Bettmann Archive WAITING ON UTAH BEACH With no natural cover—no trees, boulders, or building—soldiers, like the American troops shown here, had to dig fox holes and burrow into the sand. PULLED FROM THE SEA Interim Archives/Getty Images PULLED FROM THE SEA As German bullets and mortar rained down on the approaching Allied troops, boats sank and soldiers had to swim for shore. Here, American soldiers pull survivors from a sunken landing craft on Omaha Beach. AMPHIBIOUS LANDINGS IWM/Getty Images/IWM via Getty Images AMPHIBIOUS LANDINGS British soldiers lower the stairs from their amphibious vehicles and land in the shallow waters of Juno Beach on the morning of June 6, 1944. BICYCLES ON THE BEACH STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images BICYCLES ON THE BEACH Canadian soldiers arrived on Juno beach with their bikes—a lightweight and efficient way to move quickly on land. LIBERATION! Popperfoto/Popperfoto/Getty Images LIBERATION! Sainte Mere Eglise, pictured here, was the first French town to be liberated. REMEMBERING THOSE LOST Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images REMEMBERING THOSE LOST Despite the success of D-Day, there were more than 10,000 casualties—killed, wounded, and missing. The fighting in Normandy continued until August 1944. Less than a year later, the war was over and the Allies declared victory. See some rare color photos of D-Day.

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