The Battle of Normandy was a critical battle because it opened a second major front against the Germans in Europe during the Second World War. Normandy represented one of the most heavily fortified areas the Germans possessed, so the fighting was intense and extremely costly. Ultimately, however, it proved a decisive chapter in the conflict and spelled the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany, according to the U.S. Navy.Continue Reading
Before 1944, the Western allies had fought the Germans in a number of places, most notably in North
Africa and Italy. In the East, the Russians had put up a desperate fight to stay alive, finally scoring a great victory at Stalingrad in the winter of 1942 and 1943. But the Russians needed more help, and a second front in the western half of Europe seemed just the solution.
Besides opening the second front, the Battle of Normandy also opened the road to Germany itself. Once
France was retaken, allied offenses lead the movement toward the Rhine as well as through Holland and Belgium. With the exception of the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans were never able to significantly regain the offensive. With this new pressure opened up in the west, the Russian army gained even more momentum in their own theater. As put by Naval History and Heritage Command, “With the Soviets advancing from the East, Hitler's armies were pushed, sometimes haltingly and always bloodily, back to their homeland." By the end of the Battle of Normandy, the vast majority of German generals knew it was only a matter of time before the German war effort collapsed entirely. By April 1945, the war was over.Learn more about World War 2