‘In case of failure:’ The secret letter General Eisenhower wrote if D-Day failed

eisenhower

U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower visits American paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division bound for the Normandy invasion on June 5, 1944. (U.S. Army photo)

WASHINGTON  — The night before the D-Day invasion, General Dwight D. Eisenhower considered the magnitude of the operation and how to address its potential failure.

While the Allied forces assembled for Operation Overlord, Eisenhower sat down with a pencil and a 4 1/2-by-7-inch sheet of paper to write a statement which came to be known as “In Case of Failure.

In four humble sentences, he accepted all responsibility in the event of failure. “If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone,” he wrote in the message, which was mistakenly dated July 5 instead of June 5.

However, the landings on June 6 were successful and the Allied campaign to liberate Western Europe from Nazi occupation began.

Below is Eisenhower’s handwritten message:

The letter reads: “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

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