[June 6, 2023] Codenamed Operation Overlord, the invasion of German-occupied France had long been coming. Success was an outgrowth of the many leadership lessons from the failures at Dunkirk and other battlefields. Those lessons were hard-earned and cost the lives of tens of thousands of military and civilians. Yet, what did the military and civilian leadership gain from those earlier hard-fought battles? Were they able to apply those lessons on D-Day, June 6, 1944?
“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Here are some lessons leading up to D-Day. Those lessons helped ensure its victory.
- Recognize that evil in the world is real and must be combated as early as possible
- Create and maintain a shared, cooperative vision among political and military leaders
- Recognize the complexity and massiveness of the many decisions are necessary to win
- Be optimistic, build and sustain the morale of the civilian population and military forces
- Understand the differences, limitations, and sensitivities of Allied Forces
- Apply commonsense, proven solutions to everyday problems but be creative and encourage innovative solutions to new crises
- Expect the unexpected, always be ready, and anticipate the enemy’s next move
- Victory and the fight against evil will not be cheap
It is difficult for us, sitting in our comfortable chairs sipping on a glass of iced tea on a warm Spring Day, to gain an appreciation of the circumstances that our forces fought under at Normandy. The sheer destructiveness unleashed the death and injury, the heroic and sometimes cowardly acts, all combined into a single point at Normandy on that particular day, just 79 years ago.
For those there and for those that supported the effort to stem the evil tide of German Nazism, Italian Fascism, and Japanese Imperialism, we thank you. Success was achieved because Allied leaders could apply the hard lessons learned from previous battles.
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