Seventy years ago this weekend, Americans awoke to stunning news that Allied forces had landed on the beaches of France on June 6,1944 to begin the invasion of Western Europe.
D-Day, along with other landmark moments of World War II, marked a new stage of war reporting for news organizations. For the first time, millions of Americans utilized the new medium of radio to get the most up to date reports of the action on the battlefield.
Around midnight on D-Day, NBC News Radio broke into its regular programming to report that there were unconfirmed rumors via Nazi sources of an invasion. Later that morning after confirming the reports, NBC’s Robert St. John broke the news to his listeners with a dramatic announcement: “Men and women of the United States, this is a momentous hour in world history.This is the invasion of Hitler’s Europe.”
NBC Radio reports would stay on the air for the next 24 hours, broadcasting everything from updates on the invasion, Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower’s moving message to his troops, and, at one point, a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
In the clip below, you can listen to original radio broadcasts on the D-Day invasion, along with footage and photographs from the time, all courtesy NBCUniversal Archives.
First published June 3 2014, 11:03 AM
Betsy Fischer Martin
Betsy Fischer Martin is the senior executive producer and managing editor of NBC News political programming. She is responsible for the development and execution of political coverage for NBC News and provides the editorial direction of coverage across all of the networkâ€™s shows and digital teams, as well as long-range major political coverage such as the upcoming mid-terms and the 2016 Presidential election.
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Before being promoted to her current position in July of 2013, Fischer Martin was at the helm of NBCâ€™s number one rated Sunday morning public affairs program and the longest running television program in the world, â€œMeet the Press,â€ since July 2002.