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.