If D-Day had failed: Eisenhower’s apology


IkeDdayFailureMessageNationalArchivesThe document, scribbled in pencil by an exhausted Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, has the wrong date: July 5, 1944, instead of June.

But the message was clear: If the D-Day landings fail, the buck stops with Ike, the Supreme Allied Commander.

“My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available,” the general’s speech reads in part. “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.”

“That Eisenhower was willing to take the full blame should D-Day fail is quite telling of his character,” Tim Rives, the deputy director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library, tells British media. “Winston Churchill’s chief concern on D-Day was a bloodbath on the beaches. And Eisenhower clearly felt the same as the plan was to withdraw rather than fight to the end.”

Eisenhower put the note in his wallet, and later gave it to an assistant, Capt. Harry Butcher, whose family donated it to the library in the 1980s.

Document courtesy of the National Archives.