“The invasion has begun!”

Anne Frank’s complete diary entry for June 6, 1944:

“This is D Day,” the BBC announced at twelve. “This is the day.” The invasion has begun!

The morning at eight the British reported heavy bombing of Calais, Boulogne, Le Havre and Charbourg, as well as Pas de Calais (as usual). Further, as a precautionary measure for those in the occupied territories, everyone living within a zone of twenty miles from the coast was warned to prepare for bombardments. Where possible, the British will drop pamphlets an hour ahead of time.

According to the German news, British paratroopers have landed on the coast of France. “British landing craft are engaged in combat with German naval units,” according to the BBC.

Conclusion reached by the Annex while breakfasting at nine: this is a trial landing, like the one two years ago at Dieppe.

BBC broadcast in German, Dutch, French and other languages at ten: The invasion has begun! So this is the “real” invasion. BBC broadcast in German at eleven: speech by Supreme Commander General Dwight Eisenhower.

BBC broadcast in English: “This is D Day.” General Eisenhower said to the French people: “Stiff fighting will come now, but after this the victory. The year 1944 is the year of complete victory. Good luck!”

BBC broadcast in English at one: 11,000 planes are shuttling back and forth or standing by the land troops and bomb behind enemy lines; 4,000 landing craft and small boats are continually arriving in the area between Cherbourg and Le Havre. English and American troops are already engaged in heavy combat. Speeches by Gerbrandy, the Prime Minister of Belgium, King Haakon of Norway, de Gaulle of France, the King of England and, last but not least, Churchill.

A huge commotion in the Annex! Is this really the beginning of the long-awaited liberation? The liberation we’ve all talked so much about, which still seems too good, too much of a fairy tale ever to come true? Will this year, 1944, bring us victory? We don’t know yet. But where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again. We’ll need to be brave to endure the many fears and hardships and the suffering yet to come. It’s now a matter of remaining calm and steadfast, of gritting our teeth and keeping a stiff upper lip! France, Russia, Italy, and even Germany, can cry out in agony, but we don’t yet have that right!

Oh, Kitty, the best part about the invasion is that I have the feeling that friends are on the way. Those terrible Germans have oppressed and threatened us for so long that the thought of friends and salvation means everything to us! Now it’s not just the Jews, but Holland and all of occupied Europe. Maybe, Margot says, I can even go back to school in September or October.

Yours, Anne M. Frank

PS: I’ll keep you informed of the latest news!

This morning and last night, dummies made of straw and rubber were dropped from the air behind German lines, and they exploded the minute they hit the ground. Many paratroopers, their faces blackened so they couldn’t be seen in the dark, landed as well. The French coast was bombarded with 5,500 tons of bombs during the night, and then, at six in the morning, the first landing craft came ashore. Today there were 20,000 airplanes in action. The German coastal batteries were destroyed even before the landing; a small bridgehead has already been formed. Everything’s going well, despite the bad weather. The army and the people are “one will and one hope.”

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