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The Battle of Normandy

The Battle of Normandy

Operation Neptune is launched on the Norman coasts on June 6, 1944, the first phase of Operation Overlord, which would ultimately lead to the downfall of nazi totalitarianism and the liberation of Western Europe. 

During the three months the Battle of Normandy lasted, the conflict would take a heavy toll on fighters and civilians. 

Allied, Germands and civilians : in the end, nearly 140,000 were deceased and a whole region, Normandy, was in ruins at the dawn of its liberation.

Photo © U.S. Army - La Fabrique de Patrimoines en Normandie Collection

The reconstruction of Normandy

The reconstruction of Normandy

Normandy, following the summer of 1944, is a huge construction site : cleaning up, clearing mines, restoring infrastructures, putting the economy back into gear, rebuilding the thousands of destroyed or ruined housings ... 

The reconstruction lasted longer than in the rest of France, given the amplitude of the destructions. 

It was also an opportunity to lead innovative urban experiences, as it was the case in Caen, Le Havre, etc. , to modernise the agriculture and to reconstruct industrial and harbour zones.

Photo © U.S. Army - La Fabrique de Patrimoines en Normandie Collection



As soon as the war ended, Normans preserved the memory of the Landing and the Battle of Normandy.

On June 22, 1945, Raymond Triboulet, the first Deputy Prefect of freed France, created the Landing Commitee. Its role, reinforced by the unanimously-voted law of May 21, 1947, is to commemorate and preserve the memory of the Allied Landing in Normandy. 

As early as the first commemorations, a fact is highlighted : The D-Day is not only an unique and extraordinary military operation, it's also the symbol of victory of democracy and human rights. 

The remembrance tourism in Normandy is based on these essentials.

Photo © INA - Jean-Claude Mallinjod

National memory and Franco-German reconciliation

National memory and Franco-German reconciliation

Despite 20,000 civilian casualties, destructions, traumas brought by the fight for Freedom and a certain germanophobia still remaining in the post-war public opinion, Norman cities are the first in France to commit themselves in a political and human venture aiming at a Franco-German reconciliation.

For instance, in 1960, three years before the Elysee Treaty was signed, Cherbourg's mayor Jacques Hébert, Companion of the Liberation, establishes a twinning with the German harbour city of Bremerhaven. 

The cohesive dimension of the twinnings between Norman and German towns triggers, both at popular and symbolic levels, a true movement of friendship between both countries.

Photo © Sylvain Guichard - Le Mémorial de Caen

Normandy and Europe : building the peace

Normandy and Europe : building the peace

"It is perhaps here that was founded the Europe that we are dealing with now" : This sentence sums up the speeches, as early as 1970s, made by the most prominent international figures coming to the Normandy beaches to commemorate June 6, 1944. 

The German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, during the sixtieth anniversary of the Landing at the Caen Memorial, evoked German fighter Hans Flindt, who was made prisoner in Normandy and eventually married a French woman after the war. Hans Flindt said about the D-Day : "For all of us, it was the beginning of a new life, a happier life". 

Togetherness in the respect of nations' diversities, the hope to be able to preserve in Europe the freedom and peace acquired thanks to the many sacrifices and acts of heroism are political and universalistic themes which underlie the speeches and memories tied to the Landing and the Battle of Normandy.

Photo © Ruzanna Arutyunyan - Limassol Carnival, Cyprus

Normandy : a symbol of peace for the world

Normandy : a symbol of peace for the world

The beaches and sites of the Landing in Normandy progressively became, as early as 1944, historical and memory landmarks which carry messages for the whole mankind. The beaches of Normandy are symbols of the commitment and sacrifices consented in the name of Human Rights and, as such, constitute a true pedagogy of peace.

With 5 million people visiting each year its sites, cemeteries and museums, Normandy is globally seen as a flagship region for remembrance tourism. During the June 6 grand ceremonies of commemoration, heads of states gather in Normandy to remember this decisive chapter of the history of Europe and, indeed, the world. 

The candidacy, supported by France, of the Normandy Beaches as a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as the Global Forum for Peace, make Normandy an international symbol of freedom and peace.

Photo © Sigrid Colomyès - Le Mémorial de Caen