On June 5, 1944, then-General Dwight D. Eisenhower jotted down the words above (larger image here; text below). He had written the speech in case the following day’s D-Day invasion failed. (He got the date wrong; obviously, other things were on his mind.)

He threw the paper aside when it became clear that the invasion was a success, but a historically-aware assistant realized the value of the document and retained it.

The text of the unspoken address:

Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. 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.

<< Back to "Marooned on the Moon"

Originally published

NOW I KNOW is a free email newsletter of incredible things; you'll learn something new every day. Subscribe now!