Given the pace of change in the world today, it boggles the mind to think that we still live in the shadow of an event 75 years in the past. But when the sun set over the English Channel on June 6, 1944, with tens of thousands of Allied troops firmly lodged on the Normandy coast of France, a new chapter of history began — one that is still being written, with an ending yet unknown.

D-Day was an economic triumph as well as a military one. The skies were filled with aircraft built in the United States. The seas were crowded with warships built in the United States. The moment the beaches were secured, they were covered with tanks, trucks, Jeeps and artillery pieces made in the United States. The industrial capacity of the United States — sheltered from attack by two oceans and by friendly neighbors — had simply overwhelmed the capacity of the Axis powers.

Von Drehle was previously an editor-at-large for Time Magazine.

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