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Operation Fortitude session pre and post visit resource Learning Department IWM Churchill War Rooms.

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Presentation on theme: "Operation Fortitude session pre and post visit resource Learning Department IWM Churchill War Rooms."— Presentation transcript:

1 Operation Fortitude session pre and post visit resource Learning Department IWM Churchill War Rooms

2 This PowerPoint is designed to help students and teachers learn about the purpose and course of Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings, to provide context for the Operation Fortitude session. It can be used in conjunction with the Operation Fortitude Teachers Guidance Notes. Images and information in this PowerPoint can be used in this format to give a short briefing before the visit to IWM Churchill War Rooms, the Operation Fortitude session or can be used as a resource to make your own learning activities. The red slides contain contextual historical information for teachers. The images in this resource can be freely used for non-commercial use in your classroom subject to the terms of the IWM’s Non Commercial Licence: Learning Department IWM Churchill War Rooms

3 In the Operation Fortitude session students will carry out some of the tasks performed by The London Controlling Section from The Cabinet War Rooms. Preparation for the session should cover these points, in appropriate depth for the age and ability of the students: By 1943 Britain, USA and Soviet Union had agreed to liberate Europe by landing in France on the Normandy Beaches. The planned landing was called Operation Overlord, and began on D-day 6 June 1944. The D-day landings would force Nazi Germany to fight on two fronts – the Western Front (France) and the Eastern Front (Soviet Union). Nazi forces would be divided and the Soviet Union could move through Europe from the East, and British, US and Canadian Forces could move through Europe from the West, driving Nazi forces back to Berlin. British, US and Canadian troops massed in Britain, and landed at Normandy on five beaches – code names Sword (British and Canadian), Gold (British and Canadian), Juno (British and Canadian), Utah (US), Omaha (US) Operation Fortitude took place during 1943 and 1944, and was a deception operation to fool Nazi Germany into thinking allied forces would land at Calais, and ensure success at Normandy, as Nazi Germany would be unprepared at this location.

4 The building above the Cabinet War Rooms in 1945 © IWM (HU 58518)

5 The Cabinet War Rooms was hidden underneath this building in London, from 1939 – 1945. Here the London Controlling Section planned Operation Fortitude. This Operation ran alongside Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings. The D-Day landings were planned for June 1944, and would take place at Normandy. The purpose of Operation Fortitude was to deceive the Nazis into believing the landings would take place at Calais. Learning Department IWM Churchill War Rooms


7 Learning Department IWM Churchill War Rooms By 1943 Nazi Germany occupied most of Europe. Nazi forces were bogged down on the Eastern Front. The Soviet Union had lost millions of people due to defence on the Eastern front and starvation, as supplies were blocked. The United States had joined the war in 1941, and brought fresh resources to Britain and the Soviet Union, who had already been fighting against Nazi Invasion for two years.

8 Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin at the Teheran Conference, December 1943 © IWM (E 26615)

9 Learning Department IWM Churchill War Rooms In November 1943 Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill met at Teheran. They discussed how to liberate Europe, and open up a second front in Western Europe. Stalin was pressurising for this to happen as soon as possible, to ease pressure on the Eastern front. Opinion was divided on when and where allied landings in Europe should take place. Churchill thought that Italy was ‘the soft underbelly’ of Europe, while Roosevelt favoured France as the location for attack.

10 Winston Churchill with General Dwight D. Eisenhower, May 1944 © IWM (H 38458)

11 General Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Commander of Allied Forces for Operation Overlord. The appointment of an American by Roosevelt, was an indication of who was driving force behind this operation. Churchill had promised the job to General Montgomery, who was appointed Overall Commander of Ground Forces. Learning Department IWM Churchill War Rooms

12 Winston Churchill with General Sir Bernard Montgomery, July 1944 © IWM (B 7767)


14 Allied troops would gather on the south coast of Britain and come across to five beaches in Normandy. US troops would attempt to take Utah and Omaha beach, British and Canadian troops would land at Juno, Sword and Gold. Normandy was a less obvious landing place than Calais. Calais is the nearest point to the south coast of Britain. Normandy beaches were surrounded by cliffs, which were easier for the Nazis to defend and fire down onto allied troops on the beaches. The terrain on the cliffs at Normandy was also difficult, with thick vegetation. Learning Department IWM Churchill War Rooms

15 Commandos of HQ 4th Special Service Brigade, coming ashore from LCI(S) landing craft on Nan Red beach, Juno area, at St Aubin-sur- Mer, 6 June 1944 © IWM (B 5218)

16 Learning Department IWM Churchill War Rooms On 6 June 1944 allied forces landed at Normandy. This photograph shows British troops landing on Juno beach. Although each beach was secured according to plan, it was an incredibly hard task, with 12,000 (Allied and German) men killed in the process. The troops on Omaha beach faced the most resistance and highest casualty rate. 5,000 US troops, were killed on Omaha beach in the first few hours. On Utah beach 197 troops were killed, out of 23,000 who landed there.

17 Winston Churchill and General Charles de Gaulle walk down the Avenue des Champs-Elysee during the French Armistice Day parade in Paris, 11 November 1944. © IWM (BU 1292)

18 Learning Department IWM Churchill War Rooms Churchill was very nervous about landing at Normandy, and wanted to go with troops in the first wave on 6 June 1944. He was expressly forbidden from doing this by the King, and followed ten days later on 16 June 1944. Allied troops moved across Europe driving Nazi forces back to Berlin. As allied troops moved through Europe, they were joined by men and women from liberated countries, such as France and Poland. VE Day (Victory in Europe) was declared on 8 May 1945, the war in the far East would continue until 15 August 1945 when VJ Day (Victory over Japan) was declared. The Soviet Union had been a crucial ally in defeating Nazi Germany on two fronts in Europe. However, in the months that followed VE Day it was clear that in some countries Nazi occupation had been replaced by Soviet occupation.

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