Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, "we will accept nothing less than full victory."
Armed with more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft that fateful day, the Allies gained a foothold in Europe and turned the tide in World War II – but at a high cost. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded, but their tremendous sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 soldiers to begin the defeat against Adolf Hitler and change the course of human history.
To commemorate the anniversary, LIFE released D-Day: Remembering the Battle that Won the War – 70 Years Later earlier this year.
Publisher Henry Luce once said that LIFE had not been born as a war magazine but that world events made it one. Photographers from the magazine – including Robert Capa, Bob Landry, Ralph Morse and George Silk – were among the 1.5 million American servicemen and women in Southern England preparing for Operation Overlord.
Armed with their lenses, they captured the now-iconic images that adorn this book, some of which Steven Spielberg would later use when crafting Saving Private Ryan's heart-stoppingly intense opening depiction of D-Day.
Take a look at these photographs and, more importantly, take a moment to remember.
FPG / Getty
Jeffrey Markowitz / Sygma / Corbis
Galerie Bilderwelt / Getty
Bettmann / Corbis
Robert S. Sargent / Corbis