Plans for the 1944 Normandy landings began in 1943. Over the course of that year of preparation, much thought certainly went into all the different possible outcomes, but it wasn’t until the day before the largest seaborne invasion in history, that General Eisenhower took a moment to jot down what he would say if, despite everything, it all failed.
At the end of the scrawled, 66-word, hypothetical speech, he holds himself accountable for the horrors that the use of this paper would have meant…
If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.
(A complete transcription is below.)
The speech reads…
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops.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 upon 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. [By mistake, he dated the speech July 5 rather than June 5.]
We can be grateful that this note is an obscure piece in the national archives and does not represent a moment that ever actually took place.