If D-Day Failed

Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops.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.—June 5th
—General Dwight David Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force.


Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives

Often maligned because, unlike Patton or Bradley, he had never commanded a unit in combat, Ike would likely have been sacked. A goat instead of a hero, he would never have become president.  Instead, that role may have fallen to General Douglas MacArthur. During the dark early days of the Korean War, when the United Nations troops MacArthur commanded were in desperate straits, the general planned to create a radioactive dead zone by strewing nuclear waste where the Yalu River could be crossed. Had MacArthur been president, might he have triggered a nuclear holocaust?

Consider this as well. What would have been the political shape of Western Europe had the Allies and the Russians met on the Rhine instead of the Elbe? All of Germany and even France, where the Parti communiste français had earned a reputation as the most effective unit of the Resistance, might have fallen into the Soviet sphere.