Compare and Contrast Essay

AP World History, Period F April 23, 2012 Compare and Contrast Essay Although they are two totally different battles, the Normandy Landings and the Battle of Gettysburg have many similarities and differences. The Normandy Landings are also referred to what most people recognize today as D-Day. It took place on June 6, 1944 and was an allied invasion on the coast of Normandy. The Battle of Gettysburg took place a little over eighty years before D-Day. It was a significant battle during the Civil War. The battle was fought July 1-3, 1863 in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

One significant similarity between the Battle of Gettysburg and the Normandy Landings is that they were both known to be turning points in their respective wars. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade’s Army of the Potomac defeated Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, which ended Lee’s invasion of the north. The two armies were known to initially collide at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 1, 1863. At first, Robert E. Lee and his troops had the upper hand in the battle. That changed on July 3, 1863, the third day of fighting.

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Despite significant losses, the Union defenders held their lines. The main event was a dramatic infantry assault by 12,500 Confederates against the center of the Union line, which was known as Pickett’s Charge. However, the charge was put to a halt due to the Union’s artillery and rifle fire, which ended up in significant losses to the Confederate Army. Lee was forced to retreat. The following November, President Lincoln redefined the purpose of the war in his well-known Gettysburg Address. The Normandy Landings, also known as D-Day, was also a pivotal turning point in World War II; particularly in Europe.

This type of attack had been held off for a long period of time because the United States did not think they had enough trained men and materials. However, by the beginning of June 1944, the United States and Great Britain had accumulated a large number of trained men and the greatest amount of material ever assembled to launch and sustain this type of attack. The Allies put into effect a deception plan that lead the Germans to believe that the landings would take place farther north than previously anticipated. Despite unfavorable weather forecasts, General Eisenhower made the decision to attack on June 6, 1944.

Waves of troops began landing on the beaches at 6:30 AM. More than 5,000 ships and 4,000 ship-to-shore crafts were employed. Forces on the right and left flank had comparatively easy going, but U. S. forces stepping on Omaha Beach met a determined opposition. However, by nightfall of the first day of fighting, the Allied Invasion was successful and they had a firm foothold on Hitler’s “fortress Europe. ” Another similarity between the Normandy Landings and the Battle of Gettysburg was the amount of troops that perished.

There is no official fixed number of casualties for D-Day, however it is estimated that there were more than 10,000 casualties. This number includes the number of dead, the number of wounded, and the number of the missing men. The actual number killed on D-Day for Allied troops is estimated to be somewhere around 2,500. The Battle of Gettysburg also experienced thousands of casualties. It is known to be one of the bloodiest battles in American history. It is said that somewhere between 46,000 and 51,000 soldiers from both armies were casualties in the three-day battle.

According to some historians, the Confederate Army experienced more casualties than the Union Army. Despite the many similarities between these two battles, there were many differences too. One difference between the Normandy Landings and the Battle of Gettysburg was the type of fighting. The Battle of Gettysburg contained a lot of artillery fire and included cavalry on both sides. On D-Day, many paratroopers dropped down from planes to find themselves on the battlefield. Many reached their destination, however some found themselves floating over areas they had not planned on going.

Granted these two wars were over eighty years apart, the fighting styles and weaponry were significantly different. The type of guns used on D-Day may have originated from the guns used during the Battle of Gettysburg, however they were a lot more powerful and deadly. The Battle of Gettysburg was a very closely fought battle where as D-Day was almost compared to a sneak attack. The German troops expected their arrival however, which lead the Allied troops to endure heavy gunfire upon arrival. Another difference between the Normandy Landings and the Battle of Gettysburg was the length of the fighting.

The Battle of Gettysburg lasted a harsh and painful three days. It was brother against brother, which made the fighting even harder to endure. The majority of D-Day was fought within twenty-four hours. Brief stints of fighting lasted a little longer, but for the most part, the important and significant missions were completed within twenty-four hours. The Battle of Gettysburg was on and off fighting for three days. Nevertheless, no matter the length of the fighting, many lives were lost. The Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day were two of the most well known battles or days in American History.

They were both pivotal turning points for the respective wars they each occurred in. Many good men died that we will never get back. The Battle of Gettysburg practically changed the outcome of the Civil War. Who knows what would have happened during the rest of the war without this battle. The Normandy Landings were also a huge contribution to the defeat of Hitler. The Civil War and World War II shaped the United States each in their own way. The Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day are two important events in American history that will never be forgotten.