Alex Heigl
June 06, 2014 06:30 AM

June 6 marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day. In 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed to fight Nazi Germany along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified beach in Normandy, France.

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.

Winston Churchill walks to Parliament to announce the D-Day landings in June 1944 during World War II
Squadron Of P-38 Lightnings In Flight
D Day at the White House
Marie Hansen
The aftermath of the Allied landing aboard a hospital ship
A captured German soldier
Jeffrey Markowitz/Sygma/Corbis
Allied commander General Dwight Eisenhower (l) giving pep talk to US 101st Airborne Division troops just prior to the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe
U.S. Army
Signal Corps massed in Berlin, June 1944
Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty
American soldiers digging foxholes shortly after the D-Day Allied invasion of Normandy, France
General Omar Bradley (l) and Admiral Alan Kirk sit and talk as they go ashore on D-day, after the Normandy invasion
American soldiers wade to shore fighting heavy machine gun fire on the Normandy Coast
Robert S. Sargent/Corbis

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