Omar Bradley was the highest ranking American commander in Europe from D-Day (June 1944) to the German surrender in May 1945. Omar Bradley and the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (and future American president) Dwight Eisenhower developed a strong working relationship together during the war.
Omar Bradley was born in 1893 in Clark, Missouri. During his schooldays he was extremely talented: he captained both the football and baseball teams and excelled academically. After school he worked as a boilermaker to save for university, where he wanted to study law. During this period he decided to take the entrance examination for the U.S Military Academy, where he won the the Congressional Appointment.
He graduated from West Point Military Academy and was commissioned with the rank of second lieutenant in the American Army in 1915, and promoted to the rank of major by the end of 1918. Bradley was initially posted on the U.S - Mexico border. The declaration of the Armistice and the flu pandemic narrowly stopped his deployment to Europe in 1918.
He served at several military establishments between 1918 to 1941 such as Forts Benning and Leavenworth. In 1942 he reached the rank of major-general.
Pearl Harbour impacted the American military and the country’s forces were driven back into the Far East for the upcoming six months. After America’s intervention in the war, Bradley led the American II Corps in North Africa in 1942. That same year he led the occupied Sicily invasion. Bradley was rewarded for his successful campaign with a promotion to the rank of lieutenant-general.
Bradley was one of the Normandy Campaign’s most senior commanders. At D-Day in 1944, he led the American First Army group. Only Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, was at a higher rank to Bradley on the ground during this campaign. The Americans played a key role in driving the Germans from Normandy and Bradley received another promotion to the rank of full General in March 1945.
After being made head of the Veterans Administration in 1948, Bradley became the American Army’s chief of staff, and then chairman of the major Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1949 until his military retirement in 1953 - this was an organisation who gave military advice to the president.
In 1950, Bradley was given the rank of General of the Army. This was only the fifth time ever a soldier had achieved this rank; no-one else has since. Bradley died on 8 April 1981 at the age of 88.
See also: Wilhelm Canaris
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