Picture 1 - General Schwarzkopf and Dan Rather in CBS's "D-Day"

General Schwarzkopf and Dan Rather in CBS's "D-Day." Rather (Dan) Papers, 014_2014a002_002, University Archives, Sam Houston Sate University.

On May 26, 1994, Dan Rather and General Schwarzkopf were reunited for a two-hour special on D-Day, the Allied invasion that helped turned the tide of World War II. In this 50th-anniversary commemoration of D-Day, both men visited the battle sites in Normandy, France. Produced by Maurice Murad and Linda Mason, and written in part by Dan Rather, the show featured extensive archival footage as well as interviews with veterans and sons of military leaders such as John Eisenhower, son of General Dwight Eisenhower; Viscount David Montgomery, son of British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery; and Manfred Rommel, son of German General Irwin Rommel. In addition, actors such as Charles Durning, Anthony Hopkins, and Peter Ustinov read the letters and provide the voices of military leaders and soldiers.

As the Christian Science Monitor reported, “CBS talked to hundreds of people involved in the monumental effort, from soldiers who fought their way to Berlin to journalists who share their experiences of being in the middle of battle. American Ambassador to France Pamela Harriman, daughter-in-law of Winston Churchill, shares her memories of wartime England, for example.”  Producer Christopher Martin recalls the extensive research the production team did under Maurice Murad and how Dan Rather was particularly involved in the writing about a topic he was well read about and very interested in. General Schwarzkopf told reporters that "he had never set foot on the beaches at Normandy before this assignment, and he was deeply moved."

The show was well reviewed and received a Peabody award with the following remarks: "In the grand tradition of landmark documentaries for this venerable news institution, CBS Reports: D-Day recounts the story of the greatest military maneuver in modern warfare. American, French, British, and German eyewitnesses humanize this drama: from crossing the English Channel in a storm at night, to the landing on the beaches of northern France and moving inland against superior forces. Reporter Dan Rather returns to the scenes of battle with General H. Norman Schwarzkopf to help viewers discern the thoughts of Eisenhower, Montgomery, and Rommel, and the feelings of troops on both sides of the line. Through interviews with veterans, viewers experience the invasion and follow the troops from D-Day through the liberation of Paris to V-E Day, 50 years ago today. For personalizing the heroism of those who risked their lives on the beaches of Normandy and in the liberation of Europe, a Peabody to CBS Reports: D-Day."