During World War Two, Omar Bradley was the most senior commander of American ground troops in Europe from the time of D-Day (June 1944) to the surrender of the Germans after the Battle of Berlin in May 1945. Omar Bradley developed a close working relationship with Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
Omar Bradley was born in Clark, Missouri in February 1893. In 1915, he was commissioned in the American Army with the rank of second lieutenant and by November 1918, the end of World War One, he had been promoted to the rank of major. Between 1918 and 1941, he served at a number of military establishments including Forts Benning and Leavenworth. Recognised as an effective and efficient leader, he had attained the rank of major-general in 1942.
In the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbour, the American military was in disarray and for the next six months, America’s forces were pushed back in the Far East. However, Bradley’s military zone was in Europe. He lead the American II Corps in North Africa in 1943 and lead the invasion of occupied Sicily in the same year. The success of this attack ended with Bradley being promoted to lieutenant-general.
In 1944, Bradley was one of the most senior commanders of the Normandy campaign. He lead the American 1st Army group at D-Day and only Eisenhower, as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, would have been senior to Bradley on the ground. The success of the Americans in the drive from Normandy to Germany was recognised when in March 1945, Bradley was promoted to the rank of full general.
In 1948, after being head of the Veterans Administration, Bradley was appointed chief of staff of the American Army and from 1949 until he retired from the military in 1953, he was chairman of the highly influential Joint Chiefs of Staff – a body that advised the president on military matters. In 1950, Bradley was appointed General of the Army.