International history

World War II sightings and locations a history buff should visit

I’m a history buff, especially with World War I and II. Don’t ask me why. I’ve just always wanted to visit any museum or historical sighting/monument that could be connected to either I or II. Tomorrow, I’ll post an article with sightings one should visit when interested in I, but today is all about II. So, let’s start!

1. Dunkirk (France)

The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo (also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk), was the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in the north of France, between May 26 and June 4, 1940. Over 330.000 French, British, Belgian and Canadian troops were rescued from the disastrous Battle of France.

2. Auschwitz-Birkenau (Poland)

Auschwitz-Birkenau, in the North-East of Poland, is notorious for its past as the largest Nazi concentration camp. It had over 40 concentration and extermination camps during World War II and the Holocaust. It consisted of Auschwitz I, the main camp in Oświęcim; Auschwitz II-Birkenau, a concentration and extermination camp built with several gas chambers; Auschwitz III-Monowitz, a labor camp created to staff a factory for the chemical conglomerate IG Farben; and dozens of subcamps. Approximately 1.1 million people died in this camp.

3. Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms (England)

The underground complex where Churchill commanded government during the World War II at the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms in Westminster. The bunker, which is located directly underneath Her Majesty’s Treasury in Whitehall, was built shortly before the outbreak of war in 1938.

4. The Wolf’s Lair (Poland)

The top-secret Wolf’s Lair was Adolf Hitler’s headquarters on the Eastern Front, deep in the Masurian woods. The high-security site was surrounded by three heavily-guarded complexes which encased Hitler’s bunker. Though now in ruins, you can still visit the birthplace of Operation Barbarossa today.

Plage d'Omaha Beach in SAINT-LAURENT-SUR-MER : Normandy Tourism, France
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5. Omaha Beach (France)

One of the five D-Day Landing beaches on the coast of Normandy. Omaha Beach was a catastrophic site for American troops. America suffered three times as many casualties as their German foes, the result of failed bombardments before landing.

6. Volgograd (Russia)

Formerly known as Stalingrad, this Russian city was the site of a major World War II bust-up between Germany and the Soviet Union. The fierce Battle of Stalingrad was one of the bloodiest battles in history, with an estimated 2 million people wounded, killed or imprisoned.

7. Holocaust Memorial (Germany)

A tribute to the murdered Jews in Europe, the Holocaust Memorial holds the names of approximately 3 million Holocaust victims. The site consists of 2,711 concrete slabs (or ‘stelae’) arranged in a grid pattern in the heart of Berlin.

8. Anne Frank House (The Netherlands)

The Anne Frank house (located near a canal in the heart of Amsterdam) was the hiding place of the Frank family during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. The famous diarist escaped the Nazi’s until 1944, when her family was arrested and transported to concentration camps across Poland and Germany.

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9. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp (Germany)

This labor camp just outside of Berlin is found about three km from the location of the first ever Nazi concentration camp known as Oranienburg (now destroyed). The camp became the center of Nazi operations. It was outfitted with several subcamps, a gas chamber, and a medical experimentation area.

10. Arnhem Bridge (The Netherlands)

The Arnhem Bridge was the last in a string of strategic points targeted for takeover by the Allied forces during the operation known as Operation Market Garden. The Allies were unable to ‘free’ the bridge in the September 1944 Battle of Arnhem. Surviving the September battle, the bridge was destroyed by Allied troops in October of the same year to help curb the transport of German supplies.

11. Oradour-Sur-Glane (France)

This small village in western France is memorialised as the site of one of the largest Nazi massacres on French soil. On June 10, 1944 SS officers stormed the village and killed the vast majority of residents (about 642 men, women and children) before destroying the area.

12. Normandy (France)

On this stretch of beaches on the Normandy coast, the infamous D-Day Landings of June 6, 1944 took place. The five beaches—Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah—were the locations where the forces of the French, British, Canadian and American armies successfully landed and commenced an operation that changed the tide of WWII in Europe.

Oradour-sur-Glane : 75 ans après le massacre se pose la question de la  conservation des ruines
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Have you ever visited any of these places?

Love, Deem/Skye Lewis ❤

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