As we know it, the first and second World War have changed the dynamics of the world we live in. The power struggle left us with countless grieving stories. For those with a deeply embedded love for history and empathy for the martyrs, war tourism might be your calling for a new travel experience.
Belgium bore the brunt of the first World War, when the German troops entered France through the country’s northern territory. The aftertaste of the war ravaged numerous parts of the country.
West Flanders – Bordering Netherlands, Flanders is a province that served as a battleground during the Great War. The region is still blemished with the series of war events. Flanders Fields remember the martyrs through cemeteries, museums and memorials. Several guided tours take you through the pivotal spots within Flanders.
Ypres, another area located in the same region, attracts a lot of tourists with the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery. The memorial is a resting place for over 11,000 soldiers.
The In Flanders Field Museum located in Ypres focuses on the study of the war, and conducts different exhibitions and workshops for its visitors.
Zonnebeke, a municipality that is a part of West Flanders, houses the The Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917. The museum is devoted to Great War, with the Third Battle of Ypres as its primary theme.
The outbreak of World War 1 and 2 radically changed the tides of world history. France belonging to the Western Front, had a dramatic role to play in The Great War, In the second World War, the country’s defeat led to a scattering of vast battlefields.
Somme – Situated in Northern France, the region is known for the Battlefield of Somme. In memory of the war, the Circuit of Remembrance has been set up. Spanning across 40 miles, the Remembrance tours take you from Albert to Peronne.
The Museum of the Great War located in Peronne is nothing short of a spectacle that takes tourists through the highs and lows of the warfare.
Normandy – One of the most historic regions of France, Normandy has a close link to World War 2. The 5 D-Day landing beaches form a landmark of the infamous war. Several tours are conducted around the coastlines of Normandy that give an insight of the war.
While in Normandy, the American Cemetery and Memorial is a must-visit as it honours the American troops who fought in the war.
Germany has left an indelible mark in world history through World War 2. While the stark realities of the war continue to haunt us, many of the locations make strong landmarks of the country.
Nuremberg – The significance of the city traces back to the Nazi Era. The entire city was home to several Nazi rallies and propagandist events throughout the second world war. The Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds is an iconic museum that takes you back into one of the bleakest periods of history. “Fascination and Terror” is an exhibition within the premises that elaborates on the effects of Nazism.
Bavaria – Within the Bavarian Alps, lies one of Hitler’s most flamboyant houses, known as The Eagle’s Nest. The house served as his headquarter and is popular for its intricate network of underground bunkers.
Berlin – The best way to gain perspective on the war, is by participating in the Third Reich tour that walks you through Nazi Berlin. From the aching Holocaust Memorial, constructed in remembrance of the murdered Jews, to Hitler’s Bunker, where he committed suicide, the tour gives you a startling experience of the bygone world.
The state is also home to the first Nazi concentration camp in Dachau.
One of today’s most technologically advanced countries has been a tormented victim of human cruelty. Even though World War 2 etched a deep-rooted scar in Japan’s soul, the country has resurrected to become a global superpower.
Hiroshima & Nagasaki – Proclaimed as the City of Peace, Hiroshima houses the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) in remembrance of the people who died in the atomic bombing. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dome is an international landmark.
The second atomic bomb ravaged the beautiful city of Nagasaki. At the hypocentre of the bombing, stands the Nagasaki Peace Park to signify world peace and hope that the tragedy of war is not repeated ever again. The park comprises of 5 zones, with the Peace Statue erected in the Zone of Hopes.
Tokyo – The capital of Japan is famous for the Yushukan War Memorial Museum, that traces back to the 19th century. Located in the Yasukuni Shrine, the museum commemorates the deceased in wars starting from 1894 right up to the end of World War 2.
Himeji Castle – A little over 500kms from Tokyo, lies the city of Himeji. The Castle is most renowned for its impeccable architecture. What makes this UNESCO World Heritage Site the most visited monument in Japan is that during the war, despite the heavy bombings on the castle, it remained intact, failing to explode. The castle has withstood the atomic trauma and several natural disasters.
5. The Netherlands
Hitler’s invasion into an otherwise neutral Netherland chalked out a dark history for the country, particularly with the exile of the Dutch government and royal family. The country that was once desolated, today blossoms with art and architecture.
Arnhem – Located in the East of Netherlands, the city is known for the Battle of Arnhem that rose during World War 2. It is landmarked by the John Frost Bridge, which is named after Major-General John Dutton Frost, who is said to have defended the bridge during the battle.
The Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’, was set up in Oosterbeek to commemorate the battle.
The Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery is another site that holds the graves of many killed in the war.
Amsterdam – The Anne Frank House is a defining landmark of the capital city. The house has been converted into a museum, where she wrote her diary that gave the world a peek into the lives of Jews during the war.
Along with that, Amsterdam also invites tourist to its Resistance Museum, which weaves the story of the Dutch people during the war.
At the Dam Square, lies the National Monument that was erected in memory of the those afflicted by the war.