A trip to historic sites is always an exciting one to share with the kids. Not only can you visit remarkable places and enjoy exciting activities, you can also teach kids about the past and important moments in history. World War II is not a point in history that should be celebrated, but it is a historic moment that should not be forgotten either.
Europe has a lot of extraordinary World War II sites filled with stories about bravery and courage from the era. Since I’m planning another trip to several European countries, I decided to take a closer look at some of the World War II sites worth visiting.
A Bridge Too Far
If you’re a World War II geek like me, or if you just like history in general, you will know about the Arnhem Bridge in the Netherlands. This was the last target of Operation Market Garden, a strategic point in the mission that could make or break the Allied forces’ charge.
The Battle of Arnhem in September 1944 is still studied by those pursuing a master of arts in militaryhistory at top universities such as Norwich University. It was a crucial moment indeed; while the Allied forces lost the battle, any military history degree holder will tell you that the battle changed the course of the war.
Today, Arnhem Bridge is more popular because of the movie “A Bridge Too Far” and several books featuring stories from the Battle of Arnhem. It is a beautiful bridge now renamed “The John
Frostburg” in honour of the British commander who fought the battle there.
The Untouched Village
One of my favorite World War II sites is Oradour-Sur- Glane, a small village in France whose interaction with the war was rather unique. It was the site of a devastating massacre on June 10th , 1944. The village was attacked by Germany’s SS troops and almost all of the villagers were killed.
What makes this site unique is the fact that it remains frozen in time. The village of Oradour-Sur- Glane was officially rebuilt several kilometers to the north of the untouched village. The French government specifically ordered the site to be preserved as a reminder of the dark days of World War II.
When visiting this small village, you can walk around the ruins and experience the eerie ambiance. It is as if the village has been captured in a time capsule.
The Imitation Game
Experts believe that the activities conducted on this complex shortened World War II by at least two years. That means the work performed saved millions of lives. The site I’m talking about is Bletchley Park.
Today, you know this site from popular movies such as “The Imitation Game” and “Enigma” as well as countless books. This was the site where both the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers were cracked. Officially, however, it was the Government Code and Cypher School. The entire complex is beautifully preserved and can be visited as a historic attraction today.
These are the sites I’m most interested in taking the kids to on our next European trip. Do you have other World War II sites that you find interesting? Be sure to leave ideas and suggestions in the Comments section below.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post