Wouldn’t it be fun to travel back in time? The World War Historical Tour Destination Bucket List helps you do just that!
As you travel through the US, UK, Europe, and Asia, you’ll learn more about the perils of warfare than any documentary or history book ever could.
France is already on most people’s vacation bucket lists. It’s the site of the ‘the world’s most beautiful avenue’, the Champs-Élysées. It’s the home of wine and perfume production, and let’s not forget the breathtaking scenery.
But France is also the location of important monuments and landmarks from one of the world’s darkest periods in history, the Second World War. And the most memorable WW2 sites are in Normandy.
You’ll learn more about the region’s military past on one of the popular multi-day WW2 tours, like a 6-day Beaches of Normandy tour. By booking a tour like this online through a reputable tour organizer, you are guided on what to pack, which travel documents you’ll need, and plenty of other useful info.
The Holocaust was one of the darkest periods of modern civilization’s history. The numerous memorials around the world are a constant reminder to never let such a tragedy happen again.
Nowhere is this more keenly felt, than at the Auschwitz concentration camp, in Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. Pay your respects to the fallen at this haunting memorial of the victims of the Nazi-engineered Holocaust.
Guided tours are available here, where you’ll hear chilling stories about the atrocities committed here, as well as the heartwarming stories of survival. However, these tours get booked out fast, so always check availability as far in advance as possible.
For a comprehensive view of the Western Front during World War I, visit the In Flanders Fields Museum. And attend the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial to honor the soldiers who fought and died in the Ypres Salient.
It occupies the second floor of the Cloth Hall in the city center’s market square. Almost destroyed by artillery during the war, this building was reconstructed, and once again refurbished in 1998. It was at the time of this last refurbishment that it was renamed from Ypres Salient Memorial Museum to In Flanders Fields Museum, inspired by the famous poem by Canadian John McCrae.
The In Flanders Fields Museum relies on the tireless work of volunteers. If you’d like to know more about this or contribute in some way, speak to someone at the museum’s research center.
During the Allied bombings from 1943 to 1944 and the Battle of Berlin in 1945, many buildings were reduced to rubble and the streets lay in decay for some time. Germany was divided between Soviet Control on the eastern side and Allied control on the west.
And the dividing line between these two factions was the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was not erected during WW2 but was erected in its aftermath. Built in 1961, it separated families and friends from each other and was a blight on the German landscape, until it was taken down in 1989.
There are remains of wartime Berlin to see. Visit the remnants of this hated symbol of division and the famous Checkpoint Charlie Museum. It tells the tale of war-beleaguered Berlin during the Cold War. And the Topography of Terror exhibit at the German Historical Museum gives a detailed account of the Nazi regime.
While a few remaining segments of the Berlin Wall are still standing, these are for memorial purposes. Please don’t be tempted to create your own souvenirs. You may buy mementos at the museum’s gift shop.
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA
The unprovoked Japanese military strike on Pearl Harbor, a US naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii, was a turning point in the war. Just over 2400 people lost their lives in Pearl Harbor that day. But their sacrifice has not been forgotten.
It was this surprise attack that led the US to take definitive action that led to the unconditional surrender of Japan. It provoked the use of nuclear weapons for the first time in the history of warfare.
Explore the scene of this important day in WW@ history, at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. The USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri, and Pacific Aviation Museum are all a part of this historical complex. Get the facts about the terror attack that drew the United States into World War II.
You can visit Pearl Harbor without a tour, but a guided tour gives supplementary info that you may not have known before. While the USS Arizona Memorial carries no charge, the others have entrance fees.
The realities of the Polish Resistance against the Nazi German occupation in WW2 are brought to life at the Warsaw Uprising Museum.
Learn more about the Polish wartime heroes with a visit to the Warsaw Ghetto, a tragic reminder of the Holocaust. Like the Auschwitz-Birkenau tours, Warsaw Ghetto tours are best booked in advance to secure your spot.
On August 6, 1945, America dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, a second A-bomb was dropped over Nagasaki. This led to Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announcing Japan’s unconditional surrender in World War II on August 15.
Many believe that these bombings were retaliatory strikes because of the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, they were a tactical decision by the US to bring World War II to bring their involvement in the war to a close.
Some of the coolest abandoned places to visit can be found in this region. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum are the perfect places for some reflection on the devastating effects of nuclear warfare. Please be respectful when visiting such sites, as the wounds still run deep for many of the older citizens.
Stalingrad, Russia (now Volgograd)
Mamayev Kurgan Memorial Complex in Volgograd (previously known as Stalingrad), honors the men who fought in the Battle of Stalingrad.
Explore the Stalingrad Panorama Museum and the Hall of Military Glory for deeper insights into one of the bloodiest military battles in history. This is considered the best museum in Volgograd. Be aware that an entrance fee will apply.
To truly understand the terrible effects of war, explore the Verdun Memorial and the Douaumont Ossuary, in France.
They commemorate the Battle of Verdun during World War I, which led to heavy loss of life for both French and German forces. The final resting place of at least 130,000 unidentified soldiers of both nations can be in the alcoves at the lower edge of this building.
London, United Kingdom
The UK, too, has lots to offer those interested in learning more about the World Wars. The Imperial War Museum features elaborate exhibits on both Wars 1 and 2.
And for something even more exciting, head down to the underground bunker where Winston Churchill and his cabinet operated during World War II, known as the Churchill War Rooms. There is an admission price, but children under the age of 5 get in free.