Going on a World War 2 tour can give you a good understanding of one of the most critical times in recent human history. As you prepare for this journey, there will be so many questions at the forefront of your mind, and understandably so, as having the right information can help you make the best out of your visit. To help you stay informed, we have curated the answers to the most frequently asked questions for first-time World War 2 tourists, and you’ll thank us for it. Keep reading as we dive in!
When did World War 2 begin?
World War 2 officially began on 1st September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, consequently violating the peace treaty they signed after World War 1. In response to this, Great Britain and France retaliated by declaring war on Germany, and all hell broke loose.
How Many Countries Fought in the War?
World War 2 was fought in almost every country, but the major players were the Allied and the Axis forces. The Allied forces comprised France, Britain, Soviet Union, the U.S.A, and China, while the Axis powers were Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan, and Italy.
What Were the Key Moments During the War?
There were several key moments that determined the outcome of the war, and some of those places have been commemorated. An example is Operation Overlord, a codename for the Battle of Normandy that led to the beginning of the liberation of France from German occupation. Other key battles include the Battle of Midway, Stalingrad, and the Bulge.
How Should I Prepare For My World War 2 Tour?
The first thing you should do is to decide where you want to visit as there are so many popular sites you can go to. In Europe, for example, you can take tours of Normandy beaches, which include Juno, Sword, Utah, Omaha, and Gold. The tour should take you across those D-Day landing sites and also the American Cemetery, where over 9000 soldiers are buried. England is another popular destination where you can visit the Imperial War Museum and the Churchill War Rooms.
Once you’ve chosen where to go, find out what times would be best to visit those places and how to get there.
What Should I Pack For the Journey?
Comfortable walking shoes should be the first thing in your traveling bag, and it’s obvious why. I mean, you can’t expect to be on a tour and not walk several distances. Next up should be sunscreens, hats, water bottles, notebooks, and a camera(if you’re old school, otherwise your phone should suffice). Once you’ve got all that sorted, then your clothes are next.
As much as you want to look fancy on your tour, don’t forget that some places can have harsh weather, and if you don’t have the appropriate clothing, you’ll certainly have a hard time. Choose clothes that are perfect for the weather in the country you’re going to. If you’re not sure what to expect, do a little research beforehand to find out what the weather will be like at the time you’ll be visiting.
Should I Book A Tour or Go Solo?
If you want to get the best experience out of your visit, then you should book a tour guide. They typically have a predefined itinerary and are more organized. You also have the chance to share the experience with people from all over the world, which can be very exciting, as it indirectly expresses one of the reasons why those war heroes laid down their lives: Freedom. To be anywhere, with anyone, at any time, regardless of race or gender.
How Should I Behave During My Tour?
The first thing you should know during your tour is that you are not on some wildlife safari trip or a school excursion. Real lives were lost on these historic grounds, so it’s best to be respectful at all times. Do not disturb others who are on the trip with you by chattering away, and always follow whatever rules you may be given by the tour guide.
Avoid mentioning controversies or myths surrounding World War 2, as they could come off as disrespectful to some people, especially ones with a direct link to men or women who lost their lives involved in the war. Do not drink or smoke, as many of these sites prohibit such behaviors. Lastly, always check in with your tour guide before taking any pictures or even touching any monuments.
Should I Break Away From My Tour Group?
Unless you have a wish to potentially put yourself in harm’s way, then you should absolutely stay with your group, partner, or friends at all times during your visit. While these historic sites are home to some very lovely people, there’s also the possibility of some “not so lovely ones” being there that may take up a chance to do something sinister if presented with one.
If you must go to some places alone, then make sure someone is aware of where you’ll be. You can even go as far as sharing your live location just to be safe. Remember that you’re in a foreign country with foreign people, and there’s no telling what could happen, so always play it safe.
How Can I Learn More About the World War 2 Before My Trip?
You can read World War 2-related books, online articles, and research papers or watch documentaries on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming platform you’re familiar with. You can also watch some movies or reenactments just to get a feel of how the soldiers felt as they charged into battle over 80 years ago. The information you get will certainly help you enjoy your trip, as you’ll be well aware of what to expect as you walk through each location.
So there you have it. By reading this article, you now have the answers to some of the most important things that you should know as a first-time World War 2 tourist. So pack your bags, book that flight, and go on to have the time of your life!