article placeholder

In Alsace, Peaceful Vineyards Belie a Traumatic Past

Tourism in Alsace trades on its vineyards and photogenic villages, not its complicated past. Reminders of the German occupation and the savage fighting of January 1945 are few, and they are rarely obvious, but they are here—and can take surprising forms.
article placeholder

Nuremberg Reclaims the Ruins of a Nazi Past

There are two Nurembergs. One is the intellectual and industrial landmark where Martin Behaim constructed the first terrestrial globe, Dürer mapped the stars, and Peter Henlein created the pocket watch. The other is the Nazi meeting place that gave its name to the bigoted laws that opened the way to the Holocaust, and where the crimes committed by Germany’s top officials were exposed to the world.
article placeholder

Shadows of the Blitz in Today’s London

The signs of the Blitz's devastation in London are hard to find, but a walk through central London can still reveal the scars of those days; you just need to know where to look.
article placeholder

Nanjing, China

Nanjing, China, is a beautiful city with an ugly history. Of all the atrocities committed during World War II, the 1937 Nanjing massacre stands out in its scope and brutality. Nanjing has changed a lot since 1937, but remnants of the old city remain.
article placeholder

The Channel Islands

In late June 1940, the Channel Islands became the only part of Britain to be occupied by the Germans during the war.
article placeholder

America’s U-boat

The U-505 has a permanent home at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Recently renovated, it is the only German submarine in the United States, and one of only four World War II–era U-boats in the world on display.
article placeholder

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Showing visitors around the worn teak deck of the retired battleship USS Missouri, tour guide Reggie Johnson looks out over Pearl Harbor and notes how peaceful it is. Even though it’s still a major U.S....
article placeholder

Guam

When the navy ordered me to Guam last winter, I was less than enthusiastic about the prospect. It certainly didn’t help that an officer I worked with who had spent some time in Guam in the 1960s referred...
article placeholder

Warsaw, Poland

Conventional wisdom says that Warsaw was reduced to a pile of rubble during World War II. Only a few fragments of Warsaw’s brutal past remain, and they can be difficult to find: resistance battles and relentless Nazi bombing destroyed 85 percent of the city’s buildings, and most of what you see now has been either reconstructed or completely rebuilt. But a few remnants of the past exist at Pawiak Prison, Old Town, and Treblinka.
article placeholder

Wendover Field, Utah

When Col. Paul Tibbets flew over Wendover Field in September 1944 in search of a remote, secure place where he could train the B-29 crews he handpicked to drop the atomic bomb, he looked down from 30,000 feet and declared it “perfect.” Sixty-four years later, the desert—and Wendover—is as stark as ever. Several bizarrely glitzy high-rise casinos have arisen on the Nevada side of town in the last couple of decades, but the sense of isolation and remoteness still dominates. That isolation has a silver lining: today Wendover Field is the best-preserved bomber training base from World War II.
article placeholder

Oradour-sur-Glane, France

France is a pretty country full of pretty little villages. But Oradour-sur-Glane is not pretty. On June 10, 1944, the 2nd Waffen SS Panzer Division Das Reich, 1st Battalion, stormed this village in the...
article placeholder

Project Liberty Ship

At its berth in Baltimore, the hulking gray SS John W. Brown looks out of place alongside the more brightly colored civilian container ships docked around us. One of only two Liberty ships still operational out of the original fleet of 2,710 that the United States produced for the war effort, the John W. Brown has been fully restored and is now operated by an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, Project Liberty Ship.