Now that the Halloween costumes and fireworks are being put away, this time of the year always turns our attention to Remembrance Day. With this year being the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the U.K. as always, has made plans for showing its respects across the whole country. Perhaps most humbling of all is the current display of poppies at the Tower Of London. The 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' display which is currently taking place has captured the countries imagination and once again reignited our interest in an event that happened a century ago. This is made all the more compelling perhaps, by the fact that there is now not a single survivor of the First World War left to pass on their first-hand account of events. All we can do now is remember and pay our respects.
It goes without saying that the people who served in World War Two are recognised greatly as well. By the time World War Two had come around there were great advancements in technology, so it truly was a global event.
Like I said earlier, the U.K. has been busy working on various memorials and sites across the country which will be readily accessible for the public. However, as always, we here at ACE-FX have decided to look around the globe and see what other countries do to mark this most solemn of occasions. The great Wars have always generated tourism, on the basis that people want to see with their own eyes where the events they read about, or see in film, actually took place. Of course no one place is greater than the other when War is concerned, but we have picked out some of the more fascinating places to see across the globe for anyone thinking about taking a trip away and seeing it for themselves.
- Ypres Salient, Belgium
This quiet part of Belgium is famous mostly because of the trenches that are still there from the First World War. Almost perfectly preserved, this part of the Western Front allows the public to see first-hand exactly what kind of conditions the soldiers would have lived, fought and died in.
- The Somme Battlefield, France
Again, part of the Western front from World War 1, this is perhaps the most famous battlefield of them all. ‘The Battle Of the Somme’ is recorded as the most devastating in history with over 58’000 losses to the British in one day alone. A third of these died. Due to the sheer scale of what took place here, inevitably over the years this has become one of the top tourist attractions. Museums, accommodation, restaurants and guides are on offer to the general public throughout the year, making it easily accessible. To this day, farmers in the surrounding fields still find dud shells and bombs when they plough their fields; giving an idea of the enormity of the battle that took place. A truly humbling experience.
As mentioned previously, the dawn of the Second World War saw huge advances in technology. This not only changed the way battles took place, but also allowed future generations to be able to look and study them in the years that follow. Of course, throughout Europe there are a host of museums and monuments almost in each city. We won’t list them all, but here are a few we have picked out as well as some others from other parts of the world.
- Anne Frank’s House, Amsterdam, Holland
A chance to see where one of the most famous diary keepers of the 20th century lived. As the Nazis occupied and started their enforcement in Amsterdam, this is the house that Frank and her family took refuge in. A chilling monument to not only Anne Frank and her family, but also Amsterdam during the war.
- Auschwitz-Birkenau, Holocaust Museum, Poland
One of the most famous sites from World War Two that shows in detail the monstrosities of Hitler’s Nazi regime. The word ‘Auschwitz’ strikes a chord to this day into the coldest of hearts. Although it was a place where unspeakable evil took place, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, allowing the public to be able to see it for themselves. Over 1.4 million people visit per year and the museum and area is set up to cope with this demand. Impossible to describe, but unforgettable if seen first-hand.
- Yasaukuni Shrine, Japan
Of course, the Second World War reached all corners of the globe, not just Europe. The Yasaukuni Shrine in Japan was originally built in 1869 as a sacred temple, but now doubles up as a War museum. It may not be as obvious or famous as its European counterparts, but it’s a marvellous setting in which to learn about the how the War affected Japan and Asia as a whole.
- Yad Vashem, Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem, Israel.
Nearly every country that took place in the War or in which Jewish people live now will have some kind of memorial to the Holocaust. But to see it first hand in the heart of the Jewish motherland takes on a whole new meaning.
With the 100 year anniversary giving Remembrance Day a slightly different edge this year, and offering us a reminder of these incredible monuments and museums throughout the world, now is as good time as any to try and see them for ourselves.
Much of the countries including Belgium, France, Germany and Holland which make up a huge amount of these War-time sites, are all still in the Euro zone. It so happens that at the moment the pound is particularly strong against the Euro. As of this morning we are selling at almost 1.26.
For Poland, Israel, Japan and any other currency take a look at our collection page on our website to order online, or by post.