World War II had a tremendous impact on our planet and our civilization as we know it today. Naturally, it behooves us to understand an event of such magnitude. Although, perhaps even more important than understanding, is remembering. Remembering those who gave their lives. Remembering why they gave their lives. Remembering why we must never repeat the genocide, the violence, and the scope of such a conflict ever again. This remembering is why the National World War II Museum in New Orleans is so dear to me. Its excellent exhibits demonstrate the resounding and rippling effects of the “war that changed the world.”
One of the most impressive exhibit spaces is the Campaigns of Courage section. This space is actually split geographically between the “Road to Berlin” and the “Road to Tokyo.” For the purposes of this piece, I will merely discuss the “Road to Berlin” section. Split between ten different galleries, this space takes the museum visitor on a journey through the West’s quest to successfully invade Hitler’s Europe. Look below for a brief synopsis and description of some of the galleries present in the “Road to Berlin.”
–European/Mediterranean Briefing Room: This space, set in an abandoned room in North Africa, envelops you in the various and extreme pressures that surrounded the war as of November 1942. Learn the reasons for the foundation that molded the Western war strategy which forced Hitler from power.
–Desert War-North Africa: This area explores the story of when the Allies attacked the Axis powers in Africa, thus securing a Mediterranean headquarters before invading Europe. Enormous at 1,500 square feet, this space depicts the Tunisian landscape with astounding accuracy.
–Invasion of Sicily: As the name implies, this gallery expounds upon the invasion of Sicily and immerses museum-goers in the atmosphere that surrounded this pivotal moment in the Allied campaign. There are actually three separate exhibits that make up this space: “Operation Husky,” “Taking Palermo,” and the “Race for Messina.”
–Italian Campaign: An absolutely integral component of Allied strategy, the “Italian Campaign” harbors some of the most significant battles that occurred during the war. Broken up between five exhibits, this gallery even includes oral histories where the voices of veterans recount their personal experiences and roles in the war.
–Air War: This portion of “The Road to Berlin” recreates the scenery of a Nissen hut. Said huts were prominently used and manufactured in England to be utilized for storage and occasionally operational needs. The three exhibits composing this space are as follows: “First Strikes,” “Losses,” and “Aircrews’ Experiences.”
This quick list is just half of the exhibit spaces that make up the “Road to Berlin” section of the World War II museum. Considering the meticulous attention paid to subtle details, it is truly a remarkable experience just walking through the museum. Immerse yourself in the past and remember what World War II meant for us.
The remaining galleries and their descriptions can be found here.