Second World War

Sites (named locations) where significant events during the course of WWII took place, that played an important role during WWII or which are strongly related to its memory.

Significant WWII battles are listed in the Sieges and Battles connection, wartime damage is listed under the Damaged in WWII connection and there is also Forced labour during WWII .

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Amsterdam Canal Ring In July 1942, Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in the Achterhuis (the "Secret Annex") located at Prinsengracht 263. She was "One of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, she gained fame posthumously with the publication of The Diary of a Young Girl, in which she documents her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. "
Auschwitz Birkenau The Auschwitz concentration camp was a complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaust. It consisted of Auschwitz I, the main camp; Auschwitz II-Birkenau, a concentration and extermination camp built with several gas chambers; Auschwitz III-Monowitz, a labor camp. The camps became a major site of the Nazis' Final Solution to the Jewish Question.
Bordeaux From 1941 to 1943, the Italian Royal Navy established BETASOM, a submarine base, at Bordeaux. Italian submarines participated in the Battle of the Atlantic from that base, which was also a major base for German U-boats as headquarters of 12th U-boat Flotilla. The massive, reinforced concrete U-boat pens have proved impractical to demolish and are now partly used as a cultural center for exhibitions.
Fortifications of Vauban During World War II the Germans captured the Citadel of Besançon in 1940. During the Occupation, German firing squads executed some one hundred resistance fighters of diffferent nationalities. A memorial, in the form of four stakes standing between the well and the chapel of Saint Stephen, commemorates "les fusillés" - the men who were shot.... After heavy fighting, the Americans captured the Citadel in 1944 and used it to hold German prisoners of war.
Genbaku Dome The Genbaku Dome is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan and serves as a memorial to the over 140,000 people who were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. At 8:15 a.m. on 6 August 1945, the first atomic bomb to be used in the Second World War was dropped by the United States Army Air Forces from the Enola Gay, a B-29 bomber. The force of the atomic bomb effectively obliterated the city of Hiroshima, Japan.
Grimeton Radio Station During the Second World War 1939-1945, the station experienced a heyday, when it was Sweden's only telecommunication link with the rest of the world and Scandinavia's gateway to the outside world. Underwater communication cable connections had once again been quickly severed by nations at war and the radiotelegraphy transmissions were a link to the outside world.
Kremlin and Red Square The Moscow Victory Parade of 1945 was held on Red Square by the Soviet Armed Forces (with the Color Guard Company representing the First Polish Army) after the defeat of Nazi Germany. The parade lasted just over two hours on a rainy June 24, 1945, over a month after May 9, the day of Germany's surrender to Soviet commanders. One of the most famous moments at the end of the troops parade took place when various NKVD soldiers carried the banners of Nazi Germany and threw them down next to the mausoleum. One of the standards that was tossed down belonged to the LSSAH, Hitler's personal bodyguard. (wiki)
L'viv Lviv pogroms (1941): consecutive massacres of Jews in June and July 1941. The massacres were perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists (specifically, the OUN), German death squads, and local crowds from 30 June to 2 July, and from 25 to 29 July, during the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Thousands of Jews were killed. In 2016, a memorial was erected commemorating the victims of the pogrom on the site of the former Golden Rose Synagogue.
Loire Valley In 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II, the art collections of the Louvre and Compiègne museums (including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo) were stored at the Château de Chambord.
Lyon During World War II, Lyon was a centre for the occupying Nazi forces, including Klaus Barbie, who was called the "Butcher of Lyon" for having personally tortured prisoners of the Gestapo, some of them at his headquarters at the Hôtel Terminus . However, the city was also a stronghold of the French Resistance. The many secret passages known as traboules, enabled people to escape Gestapo raids. The famous French resistance hero Jean Moulin was tortured in the Gestapo headquarters in Lyon.
Papahanaumokuakea Midway Atoll: The Battle of Midway was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II that took place on 4–7 June 1942. The US Navy defeated the Japanese fleet who sought to eliminate the United States as a strategic power in the Pacific.
Potsdam Cecilienhof was the site of the Potsdam Conference in 1945, where - among many other decisions - the Potsdam Declaration was stated. It called for the surrender of all Japanese armed forces during World War II, and, if Japan did not surrender, it would face "prompt and utter destruction." (wiki)
Prague Hitler ordered the German Army to enter Prague on 15 March 1939, and from Prague Castle proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate.
Riga During the Second World War, Riga was both occupied by the Soviet Union and Germany. The Soviets imposed a regime of terror and started massive deportations, such as the June deportation of 1941 where "15,600 men, women, and children, and including 20% of Latvia's last legal government." were taken. The building of the KGB in Riga, known as 'the corner house', has been in use as a KGB museum after the war.
Rjukan / Notodden The Norwegian heavy water sabotage was a series of Allied-led efforts between 1940 and 1944 to halt German heavy water production via hydroelectric plants in Nazi Germany-occupied Norway during World War II, involving both Norwegian commandos and Allied bombing raids. During the war, the Allies sought to inhibit the German development of nuclear weapons with the removal of heavy water and the destruction of heavy-water production plants. The Norwegian heavy water sabotage was aimed at the 60 MW Vemork power station at the Rjukan waterfall. (wiki)
Royal Palace at Caserta The Royal Palace of Caserta was the site of the official surrender of the German forces in Italy to the Allies, called the "Surrender of Caserta" on 29 April 1945. This ended the Italian Campaign of WWII and up to 1 million German soldiers lay down their arms as per the terms of the German unconditional surrender.
St. Petersburg The two-and-a-half-year Siege of Leningrad caused the greatest destruction and the largest loss of life ever known in a modern city. On Hitler's direct orders the Wehrmacht looted and then destroyed most of the imperial palaces, such as ... Peterhof Palace, Ropsha, Strelna, Gatchina, and other historic landmarks located outside the city's defensive perimeter, with many art collections transported to Germany.
Trans-Iranian Railway The line was used to supply USSR and control of it was one of the reasons for the by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in 1941.
Valletta The British military forces in Valletta were besieged and repeatedly bombed by German and Italian forces from 1940-1942. Valletta's strategic location and harbor played a critical role in the Allied military campaigns against Germany and Italy in North Africa.
Vienna In 1938, after a triumphant entry into Austria, the Austrian-born German Chancellor Adolf Hitler spoke to the Austrian Germans from the balcony of the Neue Burg, a part of the Hofburg at the Heldenplatz. In the ensuing days the new Nazi authorities oversaw the harassment of Viennese Jews, the looting of their homes, and their on-going deportation and murder.
Völklingen Ironworks During the Second World War, around 70,000 forced laborers and prisoners of war worked in the mines, smelters and factories of the Saar district. At the end of the war, around 14,000 men and women from the Soviet Union, Poland, Yugoslavia, France, Belgium and Luxembourg were employed under the most difficult conditions in the Völklingen ironworks. (wiki de)
Warsaw The destruction of Warsaw was Nazi Germany's substantially-effected razing of the city in late 1944, after the 1944 Warsaw Uprising of the Polish resistance. .. the destruction of Warsaw did not serve any military or colonial purpose; it was carried out solely as an act of reprisal. The Old Town Market Place was destroyed and rebuilt after the War.
Westminster The Commons Chamber of Westminster Palace was the venue of the 'Norway Debate' of May 1940. After the Allies failed to prevent the German occupation of Norway, the UK finally decided to create a broadly based coalition government under the leadership of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister. This would stay in place until the end of the war.


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