HIS 473 World War II: History & Memory on the Western Front

Students will examine World War II in both historical context and post-war memorials by following the Allied invasion of Europe on the western front. In particular, the course follows American soldiers and their experiences fighting in the European Theater. Students will start in France on the beaches of Normandy, marking D-Day and the invasion of France on June 6, 1944. Students will retrace the steps of American soldiers, first south to Paris, which they liberated on August 25, 1944, and then east, through the Hurtgen and Ardennes Forests. By November, Americans reached the banks of the Rhine River before the Germans launched a massive counter-attack known as the Battle of the Bulge on December 16, 1944. Students will explore the Battle of the Bulge, which lasted through January 1945, before crossing the Rhine into Germany, just as Americans did in March 1945. Students will trace the path of the fighting in Germany through Nuremberg and Weimar before ending the course in Berlin, marking the end of the war with the surrender of Germany on May 7, 1945.