France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   World War I & II in Northern France
The first half of the 20th century was marred by the disastrous conflicts of the World Wars. Northern France was the scene of many historic battles. The effects of these cataclysms are still evident in this beautiful region, especially in the battle monuments and war cemeteries.




Armies have been battling in Europe since the earliest times, but it was Napoleon who began a new era of continental—later world—war, gigantic cataclysms involving most of the countries of Europe. His early 19th-century conquests, and his eventual defeat, left reservoirs of bitterness throughout the continent, and inspired the late 19th-century Franco-Prussian War, which helped to engender World War I, which was only the first phase of a conflict later continued as World War II.

Looking at the peaceful, united Europe of the 21st century, it's difficult to imagine what could have caused the leaders of great countries to nearly destroy themselves in such wars, but the record is there: many millions of combattants and non-combattants killed, wounded or missing, gigantic amounts of war matériel expended, hundreds of towns and cities destroyed, great economies reduced to beggary.

A tour of the World War battlefields and sites of northern France makes this horrible history vividly real, a sobering reminder of how humankind can cause its own destruction if we're not careful of the choices we make.

World War I

The stalemate trench warfare of World War I was cited mostly in northern France, so that is where we go to visit the battlefields and pay our respects at the many war cemeteries and monuments to the fallen and the missing. More...

American Cemetery & War Memorial, Château-Thierry & Belleau Wood, France
Aisne-Marne American Cemetery & Memorial,
Château-Thierry & Belleau Wood, Northern France.




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Thiepval British Monument

Thiepval British Monument
to those lost in World War I.




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