Netherlands, Utrecht

Battlefield Tour: The Liberation of West-Europe 1944-1945

when 19 June 2017 - 30 June 2017
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 4 EC
fee EUR 995

The Allied liberation of Western Europe in 1944-1945 is one of the most successful campaigns in military history. The course will discuss the strategic what happened after the daring, but well prepared amphibious operation on D-Day, where British, American and Canadian troops had to fight some hard battles against the German elite Panzerdivisions in Normandy. In late August, they finally broke through the German defenses and the rapid advance through France and Belgium that followed gave rise to the hope that the war could be over before Christmas. The failed Airborne operation in September at the bridge of Arnhem made it clear that the Germans were far from defeated. Due to the logistical nightmare for the Allied Armies in the fall of 1944, the need to open up the harbor of Antwerp became even more urgent. The Canadian "Cinderella"; Army fought the muddy and wet Battle of the Scheldt until the first week of November, in order to free the waterway to one of the largest harbors in the world. With their brave, but costly operation, the Canadians made a largely forgotten but extremely important contribution of the to the Allied war effort. In December, Hitler made his last attempt to change the course of war. After an initial success, the final German offensive in the Ardennes was stopped at the Meuse and at Bastogne. After their crushing defeat in the Battle of the Bulge, the fate of Nazi-Germany was sealed. In March, the Allied troops went over the Rhine River and in the beginning of May the Germans signed the unconditional surrender. The war was over.

The lectures on the political and strategic background of the most important battles and operations will be supplemented by different fieldtrips. During four battlefield tours will we deal with some famous tactical encounters between the allied and German armed forces. We will visit the landing beaches in Normandy, the bridges of Nijmegen and Arnhem from Operation Market Garden, the places were the Battle of the Scheldt was fought and Bastogne, the focus point of the Battle of the Bulge. On each tour we will see three battle sites, go to a museum and visit a cemetery. The course will be brought together by the instructor, who is a wonderful narrator. The sites, stories and history will make this an experience of a lifetime.

Course leader

dr. Tobias van Gent

Target group

The course is intended for people with a background in history, political science or a general interest in military history.

Course aim

Students learn the key historical events and developments of the Allied Liberation Campaign of Western Europe 1944-1945 both from the strategic but also tactical level of warfare.

Credits info

4 EC
Certificate of Attendance

Fee info

EUR 995: Course + course materials
EUR 1345: Course + course materials + housing


Utrecht Summer School doesn't offer scholarships for this course.

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