First Stop: The War Rooms

Despite the similar language, the culture was very different in London. People did not really leave tips, previous London bombing attempts resulted in the removal of most public trash cans, and fried fish was the biggest food there. London has a vast history of World War II. In London I was fortunate enough to see the Churchill War Rooms. They seemed to give some very interesting insight into World War II.

The Churchill War Rooms were the actual rooms where Churchill and his staff made their war plans. After the war ended, they simply just walked out and sealed up the doors, leaving the office exactly as it was. Upon being discovered, it was made into a museum, with the rooms rearranged as they would have been during the war when they were being used; mannequins were also dressed up and placed in spots where the real people would have been, in order to lend authenticity. The rooms were extremely small and really helped to show how cramped and hot it must have been during the war. Churchill’s room was the biggest, but it was also right next to the map room, which was described as the busiest and loudest room. The map room was by far the most interesting of the War Rooms. The map room was full of huge maps covering the entire walls up to the ceiling. The maps really helped to give a much better perspective of the scale of the war as it was progressing. Most maps I have seen of the war before are usually no bigger than a laptop screen or book, so seeing them on a bigger map with the details of specific battle points and fronts really helped to show the massiveness of it. I noticed this especially with Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Although the invasion was initially somewhat successful, people often refer to Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union as one of their ultimate downfalls during the war. The maps, however, really did help to show how successful Germany’s initial invasion was, as it gave a much better perspective of how deep they actually reached.

The map rooms were also laired with mannequins who represented the many people who used the map rooms every day. The mannequins showed how the officers used the massive maps to help predict the movement of opposition troops and plan the advance of their own. Winston Churchill’s room was located directly next to the map rooms. Considering the busyness of the map rooms, it seems to pretty clearly show how little sleep he and others were actually getting. They speculated at the exhibit that people got more sleep during random naps throughout the day than actual sleep at night. The Churchill War Rooms really helped to give me a much better insight into how a war is actually planned out. I never realized how many different rooms there would need to be and how much people actually worked and how stressful it was in making plans during the war. Communicating around that much commotion while also feeling the vibrations of bombs dropping above them would have been immensely difficult. It truly is amazing how they were able to organize an entire war effort in such difficult circumstances.

A picture of one of the biggest maps in the War Rooms. This was located in an annex of the War Rooms and showed in great detail the advances and positions of the Germans and the Soviets at the time during the war.

A picture of one of the biggest maps in the War Rooms. This was located in an annex of the War Rooms and showed in great detail the advances and positions of the axis and allies in the European Theatre.

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