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Report on the World Wars (April 18, 2002)

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We went to the Flanders Field Museum. It was about World War I. We went upstairs to where the museum was, and decided to skip the crowd. Instead, we just went right ahead to the next part, where we got to get tickets of what our names were. I was Frederick Hatton. He lied about his age to enter the war. Every now and again we got to put our tickets in and read what they were doing at the time. When the Germans and the Allies were fighting, at Christmas they stopped fighting and they gave each other Christmas presents. We went into No Man's Land, where it was all dark and there was a sample of mustard gas. It wasn't real mustard gas. It looked like mist.  No Man's Land was the land in between the two armies. They dug trenches and made foxholes. One side had a big train going through the trench.

The war started because the Archduke of Austria was assassinated. And they used lots of things for the war. Mustard gas was horrible. I don't want to talk about it. They also invented the machine gun and the grenade. Those were weapons that you could kill somebody without looking at them. One thing: grenades, you could throw over a wall, and not know who you hit. Second of all: mustard gas. You could throw it somewhere and put on your gas mask and never know who you killed because mustard gas just floats around. And the machine gun: before you even knew it, you had shot fifty people.  After the war, they invented the Geneva Rules. They said no chemical weapons, no germ weapons, and lots of other things.

World War II was started by World War I, which was the war where they invented the Atomic Bomb, or the Atom Bomb. At first in World War I, they thought that the machine gun was so horrible that there wouldn't be another war. But actually it started another war. Hitler said that he would bring back everything they had lost from World War I. So when it was time to elect a president, they elected him. What he really wanted was he wanted power. At first he started taking over lots of small countries, and then making them his own. Then, once he had those countries, he had more followers; so he could start taking over bigger countries, until his country was so big that he was almost unstoppable.

Hitler was so bad that the English -- the British -- and the French just gave him Czechoslovakia, just to get him away. They thought if they gave him that little bit of land, he would go away. So they gave him Czechoslovakia. And all Hitler did was gain more followers and take over more countries. He finally had reached France, and he captured it. At first, in World War I, the French didn't think that the Germans would go through Belgium because that would make the English enter the war. But they did. And this time, they didn't think that the Germans would go through the forest, because only foot troops could go through the forest. But Hitler invented a new kind of tank that was small and fast (the first invented tank was big, bulky, but stronger and slower). He had made a whole fleet of these small tanks, and brought them through the forest. So while the French didn't worry about Hitler going through the forest with such a strong army, Hitler was going through the forest with a strong army. So the French were kind of slow on deciding whether to guard the place or not.

When France was captured, Hitler promised that he wouldn't use the French Navy. But the English didn't believe him, so they went over and destroyed the French fleet. Right after that, Hitler sent out lots of bombers to bomb London. But Britain had the Royal Air Force, which was their air force. After they sent it up, lots of their enemy bombers got destroyed. And Hitler knew this, so he stopped attacking England. But he started attacking Russia at the same time he was attacking England. He was hoping to conquer England as he had conquered France. Although, the Royal Air Force was stronger than he thought. Then, Japan as an ally of Germany went over and bombed Pearl Harbor. But Hitler wasn't ready for America to enter the war yet. But after they had bombed Pearl Harbor, America had declared war on both Germany and Japan.

We went to D-Day, where there were five beaches: Gold, Juno, Sword, Omaha, and Utah. Those were the code names, because they couldn't call it D-Day because that would give away everything. What they did call it was "Operation Overlord." They had sent off a distraction over somewhere else, near Calais. And Hitler was so fooled that he thought that the real attack the Calais attack, and he barely put any forces near the real attack.

On D-Day, since England was so close to France, and America had entered the war, America and England had sent out millions and millions of boats carrying troops. They couldn't do it in the day because the Germans would know that they were coming. Instead, they had put lots of ships at the night and in high tide with the full moon, so that they still had a little bit of lighting (but not much), and high tide because if it was high tide, it would give them better cover.

What happened when the boats landed is they had to jump out of a boat into four feet deep water, carry their rifles over their heads in a plastic bag, and wade all the way to mainland, put their gun together, make sure it didn't have any salt water in it, and then load and then fire. All the Germans had to do was fire, reload, fire. So the Germans had the better advantage. Omaha was so bad that the Germans didn't fire until the English and Americans were on the land, so that they were so stealthed that the troops could walk right up to the cannon and not know that it was a cannon. So what the Germans did was wait until the troops were on mainland, and then load and fire. They had so good cover and camouflaging that even the bombers and fighters couldn't see them. What it really looked like were just plain old houses on the beach. And the guns would look like chimneys. So the troops never knew if they were facing a house or if they were facing a military bunker. Also, there were lots of anti-tank mines along the beach. They looked like squares without the outline. You also had to run through barbed wire, trenches, and the defenses, while they're firing at you hoping to hit you. And you're hoping you're the one that gets in there.

We went to Pointe du Hoc, where there were lots of bomb craters. Cam and I ran down the bomb craters and then ran up. One time I lost both of my shoes. There were also military bunkers. Cam and I also found secret passageways, where there was a military bunker and it went one way, under a hill, and then out the other end. Also one time there was a ruined military bunker in one of the bomb craters.

At the cemeteries, there was an American one and a German one. The German one we didn't visit for long. All it was were gravestones with two people under each. At the American one, there were people that won the Medal of Honor. One was Roosevelt, the son of the president of America. There was a person that went up and down the beaches to gather together the troops to fight again.

We were living at Gold Beach, where the British attacked. There were rocks up against the cement walls. Cam and I liked to climb on them.  I liked climbing on the rocks. I didn't like sliding down a lot of moss on of the big ships. And sometimes Cam and I slipped down rocks with moss on them. Wet moss.

 

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