Sunday, April 8, 2012

National World War II Museum, New Orleans

Operation Overload, The Plan (left) and The Fleet (right)
Yet another little surprise about New Orleans: it boasts an interesting World War II museum called the National World War II Museum. The museum is about a 20 minute walk from the French Quarter heading south by southeast.

Not only did New Orleans undoubtedly contribute to the war effort in countless ways like many cities did, it also has the distinction of being home to the boat designer and builder, Andrew Jackson Higgins. The boat commonly referred to as a Higgins boat and technically called Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP), was so crucial for landing on open beaches that General Dwight D. Eisenhower stated:

“If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different.”

The Higgins Boat story in the larger story of the war of course, is featured (we only made it through the Normandy Invasion, not the Pacific Theater), but it’s done in context and doesn’t overshadow the main focus which is telling of the story of Operation Overload (Battle of Normandy 1944). The museum uses photos, audio, video, and personal objects and stories covering the time leading up to the landing, the actual landing (in some detail), the first days of fighting after the landing, and the eventual retreat of the Germans from France.

Some favorite quotes we saw while visiting the museum: “Smash the Axis, Pay your taxes” (a saying during the war effort) and “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” (Prime Minister Winston Churchill said this in 1943).

Propaganda and Imagery During the War Effort

National World War II Museum Brochure
National World War II Museum, New Orleans - Brochure, Visitor's GuideNational World War II Museum, New Orleans - Brochure, Visitor's GuideNational World War II Museum, New Orleans - Brochure, Visitor's GuideNational World War II Museum, New Orleans - Brochure, Visitor's Guide

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