Understanding Sacrifice, Day 1

Tuesday, July 14 – London

Understanding Sacrifice: An ABMC Education Project

Donald Davis

George Washington High School

Chicago, Illinois


Today we visited the Imperial War Museum in London. We saw many items and exhibits relating to our own work researching our soldiers and their sacrifices helping the Allies defeat the Axis Powers in the World War II. More importantly, these show why the war was so necessary for promoting democracy by challenging totalitarianism around the globe.

Imperial War Museum - Teacher Group Photo

In particular one exhibit displayed the Victoria and George Crosses earned by British subjects over time. (The former is given out “For valour” to individuals in direct contact with the enemy, while the latter is “For gallantry” to those who performed amazing feats away from the field of battle.) These medals are equivalent to the U.S.’ Medal of Honor and President’s Medal of Freedom. The Imperial War Museum tells the stories of these individuals the same way participants in “Understanding Sacrifice” are highlighting our individuals’ contributions to World War Two.

As we’ve gone through the past year conducting readings, webinars, and online discussions, we’ve gained a deeper appreciation of what it meant to sacrifice during WWII. Not only soldiers, but the families and friends of those killed made a sacrifice. For the British during World War II, many innocent civilians were on the front lines of the war since the German Blitz or Battle of Britain.Imperial War Museum - teacher 1

The exhibits explained how many nations limited what was produced and sold during World War II based on available resources for prosecuting the war. The Imperial War Museum had a special exhibit about wartime fashion, and how British propaganda encouraged people to go without, mend old clothing, or reduce what they consumed. With concerns for the environment today–and the focus on reducing, reusing, and recycling–we can thus learn a valuable lesson from WWII’s rationing system and restrictions on consumption.

The Imperial War Museum contains a permanent exhibit on the rise of Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. The exhibits highlight why the war was fought and so many sacrifices made.

Sacrifices were made by soldiers and civilians, and these need to be understood in giving a more complete picture in teaching about WWII. This can also give us a litmus test when deciding whether it is worthwhile to go to war in the future, to analyze whether the sacrifices to be made are worth the end result our countries have in mind.

Applications are currently being accepted for World War II in the Mediterranean. Click here for more information and an application. The application deadline is midnight on Friday, September 4, 2015.


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