In 2024, the world will commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. The same year, Road Scholar will launch its once-in-a-lifetime journey, WWII by Private Jet, Boat & Train: A Pilgrimage Around the World — a first-hand look into the events and landmarks of the Second World War. For students of history who are fascinated by World War II, there is no greater trip to delve into its history and modern consequences.
With renowned historian and military expert Dr. Spencer Jones, we’ll travel around the globe by private plane, ferry and bullet train to trace some of the biggest events of the war. Dr. Spencer Jones is an award-winning historian and author with a special interest in the World Wars and the life of Sir Winston Churchill. We can think of no one better to make this journey with!
Our Around-the-World Itinerary:
In the heart of London, get an in-depth look into England’s involvement in both World Wars at the Imperial War Museum. Board a motorcoach to St. James’s Park to delight in the ceremony of the iconic Horse Guards Parade — the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Then, join your experts at the Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Museum where you’ll gain an understanding of Winston Churchill’s life, his role as prime minister and his leadership during the very worst of World War II, including the Blitz. The next day, journey to Portsmouth for the ferry to Normandy.
Home to the most infamous battle of World War II, Normandy's stunning coastal views contrast with a shoreline that still preserves the fox holes and bomb craters of Operation Overlord. Journey by motorcoach to explore key sites of the battle. Learn about the importance of British troops capturing Pegasus and Horsa Bridges to prevent a German counter attack, and journey to the British beaches where Bagpiper Bill Millin played as troops made their way from a landing craft to the beach.
Jutting into the English Channel is Pointe du Hoc, a vantage point where German troops could fire upon the American Army at Omaha Beach. It’s here where you will learn about the efforts of the American troops to take Omaha, a nearly six-mile long stretch of coastline. Then, continue on to Utah Beach where the U.S. 4th Infantry Division succeeded in isolating the seaborne invasion force from German Troops. Conclude your explorations at La Cambe German Cemetery, the final resting place of more than 21,000 German soldiers.
Giverny & Paris
It would hardly be a journey to France without a field trip to Giverny, the home of Impressionist painter Claude Monet ― an artist who was deeply influenced by the events of World War I. Journey by motorcoach to delight in the peace and tranquility of Monet’s home and garden. Continue on to Paris to explore the main sites of the city that were affected by the Second World War, and spend an afternoon at the Army Museum.
Get insight into the Jewish community of Paris during World War II during a field trip to the Shoa Memorial and Museum — Paris’ Holocaust Museum. Journey by motorcoach to the early 20th-century mansion once belonging to World War I pilot and hero Nissim de Camondo, whose family later died at Auschwitz.
Board your private plane for a flight to Berlin, Germany’s capital city. Take in an afternoon lecture on the Third Reich and the Allied advance, and begin the next day with a panoramic field trip of the city’s many World War II and Cold War sites. Learn why the Brandenburg gate is such a powerful symbol of Berlin’s tumultuous history, and pay a visit to the Reichstag Building, home to Germany’s parliament. Take in the sights of the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie, and learn about the final days of Adolf Hitler at the ruins of his Fuhrerbunker. Spend the afternoon at the German Historical Museum, an institution that sees itself as a “place for strengthening historical judgement, where overarching philosophical, ethical and historical questions are negotiated.”
Spend a morning exploring the city of Krakow on your own — potentially stopping to experience its Old Town and historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon, journey by motorcoach to the Auschwitz & Birkenau Museum, a former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp where 1.1 million people lost their lives. Learn about the people who were kept here, about Nazi war crimes and why this place remains such a critical piece of World War II history as you join a local expert for an exploration of the camp and museum.
In Tokyo, join your local experts for a field trip to Yasukini Shrine — which means “Peaceful Country” — and learn why this commemorative shrine has become controversial in recent years. Attend a traditional tea ceremony at the Imperial Palace Garden, then enjoy a dinner and performance at the renowned Kabuki Theater. In the morning, join your expert for a field trip to the Yoshimi Tunnels, a clandestine munitions store used at the end of World War II.
Board the world-famous Bullet Train for your journey to Hiroshima, and marvel at the beauty of Shukkeien Garden, an exquisite landscape garden dating from 1620. Continue on to explore Hiroshima Castle, a replica of the original castle that was destroyed in the atomic bombing of World War II. Journey by motorcoach to the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, built on the site of the former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall — one of the few buildings to remain standing after the atomic bomb. Make your way to the top of Orizuru Tower to take in views of surrounding Hiroshima and reflect on the events that once happened there.
Board your private plane for a flight to Honolulu where you’ll cross the International Date Line and arrive at Hawaii’s capital city at 8 p.m. ... the night before! Upon arrival, join your fellow Road Scholars for a traditional lu’au dinner.
The next morning, join your experts for a day dedicated to learning about the events of December 7, 1941. Pearl Harbor is a National Historic Landmark, as well as an active military base and the final resting place of the U.S.S. Arizona. Spend the day learning about the events of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, take in the Aviation Museum and explore the U.S.S. Missouri, where the Japanese laid down their arms to end World War II.
Enjoy your final private plane journey of this around-the-world adventure as you journey to America’s capital, Washington, D.C. Take an evening of leisure, and engage with your fellow Road Scholars the next morning as you enjoy a final lecture on the events of your journey and discuss what the world has learned since the end of World War II. Pay homage at the National World War II Memorial and enjoy a farewell dinner before departing on your flight back home.