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National Army Museum
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  • Chelsea, London

Europe

Units of the Dutch Prinses Irene Brigade moving up to the attack, 1944

Units of the Dutch Prinses Irene Brigade moving up to the attack, 1944
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Victory in Europe

In the aftermath of the D-Day landings and the subsequent Allied advance across France it seemed for a fleeting moment that the end of the war in Europe might be in sight. The bloody struggles of 1944-45 eventually ended in the final defeat of Nazi Germany.

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British troops taking part in NATO's Exercise Lionheart in Germany, 1984

Active Edge: The Army, Germany and the Cold War

In 1945, British troops occupied Germany alongside their wartime Soviet allies. But growing East-West tensions soon evolved into the Cold War. For the next four decades, soldiers in Germany prepared to face an attack by the Warsaw Pact.

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Civilians gathered around British tanks, Hamburg, May 1945

The Army and the occupation of Germany

Following their victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, the Allies were faced with administering a country in ruins. British soldiers had a leading role in this, helping to hunt war criminals, rebuild industry and help displaced persons.

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Passing German prisoners of war when moving up to the Aller, Germany, April 1945

Countdown to victory

In the spring of 1945, Allied armies began their final advance into the heart of Nazi Germany. After weeks of intense fighting, they secured victory, ending the most destructive war in Europe's history.

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The burning of Belsen, May 1945

The liberation of Belsen

As the British Army advanced into the heart of Nazi Germany in the spring of 1945, its soldiers were confronted with the full horrors of the Holocaust at the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

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The Battle of Busaco, 27 September 1810

Peninsular War

From 1808 to 1814, the British Army, aided by its Spanish and Portuguese allies, held off superior numbers of French troops before driving them out of Iberia. They then carried the war into France, playing an important part in Napoleon's first overthrow.

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The Battle of the Boyne, 1690

Nine Years War

Between 1689 and 1697, British soldiers joined a European alliance against French expansionism. At the same time, extensive fighting took place in Scotland and Ireland between the supporters of King William III and the deposed James II.

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A Conqueror tank of 5th Royal Tank Regiment in Germany, c1960

Nato and the British Army

Nato has been the cornerstone of British defence planning for 70 years. Originally formed in the 1940s as a bulwark against communism, more recently it has been involved in peacekeeping roles and the ‘war on terror’.

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Soldiers with a refugee Kosovo Albanian family, 1999

Kosovo

In 1999, British soldiers deployed to Kosovo as a peacekeeping force. Today, troops still serve in the disputed country as part of a multi-national force helping to ensure security and stability.

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British UNPROFOR troops outside a destroyed mosque near Vitez, Bosnia, 1994

Bosnia

British soldiers first deployed to Bosnia in 1992 during the country's vicious civil war. Initially tasked with protecting aid convoys, they have remained there on peacekeeping duties ever since.

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The 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers with Achilles tank destroyers near Ferrara, April 1945

The battle for Italy

From 1943 to 1945, the Allies fought an attritional campaign in Italy against a resolute and skilful enemy. Far from being the ‘soft underbelly of Europe’, Italy became one of the Second World War’s most exhausting campaigns.

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Pelisse, Zieten Hussars, worn by The Duke of Connaught, 1900s

A uniform fit for a prince

Flamboyant hussar uniforms belonging to Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, demonstrate the close dynastic links between European monarchies and the tradition of foreign royals serving as honorary heads of military units.

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1st Reserve Regiment of Cavalry in training, 1914

Cavalry on the Western Front

In the First World War, the cavalry could no longer deliver the decisive charges it had performed in the past. But it continued to carry out a variety of useful roles that contributed to British success.

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Explore Europe learning resources

Commonwealth soldiers on the Western Front
Video

KS3 (Age 11 to 14)

Commonwealth soldiers on the Western Front

Discover the diverse range of soldiers who contributed to the British First World War effort on the Western Front.

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Somme 1916
Video

KS3 (Age 11 to 14)

Somme 1916

Explore the story of the Somme through objects from the National Army Museum's collections.

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