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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Explore Europe stories

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

For almost two years during the Second World War (1939-45), the Allies fought a bitter struggle in Italy against a determined and skilful enemy. Far from being the ‘soft underbelly of Europe’, Italy became one of the 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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Charge of the Light Brigade, 1854

Crimean War

The Crimean War was fought by Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia against Russia. For the British, the campaign was symbolised by military and logistical incompetence alongside the bravery and endurance of its soldiers.

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Warrington Road in the Ypres Salient, 1917

1917: Year of stalemate

In 1917, Germany adopted a defensive strategy on the Western Front to counter the growing strength of the Allies. Despite launching several offensives, and suffering heavy casualties, the Allies achieved mixed results.

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Major Herbert 'Blondie' Hasler and a colleague paddling a canoe, c1942

Herbert 'Blondie' Hasler: A Cockleshell Hero

Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert ‘Blondie’ Hasler was an inventor, pioneering yachtsman and special forces canoeist. In December 1942, he led the daring ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ raid on Bordeaux harbour.

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Samovar taken from Napoleon’s baggage after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815

The Emperor's samovars

Two samovars that belonged to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte shed light on his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. They also show how practices like tea drinking spread through different cultures.

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Explore Europe events

Victory Dance
Late

8 May 2020, 7.00pm

£20.00

Victory Dance

CANCELLED: Celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day and jive the night away at our 1940s dance.

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Why the Allies Won
Talk

8 May 2020, 1.45pm

FREE

Why the Allies Won

CANCELLED: Renowned historian James Holland discusses the events that brought the Second World War in Europe to an end in 1945.

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VE Day 75: Wartime Weekend
Exhibition

8 - 9 May 2020, 10.00am

FREE

VE Day 75: Wartime Weekend

CANCELLED: Celebrate 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe. Be transported back in time with our Victory Street, military music, and topical talks.

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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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