JFRC WWII Study Trip
This past weekend was time, once again, for the semi-annual World War II study trip. This is a two-day trip where the students get a glimpse of the role that Italy played during WWII. The Italian Campaign played an important part in the European theater, however it has been lost in its exposure to most students.
The trip was primarily funded, planned, and led by two distinguished JFRC alumni – historian Phil O’Connor, PhD, and former West Point instructor Jim Centner, accompanied the JFRC’s Professor of Modern History, Anne Wingenter. Students visited several historically significant sites in World War II Italy, including visits to Anzio and Nettuno, and areas of Rome not seen by the average tourist.
On the first day, students visited Anzio and Nettuno where they saw the US Military Cemetery and sought to understand what young American men and women did during the Italian Invasion. They then had lunch on the beach between Nettuno and Anzio where the Allies first landed, resulting in perhaps the bloodiest battle in the War. This first day gave a solid summary of what the fighting was like in the Mediterranean, concluding with a trip to the interactive and comprehensive War museum, Piana delle Orme.
On the second day in Rome, students learned about the impact that the War had on its citizens including the Massacre at Fosse Ardeatine, the Gestapo Headquarters at Via Tasso, and the part that the Roman Resistance played in attacking the Nazis at Via Rasella. The Fosse Ardeatine provided perhaps the most powerful insight into the horrors of the War in Italy as the site is comprised of caves just outside the city where 335 Roman civilians were executed by the Nazis as a reprisal for the Partisan attacks on Via Rasella.
This trip is meant to educate and remind students of the atrocities of War, giving them inspiration to apply this education in a world where social justice and the implementation of human rights policies are especially important.