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Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary: Tour the sites, ships and planes of World War II

75 years ago today, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and launched the US into World War II. To commemorate the anniversary, here are 10 photo tours of the ships, aircraft and battlefields of that war and beyond.

Three quarters of a century have passed since the instigating event that brought the US into World War II. The bombing of Pearl Harbor was a key moment in the history of the 20th century, profoundly affecting countless events that happened after.

Today the iconic ships and planes so familiar to the seas and skies during the war have become museum pieces. The battleship Arizona, tomb for 1,177 men, still serves as a somber reminder.

In Pearl Harbor and elsewhere you can visit ships of the era, like the massive USS Missouri that sits nearby, or the Iowa across the Pacific in Los Angeles. The Wisconsin and New Jersey are even farther, on the East Coast, while air museums preserve WWII aviation heritage in hangars and airfields all over the world as well.

And then, of course, there are the bunkers and battlefields themselves. Some, like the beaches at Normandy, still have the casemates seven decades on, with memorials set nearby as remembrance.

Here are 10 photo tours from around the world, starting in Hawaii.

USS Missouri

Sitting vigil next to her sunken sister ship, the Arizona.

Pacific Aviation Museum

Near the Missouri is the Pacific Aviation Museum, with dozens of propeller and jet aircraft.

USS Iowa

The lead ship in what would be America's last battleship class, the Iowais now a museum ship in Los Angeles.

USS Intrepid

Commissioned in 1943, the Intrepidserved in the Pacific in WWII and then in various roles until being decommissioned a final time in 1974. She's now a museum ship in New York City.

USS Midway

Though commissioned after WWII, she served for nearly 50 years including the Vietnam war and Desert Storm.

HMS Belfast

The British have preserved very few of their old warships. One of the few ships remaining from WWII is the HMS Belfast, which is hard to miss, sitting in the Pool of London.

American Air Museum and Imperial War Museum Duxford

There are incredible air museums all over the UK too, including the American Air Museum and Imperial War Museum Duxford, both at the Duxford Aerodrome near Cambridge.

Royal Air Force Museum London

The legendary RAF actually have two museums. This one, in Greater London, has some massive bombers inlcuding an Avro Lancaster and a B-24, along with dozens of other aircraft.

Royal Air Force Museum Cosford

A bit harder to get to for the average tourist, the RAF Museum Cosford near Birmingham, has a the National Cold War Exhibition and some fascinating aircraft of its own (like an AW.660 Argosy).

The Beaches of Normandy

2014 was the 70th anniversary of the Allied landing in France. Here's how it looked.


In his alternate life as a travel writer, Geoff does tours of cool museums and locations around the world including nuclear submarines, medieval castles, iconic music studiosand more. You can follow his exploits on Twitter and Instagram, and on his travel blog BaldNomad. He also wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel. Got a tour-worthy spot you think he should check out? Let him know!