Battlefield tourism

Visiting some modern battlefields and war relics/ruins is clearly a regular part of dark tourism, see e.g. the World War One sites at the Somme, Verdun or Ypres, or the commodification of the decisive WWII battle of Stalingrad in what today is Volgograd  - or, to give a much more recentr exampe, the sites in the Falklands related to the 1982 war down there.
However, a large proportion of what is generally classed as battlefield tourism I would rather count as outside the concept of dark tourism underlying this website. Historic re-enactments in period costumes are in my view something altogether different (see below). And even without that element, many battlefield sites fall outside the scope of dark tourism proper. 
Historic battlefield sites often go back in time beyond dark tourism's usual association with modern times. Furthermore, there may not even be anything at all to see either, other than literally an empty field. So, in order to be covered here as a dark tourism destination, a battlefield must a) be more recent (ca. from the onset of the 20th century), and b) there must be something there to see beyond just a field. 

Battle re-enactments, whether historic or more recent, are usually done for the fun of dressing up and "playing war" – it's really more playtime for grown boys, and largely lacks the truly dark and, in part, educational aspect of dark tourism proper. Some will disagree here, I know – and some may indeed give educational justification to such spectacles, but I'm just not convinced. I don't mean to say they're not justified and shouldn't be staged – far from it: go on, have fun, nothing at all wrong with that. But I just won't cover it on these pages – surely there are other, and better suited, resources for people interested in these things.

(see also other forms of tourism beyond dark tourism proper)





©, Peter Hohenhaus 2010-2019

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