In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will.
— Winston S. Churchill —

Where are we going?

The Cost of Freedom is an eighteen-day tour of Germany and Poland that will bring the horrors and heroism of the Second World War to life for its students. 

When is this trip?

Our tour group departed from Indianapolis International Airport on Thursday, June 14, 2018 and arrived in Munich the following day. We will then travel across Central Europe, basing out of four cities: Berchtesgaden, Munich, Berlin (all in Germany) and Krakow, Poland. As we travel, we will read about the experiences of five individuals who witnessed the greatest calamity ever to strike the human race and learn the lessons of history through their eyes:

  • A servant at Adolf Hitler’s Berghof home in Berchtesgaden
  • A Nazi party official at the 1937 Nuremberg rallies
  • A member of the Wannsee conference in 1942
  • A German resistance member during the 1944 “Valkyrie” plot to overthrow the Nazis
  • A Jewish prisoner at the Auschwitz death camp

We will also visit a number of historical and cultural sites unconnected with the Second World War which will allow students to explore the rich heritage of the German and Polish nations.

Why are we offering this trip?

Although the Second World War remains a central element of both historical education and popular entertainment, its roots, course and true horrors have in many ways been forgotten or misunderstood. In a world which seeks to promote tolerance and understanding, AET hopes to ground students in historical and moral truths which transcend the tides of modern culture, to show them that there are some ideas and principles which must always be opposed, and to remind them that the Cost of Freedom is always high.

How much did this trip cost?

This trip cost a maximum of $4,100. This covered all transportation costs (airline, train, and possibly van rental), hotels, admission fees, and a daily continental breakfast at some hotels. The payment schedule was as follows: 

  • $600 non-refundable deposit due November 1, 2017
  • $2,000 travel payment due January 1, 2018
  • $1,500 final payment (may be less depending on total costs) due March 1, 2018

To follow along with this amazing trip, check out the images below! More images to come!

 
 

Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme of things not found within recorded time.

-- J.R.R. Tolkien --

In 2016, AET offered its first literature tour that took students on a nine-day trip to the United Kingdom.  Based in Oxford, one of the country’s great literary and academic centers, the group learned about the writings of five great authors of British fantasy literature by visiting sites special to them:

  • The home of C.S. Lewis in the Oxford suburb of Headington
  • The graves of John Ronald Reuel and Edith Tolkien
  • The birthplace of William Shakespeare and a production of his famous play Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Theater in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • The house (now a museum) at 221B Baker Street that hosted the great detective Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s many works
  • The city of Portsmouth, a center of British colonial naval culture that was once home to Daniel Defoe

During this tour, students learned that fantasy literature is more than mere escapism and that it teaches real lessons based around eternal truths.  The messages found in many works of fantasy are universal, teaching of the necessity of standing up to evil and pursuing right action, the importance of diversity and tolerance in society, and the role that critical thinking plays in shaping the well-balanced mind.  This trip set the stage for more literary excursions offered by AET in the future.

 

 

D-Day Anniversary Tour

 

AET took seven students and four adults through four years of war in order to show them the result on the other side.  Our students will remember the names on each grave, the timelines of each attack, and the sacrifices for the rest of their lives.

Building on the success of “Remember Me” four years earlier, AET took its largest group of students yet to Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944.  Over the course of six days, we traveled the length and breadth of the Norman countryside by car and then spent three days in Paris, the “City of Lights.”  Once again, we focused our studies on witness accounts by those who took part in the heroic landings that heralded the death knell of Hitler’s evil regime:

  • An American soldier landing at Omaha Beach
  • A British soldier landing at Sword Beach
  • A newspaper correspondent who saw the aftermath of Allied bombing raids over the city of Caen
  • A French civilian who participated in the resistance movement and the liberation of Paris
  • One of Adolf Hitler’s secretaries who witnessed his government’s reaction to the invasion

As was done in our previous trip to Normandy, days were packed with travel and nights with long discussions on the nature of sacrifice and heroism in the face of oppression and fear.  The group learned lessons about the past which they still carry with them even today.

 

 
 

I have often felt a bitter sorrow at the thought of the German people, which is so estimable in the individual and so wretched in the generality.

-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1813 --

In the summer of 2011, AET took students on a ten-day cultural tour of southern Germany and Austria with an emphasis on those nations’ contributions to history, art, architecture and culture.  Based first out of Munich and then in the small alpine village of Berchtesgaden, we traveled across these two nations and saw amazing sights and met wonderful people.  Our tour included visits to:

  • The Dachau concentration camp and the Nazi sites around Berchtesgaden
  • Neuschwanstein Castle
  • The medieval town of Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber
  • The city of Salzburg
  • And much more!

This trip showed students the rich cultural contributions made by the German-speaking world to its neighbors and gave new insights into the tragic history of Germany and Austria during the 20th century.  Our days were filled with tours and nights spent playing cards and talking about the day’s events.  These interactions brought forth interesting topics for discussion.  As we walked in the footsteps of history, we learned more about the past and learned its lessons as we charted our own personal futures.

 
 

AET is not about touring or traveling to distant places.  It is about giving young people the cornerstone of truth, something that cannot and will not be broken.

During the summer of 2010, AET took students on a two-week whirlwind tour of historic sites in France, Germany, and Poland.  The trip’s theme, as indicated in its title, was “Remember Me.”  Students read accounts of five individuals who witnessed major events in European history and used them as a guide to learn more about life in the past:

  • A French laborer who helped construct the Amiens cathedral
  • A British soldier fighting in the trenches during the Battle of the Somme in 1916
  • An American soldier landing at Omaha Beach in 1944
  • A Jewish boy who suffered the horrors of the Holocaust at Auschwitz
  • A German girl who saw both the rise and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and 1989

Over the course of the “Remember Me” tour, we traveled over a thousand miles by train, rental car, and on foot.  We toured thirty separate sites in three countries, from battlefields to museums, from churches to monuments.  Each evening, students and leaders discussed the day’s events and tried to understand the magnitude of some of the events that occurred at these sites.  We asked ourselves why thousands of people would dedicate their lives building great cathedrals that they would never see finished, how millions of soldiers could sacrifice their lives in the defense of their homes, and what motivated some of the most horrific events in human history.  Through it all, we gained new understanding of our past and of our present.