From Normandy to the moon, Twitter gives readers a chance to follow history
"Those who forget history are doomed to retweet it."
The cheeky tagline of TwHistory, an educational resource that helps students and teachers understand history through the modern medium of Twitter, speaks to a wider trend in the Twittersphere, where history is coming alive through the efforts of historians, groups and individuals with a Twitter account and a passion for history.
"To be sure, there's no time machine that can take you back to London during The Blitz, or to the White House Situation Room as JFK stood firm against belligerent military leaders wanting to engage the Soviets over surreptitiously putting nukes in Cuba," a 2012 cnet.com story said. "But these days, in little 140-character snippets, many of those moments are being played out for the whole world to see. And if you close your eyes, you can almost imagine you're there."
Alwyn Collinson, a recent graduate of Oxford University, who runs one of the biggest historical feeds on Twitter — @RealTimeWWII — said his goal with the project is to help readers share that feeling of being there as historical events unfold.
“I still get dozens of tweets every day from people who say, ‘I forgot I was following World War II, and I suddenly thought the Germans were about to invade Holland,’ ” Collinson told The New York Times. “That’s exactly the effect I want: to convey the fear, the uncertainty, the shock. That’s what it was like for the people who lived through it.”
While some historical accounts like Collinson's are still working on their ambitious projects, others have fallen by the wayside or concluded their run. Still others — like the real-time Titanic account — are revived at appropriate times on a yearly basis.
On this 69th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, here's a look at 20 Twitter accounts — working, ended, and/or paused — for the history buffs of the 21st century.
>> In this file photo from June 6, 1944, American soldiers land on the French coast in Normandy during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.
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