For five years, Alwyn Collinson has been tweeting the events of World War II in realtime at @RealTimeWWII. Today, the account crescendos with a retelling of D-Day on its 72nd anniversary.
The name @RealTimeWWII is kind of a misnomer. While the account does chronicle events in realtime, it's nothing like a modern news ticker. The account is practically omniscient, benefiting from decades of historical research, thousands of photographs, and countless anecdotes. Rather than provide a top level recounting of military strategy, Collinson shifts between the macro and the micro.
One tweet will capture a broad, impersonal maneuver.
22nd Panzer regiment ordered to push invaders into sea, told "The fate of Germany depends on success of your attack" pic.twitter.com/n52qJKvnaX— WW2 Tweets from 1944 (@RealTimeWWII) June 6, 2016
The very next tweet will have a direct quote from a single military officer.
Lord Lovat leads UK Commandos to capture village, is offered champagne by French café owner: "Not now, I'm working." pic.twitter.com/7Igq54L2fl— WW2 Tweets from 1944 (@RealTimeWWII) June 6, 2016
The result is unlike anything else, narratively speaking. The account is operatic, both spectacular and personal. It's story is bigger and broader in scope than even the most densely cast cable drama. That fact holds true to the five years of tweets that built to this moment. Make time to follow D-Day in realtime, but bookmark @RealTimeWWII's landing page for the next lazy Sunday. Unlike most Twitter accounts, this one is worth reading from the beginning.