World War I in Color
is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
My subject is War, and the pity of War.
The Poetry is in the pity…
All a poet can do today is warn.
Two 20th century choral masterpieces share more than Biblical texts. Benjamin Britten’s well known War Requiem, Op. 66
and Rudolf Mauersberger’s
lesser known Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst
were both written in response to the destruction of medieval architecture and major churches in WWII bombings.
Since 1956, the cities of Coventry and Dresden have been twinned
to promote peace and understanding. [more inside]
is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free
photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets
, which include 2700+ images from the US
Danish author Sven Hassel
, official site
) has passed away at the age of 95.
(Danish - Translation
) Hassel fought for the Germans during WWII and became famous after publishing Legion of the Damned
, a semi-autobiographical account of the war. He went on to write thirteen more books
following the adventures of his convict battalion, incuding Wheels of Terror which in 1987 was made into the movie The Misfit Brigade
staring Bruce Davison and David Patrick Kelly (clip
). He will be remembered fondly by all who browsed the bookshelves of charity shops as young men.
It's the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month where I am right now, so I present to you Europeana
, a project collecting memorabilia and stories from the period of the Great War (1914-1918).
From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time
: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeing
— foreign affairs
, social trends
, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.)
By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues,
) America’s entry to WWII
. Video samples are available at Time.com,
the March of Time Facebook page
and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required)
at HBO Archives. [more inside]
802 Prisoners attempted escape from Auschwitz. 144 were successful. Kazimierz Piechowski, a Polish boy scout, was one of them. Today, at age 91, he tells his story
. [more inside]
Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt,"
told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
In the scale of its intensity, its destructiveness and its horror, Stalingrad has no parallel. It engaged the full strength of the two biggest armies in Europe and could fit into no lesser framework than that of a life-and-death conflict which encompasses the earth.
- The New York Times, February 4, 1943 [more inside]
Metafilter's own JF Ptak
has an interesting post
on the Life magazine issue of March 2nd, 1942, readers of which were confronted by some startling maps detailing possible Axis invasion strategies for North America. There was invasion down the St. Lawrence valley
, there was invasion via Trinidad
, via Bermuda
, full frontal west coast
, and down the west coast
as well - note the mapping of the large "fifth columns". As Ptak notes, maps such as these with huge arrows pointed menancingly at the American homeland were very much not the norm of the day. [more inside]
of Adolf Eichmann
is one of the more daring spy operations
in the post WWII era. The story spans 17 years, beginning with Eichmann's clandestine escape from the Allied forces and the Nuremberg trial, and ending with his hanging in Israel. [more inside]
Join Devin Friedman at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, a city of broken men.
During the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
in Germany has blossomed into the hub of one of the most amazing and miraculous wartime medical systems in modern history. Each week sees 14 flights into and out of the medical center, delivering dozens of war wounded from the battlefield and back out to the more specialized care centers back stateside; the rapidity of care and transit from the war fronts to stable medical care has decreased the mortality of serious wartime military injuries to just ten percent, from the high-20s/low-30s of previous wars. This is an incredibly nice look at the Landstuhl system from the perspective of a single planeload of injured soldiers.
"When you’re on your own in that pit with the bomb in the middle of a city, it’s strange how everything suddenly goes totally quiet..." Interview
with one of Germany's most experienced bomb disposal experts as he retires. Photogallery
The Angora rabbit project
was an SS-administered program to breed rabbits for their soft, warm fur, one use of which was to line the jackets of Luftwaffe pilots. The rabbits were raised in luxury not far from the maltreated prisoners in 31 Nazi concentration camps in Germany, including Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau
is a photograph of the hutches taken by Lee Miller
James Bond eat your heart out
- the name's Chapman, Eddie Chapman. A German spy
who was awarded the Iron Cross and a yacht. A British spy
who probably saved vast chunks of London from bombs. But above all, a conman
with a penchant for "prostitutes, cognac, gambling, Savile Row tailoring
and fast cars" according to his spymasters (warning - PDF)
. Read the book
. Or the other book
. Or see the biopic
he reportedly didn't like. He died aged 83, in case you're wondering.
Secret agent Huub Lauwers was parachuted into occupied Holland
in 1941 to relay intelligence back to London. His capture by the Germans marked the beginning of the Englandspiel
, a deadly game of cat-and-mouse intelligence that cost the lives of over fifty agents. Lauwers frantically tried to inform the SOE
that he had been caught, but the Baker Street Irregulars
just didn't get it. Or did they? [more inside]
"They are demanding that I kill the children of my people with my own hands"
On October 4, 1939, a few days after Warsaw's surrender to the Nazis, Adam Czerniaków
was made head of the 24 member Judenrat, the Jewish Council (write "Czerniakow" in the linked page's search box)
responsible for implementing German orders in the Jewish community (interactive map of the Warsaw ghetto)
. On July 22, 1942 -- Tisha B'Av
, the "saddest day in Jewish history
" -- the Judenrat received instructions that all Warsaw Jews were to be deported to the East (exceptions were to be made for Jews working in German factories, Jewish hospital staff, members of the Judenrat and their families, and members of the Jewish police force and their families. Czerniaków tried to convince the Germans at least not to deport the Jewish orphans)
. Czerniaków kept a diary from September 6, 1939, until the day of his death. It was published in 1979 in the English language as the "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniaków: Prelude to Doom
", edited by one of the most prominent
, Raul Hilberg
. More inside.
The London Cage.
Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the most exclusive addresses in the world
. Between July 1940 and September 1948 three magnificent houses there were home to one of Great Britain'smost secret military establishments: the London office of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, known colloquially as the London Cage. It was run by MI19
, the section of the War Office responsible for gleaning information from enemy prisoners of war
, and few outside this organisation knew exactly what went on beyond the single barbed-wire fence that separated the three houses from the busy streets and grand parks of west London. The London Cage was used partly as a torture centre
, inside which large numbers of German officers and soldiers were subjected to systematic ill-treatment. In total 3,573 men passed through the Cage, and more than 1,000 were persuaded to give statements about war crimes. A number of German civilians joined the servicemen who were interrogated there up to 1948. More inside.
Pobediteli: Soldiers of the Great War. In this year of the 60 Anniversary of the Victory we wish to personally thank the soldiers of the Great War living among us, and tell the story of their heroism.
What do you do if it's 1979 and you are a sixteen year old in East Germany? Your Mom and her boyfriend, an officer in the intelligence service, have decided to defect.
If you are Thomas Wagner
, you wait twenty-odd years, and then you post the whole experience to your blog.
Miss Germany wants to disarm Saddam - uhm - the old fashioned way.
Would you give it up for peace? Would you lay down (for) the ... ultimate sacrifice? Miss Germany seems to say "Ja!" ... from India via Pakistan (if that
isn't a sign that peace is possible, I don't know what is ...)