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The Nimitz Graybook: The WWII Operational Diary of Chester W. Nimitz

December 7--The war opened with the attack of Japanese aircraft on Oahu. So begins the Command Summary of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, now available online as part of the U.S. Naval War College's Naval Historical Collection, in eight pdf volumes. Downloading is currently a little slow, as demand for site access has been high.
posted by MoonOrb on Feb 24, 2014 - 7 comments

 

Music saves me still

Alice Herz-Sommer, the oldest known Holocaust survivor and subject of the film "The Lady in Number Six" has died at the age of 110. Before World War II, Alice was a concert pianist who travelled across Europe. During the war, Alice's mother and husband were sent to Auschwitz where they were murdered, and Alice and her six year old son were sent to Theresienstadt. Alice performed more than 100 concerts at Theresienstadt, and immigrated to Israel with her son after surviving the camp. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 23, 2014 - 53 comments

"You hear me, baby? Hold together."

From World War to Star Wars: The Millennium Falcon
posted by valkane on Feb 19, 2014 - 39 comments

Nagasaki Mon Amour

Unedited footage of the bombing of Nagasaki: This silent film shows the final preparation and loading of the "Fat Man" bomb into "Bockscar," the plane which dropped the bomb on Nagasaki. It then shows the Nagasaki explosion from the window of an observation plane. This footage comes from Los Alamos National Laboratory. (SLYT)
posted by growabrain on Feb 6, 2014 - 126 comments

The Last Stand

Marc Wilson’s series The Last Stand documents the remains of coastal fortifications that lined Northern Europe during the Second World War — bunkers swallowed by the sea, pillboxes barely clinging to land, buildings ripped from their foundations and wrecked on the rocks — from Allied positions on England’s east coast and the far tip of the Northern Isles, to the once German-occupied archipelago of the Channel Islands and the remains of the Atlantikwall, the colossal Nazi defense network which stretched from Norway to Spain.
Slideshow
posted by infini on Feb 4, 2014 - 8 comments

Баллада о солдате

In 1959, MOSFILM released "Ballad of a Soldier," made during the Khrushchev Thaw . It chronicles a young soldier, Alyosha, and his six-day trip home from the front during World War II, which "sweeps you, with feeling, into the physical and psychological world of Russians at war."
And it is on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 18, 2014 - 2 comments

"Felled by your gun, felled by your gun ...."

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Soviet Sniper
"Lyudmila Pavlichenko was a Soviet sniper credited with 309 kills—and an advocate for women's rights. On a U.S. tour in 1942, she found a friend in the first lady." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 12, 2014 - 31 comments

My Mother's Lover

What we knew of Angus was this: Angus—the only name we had for him—was a flight surgeon our mother had fallen in love with during World War II, planned to marry after the war, but lost when the Japanese shot him down over the Pacific. Once, long ago, she had mentioned to me that he was part of the reason she decided to be a doctor. That was all we knew. She had confided those things in the 1970s, in the years just after she and my father divorced. I can remember sitting in a big easy chair my dad had left behind in her bedroom, listening to her reminisce about Angus as she sat with her knitting. I remember being embarrassed, and not terribly interested. I was interested now. Even 30 years before, her affair with Angus had been three decades old. Now, 60 years after he had fallen into the sea, she wanted to follow him.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 10, 2014 - 18 comments

No one should have to die alone

Harold Percival will not be missed. This. This is the power of the printed word, and the internet. If you only read one thing today, please read this.
posted by edmcbride on Nov 11, 2013 - 51 comments

"Evacuate the children, put up the blackout curtains, kill the cat."

Advice to UK animal owners just before World War Two broke out: "If at all possible, send or take your household animals into the country in advance of an emergency." It concluded: "If you cannot place them in the care of neighbours, it really is kindest to have them destroyed." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 12, 2013 - 24 comments

Sleeping with the enemy

When German soldiers arrived in Paris in the summer of 1940, there were so few of them that they had to win hearts and minds. The untold story of one young couple.
posted by gaspode on Sep 27, 2013 - 7 comments

The Boogie Woogie Bugle Girls

It's The Victory Belles! The house vocal trio for the National WW2 Museum's Stage Door Canteen in New Orleans perform medleys of war-time hits in shimmery brown uniforms (or Santa suits).
posted by The Whelk on Aug 13, 2013 - 5 comments

Richard Prendergast Rode on the Prisoner Train with Kurt Vonnegutt.

"Just to describe you: You're a large man, a big boned man." ..The most fascinating oral history you'll hear this week. Prendergast endured a German labor camp after being captured during the battle of the bulge, and witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden from 15 miles away. Interviews were recorded as source material for Studs Terkel's book: The Good War.
posted by thisisdrew on Aug 6, 2013 - 4 comments

The following notes were written at odd hours and strange places...

The War Diaries of Lt. George Lester Cushman
posted by curious nu on Jul 28, 2013 - 4 comments

Creative New Zealand Tanks of World War II

The most well known of New Zealand's World War II home-built tanks was the Bob Semple tank, designed by New Zealand Minister of Works Bob Semple. There was only one made, but it served its purpose of "showing the people that something was being done to meet the enemy. It rumbled around, took part in parades, and inspired confidence." One problem: the tank, built on a Caterpiller tractor and armored with corrugated steel, would momentarily pause while changing gears, unless it was already headed down hill. During parades and public shows, its driver was instructed to change gear as little as possible, to prevent people from thinking their tank was stalling. The other New Zealand-built tank was the Schofield tank, built on the chassis of a Chevrolet heavy-duty truck, with the ability to drive quickly on wheels, then operate on treads, the transition only taking 7 to 10 minutes. Two prototypes were made, but neither the Bob Semple nor the Schofield tank were mass produced, as New Zealand started receiving tanks from abroad by 1943.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 17, 2013 - 17 comments

Have You Heard?

Alfred Hitchcock ‘Directs’ a LIFE Picture Story, 1942. "...perhaps no filmmaker provided richer fodder for the Allies during the war itself than Alfred (later Sir Alfred) Hitchcock. Between 1940 and 1945, Hitch made films for England’s Ministry of Information as well as several excellent movies featuring plots that centered on the war (Saboteur, Foreign Correspondent, the remarkable Lifeboat and others). Hitchcock’s most unusual director’s credit from the 1940s, however, wasn’t attached to a movie at all, but instead appeared in the July 13, 1942, issue of LIFE magazine. Titled Have You Heard? (The Story of Wartime Rumors), the feature carrying Hitchcock’s name is a war thriller in photos, shot by LIFE’s Eliot Elisofon from a plot 'suggested by' FDR’s press secretary, Stephen Early, and 'directed by' Hitchcock himself."
posted by HumanComplex on Jun 13, 2013 - 5 comments

The Department Of War Math

You Are Not So Smart: Survivorship Bias, demonstrated through Abraham Wald's work at the Statistical Research Group in World War 2. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 6, 2013 - 48 comments

World War II’s Strangest Battle: When Americans and Germans Fought Toget

Days after Hitler’s suicide a group of American soldiers, French prisoners, and, yes, German soldiers defended an Austrian castle against an SS division—the only time Germans and Allies fought together in World War II. Andrew Roberts on a story so wild that it has to be made into a movie.
posted by cthuljew on May 13, 2013 - 26 comments

FOOD FLASH - There's spud in your eye!

The Ministry Of Food was a British government ministerial posts separated from that of the Minister of Agriculture. A major task of the latter office was to oversee rationing in the United Kingdom arising out of World War II. They made many newsreels and PSAs to inform the citizenry how to use the food rationing system: Rationing is introduced in 1939 The new ration books are coming! Cod Liver Oil Here's spud in your eye Don't cut that bread! DON'T WASTE FOOD! Dig For Victory! Milk is here! In addition, some short films instructed people in how to best use the new rationing system : Two Cooks And A Cabbage How To Make Tea Rabbit Pie Buying black market meat: a Partner in CRIME A US view explaining UK rationing to the States.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 30, 2013 - 15 comments

He said he would welcome a million American soldiers to come in

On July 17, 1945, the OSS Deer Team, led by Major A. K. Thomas, was parachuted in the jungle 200 km north of Hanoi, to make contact with a mysterious group of resistance fighters willing to help the US against the Japanese. They were greeted cordially by the group leader, "Mr C. M. Hoo", a sick-looking older man, and his acolyte "Mr Van", a dapper man wearing a white linen suit and a black fedora (and he did like his fedora). From mid-July to the Japanese capitulation, the Deer Team trained Hoo's ragtag band, provided them with explosives and small arms and followed them during skirmishes. They also allegedly saved Ho(o)'s life. Major Thomas' full report on the Deer Mission (including the FPP title and the line Forget the Communist Bogy) is buried in the 1972 Hearings on the causes of the Vietnam war (see also the same events according to Henri Prunier, last surviving member of the Deer Team). [more inside]
posted by elgilito on Mar 14, 2013 - 23 comments

World War 2 bunker, pristine condition, barely used

In July 1939, French authorities started building a 120m² bomb shelter under the Gare de l’Est (East Railway Station) in Paris so that traffic controllers could keep on working if the station was attacked. However, it was not completed in time and the Germans used it instead. The bunker, which includes a pedal generator, is still there, in near perfect condition. Other images and video (in French). Bonus underground Parisian bunker: this Cold-war era bunker under the Ministry of Transportation (equipped with tandem pedal generators) will become a datacenter early 2014.
posted by elgilito on Feb 22, 2013 - 28 comments

The Power of Lard

WWII lard washes up on beach at Angus nature reserve. [more inside]
posted by dirtdirt on Jan 18, 2013 - 49 comments

Van Heuvelen Symphony No. 1

When the peace came along in Europe in April of 1945, we just practically sat there without anything to do. Most of the gentlemen drew house plans, because they were thinking they were going to get out of the service pretty soon. And I wrote a symphony. (Transcript) The symphony Van Heuvelen wrote sat on the shelf for decades, and last week he got to witness it performed for the first time. [more inside]
posted by DynamiteToast on Nov 11, 2012 - 5 comments

The Railway Man

Eric Lomax, River Kwai prisoner who forgave, dies at 93.
posted by tykky on Oct 11, 2012 - 32 comments

"We've Waited So Long For This."

One day in early July, federal judge Ronald S.W. Lew walked into Ken White's office and said, "Get your coat."
posted by WCityMike on Jul 4, 2012 - 20 comments

The Horrors of War

These cards, produced in 1938 by Philadelphia-based Gum, Inc. (later Bowman), produced a political furor unlike any other. The idea for these cards was introduced by George Moll, a Sunday-school teacher and Gum, Inc.'s advertising counsel. Warren Bowman, owner of Gum, Inc., claimed that he wanted to "teach peace by exposing the horrors of war." [link is to an archive of trading cards featuring cartoonish racism/violence/godknowswhat] [more inside]
posted by Think_Long on Jul 3, 2012 - 9 comments

The U.S. Government’s Top-Secret Town

In 1942, as part of the Manhattan Project, the U.S. government acquired 70,000 acres of land in Eastern Tennessee and established a secret town called Oak Ridge. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge office recently started to digitize its collection of archival photos and share them. [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Apr 14, 2012 - 48 comments

Degenerate Art

Franz Sedlacek (1891 – 1945) was an Austrian painter who belonged to the tradition known as "New Objectivity" ("neue Sachlichkeit"), an artistic movement similar to Magical Realism. At the end of the Second World War he "disappeared" as a soldier of the Wehrmacht somewhere in Poland.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 7, 2011 - 4 comments

How is this malarkey supposed to stop the war effort?

The creators of Italian Spiderman were hired by Australia's multicultural TV network, SBS, to produce Danger 5: "Set in a bizarre, 1960s inspired version of World War II, action comedy series DANGER 5 follows a team of five spies on a mission to kill Adolf Hitler." The six-part TV series will air in February 2012, but the trailer and the first instalment of a promotional web-series are now playing.
posted by robcorr on Nov 24, 2011 - 30 comments

War Photos Tumblr

Once Upon a Time in War is a photographic retrospect of the Great War, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and the War on Terror.
posted by OmieWise on Oct 6, 2011 - 6 comments

seeking sunken ship, shrinks study stories

Two Aussie psychologists studied the 66-year-old testimony of 70 German sailors rescued after their boat sank. The ship which sank it, the HMAS Sydney, also sank ... taking 645 sailors with it.
After analyzing the stories the shrinks - knowledgeable in the vagaries of storytelling - found that the Germans weren't lying. They crowdsourced the stories, sat down together with a map of the Indian Ocean and ...
posted by Twang on Oct 1, 2011 - 21 comments

Keep Calm, But Cease and Dissist

On the 25th March 2011, Mark Coop of 'Keep Calm and Carry On LTD' registered a trademark of the words Keep Calm and Carry On in an attempt to take control of the very British and now very famous, nostalgia invoking, wartime poster. The trademark has angered Barter Books (who discovered the poster), wartimeposters.co.uk (owners of an original poster) and Kerry Cade from Simply Printing 4U whose business was greatly affected by the trademark. Now, in true British Spirit, a group of wartime enthusiasts has come together in an attempt to overturn the trademark. [more inside]
posted by The Discredited Ape on Sep 25, 2011 - 44 comments

The USSR's War and Peace

An 8 hour radio dramatization of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman is being broadcast by the BBC. Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant star. [more inside]
posted by Bwithh on Sep 19, 2011 - 9 comments

"I don't care what you think about me. I don't think about you at all."

A new book claims that recently declassified French intelligence material indicates that Coco Chanel was a Nazi agent during World War II. The House of Chanel suggests that people read other, "more serious" books about Gabrielle Chanel. However, this is not the first time that Chanel's wartime activities have been questioned.
posted by catlet on Aug 18, 2011 - 25 comments

Nancy Wake (1912 - 2011)

Nancy Wake AC GM, nicknamed "the White Mouse", was an heroic resistance fighter in Occupied France in the period 1940 - 1944 and reportedly the Gestapo's most wanted person. She died yesterday. [more inside]
posted by wilful on Aug 8, 2011 - 45 comments

History Cookbook!

Welcome to the history cookbook. Do you know what the Vikings ate for dinner? What a typical meal of a wealthy family in Roman Britain consisted of, or what food was like in a Victorian Workhouse? Why not drop into history cookbook and find out? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jun 26, 2011 - 45 comments

Brown And Also Blue

VE and VJ Day, in London. In Colour.
posted by The Whelk on May 8, 2011 - 14 comments

U-853

"ALL U-BOATS. ATTENTION ALL U-BOATS. CEASE-FIRE AT ONCE. STOP ALL HOSTILE ACTION AGAINST ALLIED SHIPPING. DÖNITZ." [more inside]
posted by AugieAugustus on May 6, 2011 - 42 comments

Confidential!

Derailing a train isn't as easy as you might think. [1944] (Declassified WW2 OSS training video.) [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Apr 11, 2011 - 55 comments

“A little white house… lingers in my memory…”

Shoah, Claude Lanzmann’s 1985 film about the Holocaust, can be seen on YouTube, in 59 parts and lasting more than 9 hours. This is not for the faint of heart or for folks with short attention spans. Reminded of it through Ebert’s latest post. On Wikipedia. (Previously here)
posted by growabrain on Jan 2, 2011 - 42 comments

'Priceless collection' in Russia was never registered so is therefore worthless and does not officially exist, say developers

In 1926, Nikolai Vavilov founded the world's first modern seedbank, and amassed a collection which today contains over 90% unique varieties of plant, contained in no other collection in existence. For his opposition to Lysenkoism he died in prison, and several of his colleagues famously starved to death instead of eating their specimens during the Siege of Leningrad. Now the Pavlovsk seedbank facility has been seized by the Federal Agency for Public Estate Management, and pending a court ruling will be demolished - contents and all - to build a housing development. The collection cannot be moved in time because it is a working seedbank of living plants.
posted by mek on Aug 9, 2010 - 40 comments

A portal into the past

This is what it looked like then... Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov takes old WWII photos and go to exactly the same place it was taken, then combines the two. Some of my favorites
posted by ShawnString on Jul 30, 2010 - 53 comments

Tallie ban

70 years ago today, the Arandora Star was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Ireland by Commander Günther Prien, famous for sinking the HMS Royal Oak at Scapa Flow. Prien had taken its grey livery to mean the Arandora Star was an armed merchant ship. Instead, it was carrying Italian and German internees to be held in Canada for the duration of the war. [more inside]
posted by Dim Siawns on Jul 2, 2010 - 25 comments

Orwell's War-Time Diary

“People talk a little more of the war, but very little. As always hitherto, it is impossible to overhear any comments on it in the pubs, etc. Last night, E[ileen] and I went to the pub to hear the 9 o’c news. The barmaid was not going to have it on if we had not asked her, and to all appearances nobody listened.”
On May 28, 1940, George Orwell began keeping a war time diary. Printed in “full and in chronological order” by the Orwell Trust, 70 years after he wrote them, with selected historian’s notes. Pre-war entries are a little duller, focusing on topics like recipes (macon!), the weather, gardening and farming. (Previously)
posted by stratastar on Jun 18, 2010 - 21 comments

Fascists in color

Nazi's propaganda. My Granddad once told me that I didn't understand Nazi's, because the black and white film always made it look unreal. He said if the films were color, I'd see.
posted by Mblue on Mar 5, 2010 - 74 comments

The Battle of Brisbane

The United States and Australia have long shared a peaceful alliance, but it was not always so. In 1942, U.S servicemen and Australian soldiers fought openly and violently in what is known today as The Battle of Brisbane. [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 on Feb 8, 2010 - 51 comments

Knut Magne Haugland - a real life adventure story

Knut Haugland, the last surviving member of the Kon Tiki expedition, and possibly the quietest hero you’ve never heard of, died on Christmas Day. [more inside]
posted by girlgenius on Jan 7, 2010 - 21 comments

Operation Mincemeat

Historian claims to have finally identified wartime 'Man Who Never Was'.
posted by veedubya on Jan 4, 2010 - 29 comments

Horrie the Wog Dog

Army Pack: Horrie the Wog Dog, 2/1Australian Machine Gun Battalion. An Australian soldier in WW2 befriended a puppy, and he went to great lengths to save him after the War. I saw it this morning on Letters of Note and thought it was great. Be sure to read to the end.
posted by web-goddess on Nov 4, 2009 - 9 comments

Violence, death, mud, insanity.

Photos from the war. A slideshow of photos taken by German soldier Werner Wiehe... vermisst in Russland, 1944. (While viewing the slideshow, might I suggest playing some appropriate musical accompaniment, arranged in sequential order?!)
posted by markkraft on Oct 17, 2009 - 18 comments

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