Are you trying to write a period-correct Captain America story or just have questions about NYC in the 1930s-40s in general? The tumblr Steve Rogers Is Historically Accurate
is here to help.
Putting on a brave face.
It isn’t easy to do without, but to do without while giving the impression that little has changed offers necessary courage to one living in an otherwise terrifying situation. Women had no power over the volatile state of the world, and after conscription was introduced, they also lost control over which jobs they held and where these jobs took them; if they could succeed in appearing strong and unruffled on the outside, perhaps on the inside they might also feel capable of succeeding in the midst of the uncertainty that had become their lives
On June 6th 1944 Jim Radford, aged just 15, was serving on the HM Rescue tug Empire Larch
at Gold Beach tasked, amongst other things, with building the breakwater and later the mulberry harbour there. 70 years later an 85 year old Jim stood up in front of a packed Albert Hall in London and, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, sung his autobiographical composition - The Shores of Normandy
. [more inside]
WW2 & The Origins Of Radar
:World War II led to an explosion of new technologies that would have profound effects in the postwar period. Although advanced Nazi aircraft, guided weapons, and long-range rockets are well known, in reality the Allies led the Germans in many fields, and not only had more resources to draw from but were much better organized to exploit their new inventions. The atomic bomb is the most spectacular example of Allied technical superiority, but just as significantly, the Allies developed radar and other new "electronic warfare" technologies at a rate that left the Axis in the dust. Winston Churchill called the race for electronic superiority the "Wizard War". This document provides a history of the Wizard War.
Richard Edes Harrison
was a trained architect, artist and mapmaker whose maps in the years leading up to and through WWII gave Americans a new perspective on the world.
World War II Led to a Revolution in Cartography. These Amazing Maps Are Its Legacy [more inside]
, 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]
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)
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
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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
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
"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
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.
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."
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.
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.
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]
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
(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.
River Kwai prisoner who forgave, dies at 93.
One day in early July, federal judge Ronald S.W. Lew walked into Ken White's office and said, "Get your coat.
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]
The creators of Italian Spiderman
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.
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.
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 ...
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
(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]
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
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]
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]
, 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
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.
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
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]
“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
!), the weather, gardening and farming.