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 -
“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.
posted by stratastar
on Jun 18, 2010 -
"What if America wasn't America?" That was the question posed by a series of ads broadcast in the wake of the September 11th attacks, ads which depicted a dystopian America bereft of liberty: Library
. Together with more positive ads like Remember Freedom
and I Am an American
, they encouraged frightened viewers to cherish their freedoms and defend against division and prejudice in the face of terrorism (seven years previously
). The campaign was the work of the Ad Council
, a non-profit agency that employs the creative muscle of volunteer advertisers to raise awareness for social issues of national importance. Founded during WWII as the War Advertising Council, the organization has been behind some of the most memorable public service campaigns in American history
, including Rosie the Riveter
, Smokey the Bear
, McGruff the Crime Dog
, and the Crash Test Dummies
. And the Council is still at it today, producing striking, funny, and above all effective
PSAs on everything from student invention
to global warming
to arts education
to community service
Additional resources: A-to-Z index of Ad Council campaigns
- Campaigns organized by category
- Award-winning campaigns
- PSA Central
: A free download directory of TV, radio, and print PSAs (registration req'd)
- An exhaustive history of the Ad Council [46-page PDF]
- YouTube channel
- Vimeo channel
- Twitter feed
posted by Rhaomi
on Sep 11, 2009 -
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]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Aug 6, 2006 -
Japanese Propaganda from WWII
I've seen & been fascinated by a fair amount of Allied propaganda from the second World War, including an exhibit at the Smithsonian a decade back, but this is the first bit of "enemy" propaganda I can remember running across. It's a pamphlet detailing Japan's plans for a better future. Another piece, "Farewell American Soldiers" piece which was leafleted to the troops is in English and is particularly chilling.
posted by jonson
on Aug 15, 2005 -
Our Victory, Day by Day.
Russian news agency RIA Novosti counts down to the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, with songs, posters, photos, and stories. Be sure not to miss the first-person accounts in English (under "Frontline Album").
posted by gimonca
on Apr 9, 2005 -
"Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear."
He is one
's great novelists
, but you don't expect Philip Roth
to be barreling up the best-seller list with a book that hasn't even been published yet
. And yet "The Plot Against America
" is in the top 3 at amazon.com
It spins a what-if scenario
in which the isolationist and anti-Semitic hero Charles Lindbergh
runs for president as a Republican in 1940 and defeats F.D.R.
"Keep America Out of the Jewish War", reads a button worn by Lindbergh supporters rallying at Madison Square Garden. And so he does: he signs nonaggression pacts
with Germany and Japan that will keep America at peace while the rest of the world burns. The Lindbergh administration hatches a nice plan to prod assimilation of the Jews. Innocuously called Just Folks, it's a relocation program for urban Jews, administered by an Office of American Absorption fronted by an obliging and pompous rabbi of radio celebrity. The teenage Roth character is shipped off to a Kentucky tobacco farm, to finally live among Christians.
is about American Fascism
, but while Roth is no fan of President Bush ("a man unfit to run a hardware store let alone a nation like this one"), he points out that he conceived this book (LATimes registration: sparklebottom/sparklebottom)
in December 2000, and that it would be "a mistake" to read it "as a roman à clef to the present moment in America." (more inside)
posted by matteo
on Sep 28, 2004 -
The Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal
"...to provide a searchable registry of objects in U.S. museum collections that were created before 1946, and changed hands in Continental Europe during the Nazi era (1933-1945)." Families who had art confiscated by the Nazis can search US collections for it here.
posted by liam
on Sep 8, 2003 -
Dr. Seuss, politcal cartoonist.
Before the Cat strode in wearing a Hat, and before Horton heard a Who, Dr. Seuss drew for a liberal New York newspaper called PM. Through most of 1941 he drew images
that criticized isolationists who thought we could sit out the war. He already had developed his idiosyncratic style, and the University of California at San Diego has all 400 of his PM cartoons on its site. Here's what he drew Dec. 5, 1941
, and this is his cartoon of Dec. 8
. Later in the war, he wrote scripts for 28 "Private Snafu
" animated cartoons, which taught servicemen what not to do. Some were directed by Chuck Jones.
posted by Holden
on Jul 31, 2003 -
"V" -- a science-fiction allegory for World War II -- may return to television.
NBC has commissioned a three-hour movie script from writer-director Kenneth Johnson (who was responsible for the excellent first miniseries, but not the second miniseries or the dreadful series) that promises "a metaphor for the new millennium." Will Johnson might tackle unilateralism and WMD? And might a letter-writing campaign be in order to encourage production?
posted by ed
on Jun 10, 2003 -
What do you do with an eyesore built by a madman?
[Geocities site, caress lovingly before clicking] During WWII, Hitler built several Flakbunkers around the city of Hamburg, to act as self-contained civilian shelters and defensive posts. After the war, the British tried to blow them up. And failed, on two accounts. The buildings still stand today, squat and romanesque remnants of a horrible period in the city's history. So, in a show of Hanseatic League moxie, the citizens of Hamburg have converted one of them into a disco.
[warning: Flash, and starts with music]. There are better pictures of the truly hideous exterior here
. A timely reminder, this Tuesday morning, that poor decisions can have long-reaching and unintended consequences. What will your grandchildren have to turn into a disco?
posted by condour75
on Nov 5, 2002 -
Almost sixty years after the end of the Second World War, the battlefields of Western Europe
and the Pacific
continue to reveal poignant relics of the men who fought and died. These links may be of interest to anyone with even a passing interest in military history.
posted by Doozer
on Oct 25, 2002 -
An American Jewish Congress trade ad placed in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter compares anti-Semitic violence to that experienced during WWII. Some groups are also calling for a boycott of the Cannes Film Festival. Woody Allen
doesn't agree. Can the actions of an idiotic minority really justify a boycott?
posted by laukf
on May 15, 2002 -
Dr. Seuss Went to War
This page has many of the comics that show up in the book of the same name. WWII era political cartoons from Dr. Seuss.
posted by alan
on Oct 7, 2001 -
BUY WAR BONDS!
An archive of vintage WWII posters, in case you've got a hankerin' for a little bit of that ol' timey propaganda.
posted by crunchland
on Sep 15, 2001 -
The "Tuskegee Airmen" of the Marine Corps.
This is sort of a self-link; the history of the Washington DC Chapter
of the Montford Point Marine Association is a project I'm working on, but I have nothing to do with their website. The Montford Point Marines were the first black Marines specifically trained to serve in combat, but very few people seem to know about them.
I decided to link this after watching a special on A&E about the men who raised the flags (there were two flag raisings) at Iwo Jima. Nothing was mentioned about the black Marines who served and died there, since none of the flag-raisers were black, but they should be remembered nonetheless.
posted by jennaratrix
on Jun 21, 2001 -
D-Day was 57 years ago yesterday. It was 16 years before an article in the Atlantic
finally provided Americans an unvarnished account of the carnage that was Omaha Beach that day. I'm in awe of what these 19-year-olds went through.
posted by luser
on Jun 7, 2001 -