British romance novelist Ida Cook (1904-1986) wrote over a hundred books for Mills & Boon under the name Mary Burchell
, including the thirteen-book, opera-focused Warrender saga
. The passion she and her sister, Louise Cook, shared for opera carried them across oceans and countries in the years prior to the outbreak of WWII, and when Ida took account of her writing career's financial success, she was by struck by a "terrible, moving and overwhelming thought--I could save life with it." So beginning in 1937, she and Louise helped save dozens of lives by entering Germany disguised as themselves: eccentric opera fanatics. Louise Carpenter's "Ida and Louise"
looks into the lives of these two sisters, these "lives which swung dizzyingly between the purest fantasy and the utterly real." [more inside]
posted by mixedmetaphors
on Jul 31, 2014 -
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.
posted by Confess, Fletch
on Jun 6, 2014 -
Today, June 5, would be the 70th anniversary of D-Day if not for the last-minute prognostication of British meteorologist James Stagg.
The planners of the Normandy landings originally designated June 5, 1944 as D-Day, basing their decision on a favorable combination of tide patterns and a full moon, which would help with pilot visibility. On the evening of June 4, however, Royal Air Force meteorologist Captain James Stagg met with Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower with a dire last-minute warning: a large storm brewing just north of Scotland would bring heavy winds, turbulent seas, and thick cloud cover over the English Channel. Ike's decision to change the invasion to June 6, on the advice of a lone meteorologist practicing an emergent and unreliable science, may have been the turning point of the war. Historian John Ross, author of The Forecast for D-Day and the Weatherman Behind Ike’s Greatest Gamble
, contends, "Had Ike listened to his countrymen's predictions and launched D-day on June 5, it would have failed with catastrophic consequences for the Western Allies and world history."
posted by eitan
on Jun 5, 2014 -
In all the discussion over gun collections, one subset is often overlooked - the few, the rare, the heavy armament collectors. With a television presence
, they are beginning to get more notoriety - but among them all, one stood out - the eccentric Jacques Littlefield
. He passed away in 2009
, but his estate has now listed several of his tanks for sale.
If you've got a cool 3 mil, you could pick up this fully restored Panzer tank
. On a budget? Try this Sherman tank
instead, for only $250,000.
posted by corb
on Jun 3, 2014 -
Eva Mozes Kor and her twin sister were the victims of medical and genetic experiments at the hands of Josef Mengele in Auschwitz. She recently did an AMA on Reddit
posted by gman
on Mar 7, 2014 -
, 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 -
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 -
is a concept album released by English progressive rock band Camel
) in 1981. It was their eighth studio album. The album
) is based on a true story of a Japanese soldier (Hiroo Onoda
) marooned on an island in World War II who doesn't know that the war is over. 'Nude' derives from his family name 'Onoda.'" [more inside]
posted by jbickers
on Jan 17, 2014 -
, beloved of many as Professor Roy Hinkley of Gilligan's Island, has died at the age of 89
Perhaps lesser known among Johnson's achievements, he flew 44 B-25 bombadier missions as an Air Force Second Lieutenant
. In March, 1945, he was shot down over the Philippines, earning a Purple Heart. By the time of his Honorable Discharge later that year, he had earned the rank of First Lieutenant, and had earned the Air Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one service star, and the World War II Victory Medal.
In 2004, Johnson gave a 2 hour interview
to the Archive of American Television
, detailing his guest roles on The Twilight Zone
and The Outer Limits
, as well as the role for which he is best remembered.
posted by MissySedai
on Jan 16, 2014 -
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 -
A Japanese Holocaust rescuer
, it is estimated that Chiune Sugihara
, a Japanese diplomat who served as Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Lithuania in WWII, facilitated the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family's lives. The profoundly moving story is now on YouTube: 1
. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye
on Jan 4, 2014 -
TV's longest-running World War II drama, Combat!
aired on ABC between 1962 and 1967. "It was really a collection of complex 50-minute movies. Salted with battle sequences, they follow [US Army King Company's travails during the invasion of France, starting with the landing at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 -- D-Day. It's] a gritty, ground-eye view of infantrymen trying to salvage their humanity and survive." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Dec 2, 2013 -
It was 1942 and pork was one of several commodities to be rationed by the U.S. government. Navy recruiter Don C. Lingle
made a deal with a farmer friend for chops. What he received instead was a piglet which would go on to become an American hero: King Neptune
, a stocky red-and-white Hereford hog who served as a mascot for the Navy's war bond effort, and who raised over $19 million (more, even, than did Betty Grable). [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes
on Dec 1, 2013 -
About 1,500 modernist masterpieces – thought to have been looted by the Nazis – have been confiscated from the flat of an 80-year-old man from Munich, in what is being described as the biggest artistic find of the postwar era.
posted by R. Mutt
on Nov 4, 2013 -
PTSD and Gene Kelly's lost wartime star turn: For the last six decades or so, a copy [of "Combat Fatigue Irritability"] has been filed away, along with thousands of other films, at the National Library of Medicine. The only people it has been lost to are the public and Gene Kelly’s devoted and still numerous fans. But now the National Library of Medicine is featuring Combat Fatigue Irritability in Medical Movies on the Web, and the film will be given a well-deserved, though very belated, New York premiere, on October 5, 2013, at the New York Academy of Medicine. [more inside]
posted by theatro
on Sep 25, 2013 -
John Banvard, 95, Gerard Nadeau, 67, were married
Thursday at a Chula Vista, CA Veterans' senior living facility. Mr. Banvard, a World War II vet, and Mr. Nadeau, a Vietnam vet, have been together for 20 years, and were married at the facility despite the opposition of some residents. In response to the opposition, Mr. Nadeau said, "Oh, that's their problem not mine, but you know what this will do, open the door for other people." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on Sep 14, 2013 -
"Brigitte Höss lives quietly on a leafy side street in Northern Virginia. She is retired now, having worked in a Washington fashion salon for more than 30 years. She recently was diagnosed with cancer and spends much of her days dealing with the medical consequences. Brigitte also has a secret that not even her grandchildren know. Her father was Rudolf Höss, the Kommandant of Auschwitz." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Sep 10, 2013 -