467 posts tagged with WWII.
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I loved Kurt so I tried to love his books, too.

Mr. Vonnegut talked about my dad a lot and put him into a lot of his books. Sometimes he was Dad, and sometimes he was just a character Mr. Vonnegut made up. So what I would say to any of you who are wondering is this: My dad was what people called a real character, which always made us laugh because it was so literally true owing to his association with a famous fiction writer. He could also get pretty obnoxious. But he was a good man. And he definitely wasn’t crazy. At least not until the brain tumor.

Kurt Vonnegut Didn't Know Doodly-Squat About Writing: Finally, Literary Analysis Worth Reading by Bernard V. O'Hare, with an introduction by Meghan O'Hare.
posted by shakespeherian on Nov 3, 2010 - 49 comments

The Battle of Stalingrad

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]
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 27, 2010 - 61 comments

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, Rebecca West's 1941 account of the people, history, and politics of the doomed Kingdom of Yugoslavia, is available online in its flawed, majestic entirety.
posted by Iridic on Oct 11, 2010 - 9 comments

The cat, the mouse, and the elephant.

"This is your state! A big country like India is a slave to a small country like Britain. The Indian soldiers should be fighting for their freedom which can only be achieved if England is destroyed. You are only fighting to remain enslaved." A comprehensive account of WWII propaganda campaigns on all sides of the complicated relationship between Axis, Allies, and India. [more inside]
posted by albrecht on Oct 8, 2010 - 13 comments

The Germans Wore Grey, You Wore Blue

Color Photos of the Russian Front Even though color photography was no longer entirely a novelty by the time of the Second World War, it is still uncommon and intriguing to see color photos from the war. Even moreso in this case, as the pictures in this EnglishRussia.com post are mainly of the German army fighting in Russia. The images include scenes of actual combat as well as behind the lines, though there was only one I noticed that featured a wounded soldier. There's even a picture of some GIs near the end of the series.
posted by briank on Oct 7, 2010 - 30 comments

The Library of Dream

This is all rooted in a vision I had, of William S. Burroughs as a CIA agent, and Philip K. Dick as his young henchman, going head-to-head with notorious gangster and pervert Adolf Hitler somewhere in Hamburg to find out where Hitler is shipping all the computers he can get his hands on. - In another world Charles Stross wrote this sprawling work of Alternate History instead of the Merchant Princes books. Fictional books are of course themselves a common them in Alternative History stories, from The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in The Man in the High Castle to Adolf Hitlers pulp novel Lord of the Swastika in The Iron Dream. Stanisław Lem was particularly enamoured with the idea of the fictional book, and wrote two volumes of reviews and introductions for them, lovingly described here by Bruce Sterling.
posted by Artw on Sep 23, 2010 - 87 comments

Hauntingly Calm

Recently uploaded airplane camera footage from 1945 Japan (slyt). Uploaded from the Romano Archives (previously).
posted by glaucon on Sep 21, 2010 - 34 comments

Foyle's War

History and mystery wonderfully blended. Although doubtless well-known to UK Mefites, I was only recently directed to this marvelous and engaging TV series featuring Michael Kitchen as Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. It's a refreshing change from American fare, entirely adult, with crisp dialogue and meticulous attention to detail and historic accuracy. Speaking as a Yank weary of plasticity, it's also wonderful to see actors with real faces. The series can be seen on Youtube in pieces that can be viewed fairly seamlessly: Series One: The German Woman, The White Feather, Lesson in Murder, Eagle Day. Series Two: Fifty Ships, Among the Few, War Games, The Funk Hole. Series Three: The French Drop, Enemy Fire, They Fought in the Fields, War of Nerves. Series Four: Invasion, Bad Blood. Series Five: Bleak Midwinter, Casualties of War. Series Six: Plan of Attack, Broken Souls, All Clear. [more inside]
posted by kinnakeet on Sep 19, 2010 - 25 comments

The Lady Was a Spy

Eileen Nearne was found dead in her flat in Torquay on September 2, apparently alone and forgotten. But it turns out, she was neither.
posted by CheeseLouise on Sep 15, 2010 - 18 comments

“The purple glow in the sky — that was so eerie”

Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific. Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 14, 2010 - 6 comments

The Power of Music

A 90-year-old WWII vet recounts a remarkable experience. (SLYT)
posted by gman on Sep 5, 2010 - 27 comments

Blogging The War, Seventy Years Later

Martin Cherett is blogging the Second World War, daily, seventy years on.
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Aug 5, 2010 - 23 comments

Have you eaten your pound of potatoes today?

Beans are bullets. Potatoes are powder. An exhibition of food posters from the National Agricultural Library.
posted by mudpuppie on Jul 29, 2010 - 13 comments

The Battle of Midway

On the morning of June 4th, 1942, US Navy Reserve Commander John Ford awoke to the sounds of a Japanese air raid. [more inside]
posted by TrialByMedia on Jul 29, 2010 - 11 comments

Poetry in Hell

Poetry in Hell contains a complete collection of poems recovered from the Warsaw Ghetto's Ringelblum Archives. The project, which took ten years to complete, gives English translations of poems that are shown in their original Yiddish. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 23, 2010 - 9 comments

History Channel World War II programs reviewed as if they were scripted television

(seriously, between calling the strongman "Man of Steel" and the Frenchman "de Gaulle", whoever came up with the names for this thing ought to be shot). single-link LiveJournal via Making Light
posted by cgc373 on Jul 13, 2010 - 70 comments

Truth, justice, and the American way!

For your 4th of July enjoyment: 10 Exceedingly Patriotic American Comic Heroes. Given the overlap between the Golden Age of superheroes and the beginning of WWII it should be no suprise that there are so many patriotically themed superheroes. Probably the first was The Shield ("G-Man Extraordinary"), who eventually faded away to be an occasional character in Archie comics, followed by the revolutiionary war themed Minute Man. But the most enduring of all would be Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's creation Captain America, whose first comic sold just under a million copies and featured Cap doing the most patriotic thing of all: Punching Adolf Hitler in the jaw.
posted by Artw on Jul 4, 2010 - 37 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

"A Minute With Venus... A Year With Mercury!"

"During World War I, the [US] Army lost 7 million person-days and discharged more than 10,000 men because they were ailing from STDs. Once Penicillin kicked in in the mid-1940s, such infections were treatable. But as a matter of national security, the military started distributing condoms and aggressively marketing prophylactics to the troops in the early 20th century." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 1, 2010 - 45 comments

A tribute to fallen heros

“Let us acknowledge the measure of their sacrifice by honoring them as brave women, and by honoring them as women who served without thought of glory which we accord to heroes of battle. The service pilot faces the risk of death without the emotional inspiration of combat. Men who battle in the sky have the grim, triumphant knowledge that their bombs and bullets are destroying the enemy, and their courage is sustained by the emotions of conflict. These women have given their lives in the performance of arduous and exacting duties without being able to see and feel the final results of their work under the quickening influence of aerial action. They have demonstrated a courage which is sustained not by the fevers of combat, but the steady heartbeat of faith—a faith in the rightness of our cause, and a faith in the importance of their work to the men who do go into combat. Let us pay tribute to these women by honoring their memory . . . Let us treasure their memory as women whose sacrifice has brought honor not only to their country, but also to their organization. We shall not forget the accomplishments of our women fliers and their contributions to the fulfillment of our mission. And we shall always keep and remember the brave heritage of the women who gave their lives. It is the heritage of faith in victory and faith in the ultimate freedom of humanity.” [more inside]
posted by caddis on May 31, 2010 - 9 comments

These bastards let your brother die

Robert Heinlein really, really didn't like early Science Fiction fandom.
posted by Artw on May 28, 2010 - 129 comments

Teaching Our Soldiers to Die Instead of Kill?

During WWII Allied soldiers were taught how to smash jawbones while gouging eyes, crush windpipes and snap necks, and generally apply deadly force to the weakest, most vulnerable parts of the human anatomy in order to kill or disable the enemy quickly and efficiently. Current American military unarmed combat is heavily influenced by the popularity of mixed martial-arts and puts great emphasis on grappling with/controlling the enemy. Not a single neck-snapping technique is taught. Some current members of the military think that this is teaching our soldiers to die rather than kill the enemy, and that it would be better if our soldiers were taught to straight up kill the enemy rather than try to wrestle him to the ground while wearing 70+ pounds of gear. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on May 10, 2010 - 121 comments

Faces of war. 1941-1945

On the eve of the 65rd anniversary of the end of World War II, RIA Novosti presents images in memory of WWII heroes compiled from photographs taken by war correspondents in 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany. Ships trains planes and people
posted by hortense on Apr 13, 2010 - 19 comments

WWII Infographics

Max Gadney works at the BBC in London, but he also creates graphics and infographics for WWII Magazine in the US. (Flickr Photostream).
posted by zarq on Apr 11, 2010 - 11 comments

Sit down to a familiar face.

Operation Cornflakes was an action by the United States OSS in World War Two to distribute propaganda in Germany, using the Germany's own mail system with forged stamps and bombed mail trains.
posted by 1f2frfbf on Mar 24, 2010 - 10 comments

Marwencol is a fantasy world created by Mark Hogancamp.

After being beaten into a brain-damaging coma by five men outside a bar, Mark Hogancamp built a 1/6th scale World War II-era town in his backyard. Mark populated the town he dubbed "Marwencol" with dolls representing his friends and family and created life-like photographs detailing the town's many relationships and dramas. Playing in the town and photographing the action helped Mark to recover his hand-eye coordination and deal with the psychic wounds from the attack. [more inside]
posted by dobbs on Mar 16, 2010 - 40 comments

Hero of WWI. Traitor of WWII. Honored in Milltown, NJ.

A Local Street and a Lesson in History [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 7, 2010 - 20 comments

How come I never saw this before?

The iconic photograph of the Soviets hoisting the hammer and sickle over the Reichstag in April 1945 by Yevgeny Khaldei is awe inspiring and makes one wonder how this could be missed by anyone over the age of thirty. Staged? Oh yeah! But it still ranks up there with Joe Rosenthal's Iwo Jima shot and Robert Capa's Falling Soldier during the Spanish Civil War. And it's loads cooler than our most recent entry.
posted by jake1 on Feb 11, 2010 - 22 comments

Scalp the Zazous

"Imagine, amid the grey serge of wartime France, a tribe of youngsters with all the colourful decadence of punks or teddy boys. Wearing zoot suits cut off at the knee (the better to show off their brightly coloured socks), with hair sculpted into grand quiffs, and shoes with triple-height soles - looking like glam-rock footwear 30 years early - these were the kids who would lay the foundations of nightclubbing. Ladies and gentlemen, les Zazous." [more inside]
posted by Paragon on Feb 8, 2010 - 15 comments

Eng: F WES-NAF

In Toulon, France, there stands a memorial for 1,297 French sailors, who were killed in July of 1940 when their ships were shelled and sunk in one of the earliest sea battles of World War II. The ships were fired upon by a British task force led by the HMS Hood, and it was no accident: Churchill himself sent the order: Send the French to the ocean floor. [more inside]
posted by John Kenneth Fisher on Feb 6, 2010 - 49 comments

Lord Haw Haw returns to the British Airwaves

"Then the prisoner came into the dock. A little man. Pale now, and looking insignficant as he stood there with four warders grouped around him. It seemed hard at that moment to associate with that figure the sardonic venom that once sneered from stations Hamburg and Bremen." [more inside]
posted by tiny crocodile on Feb 4, 2010 - 28 comments

"Mad Jack" Churchill

In May of 1940, "Mad Jack" Churchill became the only man in WWII to record a kill with a longbow. [more inside]
posted by Upton O'Good on Jan 31, 2010 - 41 comments

Top Aces of WWII

This was going to be a post about japanese fighter ace Saburo Sakai(around 60 kills) while also mentioning Hiroyoshi "the Devil" Nishizawa, Japan's top WWII ace (around 110 kills). But while comparing them to aces of other countries I encountered something your average non-war buff american probably doesn't know. That is that about the top 60 fighter aces of WWII (and all time consequently) were all german. And where does the US rank on this list. You don't want to know.
posted by jake1 on Jan 30, 2010 - 52 comments

Satan Satan Satan Satan

The devil rides out - How Dennis Wheatley sold black magic to Britain.
posted by Artw on Jan 30, 2010 - 23 comments

Naughty Cathy

The Imperial Palaces of Tsarskoye Selo (nowadays Pushkin), near St. Petersburg, contained many invaluable cultural treasures that were plundered or destroyed during the Second World War. Most famous among them was the fabled Amber Room, whose disappearance has soured diplomatic relations between Germany and Russia ever since (the Germans can't find it back). Some claim that another, much more secret room of the Catherine Palace was also plundered. However, in this case, the Russian authorities deny that it ever existed. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Jan 17, 2010 - 26 comments

Guardian of the Secret Annex passes away

“I am not a hero...I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did and more — much more — during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the heart of those of us who bear witness.”
Miep Gies, protector of Anne Frank and her family, passes away at age 100.
posted by dnash on Jan 11, 2010 - 142 comments

Photographs of Korea: October 1945 to January 1946.

Photographs of Korea: October 1945 to January 1946. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Jan 9, 2010 - 8 comments

Tsutomu Yamaguchi dies at age 93.

Japan's only officially known survivor of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings dies. In his later years, Yamaguchi gave talks about his experiences as an atomic bomb survivor and often expressed his hope that such weapons would be abolished.
posted by Lobster Garden on Jan 6, 2010 - 49 comments

Operation Mincemeat

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

Losing the War

Losing the War "From the beginning, the actual circumstances of World War II were smothered in countless lies...People all along have preferred the movie version: the tense border crossing where the flint-eyed SS guards check the forged papers; the despondent high-level briefing where the junior staff officer pipes up with the crazy plan that just might work...The truth behind these cliches was never forgotten -- because nobody except the soldiers ever learned it in the first place."
posted by deern the headlice on Jan 3, 2010 - 151 comments

WWII American St. Nick

Sometimes, the full meaning of a moment isn't realized until years later. Dick Brookins certainly had no idea what would come of that December day, back in 1944. Brookins and other members of the U.S. Army's 28th Infantry Division Signal Corps were in Wiltz, a small town in Luxembourg, just days before what would turn into the Battle of the Bulge. This U.S. soldier stood in for an absent Saint Nicholas... it was to change his life and help him find some meaning for the war in Europe. As it turns out, someone was filming that day when an Army jeep carried the American St. Nick through the streets giving treats to the local children. It brought him back 65 years later.
posted by netbros on Dec 25, 2009 - 13 comments

Lt. Brad Pitt and his Howling Commandos

Jack Kirby's Inglorious Basterds
posted by Artw on Nov 18, 2009 - 33 comments

Maybe not getting out of jail for free, but certainly a big help.

The history of Monopoly has been a long one, but the game also helped change history through its participation in providing hidden maps and tools to help British POWs during WWII.
posted by NoraCharles on Sep 19, 2009 - 36 comments

Advertising in the public interest

"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 - Diner - Church. 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 - 69 comments

Their bitter beer tastes lousy. Their ale is good

Finally got around to sending this log, it scares me to read it, I don’t understand how we got out alive... [PDF] Joel Punches' first-person account of a B-17F Navigator assigned to the 8AF, 385 BW, Great Ashfield England during 1943-1944. The diary chronicles his missions during that time - including his Escape and Evasion after being shot down over Hamburg. His fifth mission was Schweinfurt Ball Bearing Factory on 10/14/43.
posted by mattoxic on Sep 6, 2009 - 40 comments

Remembering the Beginning

At dawn on September 1, 1939, the German Luftwaffe began the indiscriminate bombing of the Polish town of Wieluń and a German battleship, the SMS Schleswig-Holstein, shattered the dawn breaking over the Westerplatte by unleashing a barrage of 280mm and 170mm shells at a Polish fort. At Mokra, the Polish Calvary staved off two Panzer Divisions. A day of commemorations has begun in Poland to mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. [more inside]
posted by shoesfullofdust on Aug 31, 2009 - 61 comments

Panzers and air raids and artillery, oh my

World Wars 2, sequel to the hex-wargame-inspired World Wars, has been released. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Aug 9, 2009 - 24 comments

Midwestern Submarines

Relying on depth to avoid detection is a submarine's greatest ability, so the shallow water of our nation's rivers doesn't seem to work within a sub's advantages (just don't tell Kentucky). During WWII, however, the waterways of North America were exactly what U.S. submarines needed in order to avoid detection. The shipyards of Manitowoc, Wisconsin produced submarines for the war effort, but getting them to the sea proved difficult. German U-Boats waited outside the St Lawrence to torpedo any ships leaving the Great Lakes for the Atlantic. The submarines, instead, went cross-country - over two dozen subs were towed through the Heartland during WWII over several years, making their way from the Great Lakes, through Illinois and passing Peoria via the Illinois River, then entering the Mississippi River and past Cape Girardeau, where they entered the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans. Four of the subs were lost in battle, the rest scrapped over the next fifty years, and none ever saw St Louis again.
posted by AzraelBrown on Jul 23, 2009 - 40 comments

Аста ла виста, беби

Stalin's Secret Weapon - a Russian hobbyist's terminator-esque diorama painstakingly constructed from military action figures. (Via buzz
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 19, 2009 - 22 comments

Kodename: Wolfenstein

Wolfenstein 3D, the animated graphic novel.
posted by Artw on Jul 8, 2009 - 42 comments

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