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"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

"Caje, take the point"

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 - 33 comments

The men from Shangri-La

On November 9th, 2013, the four remaining Doolittle Raiders will perform their final Toast Ceremony.
posted by pjern on Oct 26, 2013 - 19 comments

Croak and Dagger

Taxonomy: The spy who loved frogs. "To track the fate of threatened species, a young scientist must follow the jungle path of a herpetologist who led a secret double life." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Sep 16, 2013 - 8 comments

Two Cathedrals

My subject is War, and the pity of War.
The Poetry is in the pity…
All a poet can do today is warn.

Two 20th century choral masterpieces share more than Biblical texts. Benjamin Britten’s well known War Requiem, Op. 66 and Rudolf Mauersberger’s lesser known Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst were both written in response to the destruction of medieval architecture and major churches in WWII bombings. Since 1956, the cities of Coventry and Dresden have been twinned to promote peace and understanding. [more inside]
posted by Madamina on May 27, 2013 - 10 comments

Finnish Wartime Photograph Archive

The Finnish Defence Forces have put their archive of 170,000 WWII photographs online.
Some "night fighters".
Some American prisoners, probably from the ill-fated Convoy PQ 17 [more inside]
posted by Authorized User on Apr 29, 2013 - 20 comments

Operation Overlord

PhotosNormandie is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets, which include 2700+ images from the US and Canadian National Archives.
posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2013 - 12 comments

Let's Show Them: We're NOT Going To War.

Let's Show Them: We're NOT Going To War. "WHY THE CONVOCATION? This is one of the most effective means for Wisconsin students to serve notice, along with 1,000,000 other students, that WE'RE NOT GOING TO WAR -- ever again!" A protest handbill from the University of Wisconsin, announcing a campus-wide peace demonstration, on April 11, 1940. From the UW Library's compendium of resources on protests and social action at UW-Madison from 1910 through the end of the 20th century.
posted by escabeche on Jan 24, 2013 - 38 comments

"We want you to take a picture."

This iconic photo of the first Aboriginal woman to enlist in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps was used as a recruitment tool, and "appeared all over the British Empire [in 1942] to show the power of the colonies fighting for King and country." Its original caption in the Canadian War Museum read, "Unidentified Indian princess getting blessing from her chief and father to go fight in the war." Its current caption in The Library and Archives of Canada reads: "Mary Greyeyes being blessed by her native Chief prior to leaving for service in the CWAC, 1942." But as it turns out, the two people in the photo had never met before that day. They weren't from the same tribe or even related and Private Mary Greyeyes was not an "Indian Princess." 70 years after the photo was taken, her daughter-in-law Melanie made sure the official record was corrected. Via [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 22, 2013 - 13 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

"Are we the baddies?"

Danish author Sven Hassel (Wikipedia, official site) has passed away at the age of 95. (Danish - Translation) Hassel fought for the Germans during WWII and became famous after publishing Legion of the Damned, a semi-autobiographical account of the war. He went on to write thirteen more books following the adventures of his convict battalion, incuding Wheels of Terror which in 1987 was made into the movie The Misfit Brigade staring Bruce Davison and David Patrick Kelly (clip). He will be remembered fondly by all who browsed the bookshelves of charity shops as young men.
posted by Artw on Sep 23, 2012 - 31 comments

"Citizenship is a tough occupation which obliges the citizen to make his own informed opinion and stand by it."

'The Hubris and Despair of War Journalism: What Martha Gellhorn teaches us about the morality of contemporary war reportage.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 22, 2012 - 10 comments

Never forget, never again

We Japanese Americans must not forget our wartime internment - George Takei on the the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII and Allegiance, his new musical. Previously.
posted by Artw on Apr 29, 2012 - 45 comments

A Reluctant Enemy

"What a strange position I find myself in," [Yamamoto] wrote a friend, "having been assigned the mission diametrically opposed to my own personal opinion, with no choice but to push full speed in pursuance of that mission. Alas, is that fate?"

A brief account of how one of the biggest critics of Japan's war policy became the mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attacks. (SLNYT)
posted by swift on Dec 7, 2011 - 44 comments

Chrysler Blue from World War II

"Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things!" And Other Tales Of Truthiness... At the end of World War II, Chrysler sent small hardbound books to shareholders chronicling ways the company had contributed to the war effort. Two have now been placed online at the Chrysler Imperial Club's website: "Tanks are Mighty Fine Things" and "A War Job 'Thought Impossible' (The story of the Chrysler-Sperry Gyro-Compass)" (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 6, 2011 - 15 comments

March of Time

From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeingforeign affairs, social trends, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.) By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues, including (eventually) America’s entry to WWII. Video samples are available at Time.com, the March of Time Facebook page and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required) at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 22, 2011 - 8 comments

Remember Me? Child survivors of the Holocaust

Remember Me? Between 1933 and 1945, millions of children were displaced as a result of persecution by the Nazis and their collaborators. After World War II, relief agencies photographed some of the children who survived to help find their families. Now, more than 65 years later, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is working to discover what became of these young survivors. Will you help us find them? Lots of moving stories. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Aug 8, 2011 - 9 comments

You know who else owned things with swastikas on them?

At first, Collectors Weekly deleted virtually anything listed on their site bearing a Nazi swastika. Now they are explaining what changed their mind and why some people collect this particular paraphernalia.
posted by gman on Jun 24, 2011 - 32 comments

To create or not to create

Do Artists Have a Moral Responsibility in War? is a thoughtful, question raising 40 min video and podcast by NYT journalist Alan Riding.
Should Artists Speak Out Against War? Goes at some depth into the nuances of this complex question by describing the Cultural Life In Nazi-Occupied Paris
posted by adamvasco on Jun 15, 2011 - 32 comments

Brown And Also Blue

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

Battle-field Interpretation

With the death of Osama Bin Laden having re-opened the debate over the intelligence value of "enhanced interrogation" techniques, it's worthwhile revisiting the wartime lessons of Sherwood Moran, missionary, Marine, and decorated POW interrogator (he preferred he term "interviewer"). Working on the front lines of battle - even under aerial bombing and artillery shelling - he combined "deep human sympathy" with a "ruthlessly persistent approach" to extracting information from a supposedly unbreakable captured enemy. [more inside]
posted by Doktor Zed on May 3, 2011 - 56 comments

Prisoner 918

802 Prisoners attempted escape from Auschwitz. 144 were successful. Kazimierz Piechowski, a Polish boy scout, was one of them. Today, at age 91, he tells his story. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 13, 2011 - 30 comments

“I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up … I finally wanted to speak the truth.”

Last year, the unofficial Dean of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas, spoke about the State of Israel on camera. (Previously) Her replies: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," and that the Jews "can go home" to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else," sparked media outrage, prompted her to issue an apology and retire. After months of being out of the the public spotlight, she has now given her first long-form interview, which will appear in the April issue of Playboy Magazine. In it, she explains what she meant, tells us how she would like to be remembered and expands upon her positions regarding Israel, Jewish political influence, Presidents Bush and Obama, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by zarq on Mar 22, 2011 - 224 comments

VJ Day, Honolulu Hawaii, August 14, 1945

Richard Sullivan has posted the 16mm color footage his father shot of the "spontaneous celebrations that broke out upon first hearing news of the Japanese surrender" on Kalakaua Ave in Waikiki on August 14th, 1945.
posted by zzazazz on Feb 11, 2011 - 44 comments

House of Sharing

The House of Sharing is a place for the Halmoni to to live together and heal the wounds of the past while educating the future generations of the suffering they survived.
The View From Over Here details her visit to the House of Sharing, a therapeutic group home and museum for surviving "comfort women", who were systematically raped by the Japanese military during World War II. The museum displays art for and by the survivors. Via Ask a Korean. [more inside]
posted by ignignokt on Dec 17, 2010 - 5 comments

A G.I.'s WWII Memoir

Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt," told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 23, 2010 - 7 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

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 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

"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

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

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

Lt. Brad Pitt and his Howling Commandos

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

London V2 Rocket sites ... mapped

Autumn 1944, and London was under attack from space. Hitler's 'vengeance' rocket, the V-2, was the world's first ballistic missile, and the first man-made object to make a sub-orbital spaceflight. Over 1400 were launched at Britain, with more than 500 striking London. Each hit caused devastation. The 13 tonne rocket impacted at over 3000 miles per hour. There was no warning; the missile descended faster than the speed of sound and survivors would only hear the approach and sonic booms after the blast. via Londonist.
posted by swift on Jan 13, 2009 - 84 comments

Do you know these children?

Do you, or an older relative of yours, recognize any of these children? More than 70 children separated from their families during WWII, now all elderly men and women, are using the Internet to try to find some answers about their pasts, their families, and sometimes even their own names. They are soliciting help and suggestions in the comments sections on each story. [more inside]
posted by Asparagirl on Dec 19, 2008 - 21 comments

They are fighting for a new world of freedom and peace.

Toons at War [more inside]
posted by anastasiav on Dec 9, 2008 - 5 comments

Romano Archives

ROMANO-Archives has a YouTube channel with over 270 color film clips, called Unknown WWII In Color. "World War ll has usually been seen in black and white, but our recent research has unearthed an abundance of superb color film that shows what it really looked like to those who were there. The Author presents mainly WW2 recently declassified and other previously unavailable material, exclusively filmed in color." They also have over 900 videos of Automobile History USA l lots of pages of images with history, like Jammin' with Betty Boop. [In English and Italian] [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Nov 24, 2008 - 18 comments

Hiroshima: The Lost Photographs

Hiroshima: The Lost Photographs
posted by knave on Nov 12, 2008 - 27 comments

This is my rifle, this is my gun.

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I master my life. My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than any enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will... My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit... My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weakness, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will.... Before God I swear this creed. My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but Peace. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Nov 11, 2008 - 133 comments

Lethal harvest

"When you’re on your own in that pit with the bomb in the middle of a city, it’s strange how everything suddenly goes totally quiet..." Interview with one of Germany's most experienced bomb disposal experts as he retires. Photogallery.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 17, 2008 - 19 comments

wartime paratrooper dummies and decoys

Burlap paradummies called Ruperts were dropped during D-Day, later depicted in the film The Longest Day. But prior to D-Day, both the British and the Germans had used straw-filled decoys in various locations. Later in the war, the U.S. tested "Oscar" but found him lacking, adopting instead the PD Dummy. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Oct 5, 2008 - 11 comments

Les Parisiens sous l’Occupation

Paris under the Occupation, in color. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jul 12, 2008 - 42 comments

Personal photos from the Pacific (WWII)

According to the photographer's daughter, "All photos in this collection were taken by then Lt. and later Capt. George S. White, my Father, while he was serving in the Pacific as a pilot. They are generally between 1945 and 1948 from what is documented." My favorites? The barmaid or postwar Tokyo or wrecked planes and airplane graveyards.
posted by zzazazz on Jul 5, 2008 - 10 comments

Cry "Havoc!"and let slip the cats of war

Cats in Wartime on land, at sea, and memorialized. (With discussion of some of the most famous-- like Simon and Oscar.) Also, What Cats Know About War, previously on metafilter. [more inside]
posted by dersins on Dec 7, 2007 - 13 comments

Hiroshima (n'est pas) son amour

Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr (1915-2007) The commander of the B-29 plane Enola Gay that dropped the first atomic bomb, on Hiroshima in Japan in World War II, has died at the age of 92. Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr died at his home in Columbus, Ohio. The five-ton "Little Boy" bomb was dropped on the morning of 6 August 1945, killing about 140,000 Japanese. Many others died later. On the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima, the surviving members of the Enola Gay crew said: "The use of the atomic weapon was a necessary moment in history. We have no regrets".
posted by psmealey on Nov 1, 2007 - 115 comments

Bacterial marketing: the other Oskar Schindler

Upon the Nazi invasion of Poland, pediatrician Eugeniusz Łazowski and his friend Stanisław Matulewicz fabricated a fake typhus epidemic to save Polish Jews from the Nazis. Knowing that typhus-infected Jews would be summarily executed, non-Jews were injected with the harmless Proteus OX19, which would generate false positives for typhus. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 19, 2007 - 23 comments

WWII Interogators

Fort Hunt's Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII. After 60 years of silence, the World War II veterans who interrogated Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt are telling their story. [Via The Reality-Based Community.] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Oct 10, 2007 - 35 comments

When the pen, brush, and record were mightier than the sword

Ellsworth Kelley, Bill Blass, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and a host of lesser known but equally talented painters, designers, sound engineers and actors served together during World War II in the Ghost Army – the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, a unit whose existence remained an official secret until 1996. German soldiers referred to them as the "Phantom Army," because one moment they were in one place, and the next, they were attacking their flanks or from the rear. Together, they made rubber tanks and fake Jeeps; their changing unit insignia were designed to fool spies and allied units alike. They recorded the sounds of Allied units building bridges or moving troops and broadcast them from special sound trucks, leading the Germans to conclude that the U.S. Army had more troops in more places than it did. "Guys drew, or painted, all the time," documenting their lives, the lives of their fellow soldiers, and that of the local populations in wartime Europe.
posted by rtha on Oct 5, 2007 - 23 comments

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