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.
Edith Shain has died. She was 92. She worked at Doctor's Hospital in New York City during World War II, but you probably only knew her as an anonymous nurse. [more inside]
Advanced Squad Leader is a tactical-level board wargame, originally marketed by Avalon Hill Games, that simulates actions of approximately company or battalion size in World War II. ... Despite the price tag and the expensive lists of prerequisites for each new module, the game system caught on and new modules continued to be produced twenty years after the original release - a feat unheard of in the board wargaming industry, especially with the decline in sales due to rising popularity of console and PC games. [more inside]
Metafilter's own JF Ptak
has an interesting post
on the Life magazine issue of March 2nd, 1942, readers of which were confronted by some startling maps detailing possible Axis invasion strategies for North America. There was invasion down the St. Lawrence valley
, there was invasion via Trinidad
, via Bermuda
, full frontal west coast
, and down the west coast
as well - note the mapping of the large "fifth columns". As Ptak notes, maps such as these with huge arrows pointed menancingly at the American homeland were very much not the norm of the day. [more inside]
The 30,000 men of the British Merchant Navy (one-fifth of its pre-war strength) who fell victim to the U-boats between 1939 and 1945, the majority drowned or killed by exposure on the cruel North Atlantic sea*, were quite as certainly front-line warriors as the guardsmen and fighter pilots to whom they ferried the necessities of combat. Neither they nor their American, Dutch, Norwegian, or Greek fellow mariners wore uniform and few have any memorial. They stood nevertheless between the Wehrmacht and the domination of the world.
- John Keegan
Normandy: Then and Now
Photographs of Normandy in 1944 meticulously juxtaposed with how the area looks today by French historian Patrick Elie.
Suvorov’s argument is simple. Stalin cleverly lured Hitler into war by offering to divide Poland. This act, Stalin knew, would prompt Britain and France to declare war on Germany. Stalin expected to pick up the pieces.
- Eric Margolis [more inside]
Have you ever wondered
what you would look like dressed as a captain in every branch of armed forces of every nation who fought in World War II? This guy did and then recreated it. [more inside]
Deaf People and World War II
is an NTID project collecting videos, books, articles, links, etc., about the experiences of deaf Europeans, Asians, and North Americans during the war. [more inside]
If you've ever heard the song Aquarela do Brasil (often called simply "Brazil" -- here's my favourite cover
), then you'll probably enjoy this classic 1942 animation
which first made it famous. The clip is the finale from the feature Saludos Amigos
(hello friends), created during a US government-funded goodwill tour of South America aimed at strengthening Pan-American relations, which some argue
may have helped bring South America onto the side of the Allies in World War II. [more inside]
arming at breakneck speed, England
lost in a pacifist dream, France
corrupt and torn by dissension, America
remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?" ― Winston Churchill
, 1935. The World War II Database
, and other elements of history
in relational db form to tell the story of the 20th century's 2nd great war.
When her Japanese-American husband was sent to internment camps in California and Wyoming, Estelle Peck Ishigo chose to accompany him. An art-school teacher fired for her interracial marriage, she documented the three-and-a-half-year ordeal in a short memoir
and hundreds of sketches
. [more inside]
Wartime wandering through the Eastern states by bicycle, truck, and riverboat. 1944.
In 1944, a dear friend, Doris Roy, and I undertook an adventurous journey that we dreamed of during countless hikes together over our college holidays. We had been Camp Fire Girls together, loving the out-of-doors, camping and hiking the open road. Our dreams finally developed into a plan to ride bicycles from our home in Buffalo, New York, to Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio River met the Mississippi. We admired Mark Twain’s adventures, had read his Life on the Mississippi, and sought to follow his path to the Midwest.
We were 21 years old...
Voices and Music of World War I
and Voices of World War II: Experiences From the Front and at Home
both feature spoken word, sheet music and songs galore (all audio RealPlayer). The Great War site has plenty of stuff, but the core is the collection of songs, anti-war
and so forth. The WWII site also has a whole bunch of music, demonstrating the changing mood of the US, from conflicted feelings about the start of the war
to conflicted feelings about the atomic bomb
. Among the artists are Nat King Cole, Leadbelly, Benny Goodman and Fats Waller. But in addition the wonderful songs there are newscasts, speeches, propaganda and other radio broadcasting of all kinds.
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]
Australia now commemorates Battle for Australia Day
on the first Wednesday in September. But what is 'the Battle for Australia'? Did such a thing exist? [more inside]
JARDA: Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
is a collection of photographs, diaries, letters, camp newsletters, personal histories and a wealth of other material relating to the relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The site is divided into four categories: People
, the men, women, and children who were incarcerated. Places
, prewar neighborhoods and wartime camps. Daily Life
, eating, sleeping, working, playing, and going to school. Personal Experiences
, letters, diaries, art and other writing by internees. Among the photographers hired by the War Relocation Authority was famed dust bowl photographer Dorothea Lange. 855 of her photos
are on the site. Even though she was working as a propagandist many of her images captures a starker reality, for instance this picture of a glum little girl
: A WWII juggernaut. It decrypted German Enigma
) and Japanese
messages on an industrial scale in huts
, had an outpost in Mombasa
, and built one of the first modern computers
(it helped that Alan Turing
was on staff). Now a diverse museum
with or without a funding problem
, it generated yet more intrigue in 2000 when an Enigma was stolen
, and hosts a rebuilt, working Colossus
that launched a cipher challenge
. Beating it wasn't easy
! [more inside]
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]
- A short propaganda film created by the US government & the "Office of War Information - Bureau of Motion Pictures."
The subject has been much discussed previously on MetaFilter. Here
, among other threads.
All This and World War II [trailer; IMDB]
is a 1976 musical documentary that mixes World War II newsreels and movie clips
with Beatles covers. Looks like Hitler disapproved
. [lots more inside]
A Nazi Christmas
Since its most ancient days, the Christmas holiday has been continually reshaped to serve commercial, social, and political ends. These Nazi-era Christmas materials, including an Advent calendar
and an essay
on how to turn Christian holidays into National Socialist ones, come from the German Propaganda Archive
of the Calvin College library. Of course, the Allies also enlisted Christmas in both pop culture and propaganda with cards
, and posters
: one plan
, one stove, hundreds of accomplices, 200 tonnes of sand, 4,000 bed boards, 600 feet of rope.
76 men: 50 murdered
, 23 recaptured
, only three got away
.The real story
behind the Great Escape
Who knew Hitler sang reggae? View (YouTube, in German but with moustached rubber ducks)
was a story appearing in Battle and Battle Action magazine back in the late 70's and early 80's. Telling the story of a young British fighter pilot serving with the Falcons; a Russian squadron in World War II; Johnny Red was remarkable for it's time (in the midst of the Cold War) giving a positive image of Soviet Russian heroism in the fight against Nazi Germany. Scans of almost every issue are contained within - enjoy!
The Real-Life Vesper Lynde.
Known to history as Christine Granville, Krystyna Skarbek was first Polish nobility and later Churchill's favorite spy. Undaunted by weather, Christine skied over the Tatras
from Hungary to Poland to gather intelligence and participated in the liberation of France. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre,
but found herself ill-suited to normal employment, and worked as a saleswoman at Harrods and as a telephonist before becoming an oceanliner stewardess. Along the way, Christine met Ian Fleming
, who may have based his first "Bond Girl"
on the intrepid spy. Want to know more? Read her recently republished biography
or order her file
from the Briish National Archives.
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]
The National Archives of the United States and Google
have announced a pilot project
to digitize historic films and make them available via Google Video for free. The project's initial offering of 101 films include NASA documentaries on the spaceflight program
, samples of United Newsreels from World War II
, and early films from the Department of the Interior
highlighting public works such as the construction of the Hoover Dam and the work of the National Park Service. Also of note is the earliest film in the National Archives holdings, an odd compilation circa 1894 containing Carmencita's Spanish Dance, boats being pulled upstream, people crossing a bridge, and Japanese women playing stringed instruments
(on silent film, of course...) last link is direct to video, 2 minutes 46 seconds in duration
The "Battle of Los Angeles"
occurred on February 24/25, 1942, when a large object was picked up on radar approximately 120 miles off the southern California coastline. Fearing another Japanese attack
, a general blackout was called and fighter planes were dispatched to combat the unknown assailant.
Three hours later, the planes were recalled. Witnesses reported furious fighting but no sightings of downed planes were noted. The Navy claimed there were no enemy planes; the Army put out the story (embedded sound)
that Japanese spy planes were indeed present. Subsequent investigations revealed that the invasion was most likely a weather balloon. Other opinions
were also expressed.
Last of WWII Comanche Code Talkers Dies
Charles Chibitty, the last survivor of the Comanche code talkers who used their native language to transmit messages for the Allies in Europe during World War II, has died. He was 83.
More info on the Code Talkers
The People's War
Read and share memories of World War II, courtesy of the BBC.
Some very moving Soviet war photography
, notably several shots
of the famously doctored
(not to mention staged
) but nonetheless dramatic hoisting of the Red Flag over a burned out Reichstag
(a scene which, by the way, recently appeared
in a videogame).
of Allied-occupied Japan after World War Two, taken by anthropologist John W. Bennett, arranged in portfolios with comments by Bennett and links to large images, such as hotel umbrellas drying in the sun
. The exhibition includes selections from Bennett's journal and letters with his first impressions of Japan. Portfolios include views of Tokyo
, children in the park
, women of the night
, traditional architecture
, and Japanese resorts
The Aerial Reconnaissance Archive
is a new online archive of World War II reconnaissance photos, which will eventually include 5 million photos. The BBC has some background information
, including an interview with a former Photographic Reconnaissance Unit pilot.
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.
The last World War Two Japanese soldier surrendered in the Philippines in 1980
, ending a stream of holdouts. This is their story
Battlefield 1942 Propaganda Posters
are very handy for the times when you need to call someone a smacktard
Manzanar War Relocation Center
was one of ten camps at which Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were interned during World War II. Ansel Adams photographed the camp
in 1943 and published a book
the following year to publicize the loyalty of the internees. You can take a QuickTime VR virtual tour
, tour the camp
in 3D VRML (screenshots
), or read the memoirs
of a woman who was interned there.
the grave of the unknown rapist.
does the brutality of war result in man sinking to the depths of depravity