476 posts tagged with wwii.
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You’ll Never Know

A video has emerged of a man serenading his wife of 73 years on her deathbed with a song she sang to him as he went to fight in the Second World War.
posted by gman on Sep 21, 2015 - 26 comments

Hitler at Home

In the years preceding World War II, news outlets from home magazines to the New York Times ran profiles of the Nazi leader that portrayed him as a country gentleman — a man who ate vegetarian, played catch with his dogs and took post-meal strolls outside his mountain estate. These articles were often admiring — even after the horrors of the Nazi regime had begun to reveal themselves, says Despina Stratigakos, an architectural historian at the University at Buffalo. Her new book, “Hitler at Home,” will be published Sept. 29 by Yale University Press... She notes that while many historians have dismissed Hitler’s personal life as irrelevant, his private persona was in fact painstakingly constructed to further his political ends.
How media ‘fluff’ helped Hitler rise to power [more inside]
posted by spinda on Sep 6, 2015 - 71 comments

Last survivors of the Indianapolis

Warship's Last Survivors Recall Sinking in Shark-Infested Waters
posted by Artw on Jul 28, 2015 - 19 comments

Heavy Barn Find

A WWII Panzer tank and other military equipment has been found in the basement of a German pensioner.
posted by chrchr on Jul 3, 2015 - 60 comments

No other WWII training accident took so many American lives.

DISASTER AT SLAPTON SANDS Scimitar was holed when she was rammed by another vessel and was ordered to return to port. Incredibly, no one bothered to inform the operation commander of this! This left tiny Azalea to act as the sole escort. As events showed, this might have been enough except for one unspotted typographical error in the orders. The American ships were tuned to the wrong radio frequency and could not transmit to or receive from the British ship or coastal stations. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Jun 30, 2015 - 12 comments

Chamber of horrors

The man who sleeps in Hitler’s bed Wheatcroft is now 55, and according to the Sunday Times Rich List, worth £120m... The ruling passion of his life, though, is what he calls the Wheatcroft Collection – widely regarded as the world’s largest accumulation of German military vehicles and Nazi memorabilia.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jun 24, 2015 - 42 comments

A Message of Peace From a Survivor of Hell: A Hiroshima Survivors Story

Hiroshima bombing survivor Tomiko Matsumoto tells her tale. [more inside]
posted by Admira on Jun 16, 2015 - 72 comments

"their intimate, closely guarded songs from home, camp and ghetto"

The Stonehill Jewish Song Collection is a website by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance containing songs sung by Jewish refugees in Hotel Marseilles in New York in 1948. All songs include the original lyrics and translations into English. Not all the songs have been digitized and translated already, but there is a variety of themes already, with more on the way soon. The songs were collected and recorded by Ben Stonehill who went to the refugees and asked them to sing anything they like.
posted by Kattullus on May 17, 2015 - 5 comments

Putting artists to work in World War II

The crazy idea was this: The United States Army would design a “deception unit”: a unit that would appear to the enemy as a large armored division with tanks, trucks, artillery, and thousands of soldiers. But this unit would actually be equipped only with fake tanks, fake trucks, fake artillery and manned by just a handful of soldiers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 13, 2015 - 32 comments

"Almost too tasteless for words"

The signature image in Little Boy, a colossal miscalculation in audience uplift, is of the title character stretching out his arms, scrunching up his face, and groaning with intense concentration. Small for his age, hence the nickname, 7-year-old Pepper Flint Busbee (Jakob Salvati) performs this ritual several times throughout the film, always when attempting to move an object with the sheer power of his belief. More often than not, it actually works: Onstage, during a magic show, he appears to slide a glass bottle across a table, Jedi-style. Later, in a far grander display of his apparent gifts, he wows a crowd of skeptics by seemingly creating an earthquake while trying to nudge a mountain. What Pepper really wants, though, is to bring his father back from the war. And so he stands on a dock and points his hands in the direction of the Pacific Ocean, defying the setting sun, focusing all his desire on one point in the distance, until…
Little Boy: The Film That Goes There [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Apr 23, 2015 - 198 comments

RIP Rosie the Riveter

Norman Rockwell's image of "Rosie the Riveter" — not to be confused with the J. Howard Miller poster — received mass distribution on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on Memorial Day, May 29, 1943. Rockwell's illustration features a brawny woman taking her lunch break with a rivet gun on her lap and beneath her penny loafer a copy of Hitler's manifesto, Mein Kampf. Mary Doyle, a 19-year-old telephone operator who lived in Arlington, Vermont, and made $10 for posing for Rockwell's iconic image, was no where near as brawny in real life. Mary Doyle Keefe passed away on 21 April at the age of 92.
posted by terrapin on Apr 23, 2015 - 19 comments

Fashion Shouldn't Take Your Breath Away

Vintage Gas Mask Carrier & Handbag Patterns
posted by bswinburn on Apr 19, 2015 - 10 comments

Just in time for the baseball season...

Baseball behind barbed wire The year was 1944. A playoff series between two all-star baseball teams generated ample excitement. Gila River fought Heart Mountain in thirteen games to win the series. The players described it as exhilarating. But the players taking part in this all-American pastime did so in dire circumstances. Gila River and Heart Mountain were both Japanese incarceration camps (previously known as internment camps), and these athletes were among the tens of thousands of Japanese Americans imprisoned there.
posted by dfm500 on Mar 21, 2015 - 6 comments

"I asked him a very old Jewish question: Do you have a bag packed?"

Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 17, 2015 - 181 comments

Hell on earth.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of what is considered the single most deadly bombing raid in history, the 1945 US napalm firebombing of Tokyo. Today, there are still victims seeking redress and recognition from the Japanese government for the ‘unparalleled massacre’ of that horrific night.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 9, 2015 - 58 comments

The largest battleship in naval history

A research team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen claims to have finally found the wreckage of the Japanese Yamato-class Battleship Musashi, sunk at the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea October 23-24, 1944, part of the largest naval battle of World War II. [more inside]
posted by T.D. Strange on Mar 4, 2015 - 11 comments

The second flag was so much more photogenic

The Story Behind the Most Famous Picture from World War II A story told with lots of photos and a little writing.
posted by Michele in California on Feb 23, 2015 - 29 comments

Fool the Axis—use Prophylaxis!

How the Military Waged a Graphic-Design War on Venereal Disease In many ways, such a coordinated public effort to alter sexual behavior was unprecedented. At a time when discussion of sexual activity was anything but frank, the VD posters of World War II addressed the topic directly using clinical language, ominous symbolic imagery, and jingoistic slogans to help enlisted men steer clear of sexually transmitted infections. While American sex-ed programs have taken many forms over the last hundred years, the military’s VD campaign left a unique trail of ephemera in its wake, featuring imagery that’s both gorgeous and deeply unsettling.
posted by Michele in California on Feb 13, 2015 - 30 comments

"Ida": Film nominated for two Oscars draws praise & controversy

"Ida" (trailer: YouTube & Apple) is a black & white (and a Polish language) film from Poland by director Pavel Pawlikowski (this link contains spoilers). Hailed a film "masterpiece" by more than one critic, the film has now been recognized in America by not just one Oscar nomination (Foreign Language Film) but a 2nd in the broader category of Cinematography. For those interested in filmmaking, cinematography, and lighting, here is a look at three scenes from Ida. More? Here are another four scenes. The film is not without controversy, including Poles who are upset at the portrayal of their countrymen (and women) during the Nazi occupation and the Stalinism that followed WWII. Does 'Ida' misrepresent Poland's treatment of Jews?
posted by spock on Feb 6, 2015 - 51 comments

“German Concentration Camps Factual Survey”

In 1945, as Allied troops liberated concentration camps across what had been German-occupied Europe, the British Ministry of Information commissioned a documentary that would provide incontrovertible evidence of the Nazis’ crimes. Producer Sidney Bernstein's cameramen accompanied US, UK and Soviet troops into Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau and other camps. Six reels of film, known as the German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, were assembled and edited in part by Alfred Hitchcock (supervising director) and Billy Wilder.

The final product "was meant to be a historical document and a teaching tool; among the stated goals of the filmmakers was that it be shown to Germans to prove to them that the horrors of the camps were real." But the project was deemed too politically sensitive and abandoned before it was completed. The finished reels, storyboards and scripts sat in British archives for years. In 1985, PBS Frontline took some of the footage and created a documentary special: "Memory of the Camps." On January 27, 2015, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, HBO aired "Night Will Fall,” (trailer) directed by André Singer, which tells the story of the making of Factual Survey "...through the eyes of people who either filmed it, or through the eyes of the soldiers who first went in, to see what happened in the camps - or through the eyes of surviving victims who were in the camps." Film footage at links is disturbing and possibly NSFW [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 5, 2015 - 28 comments

The Rescued Film Project

The Rescued Film Project found 31 rolls of undeveloped film shot by a soldier during WWII. The WWII photos
posted by COD on Jan 27, 2015 - 21 comments

SS Pieter Schelte

The "world's largest ship" is named after a Nazi war criminal. Unsurprisingly a few people have a problem with that.
posted by Artw on Jan 25, 2015 - 80 comments

With fewer voices, Auschwitz survivors speak

The voices of Auschwitz. "The 70th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious Nazi concentration camp could mark the last major commemoration for many Holocaust survivors." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jan 24, 2015 - 16 comments

"The Solution to Pollution is Dilution"

Chemical Weapons Munitions Dumped at Sea: An Interactive Map [via]
posted by indubitable on Jan 21, 2015 - 27 comments

The Tragedy at Kufra

A grim and forbidding land, devoid of human habitation, intolerant of the inexperienced, and merciless when it judges the foolhardy. On May 4, 1942, twelve men of the South African Air Force boarded three Bristol Blenheim Mark IVs and took off from the oasis of Kufra in the Libyan Desert. Only one made it back alive. [more inside]
posted by gottabefunky on Jan 12, 2015 - 10 comments

Save that dance

Who Is Agent Carter? A brief history of the starring character of Marvel's latest TV show - and now also a comic.
posted by Artw on Jan 6, 2015 - 76 comments

D-Day to Germany, 1944 color home movies

D-Day to Germany, 1944. Color home movies by Allied pool reporter Jack Lieb. There is little to no combat, it's all behind the lines offering a different perspective from total war. Some famous actors and writers appear. The best part is the narrator, Jack, who is giving a viewing in 1976. His spontaneous narration and smooth style is enchanting.
posted by stbalbach on Dec 21, 2014 - 9 comments

Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist?

In a wide-ranging discussion about democracy, capitalism, and the American body politic; Chris Hedges interviews political theorist Sheldon Wolin in eight parts. (via) (previously) [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Nov 11, 2014 - 38 comments

Code Name: The White Mouse

Blisteringly sexy, she killed Nazis with her bare hands and had a 5 million-franc bounty on her head. That was one of her obituary articles in 2011 and it also called her "the real Charlotte Gray." [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Oct 10, 2014 - 31 comments

"Fool the Axis -- Use Prophylaxis!"

"The posters are paragons of graphic design principle—but beneath their tidy exteriors are convulsions of pure lust and panic." From the Paris Review, Sam Sweet draws our eyes to Ryan Mungia's "Protect Yourself: Venereal Disease Posters of World War II." Brief interview with Mungia, plus a few more images, here.
posted by MonkeyToes on Aug 17, 2014 - 27 comments

The Cello and The Nightingale

In 1924 the BBC transmitted its first live outside broadcast: a duet between cellist Beatrice Harrison and the nightingales nesting in the garden of her Surrey home. Capturing the song of the Nightingale. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle on Aug 16, 2014 - 10 comments

"Two girls can often do what one on her own cannot."

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 - 6 comments

Reason magazine and racism

Last week, Pando.com's Mark Ames posted an article on the efforts of the GOP to recruit in Silicon Valley using libertarianism as a wedge and the history of libertarian links, particularly through Reason magazine, to racism. Reason responded, calling Ames a "conspiracy theorist". Ames, who has a history of digging into the seedy history of libertarianism, has responded by posting a copy of Reason's holocaust denial and revisionist history issue, along with profiles of its contributors and their involvement with Reason and late 20th century libertarianism.
posted by Pope Guilty on Jul 25, 2014 - 179 comments

"a whisper of perfection in an otherwise cruel and inhumane world"

Beyoncé's "Rosie the Riveter" Instagram photo is causing internet waves. The Independent has a more substantive, historically concerned article.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 23, 2014 - 287 comments

The Forgotten Internment

"On June 3 and 4, 1942, Japanese military forces conducted air strikes on U.S. Army and Navy facilities at Dutch Harbor, in what is now the city of Unalaska. Several days later, they occupied Kiska and Attu islands, the latter the location of an Unangax village. Within a short time, the 42 Unangax residents of Attu and a non-Native teacher were taken to Japan, where they served as laborers for the Japanese for the duration of the war ... For the Unangax [or Aleut] of most other villages, World War II brought a different fate:" internment camps in the United States [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Jul 18, 2014 - 7 comments

a “Bill of Rights for G.I. Joe and Jane”

How the GI Bill Became Law in Spite of Some Veterans’ Groups
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 13, 2014 - 7 comments

The Long Way Home

"Normal return route canceled. Proceed as follows: Strip all company marking, registration numbers and identifiable insignia from exterior surfaces. Proceed westbound soonest your discretion to avoid hostilities and deliver NC18602 to marine terminal La Guardia Field New York. Good luck." [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Jul 13, 2014 - 27 comments

Happy birthday, Joe Bell

World War II veteran Joe Bell — who gained internet fame when a video of runners shaking his hand went viral — was honored as grand marshal in the San Jose 4th of July Parade yesterday; he led the parade in a motorcycle sidecar driven by his son, Matt. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 5, 2014 - 2 comments

Olympian, war hero, Louis Zamperini passes away at age 97

Louis Zamperini [previously], subject of Laura Hillenbrand's popular biography Unbroken, died on July 2 at age 97 (link to NYTimes obit). A movie of Unbroken, with a screenplay by the Coen Brothers and directed by Angelina Jolie, is set for a Christmas release. Zamperini was an Olympic distance runner who survived weeks at sea in the Pacific and a Japanese prisoner of war camp after being shot down while serving in WWII. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jul 3, 2014 - 5 comments

The Wizard War

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 - 13 comments

70ème anniversaire de la libération de Paris

50 photos de la Libération de Paris se fondent dans le présent. [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 6, 2014 - 16 comments

“Rangers, Lead The Way!”

Experience D-Day like your grandparents did, if they weren't in the military on June 6, 1944. Archive.org has the the complete D-Day broadcast from CBS radio.
posted by COD on Jun 6, 2014 - 31 comments

“I thank the Gods of War we went when we did"

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 - 41 comments

Now and Seventy years ago

The U.K. newspaper The Guardian combines photos from today and D-Day to show what's happened on and around the D-Day landing beaches in the seventy years since. [more inside]
posted by wenestvedt on Jun 4, 2014 - 22 comments

Tank for sale. Driven only by a little old man while crushing cars.

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 - 46 comments

A New Perspective

Richard Edes Harrison was a trained architect, artist and mapmaker whose maps in the years leading up to and through WWII gave Americans a new perspective on the world.
World War II Led to a Revolution in Cartography. These Amazing Maps Are Its Legacy [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 22, 2014 - 4 comments


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 - 12 comments

I never got recognition in my life

Joe Bell is 95 years old, and a World War II veteran. He wears his uniform to the senior center on Veterans Day or to meet with other vets. This past weekend, he put on his uniform to cheer on runners in a race that benefits the foundation for fallen Army Ranger Pat Tillman. His neighbor, Julia Prodis Sulek, a reporter for the Mercury News, captured what happened next. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Mar 5, 2014 - 16 comments

Dahl, Ogilvy, Fleming, Coward: Churchill's little dirty trick squad

As England was fighting for its life against the Nazis, the British government sent its most charming spies — including Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, Noël Coward and David Ogilvy — to America to blackmail, bully and cajol the U.S. into the war effort. [They were part of a] British spy ring that operated in Washington, D.C., during World War II.
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 3, 2014 - 22 comments

The Nimitz Graybook: The WWII Operational Diary of Chester W. Nimitz

December 7--The war opened with the attack of Japanese aircraft on Oahu. So begins the Command Summary of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, now available online as part of the U.S. Naval War College's Naval Historical Collection, in eight pdf volumes. Downloading is currently a little slow, as demand for site access has been high.
posted by MoonOrb on Feb 24, 2014 - 7 comments

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