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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

 

"There was little we didn't know about Nazi Germany"

In a new book, a historian reveals that during WWII, the British kept three groups of Nazi prisoners captive under condititons that an outraged Churchill demanded be stopped. [more inside]
posted by never used baby shoes on May 23, 2013 - 31 comments

The Myth of Nazi Efficiency

The Myth of Nazi Efficiency
posted by Miko on May 18, 2013 - 84 comments

Return Of The Nazi Weather Robot

What won the war? The weather helped. For while the Allies had access to all the Atlantic meteorology, the Axis couldn't easily predict what systems were rolling in from the West - and with the Battle of the Atlantic the one thing that Churchill said kept him awake at night, knowing which way the wind blew certainly needed a weatherman. Or Britain would never be starved into submission. The Weather War was complex and engaging, [more inside]
posted by Devonian on May 17, 2013 - 16 comments

World War II’s Strangest Battle: When Americans and Germans Fought Toget

Days after Hitler’s suicide a group of American soldiers, French prisoners, and, yes, German soldiers defended an Austrian castle against an SS division—the only time Germans and Allies fought together in World War II. Andrew Roberts on a story so wild that it has to be made into a movie.
posted by cthuljew on May 13, 2013 - 26 comments

Abalone submarine detectors

The Kitchen Brothers were, perhaps, ahead of their time. [more inside]
posted by overleaf on Apr 30, 2013 - 2 comments

There wasn't much talk.

On April 29, 1945, the Dachau concentration camp was liberated. Today, on Reddit, with the help of his grandson, one of the men who liberated the camp did an IAmA.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 29, 2013 - 20 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

A study of the human spirit.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the largest organized rebellion by Jews during World War II. Marek Edelman, a leader of the uprising, recalls the ghetto and the revolt. [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Apr 19, 2013 - 10 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

Letters From A Private

Letters From A Private: "...[19 year-old Pvt. D. Bruce Hirshorn] was in the Army in 1944 and 1945. He wrote home almost every single day.... Today, Uncle Bruce is the same upbeat, funny guy. He’s 87 and he loves syrup and ships!" [more inside]
posted by knile on Mar 18, 2013 - 8 comments

Go, Gibson guitar gals!

As American men went off to war during World War II, women stepped in to fill the jobs they left behind, keeping the factories and shipyards running, and the economy humming. While most were praised for their patriotism, one unheralded group of women worked in the shadows building Gibson guitars. The maker of the famous instrument never confirmed that women crafted its guitars during the war, and in an official company history, even reported it stopped producing instruments for those years. But now the time has come to shed some new historical light on the Kalamazoo Gals. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 17, 2013 - 15 comments

Textverarbeitung

Bomber, by Len Deighton - the first novel ever written on a word processor.
posted by Artw on Mar 2, 2013 - 18 comments

Fortress UK

The Last Stand - the remains of the Britain's coastal defences photographed by Marc Wilson.
posted by Artw on Feb 5, 2013 - 24 comments

X-Mensch

Magneto the Jew
posted by Artw on Jan 29, 2013 - 60 comments

... But you wouldn’t want your mom to see it!

"When you were up there in a plane, you’d get shot at, and you couldn’t call field artillery to support you. You had no ambulance, no medic. There was no tank to come in and run over the enemy. All it took was one accurate aircraft shot, and a plane full of 10 guys was gone. The commanders, for the most part, understood this,” Conway continues, “So there was a little bit more leniency in that regard than there would have been with ground guys. The officers figured, ‘Well, if this guy wants to paint a naked lady on the back of the jacket, what good is it to try to stop him? He could be dead tomorrow morning.’ The main objective was winning the war, not enforcing minor regulations and rules.”

posted by ChuraChura on Jan 29, 2013 - 23 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

To tell the story to someone else...

In 1974, Leon Leyson was one of a group of Jews who greeted Oskar Schindler when he visited Los Angeles. It was the first time the two had seen each other since the war. He began to introduce himself, but Schindler interrupted: "I know who you are," Schindler said, grinning at the middle-aged man before him. "You're Little Leyson." On Sunday, the youngest name on Schindler's List passed away at the age of 83. "The truth is, I did not live my life in the shadow of the Holocaust," he told the Portland Oregonian in 1997. "I did not give my children a legacy of fear. I gave them a legacy of freedom." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 14, 2013 - 35 comments

Beate Sirota Gordon, 1923-2012; "The Only Woman In The Room"

Beate Sirota Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89: a NYT obituary relates the fascinating story of a young woman who was just the right person in just the right place at just the right time and managed to strike a blow for gender equality. [more inside]
posted by flex on Jan 4, 2013 - 20 comments

"Voice over of Mickey Rourke rambling platitudes over images of soldiers and/or rare birds at magic hour may be out there somewhere."

The Best WWII Movies You [Probably] Haven't Seen: Page 1, Page 2
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 7, 2012 - 46 comments

A screaming comes across the sky

Bomb Sight is an interactive map of every bomb dropped on London during the Blitz.
posted by empath on Dec 6, 2012 - 39 comments

Mannerheim: General of the Czar, Marshal of Finland [1/9]

Mannerheim: General of the Czar, Marshal of Finland [1/9] (In Russian, with English subtitles) [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Nov 29, 2012 - 8 comments

"God, you owe me a life - a living baby."

Dr. Gisella Perl was a gynecologist living in what is now Sighet, Rumania, when in 1944 she and her family were transported by the Nazis to the death camp at Auschwitz. There, she was forced to work under Joseph Mengele in the camp hospital. After seeing the horrors and abuse leading up to the murder of pregant women, she "decided that never again would there be a pregnant woman in Auschwitz." Gisella Perl: Angel and Abortionist in the Auschwitz Death Camp [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 28, 2012 - 40 comments

The International Tracing Service, more than 65 years on

The International Tracing Service was established following the Second World War to help repatriate forced laborers and survivors of the concentration camps as well as to trace the missing. 67 years after the end of the war, ITS receives about 1,080 requests for information a month, some of which still result in reuniting relatives. [more inside]
posted by hoyland on Nov 27, 2012 - 5 comments

Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

Via io9: "The first nine Superman cartoons produced by Fleischer Studios from 1941 to 1942 are a wonder of animated retrofuturism, giving us a peek into a world that not only had a flying superstrong protector, but also filled viewers' heads with dreams of autonomous robots, comet-controlling telescopes, and machines that could shake the Earth. These films are in the public domain and have been available on the Internet Archive," but now Warner Bros. is releasing them (remastered) on YouTube. The first short, "Superman" (also known as "The Mad Scientist,") was nominated for an Academy Award. Also see: The Super Guide to the Fleischer Superman Cartoons. Find links to all nine episodes and more inside. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 25, 2012 - 28 comments

Van Heuvelen Symphony No. 1

When the peace came along in Europe in April of 1945, we just practically sat there without anything to do. Most of the gentlemen drew house plans, because they were thinking they were going to get out of the service pretty soon. And I wrote a symphony. (Transcript) The symphony Van Heuvelen wrote sat on the shelf for decades, and last week he got to witness it performed for the first time. [more inside]
posted by DynamiteToast on Nov 11, 2012 - 5 comments

The British Military Still Uses Carrier Pigeons

The British Military Still Uses Carrier Pigeons. Not really. But the skeletal remains of a WWII carrier pigeon were recently found in a chimney, with a coded message still attached to its leg.
posted by COD on Nov 2, 2012 - 56 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

The Ghosts of World War II

Photographs found at flea markets superimposed on to modern views of the same location.
posted by blaneyphoto on Oct 19, 2012 - 20 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

Pantyhose during WWII

The unexpectedly fascinating story of pantyhose in wartime, via Smithsonian Magazine (part 1, part 2).
posted by mudpuppie on Sep 19, 2012 - 4 comments

The Story of the Two Yellowing Sheets of Paper.

Two old sheets of paper tell a story. Scroll down to the last big paragraph of the blog post, just above the photo of the two yellowed sheets of paper. (h/t Jane H.)
posted by brianstorms on Sep 17, 2012 - 10 comments

Annotated Filmography of Charlie Chaplin

Director and/or star of many of the greatest films ever made including The Great Dictator (2:05:16) [Globe scene and the eternally goosebump providing Final speech], The Immigrant (20:01), The Gold Rush (1:11:49), City Lights (1:22:40), Modern Times (1:27:01), and Monsieur Verdoux (1:59:03), Charlie Chaplin's movies have entered the public domain in most countries. Below the fold is an annotated list of all 82 of his official short and feature films in chronological order, as well as several more, with links to where you can watch them; it's not like you had work to do right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 17, 2012 - 35 comments

Use the enemy's own films to expose their enslaving ends. Let our boys hear the Nazis and the Japs shout their own claims of master-race crud—and our fighting men will know why they are in uniform.

Why We Fight is a series of seven documentary films commissioned by the United States government during World War II whose purpose was to show American soldiers the reason for U.S. involvement in the war. Later on they were also shown to the general U.S. public to persuade them to support American involvement in the war. Each of them is in the common domain having been produced by the US government, available online, and linked below the fold: [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 16, 2012 - 24 comments

...Mitchells do fly I.M.C.

B-25 "...Mitchells do fly I.M.C." a Channel 4 UK documentary by Anthony Howarth and Carolyn Hicks detailing the effort of John “Jeff” Hawke to transport five WW II North American B-25 Mitchell bombers from the United States to England for use in the filming of “Hanover Street” in 1978. [more inside]
posted by the_artificer on Aug 31, 2012 - 16 comments

"A Polish Village's Secret"

"A farming town hid a Jewish-born teacher during the Holocaust. I went to dig up what it had buried."
Though I grew up in America, I have been visiting my family in Poland since I was a child. But it is only recently, since the great debate began two years ago between [Jan] Gross and [Timothy] Snyder over the causes and extent of Polish co-operation with the Nazis during the Holocaust, that I thought to ask the old people of my family village about what happened during the war. My grandparents mentioned bits and pieces of our family’s World War II history over the years, but it often seemed too painful for them to recall, or as though they wanted the memories to simply be forgotten. When I finally decided to broach the topic with them, my grandmother repeated that she didn’t understand why I cared to dig so deep into the past, why I cared so much about Wladyslaw and his story.
[more inside]
posted by nonmerci on Aug 21, 2012 - 15 comments

Let There Be Light

"A post-World War II documentary, banned by the military in 1946 but lately released online, is one of the earliest depictions of psychotherapy." Let There Be Light, a film by John Huston. [more inside]
posted by bluefly on Aug 20, 2012 - 9 comments

Johnny Pesky has left the park.

Johhny Pesky, longtime member of the Boston Red Sox has passed away at the young age of 92. More famous for the right field foul pole named after he hit one of his only 6 Fenway Park home runs as it swung around the pole, the erstwhile manager spent nearly his entire 73 year baseball career with the Boston Red Sox. Much like teammate Ted Williams Johhny left baseball during his prime to fight in World War Two
posted by Gungho on Aug 13, 2012 - 47 comments

The Spy Who Loved

Christine Granville was, at least apocryphally, Winston Churchill's favourite spy. Born Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek, daughter of a charming but dissolute Polish aristocrat and a Jewish banking heiress, she was described in 1939 as "a flaming Polish patriot … expert skier and great adventuress". So she was.
posted by Chrysostom on Aug 10, 2012 - 7 comments

The other Göring brother

In downtown Vienna under the Nazis, two members of the SA had decided to humiliate an old woman. A crowd gathered and jeered as the stormtroopers hung a sign bearing the words "I'm a dirty Jew" around the woman's neck. Suddenly, a tall man with a high forehead and thick mustache pushed his way angrily through the mob and freed the woman. "There was a scuffle with two stormtroopers, I hit them and was arrested immediately," the man later said in a matter-of-fact statement. Despite this open act of rebellion, the man was released immediately. He only had to say his name: Albert Göring, brother of Hermann Göring, the commander of the German air force and Hitler's closest confidant.
[more inside]
posted by daisyk on Jul 22, 2012 - 31 comments

Aurochs

Heavy Breeding. "In 1920, the brothers Lutz and Heinz Heck, directors of the Berlin and Munich zoos, respectively, began a two-decade breeding experiment. Working with domestic cattle sought out for their 'primitive' characteristics, they attempted to recreate 'in appearance and behavior' the living likeness of the animals’ extinct wild ancestor: the aurochs. 'Once found everywhere in Germany,' according to Lutz Heck, by the end of the Middle Ages the aurochs had largely succumbed to climate change, overhunting, and competition from domestic breeds." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jul 21, 2012 - 31 comments

Franco-Italian Alps cleared of barbed wire

Barbed Wire no longer lines the Franco-Italian Alps. On the 11th of July this year, after working since 2002, mainly in the Mercantour National Park, the last of 134 tonnes of steel was finally removed for recycling by teams of volunteers. [more inside]
posted by fraula on Jul 20, 2012 - 24 comments

The sinking of the USS Indianapolis

Over 350 US Navy ships were lost in combat during World War II. Only one of them resulted in the captain being court martialed. [more inside]
posted by rmd1023 on Jul 5, 2012 - 64 comments

The all-taking, all-singing, all-dancing, all-action-packed extravaganza

All This and World War II is a 1976 musical documentary that juxtaposes Beatles songs, performed by a number of musicians, with World War II newsreel footage and 20th Century Fox films from the 1940s. It lasted two weeks in cinemas and was quickly sent into storage. "In this installment of Rock 'N Roll Case Study we talk about All This and World War II, which is perhaps one of the most bizarre movies in rock 'n roll." [via]
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates on Jul 4, 2012 - 24 comments

“Don’t try to lock him up. He escapes, you know."

Born in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, member of the French resistance and the SOE, multiple escapee from Nazi execution, RIP Count Robert de La Rochefoucauld.
posted by Artw on Jun 30, 2012 - 20 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

Road to Valor

Gino Bartali achieved fame by winning the 1938 Tour de France, but what he did on his bike during the war is what made him a real hero. [more inside]
posted by IanMorr on Jun 15, 2012 - 15 comments

Honor and Error

In a high profile gaffe President Barack Obama has recently caused anger in Poland by referring to a Nazi death camp as a "Polish death camp" during a ceremony honoring World War II hero Jan Karski with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “The White House will apologize for this outrageous error,Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski tweeted. Sikorski said that Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk “will make a statement in the morning. It’s a pity that this important ceremony was upstaged by ignorance and incompetence.” [more inside]
posted by furiousxgeorge on May 31, 2012 - 160 comments

Goodbye to all That

Paul Fussell, author of The Great War and Modern Memory and winner of the first National Critics Award for Criticism, but who is probably best known for writing Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, is dead. [more inside]
posted by postcommunism on May 23, 2012 - 48 comments

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