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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

Storytelling in sand.

Drawing and storytelling in sand.
posted by dmd on Jul 3, 2009 - 26 comments

"I was up in those clouds all night."

"We were having dinner about four months ago and I was showing Clelia some pictures I'd taken in the air, and she said, 'Oh, that's so beautiful. I want to do that,'" Ben said. Easier said than done when you're 95. [more inside]
posted by emelenjr on Jun 30, 2009 - 9 comments

The First Stealth Flying Wing

Though the B-2 Spirit is perhaps the best-known of the flying wing designs, its creation came almost 50 years after the earliest attempts at creating fixed-wing aircraft with no definite fuselage. The first prototypes of Frenchman Charles Fauvel's flying wings followed the patent on his formula for the flying wing in 1929. Jack Northrop's newly formed Northrop Aircraft Co. created the first flying wing for the United States in 1940, dubbed Northrom N-1M "Jeep". But it was the Horten Brothers, German aircraft pilots and enthusiasts, who created the first fully-functional stealth flying wing: the Horten Ho IX. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 24, 2009 - 32 comments

Now, where did I put that plane factory?

Hiding in "plane" sight. Images and details of the significant efforts made by the United States to prevent the Japanese from bombing our west coast aircraft factories. I wonder what this effort would take today to "fool" Google Maps/Earth. [more inside]
posted by hrbrmstr on Jun 8, 2009 - 15 comments

Deaf People and World War II

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]
posted by lullaby on Jun 7, 2009 - 4 comments

The Campaign for North Africa

Even among "monster games", it stands alone. A 7-foot mapsheet. 1,800 counters. 1,500 hours to play. It is SPI's The Campaign for North Africa.
posted by Joe Beese on May 11, 2009 - 89 comments

NIOBY

In Our Own Backyard: Resisting Nazi Propaganda In Southern California 1933 - 1945, a digital exhibition from the Oviatt Library at Cal State Northridge. "The Nazi Propaganda period, 1933 to 1945, chronicles a crucial twelve years in American history. This exhibit's story about the local threat to American ideals demonstrates how European events reached across the ocean and affected people in Southern California -- in our own backyard." Magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, stickers and more. [more inside]
posted by dersins on Apr 10, 2009 - 33 comments

All The Best People.

Indeed, all three of Hitler’s prized leather whips were presents from high society ladies. : Christopher Clark reviews High Society in the Third Reich by Fabrice d’Almeida in the London Review Of Books.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 7, 2009 - 24 comments

The unluckiest man alive

Bad luck: some people seem to treat the subject rather lightly and consider themselves the unluckiest person ever if they lose a long game of Pokemon, or because of some rather benign school occurrences. Sometimes people fall victim to such unlikely and improbable events that they may be tempted to declare themselves cursed. But it would be hard to beat the hard-luck of a Japanese man named Tsutomu Yamaguchi. On August 6th, 1945, he was in Hiroshima on a business trip when the first A-bomb dropped on Japan exploded. He suffered some burns, but was considered well enough that he could leave Hiroshima the next day and go home. To Nagasaki.
posted by clevershark on Mar 24, 2009 - 63 comments

The Big Ol' Picture

14 large color photos from the Farm Security Administration. [more inside]
posted by Happy Dave on Mar 13, 2009 - 32 comments

The Bethnal Green Disaster

On March 3rd 1943, the worst civilian disaster of the Second World War killed 173 people, including 62 children. During an air-raid alert, the noise of a new anti-aircraft battery panicked the crowd trying to get into the shelter at Bethnal Green tube station. In the dark, wet conditions, someone tripped and fell at the foot of the stairs, blocking the pathway and knocking others over in a domino effect. More and more people continued to pile in at the top leading to a massive and deadly crush. [more inside]
posted by Electric Dragon on Mar 3, 2009 - 27 comments

Neutral Power FTW

World War II: Simple Version. (SLJPG)
posted by swift on Mar 3, 2009 - 54 comments

Hero, scoundrel, or both?

Among the body of conspirators in the July 20th plot to assassinate Hitler and seize the German government, few were as ambivalent as Count Wolf Heinrich von Helldorf, head of the Berlin police. Although sympathetically (if briefly) portrayed in a recent film about the plot, von Helldorf was a definitely more enigmatic figure. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Feb 16, 2009 - 12 comments

WWII in Color

World War II pictures in color. Some favorites: Soldiers at the Coliseum. A WAC discusses sailing with an old hand. A canine "soldier" dons a gas mask during training. African-American MPs on Motorbike Patrol. Other galleries: WWII in Color. | A searchable database of color slides.| Library of Congress collection (also includes Depression-era photographs) | WWII in pictures (mostly Germans; one graphic photo halfway down)
posted by desjardins on Feb 11, 2009 - 17 comments

Bunkers

The Frightening Beauty of Bunkers.
posted by homunculus on Feb 9, 2009 - 24 comments

65 years ago, was to lift the blockade of Leningrad

Every day we go on to the streets, dying at his defenders who thought about us. About us, that they were not destined to see. But we can remember!

And imagine that the horror that the people was to survive.

WWII era Photographs, I assume, of Leningrad combined with current photographs. This era has also recently been portrayed effectively by David Benioff in his novel City of Thieves. Found the pictures via Warren Ellis who thinks the photographer may be Sergei Larenkov.
posted by zzazazz on Jan 29, 2009 - 16 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

A chance encounter at war changes history, Spitfire pilot remembered

Charley Fox, two-time recipient of the Distinguished Cross, died on October 18th in a car accident. Another WWII veteran gone, and as with many, an interesting tale exists in his past. Credited with injuring Rommel (although he didn't know it at the time and it was denied by Germany), it's often thought that the loss of Rommel from Hitler's strategy team helped sway the war for the Allies (though it's wondered if has Rommel lived the July 20 plot against Hitler might have succeeded). After the war, Charley was an advocate for veterans and trained many. He died wearing his uniform.
posted by Kickstart70 on Nov 11, 2008 - 12 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

Building the ParaSet

I first heard of a 'Paraset' when I saw a message on the QRP-L reflector announcing an upcoming 'June 6th Paraset D-Day' activity. A search for more information soon revealed that the Paraset was a small vacuum-tube transmitter-receiver unit built during WWII in the UK at the Whaddon Hall headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service Communications Unit. Known officially as the 'Whaddon Mark VII', the units were either air-dropped by parachute or carried, by the jumpers themselves, into many of the occupied countries of western Europe. . .
posted by jackspace on Nov 5, 2008 - 13 comments

The Women of ENIAC

It's hardly the case today (unless you live in Iran), but once upon a time, all computer programmers were female. While the (male) engineers who built ENIAC, the world's first modern computer, became famous and lauded, the six women who actually programmed ENIAC have been largely overlooked. Now a team of researchers and programmers is trying to raise money to tell the story of these pioneering women in a new documentary, before it's too late. [more inside]
posted by Asparagirl on Oct 23, 2008 - 25 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

looking through old photographs

People sleeping, gently vulnerable and evocative, vintage photographs. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Oct 11, 2008 - 50 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

Witold Pilecki

On this day in 1941 a man named Witold Pilecki deliberately got himself arrested and sent to Auschwitz. Pilecki was a spy sent in to investigate the camp and establish underground resistance cells. He sent reports to Warsaw, which passed them to London. In 1942, his reports that prisoners were being gassed were not believed. [more inside]
posted by up in the old hotel on Sep 19, 2008 - 47 comments

Baseball in the Japanese internment camps

Baseball behind barbed wire. Japanese-Americans brought baseball with them when they emigrated to America. The game had been introduced to Japan, so the story goes, by American Professor Horace Wilson in the 1870s. When Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans were relocated to internment camps during World War II, playing baseball was one of the few freedoms allowed them by camp directors. [more inside]
posted by nanojath on Aug 19, 2008 - 4 comments

Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives

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.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 3, 2008 - 10 comments

Rolex watches for Allied POWs

"This watch costs to-day in Switzerland Frs. 250 – but you must not even think of settlement during the war." Rolex's remarkable offer to British P.O.W.s in Nazi camps during WWII. [more inside]
posted by ikkyu2 on Aug 1, 2008 - 34 comments

Les Parisiens sous l’Occupation

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

Feuding movie directors: Movie-goers WIN?

Sometimes a simple Amazon reader's review leads you to a fascinating story (or stories) of which you may have been previously unaware. In this case, the story of (the so-called) Buffalo Soldiers that liberated Tuscany in WWII. The novel Miracle at St. Anna also captivated director Spike Lee, who is bringing it to the Big Screen (Higher quality at apple.com). This may be considered his latest shot in the "feud" with director Clint Eastwood, who offended many by overlooking the contributions of black soldiers in his two recent WWII films.
posted by spock on Jul 10, 2008 - 37 comments

"A valley frozen in time."

In November 1943, the village of Tyneham in Dorset, England, received an unexpected letter from the War Department, informing residents that the area would soon be "cleared of all civilians" to make way for Army weapons training. A month later, the displaced villagers left a note on their church door: Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free. We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly. Residents were told they would be allowed to reclaim their homes after the war, but that didn't happen, and Tyneham became a ghost village. Though most of the cottages have been damaged or fallen into disrepair, the church and school have been preserved and restored. Photo galleries 1, 2, 3, 4. Panoramic tour [Java required]. Video: Death of a Village [YouTube, 9 mins.]
posted by amyms on Jul 10, 2008 - 20 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

Servigliano Calling

‘Even to this day the diary has a slight aroma of cocoa,’ says Steve Dickinson about a diary kept by his uncle Robert Dickinson while a prisoner at Servigliano, an Italian war camp, in the 1940s. The diary has a cover made of old cocoa tins (hence the smell) with a broadcast aerial design incorporating the title 'Servigliano Calling.' It begins with his capture by the Germans in November 1941, and finishes, about six months before his death, in September 1944. Via The Diary Junction blog.
posted by amyms on Jul 2, 2008 - 14 comments

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