"'Uncle Adolf' referred to William Patrick as 'my loathsome nephew'."
Willy Hitler, the son of Adolf Hitler's half-brother Alois Hitler, Jr.,
is one member of Hitler's extended family
, although he wasn't easy to track down.
After WWII, he changed his name and tried to live a private, secret life in the United States. Now, his three sons, relatives of Hitler living normal, regular American lives, have decided to never marry and let their family line die with them. [more inside]
posted by Ms. Saint
on Jun 6, 2008 -
Just the other day I was thinking about World War 2-era propaganda songs, so of course I gave a listen to Smoke On the Water
. Say what? You didn't know it was about kickin' Hitler's ass? Or Hirohito's? Guess you weren't listening well enough when ol' Red Foley
sang: "...there'll be nothing left but vultures to inhabit all that land, when our modern ships and bombers make a graveyard of Japan..."
I tell you, they just don't write songs like that anymore, friends. Anyway, by 1951 Red was looking forward to Peace in the Valley
. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Apr 9, 2008 -
I shot his plane down.
First his fighter plane was just lost under unknown circumstances during WWII. People speculated on a possible suicide of the writer. Then his golden armband was found by a fisherman in the sea. Then
the plane of well known french writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
was found in the mediteranean.
Now 88 year old journalist Horst Rippert, who was a fighter pilot during WWII, admits
that he shot down Saint-Exupéry and that he regretted this his whole life.
posted by jouke
on Mar 17, 2008 -
"You want to do WHAT?" said the British Army – or as their oh-so-polite upper crust officers probably put it: "Sorry, ol’ chap, but we don’t seem to have an urgent need for magicians right at this very moment."
But Jasper Maskelyne
proved to be very useful. Tales of his service are a mixture of fact and legend
. First link via.
posted by amyms
on Mar 1, 2008 -
"Dear Miss Breed..."
the letters begin. Clara Estelle Breed
was the children's librarian at the San Diego Public Library from 1929 to 1945. When her young Japanese American patrons and their families were forced into relocation camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1942, Miss Breed became their penpal and their lifeline, sending them books and supplies, assisting with various requests, and "serving as a reminder of the possibility for decency and justice in a troubled world." [more inside]
posted by amyms
on Dec 1, 2007 -
. Of all the wrecks on Papua New Guinea (PNG), none is as fabled as the "Swamp Ghost," a B-17E Flying Fortress that ran out of fuel on an ill-fated bombing mission in early 1942 and was ditched in the Agaiambo Swamp about eight miles inland on the northern coast. There the plane rested, intact and more or less unmolested, in soggy splendor for 64 years—that is, until May 2006, when an American salvager took it apart and removed it. This caused such a controversy that the plane was stopped from leaving the country.
The story of the Swamp Ghost illustrates the international debate over ownership of salvaged wrecks and war surplus, told from a personal perspective by a journalist whose war-correspondent father died in PNG during WWII.
posted by amyms
on Oct 7, 2007 -
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 -
63 years ago today, 20-year old German lance-corporal Hein Severloh was armed with a rifle, a machine gun and 16,000 rounds of ammo when American forces landed in the early morning hours off Omaha Beach on D-Day. During the next nine-hour "Longest Day", Severloh gunned down up to 3,000 Americans before running out of ammo, making him personally responsible for about three-quarters of all casualties at Omaha Beach, comparable in scale to 9/11 or the Iraq War. Nicknamed The Beast of Omaha
, today he says "I never wanted to be in the war. I never wanted to be in France. I never wanted to be in that bunker firing a machine gun. Thinking about it makes me want to throw up."
posted by stbalbach
on Jun 6, 2007 -
Huge gently floating bombs
made their way across the pacific below balloons
using the high altitude jet streams floated to the Americas during WWII. Kept secret for most of the war, you can read about their amazing history here.
posted by lee
on May 6, 2007 -
WANTED: The Limping Lady.
The Gestapo's poster read "She is one of the most valuable Allied agents in France and we must find and destroy her"
but Virginia Hall, who used a prosthetic limb after losing a leg years before in a hunting accident, eluded them and saved countless Allied lives while working as a spy during WWII. Additional biographical information, as well as the biographies of other famous female spies, at WWII Female Spies
(which has many outgoing links to other great informational resources about female spies in WWII).
posted by amyms
on Feb 21, 2007 -
'Films from the Homefront'
is a (new) collection of amateur documentaries, newsreels, government films, and home movies documenting life for the ordinary people in Britain during World War II, with background text descriptions/explication. Browse the themes
. The films are QT and wmv format. I found it both poignant and funny, for instance, seeing kids don gasmasks during air raid drills then attempt to continue writing in their lessons. [via Glasgow School of Art Library]
posted by peacay
on Feb 16, 2007 -
It will always be known as the "date which will live in infamy
," but this year - the 65th Anniversary - may mark the last time survivors can/will come together at the site
to pay their respects to the fallen and to shake hands with their former adversaries. Hawaii affiliate KHNL News 8 has already started
its 5-day long coverage
of the ceremonies, which culminate on the morning of the 7th and will feature a live web feed and a keynote adress given by Tom Brokaw
(@ 7:30am HST).
Some consequences of the attack inside...
posted by krippledkonscious
on Dec 4, 2006 -