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An Unforgivable Name

"'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 - 79 comments

 

An introduction to Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park: A WWII juggernaut. It decrypted German Enigma (try one!) and Japanese messages on an industrial scale in huts and blocks, 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]
posted by jwells on Jun 5, 2008 - 36 comments

See? Forts!

Britain's Maunsell Sea Forts [wiki] were built during WWII as part of the coastal defense system. They were decommissioned in the 1950's, but many of them remain in use for non-military purposes (this is arguably the most famous). Some great photos here. [previously on metafilter]
posted by dersins on Apr 25, 2008 - 13 comments

Typhoon Cobra

WWII. The Pacific. Three destroyers sunk, five carriers and three more destroyers heavily damaged [more inside]
posted by Rafaelloello on Apr 22, 2008 - 8 comments

War Relocation Authority Photographs of Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement, 1942-1945

The War Relocation Authority Photographs of Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement, 1942-1945 collection is a searchable online archive which "contains approximately 7000 photographs and 317 Kodachrome slides which have been arranged into 18 series" (quoted from the Scope and Content page). Links to photo series are under the Container Listing header. Alternatively, you can just browse through them all. [more inside]
posted by cog_nate on Apr 13, 2008 - 9 comments

You're a spared man, Charlie Brown

In 1943, over Allied bomb ravaged Germany, US pilot Charlie Brown's B-17 was badly damaged and straying further from friendly territory. Luftwaffe ace fighter pilot Franz Stigler pursued the bomber intending to shoot it down, but refrained when he saw the extent of the damage and directed Brown and his crew out of harm's way. The two pilots were reunited 46 years later. [via] [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Apr 10, 2008 - 71 comments

Red Foley's war effort.

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 - 20 comments

Insignia of Armed Forces in WW2

The Armed Forces of World War II, a flash presentation of rank insignia. The creator implies that it's a work in progress, but what I've clicked through seems pretty complete to me. Bonus Babylon 5 link on the left.
posted by adamdschneider on Mar 26, 2008 - 11 comments

I shot Saint-Exupéry down

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 - 36 comments

"I'm so grateful for getting shot out of the sky"

Stranded on the island of New Britain during WWII, Fred Hargesheimer was rescued by native islanders, who hid him for 8 months from occupying Japanese forces. Fred never forgot the kindness he received, and in 1960, he used his family's vacation money to return to the island to personally thank the people who saved him. Thus began a 48 year relationship between Hargesheimer and the people of New Britain. [more inside]
posted by The Light Fantastic on Mar 8, 2008 - 15 comments

It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving

"I ask forgiveness to all who felt betrayed." A Belgian writer has admitted that she made up her best-selling memoir and that she did not trek 1,900 miles as a child across Europe with a pack of wolves in search of her deported parents during World War II. More at Slate. Here's an excellent portal about feral children. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Mar 2, 2008 - 63 comments

The War Magician

"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 - 15 comments

The Amber Room found?

The Amber Room found? German treasure hunters using electromagnetic pulse measurements are "90% sure" the Russian "Eighth Wonder of the World" was buried by the Nazi's in a man-made cavern 20 meters underground near the village of Deutschneudorf (map), but it will take "..until Easter to get into the chamber because it may contain booby traps and has to be secured by explosives experts.. The chamber is likely to be part of a labyrinth of storage rooms that the Nazis built." Russia is eyeing its return, "If, hypothetically speaking, the room still exists."
posted by stbalbach on Feb 24, 2008 - 31 comments

"It was so peaceful a death, that I felt its reproduction would not be in bad taste. But there probably would be another school of thought on this."

Before a hill, a figure rests, his hands folded. His face retains a unsettling demeanor of peace, or contemplation. Whatever thoughts come to his mind at this point, we shall never know, for he shall never awake from his slumber. [via] [more inside]
posted by Smart Dalek on Feb 4, 2008 - 36 comments

Photo albums of German soldiers

Photo albums of German soldiers. Fully scanned photos from the personal albums of German soldiers from the Second World War and the years preceding it. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Feb 3, 2008 - 57 comments

Sitation Normal: All Fucked Up

Back in July 1994, a patrol of French blue helmets discovered, to their utter bemusement, a derelict Douglas C-47 "Dakota" in the midst of MiG carcasses in the Rajlovac airfield in Bosnia. They were intrigued enough to write down its serial number: Serial Nr. 43/15073 turned out to be a veteran of Normandy, Provence, Market Garden, the Bulge, and the Rhine. Now SNAFU Special is back in Normandy, where it is being restored to become a centerpiece of the Merville Battery Museum. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Feb 1, 2008 - 8 comments

So How Evil Were They?

"Third Reich to Fortune 500: Five Popular Brands the Nazis Gave Us." There are pictures and videos of kittens to soften the blow.
posted by beaucoupkevin on Jan 8, 2008 - 57 comments

Nellis AFB Air Show.

Wednesday morning plane pr0n.
posted by saladin on Dec 19, 2007 - 46 comments

The Last Battlefield

It has been called the Last Battlefield of World War II in Europe. [more inside]
posted by beagle on Dec 10, 2007 - 31 comments

Cry "Havoc!"and let slip the cats of war

Cats in Wartime on land, at sea, and memorialized. (With discussion of some of the most famous-- like Simon and Oscar.) Also, What Cats Know About War, previously on metafilter. [more inside]
posted by dersins on Dec 7, 2007 - 13 comments

"A single person can profoundly touch the lives of so many people."

"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 - 10 comments

Hiroshima (n'est pas) son amour

Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr (1915-2007) The commander of the B-29 plane Enola Gay that dropped the first atomic bomb, on Hiroshima in Japan in World War II, has died at the age of 92. Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr died at his home in Columbus, Ohio. The five-ton "Little Boy" bomb was dropped on the morning of 6 August 1945, killing about 140,000 Japanese. Many others died later. On the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima, the surviving members of the Enola Gay crew said: "The use of the atomic weapon was a necessary moment in history. We have no regrets".
posted by psmealey on Nov 1, 2007 - 115 comments

Bacterial marketing: the other Oskar Schindler

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]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 19, 2007 - 23 comments

WWII Interogators

Fort Hunt's Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII. After 60 years of silence, the World War II veterans who interrogated Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt are telling their story. [Via The Reality-Based Community.] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Oct 10, 2007 - 35 comments

"It's a ghost, and its spirit seems only to have grown."

Swamp Ghosts. 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 - 13 comments

When the pen, brush, and record were mightier than the sword

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 - 23 comments

A Monumental Achievement

"The “Monuments Men” [wiki] were a group of ... men and women from thirteen nations who comprised the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section during World War II....Together they worked to protect monuments and other cultural treasures from the destruction of World War II. ...They tracked, located, and ultimately returned more than 5 million artistic and cultural items stolen by Hitler and the Nazis. Their role in preserving cultural treasures was without precedent. "
posted by dersins on Sep 19, 2007 - 6 comments

Your random audio links of the day.

Today's post of tenuously related audio brings you ten historic radio broadcasts, 529 eternal questions in popular music, and one mildly amusing black metal band prank call.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Aug 29, 2007 - 11 comments

Concentration Camp Tarot Cards

Hand drawn Tarot Cards created by a Boris Kobe, a prisoner at Allach Concentration Camp, a sub-camp of Dachau. Each card depcits an aspect of life in the camp - click each image for high-res versions.
posted by jonson on Aug 25, 2007 - 34 comments

Dutch East Indies

Dutch East Indies. "After a wonderful youth in the Dutch East Indies, today Indonesia, my family and I went through three and a half years Japanese occupation. I lost my father, I lost the country I loved, I lost everything, but I kept my memories. ... So here I am, 79 years old, sitting behind my computer, going back to the Dutch East Indies."
posted by No-sword on Aug 16, 2007 - 31 comments

Hitler's record collection

Know who else liked tunes by "subhuman" Jewish and Russian musicians? That's right.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Aug 7, 2007 - 36 comments

“I study dead Jews”

"So much for “never again.” So the problem has obviously not disappeared."
Raul Hilberg (1926-2007, NYT obit) explains why he added a chapter on Rwanda to the last edition of The destruction of the European Jews, a work that took him a lifetime and 3 editions to complete, meeting with indifference, then with criticism from those who didn't share his (at the beginning) functionalist view of the Holocaust. Hilberg became involved in other controversies about the Holocaust, but "The Destruction..." remains the "the closest of any work in print to being the Summa of Holocaust studies" (Christopher Browning). Also: Hilberg intervied by Claude Lanzmann in "Shoah" (YT) (previously).
posted by elgilito on Aug 7, 2007 - 41 comments

Huge Collection of WWII Propaganda Posters

Huge Collection of WWII Propaganda Posters (Axis & Allied powers represented). Via.
posted by jonson on Aug 1, 2007 - 27 comments

The Beast of Omaha

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 - 127 comments

How I spent the war

How I spent the war. German writer and Nobel Prize winner, Günter Grass tells the story of his tour of duty in the Waffen S.S. (previously )
posted by afu on Jun 1, 2007 - 29 comments

Suicide Attack kaiten 回天

The Kaiten Memorial Museum on Otsushima Island, on the site of the original kaiten base. WWII Japanese suicide tactics included planes, boats, and suicide submarines. The submarine discovered recently near Sydney harbor was not such a craft, yet the pilots took their own lives rather than lead their pursuers to the I-class mother submarines nearby.
posted by acro on May 22, 2007 - 10 comments

Long live our Soviet Motherland, built by the people's mighty hand.

The Soviet Army fights its way into Berlin and then, in a Very Special Episode, Uncle Joe drops in for a visit.

warnings: YouTube; violence followed by extreme melodrama
posted by Mayor Curley on May 14, 2007 - 30 comments

Russia in photos: 1941-1945

Russia in photos: 1941-1945.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on May 11, 2007 - 32 comments

WWII Japanese Balloon Bombs

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 - 37 comments

Photos of Poverty and Rebuilding in Post-War Japan

The Walter Pennino Photo Collection of the Occupation of Japan. Eighty photographs of Japan under Allied occupation taken around 1948, from children enjoying a picture-card show, to fishermen, to repatriated soldiers. (Follow the "pic index" link on the front page to see the thumbnail images.)
posted by sudasana on May 4, 2007 - 14 comments

Flying in a Restored B-17

Flying in a Restored B-17. There is an active tour with the plane the Aluminum Overcast where you can be a passenger in this plane. Here is a blog entry from a woman whose father flew a B-17 in WWII. There are other Flying Fortresses in various stages of restoration.
posted by plinth on May 1, 2007 - 27 comments

defensive architecture

Between 1942 and 1944 the German military erected a gigantic defensive wall along the Atlantic coast, running from France to Norway: more than 12.000 concrete bunkers were built. What remains of the Atlantikwall in Normandy. The Atlantic Wall Linear Museum. The Atlantic Wall and D-Day.
posted by nickyskye on Apr 21, 2007 - 13 comments

World War II Glider Pilots; none had ever been before and probably none will ever be again; a hybrid breed like jackasses with no need to reproduce themselves...

Gliders spearheaded many major invasions and other operations in the European theatre of World War II, including the invasion of Normandy. I had no idea, but it turns out the House of Representatives recently passed a resolution honoring the glider pilots, and there's a Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock, TX. The World War II Glider Pilots Association site gives more background on the men, the planes, and the missions, as well as the memorable title quote. There's even a movie. [More Inside]
posted by Mister_A on Apr 18, 2007 - 27 comments

.

The Story (Mp3 - first part of 51 Min broadcast) Audio interview with Ok Sun Kim, one of the Korean "Comfort Women" pressed into sexual slavery by Japan during WWII. She was 16 when kidnapped, and raped the first night.
posted by edgeways on Apr 3, 2007 - 19 comments

"It was just six years of my life."

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 - 8 comments

Films from the Homefront

'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 - 4 comments

Can you hear me now?

LA6NCA's WW2 German Radio Collection Pictures and a little history on many WW2 German radios including a cute as a button spy radio and the Lichtsprechgerät 80, an incoherent light audio transceiver. Also featured are a few photo essays of the equipment in use (Enigma, Luftwaffe Signals unit redeploying). [dorian
posted by Mitheral on Feb 8, 2007 - 20 comments

Photos from Hiroshima

Photos from Hiroshima in August of 1945. Long supressed by the occupying U.S. forces, a highly unsettling (and decidedly NSFW) collection of photos from the days immediately after August 6th. Via.
posted by jonson on Feb 6, 2007 - 199 comments

Pre-WWII America in Color

Kodachrome color photographs of American life, dating from the 1930s, 40s, & 50s. Selections via DailyKos.
posted by ijoshua on Dec 7, 2006 - 12 comments

War Were Declared.

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 - 27 comments

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