The London Cage.
Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the most exclusive addresses in the world
. Between July 1940 and September 1948 three magnificent houses there were home to one of Great Britain'smost secret military establishments: the London office of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, known colloquially as the London Cage. It was run by MI19
, the section of the War Office responsible for gleaning information from enemy prisoners of war
, and few outside this organisation knew exactly what went on beyond the single barbed-wire fence that separated the three houses from the busy streets and grand parks of west London. The London Cage was used partly as a torture centre
, inside which large numbers of German officers and soldiers were subjected to systematic ill-treatment. In total 3,573 men passed through the Cage, and more than 1,000 were persuaded to give statements about war crimes. A number of German civilians joined the servicemen who were interrogated there up to 1948. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Nov 12, 2005 -
What is the difference between refugees and expelled persons? Refugees leave home and land for fear of what would happen to them, or they were driven out. Expellees are told to leave their home country, often immediately. Their added and deep trauma is broken trust
"Modern Wars and the Civilian Experience
as shown in my experience in World War II", by Greta Zybon
posted by PenguinBukkake
on Sep 17, 2005 -
The Emperor's Bunker. "The Japanese, with sadness and irony, stressed that Hirohito couldn't even speak properly. This was partly to do with the fact that he didn't have to speak - people spoke in his name and he was isolated from real life"
", the third part in Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov
's 'Men of Power' tetralogy
after the gloom of Moloch (1999)
, about Hitler and Eva Braun, and the despairing tones of "Taurus
, focused on the wheelchair-bound Lenin in his death throes, "The Sun" seems almost upbeat. This, after all, is a film about reconciliation. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Sep 13, 2005 -
Japanese Propaganda from WWII
I've seen & been fascinated by a fair amount of Allied propaganda from the second World War, including an exhibit at the Smithsonian a decade back, but this is the first bit of "enemy" propaganda I can remember running across. It's a pamphlet detailing Japan's plans for a better future. Another piece, "Farewell American Soldiers" piece which was leafleted to the troops is in English and is particularly chilling.
posted by jonson
on Aug 15, 2005 -
Atoning for World War II, 60 years later (and Japan should continue to do so)
It's no news regarding Japan's role during WWII. However, unlike Germany, Japan has yet to fully apologize and repair strained relations in Asia.
However, it is complete crap that U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer thinks that people should glaze over the atrocities in light of Japan's monetary donation. Let's not forget that the US benefitted from the medical experiments that were conducted by the Japanese and that in the fight against communism was willing to quickly establish an outpost and let bygones be bygones.
posted by dkhong
on Jul 30, 2005 -
"Now you fellows have lost all your ships. Now you really are orphans of the Pacific. How do you think you will ever get home?" Tokyo Rose
was the name given to any female propaganda broadcaster for the Japanese during WWII’s battle for the Pacific, but it has stuck most tightly to Iva Toguri D'Aquino
, an American who studied zoology at Berkeley and unwisely went to visit a relative in Japan in 1941 without a passport.
Her sultry voice was heard across the Pacific during her radio show “The Zero Hour,” which earned her about $7 per month. After the war, "Orphan Annie
" returned to the U.S., where she was tried for treason in the most expensive trial in history. Her story has been made into movies
, and as of 2003 she was running a store in Chicago. You can listen to her broadcasts
online and apparently even email her
posted by gottabefunky
on Jul 12, 2005 -
The Hidden History of the United Nations
: "The history told about the defeat of Nazism and the founding of the United Nations in the 1940s has become distorted. A false view of the past is being used today to shape how we think about our future. The military power of the victorious wartime allies is offered as a model for running the world, while the UN’s supposed utopianism is seen as ineffective and irrelevant. This is a travesty of the facts."
posted by jenleigh
on Jun 4, 2005 -
The making of a D-Day tradition...
I immediately get goosebumps
when I hear the score of Band of Brothers
...I'm not sure why, maybe it was my local connections (Dick Winters
, Bill Guanere
, Albert Blithe
, Babe Heffron
, Thomas Meehan
, Ralph Spina
, Harry Welsh
, and Robert Strayer
are all from Philadelphia), the surrounding suburbs, or Pennsylvania), or maybe it was because the original airings took place in the shadow of 9/11 (the premiere was September 9th, 2001, with the D-Day drop occuring in the second episode, Day of Days, on 9/16/2001), but this series will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. Everything is done so beautifully, from the special effects
, to the sound, the music
, to the dutiful translation from Stephen Ambrose book
to the screen. It's certainly worthy of the 9.5 out of 10 that IMDB readers
had given it. Every year now since, either HBO (On Demand - you have to subscribe to HBO plus have digital cable) or the History Channel
has played Tom Hanks'
and Steven Spielberg's
masterful WW2 epic. You can think of it as Saving Private Ryan, but 3 times as long. Even if war movies are not your thing, I can almost guarantee that they will see the human side of the soldier and becomely deeply invested in the characters. Follow the men of Easy Company from training and the running of Currahee, to the parachute jump on D-Day, through the liberation of Europe, the horror of a German concentration camp, and eventually to the end of the war, to Hitler's mountaintop retreat. I'm not the only one - check out the numerous fan sites to BoB (forum shorthand for Band of Brothers) here
, and here
, as well as entries on TVTome
, and Television without Pity
. If you want to try before you commit to watching the whole thing, I'd recommend the episodes Day of Days
, and the Breaking Point
posted by rzklkng
on Jun 4, 2005 -
Our Victory, Day by Day.
Russian news agency RIA Novosti counts down to the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, with songs, posters, photos, and stories. Be sure not to miss the first-person accounts in English (under "Frontline Album").
posted by gimonca
on Apr 9, 2005 -
The Edelweiss Pirates
- Not all German kids joined the Hitler Youth in the 1930's and 40's. A loosely-knit group of thousands of working-class
teenagers called the Edelweiss Pirates
existed in Cologne and nearby towns. Growing out of a youth hiking group
(rather than swing dancing
), they created their own anti-Nazi subculture through clothing and protest music. Many were arrested for tagging the city with anti-Nazi graffiti and working with the Underground--and they eventually killed the head of the Cologne Gestapo
in 1944. Orders to root them out came from Himmler himself, and some were hung
in the streets or killed in the camps. Their story is now being told in a film
playing at film festivals
around the world, including its European premiere in Berlin
a few weeks ago. But the surviving members' criminal records officially remain on the books in Germany.
posted by Asparagirl
on Mar 9, 2005 -
'American and Japanese images of kamikaze pilots differ greatly. This web site explores diverse portrayals and perceptions of the young men who carried out suicide attacks near the end of World War II.'
'When Japanese kamikaze pilots carried out their attacks between October 1944 and October 1945, Japanese and American people had opposite perspectives. Japanese people saw young smiling pilots as they waved goodbye. In contrast, American soldiers viewed death and destruction when the pilots' planes exploded upon crashing into their ships. These very different points of view continue to influence Japanese and American perceptions of kamikaze pilots even until today.'
posted by plep
on Mar 3, 2005 -
"... Giordano Bruno might have been a pantheist.
A pantheist believes that God is everywhere, even in that speck of a fly you see there. You can imagine how satisfying that is—being everywhere is like being nowhere. Well, for Hegel it wasn’t God but the State that had to be everywhere; therefore, he was a Fascist.”
“But didn’t he live more than a hundred years ago?”
“So? Joan of Arc, also a Fascist of the highest order. Fascists have always existed. Since the age of . . . since the age of God. Take God—a Fascist.”
in the New Yorker
posted by matteo
on Feb 28, 2005 -
is the history of a secret, independent US intelligence-gathering group which preceded (and outlasted) the OSS. Shuffled from Cabinet to Cabinet to the CIA, it eventually ran aground against the infighting of McCarthy's Red Scare hearings and was no more by 1955.
posted by trondant
on Feb 2, 2005 -
The mystery of Stefan Mart and the 'Tales of the Nations'.
"The Tales of Nations" was not an ordinary book that you could buy in a book store, and it's mysterious narrator/illustrator disappeared into the darkness of Hitler's Germany, seemingly without a trace. Learn the background, read the stories, and view all 150 fabulous colour illustrations — "small in size, but strong in expression, each a microcosm packed with action, each a feast for the eyes like a beautifully set jewel".
posted by taz
on Jan 9, 2005 -
Not to get all Pepsi Blue on your collective ass, but I have been luxuriating in the Proper box sets The Dawn Of Doo-Wop
) and Doo Wop Delights
(tracklist and discography
) and thought to construct a post around the topic of the original postwar--as World War II
--black harmony singing style, of which, as Greil Marcus notes in his Lipstick Traces
, there were 15,000 records recorded after World War II--a DIY phenomenom which he compares to rise of punk... (more inside, naturally)
posted by y2karl
on Nov 11, 2004 -
A Walk in the Woods. Farewell
to the original Cold War warrior
: Paul Nitze
, the college professor's son who went to Hotchkiss and Harvard and worked as investment banker before going to Washington in 1940, where he quickly became one of the chief architects of American policy towards the Soviet Union
. His doctrine of "strategic stability
" became its cornerstone for half a century (Nitze held key government posts in Washington, from the era of Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan's
, when he was the White House
on arms control
By the end of 1949, Nitze had become director of the State Department's policy planning staff, helping to devise the role of Nato, deciding to press ahead with the manufacture of the H-bomb, and producing National Security Council document 68
, the document at the heart of the Cold War
: in it, Nitze called for a drastic expansion of the U.S. military budget. The paper also expanded containment’s scope beyond the defense of major centers of industrial power to encompass the entire world. (NSC-68 was a top secret paper, written in April 1950 and declassified in the 70's, called "United States Objectives and Programs for National Security").
posted by matteo
on Oct 22, 2004 -
"Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear."
He is one
's great novelists
, but you don't expect Philip Roth
to be barreling up the best-seller list with a book that hasn't even been published yet
. And yet "The Plot Against America
" is in the top 3 at amazon.com
It spins a what-if scenario
in which the isolationist and anti-Semitic hero Charles Lindbergh
runs for president as a Republican in 1940 and defeats F.D.R.
"Keep America Out of the Jewish War", reads a button worn by Lindbergh supporters rallying at Madison Square Garden. And so he does: he signs nonaggression pacts
with Germany and Japan that will keep America at peace while the rest of the world burns. The Lindbergh administration hatches a nice plan to prod assimilation of the Jews. Innocuously called Just Folks, it's a relocation program for urban Jews, administered by an Office of American Absorption fronted by an obliging and pompous rabbi of radio celebrity. The teenage Roth character is shipped off to a Kentucky tobacco farm, to finally live among Christians.
is about American Fascism
, but while Roth is no fan of President Bush ("a man unfit to run a hardware store let alone a nation like this one"), he points out that he conceived this book (LATimes registration: sparklebottom/sparklebottom)
in December 2000, and that it would be "a mistake" to read it "as a roman à clef to the present moment in America." (more inside)
posted by matteo
on Sep 28, 2004 -
The Pacific Wrecks Database
is an impressive collection of information about lost and found WWII wrecks in the Pacific. The site is a little hard to navigate (I suggest using the past news archives and the direct links in the description slug on the first page, rather than the drop-down menu,) but the content is worth the trouble. Essays from veterans, discovery tales, photographs, maps, and more await.
posted by headspace
on Sep 10, 2004 -
Munich Bans Memorial Plaques
Munich has decided to ban memorial plaques to Jewish, Sinti and German citizens deported and murdered during World War Two. Jewish leaders, fearful that the plaques would stir up anti-Semitic fervor, supported the ban.
These plaques are the work of a German artist, Gunter Demnig
”He first had the idea in the early 1990s when he was unveiling a memorial for the Sinti and Roma victims of the Holocaust.
“An elderly woman approached him and insisted that "no Gypsies ever lived here". "It is so easy for people to deny something. I wanted to ensure that this would not happen," he says. (BBC).”
This reminder of the holocaust brought to mind the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague
, as well as the Viet Nam Memorial
and the AIDS quilt
-- monuments that really changed me.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk
on Aug 14, 2004 -