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World War II


  • Originally published 06/13/2014

    The Forgotten Fight Against Fascism

    Today's students deserve more than a few textbook paragraphs describing the fight against fascism before 1939 while the governments of the United States, England, and France encouraged its aggressions.

  • Originally published 06/05/2014

    D-Day 70 Years Later

    “I am buoyed up and ready to give everything I have to my country in this capacity.”

  • Originally published 05/23/2014

    What is There About D-Day that We Don’t Know?

    For most Americans, the story of D-Day, the largest and most consequential amphibious landing in history, begins and ends with the assault on Omaha Beach. But there's more.

  • Originally published 05/01/2014

    WWII POWs finally recognized as heroes

    The Air Force has finally recognized the sacrifice of fliers who ooh refuge in Switzerland when their planes ran into trouble during WW II.

  • Originally published 04/27/2014

    Mahmoud Abbas Shifts on Holocaust

    President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority issued a formal statement on Sunday calling the Holocaust “the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era.”

  • Originally published 04/07/2014

    How FDR prepared for a war he thought might be inevitable

    "From Monday, December 1, through Thursday, December 4, new Magic intercepts conveyed Tokyo’s instructions to its diplomatic representatives in London, Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, Washington, and various Chinese cities to destroy their codes and other publications."

  • Originally published 03/11/2014

    Revisiting a Scholar Unmasked by Scandal

    Yale literay theorist Paul de Man, one of deconstructionist theory's earliest proponents, turned out to be a collaborator, swindler, forger, bigamist, and deceiver, according to a new biography.

  • Originally published 02/27/2014

    Remembering Japan's kamikaze pilots

    Japan hopes to immortalise its kamikaze pilots - a squad of young men who crashed their aircraft into Allied ships in World War Two - by seeking Unesco World Heritage status for a collection of their letters.

  • Originally published 01/21/2014

    The Minnesota starvation experiment

    Young conscientious objectors during WWII were starved for six months to help experts decide how to treat victims of mass starvation in Europe.

  • Originally published 11/12/2013

    Did the Nazis steal the Mona Lisa?

    The extraordinary tale of the Nazi art thieves believed to have stashed the world's most famous painting in an alpine salt mine.

  • Originally published 11/07/2013

    The Nazi Anatomists

    How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science—and American abortion politics.

  • Originally published 10/25/2013

    Handmaidens of Genocide

    "Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields" is a shocking reading experience.

  • Originally published 10/23/2013

    Radiant 180 29 2 A tragic tale of romance gone radioactive.

    Slate Magazine features cartoon artists capturing Hollywood films.  This week features a cartoonist drawing the tale of Radium Girls, women during World War II who contracted radium poisoning while painting glow-in-the-dark watch dials.

  • Originally published 10/04/2013

    My Nazi grandfather, Amon Goeth, Would Have Shot Me

    Jennifer Teege was shocked to discover her grandfather was a Nazi concentration camp commandant. Her mother never told her, and as a child she never knew her father - a Nigerian student with whom her mother had a brief affair. This is her story.

  • Originally published 09/21/2013

    'History Makers' to Visit 2 IPS High Schools

    History Makers, the United Sates' largest African American video oral history collection, sends community leaders to visit schools in cities like Indianapolis in order to make history both inspiring and more approachable for high school students.

  • Originally published 08/21/2013

    George Orwell’s letters fill out a complex personality

    In a life that was relatively brief but exceedingly active, George Orwell was, among other things, a police officer in Burma, a dishwasher in France, a tramp in England, a combatant in Spain, a war correspondent in Germany and a farmer in the Hebrides. Like many people of his era — he was born in 1903 and died in 1950 — he was also a prolific letter writer, and a particularly captivating and thoughtful one at that, thanks partly to the wealth of experience he had acquired.“George Orwell: A Life in Letters” is a judiciously chosen selection of some of the most interesting of these casual writings, from a 20-year period that included both the Great Depression and World War II. Peter Davison, who selected and annotated the letters, was also the lead editor of Orwell’s 20-volume “Complete Works” and has sought here to distill Orwell’s essence, as man and thinker, into a more manageable size and format.

  • Originally published 08/20/2013

    Warsaw Uprising brought to life in film

    ...The scenes are as riveting as any Hollywood war movie. But they are snippets of historical footage from the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, enhanced by modern coloring and sound techniques — and turned into a film.The only purely fictional elements are voiceovers presenting an imagined narrative that stitches together the footage: Two brothers scour the streets of the Polish city tasked with filming the 1944 rebellion of Warsaw residents against their Nazi occupiers, commenting on what they witness, from soup kitchens to scenes of destruction.It makes for a mesmerizing account of the fierce house-to-house fighting against the German army that began on Aug. 1 and ended 63 days later with the insurgents surrendering, following the deaths of some 200,000 rebels and residents. “Warsaw Rising” is cobbled together from black-and-white silent footage of crews that the Polish resistance Home Army sent fanning through the city to chronicle the uprising. Cinematographers hired by the Warsaw Rising Museum added coloration and sound that give a real-life feel, while modern editing techniques provide a polished, fast-paced narrative....

  • Originally published 08/18/2013

    Steel maker to pay if Korean ruling upheld

    Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. will comply if the South Korean Supreme Court upholds a ruling ordering it to pay 400 million won (about ¥35 million) to compensate four Koreans who were for forced to work for its predecessors during the war, company sources said Sunday.The Seoul High Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on July 10, marking in the first judgment by a South Korean court ordering a Japanese firm to pay in a case involving postwar reparations.After appealing the ruling, however, NSSMC has apparently changed its mind.“We, as a global company, can’t help but accept (the ruling),” one of the sources said, hinting that failure to comply might lead to seizure of the company’s assets in South Korea....

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    U.S. veteran wants to return war 'souvenirs' to Japanese families

    AURORA, Illinois--At the age of 92, Kenneth Udstad felt a sense of guilt for his actions of nearly 70 years ago.Now, the U.S. veteran of World War II wants to return the items he took from dead Japanese soldiers and Japanese civilian homes on the Northern Mariana Islands of Saipan and Tinian.Udstad served in the 4th Marine Division and was in charge of supplying ammunition and fuel for tanks. In the summer of 1944, he landed on Saipan for heavy fighting against the Imperial Japanese Army and Japanese civilians rounded up for the battle....

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Wartime maps of Japanese cities damaged by Allied bombers on exhibit for first time

    Maps of Japanese cities that were devastated by Allied air raids during World War II are currently on display at the National Archives of Japan in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward.Covering 131 municipalities stretching from northern Hokkaido to southern Kagoshima Prefecture, most of the maps are being shown to the public for the first time.The maps were completed in December 1945 to provide information to military personnel, as well as civilian workers for the military, on their way home from overseas battlefields. Records show the maps were displayed in ships bringing back demobilized soldiers to Japan, according to officials....

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Abe to skip visit to Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15

    To prevent relations with China and South Korea from further deteriorating, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided not to visit Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15, the date marking the end of World War II, sources said.Instead, Abe will make a personal monetary offering in his position as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to the shrine, which memorializes Japan’s war dead along with 14 Class-A war criminals, according to the sources.Abe has been forced into a delicate balancing act concerning Yasukuni Shrine.The prime minister has been repeatedly asked about his plans for Aug. 15. His usual reply has been: “Because the very question of whether I visit the shrine will by itself become a political and diplomatic issue, I will not say whether or not I will visit.”...

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Korean’s war brothel diaries offer new details

    SEOUL – The diaries of a Korean man who worked in wartime brothels for Japanese soldiers in Burma and Singapore during World War II have been found in South Korea.Researchers believe the diaries, the first ever found that were written by someone who worked at a “comfort station,” are authentic and provide actual details of the brothels and the lives of “comfort women.”They also show that the Imperial Japanese Army was involved in the management of the facilities, which the Japanese government acknowledged in a 1993 statement by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono....

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Papers that pushed for Pacific War revisited

    The key was lost and the safe remained locked for 22 years after the 1989 death of its owner, former Lt. Gen. Teiichi Suzuki of the Imperial Japanese Army, who had been the last surviving Class-A war criminal of World War II.Suzuki, who died at the age of 100 in Shibayama, Chiba Prefecture, was among key Cabinet members when Japan started the Pacific War with the Dec. 7, 1941, surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.Two years ago, Suzuki’s relatives had NHK open the safe. Inside were diaries, notebooks and other documents, including a 16-page typed manuscript that the general had read out in front of Emperor Hirohito and national leaders at an Imperial Conference on Nov. 5, 1941, to detail Japan’s logistical strengths.Suzuki, who headed the Planning Board, a government body in charge of allocating resources for the army, navy and civilians, concluded that Japan, which was already at war in China, would be able to still wage war against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands....

  • Originally published 08/14/2013

    James Dawes: Why Do People Commit Atrocities? (INTERVIEW)

    A Japanese soldier poses with the head of a Chinese prisoner.The human capacity to injure other people is very great precisely because our capacity to imagine other people is very small.--Elizabeth Scarry, For Love of Country?Most Americans know little of Japanese war crimes perpetrated in China during the Second World War. In the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Japanese troops tortured, raped and murdered Chinese men, women and children, as Japanese scientists conducted horrific medical procedures on living human subjects at facilities such as the notorious Unit 731, a covert research center for biological and chemical experimentation in northeast China.

  • Originally published 08/14/2013

    Ex-Korean war criminal seeking compensation, apology from Japanese government

    Once sentenced to death for war crimes against POWs, Lee Hak-lae was later spared the gallows and is now on a mission of passing on the sorrow of his colleagues who died as war criminals after being forced to work for Japan during World War II.Lee recently braved the withering summer heat, despite his advanced age, to continue spreading their message as organizer of a Korean POW guards' group seeking an apology and compensation from the Japanese government."I do not want the money," Lee, 88, said. "When the people of my homeland were celebrating their liberation from Japanese colonial rule, my colleagues died in execution chambers in a foreign land. Why did they have to die? Who did they die for? It is my mission, as someone who just happened to survive, to clear away the chagrin felt by my friends."...

  • Originally published 08/13/2013

    Oliver Stone to Japan: Apologize for WWII war crimes

    Film director Oliver Stone, who is no stranger to controversy, turned from his sharp attacks on the U.S. for the atomic bombings of Japan to criticize his hosts over their attitude to China and other Asian neighbors.In a speech to foreign correspondents in Tokyo, Mr. Stone said that Japan needs to more completely apologize for its wartime acts, and said it should also resist a shift to relying on military might to deal with security challenges posed by its neighbors such as China and North Korea.Japan’s leaders have expressed “deep remorse” over the physical damage and psychological pain the country has inflicted on other Asian countries, but repeated visits by cabinet ministers to a controversial war shrine in Tokyo and growing talk of revising the nation’s peace constitution have made other countries skeptical about the intention of these remarks....

  • Originally published 08/09/2013

    United States ≠ Soviet Union ≠ Nazi Germany

    Credit: LIFE magazine.Ronald Radosh’s riposte to Diana West fantasies about Soviet control over American foreign and military policy during World War II is most welcome and very well done. It is depressing that West’s nonsense finds some fans. Yet error and Radosh’s convincing criticism draws welcome attention to the complexity of World War II and of the alliance of the Western democracies with the Soviet Union. Winston Churchill, who as much as any one person saved Western civilization in 1940 and 1941, put it best. When asked how he, whose political career was bound up with anticommunism since he advocated armed intervention to overthrow the new Bolshevik regime in 1917-1918, could support an alliance with Stalin he famously replied: “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would rise in the House of Commons to make a speech in favor of the devil.” In 1941, Hitler invaded the Hell of Stalin’s Russia and Churchill made a remarkable speech on the BBC to offer an alliance with the previous Soviet foe.

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Dozens of UK WWII vets denied Bomber Command clasp

    Second World War bomber veterans are calling for the Bomber Command clasp to be extended to dozens of surviving aircrew who risked their lives on raids in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Far East.After years of campaigning by veterans, the Government announced in February that the Bomber Command Clasp would be awarded to aircrew in recognition of their bravery and service.But aircrew who undertook perilous bombing raids over Italy, Africa, the Middle East and the Far East have been told they are not eligible for the new award, which only applies to those who flew with Bomber Command over Western Europe.The Bomber Command Association has now backed the veterans and an MP is calling for the Ministry of Defence to reconsider the qualifying rules for the decoration....

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Ofcom urged to stop Bauer's radio takeover due to 'Nazi magazine'

    Ofcom has been drawn into the controversy over Bauer Media's publication of the German magazine Der Landser, which has been accused of whitewashing the history of the Waffen-SS, the Nazi party's armed wing.A letter has been sent to the broadcasting regulator by the media banker and analyst Bruce Fireman contesting Bauer's acquisition of Absolute Radio (formerly Virgin Radio) from the group that owns the Times Of India.Fireman contends that Ofcom should refuse permission for Bauer's takeover on the grounds that the company is not a fit and proper person, under terms of the broadcasting acts, to hold a broadcasting licence.He has set out his reasons in an online article headlined Nazi sympathisers allowed to run UK radio stations? It includes his full letter to Ofcom....

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Disclosure of WWII leak probe "labor of love"

    WASHINGTON—The Justice Department’s World War II effort to punish Chicago Tribune journalists for disclosing naval intelligence was known in 1942.But the legal analysis behind it, as reported by The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, remained secret until last month, when the Obama administration released a selection of historic opinions dating from the 1930s to the 1970s prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel and its predecessors.“For us, this volume was truly a labor of love and respect for the history, traditions, and people of this Office and the Department of Justice,” Assistant Attorney General Virginia Seitz and staff attorney Nathan Forrester, who edited the selection, write in the foreword....

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Yasukuni watch: Who’s going, who’s not, who won’t say

    With just a week to go until Aug. 15, the 68th anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender, local media have gone on full Yasukuni alert, trying to predict which Cabinet ministers will be heading to the controversial shrine to pay their respects to the country’s war dead.This annual media circus on an otherwise a solemn day of remembrance is likely to take on an added significance for Japan this year, as China and South Korea increasingly view visits to the shrine as a measure of hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s commitment–or lack thereof–to face up to Japan’s wartime history.The Shinto shrine located in central Tokyo honors over two million war dead, including numerous convicted war criminals.Virtually all of Mr. Abe’s Cabinet ministers were asked about their schedules for next Thursday during their respective post-Cabinet meeting press conferences....

  • Originally published 08/07/2013

    WWII tanks roll in western France ... again

    SAUMUR, France – On a quiet Friday afternoon in western France, German Panzer tanks rolled out at a quick pace. They didn’t go unchallenged. They were met by British Stuart and American Sherman tanks, as well as some impressive armored vehicles that once packed plenty of firepower.That isn’t a description of a battle that happened 70 years ago, but of a mock battle that went down here on Friday and Saturday. It was a part of the annual two-day Carrousel de Saumur, the highlight of which was a 45-minute demonstration of tanks and armored vehicles on the big field at Ecoles Militaires de Saumur.... [Pics follow in original story]

  • Originally published 08/07/2013

    Brompton Road Underground tube bunker for sale

    Brompton Road tube station is one of London’s abandoned underground stations which went on to play a critical role in the Second World War as the command bunker for the capital’s anti-aircraft defences.Now the ghost tube station is being sold off after decades in the hands of the Ministry of Defence.Situated in the heart of Kensington, a short walk from Harrods, the building and its tunnels beneath are expected to fetch more than £20 million when they go on the market next month.“It will need quite a bit of work. There’s no power and there’s been no one down here full time for 60 years,” said Julian Chafer, an MoD property surveyor, as he showed the Telegraph through the abandoned tunnels and lift shafts....

  • Originally published 08/06/2013

    Why (and How) FDR Ran for His Third Term

    Credit: Flickr.Throughout American history presidents have brought very different decision-making styles to the White House. George W. Bush once said he was not a “textbook player” when it came to decisions but rather a “gut player,” while Barack Obama has said he makes decisions “based on information and not emotion.” One observer has described our current president’s style as “defiantly deliberative, methodical and measured.” But Franklin D. Roosevelt was in another class altogether when it came to decision-making, and never was this more evident than when the famously social but obsessively secretive president considered whether to run for an unprecedented third term in 1940.

  • Originally published 08/03/2013

    Japan’s finance minister retracts statement on Nazis

    TOKYO — Japan’s finance minister on Thursday publicly retracted comments he made this week that appeared to call on Japan’s current conservative government to emulate Hitler’s takeover of prewar Germany. The gaffe underscored the potential for disputes over Japan’s own wartime history to derail its popular prime minister, Shinzo Abe.The finance minister, Taro Aso, insisted that his comments on Monday, in which he seemed to say that Japan should learn how the Nazi party quietly rewrote Germany’s Constitution, were taken out of context. Faced with growing criticism in Japan and abroad, he countered that he had never meant to praise the Nazis. He said he had hoped to prompt debate in Japan over whether to change its current pacifist Constitution to allow a full-fledged military, as many conservatives now seek.

  • Originally published 07/31/2013

    Germany still burying Eastern Front dead from WWII

    Germany will open its last big war cemetery in Russia on Saturday, marking the culmination of a huge effort to recover Wehrmacht soldiers killed on its Eastern Front in World War II.By the end of this year, the German war graves commission will have found and reburied a total of 800,000 soldiers in Eastern Europe and Russia since 1992, when the former Eastern bloc countries began helping Germany retrieve the remains of missing soldiers following the end of the Cold War.On Saturday, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière will hold a speech at the inauguration of the new war cemetery at the town of Dukhovschina, near the city of Smolensk in western Russia.....

  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    Detroit-area plant where Rosie the Riveter worked facing demolition

    YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, MICH.—The Detroit-area factory where Rosie the Riveter showed that a woman could do a “man’s work” by building Second World War-era bombers, making her an enduring symbol of American female empowerment, will be demolished if money can’t be found to save it.The Willow Run Bomber Plant, a 135-hectare former Ford Motor Co. factory west of Detroit that churned out nearly 9,000 B-24 Liberator bombers during the Second World War, is slated to be torn down unless a group can raise $3.5 million by Thursday to convert at least some of the structure into a new, expanded home for the nearby Yankee Air Museum.“The younger generation needs to know what people went through and be able to go and see what they did and how they did it for our country,” Larry Doe, a 70-year-old Ypsilanti Township resident who has given to the cause, said recently before joining other donors for a trip on a B-17....

  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    'Paradogs' lured with meat out of aircraft behind enemy lines in WWII

    Lance Corporal Ken Bailey was asked to train up the “paradogs” so they could be used as the “eyes and ears” of the soldiers on the ground.The dogs, which would be given minimal food and water before the jump, were being prepared to parachute into Normandy for D-Day landing and would freeze if they heard a sound.They were also trained to become familiar with loud noises and smells such as cordite, the explosive powder.Their handlers would carry a piece of meat in their pockets on the aircraft so as they parachuted out the “paradogs” would jump out after them.The documents written by L/Cpl Bailey, who served in the 13th (Lancashire) Parachute Battalion and was from Liverpool, were discovered by Andrew Woolhouse, who spent five years researching his book....

  • Originally published 07/29/2013

    German magazine "Der Landser" criticized over historical views

    FRANKFURT — The Waffen-SS is widely seen as one of the main perpetrators of the Holocaust, but not in the pages of Der Landser, a weekly German pulp magazine.In one recent issue, members of the feared World War II military unit were portrayed as just a bunch of good-natured soldiers doing their jobs and, between battles, sharing rounds of local plonk with Greek villagers grateful to have been invaded. “We conquered them, and they’re still a friendly folk,” remarked one member of the squad, which belonged to Hitler’s personal bodyguard.

  • Originally published 07/29/2013

    USS Indianapolis sinking: 'You could see sharks circling'

    When USS Indianapolis was hit by Japanese torpedoes in the final weeks of WWII, hundreds of crewmen jumped into the water to escape the burning ship. Surrounded by sharks, they waited for a response to their SOS. But no one had been sent to look for them.In late July 1945, USS Indianapolis had been on a special secret mission, delivering parts of the first atomic bomb to the Pacific Island of Tinian where American B-29 bombers were based. Its job done, the warship, with 1,197 men on board, was sailing west towards Leyte in the Philippines when it was attacked.The first torpedo struck, without warning, just after midnight on 30 July 1945. A 19-year-old seaman, Loel Dean Cox, was on duty on the bridge. Now 87, he recalls the moment when the torpedo hit."Whoom. Up in the air I went. There was water, debris, fire, everything just coming up and we were 81ft (25m) from the water line. It was a tremendous explosion. Then, about the time I got to my knees, another one hit. Whoom."...

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    Dutch fisherman catches Panzerfaust

    If you want to go fishing in Germany, you had better watch what you put on your hook. It's a lesson that a Dutch tourist learned on Sunday when, instead of using bait, he decided to try using a magnet.His fresh catch was probably more than he bargained for. The fisherman reeled in a World War II-era Panzerfaust anti-tank shell in a shallow stream in Seifhennersdorf in the eastern state of Saxony....

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    Alan Turing to be pardoned for gay conviction

    Alan Turing, the World War Two code breaker who later killed himself after receiving a criminal conviction for his homosexuality, looks set to be pardoned.The Government said it would not stand in the way of legislation to offer a full Parliamentary pardon for Turing, who helped Britain to win the Second World War as a skilled code-breaker.Until now, the Government has resisted using the Royal Prerogative to pardon Turing for his conviction for gross indecency in 1952 because he was a homosexual.Ministers had argued that because Turing was convicted of what was at the time a criminal offence, it is not possible to hand him a full posthumous pardon....

  • Originally published 07/14/2013

    Century-old photos pose a war puzzle

    Intriguing photographs have surfaced of a young woman wearing the uniform of a New Zealand military officer in the Somme region of northern France where the horrendous battle of World War I was fought.Her identity is not known. In one of four photographs which are almost 100 years old, the woman, wearing the distinctive "lemon-squeezer" New Zealand military hat, salutes while holding a cane in front of a tree in a walled garden. In contrast with the usual battlefield pictures, she is standing in a relaxed setting outside a house with shuttered windows.The woman, who wears a wedding ring, is shown both in uniform and wearing a blouse and skirt, in the four grainy black and white glass negatives found in the village of Hallencourt, which was a base behind the lines during the 1916 battle....

  • Originally published 07/10/2013

    In Portugal, a protector of a people is honored

    CABANAS DE VIRIATO, Portugal — Lee Sterling knew that his sister had not survived the harrowing journey 73 years ago that allowed him and his parents to escape Nazism by traveling from their home in Brussels to Lisbon and eventually on to New York.He was just 4 years old and is barely able to recall her now, but after consulting Portuguese archives, he found that his sister, Raymonde Estelle, had spent six weeks in a hospital before dying of septicemia, at age 7. “I hadn’t cried in years, but when I found out, I just couldn’t stop,” he said.Mr. Sterling, who lives in California, was among 40 people who made an emotional pilgrimage last month to retrace their families’ pasts. They also wanted to pay homage to the man who saved their lives: Aristides de Sousa Mendes....

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    How Ian Fleming Masterminded the Invasion of Sicily

    The job of coming up with a deception plan fell to a small inter-departmental intelligence team, the Twenty Committee, which specialized in producing double agents (The Twenty Committee was often identified by the symbols XX, standing for double cross).

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    War heroes laid to rest 70 years after their plane went down

    The crew of a British Second World War bomber that was shot down over Italy are to be laid to rest almost 70 years after they went missing in action.Six months after Warrant Officer John Hunt failed to return from a bombing raid over northern Italy in the last days of the Second World War, his mother sent a letter to the military authorities pleading for information about her missing son.Jeanette Madge wrote that the months since she had received the telegram notifying her he had not returned from the mission had been “just hell, waiting for something to come through” adding “please let me know if he is alright or if he is gone”....

  • Originally published 07/03/2013

    Devil's Brigade granted top U.S. honours

    They came with kilts and bagpipes, among other Canadian military accoutrements. And now the members of the top-secret World War II unit the Devil's Brigade are leaving with something altogether astonishing -- a Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest honours the United States can bestow.Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer hailed the news in Washington today after both houses of Congress, in a rare show of bipartisanship, found two-thirds majorities required to grant the medal."We are grateful that the U.S. Congress has recognized the brave accomplishments of the First Special Service Force in World War II," Doer said in a statement."The Devil's Brigade were the first of their kind, and the legacy of bilateral defense cooperation that they inspired continues between our two countries to this day."...

  • Originally published 07/01/2013

    Manhattan Project park clears hurdle

    The campaign to create a national park dedicated to the once-top-secret Manhattan Project is moving through Congress, but supporters aren’t ready to declare victory just yet.“It is by no means a fait accompli,” says Nancy Tinker, senior field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.Still it’s the closest the park has come yet to being a done deal.The U.S. House approved in June the $552.1 billion defense authorization bill, which included funds to establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, which would include sites in Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, N.M., and Hanford, Wash....

  • Originally published 07/01/2013

    James Dawes: Understanding Why People Commit War Crimes

    James Dawes is a professor of English at Macalester College and director of its Program in Human Rights and Humanitarianism. He is the author, most recently, of Evil Men, just published by Harvard University Press.The man sitting in front of me is a mass murderer. He is a serial rapist and a torturer. We are chatting about the weather, his family, his childhood. We are sharing drinks and exchanging gifts. The man is in his 80s now, frail and harmless, even charming. Instinctively I like him. It is hard for me to connect him to the monster he was so many decades ago. I think it must be hard for him, too.I am visiting with him now because I have spent too many years interviewing survivors of war crimes and human-rights workers and wondering: What kind of person could have committed those heinous acts? I want to know. So I am internally preparing myself, during the smiling pleasantries of our introduction, to ask.When we start talking about his war crimes, we might as well be talking about a figure from a history textbook, for all the emotion we show. If we were on a television program and you were watching us with the mute button pressed, you would imagine I was asking about his grandchildren. Instead I am asking about how he murdered other people's grandchildren.

  • Originally published 06/21/2013

    Italian praised for saving Jews now seen as Nazi collaborator

    He has been called the Italian Schindler, credited with helping to save 5,000 Jews during the Holocaust. Giovanni Palatucci, a wartime police official, has been honored in Israel, in New York and in Italy, where squares and promenades have been named in his honor, and in the Vatican, where Pope John Paul II declared him a martyr, a step toward potential sainthood.But at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the tale of his heroic exploits is being removed from an exhibition after officials there learned of new evidence suggesting that, far from being a hero, he was an enthusiastic Nazi collaborator involved in the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz.A letter sent this month to the museum’s director by the Centro Primo Levi at the Center for Jewish History in New York stated that a research panel of more than a dozen scholars who reviewed nearly 700 documents concluded that for six years, Palatucci was “a willing executor of the racial legislation and — after taking the oath to Mussolini’s Social Republic, collaborated with the Nazis.”...

  • Originally published 06/21/2013

    Audie Murphy, a Texas hero still missing one medal

    Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated soldiers of World War II, was awarded almost every ribbon and medal available. His name can be found on a commemorative postage stamp, a veterans’ hospital and even the Hollywood Walk of Fame.But Mr. Murphy’s home state has never bestowed its highest military award, the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor. And for the second time in two years, an effort to give him one has fizzled.Now family members and supporters are wondering if Mr. Murphy, who died in 1971, has been forgotten, along with other war veterans from what has been called the greatest generation.“I’m disappointed,” said Nadine Murphy Lokey, 82, Mr. Murphy’s only surviving sibling. “I think they had him in the history books at one time, but they’ve taken him out,” she said. If students do not learn about him “and people don’t talk about him, well, they forget.”...

  • Originally published 06/18/2013

    Hungarian indicted for Nazi-era war crimes

    BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungarian prosecutors indicted a 98-year-old former police officer Tuesday for abusing Jews and assisting in their deportation to Nazi death camps during World War II.They said Laszlo Csatary was the chief of an internment camp for 12,000 Jews at a brick factory in Kosice – a Slovak city then part of Hungary – in May 1944, and that he beat them with his bare hands and a dog whip.He also allegedly refused to allow ventilation holes to be cut into the walls of a railcar crammed with 80 Jews being deported.With his actions, Csatary "willfully assisted in the unlawful execution and torture of the Jews deported from (Kosice) to concentration camps in territories occupied by the Germans," the prosecution said in a statement....

  • Originally published 06/18/2013

    Oxford historian sheds light on China in WWII

    The China theater of World War II is sometimes forgotten today in the West. But one historian aims to change that, Andrew Moody in Oxford reports.Rana Mitter is determined to shed light on what is often seen in the West - although clearly not in China - as the forgotten war.Despite killing up to 20 million people, including many savagely such as in the infamous Nanjing Massacre, and creating between 80 and 100 million refugees, China's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) is often treated as a World War II sideshow."I thought it was one of the great untold stories of the 20th century and certainly the World War II period," he says....

  • Originally published 06/11/2013

    Eva Braun's letters discovered

    The last words of Eva Braun, Hitler’s long time mistress and wife of a few hours, charting her fear of their certain death, have been discovered....The letters are thought to have been written by Braun to her friend Herta Schneider.Third Reich expert Anna Maria Sigmund insists the letters are genuine and were shown to her by descendants of Schneider.She has published the series of letters in a book called The Women of the Nazis, and told the Daily Mail: “I have no doubt the letters are genuine and Eva Braun has typed them, correcting her faults by hand....

  • Originally published 06/10/2013

    FDR’s Alter Ego: Interview with Historian David L. Roll on Harry Hopkins

    Harry Hopkins as secretary of commerce. Credit: Wiki Commons.During the war years Hopkins would become the only person in the U.S. government other than the president to thoroughly understand the interrelationships of war, diplomacy, politics, economics, and logistics.--David L. Roll, The Hopkins Touch

  • Originally published 06/07/2013

    Oral histories of war vets by LC

    Thursday is the 69th anniversary of D-Day, when U.S. forces stormed the shores of Normandy during World War II.A project aims to save American military history. They are just a few of the thousands of stories of America's war veterans being preserved by the Library of Congress."'So don't fret and tell pa not to get hysterical. Love Butch,'" said Bob Patrick as he read aloud from a letter.It's called The Veterans History Project, and Patrick is the director."We're not trying to recreate history or rewrite history or disprove history," said Patrick. "Really, what that experience was like for those who go off to war and most importantly at the end, what did it all mean to them."...

  • Originally published 06/06/2013

    Mary Louise Roberts documents GI conduct in WWII France

    On June 6, 1944, a massive military force arrived on the beaches of Normandy in a surprise invasion intended to overthrow Nazi Germany. The story of brave Allied forces splashing ashore under heavy fire has been immortalized in novels, memoirs, documentary films, and blockbuster movies — with American GIs cast as the unequivocal heroes of the day.A famous photo circulating the globe at the time summed things up: a happy GI embraced by ecstatic French girls.But that photo also illuminates a darker side of the story, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison History Professor Mary Louise Roberts. In her new book, "What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France," Roberts writes that while heroism abounded during liberation, for some Allied troops, command of geographical territory meant command of sexual territory, as well. As they entered and occupied the port towns of Le Havre, Reims, Cherbourg and Marseilles, many soldiers took what they wanted — when and where they wanted — from the French female population....

  • Originally published 06/03/2013

    NJ's Frank Lautenberg dead at 89, last WWII vet in Senate

    Frank R. Lautenberg, a long-serving lawmaker, successful businessman and the last actively serving veteran of World War II in the U.S. Senate, is dead at age 89 due to complications from viral pneumonia.The Senator's office released a statement with news of his passing Monday morning.Lautenberg, a Democrat and the oldest sitting Senator, died Monday morning at 4:02 a.m. at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell hospital. He had been sick for some time and his last appearance on Capitol Hill had been in a wheel chair.A fixture on Capitol Hill, Lautenberg was the last in a long line of World War II veterans to serve in the U.S. Senate and he held the record for the number of votes cast by a New Jersey Senator. Those votes spanned two senate careers. Lautenberg was first elected in 1982 and served until a first retirement in 2000....

  • Originally published 05/31/2013

    RAF Museum set to raise Nazi bomber from English Channel

    A British museum is about to haul 8 tons of history out of the English Channel -- the only remaining Nazi Dornier bomber from the World War II Blitz on London.The plane, one of a formation of German Dornier Do-17 that Hitler sent to the southeast coast of England in his efforts to blast the country out of World War II, has sat in a shallow grave 60 feet under water since 1940.It was lost for decades, buried beneath the time, the tides and the seafloor of Goodwin Sands, a large sandbank off the coast of Kent County, the last bit of rolling English countryside before Britain gives way to the straits of Dover, 20 or so miles of cold sea, and ultimately, France....

  • Originally published 05/30/2013

    Ward Wilson: The Bomb Didn't Beat Japan... Stalin Did

    Ward Wilson is a senior fellow at the British American Security Information Council and the author of Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons, from which this article was adapted.The U.S. use of nuclear weapons against Japan during World War II has long been a subject of emotional debate. Initially, few questioned President Truman's decision to drop two atomic bombs, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But, in 1965, historian Gar Alperovitz argued that, although the bombs did force an immediate end to the war, Japan's leaders had wanted to surrender anyway and likely would have done so before the American invasion planned for November 1. Their use was, therefore, unnecessary. Obviously, if the bombings weren't necessary to win the war, then bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was wrong. In the 48 years since, many others have joined the fray: some echoing Alperovitz and denouncing the bombings, others rejoining hotly that the bombings were moral, necessary, and life-saving.

  • Originally published 05/30/2013

    Washington Times slams Mary Louise Roberts for book on WWII GI rape

    A controversial new book about American soldiers fighting in France in WWII charges that many civilians viewed them as rapists and thieves, rather than liberators, The Daily Mail reports.History professor Mary Louise Roberts claims in her book, titled “What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France,” that when the first soldiers swarmed ashore in Normandy, it was “a veritable tsunami of male lust” that French civilians came to fear as much as the Nazis, The Mail reports.The book is set to release next month and is likely to stir significant outrage in the United States, where veterans are highly revered as heroes....

  • Originally published 05/30/2013

    The Nazi granddaddy of crystal meth

    "Alertness aid" read the packaging, to be taken "to maintain wakefulness." But "only from time to time," it warned, followed by a large exclamation point.The young soldier, though, needed more of the drug, much more. He was exhausted by the war, becoming "cold and apathetic, completely without interests," as he himself observed. In letters sent home by the army postal service, he asked his family to send more. On May 20, 1940, for example, he wrote: "Perhaps you could obtain some more Pervitin for my supplies?" He found just one pill was as effective for staying alert as liters of strong coffee. And -- even better -- when he took the drug, all his worries seemed to disappear. For a couple of hours, he felt happy.This 22-year-old, who wrote numerous letters home begging for more Pervitin, was not just any soldier -- he was Heinrich Böll, who would go on to become one of Germany's leading postwar writers and win a Nobel Prize for literature in 1972. And the drug he asked for is now illegal, notoriously so. We now know it as crystal meth....

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    Japan’s sex slave legacy remains

    OSAKA, Japan — More than 70 years ago, at age 14, Kim Bok-dong was ordered to work by Korea’s Japanese occupiers. She was told she was going to a military uniform factory, but ended up at a Japanese military-run brothel in southern China.She had to take an average of 15 soldiers per day during the week, and dozens over the weekend. At the end of the day she would be bleeding and could not even stand because of the pain. She and other girls were closely watched by guards and could not escape. It was a secret she carried for decades; the man she later married died without ever knowing.Tens of thousands of women had similar stories to tell, or to hide, from Japan’s occupation of much of Asia before and during World War II. Many are no longer living, and those who remain are still waiting for Japan to offer reparations and a more complete apology than it has so far delivered....

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    J. Berkshire Miller: Abe's Unhelpful Historical Interventions

    J. Berkshire Miller is a fellow on Japan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Pacific Forum. The views expressed are his own.“Japan is back,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced to a packed room at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington back in February. The remarks came during his first visit to the United States since he returned to power in a landslide election in December. But while Abe’s aggressive stimulus policies have sent his approval ratings soaring at home, Japan’s neighbors have been watching much more warily....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Visitors flout ban on wearing Nazi uniforms to WWII event

    Visitors to a Second World War-themed event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Dambuster have turned out in Nazi uniforms despite a ban on the costumes.Organisers of the 1940s weekend in Haworth, West Yorkshire, faced complaints last year from a party of German tourists about the flaunting of regalia linked to the Holocaust.This year, an attempt to prevent a repeat of the controversy, signs warning "No Nazi or SS Insignia or uniforms on these premises" were displayed on shops pubs and camp sites.Businesses all over the town were given signs saying Nazi or SS uniforms "not welcome," in a bid to avoid "unnecessary offence"....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Cross dressing spy who caused a headache for British masters

    As one of Britain’s top spies in the Second World War, being arrested in Spain dressed as a woman caused a major headache for his political masters.Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke, a key figure in British intelligence in the Middle East, was detained in Madrid after being seen “in a main street dressed, down to a brassiere, as a woman”.The spy was on his way to Egypt to pass on key information and the incident sparked a mad scramble in London to ensure he was released and sent on his way as quickly as possible.Files released by the National Archives show that Lt Col Clarke – who was supposed to maintain a low profile, travelling under cover as a war correspondent for The Times – had stopped off in the Spanish capital on his way to north Africa in October 1941....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    UK bribed Spain to stay out of WWII

    Britain paid millions of pounds to military and political leaders in Spain to ensure they remained neutral during the Second World War, secret files reveal.Some $10 million was paid to one double agent alone to distribute to key individuals, including General Franco’s brother Nicholas, in the hope they would not enter the conflict.But despite the money, intelligence officers later suspected General Franco of ordering his officials to pass on secrets to the Germans.The effective bribes also sparked a row with the US after the Americans froze the money planned for Britain’s “friends in Spain”.The $10 million were to be paid to Juan March, a contact who had served as a double agent for Britain during the First World War, according to the intelligence papers released by the National Archives....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    MI6: Hitler better alive because of his incompetence

    British military chiefs thought Hitler was more use alive than dead in the later stages of the Second World War because of the “blunders” he was making.The view emerged as the Government discussed bombing a rumoured hiding place of the Nazi leader two weeks after the launch of the D-Day landings.MI6 had also been asked to draw up a hit list of key German and French figures ahead of Operation Overlord to ensure the landings were a success, previously secret intelligence files reveal today.But the head of the Secret Service disliked the idea as did another intelligence chief even though there were people he would happily “kill with my own hands” without “spoiling my appetite”....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Allies discussed killing Rommel before D-Day

    Plans to assassinate key German figures, including Erwin Rommel, in the run-up to D-Day are revealed in newly-released British intelligence files.It was discussed in communications between the British government, military and intelligence services with the aim of aiding the landings.They planned to target those involved in the Gestapo and enemy logistics.However it was dismissed as "the type of bright idea which... produces a good deal of trouble and does little good".The letters and telegrams detailing the plans were revealed in a file, dated 1944 and obliquely entitled "War (General)", from the foreign office's permanent under-secretary of state Sir Alexander Cadogan....

  • Originally published 05/17/2013

    Unlikely interracial WWII romance

    The nurse and the soldier may never have met – and eventually married – had it not been for the American government’s mistreatment of black women during World War II.Elinor Elizabeth Powell was an African-American military nurse. Frederick Albert was a German prisoner of war. Their paths crossed in Arizona in 1944. It was a time when the Army was resisting enlisting black nurses and the relatively small number allowed entry tended to be assigned to the least desirable duties....

  • Originally published 05/14/2013

    Clive Doucet: Canadian History is Not Just About Wars and Battles

    Clive Doucet is a writer and former Ottawa city councillor. His book Notes From Exile was chosen by McClelland and Stewart to be among their top 100 to celebrate their 100th anniversary of Canadian publishing.Parliament’s http://www.parl.gc.ca/committeebusiness/CommitteeHome.aspx?Cmte=CHPC&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1 has voted to undertake a “comprehensive review of significant aspects of Canadian history. That history would include, but not be limited to, pre-Confederation, Confederation, suffrage, WWI, with an emphasis on battles such as Vimy Ridge, WWII, including the liberation of Holland, the Battle of Ortona. The Battle of the Atlantic, the Korean conflict, peacekeeping missions, constitutional development, the Afghanistan conflict, early 20th century Canada, post-war Canada and the late 20th century.”

  • Originally published 05/14/2013

    Japanese mayor: Comfort women necessary

    TOKYO (AP) — An outspoken nationalist mayor said the Japanese military's forced prostitution of Asian women before and during World War II was necessary to "maintain discipline" in the ranks and provide rest for soldiers who risked their lives in battle.The comments made Monday are already raising ire in neighboring countries that bore the brunt of Japan's wartime aggression and have long complained that Japan has failed to fully atone for wartime atrocities.Toru Hashimoto, the young, brash mayor of Osaka who is co-leader of an emerging conservative political party, also said that U.S. troops currently based in southern Japan should patronize the local sex industry more to help reduce rapes and other assaults....

  • Originally published 05/13/2013

    Inside 70-year-old Paris apartment

    Caked in dust and full of turn-of-the century treasures, this Paris apartment is like going back in time.Having lain untouched for seven decades the abandoned home was discovered three years ago after its owner died aged 91.The woman who owned the flat, a Mrs De Florian, had fled for the south of France before the outbreak of the Second World War.She never returned and in the 70 years since, it looks like no-one had set foot inside....

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    Malte Herwig's new book reveals Germany's postwar Nazi coverup

    For the last seven years, the German journalist Malte Herwig, a reporter at Suddeutsche Zeitung magazine, has arduously, conscientiously tackled the challenge of researching and writing a book about the postwar German government’s “double game,” as he calls it. In Die Flakhelfer (DeutscheVerlags-Anstalt), which comes out in Germany on Monday, he reveals that, for half a century, the German leadership sought to suppress the names of prominent citizens who were Nazi Party members in the Second World War while pretending to seek them, and while simultaneously pursuing the soul-searching process of coming to terms with Germany’s grievous Second World War history—a process Germans call Vergangenheitsbewältigung. Herwig finds this behavior troubling. In New York this week he explained the genesis of his book.

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    New German plaque for downed Dambuster bomber

    Of all the commemorations marking this month’s 70th anniversary of the Second World War’s most famous bombing raid, it is perhaps the most poignant.A new plaque has been unveiled in a German field where one of the Dambuster bombers crashed, with the loss of all seven men on-board.The memorial has been installed by a local historian who located the crash site as part of his research into the fate of the aircraft, AJ-E....

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    S. Korean president urges Japan to face history honestly

    WASHINGTON, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Visiting South Korean President Park Geun-hye Wednesday urged Japan to face history honestly for the good of Northeast Asia."Those who are blind to the past cannot see the future," Park said in an address to the U.S. Congress, a day after meeting with President Barack Obama."This is obviously a problem for here and now. But the larger issue is about tomorrow," she said, adding "for where there is failure to acknowledge honestly what happened yesterday, there can be no tomorrow."...

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    Japan says it will abide by apologies over actions in World War II

    TOKYO — Japan’s conservative government will abide by official apologies that the country’s leaders made two decades ago to the victims of World War II in Asia, top officials said Tuesday, backing away from earlier suggestions that the government might try to revise or even repudiate the apologies.Japan formally apologized in 1993 to the women who were forced into wartime brothels for Japanese soldiers, and in 1995 to nations that suffered from Japanese aggression during the war. Both apologies rankled Japanese ultranationalists, and there were concerns that the hawkish current prime minister, Shinzo Abe, would try to appeal to them by whitewashing Japan’s wartime atrocities, a step that would probably infuriate Japan’s neighbors.The United States shared those concerns, and it urged the Abe government to show restraint on historical issues so that Japan would not further isolate itself diplomatically in the region....

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    90-year-old NJ veteran reunited with dog tag he lost in southern France during World War II

    NEWARK, N.J. — Carol Wilkins leaned over the side of her father’s wheelchair and handed him the small red box, a heart-shaped cutout revealing its contents: a weathered, bent silver dog tag.“Oh, Daddy, look,” Wilkins exclaimed as her 90-year-old father opened it, his eyes beaming and smile wide. “They’re back.”Sixty-nine years after losing his dog tag on the battlefields of southern France, Willie Wilkins reclaimed it Wednesday after a trans-Atlantic effort to return it to him. It started more than a decade ago in a French backyard and ended with a surprise ceremony in Newark City Hall....

  • Originally published 05/08/2013

    Japan says it will honor apologies for WWII

    TOKYO — Japan does not plan to revise past apologies to neighboring countries for atrocities committed by its Imperial Army before and during World War II, top government officials said Wednesday.The comments by the chief government spokesman and the foreign minister appear intended to allay criticisms of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s earlier vows to revise the apologies, including an acknowledgement of sexual slavery during the war.Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Japan recognizes the harm it caused during its invasion and occupation of much of Asia, and that it has repeatedly and clearly stated that position.“The Abe government has expressed sincere condolences to all victims of the war, in and out of the country, and there is no change in that,” Suga told reporters. “We have repeatedly said we have no intention of making this a diplomatic and political issue, but I’m afraid this may not be fully understood.”...

  • Originally published 05/08/2013

    Japan acknowledges comfort women study flawed

    TOKYO — Japan has acknowledged that it conducted only a limited investigation before claiming there was no official evidence that its imperial troops coerced Asian women into sexual slavery before and during World War II.A parliamentary statement signed Tuesday by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged the government had a set of documents produced by a postwar international military tribunal containing testimony by Japanese soldiers about abducting Chinese women as military sex slaves. That evidence apparently was not included in Japan’s only investigation of the issue, in 1991-1993.Tuesday’s parliamentary statement also said documents showing forcible sex slavery may still exist. The statement did not say whether the government plans to consider the documents as evidence showing that troops had coerced women into sexual slavery.Over the past two days, top officials of Abe’s conservative government have appeared to soften their stance on Japan’s past apologies to neighboring countries for wartime atrocities committed by the Imperial Army, saying Japan does not plan to revise them....

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    Thomas Rogers: German War Guilt: The Miniseries

    Thomas Rogers is a writer living in Berlin.One hour into "Our Mothers, Our Fathers" ("Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter"), the hit new German miniseries about World War II, a group of German soldiers is trapped in front of a Russian minefield. Among them are two of the series' protagonists, Friedhelm and Wilhelm, brothers from Berlin with strong jaws and very precise haircuts. Friedhelm is a bookish, sympathetic Berliner who has thus far been reluctant to kill anyone while his heroic older brother, Wilhelm, is the group's admired leader. But now they face a problem: How to get themselves to the Russian line?Unexpectedly, Friedhelm has a suggestion: force some Russian farmers, whom they've recently detained, to walk in front of them. A few minutes later, the first Russian hits a mine, setting off an explosion of mud and blood. Friedhelm stares on, unmoved.

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    Ireland pardons wartime deserter "heroes"

    LONDON — The Irish government is to reverse what has been described as a historic injustice by granting a pardon to soldiers who deserted their units to fight the Nazis in World War II.An amnesty and immunity bill, scheduled to be enacted on Tuesday, includes an apology to some 5,000 men who faced post-war sanctions and ostracism after they quit the defense forces of neutral Ireland to join the allied war effort against Hitler.The measure comes too late for most of the deserters — only about 100 are believed to be still alive — but it was welcomed by their families and supporters....

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    World War II prisoner's coded letters deciphered

    Coded letters sent from a British prisoner of war to his parents in Cornwall have been deciphered thanks to academics at Plymouth University.Sub Lt John Pryor was captured at Dunkirk in 1940 and sent to a German prisoner of war (PoW) camp.He was held for the next five years but as a reward for good behaviour he was allowed to send letters home to his parents in Saltash.Those letters contained secret messages for the British military.The research began after military intelligence expert Barbara Bond, a pro-chancellor at the university, heard about the letters from Sub Lt Pryor's son Stephen, a university governor....

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    Gordon D. Gayle, WWII hero and Marine Corps brigadier general, dies at 95

    Gordon D. Gayle, a retired Marine Corps brigadier general who received the Navy Cross after a fierce World War II battle in the Pacific and who later directed an influential study of tactics and battlefield planning, died April 21 at an assisted-living facility in Farnham, Va. He was 95.He had an intracerebral hemorrhage, his son Mike Gayle said.In World War II, “Lucky” Gayle served in the 1st Marine Division. He took part in all the division’s campaigns from the struggle for Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1942-43, an epic chapter in Marine history, to the bloody capture of Peleliu in the Palau Islands in 1944....

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    1 of postwar Italy’s most powerful men, 7-time Premier Giulio Andreotti, dies at 94

    ROME — Giulio Andreotti personified the nation he helped shape, the good and the bad.One of Italy’s most important postwar figures, he helped draft the country’s constitution after World War II, served seven times as premier and spent 60 years in Parliament.But the Christian Democrat who was friends with popes and cardinals was also a controversial figure who survived corruption scandals and allegations of aiding the Mafia: Andreotti was accused of exchanging a “kiss of honor” with the mob’s longtime No. 1 boss and was indicted in what was called “the trial of the century” in Palermo.He was eventually cleared, but his legacy was forever marred....

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    London Cenotaph to be restored for WWI centenary

    For nearly a century it has stood as a monument to the sacrifice of those killed in the First World War.Now the Cenotaph in London will undergo a restoration ahead of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.The monument is one of hundreds being cleaned and repaired in readiness for the anniversary next year.The £60,000 work on the Cenotaph, which started last week, is being paid for by English Heritage, which is also funding work on scores of other memorials....

  • Originally published 05/01/2013

    Washington Post Editorial: Shinzo Abe’s Inability to Face History

    FROM THE MOMENT last fall when Shinzo Abe reclaimed the office of Japanese prime minister that he had bungled away five years earlier, one question has stood out: Would he restrain his nationalist impulses — and especially his historical revisionism — to make progress for Japan?Until this week, the answer to that question was looking positive. Mr. Abe has taken brave steps toward reforming Japan’s moribund economy. He defied powerful interest groups within his party, such as rice farmers, to join free-trade talks with the United States and other Pacific nations that have the potential to spur growth in Japan. He spoke in measured terms of his justifiable desire to increase defense spending.

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Yamamoto's unsettled legacy

    NAGAOKA, Japan – Seven decades after the death of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in an aerial ambush in the South Pacific, Japan is still struggling with how to remember the charismatic naval commander who opposed war with the United States, but nonetheless planned the deadly attack on Pearl Harbor.With tensions once again growing in East Asia and public acceptance of Japan’s military forces beginning to rise, Japan could be ready for a more open discussion of the war era – and its leaders.“They don’t teach about this period in high schools, so people under 50 years old don’t know much about it. But because of the Senkaku problem, people are beginning to get interested,” said Yukoh Watanabe, an amateur naval historian who attended a private memorial service in Yamamoto’s hometown last week....

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Pankaj Mishra: To Erase Militarist Past, Japan Must Re-Learn It

    Pankaj Mishra is the author of “From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia” and a Bloomberg View columnist, based in London and Mashobra, India. The opinions expressed are his own.It was raining heavily last week when I visited Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which commemorates Japanese who died in the “imperial cause.” But the tour buses still discharged scores of elderly Japanese visitors, and I received approving looks and even a faint smile from two Japanese women as we stood in the rain before the memorial to an Indian jurist called Radha Binod Pal.Pal was the only Indian judge at the so-called Tokyo Trials, Japan’s protracted version of Nuremberg. In his 1,235- page dissent, he voted to acquit the 25 Japanese accused by Allied powers of the “unprecedented” crime of “conspiring against peace.”

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Japan officials’ war shrine visits may reflect shift toward PM Abe’s nationalist agenda

    TOKYO — Visits by Cabinet ministers and lawmakers to a shrine honoring Japan’s war dead, including 14 World War II leaders convicted of atrocities, signal Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s determination to pursue a more nationalist agenda after months of focusing on the economy.Nearly 170 Japanese lawmakers paid homage at Yasukuni Shrine on Tuesday. A day earlier, visits by three Cabinet ministers, said by the government to be unofficial, drew protests from neighbors South Korea and China over actions they view as failures to acknowledge Japan’s militaristic past.China and South Korea — Japan’s No. 1 and No. 3 trading partners, respectively — bore the brunt of Tokyo’s pre-1945 militarist expansion in Asia and routinely criticize visits to the shrine. Almost seven decades after the war ended, it still overshadows relations....

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Japan’s no-apology diplomacy

    Just one year after Emperor Meiji proclaimed the Japanese Empire in 1868, he ordered the construction of a majestic new Shinto shrine in Tokyo. The Yasukuni Shrine was to record the names of every man, woman and child who died in service of the new empire. And it was to be a place of  worship, part of a larger effort to make the empire something of a state religion. By the time Japan collapsed in defeat at the end of World War II, more than 2 million names had been added to the shrine.For more than 75 years, Yasukuni was a symbol of Japan’s imperial mission; both were officially sacred. The shrine was considered the final resting place of Japanese soldiers, colonists and others who served the imperial expansion that had plunged all of East Asia and eventually the United States into a costly and horrific war.

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Marci Shore: The Jewish Hero History Forgot

    Marci Shore, an associate professor of history at Yale University, is the author of “The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe.”SEVENTY years ago today, a group of young men and women fired the shots that began the largest single act of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.The Warsaw Ghetto uprising is rightly commemorated — through books, memoirs and movies — as an extraordinary act of courage in the face of near-certain death. Those who fought in the ghetto provide the iconic image of heroism, and an antidote to images of Jews being led to the gas chambers.The uprising was indeed extraordinary. But the manner in which it has been remembered over the years — in Communist Poland, in the West and in Israel — says more about the use of history for contemporary purposes than the uprising itself. The true nature of the uprising cannot be understood through its postwar commemorations but only through its wartime origins....

  • Originally published 04/18/2013

    Henry A. Prunier, 91, U.S. Soldier Who Trained Vietnamese Troops, Dies

    Henry A. Prunier taught Vo Nguyen Giap, the Vietnamese general who withstood the armies of France and the United States, how to throw a grenade.The lesson came in July 1945, after Mr. Prunier and six other Americans had parachuted into a village 75 miles northwest of Hanoi on a clandestine mission to teach an elite force of 200 Viet Minh guerrillas how to use modern American weapons at their jungle camp.The Americans, members of the Office of Strategic Services, the United States’ intelligence agency in World War II, wanted the guerrillas’ help in fighting the Japanese, who were occupying Indochina. The Viet Minh welcomed the American arms in their struggle for Vietnamese independence....

  • Originally published 04/17/2013

    Greek claims for wartime compensation justified, says German historian

    Greece's demands for wartime reparations from Germany – particularly in regard to loans – are justified, a German historian who has lectured in Greece for 30 years has said.Hagen Fleischer, professor emeritus of history at the University of Athens, told Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster, that he is convinced that the issue of reparations is not yet settled 68 years after the end of the Second World War.Last week, Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said that international justice – and not comments by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble – would determine whether Greece is entitled to war reparations which, according to reports, could run to €162bn....

  • Originally published 04/05/2013

    The Chaotic and Bloody Aftermath of WWII in Europe

    On May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered to the Allies and the Second World War in Europe ended officially. But in reality, the war continued in various guises for several years.British author and historian Keith Lowe details the cruel aftermath of the war in his acclaimed book Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II (St. Martin’s Press). His  careful study of the postwar years in Europe reveals widespread anarchy, famine, crime, pestilence and violent conflict, with millions of uprooted people wandering the ruined lands. Often, Mr. Lowe writes, the bloody conflicts were a continuation of the war that had left 30 million dead and destroyed the infrastructure of most of the warring nations, including political institutions, law enforcement, transportation, media and social services. 

  • Originally published 04/03/2013

    Hitler's food taster: one bite away from death

    It might have been something as simple as a portion of white asparagus. Peeled, steamed and served with a delicious sauce, as Germans traditionally eat it. And with real butter, a scarcity in wartime. While the rest of the country struggled to get even coffee, or had to spread margarine diluted with flour on their bread, Margot Wölk could have savored the expensive vegetable dish -- if not for the fear of dying, that is. Wölk was one of 15 young women who were forced to taste Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's food for some two and a half years during World War II.The 24-year-old secretary had fled from her parents' bombed-out Berlin apartment in the winter of 1941, traveling to her mother-in-law's home in the East Prussian village of Gross-Partsch, now Parcz, Poland. It was an idyllic, green setting, and she lived in a house with a large garden. But less than three kilometers (1.9 miles) away was the location that Hitler had chosen for his Eastern Front headquarters -- the Wolf's Lair....

  • Originally published 03/28/2013

    Forgotten women victims of World War II

    Ahn Sehong had to go to China to recover a vanishing — and painful — part of Korea’s wartime history. Visiting small villages and overcoming barriers of language and distrust, he documented the tales of women — some barely teenagers — who had been forced into sexual slavery during World War II by the Japanese Army.Starting in 2001, he began tracking down 13 of these women who had been stranded in China after the war. Now in their 80s and 90s, some were childless, others penniless. Most lived in hovels, often in the same dusty rural towns where they had endured the war. They had been away from their native land so long, some could no longer speak Korean.Mr. Ahn had no doubts about their identity.“Each one of these women is history,” he said. “They have suffered the biggest pain created by the war. Everyone forgot about the suffering these women went through. But I want to embrace them. As Koreans, we have to take care of them.”...

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Sinking of HMS Dasher still a mystery after 70 years

    It's the barely-known disaster which claimed the lives of four Birmingham seamen at the height of the Second World War.But the sinking of HMS Dasher is still at the centre of mystery and intrigue, 70 years later.A total of 379 lives were lost when the aircraft carrier went down in just eight minutes off the coast of Scotland on March 27, 1943.The tragedy was put down to an explosion caused by petrol fumes igniting....

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    A new lease on life for the mysterious lost bank accounts of Switzerland

    One of the most enduring myths associated with Swiss banks is the money of “unknown” origin that has been hidden in their coffers for generations. Because of a number of laws enacted in the past 15 years, Switzerland’s financial institutions are now tightly regulated, but at least one mystery still remains: who owns hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of unclaimed assets languishing in the nation’s banks — and how long will they be kept there?Earlier this month, Switzerland’s parliament set a 62-year deadline for the recovery of unclaimed assets, which are roughly estimated at anywhere from $100 million to $600 million. This means that the banks must keep inactive accounts for six decades after the last contact with the customer, and then turn the assets over to the Swiss government. The new time limit is longer than allowed in most other countries, which liquidate dormant accounts after five to 30 years. And while the deadline is part of larger reforms of the banking sector, it is born out of the scandal that erupted in the 1990s over the dormant World War II accounts stashed in Swiss banks by Jews fleeing Nazi persecution....

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Remains of American WWII soldier reportedly found on Pacific’s Northern Mariana Islands

    The remains of an American World War II soldier missing in action for nearly 70 years have reportedly been identified after they were found on the Pacific’s Northern Mariana Islands.The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command confirmed to FoxNews.com that its team currently working in Saipan has received “possible human remains” and material evidence consistent with an unresolved case from World War II.“At this point, we cannot confirm the identity of these remains,” an email to FoxNews.com read. “Our next step is to get the remains and evidence back to JPAC’s Central Identification Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and conduct the appropriate forensic analyses.”...

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Cal Whipple, 94, Dies; Won 1943 Fight to Print Photo of War Dead

    A. B. C. Whipple held high posts in the Time-Life publishing empire and wrote extensively about the sea. But he counted among his proudest achievements the role of tenacious young intermediary in a fight by Life magazine against the military censorship of a single photograph during World War II — a fight that went all the way to the White House.Mr. Whipple died of pneumonia on March 17 in Greenwich, Conn., his son, Christopher, said. He was 94 and lived in Old Greenwich, Conn.The fight was over a picture taken in late 1942 or early 1943 by George Strock, a photographer for Life. It showed the bodies of three American soldiers who had been killed on Buna Beach in New Guinea. Though none of the men were recognizable, the photo was arresting in its stark depiction of the stillness of death, and then shocking when it became clear on second glance that maggots had claimed the body of one soldier, face down in the sand....

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Mussolini’s ‘most secret’ bunker discovered beneath historic Roman structure

    Workers in Rome have stumbled across a top-secret bunker once belonging to former Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, hidden underneath the historic Palazzo Venezia. The discovery is the 12th such bunker as is said to have been the “most secret” of the former strongman’s hideouts, according to the Italian publication La Stampa....

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Stephen M. Walt: The Dearth of Strategy on Syria

    Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University....When Franklin Roosevelt took the United States into World War II, he did so on the basis of very clear strategic reasoning. As outlined by the 1941 "Victory Program," he understood that if Germany defeated the Soviet Union and was able to consolidate the industrial power of Europe, it might pose a potent long-term threat to U.S. security. That logic led him to back Great Britain through Lend-Lease and to work assiduously to bring the U.S. into the war. Going to war was a big step back then, it's no accident that this was the last time Congress issued a formal declaration of war. 

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Erwin Harris, ad executive who seized Cuban assets, dies at 91

    Erwin Harris left behind a respectable record of achievement as an advertising executive, an estimable collection of Chinese antiquities (his lifelong hobby), a loving family and a remarkable if little-remembered role in the tortured history of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in the early 1960s.Mr. Harris, a Yonkers-born World War II veteran who died in Miami on March 9 at 91, probably did not tip the scales of history. But from 1960 to 1961, armed with nothing more than a court order from a Florida judge and accompanied by local sheriff’s deputies, he scoured the East Coast confiscating Cuban government property — including the state airplane Fidel Castro parked in New York while on a visit.

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    After 70 years, sword given to soldier during WWII goes to Hungarian Embassy

    ...On Friday, Young and several of his relatives gathered at David and Patricia Young’s residence, set to fulfill Guiffre’s request by giving the sword to Hungarian officials in a ceremony at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington. An event after the ceremony honored the 165th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight in 1848-49.Andras Szorenyi, political and public affairs officer with the Embassy of Hungary, said in an email the saber is a ceremonial sword that dates back to the 19th century, and is therefore an important part of Hungarian history.“The experts need to do further research to link it to a specific event or period of time but we appreciate the symbolic value of receiving it from Mr. Young,” Szorenyi wrote. “It is a good example of the excellent people-to-people relations between our countries. ... We will do our best to find the most fitting venue for the sword to be displayed and contribute to telling Hungarian history.”...

  • Originally published 03/19/2013

    A.B.C. ‘Cal’ Whipple, who helped get groundbreaking WWII photo published, dies in Connecticut

    GREENWICH, Conn. — A Connecticut man who helped get a groundbreaking photograph of dead American soldiers published during World War II, has died, his son said. He was 94.A.B.C. “Cal” Whipple of Greenwich died Sunday of pneumonia, said his son, Chris Whipple.Chris Whipple said his father was a Pentagon correspondent for Life magazine who tried to convince the military to allow the photo by George Strock of three dead soldiers on a landing beach to be published. Whipple went up the military ranks until he reached an assistant secretary of the Air corps who decided to send the issue to the White House, his son said....

  • Originally published 03/14/2013

    What Japanese history lessons leave out

    Mariko Oi is a reporter for the BBC.Japanese people often fail to understand why neighbouring countries harbour a grudge over events that happened in the 1930s and 40s. The reason, in many cases, is that they barely learned any 20th Century history. I myself only got a full picture when I left Japan and went to school in Australia.From Homo erectus to the present day - 300,000 years of history in just one year of lessons. That is how, at the age of 14, I first learned of Japan's relations with the outside world.For three hours a week - 105 hours over the year - we edged towards the 20th Century.It's hardly surprising that some classes, in some schools, never get there, and are told by teachers to finish the book in their spare time.When I returned recently to my old school, Sacred Heart in Tokyo, teachers told me they often have to start hurrying, near the end of the year, to make sure they have time for World War II....

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    'Emperor' stirs deep emotions in Japan and U.S.

    Emotions have been running high at screenings of the historical drama "Emperor."The Japanese American coproduction, which opens Friday, revolves around the dilemma Gen. Douglas MacArthur faced as he tried to restore order in post-World War II Japan: Should the country's divine leader, Emperor Hirohito, stand trial and face certain death on war crimes charges?When the producers screened "Emperor" recently in Japan, producer Gary Foster said, many men were in tears as they left the theater."It was almost a cathartic moment," he said....

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    Nathan Safferstein, counterintelligence agent on World War II Manhattan Project, dies in NYC

    Nathan Safferstein, a counterintelligence agent on the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb during World War II, died Tuesday night at his home in the Bronx after a long illness, his family said. He was 92. The genial native of Bridgeport, Conn., was barely 21 when circumstances suddenly propelled him from his job as a supermarket manager into the stealth world of a special agent....  

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    Samuel Rachlin: Stalin’s Long Shadow

    Samuel Rachlin, a Danish journalist based in Washington, was born in Siberia, where his family lived in exile for 16 years, and came to Denmark at age 10. A collection of his essays, “Me and Stalin,” was published in Danish in 2011. SIXTY years after Josef Stalin’s death on March 5, 1953, Russia is still struggling whether to view him as mass murderer or a national hero. Although his name and statues have been almost absent from Russia since the de-Stalinization campaign that followed his death, he continues to impose himself onto Russia’s political discourse far more prominently than Lenin, the founder of the Soviet state whose body still lies in the mausoleum on Red Square.Although Russians know more about Stalin’s crimes than they did ever before, many politicians and historians want to pull him out of the shadows and celebrate him for his role in the industrialization of the young Soviet state and the victory over Nazi Germany.

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    Warsaw plans to bulldoze quaint wooden homes outages residents, mobilizes Finnish ambassador

    WARSAW, Poland — Nearby the big city rumbles, but one feels almost transported to a quiet forest village when standing amid a colony of Finnish wooden houses in Warsaw’s government district.The homes, erected as temporary housing in the destroyed capital just after World War II, have dwindled over the years from 90 to about 25. Now the surviving structures have become a point of contention between their inhabitants and a city government keen on tearing them down to make way for new developments.It’s a story being played out in various ways in Warsaw these days, as the Polish capital undergoes a building boom that makes new constructions lucrative for developers and attractive to city officials eager to put their mark on the city. But such change often comes at the cost of old buildings of historical or sentimental value to others....

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    60 years after Stalin's death, Russia still divided on legacy

    MOSCOW — Devotees of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, whose brutal purges killed millions of innocent citizens and made his name a byword for totalitarian terror, flocked to the Kremlin to praise him for making his country a world power Tuesday, while experts and politicians puzzled and despaired over his enduring popularity.Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov led some 1,000 zealots who laid carnations at Stalin’s grave by the Kremlin wall in Moscow, praising him as a symbol of the nation’s “great victories” and saying that Russia needs to rely on this “unique experience” to overcome its problems....

  • Originally published 02/28/2013

    WWII Doolittle Raider Tom Griffin dies at 96

    CINCINNATI — Maj. Thomas C. “Tom” Griffin, a B-25 bomber navigator in the audacious Doolittle’s Raid attack on mainland Japan during World War II, has died.His death at age 96 leaves four surviving Raiders.Griffin died Tuesday in a veterans nursing home in northern Kentucky. He was among the 80 original volunteers for the daring April 18, 1942, mission. When they began training, they were told only it would be “extremely hazardous,” coming in the aftermath of Japan’s devastating attack on Pearl Harbor and a string of other Japanese military successes....

  • Originally published 02/24/2013

    War is a Dirty Business

    Wounded soldier – Autumn 1916, Bapaume by Otto Dix (1924).Originally posted on the Huffington Post.When's the last time our media covered war honestly? When's the last time you saw combat footage of American troops under fire, or of American troops killing others in the name of keeping us safe from enemies? When was the last time you saw an American soldier panicking, firing wildly, perhaps killing members of his own unit (fratricide) or innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of war? Maybe in the 1960s during coverage of the Vietnam War?War is not glorious. It may feature noble deeds and remarkable sacrifices, but it also features brutality and many other bloody realities. War breaks men (and women) down. It does so because war is unnatural. Yes, war is many things, but it most certainly is about killing. Occasionally, the killing is even necessary. (Just ask those enslaved by the Nazis or the Japanese whether they greeted Allied troops as liberators.)

  • Originally published 02/15/2013

    France to return 7 paintings looted during WWII

    PARIS (AP) — France is returning seven paintings taken from their Jewish owners during World War II, part of an ongoing effort to give back hundreds of looted artworks that still hang in the Louvre and other museums.The works were stolen or sold under duress up to seven decades ago as their Jewish owners fled Nazi-occupied Europe. All seven were destined for display in the art gallery Adolf Hitler wanted to build in his birthplace of Linz, Austria, according to a catalog for the planned museum....

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Eisenhower Library's ambitious exhibit

    TOPEKA, Kan. — A new World War II exhibit starting this summer at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum will pay tribute to the millions who fought, but organizers also have another purpose for the ambitious three-year project: getting young people engaged in the war’s relevance.Karl Weissenbach, executive director of the library and museum in Abilene, said the “Leaders, Battles and Heroes” exhibit will be directed at younger generations that often know little about the war, its significance in world history or the impact of its outcome.“It’s amazing how little information and understanding they have about World War II,” Weissenbach said. “You ask them questions and often you get a blank stare. That’s really unsettling.”...

  • Originally published 02/07/2013

    90-year-old Russian WWII veteran tells of horrors and heroics during the Battle of Stalingrad

    MOSCOW –  The Soviet soldiers used their own bodies as shields, covering women and children escaping on ferry boats from a Nazi bombardment that killed 40,000 civilians in a single day. It was the height of the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the bloodiest conflicts of World War II."They were all hit in the back," said 90-year-old Alexei Stefanov. "But they did not flee."Stefanov is among the few surviving veterans of the battle, which claimed 2 million lives and raged for nearly 200 days before the Red Army turned back the Nazi forces, decisively changing the course of the war. Russia celebrates the 70th anniversary of that victory on Saturday, with President Vladimir Putin taking part in ceremonies in Volgograd, the current name of the city in southern Russia that stretches along the western bank of the Volga River....

  • Originally published 02/05/2013

    Japan government to review statements on history

    (Reuters) - Japan's government will review statements by previous administrations about wartime history including a landmark 1995 apology, Japan's education minister said, but added that any changes would not mean rejecting those statements but making them more "forward-looking".Any moves to renege on the 1995 apology by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama - now in Beijing on a mission aimed at soothing tension over a territorial row - would raise hackles in both China and South Korea, where bitter memories of Japan's military aggression and colonization run deep.The government will also review guidelines for school textbook publishers aimed at addressing the sensitivities of neighboring countries which suffered under Japan's military invasion and colonization, Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday....

  • Originally published 01/31/2013

    Plans to destroy prewar building in former Warsaw ghetto set off struggle to save it

    WARSAW, Poland — It was the place where Jewish women did their ritual bathing. It was a tuberculosis clinic. It survived the German onslaught and became a gathering point for Holocaust survivors.Now “the white building,” the headquarters of the Jewish community and one of the few surviving remnants of the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, could be torn down to make way for a multistory tower that would fit seamlessly into a modern city skyline.The building’s fate will soon be determined by the Culture Ministry, which has been asked by advocates of historic preservation to declare it a historical monument, a classification that would ban its destruction. It’s not yet clear how officials will decide, though previous rulings by other state offices had declared the building not worth saving. Now those for and against destroying the old building are anxiously awaiting a verdict....

  • Originally published 01/31/2013

    Tensions linger in U.S. over ‘comfort women’ memorials

    HACKENSACK, N.J. — Four years ago, noticing plaques at the county courthouse commemorating slavery, the Holocaust and other atrocities, Korean-American community leader Chejin Park struck upon the idea of adding a tribute to the “comfort women” of World War II.To his surprise, the seemingly small, local gesture — to honor the more than 200,000 mostly Korean and Chinese women forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers — would make a tiny northern New Jersey town a flashpoint in an international controversy.Local officials would rebuff a request by Japanese officials to take down the first plaque put up just over two years ago in the town of Palisades Park, a square-mile borough outside New York where a majority of residents are of Korean descent....

  • Originally published 01/31/2013

    Russia revives Stalingrad city name

    The Volgograd city council voted to use the name Stalingrad at city events on six commemorative days including February 2, the day Nazi forces fully surrendered to Soviet troops and May 9, Victory Day, Russian news agencies reported.The decision was made "based on the many requests of Second World War participants," said Sergei Zabednov, quoted by the city parliament's press service."Deputies have taken a decision to establish the name 'hero-city Stalingrad' as a symbol of Volgograd. We will be able to use this symbol officially in our speeches and reports and at mass events," Zabednov said....

  • Originally published 01/25/2013

    Actually, Women Have Served in Combat Before

    Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the leading female Soviet sniper of World War II.After more than a year of planning, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta overturned the ban on women's ability to serve in combat roles in the United States military. Panetta's removal of the ban followed an official recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin E. Dempsey. This decision to allow women to occupy the front lines came yesterday as a formal gesture following the last decade of women's unofficial service in combat positions; since 2001, around 280,000 women have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.While the Senate Armed Services Committee may have an opportunity to reverse the decision through legislative means, prospects look hopeful for this shift in the military's stance, which was largely a decision made internal to the military itself. By May 15 of this year, the different branches of the armed services are expected to present specific implementation plans for their integration of women into combat roles, including requests for exceptions to the new policy.

  • Originally published 01/24/2013

    Family, friends honor Nigerians who fought in Burma during WWII

    LAGOS, Nigeria — At 16, Isaac Fadoyebo ran away from his home in southwest Nigeria and signed up to fight for Britain in World War II, a decision made from youthful exuberance that saw him sent to Burma to fight and nearly die.Courage and luck kept him alive behind enemy lines as local farmers protected him for months until the British broke through and found him. When he returned home to Nigeria, his story and those of his fellow veterans largely fell away from the public’s mind as independence swept through the country and a devastating civil war and political unrest later followed.Fadoyebo, who died in November at the age of 86, represents one of the last so-called “Burma Boys” in West and East Africa. On Thursday, his family and friends gathered for a final worship service and celebration of his life, as new attention has been paid to his sacrifices and those of other Africans drawn into the fighting....

  • Originally published 01/23/2013

    Europe’s odd couple, France and Germany, 50 years later

    BERLIN — France and Germany recently issued a joint postage stamp as part of a yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, the landmark agreement between the two former enemies.The stamp is identical, except for one telling difference. In each country, it bears a picture of a man and woman, side by side, peering through lenses colored in blue-white-red and black-red-gold. But the French stamp costs 80 euro cents, while its German twin sells for only 75.In a year loaded with symbolic gestures and 4,000 commemorative events, including Tuesday’s joint session of Parliament, joint cabinet dinner and a concert, that 5-cent disparity is a reminder that despite the decades of friendship and enormous day-to-day cooperation, significant, often devilish, differences persist.

  • Originally published 01/22/2013

    Missouri GOP Rep.: Japan Didn't Invade U.S. in World War II Because of Armed Populace

    Editor's Note: Today's Bachmann Award comes courtesy of HNN editor and associate professor of Japanese history at Pittsburg State University Jonathan Dresner.Cadets in the Imperial Japanese Army, circa 1934.There are good reasons to bring Japan into the gun control debate in the United States: the relative success of firearms regulation in Japan, the recent rise of gun violence connected to organized crime, the history of weapons-carrying elites, etc. But WWII had nothing whatsoever to do with gun rights, gun control, or the 2nd Amendment.Why bring this up? Because of Ed Emery, Republican representative to the Missouri state legislature from Lamar, MO. In a video produced last April, Rep. Emery said:

  • Originally published 01/18/2013

    'There are no buried Spitfires', archaeologists claim

    After digging for almost two weeks and speaking to the British architect of the extraordinary hunt, David Cundall, the experts have concluded that there is no evidence that as many as 124 Spitfires were buried at the end of World War II, it has been reported.A defiant Mr Cundall insists that the dig is still alive and says that the archaeologists are looking in the wrong place. He also stands by the eye witnesses who testified that the planes had been buried, according to the BBC.A source told Radio 4’s Today programme that the archaeologists at the dig site at Rangoon International Airport do no believe there are any Spitfires buried there or at the other two sites.The company providing financial backing for the dig, wargaming.net, today cancelled a press conference but confirmed that there are no planes, it is reported....

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    Rare photo of A-bomb cloud found in Hiroshima

    A long lost image from the Hiroshima atomic bombing has been discovered at a Japanese elementary school.The black-and-white photograph shows the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima split into two distinctly separated parts, one on top of the other.The rare image was found at the Honkawa Elementary School in Hiroshima city, in a collection of about 1,000 articles on the WWII atomic bombing. The material was donated by a late survivor, Yosaburo Yamasaki, in or after 1953.According to the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun, a memo on the back of the photo says it was shot near the town of Kaitaichi, some six miles east of ground zero, two minutes after the bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945....

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    Lawrence M. Krauss: Deafness at Doomsday

    Lawrence M. Krauss, a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University, is the author, most recently, of “A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing.”TO our great peril, the scientific community has had little success in recent years influencing policy on global security. Perhaps this is because the best scientists today are not directly responsible for the very weapons that threaten our safety, and are therefore no longer the high priests of destruction, to be consulted as oracles as they were after World War II.The problems scientists confront today are actually much harder than they were at the dawn of the nuclear age, and their successes more heartily earned. This is why it is so distressing that even Stephen Hawking, perhaps the world’s most famous living scientist, gets more attention for his views on space aliens than his views on nuclear weapons.Scientists’ voices are crucial in the debates over the global challenges of climate change, nuclear proliferation and the potential creation of new and deadly pathogens. But unlike in the past, their voices aren’t being heard....

  • Originally published 10/18/2005

    Japanese Textbooks, Koizumi, Sex Slaves, & the Nightmare of Nanking

    We had fun killing Chinese. We caught some innocent Chinese and either buried them alive, or pushed them into a fire, or beat them to death with clubs. When they were half dead we pushed them into ditches and burned them, torturing them to death. Everyone gets his entertainment this way. Its like killing dogs and cats. --Asahi Shimbun, Japanese soldier, describing Japanese atrocities during the Rape of Nanking.

  • Originally published 07/22/2014

    Historical Humility

    The great advantage historians have is that we know how the story ends.  The great temptation that follows from that fact is historical arrogance—an unspoken certainty that because we know it now, we would have known it then.  The great challenge, therefore, is to impose upon ourselves historical humility, to remind ourselves that the historical actors we study did not have the advantage we do of knowing the story’s end.  I was reminded of that recently while doing some research at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, NY. I’m working on the role of radio in the Great Debate over American intervention in World War II, and came across some of the countless personal letters people wrote to FDR on the subject. 

  • Originally published 07/18/2014

    Voluntaryist Anthropology

    Libertarians believe a better world is possible. Libertarian anarchists believe the best world is a stateless one; it consists of voluntary societies which would include institutions or customs to prevent and deal with occasional crime. The practical application of voluntaryism – an insistence that all human interaction be voluntary – is the way to get there because it creates the innovations, institutions and lifestyles upon which anarchism can build. But one practical approach has been largely ignored: voluntaryist anthropology.

  • Originally published 06/14/2014

    Is the NDAA Notification Requirement Unconstitutional?

    If Obama is right about the NDAA, he should start releasing far more prisoners from Guantánamo. A firestorm has erupted over the Obama administration’s release of five Guantánamo captives in exchange for the Taliban’s release of American soldier Bowe Bergdahl. Putting aside all the rest of the strategic, moral, and practical arguments, I want to focus on the legal side. Many of Obama’s critics say that his move violated the NDAA notification requirement, signed by Obama (who issued a signing statement suggesting he thought it was unconstitutional). The requirement mandates that the president inform Congress of Guantánamo releases.

  • Originally published 06/13/2014

    A Soviet Devil in the Capitalist Details

    The other day I began scrutinizing Thomas Piketty’s data on capital to national income ratios and particularly the twice-published Figure 5.8/12.4. This graph provides an important piece of evidence for Piketty’s theoretical argument in Capital in the 21st Century, and particularly his contention that “a country that saves a lot and grows slowly will over the long run accumulate an enormous stock of capital (relative to its income), which can in turn have a significant effect on the social structure and distribution of wealth.” This “law” of capital accumulation, along with Piketty’s much quoted formula r>g, is supposed to demonstrate the central argument of his book wherein returns on capital outpace income, leading to sustained wealth disparity.

  • Originally published 06/08/2014

    Politics, Not Economics, Driving Minimum Wage

    On April 30, the Senate voted 54-42 to end debate on the Minimum Wage Fairness Act and effectively shelved it for the foreseeable future. The act would have raised the minimum wage of federal workers to $10.10 by 2016 and indexed it to inflation thereafter. Championed by Democrats and opposed by Republicans, minimum wage will be a flash point in the November elections. But does minimum wage genuinely help the workers that Democrats claim it benefits: the young, the poor, immigrants and women?

  • Originally published 05/09/2014

    The War Against the Nazis: A Source of Cold War Antagonism and Current Superpower Conflict

    For the U.S. and Russia, the two superpowers who have taken such an “interest” in Ukraine’s political turmoil, the Second World War could be upheld as a past example of successful diplomacy and as a model for future collaboration in resolving today’s crisis. After all, it stands for a moment when East and West worked together – as part of the “Big Three” coalition of the U.S., Great Britain, and the USSR – to bring down Adolf Hitler. Yet even the initial V-E Day in May of 1945 was an imperfect joint triumph, one marred by troubling indications of just how quickly a U.S.-Russian alliance could dissolve and one global cataclysm spill into another.

  • Originally published 04/25/2014

    The Khomeinist Dome: Iran's Larger Nuclear Strategy

    The Khomeinist dome is about preparing for the nukes before they are displayed and claimed. It is about signaling to the West that once the greater Iranian power is asserted, there will not be a first indefensible bomb. Rather, Iran will jump to the level of unstoppable power with a vast network of retaliation as deterrence will have been achieved. Unfortunately, Western posture towards Tehran has only helped in the building of the dome: sanctions worked but were limited, all Iran’s other military systems were unchecked, and its interventions in the region unstopped. Worse, a nuclear deal with the U.S. injected time and energy into the regime’s veins.