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Latest hand-picked World War II news and articles

America Experimented on Conscientious Objectors During World War II
The vast majority of Americans supported involvement in World War II, but a small minority refused to serve in combat because of their beliefs. The Selective Service and Training Act of 1940 gave them the option of serving in non-combat military roles or joining the Civilian Public Service for non-military `work of national importance under civilian direction.` Those who refused either option went to prison. The PBS documentary The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It points out that roughly 43,000 Americans refused to fight and filed for conscientious objector status. Of those, 25,000 served as noncombatants in the military, 6,000 went to prison and 12,000 served in CPS. But 500 conscientious objectors `competed to volunteer` to be `human guinea pigs` for `dangerous and life-threatening medical experiments seeking cures for malaria, infections hepatitis, atypical pneumonia and typhus,` according to the PBS Website for The Good War.

Japan`s secret underground navy headquarters gives glimpse of WWII`s final days
On a hillside overlooking a field where students play volleyball, an entrance leads down a dusty, slippery slope to Japan`s secret Imperial Navy headquarters in the final months of World War II. Here, Japan`s navy leaders made plans for the fiercest battles, including those of Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima and Okinawa from late 1944 to the war`s end in August 1945. They knew when kamikaze pilots crashed to their deaths when signals from their planes stopped. They cried when they monitored cables from officers aboard the famed battleship Yamato as it came under heavy U.S. fire and sank off southern Japan. Today, the barren, concrete tunnels sit quietly underneath a campus, largely untouched and unknown, occasionally visited by guided tours for the students.

Watercolours and drawings by Hitler have fetched 400,000 euros at a German auction
A painting of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria fetched the highest price at Saturday`s sale, selling to a Chinese buyer for 100,000 euros. A still-life of carnations, signed A Hitler, fetched 72,000 euros at the Nuremberg event. Last year the same auction house sold a watercolour painted by Hitler in 1914 for 129,000 euros. The auction was organised by Weidler Auctioneers of Nuremberg, which said bidders included private investors from Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, France and Germany. Hitler paintings can be sold under German law provided they do not display any Nazi symbols.

Conflict-Series: A highly rated strategy game series for Android
If you love classic PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, Invasion of Poland 1939, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, the Battle of Bulge, and the Battle of Berlin 1945. In addition there are American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War scenarios available.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store)

10 Things About the Mistreatment of Black Soldiers During World War II You May Not Know
(!) Black Newspapers` Coverage of Black Soldiers` Mistreatment Considered War Crime. During World War II, the Black media was unable to publicly speak about the horrendous acts that were being inflicted upon Black soldiers at the time. --- (3) German POWs Treated Better Than Black Soldiers. In 1944, Corp. Rupert Trimmingham, a Black soldier of the United States armed forces, wrote to Yank Magazine, to expound upon the racial discrimination that he and his fellow men had experienced during the war. In his letter, he upheld the notion that most Black soldiers had realized at the time: German prisoners of war were treated much better than the Black soldiers of the United States.

Study: Nazi propaganda left life-long mark on German kids
Nazi propaganda had a life-long effect on German children schooled in the Third Reich, leaving them far more likely to harbor negative views of Jews than those born earlier and later, according to a study published Monday. The researchers found that those born in the 1930s held the most extreme anti-Semitic opinions — even fifty years after the end of Nazi rule. `It`s not just that Nazi schooling worked, that if you subject people to a totalitarian regime during their formative years it will influence the way their mind works,` said Hans-Joachim Voth of the University of Zurich, one of the study`s authors. `The striking thing is that it doesn`t go away afterward.`

Rare photographs of the women who joined the Indian army in World War II
In May 1942, the British formed the Women`s Auxiliary Corps (India) for female volunteers to contribute to the war cause. This was the first time Indian women entered the army, and until 1992, it also was the only time they were allowed to serve in non-medical roles. As with their counterparts in the United States and Europe, women were not allowed to serve in combat roles. Instead, they worked behind the front lines as typists, switchboard operators and drivers, and could be posted anywhere the Indian Army went. The corps was disbanded in 1947 with Independence.

Hitler wearing a Japanese Kimono in a rare photo
In this rare picture, at first glance, the evil tyrant looks like a bad pantomime dame, but is actually sporting a Japanese kimono. The Fuhrer is seen donning the swastika-emblazoned traditional dress in the 1930s. Bizarrely, before the start of WWII, from when he was sworn in as chancellor in 1933, it was quite common for Germans to buy novelty nick nacks bearing an image of the Fuhrer, such as this. Its exact origin is not known, but it is speculated it was taken to commemorate the signing of the international pact between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan on November 25 1936.

Revolver owned by legendary WW2 General George S. Patton fetches $75,000 at auction
A Colt .45 revolver once owned by General George S. Patton sold for $75,000 at auction in Los Angeles. Profiles in History, which conducted the auction, had expected the working firearm to fetch over $60,000. The Colt .45 Model 1873 single-action revolver with distinctive stag horn grip was acquired by the famous WWII general in 1928. The gun, owned by Patton until his death in 1945, is considered to be a version of his famous ivory-handled Colt. 45, which is on display at The General George Patton Museum and Center of Leadership in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

In `Stalingrad,` Jochen Hellbeck uses forgotten interviews to take us inside the battle
In "Stalingrad: The City That Defeated the Third Reich" (PublicAffairs, 512 pp., $29.99), Jochen Hellbeck assembles what amounts to an histoire totale, or all-encompassing chronicle, of this pivotal contest. The book, previously published to great acclaim in Germany, focuses on a collection of oral histories gathered by Soviet researchers during, and in the aftermath of, the battle in 1942-43. This documentary trove languished in the basement of a Moscow archive until Hellbeck came upon it in 2008. Comprising 215 eyewitness accounts from generals to privates, as well as civilians, these interviews paint a "multifaceted picture" of incredible bravery and fortitude. Due to their "candor and complexity," they were censored during the war.

13 of the Most Vicious & Deadly Women in Nazi Camps
(1) Elisabeth Volkenrath: After training under Dorothea Binz she was to serve at Ravensbruck and Auschwitz-Birkenau before being appointed senior supervisor at Bergen-Belsen. Well known to have participated in the execution of prisoners, at her trial she was convicted and, like her teacher, executed for her crimes. --- (2) Irma Grese aka The Beautiful Beast: After the war, survivors provided details of murders, tortures, and cruelties by Irma Grese. They testified to her acts of pure sadism, beatings and arbitrary shooting of prisoners, savaging of prisoners by her trained and half starved dogs, to her selecting prisoners for the gas chambers. She wore heavy boots and carried a whip and a pistol.

Himmler`s Copy of Hitler`s Mein Kampf
The Ransom Center holds one unique war trophy `liberated` by an American G.I. that weighs in at 23 pounds of evil: a giant vellum-bound copy in heavy boards of Adolf Hitler`s Mein Kampf. Emblazoned on the front with a golden eagle atop a swastika, this large-format edition of Hitler`s manifesto is likely one of fewer than a hundred such lavish presentation copies produced in München for Nazi leaders. The book is now kept in a large box, along with two typed letters from the Red Cross nurse-turned-army-wife, Carmel White Eitt, who donated it in 1988. She writes of its being `liberated by a lad named Willie, a cook in the headquarters company of the 143 regiment`, during the search of Heinrich Himmler`s residence in Tegernsee, Bavaria, by the 36th division after the signing that ended the war. Once Stateside, this G.I. showed up at her doorstep to give her his war trophy as a thank-you.

Battle of France - The World War II soldiers France has forgotten
The fall of France 75 years ago is seen as a moment of abject national disgrace. But some insist the French military has been wronged - and that the hundreds of thousands of French troops who fought in the Battle of France deserve to be honoured, rather than forgotten. It all took less than a month. Faced by the onslaught of Hitler`s Panzer divisions the French army collapsed and PM Philippe Petain capitulated. "After the war, as we all know, de Gaulle wanted to wipe out the memory of the debacle," says historian Dominique Lormier. "So the focus was on the Resistance and on the Army of Africa, which fought the Germans from 1944. The sacrifice of the soldiers who fought in 1940 was forgotten."

M18 Hellcat Tank destroyer for sale
Manufactured by Buick of General Motors from 1943 to 1944, the M18 Hellcat is one of the most famous tanks used in World War II. Officially designated a tank destroyer, one example of the 2,507-unit production run is now for sale for $244,000. Northeast Military Vehicle Services LLC is informing that this Buick M18 Hellcat SN1240 is in excellent condition. That comes courtesy of a restoration that "cost over $300,000," making this blast from the past "totally turn-key." Though the turret is fully functional, the 76 mm AT M1A2 gun isn`t live, and the breech-loading weapon has been demilled.

The sad, strange life of Svetlana Alliluyeva -- Joseph Stalin`s daughter
The first sentence of Svetlana Alliluyeva`s obituary was set from her birth in 1926, for she was the only daughter of Joseph Stalin, the notorious Soviet dictator, and one of the worst mass murderers in history. `Wherever I go, whether to Australia or some island, I will always be the political prisoner of my father`s name,` she said. Indeed, it`s by reading those obituaries that biographer Rosemary Sullivan decided there was a story that needed to be told. `Can you imagine living under the shadow of your father`s name—that name—for a lifetime?` Sullivan says. She spent 3 1/2 years researching and writing Stalin`s Daughter.

Has a pair of Eva Braun`s monogrammed underwear wound up in an Ohio antiques shop?
An antiques shop in a tiny Ohio town is boasting a big item: a pair of Eva Braun`s French silk panties complete with monogrammed `EB.` The question of the underwear`s authenticity remains, but the `firm` $7,500 price tage certainly suggests they are the real thing. And that`s the line being toed by not only the owner of Mantiques in Elmore, but also the 84-year-old retired Air Force major who sold it to him -- a man who gives a tale of the Nazi knickers` provenance so enthralling, everyone seems to want it to be true.

Why one of the world`s most wanted Nazis, Vladimir Katriuk, never faced justice
In 2012, a journalist visited Vladimir Katriuk at his farm 40 miles outside Montreal. At one point during the encounter, Katriuk, who was in his 90s, grabbed part of a beehive and started talking about a queen bee. `You see?` he told the reporter. `Here they have started to make the royal cell.` The reporter hadn`t asked about the hive, though. His question was about a list from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which had named the Ukrainian-born beekeeper - who died this month - as one of the world`s most wanted suspected Nazi war criminals. Katriuk, who moved to Canada in the 1950s, was a member of a Ukrainian battalion of the SS between 1942 and 1944.

Operation Unthinkable -- Churchill`s Planned Invasion of the Soviet Union, July 1945
Not later than April 1945 Churchill instructed the British Armed Forces` Joint Planning Staff to draw up Operation Unthinkable, a code name of two related plans of a conflict between the Western allies and the Soviet Union. The generals were asked to devise means to `impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire`. The hypothetical date for the start of the Allied invasion of Soviet-held Europe was scheduled for 1 July 1945. In the final days of the war against the Hitler`s Germany London started preparations to strike the Soviet Union from behind.

Konrad Morgen prosecuted his fellow Nazis, but not for the Final Solution. How should history judge him?
Georg Konrad Morgen was the first man to prosecute commandants of the Nazi concentration camps, but he wasn`t an officer of war-crimes tribunals. He was himself a German SS officer, and he prosecuted his fellow SS officers in SS courts during the Second World War. Morgen charged them not with crimes against humanity but with ordinary crimes of corruption and murder. While investigating those crimes, he came upon the machinery of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau and, recoiling in horror, he asked himself what he could do about it.

Europe`s only all-female WW2 internment camp in the Isle of Man remembered
An exhibition which reveals the untold stories of detainees at Europe`s only all-female internment camp has opened in the Isle of Man. It marks the 75th anniversary of the detention of more than 3,500 women and children in the south of the island during World War Two. Organiser Pamela Crowe said the exhibition was of "international importance". It was opened at St Catherine`s Church by former internee Kathleen Hallgarten. A baby when she was interned with her mother Ruth Borchard, she spent 18 months in the Rushen camp. The now 76-year-old said: "I remember an awful lot from the stories my mother told me - she recalled it as an enormously happy time."

Most-wanted Nazi - SS lieutenant Gerhard Sommer - unfit for trial
SS lieutenant Gerhard Sommer, at the top of a most-wanted list of Nazis, has been declared unfit for trial by prosecutors in Germany. They said he had severe dementia. Sommer, 93, was one of 10 ex-Nazi officers found guilty in absentia in Italy of one of the country`s worst civilian wartime massacres. He was convicted for his role in the murders of 560 civilians in the Tuscan village of Sant`Anna di Stazzema in August 1944. The Nazis, who were retreating in northern Italy ahead of Allied troops, surrounded the village early on 12 August and in the space of a few hours murdered men, women and 119 children.

Previously secret documents reveal Adolf Eichmann was secretly visited by wife in Israeli prison
Adolf Eichmann the Nazi war criminal who was one of the key planners of the Holocaust was visited by his wife in Israeli prison, shortly before he was executed in 1962, previously secret historical documents have revealed. The SS lieutenant colonel was visited by his wife Vera in Ramle Prison near Tel Aviv, according to a visitors` log, which was recently released. The official state documents show that Vera Eichmann visited her husband on April 30 for roughly 90 minutes. At the time Eichmann was awaiting an appeal to Israel`s Supreme Court for clemency. It was rejected on May 29 and two days later he was hanged.

400,000 children fathered by occupying Allies shunned in post-war Germany and Austria
When Christa Wais was born in September 1946, her Austrian mother had already lost contact with her father, a major in the Red Army. Christa is one of 30,000 children thought to have been fathered by Allied soldiers in Austria in the decade after World War Two. Meanwhile it is estimated that about 400,000 children in Germany were fathered by the occupying soldiers, who came from United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union.

SS leader Heinrich Himmler`s daughter Gudrun Burwitz remains a committed Nazi
Seventy years ago Heinrich Himmler, one of the most evil men who ever lived, bit into a poison capsule and ended his life. There is one person who will be mourning the anniversary: his daughter Gudrun Burwitz, the so-called Princess of Nazism, still believes he was a good man. And more than seven decades after she wrote of the `marvelous` time she had visiting her father at notorious death camp Daschau, she is still a supporter of the Nazi ideology. She has dedicated her life to `helping` surviving Nazis evade justice, and even now, in her 80s, is considered the `godmother` of far-right women`s groups. She still holds on to her cherished memories of the years the Nazis were in power.

Remarkably Preserved Messerschmitt Bf 109 recovered from an Icy Russian Lake
In this post, Urban Ghosts take a closer look at the Luftwaffe`s Messerschmitt Bf 109, the formidable fighter which proved a deadly adversary for allied aircrew. But this isn`t just any Bf 109, either. The aircraft was the personal mount of German fighter ace Wulf-Dietrich Widowitz. What`s more, when it was pulled from a Russian lake in 2003, it became one of the most remarkable examples of its kind ever to be recovered. This Bf 109E-7, werk number 3523, was built in 1939 by Arado GmbH at Warnemunde on the Baltic Sea. Originally launched as an E-1 variant, the aircraft was pressed into service during the Battle of France. After serving in the Battle of Britain, Bf 109 3523 was upgraded to E-7 standard in August 1940. By the end of winter 1942, the aircraft had been posted to the Eastern Front.

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