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Latest hand-picked World War II news and articles

Führerbunker: The Brief Luxurious Life of Adolf Hitler, 50 Feet Below Berlin
The Russians were closing in and Berlin was under a barrage of bombing raids when, on Jan. 16, 70 years ago, Adolf Hitler went underground. In a structure that still remains, about fifty feet below the gardens of the Reich Chancellery, he lived out his remaining 105 days in the Führerbunker. For an air-raid shelter, it was luxurious. Equipped with its own heating, electricity and water, according to Ian Kershaw`s Hitler: A Biography, the 3,000-square-foot reinforced bunker was accessible via a red-carpeted corridor lined with paintings re-hung from Hitler`s grander chambers in the Chancellery under which it was location. In his study hung his most revered piece of art: a portrait of Frederick the Great.

The eerie ruins of the Nuremberg parade grounds where Hitler held his propaganda rallies
The ghosts of Nazi monsters haunt these crumbling ruins on the outskirts of a German city that once made mankind hold its breath. Here they strutted their superman-stuff in choreographed marching, tens of thousands of them telegraphing to all that tomorrow belonged to them. Now the legions of Hitler have turned to dust and the remains of their shock-and-awe playground are rotting stones and crumbling steps. But in a move that has stunned many, city fathers in Nuremberg want to renovate the Nazi Party Rally Grounds at a cost of some £60 million - a bill which would ultimately have to be settled by the German taxpayer.

31 Rolls of Undeveloped Film from a Soldier in WWII Discovered and Processed
Photographer Levi Bettweiser is the man behind the Rescued Film Project, an effort to find and rescue old and undeveloped rolls of film from the far corners of the world. He recently came across one of his biggest finds so far: 31 undeveloped rolls of film shot by a single soldier during World War II. Bettweiser tells us he found the film rolls in late 2014 at an auction in Ohio. About half the rolls were labeled with various location names (i.e. Boston Harbor, Lucky Strike Beach, LaHavre Harbor). `I know nothing about who shot the film or who it belonged to,` he says.

The 10 Greatest Tank Battles In Military History
Ever since the first armored vehicles crawled across the tortured battlescapes of World War I, tanks have become an indelible fixture of land warfare. Many tank-on-tank engagements have occurred over the years, some more significant — and epic — than others. Here are 10 you need to know about.

Alan Turing`s Hidden Manuscripts Are Up For Auction
Alan Turing was a British mathematician who both broke the infamous Enigma code, enabling Britain to stay alive during WWII, and also the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. He`s the reason why people have laboured for decades to beat the `Turing Test`, and also the reason why submarines didn`t break the UK in 1942. Turing`s life is superbly detailed in Andrew Hodges` book, Alan Turing: The Enigma, which is now also an Oscar-nominated biopic. But actual material penned by Turing himself is hard to come by — hence the excitement surrounding the upcoming auction of one of this notebooks.

The Sherman M4 Was the Little Tank that Could
The Sherman M4 tank is to WW2 like roadies are to rock concerts: it did an enormous amount of work, yet it received far less recognition than it deserves. Never intended to go head-to-head with the German Mark IV Panther and Tiger tanks that it would face, the Sherman nonetheless held its own against bigger and far more capable machines. Perhaps the Sherman`s greatest feature was the speed with which American factories could turn it out. In the later years of World War II, this proved to be the decisive advantage that gave the Allies victory over the Germans and their admittedly superior battlefield armor. US military planners wanted a tank that was mechanically simple, extremely reliable, and able to serve in a variety of combat roles. The M4 fit the bill.

Dambusters collection sells for £75,000 at Northamptonshire auction house
The original bomb sight used in the Dambusters raids during the Second World War sold for auction for £41,500. Bomb aimer John Fort used the sight to deliver the decisive ‘bouncing bomb` that breached the Mohne Dam in May 1943. It featured in a collection of memorabilia that sold at auction at J P Humbert Auctioneers in Towcester for a total of £75,000. Some of the actual marbles that Dr Barnes Wallis used to design his bouncing bomb realised £27,200. Humberts also sold the map light and parallelogram used by Vivian Nicholson, the flight navigator for £2,700 and £2,650 respectively.

Meet The Survivors Of Auschwitz 70 Years After Its Liberation
Jan. 27 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of infamous Auschwitz, a Nazi German concentration and death camp that executed almost 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, during the World War II. The death camps were liberated by Soviet Union`s Red Army in 1945 and about 200,000 inmates were rescued. Here are some of the brave souls who survived the horrors of Auschwitz camp...

Holocaust survivor adopts grandson of Auschwitz commander Rudolph Hoss
At the age of 80, Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes agreed to adopt Rainer Höss, the grandson of the SS commander of Auschwitz during the time Mozes was imprisoned there. The call is part of Mozes` mission to forgive those who wronged her during the dark days when she was a victim of cruel experiments by Nazi doctors, including the infamous Dr. Joseph Mengele.

Why did my grandfather translate Mein Kampf?
Whenever I tell anyone that my Irish grandfather translated Hitler`s Mein Kampf, the first question tends to be, "Why did he do that?" Quickly followed by, "Was he a Nazi?" Simply answered, No he wasn`t a Nazi (more on that later) and why not translate it? He was a journalist and translator based in Berlin in the 1930s and that`s how he earned his money. And surely it was important for people to know what Europe`s "Great Dictator" was about?

Fuhrerbunker to be re-built for tourists by the Top Secret museum in Oberhausen
The bunker in which Adolf Hitler married Eva Braun shortly before the couple committed suicide is being re-created by a German museum despite fears it may be deemed insensitive. A replica of the Fuhrerbunker, where Nazi leader Hitler spent his final months in Berlin, is being planned for a summer opening at The `Top Secret` museum in Oberhausen, in the Ruhr valley more than 300 miles from its original location. "We`re just in the planning stages – the architects are working on it," museum director Ingo Mersmann explained.

Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart served in the Boer War, the First World War and World War II
Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart was a one-eyed, one-handed war hero who fought in three major conflicts across six decades, surviving plane crashes and PoW camps. Carton de Wiart served in the Boer War, World War One and World War Two. In the process he was shot in the face, losing his left eye, and was also shot through the skull, hip, leg, ankle and ear. In WW1 he was severely wounded on eight occasions and mentioned in despatches six times. Having previously lost an eye and a hand in battle, Carton de Wiart, as commanding officer, was seen by his men pulling the pins of grenades out with his teeth and hurling them with his one good arm during the Battle of the Somme, winning the Victoria Cross.

Aurochs: How Hitler and Goering resurrected extinct species to make Nazi super cows
A breed of cow that went extinct in the 1600s but was brought back to life by Hitler has made the headlines across the UK. Devonshire farmer Derek Gow had to slaughter most of his herd of Heck because of their "incredibly aggressive" behaviour. Some of the animals would try to kill anyone that approached and, as a result, have been turned into sausage meat. Aurochs, or Bos primigenius, died out in 1627 in Poland. They were a large breed of cattle, standing up to 1.8m in height, and was ancestor to modern domestic breeds. In the 1930s, Nazi second in command Hermann Goering asked geneticists Heinz and Lutz Heck to re-create the extinct species.

Nazi diary reveals brutal tactics employed against Lodz Jews
Recently uncovered diaries written by Nazi officers meticulously document horrifying occurrences within Lodz ghetto.

Secret WWII WMD factory found in Austria - Was Hitler testing nuclear bomb?
St. Georgen an der Gusen is a small market town in Upper Austria. Quiet and picturesque, it`s hard to imagine that during WWII, it was selected to be the business center for the SS in exploiting slave labor. Now another secret has been unearthed. A vast underground weapons factory was opened up by Austrian documentary-maker Andreas Sulzer and his team. The 75-acre complex drew Sulzer`s interest after he saw references to it in the diary of an Austrian physicist who had worked for the Nazis. High radiation levels around the town of St. Georgen an der Gusen have fueled the theory that the Nazis were attempting to build a nuclear bomb.

How did favourite Nazi commando Otto Skorzeny become an Irish farmer?
He was Hitler`s favourite Nazi commando, famously rescuing Mussolini from an Italian hilltop fortress, and was known as "the most dangerous man in Europe". After World War Two, he landed in Argentina and became a bodyguard for Eva Perón, with whom he was rumoured to have had an affair. So when Otto Skorzeny arrived in Ireland in 1959, having bought a rural farmhouse in County Kildare, it caused much intrigue. At 6ft 4in and 18 stone, known as `scarface` due to a distinctive scar on his left cheek, Skorzeny was an easily recognisable figure as he popped into the local post office.

Swedish documentary examines the Third Reich`s notion of perfection and beauty
Frankly, the parade is exquisite. The marchers wear clean, crisp uniforms. They hold their banners high. Enormous sculptures of horses and men loom over the procession. It`s footage from German Arts Day—in 1939. A march in celebration of the Nazi aesthetic. `The government—half of which consists of men who once aspired to serve the arts—is conscious of the artist`s role as an intermediary,` the narrator says, quoting famed Nazi literati Hans-Friedrich Blunck. The footage plays at the beginning of Architecture of Doom, a 1989 Swedish documentary from writer-director Peter Cohen that explores Hitler`s idea of beauty—and the terrible things he would do to realize it.

Secret Nazi nuclear weapons testing bunker unearthed in Austria
An underground weapons bunker built by Nazis to test nuclear and chemical weapons has been unearthed in Austria. It was built using slave labor from the nearby Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. Austrian documentary filmmaker Andreas Sulzer noticed a reference to the subterranean site in the diary of an Austrian physicist recruited by the Nazis. The stronghold was located near the town of Sankt Georgen an der Gusen, and not far from the Bergkristall factory where the first operational jet-powered fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 262, was invented.

Shotgun believed to be Hitler`s sells for $150,000
Midwest Exchange posted the auction on for the seller. Bidding started at $100,000 on Dec. 1, but the auction received only two bids — $124,000 and $136,500 — neither of which topped the reserve price set before the auction started. However, the offer also attracted an outside bidder who contacted Midwest Exchange personally and offered the winning price of $150,000. The gun — designed and manufactured by Germany`s Krieghoff Gun Company — is a side-by-side shotgun chambered for 12-gauge shells. It features elaborate engravings of woodlands with deer and stag, all done by a master engraver of the time. Also, and most interestingly, the initials `AH` are engraved at the bottom of the trigger guard.

Berlin exhibition evokes final months of WWII
The tense expression on Ilse Grassmann`s face belies the festive occasion. It`s Christmas 1944 and she is sitting at home with her three youngest children, the table bare of food or gifts. Her husband is due to be called up soon to join Nazi Germany`s hopeless attempt to win the war. Their 18-year-old son is already stationed in Denmark awaiting the Allied advance. The scene captures the mood most Germans felt during the final months of World War II. Few believed the claim by Adolf Hitler and his loyal followers that Germany could still achieve an `Endsieg,` or final victory. The picture is part of an exhibition in Berlin marking next year`s 70th anniversary of the end of World War II called `Germany 1945 - The Last Months of the War.`

Adolf Hitler look-a-like travels everywhere with Mein Kampf and charges £60 for photographs
With a toothbrush moustache and jet black hair brushed over to one side, one Kosovan man believes he is the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler and travels everywhere with a copy of Mein Kampf. Emin Djinovci from Mitrovica earns a living as a Hitler look-a-like and even charges tourists £60 for taking a photograph with him. The 49-year-old has five daughters who he collectively calls `Hitler`s children` and is proud of his likeness to the Nazi leader because he fought against the Serbs – his enemies.

Hitler`s old house gives Austria a headache
What do you do with the house Hitler was born in? For years the building in the Austrian town of Braunau am Inn has been rented by the Austrian interior ministry to prevent misuse by neo-Nazis. It was once a day-care centre for the disabled. Now it is empty, as the owner has not agreed to any plans for its future use. Braunau am Inn is a pretty little town in northern Austria, right on the border with Germany. But it has a heavy legacy. Just off the main square is Salzburger Vorstadt 15: a solid, 17th-Century former inn, where Adolf Hitler was born in 1889. Adolf Hitler only lived in Salzburger Vorstadt 15 for a few weeks, before his family moved to another address in Braunau.

Third Reich seaside complex pits German commercialism against dark Nazi past
Built by the Third Reich in the run-up to the second world war, the resort at Prora, on the island of Rügen, Germany, was a Nazi vision of tourism. Happy, healthy Aryans would stay and play at the 10,000-room complex on the Baltic sea, eating, swimming and even bowling for the Führer. But 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the complex nicknamed the Colossus of Prora is part of a growing debate in Germany that pits commercialism against Vergangenheitsbewältigung – the German word for how the country should come to terms with its dark past. Blocks of 6-story buildings stretching for 4.5km went up before war slowed construction. But now a group of investors in this seaside town is doing what the Nazis never could: realising the site`s final stage of transformation into a vacation wonderland.

11 Secret Weapons Developed By Japan During World War 2
Normally, it`s the Western Powers who are remembered for developing some of the most innovative and conceptual weapons of the Second World War. But when it came to experimental military technologies, Japan suffered from no shortage of ideas. Here are 11 you should know about.

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