World War II in the News
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Latest hand-picked World War II news and articles

Kristina Söderbaum, the Nazi Marilyn Monroe: Goebbels had very nice eyes, but he was a devil!
In the early 1990s, I interviewed Germans who had risen to prominence in the film industry under the Nazis. I met Leni Riefenstahl`s cameraman, the composer who wrote Lili Marleen, and the woman who could be called the Nazi Marilyn Monroe, Kristina Söderbaum. Söderbaum claimed Joseph Goebbels, head of Nazi propaganda, didn`t much like her. His taste ran to dark-haired actresses. Hitler, on the other hand, was always very pleasant to her. `I found it ridiculous to be filming when the enemy was coming nearer and nearer. One knew about the war and everything that was happening. Then, to stand in front of the camera, I felt like an idiot.`
(theguardian.com)

Inside the secret labyrinth of WW2 tunnels known as the Great North Road dug a mile under the Rock of Gibraltar
These are the secret World War Two tunnels dug into the Rock of Gibraltar to protect the Allies - and with `streets` named after English towns so British troops could find their way around. Named the Great North Road and built in 1940, the mile-long complex was built deep inside the Rock to protect soldiers and equipment from Luftwaffe bombing raids. Gibraltar was strategically important during the Second World War because it allowed the British to control access to the Mediterranean Sea. The tunnels housed everything 16,000 soldiers needed to survive for 16 months. They were so well positioned and equipped that General Dwight Eisenhower used the Admiralty Tunnel for the Allied Command Headquarters in 1942 to plan the allied invasion of North Africa.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Flak towers: massive reinforced concrete buildings built by the Nazis during World War II
Flak towers were eight complexes of massive, above-ground, anti-aircraft concrete towers constructed by Nazi Germany as one of the answers to Allied air attacks during World War II. After the RAF launched a successful raid on Berlin in 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered the construction of three flak towers to protect the city from aerial attacks. Berlin`s towers were constructed in only six months and, in addition, two of these massive complexes were built in Hamburg and six more in Vienna (constructed between December 1942 and January 1945).
(thevintagenews.com)

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)

Hitler lived in a house that belonged to a Jewish landlord for a decade. Landlord: I was quite sympathetic to Hitler
A German historian has claimed that Adolf Hitler lived for almost a decade in a house that belonged to a Jewish merchant. Paul Hoser says Hitler lived at Thierschstrasse 41 in Munich`s Lehel district from 1920 till 1929, interrupted by a year spent at Landsberg prison for staging a failed coup in Bavaria. Writing in the quarterly VfZ, Hoser says house was bought in 1921 by Hugo Erlanger. According to the research, Hitler treated his Jewish landlord `with courtesy`. Hoser - who has written a book entitled Thierschstrasse 41: the Lodger Hitler, His Jewish Landlord and a Restitution Problem - reveals how Erlanger told Hitler`s 1934 biographer: `I must admit that I was quite sympathetic to Hitler.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Okinawa: The Afterburn documentary film portrays The Legacy Of War
72 years after U.S. forces launched one of World War II`s bloodiest chapters (the Battle of Okinawa) director John Junkerman is premiering his documentary film `Okinawa: The Afterburn` in Hawaii. `Okinawa: The Afterburn` has been called the most comprehensive film of its kind and praised for its even-handed examination of the legacy of war, discrimination and sacrifice as it sheds light on the complex history shared by Okinawans, Japanese and Americans. The two-hour film begins with rarely seen archival footage of the 1945 Battle of Okinawa in which some 240,000 people lost their lives, including one-quarter to one-third of Okinawa`s civilian population.
(civilbeat.org)

Theodor Eicke, the man who created the concentration camp model, was released from a mental asylum on Himmler`s orders
A son of a station master and the youngest of 11 children, Theodor Eicke, did not like school too much, failing to graduate and dropped out at the age of 17. He fought in WWI and received the Iron Cross for bravery. In the 1920s he went on to pursue a career in the police. There he started as an informer and later became a regular policeman. He got into trouble at work because of his hatred for the Weimar Republic and his involvement in violent political demonstrations. In a nutshell, Eicke`s view of the Weimar Republic was allied with those of the Nazi party, so it was only natural that he would join them.
(thevintagenews.com)

Mystery as 14,000 Second World War dog tags found buried in field
A relic hunter`s groundbreaking discovery could see thousands of families finally recover precious memorabilia of relatives who served during the Second World War. Dan Mackay, a self-styled relic hunter, has uncovered a hoard of more than 14,000 dog tags buried beside an anti-aircraft battery close to London - including those of British soldiers who fought and died during the Normandy landings.
(telegraph.co.uk)

Channel Islands sees them turned into ‘impregnable fortress` on Nazi Mega Weapons
This week Nazi Mega Weapons looks at how Hitler turned the Channel Islands into one of the most fortified parts of Europe during World War II. The Channel Islands are a British Crown dependencies lying between the southwest coast of the UK and the northwest coast of France. Following the outbreak of the war, the British decided not to defend the islands as they judged them to be of no strategic value. Most of children on the islands were evacuated to England along with a significant portion of the adult population. The islands were invaded in 30 June 1940 and not liberated until 9 May 1945, when they were freed without a shot being fired.
(monstersandcritics.com)

Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the Nazi-hunting girl sniper who shocked Britain and America
Long before women were even allowed to serve in most armies, Lyudmila Pavlichenko became a `hero of the Soviet Union`. She was a national hero of a sort unfamiliar in Europe since the semi-mythic queens of classical time: a soldier, and a good one. From the barrel of her sniper rifle, 309 Nazis were killed on the Eastern Front during the Second World War, and countless more were inspired to enlist by her overseas visits to the UK and the US. She was encouraged to become a nurse, but she refused, and wound up in a rifle division, one of 2,000 women who would end up serving as snipers. "I wear my uniform with honour. It has the Order of Lenin on it. It has been covered with blood in battle."
(inews.co.uk)

How the BBC`s truth offensive beat Hitler`s propaganda machine
When it came to winning the war against Hitler`s sophisticated propaganda machine, the BBC hit upon an ingenious idea: tell the unvarnished truth. An academic trawl of the BBC archives has revealed that while the Nazi regime used puppet broadcasters such as William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) to spin messages of German invincibility, the BBC was choosing to broadcast detailed news of Britain`s military setbacks. The decision was part of a deliberate strategy to win the hearts and minds of the German people, says Dr Vike Martina Plock of the department of English at Exeter University, who discovered memos from the time during research at the BBC Written Archives Centre in Caversham Park, Reading.
(theguardian.com)

Polish resistance fighter battled Nazis from cover of forest
"There were three German divisions, 30,000 soldiers, and 3,000 partisans. The Germans had support from artillery and its air force. We had no heavy equipment," Jozef Zawitkowski recalled. At one point, he captured a German who revealed how Luftwaffe pilots knew where to drop bombs on the partisan units, despite the cover of the forest canopy. "The German ground forces shot rocket pistols that exploded in different colors. The color red identified the position of the partisans below. The color green warned the pilots that they were approaching German units." With that knowledge, the resistance started shooting rocket pistols that exploded in the color green. But despite the ruse, the enemy`s overwhelming numbers succeeded in encircling the partisans, whose forces included Russian units that by 1944 had also infiltrated the region.
(buffalonews.com)

Nazis were harassing Heisenberg, so his mother called Himmler`s mom & asked her if she would tell the SS to give her son a break
Werner Heisenberg`s contributions to quantum mechanics made him one of the greatest physicists of his time and the director of the Nazi atomic bomb program. However, during the early days of the Nazi regime, Heisenberg got himself into trouble as he supported Einstein`s ideas on relativity, contrary to the Nazi-sanctioned Deutsche Physik movement. The campaign against Heisenberg and many other scientists in Nazi Germany, seen as Jewish sympathizers continued in the next years. Heisenberg was hauled into the Gestapo headquarters for questioning, on several occasions. Heisenberg`s mother was worried that if the Gestapo continued to harass her son, he might end up in a concentration camp. Luckily for Heisenberg, his mother happened to know Himmler`s mom. So she decided to call her and ask if she would please tell the SS to give her son a break. Soon after the phone call, Himmler forbade further attacks on the physicist.
(thevintagenews.com)

The Man Who Brought the Swastika to Germany, and How the Nazis Stole It
When archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann traveled to Ithaca, Greece in 1868, one goal was foremost in his mind: discovering the ancient city of Troy using Homer`s Iliad. It wasn`t until 1871 that Schliemann achieved his dream. The discovery catapulted him to fame, and with his fame came a burst of interest in all that he uncovered. The intrepid archaeologist found his Homeric city, but he also found something else: the swastika, a symbol that would be manipulated to shape world history.
(smithsonianmag.com)

Mein Kampf returns to Japanese schools as teaching material
Japan has okayed using Mein Kampf, Hitler`s autobiography and Nazi manifesto, in schools for educational purposes just weeks after the similarly controversial Imperial Rescript on Education was approved as `teaching material`. The decision came weeks after the controversial Imperial Rescript on Education in schools was approved for the same purposes. According to many historians, the Rescript, which focuses on patriotism and loyalty to the Japanese Emperor, was one of the primary sources promoting obedience and moral certitude that helped militarism to grow in Japan.
(miragenews.com)

JFK called Hitler the stuff of legends: Secret diary reveals future president`s fascination with Nazi dictator
John F. Kennedy referred to Hitler as having `the stuff of which legends are made` in a diary entry written after visiting Germany in 1945. Kennedy traveled to Hitler`s bomb-ravaged Bavarian Berghof residence and Eagle`s Nest mountain retreat during a tour of Germany while serving as a war correspondent for Hearst newspapers. And now excerpts from the diary, which were revealed by People Magazine, have shed light on just how the man who would become president thought about the Nazi leader. `You can easily understand how that within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived,` Kennedy wrote.
(dailymail.co.uk)

The march of the Nazi war machine: Unseen photographs collected by the Red Baron`s cousin
Photographs documenting the devastating rise of the German war machine at the chilling peak of the Third Reich during the Second World War have been unearthed in two albums compiled by high-ranking Nazi Field Marsh Wolfram von Richtofen. Field Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen, who was the cousin of the infamous First World War fighter pilot the Red Baron, was a commanding officer in the German invasion of Russia in July 1941. He documented the devastating Operation Barbarossa in haunting pictures that have never been seen before.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Documentary film series Five Came Back reveals how WWII weaponized Hollywood
Just as the U.S. government rounded up atom-splitting physicists for the Manhattan Project to help build a bomb of devastating might, U.S. military leaders also recruited some of Hollywood`s top directors to harness the technology of modern filmmaking. The new documentary series Five Came Back, narrated by Meryl Streep, tells of five cinematic trailblazers — John Ford, Frank Capra, George Stevens, John Huston, and William Wyler — who put aside their careers, their families, and their safety to join the fight against the Third Reich and Imperial Japan.
(ew.com)

10 Facts: Stalin`s Great Purge - More Than Half A Million Shot
The Great Purge, also known as the Great Terror, was Stalin`s way of dealing with political opposition. Brutal and without mercy, he instigated the greatest political repression campaign in the history of the Soviet Union. The Great Purge lasted from 1936 to 1938, but its aftereffects included such actions as the mass murders of political prisoners by the Soviet secret political police, the NKVD, in 1941. Since Stalin`s position in power was questioned by his former colleagues from the Party, most notably Leon Trotsky and Nikolai Bukharin, he decided to use the opportunity to get rid of the two dissidents, including all of the original Bolsheviks that participated in the Revolution of 1917.
(warhistoryonline.com)

Fascism was popular because, for those not persecuted, it was a welfare state
The origins of fascism lay in a promise to protect people. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a rush of globalization destroyed communities, professions, and cultural norms while generating a wave of immigration. Benito Mussolini and his National Fascist Party (PNF) stepped into the breach, taking advantage of the failure or ineffectiveness of existing institutions - promising to foster national unity, prioritize the interests of the nation above those of any particular group, and promote Italy`s stature internationally. These appeals enabled the fascists to garner support from almost all socioeconomic groups.
(qz.com)

Lend-Lease Saved Countless Lives - But Probably Didn`t Win the Eastern Front
80% of the more than 5 million German military deaths in WWII occurred on the Eastern Front. As the war progressed, the two sides traded places, with the Red Army honing a mechanized `deep battle` doctrine that more closely resembled earlier German tactics — as the German army fell into disarray as casualties took their toll. All the while, the Western Allies provided enormous quantities of supplies and other aid under the Lend-Lease policy. The United States and the United Kingdom supplied more than 21 million tons of aid to the Soviet Union during the war, including thousands of tanks and warplanes. But the question of how much this aid affected the outcome of the war would become important not only for historians, but as a matter of national pride, as the Soviet Union went on to diminish Lend-Lease`s role in helping turn the tide of battle. Western historians would, perhaps for similar reasons, overstate the role of the aid in Soviet success.
(warisboring.com)

Hitler`s Compromises: Coercion and Consensus in Nazi Germany
Prof. Stoltzfus argues that, in contrast to his counterpart Stalin, while dealing harshly with outright resistance, Hitler was quite willing to tolerate some degree of dissent from his policies, at least from those who were ethnic Germans. In making his case, Stoltzfus discusses a surprising number of cases in which Hitler, rather than – like Stalin – merely using brute force and terror to impose his policies on Germany, resorted to a carrot and stick policy, preferring to massage the masses as it were, and push people not wholly willing to cooperate with the new regime in the directions he wanted them to go. Stoltzfus even presents examples of Hitler`s curbing the actions of some of his more ideologically determined followers in the process.
(strategypage.com)

The Mosin-Nagant: The Russian Sniper Rifle Nazi Germany Feared Most
The Soviet government often exaggerated tales of its front-line snipers for propaganda purposes. The sniper duel between famed Soviet sniper Vasily Zaitsev and `Major Konig` was probably myth, although Zaitsev was a remarkable soldier. Such myths are a weapon in a fight for national survival, and a tool for building morale. But in terms of history, the myths complicate the picture. However, the Soviet Union certainly embraced the sniper, perhaps more than any other combatant during World War II, fielding them in larger numbers and on a wider scale earlier in the conflict than Nazi Germany. The Mosin-Nagant rifle modified for long-distance work was the Red Army`s primary sniper weapon.
(nationalinterest.org)

Postscript to WWII: the mass exodus of Germans from former occupied countries
The mass deportations, voluntarily and otherwise, of Germans at the end of WWII from various European countries is forgotten by history. A glimpse of some possessions and the stories behind them is the focus of the Usti municipal museum exhibition in Usti nad Labem, North Bohemia, Czechoslovakia. The museum translated the texts into Czech and bolstered the number of items from its region to the display that will be open until May 14. Exhibition curator Tomas Okurka said the people often had only small pieces of baggage weighing between 30 to 50 kilograms. They most often took the items they required the most such as basic cookware, clothes, pillows and duvets in addition to personal items like children`s toys or prayer books.
(warhistoryonline.com)

Germany to clear gays convicted under Nazi-era law
The German government approved plans to quash the convictions of 50,000 men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law which remained in force after the war, and offer compensation. The measure marks a triumph for activists after a decades-long struggle to clear the names of gay men who lived with a criminal record under Article 175 of the penal code. 5,000 of those found guilty are still alive. The compensation scheme under the new legislation includes a one-off payment of €3,000 (US$3,200) for every man convicted and an additional €1,500 for each year spent in prison.
(channelnewsasia.com)



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