Rommel’s Suicide

After the 1943 defeat of the Afrikorps in North Africa, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was recalled to Europe to oversee the defense of the Atlantic coast. One of Germany's most successful and popular generals, Rommel soon began to harbor doubts about Adolf...

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Battle of Leyte Gulf

The Battle of Leyte Gulf (October 23–26, 1944) proved to be the most decisive naval engagement in the Pacific War. Japanese defeat resulted in severe losses of its remaining surface vessels and virtually ended its ability to move...

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Força Expedicionária Brasileira

Brazil was the only South American country to send troops to fight in WWII. Initially neutral, the government of Brazil created the Força Expedicionária Brasileira (Brazilian Expeditionary Force) of ~25,000 men in 1943 after 34 Brazilians ships were sunk near the...

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Battle of Peleliu

Designed to capture an airstrip on a tiny coral island, the Battle of Peleliu was fought from September to November 1944 by  the First Marine Division, and the U.S. Army's 81st Infantry Division. Although American military planners anticipated a...

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Liberation of Paris

After a one month blitzkrieg by the Wehrmacht, Paris fell to Nazi Germany on June 14, 1940. An armistice with Germany subsequently established a French puppet government with its capital at Vichy. The Nazi occupation of Paris lasted four years until the city was...

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Tojo Resigns

Hideki Tojo , known as kamisori (the razor) for his sharp, decisive and impatient qualities, rose rapidly through the Imperial Japan's military hierarchy. As War Minister in 1940, he promoted the righteous cause of casting off imperialist colonialization of East...

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Fort Lawton Riot

In August 1944, a riot broke out at Fort Lawton, Washington between Italian POWs and U.S. African-American soldiers. Dozens of men were injured before military police intervened. The next morning, an Italian POW was found hanged. Interpretation of the riot and...

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Operation Valkyrie

In July 1944,  a group of high-level German military leaders attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler and stage a coup d’état, code-named Operation Valkyrie. Lieutenant Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, wounded veteran and chief of staff of the reserve...

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D-Day

On June 6, 1944, >5,000 Allied ships, supported by 13,000 airplanes performed the largest amphibious landing in the history of warfare. Code-named Operation Overlord, the invasion of ~50 miles of beach in Normandy France signaled the beginning of the...

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New Guinea

My late father-in-law Jim Evans fought with the 163rd Infantry Regiment in this campaign. Discussions with him and his comrade Jim Jackson inspired the chapter on the battle of Biak Island in my book Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War....

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Hacksaw Ridge

  This film, about a conscientious objector who actually saved 75 lives as a medic in the midst of a terrible battle on Okinawa, was directed by Mel Gibson. As might be expected, it's a little corny and extremely violent. But the WWII verisimilitude, both on the...

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Christmas at Leningrad

    Christmas 1943 Poem written by an un-named German soldier, subsequently lost in the battle of Leningrad. Irgendwo in Russland zünden wir zur Nacht die Kerzen an. Und so wird Euer Herz mich finden, da ich nicht bei Euch sein kann. Stumm und ungesprochen...

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Japanese Soldier’s Diary

  Excerpts from the diary of Tamura Yoshikazu. Wewak New Guinea March 1943 When I hear birds of paradise sing, I remember cuckoos back in Japan. They live among tropical coconut trees. I don’t know what they are saying, but they make very weird cries that sound like...

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Naming of the Parts

Henry Reed  (1914-1986) was a British poet, translator, radio dramatist and journalist.  Lessons of the War, published in 1942, was a collection of three poems parodying WWII British army basic training, which had a shortage of equipment at that time. The poem...

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Japanese Soldier Diary

Although prohibited by the U.S. military in WWII, a few servicemen kept secret personal journals - of particular note: U.S. Marine Eugene B. Sledge, author of With the Old Breed, and U.S, Navy sailor James J. Fahey, author of Pacific War Diary, 1942–1945, The Imperial...

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On the Eastern Front

For the ordinary German soldier, the horrific war on the Eastern Front was unlike its more "civilized" counterpart in the Western campaign. The seeds of anti-semitism, long present among "Aryan" Germans, were germinated and vastly amplified by Nazi propaganda, laws...

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U.S. Retakes Attu

In June 1942, Japan seized Attu and its neighbor Kiska, establishing garrisons on these remote U.S.-controlled Aleutian Islands. Barren, and mountainous with extreme weather, the islands may have been taken to divert U.S. forces away from...

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Allies Invade Sicily

In July 1943, the Allied amphibious and airborne Operation Husky captured the island of Sicily from German and Italian forces. With Axis forces removed from the island, sea lanes in the Mediterranean were opened for Allied merchant ships for the first time since...

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Battle of Kursk

Although this video relates some disputed statistics, and seems skewed toward Germany's aces, it is an interesting overview of this important battle that effectively ended the German offensive on the Eastern Front.   The Battle of Kursk  between German and Soviet...

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Allied Victory in North Africa

From June 1940 until May 1943, major campaigns were fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The Allied North African war effort was dominated by the British Commonwealth with American assistance beginning in May 1942.   The North...

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Private Snafu

https://youtu.be/siEK24Pq2xc Private Snafu was a WWII US Army cartoon character in a series of War Department short subjects produced from 1943-1945. The films were intended to teach military personnel about security, sanitation, booby traps etc....

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New Georgia Campaign

Darkness came to the jungle like the click of a camera shutter. Then the Japanese crept close to the American lines. They attacked with bloodcurdling screams, plastered bivouacs with artillery and mortar barrages, crawled silently into American foxholes and stabbed or...

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442nd Regimental Combat Team

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was organized on March 23, 1943 when 2,686 Japanese-American volunteers from Hawaii and 1,500 from the U.S. mainland received basic training in Camp Shelby, Mississippi. In May 1944, the 442nd, attached to the 5th Army under the...

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Victory Through Air Power

Victory Through Air Power was a 1943 Walt Disney animated documentary feature film based on the controversial 1942 book Victory Through Air Power by Alexander P. de Seversky. De Seversky maintained: rapid expansion of both range and striking power of military...

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U.S. Retakes Attu

  In June 1942  Japanese infantry invaded the Aleutian Islands of Kiska and Attu and established garrisons. In May 1943 American forces retook Attu; in August Americans retook Kiska.  

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