Partition of India

  The 1947  partition of India into Hindu and Muslim majorities divided three provinces: Assam, Bengal and the Punjab.     The division of >14 million people according to religious beliefs resulted in large-scale violence, with varying estimates between several...

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Man’s Search for Meaning

In 1946 the neuro-psychiatrist Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) chronicled his experience in Nazi concentration camps in his best-selling memoir Man's Search for Meaning. In this book, Frankl described how finding personal meaning allowed him to survive internment in Nazi...

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Alcatraz Siege

From 1934-1963, Alcatraz was a high-security federal prison in San Francisco Bay. With a reputation of being escape-proof, it held notorious, high-profile prisoners, particularly those with a history of previous escape attempts. In May 1946, after a failed escape...

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Tokyo Trials

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) conducted the Tokyo War Crimes Trials from May 1946 to November 1948. 28 Imperial Japanese military and government leaders were charged with Class A war crimes  - participating in a joint conspiracy to start...

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Nuremberg Trials

From 1945-46, judges from Great Britain, France, USSR and USA presided over the Nuremberg trials of 24 prominent Nazis charged with war crimes. Charges included: crimes against peace—defined as participation in the planning and waging of a war of aggression in...

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Burmese Harp / Grave of the Fireflies

Adapted from the novel by Michio Takeyama, this 1956 film directed by Ichikawa Kon, involves a company of Japanese Imperial Army troops who finally surrender in the last desperate stages of the Burma campaign. When their company commander begins to lead them in songs...

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A-Bomb Morality

Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd The concept of a nuclear chain reaction reportedly came to the physicist Leó Szilárd as an epiphany while waiting to cross a London street in 1933. “...It suddenly occurred to me that if we could find an element which is split by...

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Nagasaki

President Harry Truman approved but did not specify the dates for use of atomic bombs.The Target Committee identified the targets and determined the best opportunities for attack based on logistics and weather. After the bombing of Hiroshima produced no Japanese...

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Operation August Storm 1945

On August 8, 1945, after refusing to mediate a Japanese surrender with the United States and its allies, the USSR declared war on Japan. On August 9, 1945, Russian troops invaded the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo in Operation August Storm. On August 14, 1945 a...

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Hiroshima

In April-July 1945 Japanese forces inflicted Allied casualties totaling nearly half those suffered in three full years of war in the Pacific.  In late July, Japan’s militarist government rejected the Potsdam Declaration demanding unconditional surrender or total...

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German POWS

Unlike the treatment of German POWs in the USA, the Allied treatment of German military prisoners in Europe at the end of the war is quite controversial. With titles like Eisenhower's Death Camps, The Real Holocaust, The Last Dirty Secret of WWII and Eisenhower Mass...

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Under the Sand

From 1940-1943, the Danish government pursued a course of cautious cooperation with the occupying forces of Nazi Germany. However, in 1943, with increased turbulence and sabotage by the underground resistance movement, the Germans imposed a state of emergency and...

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V-2 to Apollo – Wernher von Braun

The German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun was a complex character. Fascinated by astronomy since childhood, he studied at the Technische Hochschule Berlin and the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin, receiving a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and...

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Bomb Kills Oregon Picnickers

Radiolab  just broadcast an excellent, detailed account of the Japanese balloon bomb incident at Bly, Oregon LISTEN: http://www.radiolab.org/story/war-our-shore/     My history-inspired novel Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War includes a...

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Buchenwald Liberated

WARNING: This post contains many graphic images. The motto "Jedem das Seine"  displayed over the entrance to the Buchenwald concentration camp, is an old German proverb derived from the Latin phrase "suum cuique"  meaning "to each his own" or  "to each what he...

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B-29s Blast Japan

  First deployed in 1944, the B-29 was a new generation bomber that carried more bombs, and flew higher, faster and farther than any other WWII bomber. It also introduced remote controlled turrets for defense and pressurized crew compartments that allowed them to...

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Firebombing Tokyo

On March 9, 1945, with the code name “Operation Meetinghouse,” 334 B-29 bombers under the command of Colonel Curtis LeMay, took off from USAAF bases in the Mariana Islands. Shortly after midnight on March 10, the B-29s flew over densely-populated areas of Tokyo at the...

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Manila Recaptured

The month-long  Battle of Manila (February-March 1945), pitted American and Philippine forces against Imperial   Japanese occupiers in the most brutal urban fighting of the Pacific War. In addition to massive loss of civilian and military lives, much of the...

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Dresden Firebombed

  From February 13-15 1945, British RAF and American USAAF heavy bombers dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive detonation bombs and incendiary devices on the city of Dresden. The bombing and resulting firestorm destroyed most of the city center and killed...

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Chenogne Massacre

The January 1945 massacre of ~60 German POWs near the Belgian village of Chenogne by American troops was one of the war crimes committed by both sides during the bitter Battle of the Bulge.  Carried out shortly after the German SS massacre of U.S. troops at Malmedy,...

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Firebombing Japan

Colonel Curtis Emerson LeMay  designed and implemented an effective, but highly controversial incendiary bombing campaign against Japanese civilians in the final stages of the Pacific War. In December 1944, LeMay was transferred from China to assume command of...

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Palawan Massacre

         In December 1944, in order to prevent their rescue by the advancing Allies, units of the Japanese 14th Area Army, under the command of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, murdered 139 Allied POWs at Puerto Princesa, Philippines. 150 POWs hiding in three covered...

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Malmedy massacre

In December 1944, 84 American POWs were killed near Malmedy, Belgium by the SS Panzer division Kampfgruppe Peiper. The term "Malmedy massacre" was later applied  to a series of massacres committed by the same SS unit over several days during the Battle of the Bulge....

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Japanese Balloon Bombs

  From November 1944 to April 1945, Japan launched over 9,000 hydrogen balloons carrying antipersonnel and firebombs into the jet stream from the island of Honshu. Although many found their way to diverse regions of Western North America, only one caused fatalities -...

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Bombing Japan from Marianas

At a cost of ~3000 American and 24,000 Japanese lives, the Northern Marianas island of Saipan was taken in July 1944. With the subsequent seizure of Guam and Tinian in August, the U.S. now had ideal locations (~1500 miles from Japan) to construct airfields within the...

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