Dr. Benjamin Spock

Although apparently narrated by a robot, this video neatly summarizes the essence of Dr. Benjamin Spock's advice to post-WWII parents.     The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, published in 1946, sold over 50 million copies by the time of Spock's death in...

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My Japan

This propaganda film was produced by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1945 in an effort to promote War Bond sales. My Japan might be described as a heavy-handed attempt to elicit angry responses from American citizens regarding Japan's audacity as well as contempt for...

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Was Hitler High?

A new book by Norman Ohler makes sensational claims that not only Adolf Hitler, but much of the civilian population of Nazi Germany, was high on drugs. While there is evidence that methamphetamines (e.g. Pervitin)  were extensively used by the armed forces, it is...

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U.S. Pilot Defects

For years a devotee of the ultra-conservative radio ministry of Father Charles Edward Coughlin, a 23 year-old USAAF P-38 pilot named Martin James Monti defected to the Axis powers in October 1944. Why a young American might actually defect to the Axis is hard to...

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Hands To Finish the Job

This slick propaganda film produced by the U.S. Army Signal Corps utilized the metaphor of "hands" to inspire Americans in 1944.  

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Buzz Bombs – Vergeltungswaffen

Carrying a ton of explosives, the V1 rocket flew at ~400 mph with a range of 200 miles. Launched from the occupied French coast, the first V-1 "Buzzbomb" (Vergeltungswaffen) attacked London on 13 June 1944, immediately after the Allied D-Day invasion. British...

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Camera Thrills of the War

This American propaganda film made by Castle Films in 1944 emphasizes the "thrill" of war. Intended to be upbeat and exciting, perhaps motivating enlistment, it captures the spirit of the era. Although a bit long, it's worth a...

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Vichy France

Vichy France propaganda cartoon about the allied bombings of France. A Jewish radio announcer in London broadcasts the imminent arrival over France of Allied Liberator aircraft. US planes, flown by Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Popeye, Goofy and Felix the Cat, drop bombs...

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Japan Faces Defeat

  By the end of 1943, with no prospect of joining forces with its German allies who were being pushed out of Africa, and American forces penetrating its defensive ring, Imperial Japan was having great difficulty maintaining its distant holdings in the Western Pacific....

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Zoot Suit Riots

Zoot suit attire consisted of baggy legged, narrow- cuffed, waist-high pants, a short tie over a buttoned shirt, suspenders, a long coat with wide lapels and padded shoulders, wide-legged, pegged trousers, flashy shoes and either a fedora or a tando hat with a feather...

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American Marine Diary

Here are excerpts from the American Marine Eugene Sledge's diary ( published as With the Old Breed) when Sledge was at the battle of Pelieu in 1944. Although Sledge wrote a year later at Pelieu, it's not hard to imagine that this is was what the Japanese soldier...

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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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Food Insecurity Japan

Although Japan had become an industrialized nation in the early 20th century, it remained resource poor. Prior to WWII, limited efforts were made to raise agricultural production, but land reform that would increase tenure for the peasantry was firmly resisted by the...

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Food Rationing Germany

  Rationing was introduced in Germany shortly before the outbreak of war in 1939. Initially, clothing, shoes, leather, soap and most foodstuffs were rationed. Many homes and apartments were heated with steam radiators that required coal burning hot water heaters....

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▶Food is Ammunition

This WWII government film, with very explicit recommendations, emphasizes good nutrition as a weapon of war. "Eventual victory in this war may depend on what we eat." Although rationing was imposed in the USA, food insecurity was never an issue for Americans during...

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IMAGES – WWII

Images often evoke powerful emotions of times past.  As a writer of history-inspired fiction, I create visual story boards of locations and characters from which I write scenes. On my Pinterest site, I have collected a number of photographs, drawings and posters...

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▶ Homefront

This somewhat quirky propaganda film, working the concept of 'no exceptions', is worth watching to feel the level of concern on the American home front in 1943.    

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Tokio Jokio

This 1943 Looney Tunes cartoon mocks an imagined Japanese documentary film. With Mel Blanc supplying all the voices, the film contains many silly stereotypes and racial insults typical of the era.    ...

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Dietrich Bonhöffer

Dietrich Bonhöffer (1906 –1945) was a German Lutheran theologian and founding member of the Confessing Church that arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to permeate German Protestant churches with Nazi doctrine. An outstanding academic theologian,...

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The Ductators

This somewhat crude cartoon is worth watching to catch the feeling of Americans in the early stages of our involvement in WWII.    

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FDR’s Disability

In the summer of 1921, at the age of 39, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) had the sudden onset of low back pain, muscle weakness and the inability to bear his own weight. After several misdiagnoses (blood clot, tumor) and ineffective therapies (massage, hot baths), he...

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Japanese Demons and Spirits

Source: 10 Horrifying Demons and Spirits from Japanese Folklore | Mental Floss Oni(鬼) variously translated as demons, devils, ogres or trolls) are popular characters in Japanese art, literature and theater. Hairy, multi-colored humanoid creatures, dressed in tiger...

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Kraft Durch Freude

Kraft durch Freude  (Strength through Joy, abbreviated KdF), was a program operated by the state-owned German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront) that provided leisure activities for ordinary workers. To exemplify solidarity under National Socialism, passengers on...

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Moral Superiority

We are standing for justice and life, while they are standing for profits. We are defending justice, while they are attacking for profits. They raise their heads in arrogance, while we are constructing the Great East Asia family. Japan's victories seem to prove her...

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WWII Pacifism

In the 1930s, the Great Depression and bitter memory of losses in WWI shifted American public opinion toward isolationism. However, support for isolationist groups such as the America First Committee rapidly declined with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,...

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