Mexican-Americans in WWII

Ethnic and racial discrimination in WWII-era America was a powerful social force. Just as the civil rights of African-Americans were restricted in the South, similar discrimination weighed heavily against many "Tejanos" of Mexican descent in the Southwest.    ...

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Enemy in the Mirror

  Excerpts from the book: Once the shoji screen was closed, Kiyoshi said in a low voice, “It’s about the piece I submitted to the Chūō Kōron.” Fumiko took a deep breath. The Chūō Kōron was one of the few literary magazines that still dared to publish articles hinting...

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Wolves at the Doorstep 1942

  Somewhere between the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Bataan death march and the fierce fighting on Guadalcanal, many of us seem to have forgotten one of the most important American theaters in early WWII - The Battle of the Western Atlantic. In 1942, German...

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It’s A Wonderful Life

  After a series of populist films in the 1930s (It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and You Can't Take It With You), Frank Capra read a forgotten story entitled The Greatest Gift written by Philip Van Doren Stern and turned...

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Memorial Day

  Memorial Day 1946 - The ways of peace have not returned to us, and the results of war are still upon us. - Eleanor Roosevelt   MAY 30, 1946 NEW YORK, Wednesday—This is the first Memorial Day since the end of the war in the Pacific and yet in spite of that fact, many...

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Baby Boom

We were the War Children 1945 When all the soldiers came marching home Love looks in their eye                -Van Morrison Almost exactly nine months after World War II ended, “the cry of the baby was heard across the land,” as historian Landon Jones later described...

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Post-War Christmas

Christmas in America after WWII reflected a period of peace, productivity, and prosperity.    

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Allies Occupy Germany

Your Job In Germany was a short film shown to US soldiers embarking on post-war occupation duty in Germany. Produced by the United States War Department in 1945, the film was made by a military film unit directed by Frank Capra and was written by Theodor...

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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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B-25 Strikes Empire State

A U.S. Army Air Force  B-25 Mitchell bomber crashed into the Empire State Building on Saturday July 28, 1945.  Fourteen people were killed. Flying from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to LaGuardia Airport in New York City, with two pilots and a passenger aboard, the B-25...

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Post-War Germany

23 May, 1945  — President of Germany Karl Dönitz and Chancellor of Germany Count Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk are arrested by British forces at Flensburg. They are respectively the last German Head of state and Head of government until 1949. 23 May- Heinrich...

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Marriage & Death of Adolf Hitler

For ~12 years, Adolf Hitler tried to keep his relationship with his mistress Eva Braun a secret. His personal valet Heinz Linge reported that Hitler once said: "Fräulein Braun is ... too young to be the wife of one in my position. But she is the only girl for me. So...

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Götterdämmerung Deutschland

In Nordic Mythology Ragnarök  refers to a prophesied war among various beings and gods that ultimately results in the destruction and renewal of the world. In Richard Wagner's four opera adaptation of Nordic myth Ring des Nibelungen, the final opera was entitled...

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Dunkirk

After seeing the new movie DUNKIRK directed by Christopher Nolan last night, I wanted to recommend it to you readers. Like the top film critics, I found this film technically flawless and emotionally extremely powerful. The film's soundtrack by Hans Zimmer kept me on...

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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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Nazi Child Soldiers

In 1936 participation of boys and girls in Nazi youth groups became mandatory. At the onset of WWII older Hitler Jugend (HJ) boys were conscripted into the armed forces while younger boys functioned as air raid wardens and anti-aircraft gun assistants. Also you......

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Mussolini Executed

After being freed from an Italian prison by German special forces in 1943, Benito Mussolini established the Italian Social Republic in northern Italy.   Although he claimed autonomy, the republic Mussolini ruled for 1 1/2 years as Head of State and Minister of Foreign...

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Home Front USA

In the spring of 1945, with much of Europe and the Pacific in ruins, the end of the war was in sight for Americans. While total U.S. military deaths exceeded 400,000 in the European, North African and Pacific theaters, mainland USA never became a significant site of...

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Dietrich Bonhöffer Executed

Together with theologians Karl Barth and Martin Niemöller, the German pastor Dietrich Bonhöffer was a founding member of the German Bekennende Kirche ( Confessing Church), a Protestant movement that opposed Nazi attempts to unify all Protestant churches into a single...

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Memorial Day

In May 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had recently died and the war in Europe was winding down. ___________________ The origin of Memorial Day is attributed by most scholars to the ladies of Columbus, Mississippi  who decided to decorate both Union and...

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Easter in Nazi Germany

In a 1939 census of Nazi Germany (including annexed Austria), 54% of Germans considered themselves Protestant, 40% Catholic, 3.5% gottgläubig (non-sectarian believers in God) and 1.5% as non-religious. In the spring of 1936, Der Angriff, Berlin’s Nazi paper founded by...

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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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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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The German War

  Using German archival records and letters and diaries of both civilians and soldiers during WWII, The German War - A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945  by Nicholas Stargardt is a fascinating book that illustrates the strong civilian support for Germany's armed forces...

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Volkssturm

As German military forces were beginning to suffer major losses, Adolf Hitler created a national militia called the Volkssturm ("people's storm") in October 1944. Under control of the Nazi party, rather than the Wehrmacht, the Volkssturm drafted nearly six million men...

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