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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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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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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Execution of Pvt. Slovik

This haunting  scene from the 1963 film The Victors depicts the Christmas Eve execution of a GI deserter modeled after Private Eddie Slovik. Private Eddie Slovik was the first American soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion. A draftee, Slovik was...

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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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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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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 army, left a...

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Die Weisse Rose

The White Rose (die Weiße Rose) was a resistance group in Nazi Germany established in June 1942. Led by a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich, the group distributed anonymous leaflets and painted graffiti opposed to the Nazi regime. Arrested...

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Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

In the summer of 1942, German SS and police units deported ~ 265,000 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to to the Treblinka killing center and ~11,600 to forced-labor camps. More than 10,000 Jews in the ghetto were murdered during these deportation operations. While ~35,000...

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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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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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Nazi Newspapers

“The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these slogans until the last...

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Listen, Germany!

Wikimedia Commons In 1940, Thomas Mann, the exiled German winner of the 1929 Nobel Prize for Literature , began recording 5-8 minute monthly radio broadcasts via BBC long-wave radio under the title “Deutsche Hörer!” ("German Listeners!”). After the RAF firebombing of...

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Sedition Laws USA

The Foreign Agents Registration Act 1938 provided severe penalties for anyone deemed a "foreign agent" without registering with the Secretary of State. The 1938 Special House Committee to Investigate Un-American Activities (Dies committee) was a reformulation of...

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Volksgerichtshof Court

    The German Volksgerichtshof  (People's Court) was established in 1934 by Chancellor Adolf Hitler to function outside the constitutional legal framework. The Volksgerichtshof had jurisdiction over a large number of political offenses, including black marketing,...

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America Journalist a Japanese Agent ?

  Ralph Townsend worked as a journalist in San Francisco and taught English at Columbia University before joining the U.S. Foreign Service in 1930. His controversial 1933 book Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China was critical of Chinese society and supportive of...

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Lübeck Martyrs

In 1934 Karl Friedrich Stellbrink was appointed to the Luther Church in Lübeck. Although an early member  of the National Socialist German Worker's Party (NSDAP), he became disenchanted with the party when it began to profess anti-Church attitudes.  In 1936 he  was...

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Almanac Singers

Before the Nazis invaded Russia, a small mixed chorus called the Almanac Singers was using its talents to criticize conscription — already enacted by Congress. One of its songs had as its theme the vicious isolationist catchphrase, "Plow under every fourth American...

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Charles Lindbergh – America First

In 1941, Charles Lindbergh was the America First Committee's leading spokesman against  American involvement in the European conflict.  He maintained that FDR,  along with British and...

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America First Committee

    Merging with the pacifist Keep America Out of War Committee in 1940, the America First Committee vigorously opposed U.S. entry into world conflict. Among the 800,000 members were Walt Disney, Gerald Ford, Sinclair Lewis, Charles Lindbergh, Sargent Shriver, Norman...

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Kabei – Our Mother

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BrRQ7aRoug KABEI (our mother) In this beautiful, touching movie set during the rise of ultranationalism,  a mother holds her family together after her husband is jailed for dissident scholarship.

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Japanese Silk Boycott

Increasing sympathy for China after Japan launched a major war in 1937 led to a boycott of silk products. Although a general boycott on all goods imported from Japan was proposed, raw silk was defined as "the lifeline of the Japanese...

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America’s Road Toward War

In January 1937, President Roosevelt directed the Navy Department to proceed with the construction of two replacement battleships, the first such construction since the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. From 1935 to 1937, the United States Army grew from 118,000 to...

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