Hollywood Black List

In October 1947 the House Un-American Activities Committee (created in 1938) re-convened in Washington D.C. for public hearings on alleged communist infiltration within the American motion picture industry. 50 top Hollywood executives decided to suspend those who...

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Central Intelligence Agency

Shortly after the end of WWII, the U.S. wartime intelligence agency, the Office of Strategic Services, was dissolved by presidential order. However, despite opposition from competing forces including the U.S. military, State Department and FBI, President Truman...

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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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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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Moe Berg

Morris “Moe” Berg was an amazing character. Fluent in several languages, he reportedly read ten newspapers a day and was a successful contestant on the radio quiz show Information, Please. After graduation from Princeton University and Columbia Law School, Berg played...

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Norwegian Heavy Water Sabotage

In April 1940 Nazi Germany invaded Norway and, after a brief period of resistance, began an occupation that lasted until the end of the war. Norway subsequently became the most heavily fortified Axis-occupied country during the war with a ratio of one German soldier...

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Batman

This  1943 movie featured the first screen appearance of Batman played by Lewis Wilson. With J. Carrol Naish playing the evil Japanese agent, the film is almost laughably crude and...

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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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Casablanca

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLQwphwP0ys Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid  had its world premiere in November 1942. In a love triangle in Vichy-controlled Casablanca, an American expatriate must choose between his love for a...

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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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Office of Strategic Services

  In 1941 US intelligence was gathered on an ad-hoc basis by the State, Treasury, Navy, and War Departments without coordination or central control. For the first half of 1942, most military intelligence came from the UK. In July 1941 FDR appointed  Colonel William J....

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Operation Pastorius

  Operation Pastorius was a failed German military intelligence (Abwehr) mission intended to sabotage the American war effort and demoralize the civilian population. The Abwehr recruited eight German residents (two were US citizens) who had once lived in the United...

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Purple – Decrypting Japanese Code

  Purple was a cipher used by Imperial Japan during WWII to encrypt diplomatic messages sent to embassies throughout the world. The Purple machine consisted of two electronic typewriters separated by a plugboard and a box containing the cryptographic elements in s...

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