With the December 30, 2011 death of Mike Colalillo, aged 86, there are only 84 surviving holders of the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a member of the United States Armed Forces. Colalillo received his Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman on December 18, 1945 for the extroadinary valor and bravery shown by Colalillo in combat on April 7, 1945 near Untergriesheim, Germany.
The first Medal of Honor was awarded on March 25, 1863, the most recent on September 15, 2011. All told there have been 3,458 recipients of the nation's highest honor.
Late last week the USS Iowa (BB-61), the lead ship in the final class of US battleships ever built, began a voyage from Suisun Bay, California that will ultimately end in Los Angeles - where she will serve as a floating museum.
Laid down in June 1940 and commissioned in February 1943 the Iowa weighed in at 45,000 tons, was 887 feet long and included a crew of over 2,750 officers and men. Her potent main armament of nine 16 inch (406mm) guns could rain one ton shells down onto targets over 20 miles away.
Polish authorities have ordered a new investigation into the crimes against humanity committed at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. The Germans murdered an estimated 1.5 million people at Auschwitz, located near Krakow, until the Red Army libereated the camp late in January 1945.
The crimes committed at Auschwitz were central to Nazi Germany's plans to create lebensraum in Eastern Europe - to be done mostly at the expense of the Slavic and Jewish people, though hundreds of thousands of Roma and other peoples characterized as "sub-human" were also murdered.
An actual Second World War Enigma machine, used by Germany to encode its communications, was auctioned by Christie's on September 29, 2011. An electro-mechanical rotor cipher machine used to encrpyt and decrypt messages the Enigma was thought to be unbreakable, but of course it was not.
One of the great Allied advantages of the war was their ability to regularly intercept and read otherwise encoded German communications.
As referenced by the Selected Bibliography found in Why Germany Nearly Won: A New History of the Second World War in Europe the following represents a complete listing of primary and secondary sources used in researching Why Germany Nearly Won.
This method of presenting the bibliographic information found in Why Germany Nearly Won was chosen by the author for two reasons. One, as a result of the space limitations imposed by the publisher.
The German assault on Poland began at 4:45 am on September 1, 1939. The Polish air force, dispersed prior to the invasion, instead of rising en masse to challenge the Luftwaffe, saw its numbers quickly whittled down in a misguided hope to preserve its striking power. The Polish army fought mostly alone, while German planes pounded the Polish capital. Within just two weeks, German artillery and airpower had killed over 60,000 of Warsaw's citizens.
Why Germany Nearly Won challenges today's conventional wisdom explaining Germany's Second World War defeat as inevitable primarily for brute force economic or military reasons created when Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Taking an entirely new perspective on explaining the Second World War in Europe, and its outcome, at its core Why Germany Nearly Won offers the reader three interrelated, unique, and potentially ground-breaking arguments.
Japan and the Soviet Union clashed repeatedly late in the 1930s most notably in 1938 near the Soviet port of Vladivostok, and then again in a massive battle in 1939 on the Soviet controlled Mongolian border at Khalkin Gol - Nomonhan. At Khalkin Gol the Red Army decisively defeated Japan, ultimately causing the Japanese to abandon plans for invading Siberia with up to 45 infantry divisions.
In May of 1942 the British Eighth Army comprised 100,000 Commonwealth soldiers, well equipped, and deployed in depth west of Tobruk along a thirty-five mile frontage. U.S. Lend-Lease aid to Britain had played a prominent role in well equipping Eighth Army. For instance, the British 1st and 7th Armored Divisions included 316 American built tanks. Although 149 were the light Stuart tanks, Eighth Army also fielded more powerful tanks than did Germany, such as 167 of the American M3 "Grant" tanks. The "Grant" featured a hull mounted 75mm gun, and turret mounted 37 mm high velocity gun.