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WWII

A Little Known Fact About the Olympic Torch Relay

on Thu, 07/26/2012 - 22:53

On May 12, 2012 the iconic first step in the Olympics began in Greece at the Temple of Hera in Olympia; with the first leg of the famous torch relay. On Friday, July 27th the world will watch as the final torch bearer completes their run through London, enters the Olympic Stadium, and lights the Olympic flame. However, what many don't know is that this well-regarded tradition actually began in 1936 at the direction of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich on behalf of the Berlin Olympics.

Now there is no question that the ancient Greeks ran relay races using flames, but this was not done as an integral

Lidice and Lezaky

on Sat, 06/09/2012 - 16:59

On May 27, 1942 a joint British, Czech, Slovak commando operation attacked Reinhard Heydrich, one of history's truly vile human beings he is best known as being the founder of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and chair of the January 1942 Wannsee Conference laying out the scope of the Final Solution, as he travelled near Prague in Czechoslovakia. He would die from his wounds shortly thereafter.

Then on June 9, 1942 Adolf Hitler, infuriated by Heydrich's assassination, set in train orders meant to make up for Heydrich's death by exacting horrific retribution on villages in the area that were

The Background Behind German Defensive Dispositions in France on the Eve of D-Day

on Wed, 06/06/2012 - 00:21

As we celebrate yet another anniversary of the tremendous Allied victory of June 6, 1944, or D-Day, let us take a closer look at the role played by German command decisions as one element in enabling the Allied establishment of a lodgment in France. From the beginning, Germany's approach to defending against an Allied liberation of Western Europe was overshadowed by the war waged in Eastern Europe. In particular an early focus of the Wehrmacht's defensive efforts revolved around preventing special operations conducted primarily by the British.

Seeking World War II Era Dowding System Operators

on Thu, 05/31/2012 - 16:11

Heads up everybody. The Association of Royal Air Force Fighter Control Officers is looking to get in touch with all operators, male or female, of the Royal Air Force's World War II era (1939-1945) warning system known as the "Dowding System" as follows:

“Working under the closest secrecy since 1939, over 4,000 Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) personnel have played an important part in the air victories achieved by radiolocation (Radar). They tracked hostile and friendly aircraft, flying bombs and rockets, German E Boats and Allied Merchant vessels, and have guided British and Allied

Memorial Day 2012

on Mon, 05/28/2012 - 17:38

It is my hope that everybody in the United States is spending at least some time today thinking of the sacrifices made by our veterans over the two plus centuries of our nation's existence. In particular, and given this website's focus, I hope people take a moment to think of those who gave their lives during the Second World War - the last time this nation's independence and way of life has truly been threatened during an actual shooting war.

As such, and in special remembrance of our Second World War veterans, please find here a series of pictures of one of World War II's iconic ships; the

This Month in History: ULTRA's Big Break

on Wed, 05/23/2012 - 15:16

During World War II Nazi Germany primarily encoded its messages through the use of what was known as the "Enigma" machine. Enigma’s use by the Wehrmacht stretched back to the early 1930s and originated from a design created by Hugo Alexander Koch in the Netherlands.

Although heavily modified prior to the Second World War’s onset, the Enigma machines used in 1939-1945 remained similar to Koch’s prototypes from two decades prior. For a variety of reasons the Enigma machine was extraordinarily difficult to crack.

The End of the Bloodiest War in History: Part IV

on Sat, 05/19/2012 - 20:16

This final part in our series on the human cost of the Second World War in Europe will look at the nation most responsible for plunging humanity into global warfare: Germany. Though in the United States of America the Second World War is often cast today as the last "good war", in reality there were few nation's that participated in the war, willingly or not, and emerged from the war with entirely clean hands.  

I make this observation because the people of Germany were both the perpetrators and, in some cases, victims of the violence Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime unleashed across all of

The End of the Bloodiest War in History: Part II

on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 11:48

This is the second in a series of posts detailing the human cost of the Second World War in Europe. Today we take a closer look at the toll in Eastern Europe.

In spite of the staggering human loss and destruction across all of Western and Southern Europe it could barely compare to the horror of Eastern Europe’s devastation. For example, Romania lost 500,000 people, 200,000 of which were civilians, or more people than the United States lost during the entire war but with a population a fraction of the American's size.

WWII Era Munitions Injure German Beachgoers

on Wed, 04/25/2012 - 21:02

Thinking they had spotted some amber, two women suffered second and third degree burns this past weekend from coming into contact with what is believed to be WWII era white phosphorus they found at a beach on the island of Usedom along Germany's Baltic Coast.

One of the unfortunate outcomes of the Baltic Sea's significance as one of history's more fiercely contested regions is the immense quantities of unexploded munitions littering the seabed, contaminating the sea, or washing ashore as their metal casings rust out.

Nazi Germany's Workhorse Twin-Engine Aircraft

on Sun, 04/22/2012 - 14:13

World War Two Vehicles has posted some production figures for German aircraft. Though well known, in perusing through them once more one of the items that stands out is, of course, the sheer size of the JU-88 production program - with roughly 15,000-16,000 such aircraft produced by the Third Reich.

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