On February 19, 1942 the President of the United States issued Executive Order 9066 - the order that set in motion the process whereby 120,000 mostly US citizens of Japanese descent were interned in camps for the remainder of the Second World War. The majority of those interned were natural born US citizens. In addition a significant minority were resident aliens or naturalized citizens. Finally, a small minority were German-American and Italian-American.
Following his arrest U.S. citizen Fred T. Korematsu challenged this order, and had his challenge go all the way to the U.S.
Early in 1943 the Red Army had launched a series of massive offensives across the breadth of the German Eastern Front. In particular, and as the German Sixth Army fought to its destruction at Stalingrad, multiple Soviet fronts, spearheaded by General N.F. Vatutin's Southwestern Front, surged across southern Russia. Meanwhile, Erich von Manstein, commanding the whole of the reconstituted German Army Group South, the former Army Groups A, B and Don, fell back before the Soviet advance and regrouped his armies.
Soviet General Cherniakhovsky’s 60th Army, part of Golikov’s Voronezh Front, took
The Battle for Kasserine Pass began on February 14, 1943 and to this day ranks as one of the worst American military performances in the twentieth century. That said, as bad as the Battle for Kasserine Pass went it could have been a lot worse. Instead, and saving the Allies from a more significant defeat, the Germans undermined their own chances to create a significant operational and even strategic level success because, in part, and as was all too common during the Second World War, they failed to create a unified command with clearly defined and agreed upon objectives.
On or about February 5, 1945 one of the remarkable heroes of the French Resistance and British Special Operations Executive (SOE) - Violette Szabo - was executed by the Nazi's following her July 1944 capture. Born in Paris on on June 26, 1921 Violette's familiy moved to London during her childhood. During WWII she joined the SOE.
Following her training and early in April 1944 Violette parachuted into German occupied France. She quickly went to work relaying valuable intel back to the Allies before returning to England at the end of the month.
On November 23,1942, and following the November 19, 1942 beginning of Operation Uranus, the spearheads from the Soviet Southwest and Stalingrad fronts, met at Kalach to Stalingrad’s west. They had cut off the entire German 6th Army and part of the 4th Panzer Army in a massive pocket. Following a belated and thwarted German relief effort the final role for the formerly proud and merciless 6th Army was to tie down the Soviet armies around Stalingrad as German Army Group A completed its withdrawal from the Caucusus.
The USS Laffey is best remembered today as the "ship that would not die" - this moniker given after the 2,200 ton destroyer survived five kamikaze and four bomb strikes that caused 103 casualties, from a crew of 336, all while the ship was on picket duty off Okinawa in the spring of 1945. However, what also must be remembered is that the USS Laffey, launched in 1943, is also the sole surviving World War era US Navy destroyer to have participated in the epic Battle for the Atlantic fought between the Allies and Nazi Germany.
Gevork Vartanian died in Moscow at age 87. Vartanian was a veritable legend in Soviet espionage circles whose father and wife also worked as Soviet agents. Vartanian made his name when as a young Soviet agent he played a key role in helping to derail a Nazi plot to assassinate Franklin Roosevelt, Josef Stalin, and Winston Churchill at their famous conference in 1943 at Tehran.
Vartanian retired in 1992 after an epic career that began in 1940 at the age of 16. Though he also played a key role in exposing a network of British secret agents, he will be most remembered for locating the six
One of the great Allied advantages over Nazi Germany during World War II was their ability to regularly intercept and read otherwise encoded German communications. Though this capability was not comprehensive, with changes to the German code settings throwing the Allies off at repeated times during the war, it proved of significant assistance to the Allied war effort. Some believe Allied code-breaking efforts were so consequential as to have decisively altered the course of the war.
The central location for Allied code breaking efforts was at Bletchley Park, northwest of London.
If in 1919 the question arose regarding which of the Great European Powers stood destined to drive Europe’s twentieth century fortunes, few candidates would have stood out as more unlikely than the Soviet Union. Russia had not only been forced into the Treaty of Brest-Litvosk, but had been occupied by a foreign power from 1917-1921, was in the throes of a Civil War that would kill between three and five million Russian citizens, and had foreign armies again fighting on its soil far beyond the First World War’s end. Then, in 1922 Josef Stalin.