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Battle Films

An archived collection of Mark Grimsley's "What If..." column, which ran in World War II magazine from July 2007 to February 2014.

Battle Films

Come and See’s Unblinking Eye

Mark Grimsley | Published: January 02, 2015 at 2:25 pm
IN HIS CLASSIC 1959 book, The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle, philosopher and World War II veteran J. Glenn Gray observed that war is visually fascinating. Director François Truffaut expanded on this thought, arguing that it is impossible …

The Best Years’ Welcome Home

Mark Grimsley | Published: November 03, 2014 at 5:47 pm
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) opens with the fortuitous meeting of three veterans returning to Boone City, their hometown. They are making the journey in the nose of a B-17 bomber. The oldest, Sergeant First Class Al Stephenson …

The Hero's Adventure in Sands of Iwo Jima

Mark Grimsley | Published: June 11, 2014 at 3:44 pm
The next time you're talking war movie trivia with friends, ask, "Who is the hero in Sands of Iwo Jima?" Almost inevitably, someone will say, "John Wayne." Or perhaps "Sergeant Stryker," since that's the name of the character Wayne …

What If the Versailles Settlement Had Succeeded?

Mark Grimsley | Published: January 10, 2014 at 11:23 am
A second European war might have been inevitable from the start.

What If Penicillin Had Not Been Developed?

Mark Grimsley | Published: December 05, 2013 at 4:06 pm
Without the mass-production of penicillin, thousands of personnel escaped death or amputation.

What If the Omaha Beach Landing Had Failed?

Mark Grimsley | Published: March 04, 2013 at 2:15 pm
An Allied failure would have made a second invasion of northwestern Europe unlikely.

What If the Bismarck Had Escaped Destruction?

Mark Grimsley | Published: November 05, 2012 at 12:18 pm
The battleship might have severely harried the British war effort.

What If Hitler Had Not Come to Power?

Mark Grimsley | Published: August 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm
Would Germany have set a peaceful course?

What If the Germans Had Captured Moscow in 1941?

Mark Grimsley | Published: June 08, 2012 at 4:32 pm
Capturing Moscow in 1941 might have negatively affected the Germans.

What If Winston Churchill Had Offered Less "Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat"?

Mark Grimsley | Published: April 23, 2012 at 10:51 am
The impact Churchill’s image had on the postwar world would have been altered.

What If Werner Heisenberg Had Been a Nazi?

Mark Grimsley | Published: January 30, 2012 at 2:25 pm
The man who had a potential to be the world’s greatest atomic physicist could have tipped power into Germany's favor.

What If Germany Had Developed the Atomic Bomb?

Mark Grimsley | Published: November 28, 2011 at 9:50 am
How a Nazi superweapon might have altered the course of the war.

What If the Allies Had Invaded France in 1943?

Mark Grimsley | Published: October 05, 2011 at 8:30 am
The victory might not have been as sweet as the actual 1944 invasion.

What If the Dieppe Raid Had Succeeded?

Mark Grimsley | Published: June 02, 2011 at 12:54 pm
Was the invasion really “an indispensable preliminary to full-scale operations,” as Churchill dubbed it?

What If America's "Arsenal of Democracy" Had Failed to Materialize?

Mark Grimsley | Published: March 30, 2011 at 10:54 am
No number of errors in mobilization could have throttled the increase in U.S. production, but serious blunders were still possible.

What If the Pearl Harbor Attack Had Failed?

Mark Grimsley | Published: February 01, 2011 at 4:04 pm
How the Pacific War would change with an American victory.
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