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Social History

  • World War II Magazine

    Eight Days

    For those at home, war occasionally made for short marriages and long memories. Sometimes when I look at the old black-and-white photo from my wedding in June 1943, it’s as though the people in it are strangers. Was the young woman in...

  • World War II Magazine

    POW Hell in Switzerland

    One downed U.S. airman found unexpected torment when he was captured by the neutral Swiss. Hell’s Kitchen was in trouble. The B-24 Liberator of the Eighth Air Force’s 44th Bomb Group had run into some exploding flak over...

  • World War II Magazine

    Saving Private Rembrandt

    GIs known as the Monuments Men went underground to rescue art masterpieces plundered by the Nazis. Private Harry L. Ettlinger celebrated his 19th birthday on January 28, 1945, by boarding a truck in the bitter cold at a camp on the border...

  • World War II Magazine

    WWII Book Review: Impounded

    Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment, edited by Linda Gordon and Gary Y. Okihiro, Norton, New York 2006, $29.95 Dorthea Lange was already celebrated for her haunting Work Progress Administration...

  • World War II Magazine

    Peace Is Hell

    U.S. troops arriving in Germany found starvation, looting, chaos, and utter devastation. So they threw out the rule book. The Germans called it Stunde Null—zero hour. The Americans called it V-E Day. On May 8, 1945, more than two million...

  • World War II Magazine

    Free Records, 8 Million of ’Em

    An instant hit with the troops, V-Discs are today a priceless archive of rare performances by jazz and pop greats. The letter, signed by a GI attached to one of the army’s far-flung radio stations, arrived from somewhere in Alaska....

  • World War II Magazine

    WWII Review: Amsterdam in WWII

    One current image of Amsterdam is as a kind of Dutch Sodom, a tulip- and canal-lined cornucopia of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. But underlying this “permissiveness” is a long tradition of tolerance, despite (or because of) a long...

  • World War II Magazine

    A Gritty City That Armed America

    Decades ago, when I sailed my small sloop from Richmond, California, into San Francisco Bay, I passed ghostly artifacts of America’s monumental World War II industrial effort. Disused dry docks, rusting cranes, and abandoned buildings...

  • World War II Magazine

    WWII Review: The War

    The War Director: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick Time: 15 hours. Color/B&W A few dozen eyewitnesses to history, plucked from four American towns, wend their sometimes intersecting ways through history’s largest epic. Like leitmotifs in a...

  • World War II Magazine

    WWII Book Review: Leni

    Leni: The Life & Work of Leni Riefenstahl By Steven Bach. 400 pp. Knopf, 2007. $30. In famous (or infamous) works like Triumph of the Will and Olympia, the twentieth century’s most notorious woman filmmaker found beauty in the...

  • World War II Magazine

    WWII Book Review: After the Reich

    After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation By Giles MacDonogh. 618 pp. Basic Books, 2007. $32. Many of you won’t like this book, but that’s all the more reason to read it. After the Reich casts a dark shadow over the...

  • World War II Magazine

    WWII Book Review: The Library of Congress World War II Companion

    The Library of Congress World War II Companion By Margaret E. Wagner, Linda Barrett Osborne, Susan Reyburn, and the Staff of the Library of Congress. Edited and with an introduction by David M. Kennedy. 1008 pp. Simon & Schuster, 2007....

  • World War II Magazine

    Christmas in Wartime

    Amid shortages, rationing, separation, and grief, Americans fought to keep the yuletide spirit alive. Christmas 1941 was little different for most Americans from that of the previous year, despite the calamity of Pearl Harbor only weeks...

  • World War II Magazine

    The Spy Who Proved the Adage About Love and War

    While working as a spy for the British in Washington in May 1941, Amy Elizabeth Thorpe was offered a choice: she could seduce the French ambassador, his counselor, or his aide. She chose the aide, a man named Charles Emanuel Brousse, which...

  • World War II Magazine

    WWII Today- December 2007

    The Kiss that Wasn’t Just a Kiss: Half of a Famous Pair Identified at Last Glenn McDuffie may just be the most famous kisser in the world. Forensic tests recently confirmed that the eighty-year-old navy veteran from Houston, Texas, is...

  • MHQ Magazine

    Fighting Words: Cold War Terms

    The Cold War incident described in Ed Offley’s “Buried at Sea” is but one of many in- stances of deception during that period. The particular cat-and-mouse game played by submarines acquired the name on the “cowboys and Indians”...