Train full of Nazi war spoils claimed found in Poland


"Joanna Lamparska, a historian who focuses on the Walbrzych area, told Radio Wroclaw the train was rumoured to have disappeared into a tunnel, and that it had gold and "hazardous materials" on board." (via BBC) Read the rest

Treasure hunters find coded WWII message, uncover hilarious story

Coded Message in bullet casing

Some Italian treasure hunters found a strange looking bullet in Tuscany. Inside was a dated, coded message.

Read the rest

America's broken promise to veterans who survived race-based chemical weapons testing in WWII

Three test subjects enter a gas chamber, which will fill with mustard gas, as part of the military's secret chemical warfare testing in March 1945.
Courtesy of Edgewood Arsenal
"It took all the skin off your hands," says former Army soldier Rollins Edwards. "Your hands just rotted."

Watch a WWII plane pick up a man and a sheep while flying at full speed


People do weird things for war. Read the rest

Women Are Needed: WWII-era U.S. government poster art, 1943.

Women are needed in “hundreds of war jobs.”

Short documentary puts World War II fatalities into context


More people died in World War II than in any other conflict in history, yet it can be hard to conceptualize that massive loss of life. Read the rest

How a WWII unit deceived the enemy with audacious fakery


They jokingly called themselves Cecil B. DeMille Warriors. To others, they were the Ghost Army. To the Army itself, they were the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. To everyone, they were undoubtedly the most surreal soldiers of WWII.

Created in the summer of 1944, the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops was comprised mainly of artists, engineers, and movie effects technicians. Amongst the unit’s ranks were a young future fashion icon Bill Blass, Color Field painter Ellsworth Kelly, wildlife artist Arthur Singer, and photographer Art Kane. Their top-secret mission sounds like the punchline to some drunken soldier’s joke: to use an inflatable army of tanks, vehicles, sound effects, and other movie trickery to convince the Germany army that there were significant forces where there were none. Well, none other than DeMille’s finest. The unit plied their trade from Normandy to the Rhine.

So, what do you get when you send a lot of nervous artists and creative types off on a dangerous assignment? Lots and lots of art – made in boredom, in fear, and in celebration. The Ghost Army of World War II is a beautifully-produced print documentary of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops and the role they played in WWII. The book is filled with countless paintings, sketches, cartoons, photos, hand-drawn maps, sketchbook pages, letters and post cards, and the military ephemera of the 23rd. All of these visuals are beautifully animated by the writing of authors Rick Beyer (who also produced a 2005 PBS documentary on the 23rd HST), Elizabeth Sayles (daughter of Ghost Army vet William Sayles), and the amazing stories recounted by the soldiers themselves. Read the rest

Katusha: Girl Soldier of the Great Patriotic War

Amid the real war reporting on Medium's online magazine War Is Boring is a profile of comics artist Wayne Vansant, who, at 65, is still drawing wartime comics with his signature attention to accuracy and detail. Read the rest

Leaving China – a painted memoir about growing up during WW2

James McMullan, an illustrator and watercolorist known for his popular theatrical posters for Lincoln Center as well as various children’s book covers, has created a beautiful memoir entitled Leaving China. Read the rest

Alan Turing's lost notes discovered as crumpled insulation in Bletchley Park huts

After the war ended, Churchill ordered all of Bletchley's work -- the computers, the notebooks -- destroyed, but some of Alan Turing's notes were discovered between the walls of Hut 6 during a recent renovation, and are now on display at Bletchley Park. Read the rest

Pretend cities to fool bombers through history

Starting with a fake Paris built to lure Kaiser Bill's incendiary bombs, through to the pretend industrial towns used in WWII England to divert 900 tonnes of munitions, to the pretend airbases built in the Pacific Northwest and through to the Viet Cong's pretend villages to disguise tunnel complexes. Read the rest

Kickstarting Night Witches, an RPG about WWII Soviet airwomen

Night Witches is the latest game from Jason Morningstar, creator of the excellent caper/heist game Fiasco. Read the rest

WWII's VD posters: exciting nexus of propaganda, Mad Men, gender and design

Ryan Mungia's Protect Yourself: Venereal Disease Posters of World War II uncovers many obscure propaganda posters that were, once upon a time, just as popular as the iconic "We Can Do It!" woman. Read the rest

Duration of WWII vs duration of movies about WWII

In today's What If?, Randall "XKCD" Munroe tries to answer the question: "Did WWII last longer than the total length of movies about WWII? For that matter, which war has the highest movie time:war time ratio?" (Cue the theme from M*A*S*H). Read the rest

Dada vs Hitler: the anti-Nazi collages of John Heartfield

In the runup to WWII (and during it) Dadaist photographer John Heartfield and his collaborator George Grosz produced a startling series of anti-Nazi collages that echo through to today's practice of political shooping. An informative Metafilter post by Adamvasco has lots more links.

Read the rest

Hitler's bookbinder

Michael Shaughnessy reports the untold story of Frieda Thiersch—and the mysteries of her life, her motives and her books

Jo Walton's "My Real Children": infinitely wise, sad and uplifting novel

An ambitious and nuanced story that left Cory Doctorow in tears, the new novel from award-winner Jo Walton is about an elderly woman who remembers two lives.

More posts