established in 2009

CAPTURING WORLD WAR TWO HISTORY ONE STORY AT A TIME

"History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days." - Winston Churchill, 1940

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oxford university press

Burning the Reichstag: An Investigation into the Third Reich’s Enduring Mystery

Review by SCOTT LYONS

Benjamin Carter Hett’s Burning the Reichstag: An Investigation into the Third Reich’s Enduring Mystery, delivers an exemplary in-depth [...] Full Review

 

Operation Barbarossa: Nazi Germany’s War in the East, 1941-1945

Review by SCOTT LYONS

Christian Hartmann's new book is a fresh  look at Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union and War on the Eastern Front. Full Review

SECOND WORLD WAR IN FILM

Band of Brothers: A Look Back at One of the Top War Films and Miniseries of All Time

By SCOTT LYONS

Can it be possible that we’re getting closer to fifteen years since HBO’s successful Band of Brothers miniseries debuted in 2001? Full Story »

 

Sand, Heat and Rain: Reflections on The Pacific

By SCOTT LYONS

After studying HBO’s The Pacific, and historical research on many of the Marines portrayed in this 2010 film, I’ve become an adherent to this miniseries. Full Story »

 

"D-Day: normandy 1944," Coming soon in iMax 3d

From the PRWeb website: "Narrated by renowned journalist and author Tom Brokaw, D-DAY 3D: Normandy 1944 provides a new, penetrating look at this defining moment in history in a truly unique manner. D-DAY itself is well-known, yet few know in detail exactly why and how, from the end of 1943 through August 1944, this became the most important location in the world.

Blending multiple cinematographic formats, including animation, CGI and stunning live-action images, D-DAY 3D: Normandy 1944 brings this monumental event to Michigan’s largest screen for the very first time. Exploring science, technology, engineering and mathematics, audiences of all ages, including new generations, will discover from a new perspective—in breathtaking 15-perforation/70mm IMAX 3D film—how this landing changed the course of history. 

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the World at war: april 1939-1945

T H E   P A C I F I C   T H E A T E R 

Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands; 1 April 1945: Battle of Okinawa » The eighty-two day battle took place from 1 April until 22 June 1945 and had one of the highest casualty rates of any WWII battle. US involvement included the Navy, Marine Corps and Army while the British committed one-quarter of the air power and its British Pacific Fleet known then as Task Force 57. The strategic importance was its 350 mile proximity to mainland Japan. The Battle of Okinawa would be the final major action for the US Marine Corps in WWII.

 

Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands; 7 April 1945: The Yamato is sunk » Operation Ten-go as it was coded by the Japanese leadership, was a proclaimed last ditch suicide effort to keep the Allied invaders from taking Okinawa and ultimately reaching the Japanese mainland. The ship was the largest, heaviest and most powerfully armed battleship of the Imperial Fleet. The Yamato and nine escorts were sunk just north of Okinawa by carrier-based Navy and Marine bombers and torpedo bombers.

 

Bataan, Philippines; 9 April 1942: The Bataan Death March begins » Between 25 and 28 percent of the 75,000 American and Filipino POWs would not survive the brutal 60-mile forced march to the prison camps in the north. Suffering from tropical heat, the men had to endure violence and starvation along the route which would be determined a war crime after the war. On 30 May 2009 the Japanese government officially apologized for the maltreatment at the 64th and last reunion of survivors in San Antonio Texas.

  

Island of Ie Shima, NW of Okinawa; western Pacific Ocean; 18 April 1945: Ernie Pyle killed near Okinawa » Well known and beloved by readers back home as well as the Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen he wrote about, Ernie Pyle was killed by a Japaese machine gun emplacement on Ie Shima, a tiny island north of Okinawa. He was hit while riding with US Army officers of the 77th Infantry Regiment. Ernie was one of the very few civilians to be awarded the Purple Heart during WWII, he was so beloved.

 

Western Pacific Ocean; 18 April 1942: The Doolittle Raid » The raid on Japan by LtCol James Doolittle showed the Allied leaders that reaching the mainland of Japan was possible by air. The raid was launched from the US aircraft carrier Hornet. The mission included 16 B-25B Mitchell bombers, all of which were lost. The raid was considered a huge morale boost for the American people, and upon his return to the US, Doolittle was awarded the Medal of Honor by FDR and promoted to Brigadier General.

 

Cape Gloucester, New Guinea; 22 April 1944: Battle of Cape Gloucester ends » The 1st Marine Division would fight its second battle of WWII here on Cape Gloucester, following rest in Melbourne Australia. Its first action on Guadalcanal would provide valuable experience for the 1st Division which would later go on to Peleliu and Okinawa. The Battle of Cape Gloucester was another Allied victory with 310 losses versus 1000+ on the Japanese side.


T H E   E U R O P E A N   T H E A T E R

 Berlin, Germany; April 1945 Soviet Army Sgt. Meliton Varlamovich Kantaria hoists the Soviet Flag in victory over Berlin » Few iconic photographs have emerged from the war on the eastern front from World War II. Nearing the end of the war in the European Theater of Operations, during the final moments of the Battle of Berlin a photo was taken. The famous photograph of Soviet Sergeant Meliton Varlamovich Kantaria precariously atop a building symbolized the end of the War on the Eastern Front.

 

Weimar, Germany; 11 April 1945: Buchenwald Concentration Camp Liberated » The U.S. Third Army's 9th Armored Infantry Battalion were given a hero's welcome by the camp's inhabitants. It is estimated that 56 thousand plus died from various methods at the camp. Following the war, the Soviet Army used the same facilities to house Nazi prisoners.

Berlin, Germany; 16 April 1945: Battle of Berlin begins » Only fitting that the final major battle of the ETO in World War II would also prove to be the costliest. Soviet and Polish forces numbered 2.5 million as compared to 767 thousand German troops. Eisenhower determined that western Allied involvement was not needed due to the increased chances of friendly fire would increase casualties as the Allies would draw closer to Soviet forces.

 

Seelow Heights, Germany; 16 April 1945: Battle of the Seelow Heights begins » The Battle of the Seelow Heights and the Battle of Berlin would begin on the same date. It was part of the Seelow-Berlin Offensive and was fought over three days. Seelow was the last defensive line outside of Berlin. Soviet and Polish forces numbered approximately 1 million versus 90 thousand plus for the German forces. Not very favorable odds.

 

Warsaw, Poland; 19 April 1943: The first Warsaw Ghetto Uprising starts » The first of the two famous uprisings by Jewish citizens and resistance fighters. The Warsaw uprising was in response to the impending transport by German authorities to the Treblinka extermination camp, also in Poland. The Treblinka toll was 850k.The Pianist, both memoir and film are based upon the true stories of both Warsaw uprisings.

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history through the lens

Erwin Leydekkers' Dramatic World War II Photography

Erwin travels throughout Europe capturing images of historic places and people unique to the Second World War. To see more, check out Erwin's World War II photography group here on the network.

New WWII Slideshow quick pick: Return to the Bulge 2013 (Bastogne, Belgium)

Erwin's complete WWII photo album archive: 56 Photo Albums

band of brothers origin

When visiting metropolitan Atlanta or the Southeast, stop and visit the Currahee Military Museum in Toccoa, Georgia. Toccoa is the birthplace of HBO's Band of Brothers and 501st, 506th, 511th, and 517th PIRs. A must-see museum.

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From The Telegraph: D-Day 70th anniversary travel guide: events and tours in Normandy

D-Day 70th anniversary travel guide: events and tours in NormandyOur Normandy expert explains how…See More
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A life of a B-25 tail gunner with the 42nd Bombardment Group in the South Pacific

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