Tag Archives: WWII

World War II Memorial

Back in 2013 I had the chance to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. I took the opportunity to highlight the parts of the memorial that were associated with my dad’s service in the Navy.

They have a kiosk where you can look up someone’s service information. My dad entered his own.

Charles J. Maszerowski

He served in the Pacific Theater for most of the war.

Pacific

Guadalcanal was the battle that resulted in his ship, USS Wasp CV-7, being sunk. He was one of many who survived.

Guadalcanal

Thanks to the efforts of the Navy, Marines and our allies we achieved a hard-fought victory. This memorial assures that they are not forgotten.

Victory At Sea

The Strange Case of a Nazi Who Became an Israeli Hitman

If you’ve ever studied WWII history the name Otto Skorzeny will resonate with you. He was Hitler’s top Waffen-SS commando and considered by the Allies to be “the most dangerous man in Europe”. He earned that name. Not just a dedicated Nazi, he was Hitler’s go-to guy for difficult jobs. Among his accomplishments during the war was the rescue of Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini after he was deposed in 1943.

Skorzeny was acquitted of war crimes for his plot to interfere with the D-Day invasion by having Nazi soldiers impersonate Americans and was living freely in Spain.

Following the war and the establishment of Israel in 1948, Egypt began a program of employing former Nazi rocket scientists to create and manage a missile program the Israelis felt was a direct threat. To deal with this threat, the Israeli spy organization Mossad made a difficult and surprising decision, to try and employ Skorzeny to trap and eliminate these former Nazis. Even more surprisingly, Skorzeny accepted.

No one knows why he took the job. Skorzeny wrote multiple books on his WWII adventures but was silent about any post-war activities. His motivations, what ever they were, went with him when he died in 1975.

Why The Nazis Believed They Could Win the Battle of Britain

The Battle of Britain started 75 years ago and marked the first time one nation attempted to destroy or at least incapacitate another based on air power alone. This article explains why the Nazis believed they could win. They almost did. But a change in tactics from trying to destroy the RAF to bombing London and manufacturing targets allowed the RAF to not only survive but to recover.

Joan Clarke, the woman who cracked the Enigma with Alan Turing

One of the downsides with the secrecy associated with the breaking of the Enigma machine in WWII was that the stories about what happened there were classified for decades and even then some of the participants were reluctant to talk about it. One was them was Joan Clarke who worked side-by-side with Alan Turing throughout the entire project and after. Due to the rampant sexism that was built in to the system, she couldn’t be hired as a cryptanalyst (men only) but had to be classified as a linguist. She was paid the same as the other “girls” at first but was quickly recognized for her technical abilities.

Women had important roles in the development of computers and the information age we currently live in. It’s time for us to acknowledge them and encourage their contemporaries instead of forcing them out.

Letter from an American soldier at Dachau

Pfc. Harold Porter was a medic with the 116th Evacuation Hospital who were among the first Americans to enter Dachau, one of the oldest Nazi concentration camps. Although reports of such camps had surfaced over the years, it was the first time American soldiers had actually seen a camp for themselves. He eventually wrote a letter home to his parents which both attempted to describe what he saw and assure them that he was not making it up.

Warning, the content is graphic and you may choose to not read the letter. But you should.

What the VA did to mentally ill World War II veterans

The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans—and likely hundreds more—during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal.

Besieged by psychologically damaged troops returning from the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific, the Veterans Administration performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally on people identified as homosexuals.

I’m at a loss for words.

Bletchley Park WWII archive to go online

England’s Bletchley Park wasn’t just the home base of Alan Turing and the efforts to break the Nazi’s Engima machine, it also collected communication transcripts, communiques, memoranda, photographs, maps and other material relating to key events that took place during the war. Now a donation of document scanners will allow volunteers to digitize the entire collection and make it available to researchers and historians. Expect a lot of untold stories to come to light in the next few years.