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Escape from Hitler's Europe
In November 1943, George Watt, Flying Fortress gunner, parachuted out of his burning bomber and landed in a village in Nazi-occupied Belgium. The villagers risked their lives to hide him in the field, sneaking him past the German patrols, and bringing him safely to Brussels, where he connected with the Comet Line, the rescue arm of the Belgian resistance.
While hiding in "sale houses" in Brussels, Watt had a ringside view of bold acts of defiance by Belgian patriots against the German occupation. From Brussels he traveled by rail past Gestapo control to Bordeaux, rode a bicycle through southern France, and was led by Basque guides along ancient smugglers' trails over the Pyrenees into Spain.
Six years earlier. Watt had climbed those same Pyrenees to join the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War against General Franco. Watt's experience in that prelude to World War II adds insight and drama to the story of his escape from Fortress Luropa, his fears of capture heightened by his having been a Lincoln Brigader as well as a Jew.
Forty years after the war Watt returned to Belgium to find that the "story of George Watt" had become a legend in the villages of Zele and Flamme, passed on to second and third generations. And in Brussels he heard with grief of the tragic fates of several of the underground comrades who had helped.
Whether writing about the war in the skies or the "war within the war" (the resistance movement) or recalling the earlier fighting in Spain, Watt's style is uncompromising and direct. The writing is tilled with suspense and humor, illumined by love and appreciation for its participants. This gripping story of compassion and commitment can be enjoyed for its high adventure alone. For the young, and for students of history, it is also a valuable contribution to understanding the two great antifascist struggles of our century.
Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940, and the Consequences for World War II
In Command Culture, Jörg Muth examines the different paths the United States Army and the German Armed Forces traveled to select, educate, and promote their officers in the crucial time before World War II. Muth demonstrates that the military education system in Germany represented an organized effort where each school and examination provided the stepping stone for the next. But in the United States, there existed no communication about teaching contents or didactical matters among the various schools and academies, and they existed in a self chosen insular environment. American officers who finally made their way through an erratic selection process and past West Point to the important Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, found themselves usually deeply disappointed, because they were faced again with a rather below average faculty who forced them after every exercise to accept the approved “school solution.” Command Culture explores the paradox that in Germany officers came from a closed authoritarian society but received an extremely open minded military education, whereas their counterparts in the United States came from one of the most democratic societies but received an outdated military education that harnessed their minds and limited their initiative. On the other hand, German officer candidates learned that in war everything is possible and a war of extermination acceptable. For American officers, raised in a democracy, certain boundaries could never be crossed. This work for the first time clearly explains the lack of audacity of many high ranking American officers during World War II, as well as the reason why so many German officers became perpetrators or accomplices of war crimes and atrocities or remained bystanders without speaking up. Those American officers who became outstanding leaders in World War II did so not so much because of their military education, but despite it.
An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites
Based on archival research, field visits, and interviews with former residents, this remarkable volume documents in unprecedented detail the various facilities in which persons of Japanese descent living in the western U.S. were confined during World War II. It provides an overview of the architectural remnants, archeological features, artifacts from the various sites, and both historic and present-day photographs.
Britain and the United States and Their POWs in Nazi Germany
How was it possible that almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands during World War II survived captivity in German POW camps and returned home almost as soon as the war ended? In ###Confronting Captivity#, Arieh J. Kochavi offers a behind-the-scenes look at the living conditions in Nazi camps and traces the actions the British and American governments took--and didn't take--to ensure the safety of their captured soldiers. Concern in London and Washington about the safety of these POWs was mitigated by the recognition that the Nazi leadership tended to adhere to the Geneva Convention when it came to British and U.S. prisoners. Following the invasion of Normandy, however, Allied apprehension over the safety of POWs turned into anxiety for their very lives. Yet Britain and the United States took the calculated risk of counting on a swift conclusion to the war as the Soviets approached Germany from the east. Ultimately, Kochavi argues, it was more likely that the lives of British and American POWs were spared because of their race rather than any actions their governments took on their behalf.Kochavi describes how it was possible for almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands in WWII to survive captivity in German POW camps and go back home almost as soon as the war ended. Kochavi shows that Berlin tended to adhere to the Geneva Conventions, but when Hitler shifted responsibility for the camps to the SS and the Gestapo after D-Day and Allied bombing campaigns devastated German cities, fear set in for the captives' very lives. Nonetheless, Kochavi conludes, London and Washington took a calculated risk during the final months of the war by excluding any operative steps on behalf of their POWs.Kochavi describes how it was possible for almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands in WWII to survive captivity and return home soon after the war ended.How was it possible that almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands during World War II survived captivity in German POW camps and returned home almost as soon as the war ended? In ###Confronting Captivity#, Arieh J. Kochavi offers a behind-the-scenes look at the living conditions in Nazi camps and traces the actions the British and American governments took--and didn't take--to ensure the safety of their captured soldiers. Concern in London and Washington about the safety of these POWs was mitigated by the recognition that the Nazi leadership tended to adhere to the Geneva Convention when it came to British and U.S. prisoners. Following the invasion of Normandy, however, Allied apprehension over the safety of POWs turned into anxiety for their very lives. Yet Britain and the United States took the calculated risk of counting on a swift conclusion to the war as the Soviets approached Germany from the east. Ultimately, Kochavi argues, it was more likely that the lives of British and American POWs were spared because of their race rather than any actions their governments took on their behalf.
A New History of American-Japanese Relations, 1899-1941
From 1899 until the American entry into World War II, U.S. presidents sought to preserve China's territorial integrity in order to guarantee American businesses access to Chinese markets -- a policy famously known as the "open door." Before the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, Americans saw Japan as the open door's champion; but by the end of 1905, Tokyo had replaced St. Petersburg as its greatest threat. For the next thirty-six years, successive U.S. administrations worked to safeguard China and contain Japanese expansion on the mainland.
The Currents of War reexamines the relationship between the United States and Japan and the casus belli in the Pacific through a fresh analysis of America's central foreign policy strategy in Asia. In this ambitious and compelling work, Sidney Pash offers a cautionary tale of oft-repeated mistakes and miscalculations. He demonstrates how continuous economic competition in the Asia-Pacific region heightened tensions between Japan and the United States for decades, eventually leading to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Pash's study is the first full reassessment of pre--World War II American-Japanese diplomatic relations in nearly three decades. It examines not only the ways in which U.S. policies led to war in the Pacific but also how this conflict gave rise to later confrontations, particularly in Korea and Vietnam. Wide-ranging and meticulously researched, this book offers a new perspective on a significant international relationship and its enduring consequences.
The Normandy Landings in International Remembrance and Commemoration
Over the past sixty-five years, the Allied invasion of Northwestern France in June 1944, known as D-Day, has come to stand as something more than a major battle. The assault itself formed a vital component of Allied victory in the Second World War. D-Day developed into a sign and symbol; as a word it carries with it a series of ideas and associations that have come to symbolize different things to different people and nations. As such, the commemorative activities linked to the battle offer a window for viewing the various belligerents in their postwar years. This book examines the commonalities and differences in national collective memories of D-Day. Chapters cover the main forces on the day of battle, including the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France and Germany. In addition, a chapter on Russian memory of the invasion explores other views of the battle. The overall thrust of the book shows that memories of the past vary over time, link to present-day needs, and also still have a clear national and cultural specificity. These memories arise in a multitude of locations such as film, books, monuments, anniversary celebrations, and news media representations.
The Battle of Saipan
In June 1944 the attention of the nation was riveted on events unfolding in France. But in the Pacific, the Battle of Saipan was of extreme strategic importance. This is a gripping account of one of the most dramatic engagements of World War II. The conquest of Saipan and the neighboring island of Tinian was a turning point in the war in the Pacific as it made the American victory against Japan inevitable. Until this battle, the Japanese continued to believe that success in the war remained possible. While Japan had suffered serious setbacks as early as the Battle of Midway in 1942, Saipan was part of her inner defense line, so victory was essential. The American victory at Saipan forced Japan to begin considering the reality of defeat. For the Americans, the capture of Saipan meant secure air bases for the new B-29s that were now within striking distance of all Japanese cities, including Tokyo.
The World War II Love Letters of Sgt. Leland Duvall
Leland Duvall was a now-and-again farm worker with a grade-school education when he received his World War II draft notice at his father’s farm near Moreland, Arkansas, in March 1942. He departed for training in California, where he began to write to Letty Jones, a Pottsville girl he’d had a crush on for several years. From the first correspondence through the end of the war, Leland sent Letty a torrent of letters, hundreds of careful and undeniably heartfelt missives—utterly tender but never sentimental, reliably charming and gently humorous—written daily from desert sands, pup tents, hospital beds, armored cars, and bombed-out buildings. That Duvall’s writing is a tour de force of wit, elegance, and erudition is all the more poignant because he was a man who was almost entirely self-taught. The letters, discovered by Duvall’s daughter after his death, are here enriched by his longtime friend and colleague Ernie Dumas, who provides facts about where Duvall was and the perils he endured while penning his epistles, information that was often missing in dispatches that were necessarily censored and always guided by Duvall’s effort not to bore or worry his “dearest Letty.” Duvall’s lively intelligence and obvious joy in writing come through on every page, joining the patina of the era and the bright shine of a timeless love affai.