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British Aid to Greece, 1940-1941
On October 28, 1940, the Italian army under Benito Mussolini invaded Greece. The British had insisted on guaranteeing Greek and Turkish neutrality, despite the fact that Greece was never more than a limited campaign in an unlimited war as far as they were concerned. The British, however, were never quite sure that Greece was not their last foothold in Europe, and they harbored dreams of holding on to this last bastion of civilization and of protecting it with a diplomatic and military alliance -- a Balkan bloc. These dreams bore little relation to military and economic realities, and so the stage was set for tragedy.
In Diary of a Disaster, Robin Higham details the unfolding events from the invasion, though the Italian defeat and the subsequent German invasion, until the British evacuation at the end of April 1941. The Greek army, while tough, was small and based largely upon reserves. They were also largely equipped with obsolete French, Polish, and Czech arms for which there was now no other source than captured Italian materiel. Transportation was also lacking as Greece lacked all-weather roads over much of the country, had no all-weather airport, and only one rail line connecting Athens with Salonika and Florina in the north.
Added to the woes of the Greek military, the British commander-in-chief for the Middle East, Sir Archibald Wavell, faced huge logistical challenges as well. Based in Cairo, he was responsible for a huge theatre of operation, from hostile Vichy French forces in Syria to the Boers in South Africa nearly six thousand miles away. His air force was comprised of only a handful of modern aircraft with biplanes and outdated, early monoplanes making up the bulk of his force. Radar was also unavailable to him. His navy was woefully short on destroyers and often incommunicado while at sea. While Wavell had roughly 500,000 men under his command, he was severely limited in how he could use them. The South Africans could only be deployed in East Africa and the Austrians and New Zealanders could not be employed without the consent of their home governments. In short, Churchill had instructed Wavell to offer support that he did not really have and could not afford to give to the Greeks.
Higham walks readers through these events as they unfold like a modern Greek tragedy. Using the format of a diary, he recounts day-by-day the British efforts though the failure of Operation Lustre, which no one outside of London thought had any chance of stemming the Nazi tide in Greece.
A Boy's Life in a Japanese Labor Camp
In this moving memoir a young man comes of age in an age of violence, brutality, and war. Recounting his experiences during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, this account brings to life the shocking day-to-day conditions in a Japanese labor camp and provides an intimate look at the collapse of Dutch colonial rule.As a boy growing up on the island of Java, John Stutterheim spent hours exploring his exotic surroundings, taking walks with his younger brother and dachshund along winding jungle roads. His father, a government accountant, would grumble at the pro-German newspaper and from time to time entertain the family with his singing. It was a fairly typical life for a colonial family in the Dutch East Indies, and a peaceful and happy childhood for young John. But at the age of 14 it would all be irrevocably shattered by the Japanese invasion.With the surrender of Java in 1942, John's father was taken prisoner. For over three years the family would not know if he was alive or dead. Soon thereafter, John, his younger brother, and his mother were imprisoned. A year later he and his brother were moved to a forced labor camp for boys, where they toiled under the fierce sun while disease and starvation slowly took their toll, all the while suspecting they would soon be killed.Throughout all of these travails, John kept a secret diary hidden in his handmade mattress, and his memories now offer a unique perspective on an often overlooked episode of World War II. What emerges is a compelling story of a young man caught up in the machinations of a global war-struggling to survive in the face of horrible brutality, struggling to care for his disease-wracked brother, and struggling to put his family back together. It is a story that must not be forgotten.
A Girl's Life in Russia, Germany, and America
In her moving and deeply personal memoir, Ella E. Schneider Hilton chronicles her remarkable childhood—one that took her from the purges of Stalinist Russia to the refugee camps of Nazi and postwar Germany to the cotton fields of Jim Crow Mississippi before granting her access to the American dream. Despite her hard life as a refugee, Ella finds solace in others and retains her indomitably inquisitive spirit. Throughout her ordeals, she never relinquishes hope or sight of her goal of education. Poignantly and freshly rendered, this is a tale of determination. It is the story of a girl caught up first in the maelstrom of World War II and then in the complexities of American southern culture, adjusting to events beyond her control with resiliency as she searches for faith, knowledge, and a place in the world.
Screen Memories of War in East Asia
Divided Lenses: Screen Memories of War in East Asia is the first attempt to explore how the tumultuous years between 1931 and 1953 have been recreated and renegotiated in cinema. This period saw traumatic conflicts such as the Sino-Japanese War, the Pacific War, and the Korean War, and pivotal events such as the Rape of Nanjing, Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all of which left a lasting imprint on East Asia and the world. By bringing together a variety of specialists in the cinemas of East Asia and offering divergent yet complementary perspectives, the book explores how the legacies of war have been reimagined through the lens of film.
This turbulent era opened with the Mukden Incident of 1931, which signaled a new page in Japanese militaristic aggression in East Asia, and culminated with the Korean War (1950–1953), a protracted conflict that broke out in the wake of Japan's post–World War II withdrawal from Korea. Divided Lenses explores the ways in which events of the intervening decades have continued to shape politics and popular culture throughout East Asia and the world. The essays in part I examine historical trends at work in various "national" cinemas, including China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and the United States. Those in part 2 focus on specific themes present in the cinema portraying this period—such as comfort women in Chinese film, the Nanjing Massacre, or nationalism—and how they have been depicted or renegotiated in contemporary films. Of particular interest are contributions drawing from other forms of screen culture, such as television and video games.
Divided Lenses builds on the growing interest in East Asian cinema by examining how these historic conflicts have been imagined, framed, and revisited through the lens of cinema and screen culture. It will interest later generations living in the shadow of these events, as well as students and scholars in the fields of cinema studies, cultural studies, cold war studies, and World War II history.
The Life of General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr.
the civil rights struggle of the Tuskegee Airmen
On April 12, 1945, the United States Army Air Force arrested 101 of its African American officers. They were charged with disobeying a direct order from a superior officer—a charge that could carry the death penalty upon conviction. They were accused of refusing to sign an order that would have placed them in segregated housing and recreational facilities. Their plight was virtually ignored by the press at the time, and books written about the subject did not detail the struggle these aviators underwent to win recognition of their civil rights.
The central theme of Double V is the promise held out to African American military personnel that service in World War II would deliver to them a double victory—a "double V"—over tyranny abroad and racial prejudice at home. The book's authors, Lawrence P. Scott and William M. Womack Sr., chronicle for the first time, in detail, one of America's most dramatic failures to deliver on that promise. In the course of their narrative, the authors demonstrate how the Tuskegee airmen suffered as second-class citizens while risking their lives to serve their country. Among the contributions made by this work is a detailed examination of how 101 Tuskegee airmen, by refusing to live in segregated quarters, triggered on e of the most significant judicial proceedings in U.S. military history. Double V uses oral accounts and heretofore unused government documents to portray this little-known struggle by one of America's most celebrated flying units.
In addition to providing background material about African American aviators before World War II. the authors also demonstrate how the Tuskegee airmen's struggle foretold dilemmas faced by the civil rights movement in the second half of the 20th century. Double V is destined to become an important contribution in the rapidly growing body of civil rights literature.
The 88th Infantry Division in World War II
The involuntary soldiers of an unmilitary people such were the forces that American military planners had to pit against hardened Axis veterans, yet prewar unpreparedness dictated that whole divisions of such men would go to war under the supervision of tiny professional cadres. Much to his surprise and delight, Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall found that the 88th Infantry Division, his first draftee division, "fought like wildcats" and readily outclassed its German adversaries while measuring up to the best Regular Army divisions. Draftee Division is at once a history of the 88th Division, an analysis of American unit mobilization during World War II, and an insight into the savage Italian Campaign.
After an introduction placing the division in historical context, separate chapters address personnel, training, logistics, and overseas deployment. Another chapter focuses upon preliminary adjustments to the realities of combat, after which two chapters trace the 88th's climactic drive through the Gustav Line into Rome itself. A final chapter takes the veteran 88th to final victory. Of particular interest are observations concerning differences connected with mobilization between the 88th and less successful divisions and discussions of the contemporary relevance of the 88th's experiences.
Draftee Division is especially rich in its sources. John Sloan Brown, with close ties to the division, has secured extensive and candid contributions from veterans. To these he has added a full array of archival and secondary sources. The result is a definitive study of American cadremen creating a division out of raw draftees and leading them on to creditable victories. Its findings will be important for military and social historians and for students of defense policy
V-E Day, Censorship, and the Associated Press
On May 7, 1945, Associated Press reporter Ed Kennedy became the most famous—or infamous—American correspondent of World War II. On that day in France, General Alfred Jodl signed the official documents as the Germans surrendered to the Allies. Army officials allowed a select number of reporters, including Kennedy, to witness this historic moment—but then instructed the journalists that the story was under military embargo. In a courageous but costly move, Kennedy defied the military embargo and broke the news of the Allied victory. His scoop generated instant controversy. Rival news organizations angrily protested, and the AP fired him several months after the war ended. In this absorbing and previously unpublished personal account, Kennedy recounts his career as a newspaperman from his early days as a stringer in Paris to the aftermath of his dismissal from the AP. During his time as a foreign correspondent, he covered the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Mussolini in Italy, unrest in Greece, and ethnic feuding in the Balkans. During World War II, he reported from Greece, Italy, North Africa, and the Middle East before heading back to France to cover its liberation and the German surrender negotiations. His decision to break the news of V-E Day made him front-page headlines in the New York Times. In his narrative, Kennedy emerges both as a reporter with an eye for a good story and an unwavering foe of censorship. This edition includes an introduction by Tom Curley and John Maxwell Hamilton, as well as a prologue and epilogue by Kennedy’s daughter, Julia Kennedy Cochran. Their work draws upon newly available records held in the Associated Press Corporate Archives.
Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich
At the end of World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, fearing that retreating Germans would consolidate large numbers of troops in an Alpine stronghold and from there conduct a protracted guerilla war, turned U.S. forces toward the heart of Franconia, ordering them to cut off and destroy German units before they could reach the Alps. Opposing this advance was a conglomeration of German forces headed by SS-Gruppenführer Max Simon, a committed National Socialist who advocated merciless resistance. Under the direction of officers schooled in harsh combat in Russia, the Germans succeeded in bringing the American advance to a grinding halt. Caught in the middle were the people of Franconia. Historians have accorded little mention to this period of violence and terror, but it provides insight into the chaotic nature of life while the Nazi regime was crumbling. Neither German civilians nor foreign refugees acted simply as passive victims caught between two fronts. Throughout the region people pressured local authorities to end the senseless resistance and sought revenge for their tribulations in the “liberation” that followed. Stephen G. Fritz examines the predicament and outlook of American GI’s, German soldiers and officials, and the civilian population caught in the arduous fighting during the waning days of World War II. Endkampf is a gripping portrait of the collapse of a society and how it affected those involved, whether they were soldiers or civilians, victors or vanquished, perpetrators or victims. Stephen G. Fritz, professor of history at East Tennessee State University, is the author of Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II .