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The German Retreat from France, 1944
The Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, marked a critical turning point in the European theater of World War II. The massive landing on France's coast had been meticulously planned for three years, and the Allies anticipated a quick and decisive defeat of the German forces. Many of the planners were surprised, however, by the length of time it ultimately took to defeat the Germans.
While much has been written about D-day, very little has been written about the crucial period from August to September, immediately after the invasion. In R?ckzug, Joachim Ludewig draws on military records from both sides to show that a quick defeat of the Germans was hindered by excessive caution and a lack of strategic boldness on the part of the Allies, as well as by the Germans' tactical skill and energy. This intriguing study, translated from German, not only examines a significant and often overlooked phase of the war, but also offers a valuable account of the conflict from the perspective of the German forces.
Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW
This book is a rare and important gift. One of the few memoirs of combat in World War II by a distinguished African-American flier, it is also perhaps the only account of the African-American experience in a German prison camp.Alexander Jefferson was one of 32 Tuskegee Airmen from the 332nd Fighter Group to be shot down defending a country that considered them to be second-class citizens. A Detroit native, Jefferson enlisted in 1942, trained at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, became a second lieutenant in 1943, and joined one of the mostdecorated fighting units in the War, flying P51s with their legendary-and feared -red tails.Based in Italy, Jefferson flew bomber escort missions over southern Europe before being shot down in France in 1944. Captured, he spent the balance of the war in Luftwaffe prison camps in Sagan and Moosberg, Germany.In this vividly detailed, deeply personal book, Jefferson writes as a genuine American hero and patriot. It's an unvarnished look at life behind barbed wire- and what it meant to be an African-American pilot in enemy hands. It's also a look at race and democracy in America through the eyes of a patriot who fought toprotect the promise of freedom.The book features the sketches, drawings, and other illustrations Jefferson created during his nine months as a kriegie(POW) and Lewis Carlson's authoritative background to the man, his unit, and the fight Alexander Jefferson fought so well.
A History of Civilian Public Service Camp #21 at Cascade Locks
One of the untold stories of America’s World War II experience belongs to the thousands who refused military service for reasons of conscience, instead serving their country through non-military alternate service. Refusing War, Affirming Peace offers an intimate view of a single Civilian Public Service Camp, Camp #21 at Cascade Locks, Oregon, one of the largest and longest-serving camps in the system—and one of the most unusual.
Under the leadership of a remarkable director, Rev. Mark Y. Schrock, and some outstanding camp leaders, the men at Camp #21 created a vibrant community. Despite the requisite long days of physical labor, the men developed a strong educational program, published a newspaper and a literary magazine, produced plays and concerts, and participated in a special school and research project called the School of Pacifist Living. They also challenged the Selective Service System in two political protests—one concerning the threatened removal of a Japanese American, George Yamada, and a second concerning a war- related work project. Their story shows the CPS system at its best.
Jeffrey Kovac’s thorough research has resulted in one of the very few histories of a single Civilian Public Service Camp, shedding light on a generation of men who, during the “good war,” created a community for peace. Refusing War is an important contribution to World War II history, peace studies, and the history of the Pacific Northwest.
Minnesota's Greatest Generation
World War II was the defining event for a generation of Americans. Remembering the Good War tells the stories of over one hundred Minnesotans—ordinary people who rose to duty at an extraordinary moment in our past. Here soldiers and sailors, housewives and farmers, “Rosies” and “Joes” tell what it was like to be swept up in history.Betty Wall Strofus of Faribault recalls how she discovered a love for flying and joined the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) program to serve stateside during the war. Lyle Pasket of St. Paul marvels that he was only seventeen when his cruiser, the USS Indianapolis, was torpedoed en route to the Philippines. After three days without food or drink in shark-infested waters, he was one of only 317 sailors rescued. Paratrooper Frank Soboleski of International Falls recounts how he depended on north woods hunting skills to keep himself alive during battle in the Netherlands. Schoolteacher Vivian Linn McMorrow remembers with quiet intensity the brief time she shared with her husband Ralph Gland, who was killed in France during the second year of their marriage.From the shock of the attack on Pearl Harbor to the excitement of recruits leaving the farm for the first time to the horrors of the battlefields of Europe, Africa, and the Pacific, Remembering the Good War pays homage to the generation of Minnesotans who were forever transformed by World War II. Their voices—honest, emotional, and resolute—remind us of a time of sacrifice and courage.
American Relief Workers Who Defied the Nazis
When Susan Elisabeth Subak discovered that members of the Unitarian Church had helped her Jewish father immigrate to the United States, she was unaware of the impact the organization had made during World War II. After years of research, Subak uncovers the little-known story of the Unitarian Service Committee, which rescued European refugees during World War II, and the remarkable individuals who made it happen. The Unitarian Service Committee was among the few American organizations committed to helping refugees during World War II. The staff who ran the committee assisted those endangered by the Nazi regime, from famous writers and artists to the average citizen. Part of a larger network of American relief workers, the Unitarian Committee helped refugees negotiate the official and legal channels of escape and, when those methods failed, the more complex underground channels. From their offices in Portugal and southern France they created escape routes through Europe to the United States, South America, and England, and rescued thousands, often at great personal risk.
Training British Pilots in Terrell during World War II
With the outbreak of World War II, British Royal Air Force (RAF) officials sought to train aircrews outside of England, safe from enemy attack and poor weather. In the United States six civilian flight schools dedicated themselves to instructing RAF pilots; the first, No. 1 British Flying Training School (BFTS), was located in Terrell, Texas, east of Dallas. Tom Killebrew explores the history of the Terrell Aviation School and its program with RAF pilots. Most of the early British students had never been in an airplane or even driven an automobile before arriving in Texas to learn to fly. The cadets trained in the air on aerobatics, instrument flight, and night flying, while on the ground they studied navigation, meteorology, engines, and armaments–even spending time in early flight simulators. By the end of the war, more than two thousand RAF cadets had trained at Terrell, cementing relations between Great Britain and the United States and forming lasting bonds with the citizens of Terrell.
The Forced Relocation of Poland’s Ukrainians after World War II
Following World War II, the communist government of Poland forcibly relocated the country's Ukrainian minority by means of a Soviet-Polish population exchange and then a secretly planned action code-named Operation "Vistula." In Scattered, Diana Howansky Reilly recounts these events through the experiences of three siblings caught up in the conflict, during a turbulent period when compulsory resettlement was a common political tactic used against national minorities to create homogenous states. Born in the Lemko region of southeastern Poland, Petro, Melania, and Hania Pyrtej survived World War II only to be separated by political decisions over which they had no control. Petro relocated with his wife to Soviet Ukraine during the population exchange of 1944–46, while his sisters Melania and Hania were resettled to western Poland through Operation "Vistula" in 1947. As the Ukrainian Insurgent Army fought resettlement, the Polish government meanwhile imprisoned suspected sympathizers within the Jaworzno concentration camp. Melania, Reilly's maternal grandmother, eventually found her way to the United States during Poland's period of liberalization in the 1960s. Drawing on oral interviews and archival research, Reilly tells a fascinating, true story that provides a bottom-up perspective and illustrates the impact of extraordinary historical events on the lives of ordinary people. Tracing the story to the present, she describes survivors' efforts to receive compensation for the destruction of their homes and communities.
USS Queens, SS Excambion, and USTS Texas Clipper
Starting its life as an attack transport in World War II—and one of the last five left afloat by war’s end—the USS Queens saw action at Iwo Jima and other hot spots in the Pacific theater. After the war, the ship became the SS Excambion, one of the “Four Aces” of American Export Lines: the only fully air-conditioned ships in the world at the time. In 1965, the versatile Excambion underwent yet another transformation—into a floating classroom. Recommissioned as the USTS Texas Clipper, the ship began a third life as a merchant marine training vessel with its home port in Galveston. For the next three decades the Texas Clipper would be home to merchant marine cadets, and by the time it was retired in 1996, it was the oldest active ship in the U.S. merchant marine fleet. Finally, the Texas Clipper, after protracted bureaucratic wrangling, was designated to be sunk in the Gulf of Mexico as an artificial reef to provide habitat for marine life. In 2009, the ship was towed to its final resting place, seventeen nautical miles off the coast of South Padre Island. Now, 136 feet below the surface, the venerable Texas Clipper lives on as the home to a wide variety of underwater species. Filled not only with meticulously researched technical and historical data about the ship’s construction, service record, crew procedures, and voyages, The Ship That Would Not Die also features lively anecdotes from crew members, passengers, and officers. More than 140 color and black-and-white photos illustrate the ship’s construction, its wide variety of shipboard life, the exacting process of making the Texas Clipper ready to become an artificial reef, and its final sinking in the Gulf of Mexico.