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World War II: The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension
The World War II Letters of an American Veteran of the Spanish Civil War
On his first day in basic training in 1942, Lawrence Cane wrote his wife Grace from Fort Dix, New Jersey. I'm in the army now?really!he wrote, complaining, I don't have enough time to write a decent letter.Three years later, Capt. Lawrence Cane went home from World War II. He'd landed at Utah Beach on D-Day, helped liberate France and Belgium, and survived the Battle of the Bulge. He won a Silver Star for bravery. And he still managed to write 300 letters home to Grace. This book is a different kind of war story--both an powerful chronicle of life in battle and a unique portrait of courage fueled by a life-long passion for political justice.Cane's fight for freedom began well before D-Day. In 1937, joined the Abraham Lincoln Battalion and got wounded fighting for democracy in Spain. In 1942, at age 30, he enlisted in the new war against fascism, and as an officer with the 238th Combat Engineer Battalion, went ashore in Normandy to clear mines, destroy fortifications, and open roads from Normandy to the Siegfried Line. Of the 400 Spanish Civil War veterans in World War II, Cane was the only one to go ashore on D-Day.After the war, Lawrence Cane fought for civil rights and peace until his death in 1976. Discovered in 1995 by Cane's son David, his letters are not only classic accounts of war and unforgettable expressions of love for family. They are the fiercely patriotic words of a left-wing, working-class New York Jew (and one-time Communist Party member) who knew exactly why we fought---to create a better world by destroying all forms of fascism, one battle at a time.With a fascinating introduction by David Cane, detailed notes, and much additional material, these letters add a new dimension to the meaning of American patriotism and an invaluable chapter to the history of the greatest generation.
The War Time Letters of General James M. Gavin to his Daughter Barbara
James Maurice Gavin left for war in April 1943 as a colonel commanding the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division-America's first airborne division and the first to fight in World War II. In 1944, Slim JimGavin, as he was known to his troops, at the age of thirty-seven became the 82nd's commanding general-the youngest Army officer to become a major general since the Civil War. At war's end, this soldier's soldier had become one of our greatest generals-and the 82nd's most decorated officer.Now James Gavin's letters home to his nine-year-old daughter Barbara provide a revealing portrait of the American experience in World War II through the eyes of one of its most dynamic officers. Written from ship decks, foxholes, and field tents-often just before or after a dangerous jump-they capture the day-to-day realities of combat and Gavin's personal reactions to the war he helped to win. And provide an invaluable self-portrait of a great general, and a great American, in war and peace.The book's more than 200 letters begin at Fort Bragg in 1943 and continue to December 1945, as Gavin came home to lead the 82nd at the head of the Victory parade in New York. This correspondence constitutes the majority of Gavin's private wartime letters, but except for rare appearances in regimental newsletters, it has never before been published. In her Introduction, Epilogue, and Notes, Barbara Gavin Fauntleroy gives a privileged glimpse of the private man. Edited by Gayle Wurst, the book features historical overviews by Starlyn Jorgensen, a preface by noted Gavin biographer Gerard M. Devlin, and a foreword by Rufus Broadaway, Gavin's aide-de-camp.
From Pearl Harbor to the War's Final Mission
In his 36 years of military service, Lt. General James V. Edmundson had extensive experience in combat operations and command at every level in the Air Force. He had over 10,000 hours of pilot time in 137 types of airplanes. In addition to the 107 combat missions in World War II, he led 32 combat missions in Korea and 42 in Vietnam. Two years after General Edmundson's death in 2001, his daughter, Celia discovered a trunk of his letters and was particularly fascinated with the correspondence between her father and mother, Lee. This very personal story is told through chronological vignettes, letters, newspaper and magazine articles of the period. The vignettes were written in 2000 - the letters begin in 1939 in the beautiful Territory of Hawaii. The two are interwoven and provide incredible descriptions and detail of the conditions both before and after the U.S. entry into the War; of the early fighting in the South Pacific; of the highly secret development and implementation of the Superfortress, which ultimately brought an end to Japan's war against the United States; and of the China-Burma-India Theater, as the war accelerates and the last mission is flown. Correspondents from the United Press and Newsweek who accompanied Edmundson on combat missions enrich the story. Letter to Lee is a first person account of two of the heroes of World War II and of the love that they shared across the years and miles. They lived their lives with integrity and courage, one example of this great generation and this incredible period in time.
Angelo Tasca from Italian Socialism to French Collaboration
Angelo Tasca, a pivotal figure in 20th-century Italian political history, and indeed European history, is frequently overshadowed by his Fascist opponent Mussolini or his Socialist and Communist colleagues (Gramsci and Togliatti). Yet, as Emanuel Rota reveals in this captivating biography, Tasca--also known as Serra, A. Rossi,Andre Leroux, and XX--was in fact a key political player in the first half of the 20th century and an ill-fated representative of the age of political extremes he helped to create. In A Pact with Vichy, readers meet the Italian intellect and politician with fresh eyes as the author demystifies Tasca's seemingly bizarre trajectory from revolutionary Socialist to Communist to supporter of the Vichy regime. Rota demonstrates how Tasca, an indefatigable cultural operator and Socialist militant, tried all his life to maintain his commitment to scientific analysis in the face of the rise of Fascism and Stalinism, but his struggle ended in a personal and political defeat that seemed to contradict all his life when he lent his support to the Vichy government.Through Tasca's complex life, A Pact with Vichy vividly reconstructs and elucidates the even more complex networks and debates that animated the Italian and French Left in the first half of the 20th century. After his expulsion from the Italian Communist Party as a result of his refusal to conform to Stalinism, Tasca reinvented his life in Paris, where he participated in the intense political debates of the 1930s. Rota explores how Tasca's political choices were motivated by the desperate attempt to find an alternative between Nazism and Stalinism, even when this alternative had the ambiguous borders of Vichy's collaborationist regime. A Pact with Vichy uncovers how Tasca's betrayal of his own ideal was tragically the result of his commitment to political realism in the brief age of triumphant Fascism. This riveting, perceptive biography offers readers a privileged window into one of the 20th century's most intriguing yet elusive characters. It is a must-read for history buffs, students, and scholars alike.
World War II, The Holocaust, and Rural Judaism
Sussen Is Now Free of Jews offers a close look at the legacy of a few Jewish families from Sussen-a village in the District of Goppingen, which is located in the state of Baden Wurttemberg in southern Germany. The author, Gilya Gerda Schmidt, looks at this rural region through the lens of two Jewish families-the Langs and the Ottenheimers-who settled there in the early twentieth century. As a child, she shared with the Langs the same living space for just a few months. She remembers her mother's telling her of the Jews who lived in Sussen until the Holocaust. More than thirty years later, in a used bookstore in Knoxville, Tennessee, the author accidentally found documentation verifying the Jewish presence in a book about the surviving Jews of Wurttemberg. In it, she found confirmation that there had been Jews living in Sussen until the Holocaust. For the first time, she had the proof she needed to look into the reality behind this lingering mystery. Here began her detective-like journey to find out what happened to the Jews of Sussen. A decade of research into local and regional archives ensued, and this very penetrating study is the result. In it, the author attempts to shed light on not just the original question of what happened to the two families during the Holocaust but also on a host of other questions: What was it like to be Jewish in rural southern Germany a century ago? What were the Jewish traditions of this region? What were the relations between Jews and Christians before the Holocaust? And where did those family members who were able to escape or who survived the concentration camps go when they left Sussen or Goppingen? Few witnesses came forward, yet the documents in the archives spoke volumes. This micro-history records the not-so-romantic journey of two Jewish families who lived in the Fils Valley. The study also addresses issues of being an American prisoner of war; of resuming life after the Holocaust; of the bureaucratic nightmare of requisitions, restitution, and reparations; and of life in America. This unique book will be of interest to a general readership and is an important book for scholars in German and Holocaust studies.
Cinema, Violence, and Style in Britain, 1939-1945
In this original and engaging work, author Kent Puckett looks at how British filmmakers imagined, saw, and sought to represent its war during wartime through film. The Second World War posed unique representational challenges to Britain’s filmmakers. Because of its logistical enormity, the unprecedented scope of its destruction, its conceptual status as total, and the way it affected everyday life through aerial bombing, blackouts, rationing, and the demands of total mobilization, World War II created new, critical opportunities for cinematic representation. Beginning with a close and critical analysis of Britain’s cultural scene, War Pictures examines where the historiography of war, the philosophy of violence, and aesthetics come together. Focusing on three films made in Britain during the second half of the Second World War—Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Lawrence Olivier’s Henry V (1944), and David Lean’s Brief Encounter (1945)—Puckett treats these movies as objects of considerable historical interest but also as works that exploit the full resources of cinematic technique to engage with the idea, experience, and political complexity of war. By examining how cinema functioned as propaganda, criticism, and a form of self-analysis, War Pictures reveals how British filmmakers, writers, critics, and politicians understood the nature and consequence of total war as it related to ideas about freedom and security, national character, and the daunting persistence of human violence. While Powell and Pressburger, Olivier, and Lean developed deeply self-conscious wartime films, their specific and strategic use of cinematic eccentricity was an aesthetic response to broader contradictions that characterized the homefront in Britain between 1939 and 1945. This stylistic eccentricity shaped British thinking about war, violence, and commitment as well as both an answer to and an expression of a more general violence. Although War Pictures focuses on a particularly intense moment in time, Puckett uses that particularity to make a larger argument about the pressure that war puts on aesthetic representation, past and present. Through cinema, Britain grappled with the paradoxical notion that, in order to preserve its character, it had not only to fight and to win but also to abandon exactly those old decencies, those “sporting-club rules,” that it sought also to protect.