Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II August 2018

World War II magazine covers every aspect of history's greatest modern conflict with vivid, revealing, and evocative writing from top historians and journalists. Each issue provides a lively mix of stories about soldiers, leaders, tactics, weapons, and little-known incidents of the war, including riveting firsthand battle accounts and reviews of books, movies, and video games. And the most authoritative magazine on the war features a striking design that highlights rare, archival photographs and detailed battle maps to convey the drama and excitement of the most famous battles and campaigns.

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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.

JESSICA WAMBACH BROWN (“Always Remain True”) is a frequent contributor who writes about history and veterans’ affairs from her home in Carnation, Washington. She initially discovered the story of Japanese American linguists of the army’s first language school while conducting a survey of military posts in Minnesota, the school’s former wartime location. Says Jessica, “These 6,000 loyal Japanese Americans made a critical contribution to the Pacific victory. I’m thrilled to shed light on their story.” JOSEPH CONNOR (“Victim by Design”) is a former newspaper reporter and editor, and a former assistant county prosecutor in New Jersey. Long familiar with the popular 1954 book The Execution of Private Slovik and the film of the same name, Connor decided to call on his prosecuting background to more closely examine the trial of Slovik, the only…

6 min.
proof of an ugly truth

CONCERNING ANDREW McGREGOR’S ARTICLE, “In the Uniform of the Enemy” (February 2018)—I have a story to add. My father, Lieutenant Colonel James H. Keeffe Jr., was a young B-24 copilot during the war. On March 8, 1944, during his fourth mission, his bomber was shot down and he was forced to bail out over Holland. He hid in a toolshed where members of the Dutch Resistance picked him up and transported him into Rotterdam. Dad spent five months with the Resistance, staying at safe houses throughout the city. He was given a false identity as a Dutchman named Andries Willem Teeuw. His identification card listed him as a deaf and dumb basketmaker. While attempting to escape from Rotterdam into Belgium, he was betrayed to the Germans and transferred to the same prisoner-of-war…

3 min.
shipwreck hunters on a winning streak

THE FIRST SEARCH TOOK EIGHT YEARS. The rest came faster, and now they’re on a roll. An exploration team financed by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen has been scouring the world’s oceans for the wrecks of warships sunk during World War II and is making some impressive discoveries. This March alone, Allen’s expeditions made three major finds: On March 4, 2018, the crew of his research vessel Petrel found wreckage of the aircraft carrier USS Lexington nearly two miles underwater in the Coral Sea, 500 miles off Australia’s eastern coast. Crippled by torpedoes and bombs in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Lexington caught fire and exploded May 8, 1942; 216 crew members were lost, though 2,770 escaped. Less than two weeks later, on Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, the Allen team found USS…

2 min.
seventy years on, father and son meet for the first time

HIS FATHER WAS A GERMAN SOLDIER who had died in an auto accident. At least that’s what his mother told him. In fact, Bernhard Draiscol’s father was an American serviceman. Draiscol, 70, didn’t learn the truth until after his mother died in 2008 and he started searching for relatives with help from a DNA kit from Ancestry.com. The search led to an emotional meeting March 24 with his father—World War II veteran Nathan Jones, 92, of Abbeville, Alabama—and with the two half brothers he never knew he had. Jones was a private in the 84th Infantry Division stationed in Hanover, Germany, after the war. At age 22, he met Drude-Maria Irene Peppel, a young woman struggling to get by. A relationship developed. Jones gave Peppel extra rations and food from the army mess…

2 min.
lost tuskegee airman may finally be coming home

TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS 1944, Captain Lawrence Dickson and his P-51 Mustang vanished into a snow-covered mountain valley near the border between Italy and Austria. His wingmen searched the area but found nothing. No wreckage. No parachute. No smoke. Just “the whiteness,” one later wrote. Declared missing, Dickson, 24, left behind a young wife and a baby girl, who grew up asking where her father was. The answer might have arrived. In the summer of 2017, an archaeological team in Austria excavated shards of a P-51 and human remains a few miles from where Dickson went missing. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is investigating whether the remains are Dickson’s. If so, he would be the first of 27 missing Tuskegee Airmen to be identified since the end of World War II. From 1941…

2 min.
ask wwii

Q: The U.S. military was the best trained and equipped of all the armies. My particular area of interest is the infantry, which was equipped with the M1 Garand rifle as standard issue. Was the M1 an advantage over German, Italian, and Japanese rifles? And, after the war, was there any research done comparing the various rifles’ performance in battle? —Jim Lestock, Lake City, Fla. A: The American M1 Garand rifle was a significant advantage for U.S. troops during World War II. The bolt-action rifles used by German, Italian, and Japanese forces had a five-round magazine, while the U.S. M1 Garand used en bloc clips with eight cartridges that could be quickly placed into the receiver for reloading. The rifle was also self-loading. While a German soldier would have had to manually…