Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II January - February 2017

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.

SUSAN L. CARRUTHERS (“Unstoppable Force”) is a professor of history at Rutgers University in Newark. She has held visiting fellowships at Harvard University, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, and at Princeton University. She is the author of The Media at War (2011) and Cold War Captives (2009). Her story is drawn from her recent book, The Good Occupation: American Soldiers and the Hazards of Peace, published this past November. JOSEPH CONNOR (“Have You Heard?” and “Shore Party”) has been fascinated by the World War II era since childhood. He graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a bachelor’s degree in history and from Rutgers Law School with a juris doctor degree. After a seven-year stint as a newspaper reporter and editor in New Jersey, Connor worked for…

4 min.
sick bay shenanigans

I enjoyed the piece on the nurses of World War II (“Drafting Women,” September/October 2016). Before boarding a troopship for India as an 18-year-old draftee in 1943, I developed a hernia and was surgically repaired in an army hospital in New Orleans. At that time this meant 16 days in bed before setting a foot on the floor, providing more than enough time for me to develop plans for relieving boredom. Accordingly, one day, when our nurse, Lieutenant Walker, routinely inserted our daily oral thermometers, I stealthily removed mine and briskly rubbed it against the sheets until it registered about 104 degrees. I returned it to my mouth and attempted to assume a pathetic, semiconscious appearance. To my amusement, upon reading my thermometer, Nurse Walker exhibited appropriate dismay then hastily took a…

1 min.
editor’s note

World War II readers never fail to amaze me. Collectively deeply knowledgable and passionate about the war, they are quick to call us out on factual missteps and to enlighten us, often drawing on their own experiences. The letters in this issue are a good example. Not only did we hear from a man who could identify the gas cape in our “What the...?!?” photo (below) but he filled us in on working at the plant that made them. Thank you, Robert W. Ouimette—and everyone else. Please keep it coming! —Karen Jensen PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO: World War II 1919 Gallows Road, Suite 400, Vienna, VA 22182-4038 OR E-MAIL: worldwar2@historynet.com Please include your name, address, and daytime telephone number.…

2 min.
lifting the veil of secrecy... 75 years on

LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS. But do they still pose a threat more than seven decades after the fleet has sailed? Not necessarily, a federal judge ruled in September. On June 7, 1942, the Chicago Tribune delivered a front-page scoop by war correspondent Stanley Johnston: the U.S. Navy knew in advance the Japanese fleet’s plans at the ongoing Battle of Midway, including which enemy ships were involved and that the Japanese assault on the Aleutians was just a feint. The subsequent overwhelming American victory proved to be a turning point in the Pacific War. The newspaper’s revelation outraged President Franklin D. Roosevelt—political enemy of Tribune publisher Robert McCormick. After all, discerning readers could have realized some-thing the Tribune had not explicitly stated: that the United States had cracked Japanese codes. So Roosevelt’s Justice…

1 min.
bringing memories home

AIMEE FOGG WAS THE FIRST MEMBER OF HER FAMILY to travel to the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Hombourg, Belgium, to visit the grave of her great uncle. During the trip, she was struck by the realization that most of the cemetery’s 8,000 American war dead were not memorialized in their hometowns. So Fogg, a 37-year-old resident of Gilford, New Hampshire, set out to salvage their stories. She started with the 38 New Hampshire men buried at Henri-Chapelle, including her great uncle, Paul Lavoie, a 21-year-old soldier killed in the assault on the Schwammenauel Dam in February 1945. Fogg compiled those stories in a book, The Granite Men of Henri-Chapelle (2013). After telling the stories of those New Hampshire casualties, Fogg researched 25 Vermont casualties and is now writing about the 54 Maine…

3 min.
appraising an unexpected discovery

WHAT COULD THE HOT DOG KING OF CHICAGO possibly have in common with Japan’s greatest wartime admiral? Just possibly, a gold tooth. Dick Portillo, 76, the hot dog and Italian beef magnate who two years ago sold his fast-food empire for nearly $1 billion, owns a tooth that might have belonged to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. “I’ll do whatever it takes to find out,” Portillo told the Chicago Tribune. Yamamoto commanded the Japanese fleet and masterminded the attack on Pearl Harbor. After American code-breakers decrypted Japanese messages revealing Yamamoto’s travel plans, a group of American P-38 fighters intercepted his Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bomber and shot it down, killing him on April 18, 1943. Portillo, a former Marine, has traveled repeatedly to Pacific battlefields. In July 2015, he visited the Yamamoto crash site in present-day…