Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II January/February 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.

JOSEPH CONNOR (“The ‘Good’ Conscientious Objector”) is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and assistant county prosecutor. His story on actor-turned-objector Lew Ayres was inspired by his desire to learn more about the man whose conscience led him to swim against the tide of public opinion. Connor lives with his wife and their three sons in New Jersey. ANDREW MCGREGOR (“In the Uniform of the Enemy”) is the director of Aberfoyle International Security, a Toronto-based organization specializing in terrorism, military, and security issues. His research into the phenomenon of outsiders joining Islamist terror groups led him to investigate the recruitment of foreign fighters in World War II. While he had been aware of the Dutch’s contribution to the Waffen-SS, he began more intensive research into the topic after Turkish president Recep Tayyip…

6 min.
choose your side carefully

I READ WITH HUMOROUS INTEREST your Portfolio, “How Do I Love ‘V’?” in the October 2017 issue. My reason for saying “humorous” has to do with the photo of Joan Blondell (above) supposedly giving a “V for Victory” hand sign. One has to remember that some gestures have different meanings in different countries. In America, if one wishes to disparage someone with a gesture, they may raise their middle finger. However, in Great Britain, they use the gesture that Ms. Blondell used in her photo—with the back of her hand turned toward the viewer. I believe the gesture hearkens back to the time of Agincourt when the English beat the French using mainly their long bowmen. The French would capture English long bowmen and reportedly amputate the first two fingers of the…

3 min.
a wartime flag returns home

ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY RELATIVES and neighbors signed the good-luck flag Sadao Yasue carried with him from his home in Higashi-Shirakawa, Japan, to the killing fields of the South Pacific. “Long-lasting fortune in battle,” it said in large letters. Yasue had his doubts. Before his departure in 1943, he confided in his siblings: “I will probably not come back alive, so please take care of our parents.” His words proved prophetic. Yasue was killed in the fighting on Saipan in July 1944 at age 25. An American Marine, Marvin Strombo, saw his body, looking oddly peaceful and unhurt despite having been shattered by a mortar round. The good-luck flag was sticking out of his jacket. Strombo grabbed the souvenir. So began a 73-year, 11,000-mile journey that would take the flag to Missoula, Montana, and then…

2 min.
sunken ship is on the move

JUST AFTER 10 P.M. ON MAY 12, 1942, three torpedoes struck the oil tanker SS Virginia, setting it on fire and sinking it off the Louisiana coast at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Of the 41 men aboard, 27 perished in the attack by the German submarine U-507. Over the years, however, something strange happened. Since the 2001 discovery of the wreck, which had settled at a depth of more than 650 feet, it has moved more than a quarter mile. The 10,000- ton ship kept changing position even in years when there wasn’t a Gulf of Mexico hurricane to push it around. Scientists are now tracking Virginia’s movements to better understand underwater mudslides, which can threaten oil pipes and other equipment. The idea that massive wrecks can lurch around underwater…

3 min.
homeowners’ association hath no fury

THE M4 SHERMAN TANK SQUARED OFF AGAINST THE NAZIS in Normandy seven decades ago. Now it faces off against a new foe: a Houston homeowners’ association. The trouble began when Tony Buzbee bought the functioning tank overseas for $600,000, shipped it to Houston, and parked it outside his multimillion dollar house in the River Oaks neighborhood. “Took a year to get here, but now it’s on River Oaks Boulevard,” Buzbee told television station KHOU. “This particular tank landed at Normandy. It liberated Paris and ultimately went all the way to Berlin. There’s a lot of history here.” But the Sherman tank is a piece of history the River Oaks Property Owners association could live without. In a letter, the group told Buzbee the tank “impedes traffic,” poses a “safety issue,” and raises “serious…

1 min.
poland seeks war reparations from germany

MORE THAN SEVEN DECADES after World War II, Polish officials are demanding that Germany pay an overdue bill for wartime damages. Polish foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski said in September that the claim could cost up to one trillion. “We are a victim of World War II, and the damage was not reimbursed in any way—just the opposite,” Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo said. Germany rejects the charge, noting that the Polish government (then in the grip of the Soviet Union) dropped demands for additional compensation in 1953. “This issue was therefore settled both legally and politically,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said, according to the news service Agence France-Presse. This past August, however, Poland started airing the demands to mark the 73rd anniversary of the August-October 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi…