Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II July/August 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.

JOSEPH CONNOR (“A Grave Task”) is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and assistant county prosecutor in New Jersey. His story on the U.S. Army graves registration units was inspired by his interest in the forgotten men and women of World War II, especially those who served in the many noncombat roles necessary to support the armed forces. KENNY KEMP (“Imprisoned at Ground Zero”) is a retired attorney and the author of 14 books, including a popular collection of his father’s World War II memorabilia, Flying with the Flak Pak: A Pacific War Scrapbook (2013). His most recent book, Witchcraft: B-24 Liberator, is a celebration of the Collings Foundation’s Witchcraft, one of the world’s last flying Liberator bombers. This summer, Kemp is traveling as a docent and flight engineer with the Foundation’s…

9 min.
neverending nightmare

I just read Joseph Connor’s story on posttraumatic stress disorder, “Let There Be Light” (March/April 2017). An excellent job on a tough subject. I was a staff sergeant in the 99th Infantry Division in the ETO from November 3, 1944, to the end of the war. Our company’s captain would court-martial any man as a “coward” for breaking down. When I saw these men’s expressions, I would put them on detail for K-rations or ammo and tell the others to let them stay at battalion. Unfortunately, as stated in the article, the army gave those affected with PTSD one hot meal, dry clothing, one night in a bed, and returned them to combat as “cured.” These men did not last long, as they were not capable of being as alert as…

3 min.
deadly quest for glory

COMPETITION FOR ACCLAIM made the best German pilots better in World War II. But seeking recognition and praise tended to get mediocre fliers killed. So finds a new study from America’s National Bureau of Economic Research. Economists Philipp Ager of the University of Southern Denmark, Leonardo Bursztyn of the University of Chicago, and Hans-Joachim Voth of the University of Zurich pored over data from the Luftwaffe high command on the monthly “victory scores” of more than 5,000 wartime German pilots. The researchers concentrated on Germany to take advantage of the Luftwaffe’s meticulous records, along with a pair of respected databases of German fighter pilot performance. They wanted to see how the pilots responded when one of their former peers—someone who had previously flown in the same squadron—was singled out for praise for…

2 min.
homework assignment yields stunning find

THE FAMILY DISMISSED IT as an old man’s tall tale. Klaus Kristiansen’s grandfather claimed that he had seen a German plane crash into a bog on the family farm in Birkelse, on Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula; gramps said he had been helping to bake cookies at the time, November— maybe December—1944. Flash-forward to the present day: when Klaus’s 14-yearold son, Daniel, was casting about early this year for how to handle a homework assignment on World War II, Klaus jokingly suggested they look for the wreckage. The teenager proved enthusiastic. So out they went with a metal detector and rummaged around the property. The machine sounded and they began to dig, unearthing metal fragments. Intrigued, they borrowed a neighbor’s excavator and dug some more. The result “was like opening a book from yesterday,’’ Klaus Kristiansen told…

3 min.
tracking a lost crew

THEY’VE BEEN LISTED as missing for 73 years. But an independent researcher believes that many of the men lost when the destroyer USS Turner exploded and sank off New York harbor were buried as unknowns in the Long Island National Cemetery. Earlier this year, the Pentagon began investigating his findings. The mystery began on January 3, 1944, when a series of explosions ripped the destroyer in half, plunging it into the sea off Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Rescuers fished 150 crew members out of the frigid waters, but 136 were lost. Researcher Ted Darcy, a Marine veteran who investigates MIA cases, last year uncovered papers suggesting that at least four crewmen were among unidentified bodies buried at the cemetery. Darcy suspects a lot more of the missing men are, too. Commingling of…

8 min.
a more complete truth

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN, 47, is one of the most successful filmmakers in the industry. Known for such acclaimed films as The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar, Nolan most recently turned his sights to Operation Dynamo, the 1940 evacuation of beleaguered Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, France, in the face of rapid German advances across Europe. His film, Dunkirk, opens in theaters on July 21, 2017. There were many pivotal moments for British forces during the war. What drew you to the story of the Dunkirk evacuation? For British people, the story is a massive part of the culture; it’s in our bones. We refer to the “Dunkirk spirit,” the idea of community coming together to help things out. So it’s always been at the back of my head as a…