Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II March/April 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

1 min.

JOSEPH CONNOR (“Let There Be Light”) is a Fairleigh Dickinson University graduate. After seven years as a reporter and editor in New Jersey, Connor worked as an assistant county prosecutor. He became interested in combat fatigue after reading veterans’ accounts of their service and their sometimesdifficult readjustment into civilian life. JIAXIN “JESSE” DU (“Pride Before the Fall”) is a freelance writer from Beijing currently residing in Seattle. His fascination with military history began at age six when his father introduced him to the film Saving Private Ryan. He has written for China’s NAAS & Inertial Technology and Weapon magazines, and American publications WWII History and Military History. He would like to thank Han Mengqi for her fantastic translation of Japanese resources, without which his story would not have been possible. JAMES M.…

6 min.
frozen frontier

Just finished reading the November/December 2016 issue and liked it all—especially Jessica Brown’s piece about the fortifications at Seward, Alaska (“Time Travel”). My father, George O. Perry, was a sergeant in the Army National Guard and his unit served with the coastal artillery force at Seward from 1941-43. I recall him saying they never fired a shot in anger but they did have a recon plane fly over one day in 1942—later presumed to have been Japanese But lack of enemy action did not mean a lack of casualties. Along with about half of his company, Dad contracted tuberculosis while wintering in Seward. He was shipped home for treatment in army medical facilities at Fort Lewis. By 1944, his TB was in remission and he was honorably discharged. He returned home, married,…

4 min.
a young man’s single-minded mission

THEY WERE ABOUT HIS AGE when they went to war in the hedgerows of France, the beaches at Tarawa, and the skies over the Ruhr Valley and Tokyo Bay. Now Rishi Sharma, a recent high school graduate, has made it his mission to collect their stories before it is too late. “Five hundred war veterans die every day, and with them go the stories of bloodshed and sacrifice,” he says. “What good is what they had to go through if we don’t learn from it?” Every day, the ponytailed 19-year-old son of Indian immigrants interviews at least one American combat veteran of the war; he has already reached 210. “I am doing this until the last one passes away,” he says. “Each interview helps me get closer to understanding what combat was…

2 min.
case of the vanishing ships

IN 2002, AMATEUR DIVERS FOUND the wreckage of Allied ships sunk by the Japanese off the coast of present-day Indonesia. But when another expedition returned to the site late last year, preparing to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Java Sea, they made a shocking discovery: most of the shipwrecks had suddenly vanished. British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter and destroyer HMS Encounter were almost completely gone, as was the wreck of an American submarine, the USS Perch. Also vanished were big chunks of the destroyer HMS Electra. The Dutch government reported that two Dutch ships had disappeared and a third was mostly gone. Suspicion immediately focused on scavengers who loot shipwrecks of valuable metal. The phosphor bronze in ship propellers can fetch some $3,000 a ton. “It’s like a…

1 min.
ask wwii

An American soldier examines the exposed engine of a V-2 rocket in one of Germany’s many underground factories. Q: By 1944, Germany was retreating on all fronts, and the Allies were bombing its cities, factories, and railroads almost daily. Yet the Germans’ war production of aircraft, rockets, tanks, and other equipment increased. From where did all the raw materials come? Was Germany self-sufficient in raw materials? Weren’t its ports blockaded? How did the country acquire enough material to increase its production? —Wes Chan, Westminster, Md. A: Although the Allied blockade did limit Germany’s access to some raw material, the Nazis supplemented domestic stocks with ore obtained from its allies or plundered from occupied countries. Additionally, they received imported material from neutral countries such as Portugal, Turkey, and Sweden—which supplied 4.5 million tons…

1 min.
bumpy road for vw history project

DID VOLKSWAGEN GET MORE historical truth than it bargained for? The question flared up amidst revelations that the German auto manufacturer’s historian, Manfred Grieger (above), had left the company after writing a searing review of Volkswagen subsidiary Audi’s wartime behavior. Although Grieger and Volkswagen did not explain the circumstances of his departure, they noted the decision to end his contract was mutual, the New York Times reported in November. The Times called Grieger’s critique “the apparent catalyst” for his split with Volkswagen. In 1996, Volkswagen had hired Grieger to cowrite a book describing the company’s use of coerced labor during World War II to produce weaponry for the Nazi regime at a factory in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen won praise for facing up to its history. However, in 2015, Grieger wrote a critical review…