Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II May - June 2015

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.

Robert M. Citino (“Death in the West”) teaches at the University of North Texas and is a visiting professor at the U.S. Army War College. He writes frequently for World War II magazine. “If General Patton was right in saying that Americans love a winner,” Citino notes, “then they should learn more about the Battle of the Ruhr—the greatest victory in the history of the U.S. Army.” Richard J. Evans (“Think Again”) is Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University. Knighted in 2012 for his services to scholarship, Evans has lectured worldwide. He has written more than 20 books about World War II since the 1970s; his most recent titles include The Third Reich trilogy, Lying about Hitler: History, Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial, and 2015’s The Third Reich in…

3 min.
historynet reader

MILITARY HISTORY Big Bark In 1918 German superguns rewrote the rules of warfare. The blast that rocked northeast Paris the morning of March 23, 1918, mystified inhabitants of the French capital. No one saw German aircraft, and the nearest enemy troops were 60 miles north. No one knew of an artillery piece able to fire a projectile even half that distance. Onlookers at first guessed an airship had dropped a bomb—until they saw or heard a second and then a third blast. Through that Saturday shell-shocked Parisians counted 21 hits. Ordnance experts knew within hours that eight-inch rounds were doing the damage. But where were they coming from? Some said Boche artillerymen had inveigled a field piece inside French lines, covertly installing it in the forests outside Paris. Within a day, however, analysis…

5 min.

Buying Time for Britain I’m glad to see from Robert M. Citino’s article (“Sympathy for the Neville,” January/February 2015) that I’m not the only one who appreciates Neville Chamberlain’s “appeasement” at Munich in September 1938; that was the only action he could have taken. When he spoke of “peace for our time” he was aware that RAF Fighter Command was composed mainly of biplanes like the Hawker Hart and Gloster Gladiator, slower than German bombers. The first Spitfire was only delivered to the RAF in June of that year, and just two Hurricane squadrons had been formed by September. German frontline strength was around 2,500 aircraft. The Chain Home radar system and integrated fighter control that would be vital in 1940 were not yet fully operational. Had Britain declared war in 1938, the…

5 min.
wwii today

Hitler-Era Resort Undergoes Revival It was to be Hilton Head for the Reich’s worker bees. Adolf Hitler dreamed of resorts where Germany’s proletariat could vacation inexpensively. His Strength Through Joy program, meant to bond Germans to the Nazi Party line, would build the pleasure domes. Of the five resorts planned, only one was started—Prora, set on a picturesque stretch of Baltic beach on Germany’s Rügen island—but it fell by the wayside when Germany went to war. Now, more than 75 years after the Führer had to abandon his plans, developers are reviving the resort— and stirring controversy. Prora began with a design competition overseen by top Nazi planner Albert Speer. The design called for a 20,000-capacity complex incorporating a huge swimming pool, theaters, dining halls, and recreational centers with pool tables and bowling…

3 min.
the reading list

Neglected for years by Americans in favor of Normandy, the Bulge, and the victorious march into Germany, the Eastern Front lately has seen a surge of interest as the pivot of World War II. “If nothing else, the sheer numbers, the size and sweep of the battles, the enormity of the suffering, and the clash of ideologies have forced recognition of this conflict’s importance,” says historian Stephen Fritz, author of the award-winning Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East. Thunder in the East The Nazi-Soviet War 1941–1945 Evan Mawdsley (2007) “Mawdsley provides a balanced, comprehensive, and well-researched history of the war between the Germans and the Soviets from the perspective of a historian of the Soviet Union.” Barbarossa The Russian-German Conflict, 1941–1945 Alan Clark (1965) “Controversial in its day as one of the first English-language histories of…

1 min.
aryan beef found too bullish to bother with

Besides a race of Aryan supermen, Nazis wanted super cows, too. In the 1920s, German zoologists Heinz and Lutz Heck sought to resurrect the auroch, a wild species the Teutons mentioned in their legends. Cross-breeding domestic cattle, the brothers Heck arrived at what Modern Farmer called “a reasonable facsimile” of the ancient genetic line. Nazi leaders prized the shaggy, long-horned beasts as meaty examples of German might and scientific acumen. The strain of modernist pseudo-auroch survived the Third Reich, and in 2009 British farmer Derek Gow imported a few to raise on his Devon farm—not commercially, but to study and photograph. The beasts proved hard to manage: many of the big ruminants “would just attack you any chance they could,” Gow explained. “They would try to kill anyone.” After tolerating several years…