Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II May/June 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 (“Storm the Coliseum) is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and assistant county prosecutor in New Jersey. His story on the over-the-top 1944 pep rally in the Los Angeles Coliseum stems from his long-time fascination with the logistics of the full mobilization that came with World War II and the people who made that mobilization possible. SUKUMAR P. DESAI (“The Guinea Pig Club”) teaches anesthesia at Harvard Medical School—Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. His interest in history was piqued by a visit to the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital, the site of the first successful public demonstration of ether anesthesia. GAVIN MORTIMER (“Baptism of Fire at Litani River”) is a British historian and author who lives in Paris. Mortimer has interviewed more than 150 special forces veterans for his…

5 min.
welcome party

I enjoyed Joseph Connor’s “Shore Party” (January/February 2017) on General Douglas MacArthur’s October 20, 1944, performance on Leyte’s Red Beach. At the time, my ship, the USS Hidatsa, was down the beach off the Dulag area, furnishing cover fire against the Japanese Betty bombers. In MacArthur’s January 9, 1945, performance at Lingayen Gulf, we were only there long enough to get straddled by a couple of bombs that made the hull of the Hidatsa ring like a bell In August 1945, most of our aircraft carriers were off the coast of Japan, bombing military targets in preparation for the scheduled November Kyushu landings. After the Japanese surrender, the bombing was suspended and all our carriers had to do was maintain security patrols over the fleet. When the navy heard that MacArthur…

4 min.
purple heart investigator

THEY TURN UP AT FLEA MARKETS, antique shops, and more surprising places—Purple Hearts and other medals presented to combat veterans, to the wounded, and the fallen. Zachariah Fike, 36, wants to make sure the medals get back to where they belong: with the families of the men who received them in World War II and other conflicts. Since 2009, Fike, a major in the Vermont Army National Guard, has been collecting Purple Hearts and other lost or stolen medals and returning them—at no cost—to the families of the original recipients. In 2012, Fike started the nonprofit Purple Hearts Reunited ( www.purpleheartsreunited.org) and, for his efforts, was named the 2016 Army Times Soldier of the Year. Fike knows Purple Hearts—he received one after being wounded in a rocket attack in Afghanistan on September 11,…

4 min.
vladimir putin

WITH THIS ISSUE, World War II says goodbye to its “Reading List” feature, which has run for the past eight years. For our sendoff, we decided to revisit our most surprising entry. Russian President Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s prime minister, originally contributed to our March/April 2011 issue, with a requirement that his piece run uncut and unedited. The list—which includes praise for a World War II article about the truck drivers who crossed frozen Lake Ladoga to deliver food to the besieged citizens of Leningrad, Putin’s birthplace (now Saint Petersburg)—follows. Dear Friends, I am glad to describe some of the books about World War II that are especially meaningful to me—all the more so since I learned about the great research and educational work that World War II is doing. I would like…

1 min.
museum fights efforts to simplify poland’s war story

HISTORIANS ARE BATTLING Poland’s populist government over an unconventional museum. The independent $110-million Museum of the Second World War, an angular glass tower warehousing 37,000 objects in 65,000 square feet, was supposed to open earlier this year in Gdansk. But a legal dispute with Poland’s governing Law and Justice Party delayed its debut. Under director Pawel Machcewicz, the Museum of the Second World War intended to take a broad look at the war, highlighting the suffering of ordinary people around the globe, including the German program to starve to death three million Soviet prisoners of war. But Poland’s nationalist governing party, which views history as a tool to promote patriotism and loyalty to the state, wants the Museum of the Second World War to focus only on the Polish experience and merge with…

1 min.
d-day veteran

A tattered flag taken from an American landing craft on D-Day fetched $75,000 at an auction in January. Assigned to deliver tanks to Utah Beach during the Normandy invasion, LCT-595 came under heavy machinegun fire. Commanders allowed Boatswain George Rudisill to keep the bullet-riddled 48-star flag after they ordered him to replace it with a new one. After the war, Rudisill, who died in 2013, kept the flag in a shoebox. Milestone Auctions of Willoughby, Ohio, sold the flag to an undisclosed buyer. DISPATCHES After 14 straight losses to Annapolis’s Midshipmen, West Point’s Army football team tried something different in December for their annual Army-Navy rivalry game: they donned uniforms designed to honor those worn during World War II by the 82nd Airborne Division, which fought in Sicily, Italy, France, Holland, and…