Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II November - December 2014

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.

William H. Bartsch (“Victory Fever on the Tenaru”) recently completed his fourth book, Victory Fever on Guadalcanal, to be published in November by Texas A&M University Press. His previous books have also been devoted to the first year of the Pacific War, a subject that has impassioned him since childhood. Following three years in the Foreign Service, he went on to a 24-year career as a development economist with the International Labour Office in Geneva, Switzerland. Since retiring in 1992, he has focused on his lifetime interest, as detailed on his website, writingthepacificwar.com. Robert M. Citino (“First Blood on the Ghost Front”) teaches at the University of North Texas and is a visiting professor at the U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Army War College. “What happened in the opening days of…

3 min.
weider reader

MILITARY HISTORY Clash at Culloden When the Scottish clans and modern warfare collided, the course of British rule changed. On a frigid, wet day in April 1746, 5,000 soldiers waited on a windswept moor seven miles east of Inverness, Scotland. Besides muskets their kilted front-liners carried broadswords and dirks; 250 cavalrymen and a dozen small cannons backed them. For months the Scots had fought ferociously and successfully. Now, after a fruitless nightlong march, they stood hungry and exhausted, facing a disciplined, well-rested modern British army, larger and better organized, with superior artillery. The terrain favored the British strategy of leaving much of the killing to cannons. The Scots had their own favorite tactic: the Highland charge, a roaring flash of steel that had broken many an enemy rank. This technique had worked against the…

5 min.

Playing the Field I enjoyed the article in the last issue about the Allied track and field events in Germany in 1945 (“Let the Games Begin,” July/August 2014). I was in Germany when a league was set up for football teams from the divisions left there. The diversity of talent on those teams was unbelievable. Professionals; All Americans; players from the PAC-10, SEC, and other conferences; but there were also a number of former high school players playing alongside the more talented ones. My team had two PAC-10 players, our fullback had been a rookie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and our right tackle was first string with the Philadelphia Eagles. Beside him at right guard was a high schooler. I write this to you because today no one could believe such a…

1 min.
new rumble over my struggle

In 2016, German presses will again produce copies of Adolf Hitler’s bombastic manifesto Mein Kampf. Plans to publish the 1925 screed for the first time since the war have sparked heated debate in Germany. Some fear a Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”) revival that hands neo-Nazis a recruiting tool; others look forward to a healthy public debate about the Nazi years—or a collective yawn, as Hitler’s prose repels modern readers. Versions of the book already are available electronically and in print. Mein Kampf has long vexed authorities. Since the war, Bavaria’s government, which holds the copyright, has refused to grant permission for reprints in full of the 720-page rant. But as of January 1, 2016, the state’s copyright expires, thrusting the property into the public domain. To preempt ballyhoo by extremists, Bavaria paid…

1 min.
kohima conflict retrieved from shadows

The Allies achieved one of their hardest-won victories on an asphalt tennis court that disappeared from the historical radar. Only now is the Battle of Kohima getting its due. In June, Indian and British dignitaries visited Kohima, capital of the state of Nagaland, India, to hold ceremonies celebrating the outcome of a desperate fight in spring of 1944. The action pitted Japanese and British Commonwealth forces against one another at Kohima, on the India-Burma border. In March 1944, 15,000 Japanese troops crossed from Burma to invade India. At Kohima, the Imperial Army force met 1,500 British and Indian defenders. Furious fighting, often seesawing over the ruins of a tennis court built earlier in the colonial era, lasted from April 4 to June 22. Allied reinforcements finally tipped the scales, and the Japanese…

1 min.

In Medway, Kent, in southeast England, Harvey Cotton, 10, was exploring an old orchard on his school’s grounds when he found a World War II air raid shelter. Inside were old cartons of milk—and a light bulb that still worked. Louis Zamperini, Olympian, bombardier, POW, and subject of the bestseller Unbroken, died July 2 at 97. Zamperini finished eighth in the 1936 Olympics 5,000-meter race. In 1943, his plane crashed into the Pacific, leading to harrowing weeks on a raft and two years of captivity at the brutal hands of Japanese guards. Former Auschwitz guard Johann Breyer, 89, died July 22 in Philadelphia before American officials could deport him to Germany for trial. The retired toolmaker came to the United States in 1952. Arrested in June, he admitted being a guard at…