Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II November - December 2016

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.

JESSICA WAMBACH BROWN (“Time Travel”) is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism and holds a master’s degree in diplomacy and military studies from Hawaii Pacific University. After a friend told her of the World War II relics scattered around her hometown of Seward, Alaska, Brown traveled from her native Carnation, Washington, to the 49th state to kayak the calm waters of Resurrection Bay and explore the forts that once protected a vital supply route. DANIEL B. MOSKOWITZ (“In a Tight Spot”) is an award-winning veteran journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, BusinessWeek, American History, and many other publications. He currently teaches courses on Broadway musicals and American popular songs in the adult education program of American University. DAVID SEARS (“Death and…

6 min.
moral hang-ups

Iread with great interest your story on Master Sergeant John C. Woods (“A Hanging Offense,” July/August 2016). My neighbor, Professor Albert Steer, was the head interpreter-translator at the Nuremberg trials and told me of the executions. I also visited the courtroom where the trials took place and had an extensive conversation with the guide. Your article is essentially correct. It was Woods who decided to use the short drop rather than the long drop method of hanging. The long drop ensures a quick method of death with the breaking of the neck, but it could entail decapitation with the weight of the body snapping the head off. The short drop is more akin to suffocation, as the condemned person hangs and slowly gasps for air. Woods opted for the short…

2 min.
clues about famous tragedy emerge from unlikely source

WWII TODAY REPORTED AND WRITTEN BY PAUL WISEMAN WHERE IS THE WRECK OF THE USS INDIANAPOLIS, sunk by a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1945? For decades, the answer has confounded historians. But a crucial clue has turned up in a most unlikely place: the website of a family-owned Michigan fudge shop. The fate of the Indianapolis is one of World War II’s most intriguing stories: After delivering atomic bomb parts to Tinian Island in the Northern Marianas in July 1945, the heavy cruiser sailed for Leyte in the Philippines. While en route, the Indianapolis was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-58 and sank within 12 minutes. About 800 of 1,200 crewmembers survived the attack—but as the survivors awaited rescue for three days, 500 of them died from exposure and shark attacks. For Memorial…

1 min.
german pensions for belgian nazi collaborators?

HUNDREDS OF BELGIANS WHO COLLABORATED with the Nazi occupiers may be receiving pensions from the German government—and Holocaust survivors want those payments stopped. Belgians served in the German army and the Waffen SS (a recruitment poster is above)—for which they received German citizenship. Some Belgians helped the Nazis detain Jews and resistance fighters and send them to concentration camps. After the Allies liberated Belgium in 1945, courts convicted 57,000 Belgian collaborators. Belgium’s Memorial Group, which includes death camp survivors, says as many as 2,500 Belgian collaborators receive pensions from Germany. The group, which keeps alive the memory of the wartime occupation, wants Germany and Belgium to set up a joint commission to investigate. “It’s sad,’’ Memorial Group President Pieter Paul Baeten told Belgian broadcaster RTBF. “Belgium can’t get hold of the information…

2 min.
the innocence of donald duck

A RUSSIAN COURT HAS DECLARED Donald Duck not guilty of harboring Nazi sympathies. The highest court in Kamchatka, in Russia’s Far East, overturned a 2010 decision that banned a 1943 Disney propaganda short film for containing extremist material. In the eight-minute film, Der Fuehrer’s Face, which won an Academy Award, Donald is dragooned into working for the Nazi war machine and is shown laboring incompetently inside a munitions plant. Nazis are depicted as goose-stepping, sieg-heiling buffoons. In the end, the experience is revealed to be a dream, with a relieved Donald awaking dressed in red, white, and blue pajamas. But the Russian courts originally missed the joke. When a local resident uploaded the film to the internet, the courts imposed on him a six-month suspended sentence for inciting “hatred and enmity.’’ The second…

2 min.
two wrongs make a profit

AFTER 1945, the Bavarian government sold hundreds of pieces of artwork looted by the Nazis back to the Nazis who stole them—at bargain prices. That bombshell, reported in June by the Munich newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, quickly generated outrage in the art world. The sales were uncovered after Virginia lawyer John Graykowski went looking for 160 pieces of art lost when his great-grandparents, Gottlieb and Mathilde Kraus, abandoned their Vienna penthouse during the war; the Gestapo seized the art in 1941. Graykowski sought help in 2009 from the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, a Londonbased nonprofit, which made startling findings. Among them: Adolf Hitler’s private secretary, Henriette von Schirach, persuaded the Bavarian government to return to her a seventeenth-century landscape stolen from the Kraus’s prewar collection. “They stole from my family,’’ Graykowski…