Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II November/December 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(“Hard Luck Island”) is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and assistant county prosecutor in New Jersey. His story on the Battle of Wake Island stems from a fascination with the first battles of the Pacific War and the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who fought the Japanese while outnumbered, undersupplied, and cut off from any help. CARLO D’ESTE (“To Save a Nation”) is a retired army officer who has written seven books of military history and biography, including Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874–1945 (2008). He is the cofounder of the William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium, held annually at Norwich University. In 2011 D’Este received the Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. He became drawn to Raoul Wallenberg’s story…

6 min.
close call in cali

Your story on Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt (“Fear Itself,” August 2017) gives only passing mention of the Japanese sub attack on the mainland, but for those of us nearby it was strikingly important, and I remember it quite clearly 75 years later. My father was a lemon grower on a ranch near the town of Goleta, California. We were listening to the radio when suddenly there was a report that our area was under assault by the Japanese. We retreated to our blacked-out room and next heard that the city’s Ellwood Oilfield was being shelled by a Japanese submarine. Our ranch foreman was on lookout duty that night, not far from Ellwood. He saw the Japanese submarine emerge from shallow water and begin firing at the oilfield. Immediately he telephoned the…

4 min.
a glimmer of hope for unwitting victims of mustard gas tests

As American troops trained to survive poison gas attacks in combat (top), the military ran secret chemical warfare experiments on 60,000 soldiers. Nearly 4,000 of them, like the ill-protected men entering a chamber (above), underwent “extreme” tests in which they were exposed to mustard gas agents; the army then studied their effects. THEY WERE LIED TO, exposed to mustard gas, and told to keep silent or face court-martial and imprisonment. Most were never compensated for their suffering. Congress finally passed legislation in August that will make it easier for World War II veterans to seek recompense for the ordeal of being subjected to their own government’s chemical tests. The law came two years after National Public Radio reported that the Veterans Administration (VA) had not lived up to its promise to “do…

2 min.
soviet mass grave discovered near berlin

AUTHORITIES IN SEELOW, a town of about 5,500 near Brandenburg in eastern Germany, just wanted to build a bicycle path. Instead, they found a mass grave. While looking for unexploded ordnance along the proposed trail in May, a local team dug up the remains of as many as 28 Soviet troops. The men had fallen in April 1945 during the bloody Battle of Seelow Heights, about 45 miles east of Berlin. Authorities took the bodies to the Russian war cemetery in nearby Lebus for identification. They are expected to be reburied with full honors next year, Yevgeny Aleshin, Russian war graves attaché, told the New York Times. Human remains often turn up in the area, which was a scene of fierce fighting as a million Soviet and Polish troops closed in on Berlin.…

2 min.
flying tiger returns home

MORE THAN A DECADE AGO, Lynn Evans and Karen Beauprie began searching for the remains of their uncle, the first Flying Tiger to die in World War II. Lieutenant John Dean Armstrong left the U.S. Navy to join the American Volunteer Group, better known as the Flying Tigers, to help China fend off Japanese invaders before Pearl Harbor brought the United States into the war. He died on September 8, 1941, when his Curtiss P-40 fighter collided with another aircraft. Armstrong had been buried at a church in Taungoo, Burma (now Myanmar), so Evans and Beauprie enlisted a local tour guide and a Canadian graduate student to scour the area for his grave. Turns out, they were 6,700 miles off. Thanks to help from Kenneth Tilley, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and MIA…

3 min.
unexploded wwii ordnance washes up off north carolina

THE ISLAND IS NEW—but the threat came out of the past. On July 14, a barnaclecovered World War II bomb washed onto Shelly Island, which itself emerged this spring from the waters just off North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras. Dare county officials quickly evacuated the new mile-long island, which had become a favorite of tourists collecting seashells, and called in a navy bomb disposal crew from nearby Norfolk, Virginia, to get rid of the explosive. But the threat wasn’t over. The ordnance unit was summoned back four days later when a wartime M38A practice bomb ran aground 12 miles south of Shelly Island. The sudden appearance of two unexploded World War II munitions on the North Carolina beaches caught authorities by surprise. “We haven’t had these in the past,” Boone Vandzura, chief ranger at…