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World War II

World War II December 2018

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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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United States
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.

MARINA AMARAL (“Living Color”) is a digital colorist in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Her book The Color of Time: A New History of the World, 1850–1960—a collaboration with British historian Dan Jones—goes on sale in the U.S. in December. In 2016, her transformation of a young Auschwitz victim’s registration photos (see pages 50–51) went viral on social media, bringing her international acclaim and spurring her interest in making history more relatable through color. “I will never forget her face,” Amaral says of the girl, Czesława Kwoka, 14. “I see so much pain and so much courage in her eyes.” JOSEPH CONNOR (“A Capital Whodunit”) is a former newspaper reporter and editor in New Jersey. As a journalist, he has always been intrigued by the tension between the government’s need for secrecy and…

8 min.
tanks for the memories

I JUST READ THE ARTICLE “Hitler’s Monster Tanks,” in your August 2018 issue. A great story, and it solved a few mysteries for me! While serving in the Canadian 27th Armoured Regiment (known as the Sherbrooke Fusiliers), my father, J. Franklin Chapman, was in Essen, Germany, at the end of the war. He and his regiment toured the Krupp factory and took a few photos. The Maus hull in your photos matches the one in my father’s photo (above). I always suspected it was a Maus, but now it is confirmed. G. BRUCE CHAPMAN ONTARIO, CAN. I am a relative newcomer to your magazine, and I just picked up the August 2018 issue with the “Hitler’s Monster Tanks” story. Fantastic! I have known about these aptly named monsters for a couple of years, but this…

2 min.
twin sailors killed in 1944 reunited

A CURIOUS TEENAGER has helped bring together fallen American twins seven decades after they died off the Normandy coast. Julius “Henry” Pieper was buried next to his brother, Ludwig “Louie” Pieper, in the Normandy American Cemetery on June 19, 74 years to the day after the 19-year-old twins were killed in a landing craft that hit a German mine. The reunion was set in motion by Vanessa Taylor of Ainsworth, Nebraska. As a high school sophomore in 2015, Taylor and teacher Nichole Flynn went looking for a “silent hero” from their state as part of National History Day. “I just happened to notice there were two people killed who had the same exact last name,” Taylor, now a student at the University of Nebraska in Kearney, told National Public Radio. “So I thought…

2 min.
recovered b-17 crewmen laid to rest together

JOHN LIEKHUS WANTED TO FLY planes and fight Germans. He gulped down carrot juice to gain an edge for an Army Air Corps eye exam. As an “essential war worker” at a Douglas Aircraft plant in Long Beach, California, he could have escaped combat; instead, he talked his bosses into letting him enlist. That is how Liekhus wound up piloting the B-17 Bomber Dear as a 29-year-old first lieutenant when it was hit by flak, attacked by German fighters, and engulfed in flames during a November 2, 1944, raid on Merseburg, Germany. For decades, he was listed among the tens of thousands of Americans missing in the war. But on June 27—after three years of forensic work by military investigators—he was brought home and buried with full military honors alongside four of his…

2 min.
blasted-away ship stern discovered in aleutians

THE SHIP WAS SAVED. But its 75-foot stern sank in the pitch-black, fog-shrouded waters off the Aleutians, lost along with 70 men. Nearly 75 years later, scientists from the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Delaware, working in a partnership called Project Recover, found the missing stern from the destroyer USS Abner Read on July 17. It was in 290 feet of water off Kiska, an Aleutian island seized by Japan in 1942 in an often-overlooked World War II campaign. The Abner Read, named for a northern Civil War naval hero, was on patrol near Kiska at about 1:50 a.m., August 18, 1943, when it was rocked by an explosion, probably after hitting a Japanese mine. The blast ripped a hole in the stern. Staggering…

2 min.
newly minted officer at age 98

IT TOOK 76 YEARS, but Second Lieutenant John E. James Jr. finally got a salute. James received his commission as an officer in a June 29 ceremony at age 98, more than three quarters of a century after the army denied it to him because of the color of his skin. James completed officer training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1942, one of 21 black graduates in a class of 200. He expected to be promoted the day after the graduation ceremony, but a white officer took him aside and told him that he wouldn’t be getting his bars after all. While the other 20 graduating officers got assigned to all-black units, James’s commission would have put him above several white men in his new battalion, and the wartime army just wouldn’t allow…