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World War II

World War II October 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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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.

NICHOLAS REYNOLDS (“Hemingway’s War”) is a lifelong Hemingway and World War II aficionado. His recent study of Ernest Hemingway’s wartime relationships with Soviet and American intelligence, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy (2017), was an instant bestseller. Before becoming a fulltime writer, Reynolds held two of the best niche jobs in the U.S. government: officer in charge of field history for the Marine Corps and museum historian for the CIA. STEVEN TRENT SMITH (“A Call to Arms”) is an award-winning television photojournalist and the author of two books on sub warfare in the Pacific: Wolf Pack (2003) and The Rescue (2008). While researching the latter, about American missionaries who went into hiding rather than surrender to invading Japanese forces, he discovered the amazing story of the Cushing brothers. MARK D. VAN ELLS (“Travel”) is…

6 min.
unlovely, but loved

Your June 2018 article by Craig L. Symonds (“Unloved, Unlovely, Indispensable”) was a welcome read made more enjoyable with photos of LSTs launching. The lead wartime LST shipbuilder was Dravo Corporation. They operated west and east yards on Neville Island located just outside Pittsburgh and another yard in Wilmington, Delaware, which primarily built Landing Ships, Medium (LSMs) and destroyer escorts. Eight miles downriver from Neville’s shipyards stood the U.S. Steel Company’s American Bridge Company in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. A photo of their yard [above] appears on your contents page. A quarter of the more than 1,000 LSTs built during the war came from this area, close to the massive supply of steel the war demanded from the region’s furnaces. In tribute to the builders and particularly those who serviced the ships, the…

1 min.
from the editor

“Now came the most difficult of all leadership challenges in war,” German general Hermann Balck wrote of the fighting in 1945 Budapest—“ending it without bigger catastrophes.” When military leaders confront loss, how they react to it is a measure of their humanity rather than of their generalship or professionalism. Balck chose to save as many of his men as he could and find a dignified way out. Author David T. Zabecki, himself a retired U.S. Army major general, tells the story of Balck’s dilemma well in “No-Win Situation” (page 54). Balck’s aim of creating a foundation for Germany’s survival and long-term recovery stood him apart from some other generals. As Zabecki told me: “Many of the SS generals in particular believed with Hitler that if Germany didn’t win, then it…

2 min.
family’s hard work pays off with bomber’s discovery

SECOND LIEUTENANT THOMAS V. KELLY JR., newly 21, tried to sound optimistic in a letter he sent home from the South Pacific on February 1, 1944. “If we are lucky we might get home by next Christmas,” he wrote. Kelly didn’t make it. He was one of 11 men lost when the Japanese shot down the B-24 D-1 bomber Heaven Can Wait during a March 11, 1944, mission over Hansa Bay, off what is now Papua New Guinea. His body was never recovered. His grief-stricken family put up a tombstone in a Livermore, California, cemetery with an etching of the B-24 and the inscription, “In Loving Memory.” Five years ago, Kelly’s descendants began a campaign to locate the wreckage of Heaven Can Wait, named for a 1943 movie. The effort may have…

2 min.
open-and-shut case

A PROMINENT FRENCH RESEARCHER has some bad news for conspiracy theorists: “Hitler died in 1945,” forensic scientist Philippe Charlier told the news agency Agence France-Presse. “He did not flee to Argentina in a submarine. He is not in a hidden base in Antarctica or on the dark side of the moon.” Charlier and other researchers last year persuaded the Russians to let them examine the only remaining fragments of Adolf Hitler’s body: some skull and a jawbone containing mostly false teeth. They found the skull fragment “totally comparable” to x-ray images of Hitler’s head taken a year before his death. The dentures matched Hitler’s dental records and showed no meat fibers—consistent with his vegetarianism. The skull fragment had a hole likely caused by a bullet. Bluish deposits on his false teeth suggest…

1 min.
for sale: a massive piece of wartime history

GERMAN RAILWAY AUTHORITIES are selling a portion of the famed Remagen bridge, where Allied forces first crossed the Rhine River into Germany’s industrial heartland—a turning point in the final months of the war. But the property is definitely a fixer-upper. Two towers in the town of Erpel on the eastern end of the bridge—made famous in the 1969 movie The Bridge at Remagen—are up for sale to the highest bidder. The towers on the west side, in the town of Remagen, are already a museum. The span is officially named Ludendorff Bridge after German general Erich Ludendorff, a World War I hero famed for his victories against the Russians. “There are already several interested parties,” Jürgen Rothe, spokesman for the Federal Railway Property Fund, told the German news agency DPA. In a property…