Tuesday, September 30, 2008

With the Marines at Tarawa — Part 2

Today we present Part 2 of the film “With the Marines at Tarawa.”

Monday, September 29, 2008

With the Marines at Tarawa — Part 1

Today we present Part 1 of the famous film, “With the Marines at Tarawa.” The production was a 1944 short propaganda film directed by Louis Hayward. It uses authentic footage taken at the Battle of Tarawa in November 1943 to tell the story of the participating American servicemen, from the time they get the news that they are to participate in the invasion, to the final taking of the island and raising of the Stars and Stripes.

The film is in full color and uses no actors, making it a valuable historical document. The documentary showed more gruesome scenes of battle than other war films up to that time. President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself gave the approval to show the film to the public anyway against the wishes of military leaders. It gave the U.S. population on the homefront a more realistic view of the war — as far as showing dead Marines floating in the water, etc. — subject matter that was edited out of previous films and newsreels. The film won the 1945 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Berlin Gets a Sample of British Bombs

“The R.A.F. (Royal Air Force) paid frequent visits to Berlin, often staying for several hours over the city, which contained many military objectives. On September 10, 1940 the Germans admitted that hits were scored on the Reichstag and the garden at Joseph Goebbel’s home. Above, German Safety Service workers are putting out a fire started by British incendiary bombs; below, civilians are seen clearing away the debris after a night raid on Germany’s capitol.”

Source: Pictorial History of the Second World War

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Morning After a London Night Raid

“Although Germany’s daylight raiders met with little success in their attacks on London, those that came by night succeeded in causing considerable damage to property, besides killing and injuring many civilians. This view of the approach to London Bridge is a typical example of the scenes of devastation that greeted city workers on the way to their offices on the morning after a raid (September 1940).”

Source: Pictorial History of the Second World War

Thursday, September 25, 2008

All-Night Raid on Britain’s Capitol

“Herman Goering’s air force launched its first all-night raid on London, when on the night of August 26, 1940 small waves of Nazi bombers operated repeatedly over the London area from 9:30 p.m. to 3:45 a.m. Though bombs were dropped in residential districts over a wide area, the resulting damage was small and out of all proportion to the “nuisance value” of the attack, and the main purpose of the raid seemed to be to hold up war production by depriving workers of their sleep.”

Source: Pictorial History of the Second World War

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Berlin — 1936

While we will most often feature images from during the war itself, today we are presenting a short film about Berlin in the year 1936. This was the year of the Olympics in that city, which were awarded to Germany prior to the Third Reich coming to power. The movie is narrated in the original German, but seeing the city as it was before the war is worth watching, even if one cannot translate the language.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Child Victim of Nazi Raid on Amsterdam

“In spite of his oft-repeated declaration that he would never wage war against innocent women and children, Hitler sent his planes against many towns in France, Belgium, and Holland on the first day of his drive through the Low Countries. Amsterdam was one of the cities visited by the Nazi bombers and much damage was done to life and limb as well as to property. The picture above shows a grief-stricken father, himself wounded, gazing outside his home at the body of his young daughter.”

Source: Pictorial History of the Second World War

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fugitives from a New War

“After consolidating her gains in Poland, Russia — for strategic reasons — made certain territorial demands on Finland, and when these were refused, launched her army and air force against that small country. Bombs fell on Helsinki, the capitol, and other towns on the first day, and a stream of refugees fled across the frontier into Sweden. The pathetic picture above shows a sorrowing Finnish family taking a last look at their homeland before the train bears them into exile.”

Source: Pictorial History of the Second World War

Friday, September 19, 2008

U.S. Senate Repeals Embargo

“On October 27, 1939, after more than a month of fierce debate, the U.S. Senate voted for the repeal of the embargo on war materials that formed a part of America’s Neutrality Law. This meant that belligerent countries could purchase war materials from America only if they paid for them in cash and carried them in their own ships. In the photo above, President Franklin D. Roosevelt is seen urging repeal of the embargo in a message to a joint session of the Congress. The effect of repeal was to place American war production at the disposal of the Allies; the blockade precluded Germany from buying in America.”

Source: Pictorial History of the Second World War

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Munich Beer Hall Explosion

On November 8, 1939, Adolf Hitler unexpectedly decided to attend a meeting held in the Buergerbraukeller, a beer hall in Munich, Germany to celebrate the anniversary of the Nazi “putsch” of 1923. After making a violently anti-British speech, he left the building at 9:15 p.m. together with all the more important of the Nazi personalities who had accompanied him. Twenty minutes later, a bomb that had been concealed in one of the supporting pillars shattered the building, causing the ceiling to collapse on the assembly, which included many of Hitler’s earliest supporters. Nine people were killed, and more than sixty injured. The German authorities accused the British Secret Service of responsibility for the plot; large rewards were offered for information, and workmen who had prepared the hall and others were arrested; but whether this was a genuine attempt on The Fuehrer’s life, or just another “stunt” to increase his popularity, we may never know.

Victory Parade in Warsaw

“On October 5, 1939, Adolf Hitler flew to Warsaw, Poland to take the salute at the Grand Review of his victorious troops. The route was carefully chosen to avoid those parts of the city that had been devastated by aerial bombardment, and the streets were lined by Nazi troops to keep the crowds in check. This precaution, however, seemed unnecessary since Warsaw’s population stayed indoors, and the procession made its way through almost deserted streets, as can be seen above.”

Source: Pictorial History of the Second World War

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shambles in Warsaw

September 1939. “The horrors of modern aerial warfare are forcefully illustrated by this picture of a Warsaw boy squatting miserably among the wreckage of what was his home. Scenes such as this were common all over Poland where the Nazi air force rained death and destruction on countless open towns and brought untold misery and hardship to Poland’s civilian population. In spite of constant raids, however, and the indiscriminate damage they wrought, the morale of Poland’s civilians remained unshaken.”

Source: Pictorial History of the Second World War

Monday, September 15, 2008

“Britain is at War with Germany”

“Twenty One years of peace ends. In a broadcast to the world from No. 10 Downing Street at 11:15 a.m. Sunday September 2, 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said: ‘This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by eleven o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany… Now may God bless you all. May he defend the right. It is the evil things that we shall be fighting against — brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression, and persecution — and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.’ ”

Source: Pictorial History of the Second World War

Bougainville: 1944

In today’s post, “U.S. Army troops shielded by a tank secure an area on the island of Bougainville in the Solomons in March 1944, five months after the first U.S. landing. Australian troops took over much of this campaign; some Japanese troops held out, not surrendering until August 1945.”

Source: “Absolute Victory”

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Welcome to the Blog

Today marks the opening of our online museum of World War II photography. We call it “WWII Through the Lens” and hope that it will contribute to the memory of those who died and served in this momentous conflict of the Twentieth Century.

We start off our exhibit with what we consider to be one of the most iconic images of the war — the photo of the second flag-raising on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. It was taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal on Friday, February 23, 1945. This photo inspired millions back home at a time when the war was wearing thin on morale, and inspired war bond sales like never before.

It also inspired the recent book “Flags of Our Fathers,” written by James Bradley (the son of one of the flag-raisers) and the film adaptation, directed by Clint Eastwood.