The picture is a rare glimpse of the bomb’s immediate aftermath, showing the distinct two-tiered cloud as it was seen from Kaitaichi, part of present-day Kaita, six miles east of Hiroshima’s center. […]
The person who took this photo would have been among the first to look out there and realize that this wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill bomb. It wasn’t the air raid that the citizens of Hiroshima had been anticipating for months. This was the beginning of a new world.
Read more. [Image: Honkawa Elementary School]
“It is a bit like painting with history,” Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse says of her project “Ghosts of History.”
She got the idea a few years ago when she found some old negatives at a flea market in Amsterdam, where she lives. “I was very curious about these mysterious photos and wanted to find out who took them and where. So I started to walk around Amsterdam and made photos in the same spot where the old photos were made and combined them on the computer.”
See more. [Images: Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse, Unknown, Tom Timmermans]
Antoni Dobrowolski, a former Polish teacher arrested by the Gestapo in 1942 for teaching underground lessons to students, died on Sunday at the age of 108, according to a Polish official speaking with the Associated Press. He was the oldest known survivor of Germany’s largest death camp.
He was probably too busy as a U.S. Army captain to bother finding anything to rhyme with “malaria,” but the good Theodor Geisel did take the time to personify the Anopheles mosquito as a vixen named Ann out to tempt unwary soldiers into an undignified death. In his typical whimsical style, adjusted to a slightly older audience, he warned young G.I.s to keep their pants (and the rest of their clothes) on: “If you go running around as a strip teaser, you haven’t got a chance.”
See more. [Images: USDA]
The blog Retronaut has unearthed a booklet, created by RCA in the 1940s, intended to inform male bosses about the best ways to supervise their new employees as World War II brought females into factories, often for the first time. […]
What’s remarkable about this is that none of the qualities highlighted or advice dispelled in the booklet is actually specific to women. “Tell them what they’re supposed to do” and “tell them when they’ve done good work” and “make sure they know where the bathroom is” are not nuggets of wisdom that are in any way particular to women. They’re just, you know, what any boss should probably be doing for any employee.
Read more. [Images: National Archives]
By the time Franco consolidated his control of a unified Spain, Juan Pujol knew how to lie. He knew how to hide. He knew how to flee and connive and take measure of the men he encountered. He saw firsthand the cruelties of both the communists and the fascists. He had faced death and survived. In other words, he realized there was more to him than he thought possible. And when a conflict more terrible than civil war began to brew, the former deserter felt the call for service. In his own words when reflecting on Hitler: “I had the idea that this man was a demon, a man who could completely destroy humanity.” The only question was how the poultry salesman might best serve the effort. As it turned out, the very skills that kept him out of one war would make him a decisive force in another.
He became a spy. Not in the submit-a-résumé-and-wait kind of way, but rather, he simply decided that he was a spy and that was that.
Read more. [Image: The U.S. Army/Flickr]
Starting in 1942, the U.S. government began quietly acquiring more than 60,000 acres in Eastern Tennessee for the Manhattan Project — the secret World War II program that developed the atomic bomb. The result was a secret town named Oak Ridge that housed tens of thousands of workers and their families. Workers were sworn to secrecy and only informed of the specific tasks they needed to perform. Most were unaware of the exact nature of their final product until the nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945. Photographer Ed Westcott, the only authorized photographer on the facility, took many photos of Oak Ridge during the war years and afterwards, capturing construction, scientific experiments, military maneuvers, and everyday life.
Read more. [Images: Ed Westcott/DOE]
Today in 1940, Winston Churchill gave his famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech after the British army evacuated from Dunkirk. Listen above (jump to 8:50 for the memorable part), then read these fascinating accounts of Churchill’s life:
- “The Medals of His Defeats,” April 2002: Christopher Hitchens takes down the Great Man a peg or two, but still finds Churchill to be a great.
- “Churchill at the White House,” March 1965: Eleanor Roosevelt recounts the Prime Minister’s visits to the United States.
- “The Lion’s Heart,” March 1965: Lady Diana Cooper on Churchill’s marriage.
In 1932, Hitler had not yet taken power in Germany. But he was close.
What would happen to Germany if the Nazis were to rule? That was a question that had a surprisingly easy answer. In the March issue of The Atlantic, Nicolas Fairweather wrote “Hitler and Hitlerism: A Man of Destiny.” In it, he analyzed Hitler and his philosophy, as derived from a reading of Mein Kampf, “to foreshadow, from [Hitler’s] own statements, some of the things he would like to accomplish.” Journalists, at times, can be horrible predictors of the future. But in this case, Fairweather’s assessment was a sound alarm. He summarizes Hitler in 10 points:Read more. [Image: AP]
1. His violent racial nationalism, which springs from his conviction that the Aryan stocks in general, and the Germans in particular, are a chosen people in whose victorious survival the divine purposes are bound up.
2. His violent animosity to Marxian Socialism as in essence opposed to his ideal of a nationally minded people and a racial state. …
3. His violent hatred of the Jews as the racial enemies of all Aryans, the subtle corrupters of pure Aryan states. These parasites, says Hitler, have made Marxian Socialism, which they invented, the principal tool by which they insinuate themselves into healthy, pure blooded, racial states in order to debase simultaneously the national ideals and the national blood. Destroyers of Aryan civilizations, they remain impotent to create a civilization of their own.
Few figures in the history of technology provoke a reaction as quickly as Wernher von Braun. The rocket scientist was a card-carrying Nazi who built the world’s first ballistic missile with slave labor from concentration camps. As the war wound down, he surrendered to the Americans and took his rocket-building team and talents to the United States. Eventually, he became a leader in the American space program, building the rocket (the Saturn V) that carried Apollo 11 to the moon. Today would have been his 100th birthday. He died in 1977.
Roger Launius, a senior curator in the Space History Division of the National Air and Space Museum, wrote a nuanced evaluation of the man’s life.
Wernher von Braun was a stunningly successful advocate for space exploration and has appropriately been celebrated for those efforts. But because he was also willing to build a ballistic missile for Hitler’s Germany, with all of connotations that implied in the devastation and terror of World War II, many of his ideals have also been appropriately questioned. For some he was a visionary who foresaw the potential of human spaceflight, but for others he was little more than an arms merchant who developed brutal weapons of mass destruction. In reality, he seems to have been something of both.