Tag World War II

The Meetings of Mussolini and Hitler

Christian Goeschel— The meetings between Mussolini and Hitler were robust projections of an aggressive challenge to the Wilsonian post-war order. The Fascist and Nazi regimes defied lurking tensions to promote a powerful image of unity, a unity symbolised by the dictatorial friends meeting amidst their peoples – in marked contrast

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Sinking the SS Athenia

Evan Mawdsley— The SS Athenia was a substantial vessel, but not one of the great liners; a passenger ship of some 13,500 tons, with accommodation for 1,000 passengers, her speed was 15 knots: the white stripe on her single thin black funnel marked her as one of the ships of

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Fake News, Then and Now

Tracy Campbell— In his first fireside chat after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt urged Americans “to reject all rumors,” noting that “these ugly little hints of complete disaster fly thick and fast in wartime.” By summer 1942, FDR knew that executive admonishments had failed to curb the avalanche of false information

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The Brave Silence of Harry Rée

Jonathan Rée— Back in May 2016 I was sitting in the garden of my little cottage outside Oxford when I got an email from someone whose name I didn’t know and a place I hadn’t heard of. He explained that he was a French soldier called Jean-Luc Fleutot, and he

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Art in Nazi Germany

Michael H. Kater— One morning late in October 1938 the Viennese poet Josef Weinheber rose from among 250 of his compatriots assembled in the landmark Elephant hotel in Weimar. Fortified by two bottles of wine he stepped up to the lectern at the front of the hall and gave what

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Hitler on History

Stephen G. Fritz— Life is normally characterized by irony, paradox, ambiguity, and ambivalence, but Adolf Hitler saw it with a startling (and frightening) clarity. Beginning early in his career as an orator and political rabble-rouser, he habitually used history as an explanation and justification for his actions. He had, indeed,

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Changing the Guard at Sea

Evan Mawdsley— For seventy-five years the United States has possessed what is, by a very considerable margin, the most powerful navy in the world. It has been an agent of global influence, in times of both war and peace. The US Navy replaced the British Royal Navy, which had held

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Bugging the Nazis in World War II

Helen Fry— In 1939 British intelligence took over Trent Park in North London, the former country house of the aristocrat Sir Philip Sassoon. The house was “wired for sound,” and a hidden workforce of men and women moved in. This was one of three secret sites where German prisoners, and

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A Time to Write and a Time to Resist

David G. Roskies— Writing, we are told, is a form of resistance. The act of writing is an assertion of one’s selfhood, one’s right to live, think and feel in the face of all that negates it. But writing can just as easily be an escape from reality, an exercise

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Hitler and Moscow, 1941: A Counter-Factual Speculation

Stephen G. Fritz— It is mid-September 1941. The unpredictable late summer weather in Russia has turned in Germany’s favor, as has the military situation. In late August, with the nightmarish and costly fighting near Smolensk finally concluded, Adolf Hitler has ordered German armored forces turned to the south where, in

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