Tag: World War II
(Today’s post is from Jim Worsham, editor of Prologue magazine, the quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration, and is based on a longer article in the Summer 2015 issue.)
President Harry S. Truman watched the clock closely, wanting to abide by the agreement to make the historic announcement at the same time as our Allies in London and Moscow.
At exactly 7 p.m. Eastern War Time on August 14, 1945, Truman revealed Japan’s response to the Allied demand for unconditional surrender.
The announcement the world was waiting for came just a few days after atomic bombs fell on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the opening shots in the nuclear era.
The emperor of Japan, the statement read, had agreed to unconditional surrender to the Allies. The President then appointed Gen. Douglas MacArthur supreme commander in Japan and the Pacific and who would officially accept Japan’s surrender September 2, 1945.
The euphoria that erupted May 8 when Truman announced the Germans … [ Read all ]
A little after 11 p.m., Gertrude Junge, the 25-year-old secretary to Adolf Hitler, woke from a one-hour nap, and, thinking it was time for the nightly tea with her boss, headed for his study.
“Have you had a nice little rest, child,” her boss asked her as he shook her hand. “Yes, I have slept a little,” she replied.
Getting any sleep in Hitler’s bunker, deep underground in Berlin, might have been difficult that night in April 1945.
Russian troops were only about 1,000 yards away, and the war was all but lost by then. The head of Hitler’s dreaded SS, Heinrich Himmler, was already negotiating with the Western Allies. The Third Reich was almost over.
But the dictator had something else on his mind at tea time.
“Come along,” he said to Junge, “I want to dictate something.”
They went into the conference room next to Hitler’s quarters, and Junge began to uncover the typewriter she usually used to take down his dictation.
Not this time, however, as Greg Bradsher recounts … [ Read all ]
Today’s post comes from Ashley Mattingly, an archivist at the National Archives in St. Louis.
The year was 1943, and Elizabeth “Betty” Maxine Chambers was a young mother and a widow. Betty’s husband, Army pilot Lt. Robert William Chambers, had died in 1942 when his P-38F Lightening aircraft crashed at Mills Field in San Mateo, California. Undaunted, Betty applied to be among the first female pilots in the newly formed Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program.
A native of Hollywood, California, Betty worked for the Walt Disney Company inking cartoon celluloid cells and for Universal Studios inking cells for “picture process work.” After the death of her husband, Betty and her baby moved in with her parents; she also acquired a more stable job as a telephone operator at Southern California Telephone Company.
Betty wanted more. Like more than 1,000 other women, she took to the skies to find it.
Betty and her comrades applied to an innovative civilian program designed to employ women to ferry wartime aircraft, serve as flight instructors, tow targets for live antiaircraft practice, transport cargo, and fly experimental aircraft. These female pilots relieved men from domestic duties so they could fight overseas in the war.
The WASP program … [ Read all ]
Today’s post is from Lee Lacy, an Assistant Professor at the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
When Harry S. Truman was told on April 12, 1945, by Eleanor Roosevelt that her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was dead, Truman reacted true to form.
He asked if there was anything he could do. Her famous reply: “Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now.”
Trouble indeed. Truman would soon learn just how much FDR did not tell him about the status of the war effort.
Moments after Truman’s hastily-called swearing in ceremony, Secretary of War Henry Stimson lingered to speak with him about an “immense project.” Stimson briefly told Truman about the Manhattan Project, but Truman deferred an in-depth discussion to a later date.
The nation was in shock over the death of FDR, the only President many Americans had ever known, and World War II raged on. Germany was close to collapse, but it appeared that the war against Japan might go to the Japanese mainland and drag out into 1946. Amidst these troubles, Truman had to learn all the things FDR did not tell his newly-elected Vice President, in office only 82 days.
The issue of the … [ Read all ]
A recently discovered album donated to the National Archives by Monuments Men Foundation President Robert M. Edsel is on display until February 20, 2014. The album is open to a photograph of an important painting by master French painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Girl Holding a Dove was repatriated by the Monuments Men in 1946. It sold at auction in 2000 for over $5 million.
In addition to the Featured Document display, the National Archives will host an evening with Robert Edsel on Wednesday, February 19, at 7 p.m. Edsel will discuss his books and the recent film adaptation starring George Clooney, and his work as founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art.
Perhaps the most unlikely heroes to emerge from World War II, the Monuments Men (and women) were a multinational group of curators, art historians, and museum directors who saved centuries of artistic and cultural treasures from destruction. Trading hushed galleries and libraries for besieged European cities, the men and women of the Monuments, Fine Art, and Archives Program risked their lives to protect museums, churches, and monuments from combat.
They also tracked down and recovered thousands of priceless artworks stolen by the Nazis—much of it from Jewish families. In the final … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on January 13, 2014, under Uncategorized.
Tags: and Archives Program, art, Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, ERR, Fine Art, George Clooney, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, monuments, Monuments Men, national archives, Nazis, Nuremburg trials, Robert Edsel, stolen art, World War II, WWII