Tag: World War II
In 1943, you wrote a letter to President Roosevelt. In 2011, the National Archives featured your letter on YouTube! How would you feel?
L. J. Weil feels pretty good, actually. “Wonderful! It’s great to be honored this way,” he said when National Archives staff reached him at his home in Lousiana.
Weil’s letter to the President Roosevelt was sent in 1943, and 67 years later it was chosen to be featured as the demonstration model for the National Archives new search engine.
What prompted Weil write to President Roosevelt? Weil was 10 when Pearl Harbor was bombed, an event he still clearly remembers. Two years later, it was 1943, and the United States was in midst of fighting World War II. Weil wanted to help.
He wrote to President Roosevelt, offering his services as a mascot. “I’m twelve years old and a little young to get into anything right now, but when I am a little older, well just you wait and see,” Weil wrote.
Weil did receive a reply but only received what he called a “brush off” from a Marine officer, who noted that there was no law about appointing official mascots. “The patriotic motive which prompted your office of service is appreciated, however, and hope that when you reach the required age of enlistment in the Marine Corps you will avail your self of the opportunity … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on January 12, 2011, under - World War II, Letters in the National Archives.
Tags: 1943, Add new tag, army, L. J. Weil, MArines, mascot, Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt, ROTC, Special Forces Green Beret, Weil, World War II
Strafing and bombing missions over Japanese-held islands? Aerial dogfights? Classified destinations in the Pacific? All in a day’s work for the Fighting Lady. This vintage film captures life aboard the Yorktown aircraft carrier during World War II.… [ Read all ]
Posted by Rob Crotty on October 13, 2010, under - World War II, Rare Videos.
Tags: aerial dogfights, color film, fighting lady, mariana islands, NARA, naval history, panama canal, world war 2, World War II, ww2, yorktown
Escape and evasion files are firsthand accounts of a military personnel’s escape from behind enemy lines. In World War II, thousands of U.S. troops crashed in Nazi territory and had to evade capture or escape from German prisons. The National Archives recently digitized 2,953 firsthand accounts of escape and evasion during the war.
Each account reads like a Hollywood script, and although each is a gripping tale of perseverance, there are some that stand out as truly remarkable. We here at POH have summarized and linked our 10 favorite tales, including emergency landings into soccer games, fake Nazi salutes, and Boy Scout disguises.
2nd Lt. John Dunbar – It was the Fourth of July in 1943 when Dunbar’s plane was shot out of the sky over La Pallice, France. After receiving assistance from local Frenchmen in the German-occupied territory he marched for 18 days through France dressed as a peasant. For five of those days he had no food. For the rest, he survived off beer and scraps of food that had fallen off carts along the road. Three weeks later he crossed the Pyrenees mountains on foot into Spain, where he was captured by the Guardia Civil and later released.
Posted by Rob Crotty on September 29, 2010, under - World War II.
Tags: 2nd Lt. Jack E. Ryan, 2nd Lt. John Dunbar, 2nd Lt. Robert Laux, 2nd Lt. Wayne Rader, air force, american history, army, Capt. Edgar Williams, escape, Eugene Squier, Francis Murphy, Jin Clark, Lt. Col George Stalnaker, Lt. Philemon Wright, Maj. Donald Willis, NARA, national archives, National archives and records administration, odd history, Pieces of History, prologue blog, Prologue magazine, random history, Richard Smith, Sgt Elton Kevil, Sgt. Abe Helfgott, Sgt. Richard C. Hamilton, Sgt. Rudolph Cutino, Sgt. Thomas Glennan, Sgt. William Davidson, Stanley Miller, weird US history, William Howell, World War II, WWII
Sixty years ago, Boy Scouts were swarming the towns and cities of North America. But they weren’t camping or earning badges. They were working for the Federal Government.
With the men out in the battlefield, women were encouraged to fill positions in factories and fields. They were also faced with other challenges, such as rationed food. To help promote work and cooperation on the homefront, the Office of War Information (OWI) created informative and inspirational posters to be hung in stores.
How could these posters be quickly distributed—and how could the OWI be confident that they would be put up?
Enter the Boy Scouts. In 1942 they had been in existence for 32 years. They were organized, recognizable, and a part of their communities across America.
The OWI quickly took advantage of this network, starting in October 1942 with a poster for Columbus Day. Every two weeks, thousands of new posters were distributed to 2,300 participating communities, and the Boy Scouts made sure they went up.
In 1942, President Roosevelt made the Boy Scouts “Official Dispatch Bearers” for the OWI.
Although the OWI and the poster program had some rocky moments … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on July 19, 2010, under - World War II.
Tags: Boy Scouts, community, Office of War Information, Official Dispatch Bearers, OWI, posters, President Roosevelt, Prologue magazine, World War II, WWII
In honor of Bastille Day earlier this week, we present a French “moustache.”
This moustache decorates the face of General Giraud, here seen out walking in the gardens of the cliffside fortress Konigstein, where he was held as a POW by the Germans. He was captured in May of 1940 and escaped two years later. According to a 1949 Life magazine article, about 100 French generals were held prisoner. Giraud was the only one who escaped.
It wasn’t the first time Giraud had escaped imprisonment. He had served in WWI and broken free from an enemy prison then as well.
This time, he escaped a heavily guarded fortress. Because it was patrolled at night, he escaped during the day “by climbing down a blind angle of the 150-foot wall, outside the range of vision of the permanent watchtower secretary and between the regular rounds made by other guards” (Life, 1949).
And where did he get the rope to rappel down a fortress wall?
It was made from “raw material . . . accumulated painstakingly from short pieces of twine used for tying prisoners’ parcels from France” stolen from the prison post office by “a courageous young French corporal” (Life, 1949). The bits of twine were then woven into a rope, 150 feet long and 22 inches think, with a piece of wood at … [ Read all ]