World War Two Weapons That Flopped

World War Two saw a massive increase in weapon types and technology. Some didn’t work out quite so well. Panjandrum: The Ultimate Invasion Weapon This ungainly device was intended to be used against the beach defences of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. It consisted of two rocket-propelled wheels, ten feet in diameter, joined by a cylinder filled with[…]

Why the Axis Powers Were Called the Axis Powers

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declared an axis between Berlin and Rome, coining a term that would be used by both sides in WWII. By Jason Daley In 1936, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini gave a speech in Milan celebrating a new treaty of friendship with Germany and a political realignment of Italy. “This Berlin-Rome protocol is[…]

How Neville Chamberlin Misread Hitler and Allowed the Third Reich to Threaten the World Order

Chamberlain tried appeasement by endorsing a diplomatic initiative floated by fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini to resolve the crisis. By Jeff Roquen When Adolf Hitler unleashed the might of the German armed forces against Poland on 1 September 1939, shock waves of horror and trepidation ran through the cities of Europe. After years of methodically capitulating[…]

The Pact between Hitler and Stalin That Paved the Way for World War II

With the stroke of a pen 75 years ago, two men changed the world and sealed the fate of millions. Those two men were the foreign minister of Nazi Germany, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and his Soviet counterpart, Vyacheslav Molotov. On August 23, 1939, they signed a non-aggression pact, promising not to interfere in case the other[…]

Reichskommissariat Ukraine: The Nazi Occupation in 1941

Before the German invasion, Ukraine was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. Introduction During World War II, Reichskommissariat Ukraine (abbreviated as RKU) was the civilian occupation regime (Reichskommissariat) of much of Nazi German-occupied Ukraine (which included adjacent areas of modern-day Belarus and pre-war Second Polish Republic). Between September 1941 and August 1944, the Reichskommissariat[…]

The ‘Grand Alliance’: Churchill and Stalin during the Second World War

In the end the story of the Grand Alliance and its denouement in the cold war is quite simple. The alliance of Britain, the United States and the Soviet Unionduring World War II is often presented as a fragile necessity. The alliance was forced into existence by Hitler and fell apart as soon as Nazi Germany was defeated.[…]

“The Last I Write to You”: The Courage of Youth Resisters in World War 2 France

About 3000 resisters, many under the age of 25, were tried in German military courts in France and executed. World War II in Europe was the cause of innumerable atrocities against civilians: for instance, the Shoah, Allied and Axis carpet bombing, the destruction of Warsaw, and the cruelties of enforced starvation. Another example is less[…]

Commemoration, Race, and World War II: History and Civil Rights at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

History and civil rights are intertwined at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama. Introduction Moton Field was a training flight facility for African American pilot candidates in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, operating from 1941–45. Through the extant buildings and interpretive exhibits, the National Park[…]

The ‘Good War’: Concentration Camps and Japanese America

Exploring current struggles of memory and history within and beyond the Japanese American community. For many Americans, World War II has become entrenched, solidly and nostalgically, in the national narrative as “The Good War” fought by “The Greatest Generation.” Increasingly, and disturbingly, this formulation appears to have won acceptance even by an American minority group[…]

Cause and Effect: The Outbreak of World War II

What were the causes of the Second World War? Pinpointing the causes of a vast, global event like the Second World War is a challenging task for the historian. Events—especially enormous, multifaceted events—have multiple causes and multiple inputs. To help analyze the effects of those different inputs, historians often classify an event’s causes into different[…]

How World War I Changed America and Transformed Its Role in International Relations

The entry of the United States into World War I changed the course of the war, and the war, in turn, changed America. By Meredith Hindley The American Expeditionary Forces arrived in Europe in 1917 and helped turn the tide in favor of Britain and France, leading to an Allied victory over Germany and Austria[…]