After the United States detonated an atomic bomb at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the U.S. government restricted the circulation of images of the bomb's deadly effect. President Truman dispatched some 1,150 military personnel and civilians, including photographers, to record the destruction as part of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey. The goal of the Survey's Physical Damage Division was to photograph and analyze methodically the impact of the atomic bomb on various building materials surrounding the blast site, the first "Ground Zero." The haunting, once-classified images of absence and annihilation formed the basis for civil defense architecture in the United States.
Tag Archives | World War 2
What Stalin wanted, Stalin got, gravity be damned. No evidence the thing actually worked, even with the one “photo” taken of it. Via Wikipedia:
… Read the rest
The Antonov A-40 Krylya Tanka (Russian: крылья танка, meaning “tank wings”) was a Soviet attempt to allow a tank to glide into a battlefield after being towed aloft by an airplane, to support airborne forces or partisans. A prototype was built and tested in 1942, but was found to be unworkable. This vehicle is sometimes called the A-40T or KT.
Instead of loading light tanks onto gliders, as other nations had done, Soviet airborne forces had strapped T-27 tankettes underneath heavy bombers and landed them on airfields. In the 1930s there were experimental efforts to parachute tanks or simply drop them into water. During the 1940 occupation of Bessarabia, light tanks may have been dropped from a few meters by TB-3 bombers, allowing them to roll to a stop with the gearbox in neutral.
World War Two stopped in 1945, but it did not end.
The death rate among soldiers and civilians in Germany increased. No peace treaty was signed between Germany and its former opponents. And according to many Germans, there is still no real peace either, because the country is occupied and lacks a treaty.
It is identified by the United Nations as a “Hostile State;” the propaganda which helped to start the war still goes on against Germany; the conquerors have never been called to account for the atrocities they inflicted on their German prisoners of war, or for the deaths by forced starvation of millions of German civilians. Thuggish fascists still threaten freedom of speech. Thousands of political prisoners have been sentenced to jail in Germany for expressing opinions tolerated among the conquerors.… Read the rest
Dina Babbitt narrowly survived Auschwitz when her art skills came to the attention of Josef Mengele, who needed watercolor portraits to accurately document the skin tone of Gypsy prisoners whom he was studying. Sometime after the war, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum claimed ownership of the paintings. Babbitt died in 2009 after an emotionally-charged, and ultimately unsuccessful battle to have her work returned to her. Her story was related in this 2006 NY Times article by Steve Freiss:
… Read the rest
At 83, Dina Gottliebova Babbitt still recalls the rickety easel where in 1944, under orders from the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, she painted watercolors of the haggard faces of Gypsy prisoners.
But her memories of the Auschwitz concentration camp, vivid though they are, aren’t enough for Mrs. Babbitt. Seven of the 11 portraits that saved Mrs. Babbitt and her mother remain not far from where she created them, on display at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland.
The ultimate goal of a large-scale project known as “Wooffan SS” was for dogs to take over as SS officers, spies, and concentration camp guards. The Telegraph sifts through the sordid kennel of history:
… Read the rest
The Germans viewed canines as being almost as intelligent as humans and attempted to build an army of fearsome ‘speaking’ dogs, extraordinary new research shows. Hitler hoped the clever creatures would learn to communicate with their SS masters — and he even had a special dog school set up to teach them to talk. The incredible findings show Nazi officials recruited so-called educated dogs from all over Germany and trained them to speak and tap out signals using their paws.
The Germans hoped to use the animals for the war effort, such as getting them to work alongside the SS and guard concentration camps to free up officers. The bizarre ‘Wooffan SS’ experiment has come to light after years of painstaking research by academic Dr Jan Bondeson into unique and amazing dogs in history.
It is unlikely that Bacon’s cipher system was ever used for the transmission of military secrets, in the seventeenth century or in the twentieth. But for roughly a century from 1850, it set the world of literature on fire. A passion for puzzles, codes, and conspiracies fueled a widespread suspicion that Shakespeare was not the author of his plays, and professional and amateur scholars of all sorts spent extraordinary amounts of time, energy, and money combing Renaissance texts in search of signatures and other messages that would reveal the true identity of their author. Even after the recent publication of James Shapiro’s comprehensive history of the authorship controversy, Contested Will, it is difficult for us to appreciate the depth of conviction — among writers as diverse and as distinguished as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Sigmund Freud, Henry James, Henry Miller, and even Helen Keller — that Shakespeare’s texts contained the secret solution to what was widely considered to be “the Greatest of Literary Problems.”...
A fascinating front page story in the New York Times today details some of the more outrageous instances of the United States harboring refugee Nazis following World War 2, including scientists recruited for the notorious Operation Paperclip. Read the whole thing: it’s eye-opening for those who might think the “land of the free” would never do something like this:
… Read the rest
A secret history of the United States government’s Nazi-hunting operation concludes that American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the United States for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, and it details decades of clashes, often hidden, with other nations over war criminals here and abroad.
The 600-page report, which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, provides new evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades.
It describes the government’s posthumous pursuit of Dr.
First saw this on Bill Maher’s show over the weekend, he was discussing this story from Joshua Green on the Atlantic:
… Read the rest
An election year already notable for its menagerie of extreme and unusual candidates can add another one: Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Congress from Ohio’s 9th District, and a Tea Party favorite, who for years donned a German Waffen SS uniform and participated in Nazi re-enactments.
Iott, whose district lies in Northwest Ohio, was involved with a group that calls itself Wiking, whose members are devoted to re-enacting the exploits of an actual Nazi division, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, which fought mainly on the Eastern Front during World War II. Iott’s participation in the Wiking group is not mentioned on his campaign’s website, and his name and photographs were removed from the Wiking website.
President George W. Bush and many of his top administration officials were often accused of hubris in their eight-year run, but I have to say this incident from 1946 really tops the literal cake. It has the haughtiness of President Bush’s 2003 “Mission Accomplished” photo-op aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, combined with an element as you see below, I can best describe as … callous. From CONELRAD Adjacent:
… Read the rest
The celebratory event took place on Tuesday evening, November 5, 1946 at the Officers’ Club of the Army War College in Washington, D.C. The occasion was to mark the disbanding of Joint Army-Navy Task Force Number One, the body that organized and oversaw the first post-war atomic tests in the Pacific. These highly publicized detonations on Bikini Atoll are remembered today, if at all, for displacing an entire indigenous population of islanders, for inspiring a revealing line of swimwear for women and for unleashing the myth that movie star Rita Hayworth’s image was once affixed to an A-bomb.
In the early morning hours of July 16, 1945, some of the greatest scientific minds of a generation gathered in the New Mexican desert to watch the results of their unprecedented, world-changing experiment: to build the most powerful weapon in the world. But when they pressed the button on their bomb, nicknamed “Gadget,” they weren’t quite sure what would happen. The general consensus was that the bomb would yield energy equivalent to 5,000 tons of TNT (the actual result as it was finally calculated was 21,000 tons). Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Manhattan Project, had bet ten dollars against scientist George Kistiakowsky’s wager, with his entire month’s pay, that the bomb would not work at all. Enrico Fermi offered a wager on “whether or not the bomb would ignite the atmosphere, and if so, whether it would merely destroy New Mexico or destroy the world.”