Tag Archives | WWII

Nazis Tried To Train Dogs To Read And Talk In Effort To Win WWII

hitler-dog-620_1903562cThe 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:

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.

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Rare Photos From Eva Braun’s Private Collection

LIFE has a collection of recently released photos that belonged to Adolph Hitler’s longtime girlfriend Eva Braun, providing a window into the often strange and silly personal lives of some of history’s greatest villains. Most of the images depict the couple in leisure-time activities. However, my favorite is the below shot, taken in 1937, of the narcissistic and not-so-inviting interior decoration in the living room of their home in Berchtesgaden, Germany:

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The British And Their Bizarre Nazi Book Craze

golfing for catsGrowing up in 1970s Britain, it was a given that classic World War II movies like Where Eagles Dare and The Battle of Britain would play over and over again on our handful of channels, and WWII comics were ubiquitous among kids, usually with German soldiers spouting ridiculous phrases like “Achtung! Englischer Schweinhunds!” in most every panel.

I thought those days had passed, though, as the long shadow of that war gradually faded. Apparently not: Clive Anderson details the strange and continuing British fascination with the Nazis for the BBC News Magazine:

The late Alan Coren famously published a collection of humorous pieces in book form, called Golfing for Cats. And he put a swastika on the front cover. He had noticed the most popular titles in Britain in those days were about cats, golf and Nazis.

That was in 1975. Thirty-six years on – and now more than 60 years since the end of World War II – Nazi books are going stronger than ever.

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Hitler’s Graphic Design Manual

Nazi-2_525The spookiest graphic design instruction book ever? Steve Heller of Design Observer recently hunted down the Third Reich’s 70-page, full-color style manual for the proper use of Nazi insignia, graphics, and typefaces. This is how fascism created its appealing visual identity:

Designers and design historians told me over the years that they had heard about the existence of a Nazi graphics standards manual. No one could say they actually saw it, but they knew of someone who had. So it grew into something of a Big Foot or Loch Ness Monster tale, until one day I actually saw it too – and it had been right under my nose the whole time.

I had envisioned a manual of the kind that Lester Beall did for International Paper or Paul Rand did for IBM, showing acceptable logo weights and sizes, corporate typefaces and colors. I was so familiar with these standards manuals, that it never even occurred to me they were postwar formats — and decidedly modern.

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The Cryptic Message That Deceived Hitler

dday_memo_624Via BBC News:

It was an audacious double-cross that fooled the Nazis and shortened World War II. Now a document, here published for the first time, reveals the crucial role played by Britain’s code-breaking experts in the 1944 invasion of France.

All the ingredients of a gripping spy thriller are there – intrigue, espionage, lies and black propaganda.

An elaborate British wartime plot succeeded in convincing Hitler that the Allies were about to stage the bulk of the D-Day landings in Pas de Calais rather than on the Normandy coast – a diversion that proved crucial in guaranteeing the invasion’s success.

An intercepted memo – which has only now come to light – picked up by British agents and decoded by experts at Bletchley Park – the decryption centre depicted in the film Enigma – revealed that German intelligence had fallen for the ruse.

[Continues at BBC News]

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New Evidence on WWII Mystery of Raoul Wallenberg

From Yahoo News:

New evidence from Russian archives suggests Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with rescuing tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust, was alive after Soviets reported that he had died in a Moscow prison, a Swedish magazine and U.S. researchers reported Thursday.

The fate of Wallenberg, who was arrested in Budapest in January 1945 by the Soviet army, has remained one of the great mysteries of World War II.

The Soviets claimed he was executed July 17, 1947 but never produced a reliable death certificate or his remains. Witnesses claim he was seen in Soviet prisons or labor camps many years later, although those accounts were never verified.

Now, the archives of the Russian Security Services say a man identified only as Prisoner No. 7, who was interrogated six days after the diplomat’s reported death, was “with great likelihood” Wallenberg.

The security services reported the find last November to Susanne Berger and Vadim Birstein, two members of a research team that conducted a 10-year investigation into Wallenberg’s disappearance in the 1990s.

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