What do you know of the Hartlepool Monkey and the “Monkey Hangers”? I certainly knew nothing of the tale until I stumbled across it. Legend says that a shipwrecked monkey was hanged as …
Originally posted on www.seanmunger.com
This week is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, and a lot of noteworthy things happened during the fall of the Third Reich. One of them is not nearly as well-known as the others, but still fascinating in its own right. On May 6, 1945, a woman with an American accent made a broadcast on a crackly, static-choked feed from Berlin, which had just fallen to Soviet troops. The broadcast was pro-Nazi, but it hardly mattered anymore; Hitler was dead, many other Germans had committed suicide and the Nazi regime was on the verge of surrendering unconditionally to the Allied powers, which they did two days later. The woman, quite familiar to many American radio listeners, was known as “Axis Sally.” The May 6 broadcast was her last. When it was over she vanished fading into the chaotic backdrop of Berlin that was now a pile of rubble under Soviet occupation, still full of the dead and the dying remnants of Hitler’s regime.
“Axis Sally’s” true name was Mildred Elizabeth Gillars, and she had a fascinating life story. She was born in New England, studied at Ohio’s Wesleyan University in the late 1910s and early 1920s, and wanted to be an actress or musician. She studied piano and tried to get a career going in vaudeville, eventually moving to New York City. During the late 1920s and 1930s she drifted between the U.S. and Europe. She came to Berlin in 1934 and eventually fell in love with a…
Insignia of the ‘British Free Corps’, former prisoners-of-war who enlisted in the infamous Waffen SS.
The SS motto – ‘My honour is loyalty.’
As a freelance scribbler and long-time student of military history I love finding the more overlooked or forgotten aspects of the subject. For instance, the popular narrative of the Second World War holds that the British people pulled together, fighting as one for a common cause.
Erm, not exactly.
While British troops and the vast majority of the British public did rally round, a tiny handful didn’t. Some turned traitor for money. The notorious ‘£18 traitor’ Duncan Scott-Ford (not one of Plymouth’s favourite sons), was hanged at Wandsworth Prison in November, 1942 for selling convoy information to German Intelligence at a bargain discount. For others the shift was ideological. They were in it for the cause, such as Wiliam Joyce (AKA ‘Lord HAW Haw’ and star of…
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