Hitler’s sister, Paula: My Brother the Führer.

Hitler was famously a private man and it remains the case today that we don’t know a huge deal about what he was like behind closed doors. Granted, we do get an idea of his character through other peo…

Source: Hitler’s sister, Paula: My Brother the Führer.

On this day: the executions of Benito Mussolini and Clara Petacci | In Times Gone By…

Italy’s Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, and Clara Petacci, his mistress, were executed by partisans in the northern Italian village of Giulino di Mezzegra on the 28th of April, 1945. Belie…

Source: On this day: the executions of Benito Mussolini and Clara Petacci | In Times Gone By…

Do Bunny Down: when shared war stories can help to heal, by Clare Mulley

The crew of the Do Bunny, Charles ‘Chuck’ Blaney is standing, back right. (Courtesy of Chuck Blaney)

When researching biographies I am privileged to meet and exchange letters with many people whose observations, perspectives and actions present new insights into the past, and sometimes into the present. My current work, on two remarkable female pilots from the Second World War, has led to interviews with veterans and other witnesses from several sides of that terrible conflict. As always, many tales have emerged that have no bearing on the story I am telling – but which I cannot bear to let go unrecorded. This is the story of some USAAF servicemen who crashed into an enemy field, and the young German boy who was desperate to find them…

Source: Do Bunny Down: when shared war stories can help to heal, by Clare Mulley

Flight from the East End

I was brought up in Richmond and I’m ashamed that people living there during the war were not more welcoming. So much for everyone pulling together, as Simon Fowler says.

London Historians' Blog

A guest post by London Historians Member, Simon Fowler

evac1The story of brave Cockneys grinning and bearing it during the Blitz in 1940 is really a myth. The start of German air raids on Docklands and the East End in late August saw many panicky families flee the bombing. Some sheltered in Epping Forest, while others made it as far as Reading and Oxford. Frank Lewey, the Mayor of Stepney, who arranged the despatch of thousands of desperate men, women and children, wrote later that he and his staff were…
“far too busy to keep records of the evacuees. It was all we could do to get them out of London fast enough. We did not know where they had all gone, or all who had gone there, except that one hundred and fifty had gone to Ealing, two hundred and thirty to Richmond and so on.”

In Richmond…

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Operation Mincemeat: The Biggest Bluff of WWII

History Wench

The Second World War is the setting for some of history’s greatest espionage tales. Public imagination is frequently captured by the image of a suave and intelligent agent undertaking covert missions for Queen and country. This post will detail one of the more unusual of these espionage stories – ‘Operation Mincemeat. A plan which was masterminded by Ewen Montagu and targeted the German intelligence orginisation, Abwehr.

The agent used in Operation Mincemeat was worlds away from the charming and sophisticated agent popular culture often likes to depict – he was a semi-literate tramp from Aberbargoed, Wales. This agent’s name was Glyndwr Michael. Whats more is that Michael was already dead when he successfully carried out his mission.

Michael’s personal history is one of sadness and tragedy. His father committed suicide when he was just fifteen years old and his mother died sixteen years later. He was left penniless, homeless, and depressed. Shortly after the death…

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On this day: the Treznea Massacre

In Times Gone By...

Iuliu Maniu Square in Zalău on September 8, 1940 few days after the Second Vienna Award, Hungarian Army troops entering in Zalău. The Assumption Cathedral can be seen in background.

Hungarian troops nearby the day before the massacre

On the 9th of September, 1940, at least 93 (and up to 263, depending on which country is reporting) Romanians were massacred by Hungarian troops in the village of Treznea during the handing over of Northern Transylvania.

Amongst the dead were the local priest, the schoolteacher and his wife. The Orthodox church was partially burnt down.

This is a controversial event in the history of the Second World War, and historians in Hungary present a very different version of events to historians in Romania.

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Exciting Breaking News! Nazi Loot Found (Maybe)

A Scholarly Skater

The Amber Room panels, stolen from Saint Petersburg, Russia and still unrecovered. Branson DeCou [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons According to multiple news outlets, a train recently discovered deep underneath a Polish mountain, may contain Nazi-looted treasures, including the famous Amber Room panels. Once displayed at Tsarskoye Selo in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the panels were stolen during World War Two and disappeared without a trace until now; it was widely feared that they were destroyed near the end of the war. Although it is still unclear what the train cars can be expected to contain, Russia, Poland, and the World Jewish Federation are already squabbling over who should own or benefit from the contents. (1)

The train was first discovered by bounty hunters, who apparently received information about it from a dying man, and its existence has since been confirmed by Polish authorities. However, no one can access the train or verify its contents at the moment, since…

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How Many People Did Hitler Personally Kill?

History Wench

When it comes to the total number of deaths one person is responsible for Hitler is hard to top (beaten only by Stalin and Mao). The number of non-combatants killed under the Nazi regime is in the region of 11,000,000 according to Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale. I find this to be a reasonable and accurate estimate based on my own research. The true devastation and trauma of murder is easily forgotten when simply tallying death tolls as statistics – even more so when we are discussing an amount as colossal as 11,000,000. As Snyder eloquently puts it himself:

“Discussion of numbers can blunt our sense of the horrific personal character of each killing and the irreducible tragedy of each death. As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, the difference between zero and one is an infinity. (1)

But how many deaths was Hitler personally responsible for? We discuss the answer below, looking at all…

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The History Girls: Hiroshima: City of Peace, by Clare Mulley

Seventy years ago this month, on Monday 6 August 1945, the nuclear bomb known as ‘Little Boy’ was dropped on Hiroshima by an American B-29 bomber, immediately killing an estimated 80,000 people. Three days later a second bomb, the equally appallingly nick-named ‘Fat Man’, was dropped on Nagasaki, killing between 60-70,000 people. On 15 August Japan surrendered, marking the end of the Second World War. It has been argued that President Truman’s decision to drop the A-bombs on these two Japanese cities saved more lives than were lost by ending the war so much earlier than any alternative course of action. As usual the truth is more complex. Truman’s primary objectives were certainly American lives and the earliest possible end to the war, but other pertinent considerations included impressing the Soviets as the Cold War approached, the lasting need to respond to Pearl Harbour, and the pressure to justify the development costs of the atomic project. In this war, sides of very different motivations and experiences all committed atrocities and suffered from traumatising war crimes. I don’t seek to suggest equivalence. Nevertheless, it is still difficult understand the detonation of two separate…

Source: The History Girls: Hiroshima: City of Peace, by Clare Mulley

10 surprising facts about WW2 | History Extra

Originally posted on History Extra.

1) France had more tanks, guns and men than Germany in 1940

It is always assumed that during the Second World War the Germans bludgeoned their way to victory with a highly modern and mechanised army and Air Force that was superior to anything the Allies could muster in May 1940. The reality was very different.

On 10 May 1940, when the Germans attacked, only 16 of their 135 divisions were mechanised – that is, equipped with motorised transport. The rest depended on horses and cart or feet. France alone had 117 divisions.

France also had more guns: Germany had 7,378 artillery pieces and France 10,700. It didn’t stop there: the Germans could muster 2,439 tanks while the French had 3,254, most of which were bigger, better armed and armoured than the German panzers.

2) The priority for manpower in the UK is surprising

Britain had decided before the war began that it would make air and naval power the focus of its fighting capability, and it was only after the fall of France that British powers realised that the Army would have to grow substantially too.

However, right up until the spring of 1944, the priority for manpower in the UK was not the navy, RAF, army, or even the merchant navy, but the Ministry of Aircraft Production. In the war, Britain alone built 132,500 aircraft, a staggering achievement – especially when considering that Fighter Command in the battle of Britain never had more than…

via 10 surprising facts about WW2 | History Extra.

On this day: The Blitz, 1943.

In Times Gone By...

“Two bewildered old ladies stand amid the levelled ruins of the alms-house which was Home; until Jerry dropped his bombs. Total war knows no bounds.”

Alms-house bombed Feb. 10, Newbury, Berks., England.” Photograph taken 11th February, 1943.

Source

ww2Two bewildered old ladies stand amid the levelled ruins of the almshouse which was HomeAlmshouse bombed  10 Newbury   Photograph taken 11th February

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