70 Years After Hiroshima and Nagasaki

This past week marked an ominous, momentous and transformational event of the twentieth century that few would deny has narrated and punctuated the past 70 years of warfare in the modern age. Few events during the Second World War (and since) capture our collective imagination, fear and horror as much as the atomic bombing of…

70th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day

May 8th marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of Germany’s unconditional surrender in 1945. In the wake of Adolf Hitler’s suicide on April 30, 1945, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz was appointed President of the Third Reich in the final 20 days before surrender. Provisionally signed in Reims, France on May 7th, Germany’s full unconditional…

The Battle (and rape) of Berlin 1945

This year we will mark 70 years since the end of World War II. It is difficult ethically to weigh loses in one battle over loses in another in a means to declare which conflict was more brutal and severe. However, symbolically the battle for Berlin, which ended on May 2, 1945, was the zenith…

What happened to England’s WWII POW camps

The extent and state of World War II prisoner of war camps in England has not received the due attention it deserves. While the National Archives in London is riddled with sources and documentary evidence of the almost 1,500 camps across the British Isles during the war, war camps is a memory most would rather…

The Bombing of Dresden in February of 1945

“On the evening of February 13 the catastrophe overtook Dresden: the bombs fell, the houses collapsed, the phosphorus flowed, the burning beams crashed…” – Viktor Klemperer, diary 1945 It is ironic that a German city would come to symbolize a war of such brutality and inhumanity. Dresden was an architectural and cultural prize representing a…

Rewriting history? Polish FM says Ukrainians liberated Auschwitz, Russia puzzled

The Polish FM’s statement that it was the Ukrainians who liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp has puzzled Moscow. Russia’s UN envoy remarked that the Soviet Army, which liberated the camp, was actually multinational. “The 1st Ukrainian front and Ukrainians liberated [the concentration camp], as on that January day there were Ukrainian soldiers, so they opened…

Discovery of two vessels from WWII convoy battle off North Carolina

A team of researchers led by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have discovered two significant vessels from World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boat 576 and the freighter Bluefields were found approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Lost for more than 70 years, the discovery of the two…

Polish President marks anniversary of German invasion with address to Bundestag

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has delivered an address to the German Bundestag in commemoration of the Nazi invasion of Poland 75 years ago. Polish relations with Germany have developed at an extraordinary pace following the fall of the Iron Curtain, and certainly serves as a model for historical reconciliation among fellow European nations. Let us…

Paris 1944: True stories behind liberation from the Nazis

On the morning of 19 August 1944, a 28-year-old Frenchman called Georges Loiseleur hurried down to the street from his flat on the Quai des Grands-Augustins. Paris was abuzz. A short distance away, he could hear chaotic sounds from the Ile de la Cite, where police had come out for the Resistance and taken control…

The German officer who tried to kill Hitler

Last week marked an ominous legacy of an assassination attempt on Adolf Hilter gone wrong. On 20 July 1944, a 36-year-old German army officer, Col Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, arrived at a heavily guarded complex hidden in a forest in East Prussia. His mission was to kill Adolf Hitler. The Wolfsschanze, or Wolf’s Lair, was…

D-Day anniversary: ‘World-changing’ day remembered

The D-Day anniversary offers a unique moment to remember the world-changing Allied landings in Normandy. By the end of D-Day on 6 June 1944, the Allies had established a foothold in France – an event that would eventually help bring the war to an end. Upwards of 12,000 lives would be lost on D-Day, and…

‘Haunting’ art by Jewish children in WW2 concentration camp

BBC News – ‘Haunting’ art by Jewish children in WW2 concentration camp A collection of sketches by Jewish children who were held at a concentration camp in the former Czechoslovakia during World War Two is going on show at a Lancashire gallery. The images offer an insight into the experiences of the children, many of…