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WORLD WAR 2

post #1 of 98
Thread Starter 
The so-called 'good' war. Personally, I would call it the necessary war. One of few.

Use this thread to discuss anything about the war. Family stories, tales or for very old Chewers personal experiences.

Thought I'd kick this off with an article by noted war journalist Ernie Pyle. this one is called 'Killing is all that matters': Links to others above the title:

http://journalism.indiana.edu/resour...-that-matters/

The American soldier is quick in adapting himself to a new mode of living. Outfits which have been here only three days have dug vast networks of ditches three feet deep in the bare brown earth. They have rigged up a light here and there with a storage battery. They have gathered boards and made floors and sideboards for their tents to keep out the wind and sand. They have hung out their washing, and painted their names over the tent flaps. You even see a soldier sitting on his "front step" of an evening playing a violin.
post #2 of 98
Great idea for a thread.

I have a collection of unfinished memoirs left behind by my grandfather about his journeys during the war. He was a communications specialist in the Pacific theatre; if anyone's interested I'll transcribe some of it.
post #3 of 98
One of my Grandfathers was a radio operator on a Submarine and the other spent the war in Africa, both very rarely talked about it which leads me to belive the saw some horrible things.
post #4 of 98
My grandfather, who I never really knew aside from the fact he was an MIT grad who worked for NASA during the Space Race, also left behind a bunch of his journals. I've never had the opportunity to read them, but they start with him on his last evening before shipping out, which he spent going to the movies, and hitting on the ticket taker girl. That's only a slight exaggeration.
post #5 of 98
When my Nan died recently, we cleared out her house and found her Ration Book, Medical journal and Drivers licence - She was an Ambulance Driver/Nurse during the war. They were one of the few keepsakes I took because they were from a part of her life I didn't know much about.
post #6 of 98
Thread Starter 
I'm definitely interested. I started this thread as I recently found online my grandfather's service record. He fought for the Australian army.
post #7 of 98
My grandad, who I never met, was a Desert Rat and fought all over North Africa, Italy, Normandy and Holland. Unfortunately, he kept no diaries that I know of which is a shame as the second hand stories my dad has told me are fascinating. All I've seen of him is a picture of him sitting on a tank in the desert.
post #8 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Savage View Post
One of my Grandfathers was a radio operator on a Submarine and the other spent the war in Africa, both very rarely talked about it which leads me to belive the saw some horrible things.
Similar story here. My grandfather was a bomber in B-17s and never talked about it...ever. My grandmother mentioned it a few times but he wouldn't even talk it about it with her. He was a first generation American of German descent so I bet that had a lot to do with it.
post #9 of 98
I have a few grandfathers, thanks to a Brady Bunch experience when I was very young. I am certain three of them served in WWII.

My father's father was in his 30s for the war, enlisted in the U.S. Army, and served in Europe. For a brief period of time, he was GEN Patton's driver.

My mother's father was in his 20s, and served in the U.S. Army in Europe in combat operations.

My birthmother's father was a young Marine in his 20s, and did a lot of the island hopping in the Pacific. Not content with that, he served as a Marine NCO in Korea. Not content with that, he was a senior enlisted Marine in Vietnam. He is the only one of my grandparents still alive now. Go figure.

All were very sweet men from very different backgrounds.

From a soldier's perspective, the inherent "goodness", "necessity" or "morality" of a war is a pedantic exercise. In WWII, horrific atrocities were committed. In the darkest days of Vietnam, there were acts of breathless courage and humanity.
post #10 of 98
My grandfather was stationed in Italy and drove a truck. I have a cool picture of him in uniform with a puppy.
post #11 of 98
My Grand Uncle was stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. He said it was total chaos and madness and his only thought was of staying alive.

My Grandfather-in-law stormed the beach at Normandy. Actually, he was part of the second wave. He served two tours in Europe and was about to ship out to the Pacific when Japan surrendered. He never talked about his experiences.

My dad served during the Korean war, but he was in the Navy band.
post #12 of 98
Just wanted to say that I am willing to take any (serious) questions the board may have and pose them to my dad, so I can report back with his answers
post #13 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Savage View Post
One of my Grandfathers was a radio operator on a Submarine and the other spent the war in Africa, both very rarely talked about it which leads me to belive the saw some horrible things.
Both my grandfathers served and I KNOW at least one of them saw some horrible things. As in a commanding officer coming up to his unit and telling them, "Just so you know, we don't have enough supplies to feed you AND the prisoners." And then he just walked away and left them to figure it out in their own.

My other grandfather was in a tank battalion and saw action in North Africa and Europe, and considering what death traps tanks were back then, he must have seen some bad stuff. I had a bunch of his medals and mementos when I was a kid; I think my nephew has them now. He died about two weeks after I was born, on Christmas Eve of 1968, and it's always been one of my biggest regrets that I never got to know him.
post #14 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess Kate View Post
Just wanted to say that I am willing to take any (serious) questions the board may have and pose them to my dad, so I can report back with his answers
What are his thoughts on "the gathering"?
post #15 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudgeSmails View Post
My grandfather was a bomber in B-17s
Same here. He was shot down over Italy, captured, and placed in a camp for the remaining year or so. Weighed roughly 85 lbs standing 6'3 when he was rescued.

He died when I was 7 so I didnt get a chance to know all of this, but apparently he pulled some legitimate Eraser shit. As his plane disintegrated around him, he had the good sense to actually float over towards a falling parachute and put it on, which obviously saved his life. He left a collection of 6 or 7 medals he was awarded that my cousin and I are sure to fight over after my grandma passes. Havent been a lot of them as she keeps them under lock and key in his old office.
post #16 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Augustine View Post
What are his thoughts on "the gathering"?
I don't know what that is but I suspect it is not a serious question

My offer was real. If anyone has any unique questions that only a vet of WW2 could answer, I am willing to ask them to my dad and make his answers available as a resource

Or not, if the only interest is of the snarky variety. Up to you
post #17 of 98
My grandfather served in the mountain artillery in the Albanian front. Lost a couple of toes to frostbite. Weird thing about him. In his life he became a refugee twice, lost two young children to epidemics and fought in a world war and a civil war and I never remember him once complaining about his life. Or doing any of the cliche "Do you know how hard we had it back in my day?" I never remember him raise his voice in anger. Or ever speak ill of anyone.Or ever be anything other than calm and laid back. There isn't a single person that has shaped, in my eyes, the way a man is actually supposed to behave than him. An impossibly stoic man. Out of all the family I've lost, he's the one I miss.
post #18 of 98
When I was younger I always made my grandmother tell stories from WWII.

One of the more exciting stories was when a German train going past my great-grand parents farm was attacked by british fighter-bombers. They strafed the plane while it was passing the farm and a few minutes later most of the train exploded when a fuel tank ignited. All the while my grandmother hid under a kitchen table with her sister. Had that happened outside their farm they would have been killed. 2 of their cows apparently died of fright and their barn was hit with bullets or shrapnel. That was about as close as the war ever came to my family.
post #19 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess Kate View Post
I don't know what that is but I suspect it is not a serious question

My offer was real. If anyone has any unique questions that only a vet of WW2 could answer, I am willing to ask them to my dad and make his answers available as a resource

Or not, if the only interest is of the snarky variety. Up to you
You should be asking these things yourself, he's your Dad, you should know his life.
post #20 of 98
My Grandfather served during WWII but he was stationed in Hawaii (post Pearl Harbor) and never saw any action.

I never spoke with him much about his Army days (we usually only talked about baseball) but after he died, I found a bunch of his letters home as well as his service record when I was cleaning out his old house. I've been thinking about putting something together that traces his war experience in relation to the war in general.
post #21 of 98
Thread Starter 
My grandfather fought all over: Africa, Asia, Greece.
Once, in Africa I believe, he was shot in the chest. The bullet was on target for his heart. It went right through the album in his breast pocket containing photos of my mum and grandma. Why didn't he die? There was a metal whisky flask in his pocket behind the album.
post #22 of 98
Maternal grandpa's status during WWII unknown (no living member of my family ever spoke to him, or was willing to discuss him). Paternal grandpa fled Germany a year before war broke out and lived in Colombia for a few years until the U.S. let him in. Paternal grandmother was living here the entire time.

My maternal grandmother lost her entire immediate family in the concentration camps. Parents, brother, uncles, aunts, and cousins. She was first sent to a labor camp, then later, towards the end of the war, a death camp. She was one of the prisoners involved in the Mengele experiments, specifically: radiation poisoning to see if humans could be rendered infertile from doses of radiation. The experiment failed.

She was rescued during the final days of WWII basically in the nick of time, while German commanders who must have known the war was lost were executing people in her camp as fast as they could. Taken to Switzerland to recuperate, as she had lost half her body weight and was suffering from pneumonia along with catastrophic malnutrition. Survived to emigrate to Colombia. Married my grandfather, went to the United States with him.

The only family member she remained uncertain about throughout the years was her younger brother, as he hadn't been taken to what she later learned were the killing chambers. Did not reach closure that her younger brother had actually been killed until two years before her passing in June of this year.

I'm glad she had a chance to tell her story for the Holocaust Museum. Humanity is capable of incomprehensible evil, and it shouldn't be forgotten.
post #23 of 98
See, and here I was all about to make a "Kate's Dad Punching Hitler" joke, but after that post, I'd just feel bad.

Hey Kate, what was your dad's favorite top 40 hit from back home when he was in the military? I want to know.
post #24 of 98
My grandfather fought in Kokoda, the defining battle for Australians in WW2. He never spoke of it, refused to until the day he died - he was far too traumatised by the experience.
post #25 of 98
Wow, I've never heard of that before, thanks RD. Will have to see if there's a book or two about it.

I know that this is mainly for people's personal experiences with relatives who fought over there, but I'd also be interested in hearing theories on alternate outcomes of the war. Is there a concievable scenario where Hitler beats the Allies to a stalemate and the Nazis continue to occupy Germany/Europe, or was he too power-mad to stop at just the West?
post #26 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
I've always wondered what would have happened if England fell.
I'd guess nothing much. The English would probably have had a government similar to the Vichy system in France (probably more lenient, given that the English were more Aryan than the French given our Mongrel background).

The Nazi War machine would have come unstuck in Russia anyways and the American forces would have started with a ground war in Asia rather than Europe.
post #27 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by RathBandu View Post
Wow, I've never heard of that before, thanks RD. Will have to see if there's a book or two about it.

I know that this is mainly for people's personal experiences with relatives who fought over there, but I'd also be interested in hearing theories on alternate outcomes of the war. Is there a concievable scenario where Hitler beats the Allies to a stalemate and the Nazis continue to occupy Germany/Europe, or was he too power-mad to stop at just the West?
If you can get it over in the US Rath, KOKODA by Peter Fitzsimons is considered pretty definitive these days.

It was very much the 'Gallipolli of WW2' for Australians as far as being a part of the public consciousness goes - with the added importance that it really was the last theatre of war Australians could defend before a full scale Japanese invasion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
I've always wondered what would have happened if England fell.
I've always been just as fascinated as to what would have happened had Hitler maintained his pact with Stalin and not tried to conduct a war on two fronts at once.
post #28 of 98
From what I've read I don't think Hitler's ideology would have allowed him to maintain a pact with Russia, as he viewed them as subhuman and perceived their society as built on shaky easily defeatable foundations. I believe the larger plan was for German colonies in Russia, not to conquer the people and assimilate them.
post #29 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Dnim View Post
From what I've read I don't think Hitler's ideology would have allowed him to maintain a pact with Russia, as he viewed them as subhuman and perceived their society as built on shaky easily defeatable foundations. I believe the larger plan was for German colonies in Russia, not to conquer the people and assimilate them.
Oh for sure, I just meant more if he'd waited until he'd gotten his business finished in western Europe before turning his forces towards the East - and maybe tried to do that in summer time.
post #30 of 98
My grandfather on the Irish side of my family was a veteran of the European theater of the war--he was on the frontlines of the Battle of the Bulge--and that is my most personal connection to the war. The dude kept a lot of "trophies" from the war in the home in which my father and three aunts were raised. I always thought that was super creepy. That and the stories he'd tell from the war, like how his best friend in his outfit literally lost his head to a mortar shell during a card game.
post #31 of 98
Discussion: World War 2 is the only war with a traditional Hollywood three-act structure, at least as far as the U.S. is concerned.

Act 1: Poland thru Pearl Harbor
Act 2: Pearl Harbor thru D-Day
Act 3: D-Day thru Hiroshima/VJ Day.

Simplistic, yes, but does this work?
post #32 of 98
I think Robert Harris's FATHERLAND has the most realistic "What If D-Day Failed?" scenario. Hitler eventually KO's Britain (with the royal family and Churchill fleeing to Canada), USA drops the bomb on Japan, ending the Pacific War, and the US and Germany mutually agree to end hostilities. The Holocaust ended after some time, and the concentration camps were eventually dismantled to keep it secret.

Germany and Russia fight on to a virtual stalemate for twenty years. I can even buy some of the crazier predictions, like Stalin still being alive in the early 60s, and the US being led by appeaser turned political superstar Joe Kennedy.
post #33 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess Kate View Post
If anyone has any unique questions that only a vet of WW2 could answer, I am willing to ask them to my dad and make his answers available as a resource
Did your dad actually punch Hitler?
post #34 of 98
Thread Starter 
Don't be that guy, Spook.
And this thread is all encompassing, I created it to discuss anything WW2
related.
As for alternative outcomes, I recommend reading VIRTUAL HISTORY by Niall Ferguson. A collection of speculations. The WW2 ones are 'What if Germany had invaded England in 1940', by Ferguson, and 'What if Nazi Germany had defeated the Soviet Union'.
post #35 of 98
I've read that it's pretty commonly accepted that Operation Sealion (the Nazi plan to invade England) wouldn't have worked, and that Germany had no real shot at invading the British mainland.
post #36 of 98
My maternal Grandfather served on board a oil tanker that was sunk. He lost most of his hearing due to floating in oil covered water for awhile. He died before I was born so I really don't know much about him. I have a great uncle that served in Japan as the "occupying" force for some time. Only intresting stories are of his "adventures" with the local woman. But he did give me a few dollars in the curency that was using during that period.
post #37 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Overlord View Post
Maternal grandpa's status during WWII unknown (no living member of my family ever spoke to him, or was willing to). Paternal grandpa fled Germany a year before war broke out and lived in Colombia for a few years until the U.S. let him in. Paternal grandmother was living here the entire time.

My maternal grandmother lost her entire immediate family in the concentration camps. Parents, brother, uncles, aunts, and cousins. She was first sent to a labor camp, then later, towards the end of the war, a death camp. She was one of the prisoners involved in the Mengele experiments, specifically: radiation poisoning to see if humans could be rendered infertile from doses of radiation. The experiment failed.

She was rescued during the final days of WWII basically in the nick of time, while German commanders who must have known the war was lost were executing people in her camp as fast as they could. Taken to Switzerland to recuperate, as she had lost half her body weight and was suffering from pneumonia along with catastrophic malnutrition. Survived to emigrate to Colombia. Married my grandfather, went to the United States with him.

The only family member she remained uncertain about throughout the years was her younger brother, as he hadn't been taken to what she later learned were the killing chambers. Did not reach closure that her younger brother had actually been killed until two years before her passing in June of this year.

I'm glad she had a chance to tell her story for the Holocaust Museum. Humanity is capable of incomprehensible evil, and it shouldn't be forgotten.
This is an incredible and sobering story, Overlord.
post #38 of 98
My grandfather fought with the Hasty Ps all over the European theatre but saw most of his action during Operation HUSKY and during the liberation of Holland. He traded goods on the blackmarket in Holland and met a fellow black marketeer who would invite him over for dinner every once in a while. There he met the man's sister, a beautiful, talented oil painter who would eventually become his wife.

It was decided at the beginning of the occupation that my Oma's immediate family would tell everyone that they were Anglican despite bearing the name Eisenberger. They had heard the stories that to be Jewish was to be dead so they followed that one simple decision until they all died many years later. We didn't know that my Oma was Jewish until we found a picture of her grade school class at the Shoa museum.
post #39 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluelouboyle View Post
I'm definitely interested. I started this thread as I recently found online my grandfather's service record. He fought for the Australian army.
Well, one interested soul is usually all it took to get a story out of my grandfather, as he was usually certain more would stop and listen. He was an electrician by trade in his life, but had a real passion for writing stories and poetry. After he died in 2003, his collected works were passed on to me; I was the only grandchild whom had inherited his love of the written word and we had a unique connection because of that. Here's some passages from his (sadly never finished) account of his life, directly concerning some events in WWII that you guys might enjoy hearing about, his time spent on Iwo Jima and some other anecdotes about the men he knew:

Quote:

...when that job was finished, I had asked a Lt. Colonel Chamberlain, a former commancer of mine and a fine man, to take me overseas with him. Here I was, a volunteer enlistee who had worked sincerlu and hard enough to be ordered to get a commission and I was still a long ways from the war. He wondered aloud how I knew he was preparing the 553rd for overseas and I told him I'd head but couldn't recall from whom. In all actuality, it really was general knowledge around the base. He agreed but already had a motors officer. Next thing I knew I was in the Filter Officers cource on base. A Filter Officer works in a control center and filters the incoming information from the radar net. He keeps the plotting board cleard of non-essential plots and makes certain what is displayed is correct. I graduated top of the class and had learned a lot about radars, antennas, siting radars, etc. I was then assigned to the 553rd Aircraft Warning Battalion and we went on bivouac. I didn't get to see Ann very often after that...

...On two occasions, my old friend and fellow Boy Scout, Johnny Walker, flew in in the Pan American Clipper he piloted. We toured the island and had a great visit. I then went across the island to Honolulu now and then. On one trip it was to meet Bill Richardson, neighbor and old friend of the Dunn's. He was docked at Pearl Harbor. He took me through his ship, a Destroyer, and went through it from stem to stern...Bill's destroyer was later hit by Japanese Kamikaze pilots and rolled over and sunk at Okinawa after making the whole Iwo Jima campaign safely. I have never had a desire to be a sailor...

[ After shipping out to Iwo Jima ]

...At first we only had back-packed radars reporting in. Photographer Joe Rosenthal's picture of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima was taken atop Mount Surabachi. Later we were to install a radar at that exact place alongside a big search radar. the SCR 270, a hight finder radar. It was the very first to see action outside of testing. A friend of mine, an electrical engineer named Deering, was one of the designers and the Officer that put it into service at the site. He lived in my tent; we called him "Little Abner," the nickname for the set...

..Later, the SCR 270 was dismantled and a so-called micro-wave radar was installed instead. This one had a higher definition and no black lobe as the SCR 270 had. In fact, the black lobe was the culprit they blamed when the Japs sneaked a fleet of fighters and bombers into Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. The soldier that was on radar at that time was in OCS when I was. I knew him, played ping pong with him several times. He had it right. The officer had it wrong, and while we would have been bombed anyway, we might have suffered fewer casualties. The poor G.I. had no wish to become an officer, possibly because of the incident with the jackass that had told him how to do his job and got it wrong at the only time his whole career when he could have saved a lot of lives by getting it right. There were ways to tell if it was a black lobe or a forward lobe echo. We could tell.

...One night, I was not on duty, a flight of Japs came over and it turned out they were either jets or had jet assisted takeoff pods on them to out run the fighters. As the could turn the boosters on and off, I have reason to believe that they were jets. They could sure out-run our P-60 night fighters. We heard it all on my personal all wave radio. Some bad words were used by our pilots that night...

...One night when I was on duty I got a phone call that one of our fighter pilot tent areas was under attack. Some Jap general had been hiding with over a hundred troops in one of the countless hand dug caves on Iwo. One night he marched out, counting in good English: hup two tree foah etc. and marched through our company's outer perimeter and were properly challenged by a guard in the next unit, an artillery battery. They shot him and ran to the pilot's tents, sliced open the tents and threw gernades inside. We lost seven pilots. The rest of the pilots fought back from slit trenches, in a few cases, waiting in the tent for a Jap to start slicing and then emptying their .45 caliber pistols right through the tent. Some Japs escaped, but eighty odd didn't. That was the last of the raids. I was on the phone with a pilot in one of the slit trench type foxholes. He gave us the rundown...

...for the most part the war had moved on to Okinawa. After that we were only bombed once more. That took place after I reached my new assignment. One small bomb hit at the center point of an X drawn between my two hospital type tents which comprised the supply buildings. Not everything was wiped out; my radio which was on the stand survived...I am able to write this dirge because I was underground during the bombing. That radioshack was my refuge during such times. The bomb was an anti-personnel daisy cutter type of about fifty pounds. It could kill and people were killed during that raid.

...One time a Navy radio operator was practicing sending messages and accidentally left his telegraph key connected to the transmitter. The message "The War Has Ended; The Japs Have Given Up" was transmitted far and wide. This hoax, possibly accidental, caused great celebration on all the Navy ships in our harbor and caused the ground forces to go nuts. I called my platoon together and informed them that such information had not been recieved through command channels. I told them the rumor was false, and gave them strict order to stay under cover, in the foxholes, and to not, repeat not, fire a weapon.

...In the evenings when I wasn't working, just a few times and not often enough, a group would form in revetment and sing and play guitar. I seemed to have the only guitar though. I had landed with five fifths of various kinds of spirit in my footlocker. Those bottles could have easily brought anywhere up to a hundred or more dollars a piece. I didn't sell them. One was saved, two were drank by the singing group. Each of them took only a sip so as to share. Great guys! One of my tent mates and I miserly portioned out over several days, and one was used to pay off a bridge game my drunk usual partner and I were in. I didn't realize that he was really too drunk to play until he lost about fifty bucks of my money in one deal. My money was going home to Ann, so I didn't have much. We were all pretty good players but not experts. Just guys.
All told, his recounting of his entire WWII experience takes up about ten non-formatted pages from a typewriter. This was written in 1991; before that he had never spoken to anyone in my family about the Japanese raid or the bomb that blew the tent from over his head; no had even known he had stepped foot on Iwo Jima. I guess he felt enough time had passed or perhaps was worried that his memory would leave before he could recount his tale and wanted to get it out before it was too late; we never knew. He died seven years ago today.

Hope you guys enjoyed!
post #40 of 98
My paternal grandfather spent his 4 years in Alaska guarding it from the Russians. He told stories about the Army using those guys as survival testing dummies. They made him eat only Vienna sausages and drink water for 2 months. My grandmother would, according to family lore, buy Vienna sausages just to tweak my grandfather. My grandfather was one of 24 children (he was one of the last), and he lost 2 brothers in WWII. My grandfather had passed away about the time I had gotten old enough to ask about it, so I never got to really ask.

My maternal grandfather wasn't old enough to ship out till 1945, so he spent his time cooking through the rebuilding of Europe. He eventually retired, after working as a ground cook for LBJ's Air Force One crews. He told great stories, mainly because he didn't see any fighting, just the rebuilding.

Working in a photo lab during college around 2003, I helped a gentleman, who looked to be in his early sixties, make reproductions of some old negatives. The prints were of the D-Day landing ships and the crew. After the prints came out, the gentleman and I were looking, and I spotted a guy that looked similar to the customer and said 'Is that your dad?' He turned and laughed, said 'No. That's me!' Turns out the man was nearly 80 and looked damned good. He told me about building the Landing Craft Tanks on the Mississippi river from Kansas, floating them down to New Orleans, then sailing across the Atlantic. The man talked to me for an hour.

Before he left, I asked him how he looked so young. His answer was 5 words "Good Whiskey and Clean Women." A motto I live by today.

The great thing about living where I do is it's connection to WWII. Oak Ridge exists solely because of it. A lot of its old timers were originals to the city, or from the tiny communities that were folded into the city because of the land buy up. I
post #41 of 98
No wonder World War 2 continues to permeate every part of popular culture and will do so in the future. Look at this thread. At how many people this affected. Even looking past the huge geopolitical impact it had, this war personally affected almost every living human. The scale just seems inconceivable. For almost five years, an overwhelming percentage of the total human effort, at least in the developed world, went towards this single event.

The treasure of whole nations expended. Entire countries laying in ruins. Millions upon tens of millions of dead. Hundreds of millions wounded either in body or mind. Empires crumbling while others emerge. The death camps. The up until that time almost science fiction weapons. The absolute best and absolute worst mankind is capable of, all compressed into half a decade.
post #42 of 98
Thread Starter 
That was fascinating Greg, thanks. And well put, Stelios.
Would this generation be so stoic and endure such an event?
post #43 of 98
Yes, I believe we would be able to handle it. I would hate for us to have to, though.

We may whine and cry and moan about ultimately trivial things but that's because that's all we have to whine about. My grandmother's favorite blessing was "May God never put you through all the troubles you can handle." Humans are capable of bearing efforts and tragedies that would previously seem inconceivable to them.
post #44 of 98
Wait until the oil runs out in our lifetime and we'll find out I fear.

...and very very well said stel. That was stirring stuff - no foolin'.
post #45 of 98
My grandfather was a frogman in WWII, and he would very occasionally talk about his experiences; usually obscure stuff like having to wake guys up who were snoring too loud for fear the enemy would hear them. He mentioned a few missions he went on in terms of what they were doing (help recapture a town, blow up a boat, etc...) but never spoke beyond vague details.

I've done a good bit of researching on WWII and have been to some of the historical sites (mainly in Asia) and I still can't come close to fathoming all the different theatres involved (not just countries, but undersea, air, etc...) and the struggles going on within each. A man could spend years just studying the Siege of Leningrad. Stelios summed it up perfectly.
post #46 of 98
Couple of NY Times articles that I thought might be interesting to people in this thread. First is this fascinating article about the recovery of art thought lost to the Nazis because the Reich considered it "degenerate":

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/ar....html?ref=arts

Christian Bale's swing record collection, sadly, remains lost.

The next are a couple of book reviews about World War II. This one, And The Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris, sounds great. One of my favorite interests in World War II is the civillian perspective, particularly for people in Britain and Occupied Europe, and it looks like it also covers the Parisian film movement of that era as well:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/bo...html?ref=books
post #47 of 98
My Grandma and Grandpa both served in WWII (she was a nurse, he was a soldier) and met BECAUSE of it, so in a weird way, my dad wouldn't exist if it wasn't for WWII, and therefore I wouldn't exist. Strange, eh?

Oh, and they didn't meet because of a Florence Nightingale sort of thing: they met at a military party. He stepped on her foot.
post #48 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudgeSmails View Post
He was a first generation American of German descent so I bet that had a lot to do with it.
Same with my grandfather who served. Last name of Holzhauer, to boot. I'm not sure if it was ever an issue, but from the sound of stories by my Grandmother, it wasn't.

He served in the European theater. Was coming to shore on D-Day when his ship hit a mine and left him floating in the water waiting to be picked up for 8 hours.
He then went through Europe, primarily manning a quad anti-aircraft gun mounted in the back of a truck. Apparently he was really good at shooting down Luftwaffe strafing his company, which kept getting him promoted, but he was also an ornery shit, which kept getting him demoted. I think he ended up breaking even in that department.
Was in the middle of the battle of Hurtgen Forest which doesn't sound fun.

He was a grumpy man, to say the least, and I'm sad I never knew him well before his death when I was 14. All of his war stories come to me through my Grandmother and my uncle (his son).
post #49 of 98
My papa (What I called my grandfather) was in the Guadalcanal Campaign. He was part of the effort that had destroyers bringing in supplies to American soldiers on the Island. They had to do it at night. He saw a lot of people killed in really horrible ways and often said it was only luck that the ships he was on weren't hit. He often said that being in the Pacific made him realize what Hell was like. He always avoided saying if he ever had to kill, but he had a ton of medals.
post #50 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rain Dog View Post
If you can get it over in the US Rath, KOKODA by Peter Fitzsimons is considered pretty definitive these days.

It was very much the 'Gallipolli of WW2' for Australians as far as being a part of the public consciousness goes - with the added importance that it really was the last theatre of war Australians could defend before a full scale Japanese invasion.



I've always been just as fascinated as to what would have happened had Hitler maintained his pact with Stalin and not tried to conduct a war on two fronts at once.
New Guinea was an absolute Hellhole of a campaign.
One of my Great Uncles in the US Army got shipped to Australia in the Summer or 1942, and then got to take part in the Buna/Gona Campaign. Really Brutal.
That campaign was unique because Aussie and US Troops quite literally fought side by side.....Aussie tanks giving support to US Infanty. That did not happen that often.

And from what I have read, the Japanese soldiers hated New Guinea as much as the allies did.
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