Category Archives: WWII

Book Review: “Hitler’s Last Plot”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Hitler’s Last Plot” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Ian Sayer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Sayer) & Jeremy Dronfield (http://jeremydronfield.com/).  Mr. Sayer has published six books. Mr. Dronfield has published 10 books.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in Europe beginning in April of 1945. This is a dramatized account of what actually transpired.

Europe had been invaded in June of 1944. The Allied forces were closing in on Germany. The US and British from the west and South, Russians from the east. Hitler initiated a last-ditch plan. There were several high profile people in German concentration camps. He ordered the SS to take those 139 prisoners from the camps. The plan is to use them as hostages and execute them if the Reich falls.

This book tells the story of those prisoners and their journey through Germany, Austria, and Italy. They were constantly under threat of Allied air attack and were at risk from the SS troops that had them in custody. Their fate was in the hands of the fanatic SS on one hand and more rational Germans on the other. The prisoners were also helped along by partisans and finally rescued by US forces in the days after the official surrender.

I enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 327-page account from WWII. I had not heard about this incident before, so it was an interesting read. I was amazed by how much a few Germans assisted the prisoners, and at how lenient their SS captors were towards them.  I like the cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 300 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

French “HistoPad” Helps Tell the Story of D-Day

(See my other WWII posts) – Soon visitors to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio will have a new way to ‘view’ the past. A new tablet called a “HistoPad” will allow visitors to the museum to experience D-Day in a new way. The tablet is a creation of the French company Histovery. The HistoPad is already in use at 15 monuments and museums in France after its debut five years ago. As they say on their website:

We produce and operate “augmented visit” solutions, to best showcase monuments, museums, and tourist sites with our tablet. 

Among the videos a visitor to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will see on their HistoPad is the first-person view of an American paratrooper’s drop into France and a US soldier firing a bazooka at a German tank.

 

Histovery already has a similar HistoPad experience for the Airborne Museum
in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France.

This modern technology will be a good way to augment the static displays and probably attract more attention from the kids that have grown up with phone and tablet screens.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 290 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Sarah Rose (https://sarahrose.com). Ms. Rose has published two books.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains a few scenes of Violence. The story is set in World War II beginning in July of 1942.

While the book focuses on three women who were members of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), it also tells the broader story of the Resistance in occupied France. The women that are focused on are Andrée Borrel, Odette Sansom (the recent book “Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy” goes into more details of her exploits), and Lise de Baissac. The author draws on recently de­classified files, diaries, and oral histories to tell their story.

I enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 372-page history. The scope of the book goes beyond the limits implied in the title in that it talks about the broader resistance efforts, not just the three women. I did feel that the book was slow and tedious at times.  I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 290 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

VE Day (Victory in Europe)

Today is VE Day, the anniversary of the unconditional surrender of German military forces bringing World War II in Europe to an end. This marks the 74th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe.

I came across this article “Victory in Europe Day: Five Things You Didn’t Know about the end of WW2” today and I thought it brought up some interesting things about the end of WWII in Europe.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 280 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Friday WWII Flix: “REUE”

(See my other WWII and Short Film posts) – I came across this short (18:01) films set in WWII a short time ago. The film was uploaded to YouTube in May of 2014 by James Cawley, the film’s director. The synopsis per IMDB:

REUE is the story of two American soldiers stranded in occupied territory. While trying to relocate their platoon, the soldiers come face to face with a German infantryman. The trio of young soldiers soon learns they are more connected with the will to survive than they could have ever imagined.

This seems to be a pretty well-made film.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 250 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “Lions of the Desert”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Lions of the Desert” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Samuel Marquis (http://samuelmarquisbooks.com). Mr. Marquis has published ten novels. This is the fourth in his “World War Two” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is set in North Africa during the early years of World War II. While David Sterling, the founder of the British Special Air Service (SAS) is a major character, there are others as well: German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, Egyptian belly dancer Hekmat Fahmy, head of British Field Security Major A.W. Sansom, German spy Johannes Eppler, and U.S. military attaché Colonel Bonner Fellers.

This dramatized historical novel describes how the SAS was formed and outlines some of the action that they saw in North Africa. There is also the story of the German spies that infiltrated Cairo and how Sansom pursued them. You also find that the Germans had broken the code used by Colonel Fellers as he made his daily reports back to Washington. This gave Rommel and incredible insight into what the British were doing.

I enjoyed the 16.5 hours I spent reading this 562-page story of action in North Africa. I was a little disappointed that this was dramatized history. I had hoped it was more straight non-fiction. I did find that the novel gave a different outlook on the war in Africa. The chosen cover art is OK. I give this novel a 3.6 (rounded up to 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 250 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Friday WWII Flix: “The Way Back”

(See my other Short Films and WWII posts) I watched the short (8:45) WWII era film “The Way Back” this evening. It was posted to YouTube in June of 2015 by ParaLight WorX. The synopsis:

A group of four German soldiers encounters Russian Army troops.

This is a well-done film. Unfortunately, all of the dialog is in German and there are no English subtitles.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 220 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Visualizing WWII in Europe Day by Day

WWII – This short (7:00) video depicts World War II in Europe from September 1, 1939, thru May 15, 1945. The video was uploaded to YouTube in August of 2013 by EmperorTigerstar.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 220 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Singapore, Singapore – Civilian War Memorial

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When I went out for a walk around Singapore the other day I passed by the Civilian War Memorial. The memorial was built in memory of the civilians killed on Singapore during the Japanese occupation of the island during World War II.

Work began on the memorial in 1963, but the 230 foot (70 meters) high quad pillars were not completed until early 1967. It was formally dedicated on February 15, 1967. The four identical pillars of the memorial represent the shared war experiences of the Chinese, Eurasian, Indian and Malay residents who suffered through the occupation together.

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An inscription is on the base of the memorial in the four major languages of Singapore – English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil. It reads: “Memorial to the civilian victims of the Japanese occupation 1942-1945”.

 

 

 

IMG_0620The memorial sets in a 4.5 acre War Memorial Park located near City Hall in the central business district.  Most of the civilians who died were of Chinese heritage during the Sook Ching massacre. How many actually died is still a matter of debate. Japanese reported that 6,000 died, but official estimates range between 25,000 and 50,000.

 


See my other articles on Locations 


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 210 links to museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Friday WWII Flix: “Beach Red”

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WWII – I saw this movie mentioned by Military Stuff a few days ago. I was surprised to see that this film was released in 1967. I had never heard of it before.

Fortunately, the Military Stuff post included a link to the movie on YouTube. I watched the movie a few hours ago and walked away with mixed feelings about it. Before I start, the synopsis of the film from IMDB is:

As a US marine unit fight against the defenders of a Japanese held island, both sides are haunted by their own thoughts and memories.

On the positive side, this looked like a film with a fairly large production budget. Both the US and Japanese forces in the movie had plenty of WWII era equipment. There were also a sufficient number of actors and landing craft in the invasion scenes to make it look realistic. As with many WWII era films, there was actual footage from the war mixed in.

As the synopsis mentions, beyond the combat, much of the film was devoted to the flashbacks by both the US and Japanese personnel. Both sides were thinking of home and the loved ones they had left behind. Many of these were still shots and for me, those seemed to break the flow of the movie.

Going further on the negative side, both the US and Japanese troops seemed a little too clean. Certainly, the US troops had just come off the ship to invade, but their uniforms and equipment were a little too clean and shiny. The same can be said for the Japanese who would at this point have been suffering from limited supplies. Part of the film was hard to understand as those scenes with the Japanese speaking had no English subtitles.

The largest negative for this film, in my opinion, was in the acting.

I do not think this is a very good film. Surprisingly, IMDB rates the film with 6.4/10.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 210 links to museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.