Triumph And Tragedy

It was the second of May, 1945, six days before the end of the war in Europe. We were members of Headquarters Battery, 608th Field Artillery Battalion, 71st Infantry Division—one of the spearheads of Ration’s 3d Army, driving south through a conquered Germany toward Austria, the last unoccupied part of Hitler’s Reich.Read more »

The Big Leak

So big was the leak that it might have caused us to lose World War II. So mysterious is the identity of the leaker that we can’t be sure to this day who it was…or at least not entirely sure.

Blazoned in huge black letters across page one of the December 4, 1941, issue of the Chicago Tribune was the headline: F.D.R.’S WAR PLANS! The Times Herald, the Tribune ’s Washington, D.C., ally, carried a similarly fevered banner. In both papers Chesly Manly, the Tribune's Washington correspondent, revealed what President Franklin D.Read more »

The Dangerous Summer of 1940

For a few weeks Hitler came close to winning World War II. Then came a train of events that doomed him. An eloquent historian reminds us that however unsatisfactory our world may be today, it almost was unimaginably worse.

In the summer of 1940 Adolf Hitler could have won the Second World War. He came close to that. Had he won, we would be living in a world so different as to be hardly imaginable. So let us contemplate that dangerous summer. It was then that the shape of the world in which we now live began to take form. Read more »

Why We Didn’t Use Poison Gas in World War II

In a conflict that saw saturation bombing, Auschwitz, and the atom bomb, poison gas was never used in the field. What prevented it?

Forty years ago, on August 6 and 9, 1945, American B-29s dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, killing at least 110,000 and possibly 250,000 Japanese and speeding that nation’s surrender. During four years of bitter fighting, World War II had become for the United States virtually total war, in which morality had slowly been redefined to allow the intentional bombing of civilians. Read more »

The Last Days Of The Third Reich

Forty years ago, a tangle of chaotic events led to the death of Hitler, the surrender of the Nazis, and the end of World War II in Europe

The last time Grand Adm. Karl Doenitz saw his Führer was on April 20, 1945, Adolf Hitler’s fifty-sixth birthday. The celebration, held in the Führerbunker , a dank catacomb buried deep beneath the Reich chancellery, twenty feet lower than Berlin’s sewer system, was hardly festive. Read more »

Cantaloupes And Atom Bombs

HISTORIANS GOT THEIR instructions early. In the second century B.C. the Roman historian Polybius issued these orders: “Directly a man assumes the moral attitude of an historian he ought to forget all considerations, such as the love of one’s friends, hatred of one’s enemies.Read more »

“To Bring You The Picture Of Europe Tonight…”

In 1938 the European correspondent for CBS was in Austria when the Nazis marched in. He wanted to tell the world about it—but first he had to help invent a whole new kind of broadcasting.

I FIRST MET ED MURROW at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin on Friday, August 27, 1937, He had sent me a telegram three days earlier inviting me to dinner. I was not in the best of moods. After three years as a newspaper correspondent in Berlin, I was out of a job, very nearly broke, and my wife.Tess, was pregnant. Read more »

Good Neighbors

Forty years ago it was Nazis, not communists, we wanted to keep out of Latin America. A veteran of that propaganda war recalls our efforts to bring American values to a bewildered Ecuador.

BECAUSE THE Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, I found myself soon after flying down with a technical mission to the province of El Oro in Ecuador, a province I had never before heard of, in a land of which I knew nothing, except that it straddled the equator, for which it was named. Read more »

Escape From Vichy

One of the most ingenious and least known rescue missions of World War II was engineered by a young American dandy, Varian Fry, who shepherded to safety hundreds of European intellectuals wanted by the Nazis

ALL WARS , great and small, can be counted on to produce four things: misery, death, destruction, and refugees. As far as the first three are concerned, the Second World War differed from its predecessors only in scale. In the matter of refugees, however, the conflict produced a wholly new phenomenon: the mass transplanting of the intelligentsia of one continent to another continent.Read more »

Looking For The Good Germans

The victors divided the Germans into three groups: black (Nazi), white (innocent), and gray—that vast, vast area in between

I was one of these moralists in khaki. A newspaperman and radio writer in civil life, only a few days after the German surrender in May, 1945,1 took my place behind a battered pine desk in a bomb-cracked building in Munich that originally had served as an old-folks home and later as headquarters for the German army service of supply. Read more »