Greetin’s, Cousin George

It was the first time in history that British sovereigns had come to see what they lost in 1776. George and Franklin, Elizabeth and Eleanor, hit it off like old friends; even Texas congressmen melted under the royal charm. Brewing was a crucial World War II alliance

A long line of nervous congressmen stood in the Capitol rotunda awaiting the arrival of someone of obviously high importance. Vice President John Nance Garner buzzed among the legislators trying to ease the tension with his famous stories. Toward the rear of the rotunda, members of the House tittered at Garner’s jokes, while sober-faced senators critically eyed the antics of the Vice President. The audience pleased him. His jokes became less appropriate, the laughs grew louder, and the senators seemed less impressed. Then Garner walked over to the door and peered down the Capitol steps.Read more »

The Place of Franklin D. Roosevelt in History

Seldom has an eminent man been more conscious of his place in history than was Franklin D. Roosevelt. He regarded history as an imposing drama and himself as a conspicuous actor. Again and again he carefully staged a historic scene: as when, going before Congress on December 8, 1941, to call for a recognition of war with Japan, he took pains to see that Mrs. Woodrow Wilson accompanied Mrs. Roosevelt to the Capitol, thus linking the First and Second World Wars.Read more »

“I’ve Served My Time In Hell”

So thought many a weary Marine after the bloody, interminable battle for Guadalcanal. It was only a dot in the ocean, but upon its possession turned the entire course of the Pacific war

On May 3, 1942, a small detachment of Japanese sailors, the grd Kure Special Landing Force, landed without opposition on Tulagi Island, then capital of the British Solomon Islands. Read more »

The First Flag-raising On Iwo Jima

A single great photograph has become an indelible symbol of the Marines’ heroic fight for the Japanese island. But hours earlier a now-almost-forgotten platoon had raised the first American flag on Mt. Suribachi’s scarred summit—and under enemy fire

Iwo Jima was a gray silhouette in the dawn of February 19, 1945, when we got our first look at it. The naval guns that would support our landing had started to thunder, and the target areas teemed with red perforations. From the deck of our transport we forty-six men of the 3rd Platoon of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, scanned the island apprehensively. We knew that its seven and a half square miles held more than 20,000 of Japan’s best troops and a multitude of ingenious defenses.

 
Read more »

Niihau A Shoal Of Time

For a century Hawaii’s westernmost island has stubbornly resisted the tides of change

No man is an island, we know; and Islands themselves in our time have been steadily stripped of their isolation and their integrity, in the Pacific, the great ocean of atolls and archipelagoes, long waves beat on coral reels as they did when Melville came, and Cook, and the earliest Polynesian voyagers; but now there are jet contrails in the sky, and fallout from nuclear tests comes down impartially on palm tree and penthouse.

 
Read more »

How Papa Liberated Paris

An eyewitness re-creates the wonderful, wacky day in August, 1944, when Hemingway, a handful of Americans, and a senorita named Elena helped rekindle the City of Light. Champagne ran in rivers, and the squeals inside the tanks were not from grit in the bogie wheels

From the war there is one story above others dear to my heart of which I have never written a line—the loony liberation of Paris.

There are reasons for this restraint: a promise once made; the unimportance of trying to be earnest about that which is ludicrous; the vanity of the hope that fact may ever overtake fiction; and the blight of the passing years on faded notes.

Read more »

The Siege Of Wake Island

American Heritage Book Selection: An eyewitness account of the World War II battle in the Pacific.

For the United States forces in the Pacific, the first months of World War II were a time of unremitting disaster. Undermanned, outgunned, and hardly prepared for a struggle of such magnitude, our scattered garrisons could hope only to delay and hinder the Japanese onslaught until the nation’s war machine grew strong enough to contain it. One of the most gallant of these desperate holding actions was the defense of Wake Island in December, 1941.

Read more »

A Few Men In Soldier Suits

A down-to-earth story of the way in which the German thrust at the Bulge was halted

Few of the Americans in Paris at Christmas time, 194-1, were at all alarmed over the sudden German breakthrough. The French, who are pessimists from experience, were scared and thought the Bodies were coming back, but Americans are never pessimists and they never seem to have had any experience. The SHAEF public relations division called off its Christmas party in a bored gesture toward the biggest and most disastrous battle of the war on the Western Front.

 
Read more »

One Who Survived

SEAMAN HEYN’S STORY
FROM THE NAVAL ARCHIVES OF WORLD WAR II

Day after day, the sun, the sea, and the sharks cut down the men who clung to the “doughnut” raft

 
Read more »