Airpower’s Century

Powered flight was born exactly one hundred years ago. It changed everything, of course—but most of all, it changed how we wage war.

Walter Boyne’s résumé makes for unusual reading. He is the author of 42 books and one of the few people to have had bestsellers on both the fiction and the nonfiction lists of The New York Times. A career Air Force officer who won his wings in 1951, he has flown over 5,000 hours in a score of different aircraft, from a Piper Cub to a B-IB bomber, and he is a command pilot. Boyne retired as a colonel in 1974 after 23 years of service (in 1989 he returned for a brief tour of duty to fly the B-IB).Read more »

Empire Of The Winds

In the Aleutian Islands you can explore a landscape of violent beauty, discover the traces of an all-but-forgotten war, and (just possibly) catch a $100,000 fish

 

One summer 30 years ago I found myself on a DC-3 bound for Unalaska, my string bass strapped into the seat next to me. I anchored the rhythm section of a high school band in Anchorage, and we were going to show students in this remote village on the Aleutian chain how much fun it could be to play a musical instrument.

 
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Where Berlin And America Meet

Our common history isn’t all pleasant, but seeing it firsthand is deeply moving

Berlin’s history intersects with America’s at many points, and tourists who seek these intersections will arrive at the first of them sooner than they expect. Americans who came of age soaking up reruns of Twelve O‘Clock High, The World at War, and Victory Through Air-power may find that flying into Berlin is a slightly disconcerting way to approach the place.

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Harry Truman And The Price Of Victory

New Llght on the President’s Biggest Decision

What did President Harry S. Truman and his senior advisers believe an invasion of Japan would cost in American dead? Is In recent years this has been a matter of heated historical controversy, with Truman’s critics maintaining that the huge casualty estimates he later cited were a “postwar creation” designed to justify his use of nuclear weapons against a beaten nation already on the verge of suing for peace. The real reasons, they maintain, range from a desire to intimidate the Russians to sheer bloodlust.

 
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The Churchill-Roosevelt Forgeries

The campaign to revise Hitler’s reputation has gone on for 50 years, but there’s another strategy now. Some of it is built on the work of the head of the Gestapo—who may have enjoyed a comfortable retirement in America.

RECENTLY, ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS, the American public has been made aware of evidence of plagiarism practiced, alas, by celebrated American historians. This is regrettable, but nothing new. All kinds of writers have borrowed and, worse, stolen from others through the ages. Plagiarism is a forgery of sorts, a little like the forging of a signature on a work of art. Other forgeries are less easily detectable. Moreover, the purposes of a historian’s plagiarism and of a historical forgery are different.Read more »

September 11 Vs. December 7

DID AMERICANS BEHAVE BETTER BACK THEN?

Remember September 11? Or rather, remember how it was supposed to change us all, and for the better? Among all the predictions was one that held that it would lead to “the end of irony,” the sort of earnest prognostication that is bound to seem ironic in retrospect. Yet an even more civic-minded call came from Robert D. Putnam, who let us know that this was our chance to get back to the spirit of World War II. Read more »

Grab Shot

A DICTATOR’S END, CAPTURED UNEXPECTEDLY

In December of 1942 I was drafted and sent overseas to Oran, Algeria, where I was assigned to the 91st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. The eyes and ears for the troops, we rode in jeeps, armored cars, and light tanks, scouting the numbers and supplies of the enemy forces. The 91st did so well that Gen. George Patton insisted we do his reconnaissance all through Africa and Sicily. At the end of the fighting, the 91st had a record of 341 combat days. Read more »

A Village Disappeared

On the sixtieth anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the granddaughter of a Japanese detainee recalls the community he lost and the fight he waged in the Supreme Court to win back the right to earn a living

To the casual visitor, terminal island in Los Angeles Harbor is no more than a complex of dull warehouses and empty lots. The waterfront may feature a lonely boat or two and the streets suffer the occasional rumbling tractor trailer, but few people come here, adding to the gloom of this industrial neighborhood. Read more »

Hitler And IBM

DID A COMPANY AND A MACHINE SPAWN EVIL?

 

Did International Business Machines, a giant of information technology long before there were computers, have a “conscious involvement —directly and through its subsidiaries—in the Holocaust, as well as... in the Nazi war machine that murdered millions of others throughout Europe"? That’s the message of the bestselling book IBM and the Holocaust , by a journalist and son of Holocaust survivors named Edwin Black.

 
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Return To Midway

THE ATOLL WHERE THE TIDE OF THE PACIFIC WAR TURNED IS NOW BOTH A STIRRING
HISTORICAL LANDMARK AND A STUNNING WILD LIFE REFUGE.

As we approached, the pilot came on the 737’s PA systern to announce that he would be swinging around the coral atoll before landing so everyone would get a good first look at our destination, one of the most remote in the Pacific Ocean. A murmur lifted and echoed through the cabin as those on one side and then the other strained to glimpse the wide lagoon, a luminescent aquamarine circle surrounded by the deep blue of the encompassing sea.

 
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