Lessons in the "WorldWarTwo" Category

Auschwitz – A lesson in history

Today, let’s talk about Auschwitz. It’s a lesson in history we should never forget. Why discuss it now? Simple – I was recently invited to go to Poland for a long weekend to Cracow. One of the trips we made was to Auschwitz. I can tell you – it makes you think twice on many things once you have visited the place.

Whilst it is not in my top 10 places to visit I believe it is a place you should visit once in your life. Indeed, many tourists do – during mid June to mid September mostly. It is as creepy and shocking today as you can imagine. When you walk around the site you can only imagine how ghastly it was and what it might have been like to live there. I will add – for those non-believers who say the Jews weren’t murdered by the Nazis – I say this – visit this place and you will rapidly think again.

Category: History / WWII / Auschwitz

20 Spitfires buried in Burma during WWII to be unearthed

Recently a fascinating story caught my eye. It’s about 20 Spitfires buried in Burma at the end of World War II that have suddenly been discovered! It’s like something out of a boy’s adventure book or an Indiana Jones story. A British farmer’s quest to find a squadron of legendary fighter planes lost in Burma during the war has finally paid off.

Lincolnshire farmer David Cundall, 62, has spent about US$207,000, travelled to Burma a dozen times and negotiated with the cagey Burmese government. All in the hope of finding a stash of iconic British Spitfires that are buried somewhere in the South Eastern Asian country.

Burying planes might sound a bit odd but was commonplace at the end of WWII as the conflict wound down and new jet aircraft replaced propeller-driven fighters. Many aircraft were scrapped, buried or sunk by Allies Forces in order to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.

Category: Discoveries / Aviation / Spitfires

The link between Bletchley Park and Google

For nearly half a century Bletchley Park, a Victorian manor house near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, lay neglected and unloved; its dilapidated buildings falling into disrepair. By the 90s, its boarded-up huts at its rear were due to be torn down. Yet for more than 50 years the house was shrouded under a veil of secrecy. Only during the last 20 years was its secret finally revealed. It was the place where the codes of the German Enigma machine were broken by a special-purpose codebreaking machine called Colossus.

The secret work at Bletchley Park had, it is believed, shortened the war by up to two years. However, the secrecy came at a cost. Britain lost out to the US in the development of computer technology. So what is the link between Bletchley Park and Google? Simple – there is a desire by some individuals at Google to nurture the past. In fact, Google is helping to spearhead a campaign to save Bletchley Park by restoring it to its former glory. Google has provided the money for the purchase of key papers and is backing the current appeal to restore the derelict block at Bletchley Park.

Category: History / Bletchley Park / Google

Should France preserve Hitler’s Atlantic Wall?

Sections of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall in France are being restored by enthusiasts. But should it be preserved? Should the Nazi fortification be fully embraced as part of the country’s image?

The so-called Atlantic Wall – Hitler’s defensive system against an expected Allied attack – stretched all the way from the Spanish border to Scandinavia. It was in France where the most extensive building took place. In fact 1,287km (800 miles) of French coast have substantial and evocative vestiges of war-time Europe. However, in France up till now there has been no effort to preserve this extraordinary historical landmark.

The French, have it seems, been quite happy to see the German defences rust away and crumble over time. But now it appears a new mood has emerged. Recently, several local associations dedicated to safeguarding portions of the Wall have been set up in France. Times have moved on, memories of the war have lapsed, and a new generation no longer feels pain or guilt, but curiosity.

Category: History / France / Hitler’s Atlantic Wall

Nazis flying saucers – film sparks UFO debate

A new sci-fi film* about the Nazis has reignited a debate in Germany about Hitler’s development of flying saucers. The Finnish sci-fi comedy ‘Iron Sky*’ centres on real life officer Hans Kammler, who was said to have made a significant breakthrough in anti-gravity experiments towards the end of World War Two.

The film relates how, from a secret base built up in Antarctica, the first Nazi spaceships were launched in late 1945 to found the military base Schwartz Sonne – Black Sun – on the dark side of the moon. This base was to be used to build a powerful invasion fleet and return to the earth once the timing was right, in this case 2018.

Category: Nazis / Flying Saucers / Sci-Fi Movie

Steam train reunites British Schindler with Jewish children he rescued from Nazis

A steam train carrying evacuees from the former Czechoslovakia who escaped the holocaust as children arrived at London's Liverpool Street station on Friday (4th September). They were met by the man who saved their lives. Sir Nicholas Winton, an indefatigable 100-year-old, greeted the passengers who had boarded the train in Prague to mark the 70th anniversary of the start of the Second World War.

Now walking with a stick, he shook hands with many of the evacuees as they stepped off the steam train. Twenty-two of the evacuees were part of the original 669 mostly Jewish children he helped to escape from the Nazis ahead of war being declared on 3rd September 1939. The others were the descendants of these children.

The event was organised by Czech Railways who hired the new British steam train Tornado to re-enact the journey. Before the steam train departed on Tuesday from Prague a statue of Sir Nicholas was unveiled at the station. The train then passed through Germany and Holland en-route for England. A band played as "The Winton Train", as it was dubbed, arrived at Liverpool Street. The event drew many people who wanted to meet the man dubbed the British Schindler...