World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Who's Who 

Always being updated

BARBIE Klaus - 'Butcher of Lyon'

Klaus Barbie was born in in Bad Godesberg, Germany in 1913. He joined the Nazi Party in 1932 and three years later became a member of the SS (Schutzstaffel). In 1935 Barbie was assigned to the SD Security Service.

Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War Barbie was promoted to second lieutenant and was with a SD detachment during the Western Offensive. In November 1940 he became an SS Obersturmführer and moved to Holland where he served in the Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration.

In June 1942 Barbie was transferred to Dijon in France to take up a post with the SD Security Service. In November 1942, the Germans reoccupied Lyons and Barbie established an office in Hotel Terminus. The following year he moved to offices and specially built torture chambers in the Ecole de Santé Militaire.


On 7th June 1943, Barbie captured René Hardy, a member of the French Resistance who had successfully carried out several acts of sabotage against the Germans. Barbie eventually obtained enough information to arrest Jean Moulin, Pierre Brossolette and Charles Delestraint. Moulin and Brossolette both died while being tortured and Delestraint was sent to Dachau where he was killed near the end of the war. As Allied troops approached Lyons in September 1944, Barbie destroyed Gestapo records and killed hundreds of Frenchmen who had first-hand knowledge of his brutal interrogation methods.

This included twenty double-agents who had been supplying him with information about the French Resistance.

Barbie fled back to Nazi Germany where he was recruited by the US Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC).
This included twenty double-agents who had been supplying him with information about the French Resistance.

Barbie fled back to Nazi Germany where he was recruited by the US Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC).


Barbie impressed his American handlers by infiltrating the Bavarian branch of the Communist Party. According to the CIC Barbie's "value as an informant infinitely outweighs any use he may have in prison."

René Hardy was tried for treason in 1950. Both the prosecution and the defence teams wanted Barbie to testify. At this time John J. McCloy, the High Commissioner for Germany, was concerned about the growth of communism in Bavaria and valued the role played by Barbie in this struggle. Therefore he decided to reject the requests being made by the French authorities to hand over Barbie. During the trial, Hardy's defence lawyer exposed what was happening by announcing in court that it was "scandalous that the U.S. military authorities in Germany were protecting Barbie from extradition for security reasons."

Barbie was in fact in hiding in a CIC safe house in the American Zone in Germany. McCloy denied any knowledge of where Barbie was and instead announced that the case was under investigation. McCloy was informed by CIC that: "This entire Hardy-Barbie affair is being pushed as a political issue by left-wing elements in France. No strong effort has been made by the French to obtain Barbie because of the political embarrassment his testimony might cause certain high French officials." In other words, Barbie had information that would show how prominent French politicians who during the war had collaborated with the Gestapo. The American government also were worried about what Barbie might say about his involvement with the CIC in Germany.

On 8th May, 1950, René Hardy was acquitted. As Kai Bird pointed out (The Chairman: John J. McCloy: The Making of the American Establishment): " The enraged French public blamed the Americans for not allowing Barbie, the star witness against Hardy, to be extradited from Germany. By the end of May, under pressure from French resistance veterans, the French government had once again requested Barbie's apprehension."

John J. McCloy was now in a difficult position. He was reluctant to admit that the CIC was employing an accused war criminal. In fact, it was more serious than that. According to one CIC document, Klaus Barbie had "personally directed CIC's counterintelligence operations aimed at infiltrating French intelligence." CIC told McCloy that "a complete disclosure by Barbie to the French of his activities on behalf of CIC would... furnish the French with evidence that we had been directing intelligence operations against them."

Throughout the summer and autumn of 1950 McCloy told the French that "continuous efforts to locate Barbie are being made". In reality, no search of any kind was conducted as they knew where he was living. In fact, he continued to draw a CIC salary during this period. In March, 1951, Barbie was smuggled out of Germany and given a new life in Bolivia. In 1957 he acquired Bolivian citizenship under the pseudonym Klaus Altmann

It was not until 1983 that Nazi hunters were able to find Barbie and have him extradited to France. He was found guilty of crimes against humanity. This included the execution of men, women, and children as hostages, torture and the deportation of 842 from Lyons to Nazi Germany. Found guilty he was sentenced in 1987 to life imprisonment. Klaus Barbie died of leukemia in the prison hospital at Lyons on 25th September 1991.

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BONHOEFFER Dietrich 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: February 4, 1906 – April 9, 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, and martyr. He was also a participant in the German Resistance movement against Nazism and a founding member of the Confessing Church. His involvement in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler resulted in his arrest in April 1943 and his subsequent execution by hanging in April 1945, twenty-three days before the Nazis' surrender. His view of Christianity's role in the secular world has become very influential.

In February 1938, Bonhoeffer made an initial contact with members of German Resistance when his brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi introduced him to a group seeking Hitler's overthrow at Abwehr, German military intelligence. Bonhoeffer also learned from Dohnanyi that war was imminent. He was particularly troubled by the prospect of being conscripted. As a committed pacifist opposed to Nazi regime, he could never swear an oath to Hitler and fight in his army, which was potentially a capital offence. Yet he was also worried about consequence of refusing military service for Confessing Church, a move that would be frowned upon by most Christians and their churches at the time.

On April 6, 1943, Bonhoeffer and Dohnanyi were arrested not because of their conspiracy but because of long-standing rivalry between SS and Abwehr for intelligence fiefdom. One of the informers of Abwehr, Wilhelm Schmidhuber, was arrested by the Gestapo for involvement in a private currency affair. In the subsequent investigations the Gestapo uncovered Dohnanyi's operation in which 14 Jews were sent to Switzerland ostensibly as Abwehr agents and large sums in foreign currency were paid to them as compensation for confiscated properties. The Gestapo, which had been looking for information to discredit Abwehr, sensed that they had a corruption case against Dohnanyi and searched his office at Abwehr where they discovered notes revealing Bonhoeffer's foreign contacts and other documents related to the anti-Hitler conspiracy. One of them was a note that discussed plans for a journey by Bonhoeffer to Rome, where he would explain to church leaders why the assassination attempts on Hitler in March 1943 had failed. Nevertheless, Bonhoeffer's involvement in assassination plots was not known by the Gestapo as Abwehr succeeded in explaining away the most damning documents as official coded Military Intelligence materials. Dohnanyi and Bonhoeffer were, however, suspected of subverting Nazi policy toward Jews and misusing Abwehr for inappropriate purposes. Bonhoeffer was suspected of evading military call-up, using Abwehr to circumvent Gestapo injunction against public speaking and staying in Berlin, and using Abwehr to further Confessing Church works, amongst other charges.

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BRAUN Eva Anna Paula -

Eva Anna Paula Hitler née Braun (6 February 1912 – 30 April 1945) was the longtime companion and, for a brief time, wife, of Adolf Hitler. Braun met Hitler in Munich when she was 17 years old while working as an assistant and model for his personal photographer and began seeing him often about two years later. She attempted suicide twice during their early relationship. By 1936 she was a part of his household at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden and by all accounts lived a materially luxurious and sheltered life throughout World War II. Braun kept up habits which met Hitler's disapproval, such as smoking, wearing makeup and nude sunbathing. Braun enjoyed photography and many of the surviving colour photographs of Hitler were taken by her. She was a key figure within Hitler's inner social circle, but did not attend public events with him until the summer of 1944, when her sister married an officer on his personal staff.

As the Third Reich collapsed towards the end of the war, Braun swore her loyalty to Hitler and went to Berlin to be by his side in the heavily reinforced Führerbunker deep beneath the Reich Chancellery. As Red Army troops fought their way into the neighbourhood on 29 April 1945, she married Hitler during a brief civil ceremony: she was 33 and he 56. Less than 40 hours later they committed suicide together in a sitting room of the bunker, she by biting into a capsule of cyanide. The German public was wholly unaware of Braun until after her death.

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CHAMBERLAIN Neville 

Neville Chamberlain, the son of Joseph Chamberlain, and the brother of Austin Chamberlain, was born in 1869. After being educated at Rugby School he spent seven years managing his father's plantation in the Bahamas.



Chamberlain arrived back in England in 1897 where he went into the copper-brass business. He was active in local politics and in 1915 was elected Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

In the 1918 General Election Chamberlain was elected as the Conservative MP for Ladywood. He refused office under David Lloyd George but accepted the posts Postmaster-General (1923-24) and Minister of Health (1924-29) under Stanley Baldwin.

Chamberlain also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the National Government headed by Ramsay MacDonald (1931-37). He was an efficient administrator abolishing the Poor Law and reorganizing unemployment assistance.

On 29th September, 1938, Chamberlain, Adolf Hitler, Edouard Daladier and Benito Mussolini signed the Munich Agreement which transferred to Germany the Sudetenland, a fortified frontier region that contained a large German-speaking population - see Timeline page.

However, members of the House of Commons saw him as an uninspiring war leader. In May 1940 members of the Labour Party and Liberal Party refused to serve in his proposed National Government. Chamberlain resigned and was replaced by Winston Churchill. He was appointed as Lord President of the Council in Churchill's government but ill health forced him to leave office in October 1940, and he died on 9th November, 1940.

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DARRE Richard Walter

        (14 July 1895 - 5 September 1953)

SS-Obergruppenfuhrer and one of the Nazi leading ideologists. He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to a German father and half-Swedish, half- SS-Obergruppenfuhrer and one of the Nazi leading ideologists. He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to a German father and half-Swedish, half-German mother. There exists nothing to indicate either of his parents were as fanatical about clinging to their ethnic heritage as the families of other top Nazis. This is not to say they were completely assimilative, but Darre's personality allowed him to learn and gain fluency in four languages: English, Spanish, German, and French. He moved to Germany in the 1920's and did not complete his PhD studies until 1929; at the comparatively old age of 34.


Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike

 October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was a five-star general in the United States Army and the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961, and the last to be born in the 19th century. During World War II, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, with responsibility for planning and supervising the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45, from the Western Front. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.


A Republican, Eisenhower entered the 1952 presidential race to counter the isolationism of Sen. Robert A. Taft, and to crusade against "Communism, Korea and corruption". He won by a landslide, defeating Democrat Adlai Stevenson and ending two decades of the New Deal Coalition holding the White House. As President, Eisenhower concluded negotiations with China to end the Korean War. He maintained pressure on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, gave priority to inexpensive nuclear weapons and reduced the other forces to save money. He had to play catch-up in the Space Race after the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957. On the domestic front, he helped remove Joseph McCarthy from power but otherwise left most political actions to his Vice President, Richard Nixon.

Eisenhower did not end New Deal policies, and in fact enlarged the Social Security, and signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. He was the first term-limited president in accordance with the 22nd Amendment. His two terms were peaceful, and generally prosperous except for a sharp economic recession in 1958–59. Historians typically rank Eisenhower among the ten greatest U.S. presidents. 


Goebbles:

Joseph Goebbels was born in 1897 and died in 1945. Goebbels was Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda and one of the most important and influential people in Nazi Germany.

Goebbels was born in the Rhineland and he attended the established Heidelberg University where he was awarded a doctorate of philosophy in 1920. He had not served in the German Army during the First World War as he was disabled by a clubbed foot which hindered his ability to walk. This feeling of physical inferiority (Goebbels was self-conscious about his lack of height as well), his rejection by the German Army and the terms of the Treaty of Versailles lead to Goebbels becoming a very embittered man in the early 1920’s. He joined the Nazi Party towards the end of 1924 though to keep his parents happy, he got a job in a bank to maintain some semblance of being middle class.

Goebbels was given the task of building up Nazi support in Berlin. He did this between 1926 and 1930. In 1928, he was elected to the Reichstag - something that he repeated in 1930. In 1929, he had been given overall charge of the party’s propaganda machine. It was here that Goebbels excelled. In 1933, after Hitler was appointed chancellor, Goebbels was appointed Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda. He held this post until 1945.


Goebbels speaking at a political rally against the Lausanne Conference (1932)

His sharp tongue made him enemies within the Nazi Party where some called him the "Poison Dwarf". However, except for issues involving his marriage, he had Hitler’s support. Goebbels was a notorious womaniser and his wife wanted to divorce him after one liaison too many. Hitler refused to give his permission for a divorce as he had spent much time cultivating the importance of family values to the German public. How could he tolerate a senior figure in the Nazi Party presenting such a poor example? However, it is known that Goebbels was told by Hitler to change his ways.

 

DGoebbels knew the power of controlling what people thought. Those that did not had to face the secret police. Those who were taken in by Goebbels were enthralled by colour film - rarely seen being used by politicians elsewhere as it was considered too unreliable. Films such as "The Eternal Jew" ( a black and white film) hammered home the anti-Semitic message of the party; "Triumph of the Will" portrayed the might of Hitler and Germany. The displays at Nuremburg - done in partnership with Albert Speer - are significant achievements even by today’s standards of size and complexities of organisation.uring the Second World War, it was easy for Goebbels to persuade the public that things were going well when the war was going Germany’s way. However, this became a lot more difficult after the Battle of Stalingrad. This was portrayed on film as a failing of generals on the eastern front not showing enough commitment to the Nazi cause. Goebbels demanded "total war" from the Germans and in 1944, he was appointed Reich Commissioner for Total Mobilisation.

As Berlin was besieged by the Russians in April/May 1945, Goebbels stayed with Hitler in Hitler’s bunker. In his diary, he blamed the defeat of Germany on the German people and not Hitler. On May 1st, he gave poison to his six children and then shot his wife and then himself. He gave orders that his body should be burned. Before, his death, it is said that Hitler gave to Goebbels his own wrist watch as a mark that he had been the only senior Nazi leader to have stayed with Hitler to the end.


Göring Hermann:

Hermann Wilhelm Göring (or Goering); 12 January 1893– 15 October 1946) was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of the First World War as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite ("The Blue Max"). He was the last commander of Jagdgeschwader 1, the air squadron of Manfred von Richthofen, "The Red Baron".



In 1935 Göring was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe (or German Air Force), a position he was to hold until the final days of the Second World War. By mid-1940, Göring was at the peak of his power and influence. Hitler had promoted him to the rank of Reichsmarschall, making Göring senior to all other Wehrmacht commanders, and in 1941 Hitler designated him as his successor and deputy in all his offices. By 1942, with the German war effort stumbling on both fronts, Göring's standing with Hitler was very greatly reduced. Göring largely withdrew from the military and political scene to enjoy the pleasures of life as a wealthy and powerful man. After the Second World War, Göring was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Trials. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but committed suicide by cyanide ingestion the night before he was due to be hanged.


 

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Heydrich

Heydrich:  Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich (7 March 1904 – 4 June 1942) was a high-ranking German Nazi official. He was SS-Obergruppenführer (General) and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office (including the SD, Gestapo and Kripo) and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor (Deputy Reich-Protector) of Bohemia and Moravia. In August 1940, he was appointed and served as President of Interpol (the international law enforcement agency). Heydrich chaired the 1942 Wannsee Conference, which discussed plans for the deportation and extermination of all Jews in German-occupied territory. He was attacked by British-trained Czech agents on 27 May 1942 sent to assassinate him in Prague (see Operation Anthropoid). He died approximately one week later due to his injuries.

 

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HIMMLER Heinrich

 Chief of the SS (1929 – 45) and the Gestapo (1936 – 45). Oversaw the genocide of over 6 million Jews and others between 1941 and 45. Captured by British forces in 1945 – committed suicide.

Heinrich Luitpold Himmler  7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and later the Minister of the Interior, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo. Serving as Reichsführer and later as Commander of the Replacement (Home) Army and General Plenipotentiary for the entire Reich's administration (Generalbevollmächtigter für die Verwaltung), Himmler rose to become the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany.

 

As overseer of the concentration camps, extermination camps, and Einsatzgruppen (literally: task forces, often used as killing squads), Himmler coordinated the killing of some six million Jews, between 200,000 and 500,000 Roma, many prisoners of war, and possibly another three to four million Poles, communists, or other groups whom the Nazis deemed unworthy to live or simply "in the way", including homosexuals, people with physical and mental disabilities, Jehovah's Witnesses and members of the Confessing Church. Shortly before the end of the war, he offered to surrender both Germany and himself to the Western Allies if he were spared prosecution. After being arrested by British forces, he committed suicide before he could be questioned.

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HITLER Adolph

Adolf Hitler was born on 20th April, 1889, in the small Austrian town of Braunau near the German border. Both Hitler's parents had come from poor peasant families. His father Alois Hitler, the illegitimate son of a housemaid, was an intelligent and ambitious man and later became a senior customs official.

Klara Hitler was Alois' third wife. Alois was twenty-three years older than Klara and already had two children from his previous marriages. Klara and Alois had five children but only Adolf and a younger sister, Paula, survived to become adults.

Alois, who was fifty-one when Adolf was born, was extremely keen for his son to do well in life. Alois did have another son by an earlier marriage but he had been a big disappointment to him and eventually ended up in prison for theft. Alois was a strict father and savagely beat his son if he did not do as he was told.

Hitler did extremely well at primary school and it appeared he had a bright academic future in front of him. He was also popular with other pupils and was much admired for his leadership qualities. He was also a deeply religious child and for a while considered the possibility of becoming a monk.

On 30 April 1945, after intense street-to-street combat, when Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery, Hitler committed suicide, shooting himself with his Walther PPK 7.65 mm pistol. Hitler had at various times in the past contemplated suicide, and the Walther was the same pistol that his niece, Geli Raubal had used in her suicide.

On 30 April 1945, after intense street-to-street combat, when Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery, Hitler committed suicide, shooting himself with his Walther PPK 7.65 mm pistol. Hitler had at various times in the past contemplated suicide, and the Walther was the same pistol that his niece, Geli Raubal had used in her suicide. Hitler's body and that of Eva Braun were carried up the stairs to ground level and through the bunker's emergency exit to the bombed-out garden behind the Chancellery where they were placed in a bomb crater and doused with petrol. The corpses were set on fire as the Red Army advanced and the shelling continued.

 

Hosenfeld Wilm 

The Holocaust is a history of enduring horror and sorrow. It seems as though there is no spark of human concern, no act of humanity, to lighten that dark history. Yet there were acts of courage and kindness during the Holocaust - this is the story of Wilm Hosenfeld, a German Wehrmacht officer who believed in helping others, even at the risk of getting himself killed - a man who had the courage to stand against evil. The Holocaust survivor, the author Elie Wiesel, has dedicated his life to ensuring that none of us forget what happened to the Jews. The Nobel Prize recipient wrote:
"In those times there was darkness everywhere. In heaven and on earth, all the gates of compassion seemed to have been closed. The killer killed and the Jews died and the outside world adopted an attitude either of complicity or of indifference. Only a few had the courage to care."
The Holocaust
One of them was Wilm Hosenfeld. He risked everything to help Jews escape the Nazi genocide and achieved world-wide fame as the rescuer of the Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman, when Polanski's film "The Pianist" won the Golden Palm in Cannes and 3 Academy Awards. Many, many people around the world, including Andrzej Szpilman, the son of the pianist, has been demanding, for years now, that Yad Vashem honor Wilm Hosenfeld as a Righteous Among the Nations: non-Jews who risked their lives in order to rescue Jews. Today the name of Wilm Hosenfeld is known to millions as a household word for courage ... - Louis Bülow   www.auschwitz.dk

Read more about Wilm Hosenfeld on My Piano World - click


Jodl Alfred Josef Ferdinand  (10 May 1890 – 16 October 1946) was a German military commander, attaining the position of Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, or OKW) during World War II, acting as deputy to Wilhelm Keitel. At Nuremberg he was tried, sentenced to death and hanged as a war criminal.


Jodl's appointment as a major in the operations branch of the Truppenamt in the Army High Command in the last days of the Weimar Republic put him under command of General Ludwig Beck, who recognised Jodl as "a man with a future", although it was only on September 1939 that Jodl met with Adolf Hitler for the first time. In the build-up to World War II, Jodl was nominally assigned as a Artilleriekommandeur of the 44th Division from October 1938 to August 1939 during the Anschluss, but from then until the end of the war in May 1945 he was Chef des Wehrmachtsführungsstabes (Chief of Operation Staff OKW). Jodl acted as a Chief of Staff during the swift occupation of Denmark and Norway. During the campaign, Hitler interfered only when the German destroyer flotilla was demolished outside Narvik and wanted the German forces there to retreat into Sweden.

Jodl successfully thwarted Hitler's orders. Jodl disagreed with Hitler for the second time during the summer offensive of 1942. Hitler dispatched Jodl to the Caucasus to visit Field-Marshal Wilhelm List to find out why the oil fields had not been captured. Jodl returned only to corroborate List's reports that the troops were at their last gasp.

During the Battle of Britain Jodl was optimistic of Britain's demise and on 30 June 1940 wrote "The final German victory over England is now only a question of time."

Jodl signed the Commando Order of 28 October 1942 (in which Allied Commandos, including uniformed soldiers as well as combatants wearing civilian clothes such as Maquis and Partisans were not to be treated as POWs) and the Commissar Order of 6 June 1941 (in which Soviet Political Commissioners were to be shot).

He was injured during the 20 July plot of 1944 against Hitler. Because of this, Jodl was awarded the special wounded badge alongside several other leading Nazi figures. He was also rather vocal about his suspicions that others had not endured wounds as strong as his own, often downplaying the effects of the plot on others.

At the end of World War II in Europe, Jodl signed the instruments of unconditional surrender on 7 May 1945 in Reims as the representative of Karl Dönitz.

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JOYCE William (Lord Haw Haw) 

Lord Haw-Haw, William Joyce, became a figure of fascination and hate in World War Two. Lord Haw-Haw's voice was heard on German radio especially during the dark days of the Blitz when the fighting spirit of Great Britain was put to the test.

Haw-Haw started off his broadcasts with "Germany calling, Germany calling". This was the call sign of a Hamburg radio station which broadcast nightly news bulletins in English to the British people. The voice of the speaker belonged to William Joyce - nick-named Lord Haw-Haw by the "Daily Express". In fact, possibly as many as three men were Lord Haw-Haw with Joyce being the most infamous. Another radio commentator was a former army officer called Norman Baillie-Stewart. However, Joyce is the name most frequently associated with the "Germany calling" nightly bulletins.

Joyce was Irish by blood, American by birth and carried a British passport. He had belonged to the Oswald Mosely's British Fascist Party - a political party in Britain that attempted to copy the Nazi Party in Germany.

Joyce's broadcasts were anti-Semitic and poked fun at the British war leader Winston Churchill. It is thought that on average six million people listened to Joyce each broadcast. Many found the broadcasts so absurd that they were seen as a way of relieving the tedium of life in Britain during the war.

However, Joyce's  broadcasts also provided the British public with information which had been censored at home. On one occasion, Joyce asked the British public to question the Admiralty over the aircraft carrier "Ark Royal". In fact, nothing had happened to the "Ark Royal" but the seeds of doubt had been sown.

Other stories were told by Joyce to unnerve the British public. He told the listeners things happening in Britain, which he could only have known about through the German's spy machine established in Britain. This also helped to unsettle the British public even if most of what he said was nonsense. Joyce was also credited with saying things in his broadcasts which he clearly did not say - such was his reputation at the time.

At the end of the war, Joyce was arrested by British Military Police, taken to London where he was tried and found guilty of treason. He was hanged in 1946.


MONTGOMERY Bernard Law:

Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, 17 November 1887 – 24 March 1976), often referred to as "Monty", was a British Army officer. He saw action in World War I, and during World War II he successfully commanded Allied forces at the Battle of El Alamein, a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign. He was later a prominent commander in Italy and North-West Europe, where he was in command of all Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord until after the Battle of Normandy, and was the principal commander for Operation Market Garden. After the War he became Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces of Occupation in Germany and then Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939. The 3rd Division was deployed to Belgium as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Montgomery predicted a disaster similar to that in 1914, and so spent the Phoney War training his troops for tactical retreat rather than offensive operations. During this time, Montgomery faced serious trouble from his superiors for his attitude regarding the sexual health of his soldiers. However, he was defended from dismissal by his superior Alan Brooke, commander of II Corps. Montgomery's training paid off when the Germans began their invasion of the Low Countries on 10 May 1940 and the 3rd Division advanced to the River Dijle and then withdrew to Dunkirk with great professionalism, returning to Britain intact with minimal casualties. During Operation Dynamo—the evacuation of 330,000 BEF and French troops to Britain—Montgomery had assumed command of the II Corps after Brooke had taken acting command of the whole BEF.

On his return Montgomery antagonised the War Office with trenchant criticisms of the command of the BEF and was briefly relegated to divisional command. He was however made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. In July 1940, he was appointed acting lieutenant-general, placed in command of V Corps, responsible for the defence of Hampshire and Dorset, and started a long-running feud with the new commander-in-chief, Southern Command, Claude Auchinleck. In April 1941, he became commander of XII Corps responsible for the defence of Kent. During this period he instituted a regime of continuous training and insisted on high levels of physical fitness for both officers and other ranks. He was ruthless in sacking officers he considered would be unfit for command in action. In December 1941 Montgomery was given command of South-Eastern Command overseeing the defence of Kent, Sussex and Surrey. He renamed his command the South-Eastern Army to promote offensive spirit. During this time he further developed and rehearsed his ideas and trained his soldiers, culminating in Exercise Tiger in May 1942, a combined forces exercise involving 100,000 troops.

El Alamein

Infantry advance during the Battle of El Alamein.

The Second Battle of El Alamein began on 23 October 1942, and ended twelve days later with the first large-scale, decisive Allied land victory of the war. Montgomery correctly predicted both the length of the battle and the number of casualties (13,500). However, soon after British armoured units and infantry broke through the German and Italian lines and were pursuing the enemy forces at speed along the coast road, a violent rainstorm burst over the region, bogging down the tanks and support trucks in the desert mud. Montgomery, standing before his officers at headquarters and close to tears, announced that he was forced to call off the pursuit. Corelli Barnett has pointed out that the rain also fell on the Germans, and that the weather is therefore an inadequate explanation for the failure to exploit the breakthrough, but nevertheless the Battle of El Alamein had been a great success. Over 30,000 prisoners were taken including the German second in command, General von Thoma, as well as eight other general officers. Rommel, having been in a hospital in Germany at the start of the battle, was forced to return on 25 October 1942 after General Stumme - his replacement as German commander - died of a heart attack in the early hours of the battle.

Tunisia

Montgomery was knighted and promoted to full general. The Eighth Army's subsequent advance as the Germans retreated hundreds of miles towards their bases in Tunisia used the logistical as well as the firepower advantages of the British Army while avoiding unnecessary risks. It also gave the Allies an indication that the tide of war had genuinely turned in North Africa. Montgomery kept the initiative, applying superior strength when it suited him, forcing Rommel out of each successive defensive position. On 6 March 1943, Rommel's attack on the over-extended Eighth Army at Medenine (Operation Capri) with the largest concentration of German armour in North Africa was successfully repulsed. At the Mareth Line, 20 March to 27 March, when Montgomery encountered fiercer frontal opposition than he had anticipated, he switched his major effort into an outflanking inland pincer, backed by low-flying RAF fighter-bomber support.

This campaign demonstrated the battle-winning ingredients of morale (sickness and absenteeism were virtually eliminated in the Eighth Army, co-operation of all arms including the air forces, first-class logistical back-up and clear-cut orders. For his role in North Africa he was awarded the Legion of Merit by the United States government in the rank of Chief Commander.

 

Statue in Whitehall London

MOSELY Sir Oswald

In 1931 Oswald Mosley founded the New Party. Early supporters included John Strachey, John Becket, Harold Nicholson, Cyril Joad, William Joyce, Mary Richardson, William Allen, Robert Forgan and A. K. Chesterton, but in the 1931 General Election none of the New Party's candidates were elected. In January 1932 Mosley met Benito Mussolini in Italy. Mosley was impressed by Mussolini's achievements and when he returned to England he disbanded the New Party and replaced it with the British Union of Fascists.

The British Union of Fascists was strongly anti-communist and argued for a programme of economic revival based on government spending and protectionism. Mary Richardson later commented: "I was first attracted to the Blackshirts because I saw in them the courage, the action, the loyalty, the gift of service, and the ability to serve which I had known in the suffrage movement". In October, 1932, Mosley published The Greater Britain, his manifesto for a Fascist state.

On 7th June, 1934, the British Union of Fascists held a large rally at Olympia. About 500 anti-fascists including Margaret Storm Jameson, Vera Brittain, Richard Sheppard and Aldous Huxley, managed to get inside the hall.

When they began heckling Mosley they were attacked by 1,000 black-shirted stewards. Several of the protesters were badly beaten by the fascists. Jameson argued in The Daily Telegraph: "A young woman carried past me by five Blackshirts, her clothes half torn off and her mouth and nose closed by the large hand of one; her head was forced back by the pressure and she must have been in considerable pain. I mention her especially since I have seen a reference to the delicacy with which women interrupters were left to women Blackshirts. This is merely untrue... Why train decent young men to indulge in such peculiarly nasty brutality? There was a public outcry about this violence and Lord Rothermere and his Daily Mail withdrew its support of the BUF. Over the next few months membership went into decline.

Norah Elam joined the British Union of Fascist (BUF) in 1934. Later that year she became the BUF County Women's Officer for West Sussex. It was not long before Elam became very close to Oswald Mosley. The author of Femine Fascism: Women in Britain's Fascist Movement (2003) has pointed out: "Elam's status in the BUF and the sensitive tasks with which she was entrusted offer some substance to the BUF's claim to respect sexual equality. While, in principle, the movement was segregated by gender and women in positions of leadership were meant to have authority only over other women. Elam was quite evidently admitted to Mosley's inner circle."

Mosley attracted members from other right-wing groups such as the British Fascisti, National Fascists and the Imperial Fascist League. By 1934 the BUF had 40,000 members and was able to establish its own drinking clubs and football teams. The BUF also gained the support of Lord Rothermere and the Daily Mail.

Oswald Mosley appointed William Joyce as the party full-time Propaganda Director. Joyce, along with Mosley and Mick Clarke, were the organisations three main public speakers.

 

Under the influence of William Joyce the BUP became increasingly anti-Semitic. In December, 1934 it became official policy. The verbal attacks on the Jewish community led to violence at meetings and demonstrations. In November 1936 a serious riot took place when left-wing organisations successfully stopped Mosley marching through the Jewish areas of London.

The activities of the BUF was checked by the passing of the 1936 Public Order Act. This gave the Home Secretary the power to ban marches in the London area and police chief constables could apply to him for bans elsewhere. This legislation also made it an offence to wear political uniforms and to use threatening and abusive words.

The BUP anti-Semitic policy was popular in certain inner-city areas and in 1937 Joyce came close to defeating the Labour Party candidate in the London County Council election in Shoreditch.

Joyce argued that the BUP should take a more extreme position on racial issues. Mosley disagreed and began to feel that Joyce posed a threat to his leadership. He therefore decided to sack Joyce as Propaganda Director. In an attempt to save money another 142 staff members also lost their jobs.

In 1938 several members of the BUF left the organization and founded the National Socialist League. This included John Becket, William Joyce, William Allen, Robert Forgan and A. K. Chesterton.

The popularity of the BUP declined even further after the outbreak of the Second World War. On 22nd May 1940 the British government announced the imposition of Defence Regulation 18B. This legislation gave the Home Secretary the right to imprison without trial anybody he believed likely to "endanger the safety of the realm". The following day, Oswald Mosley was arrested. Over the next few days other prominent figures in the BUF were imprisoned. On the 30th May the BUF was dissolved and its publications were banned.

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In November 1936 Norah Elam was one of ten women the British Union of Fascists announced would be candidates in the next general election. Elam was selected to fight the Northampton constituency. Mosley used Norah's past as one of the leaders of the Women's Social and Political Union to counter the criticism that the BUF was anti-feminist. In one speech Norah Elam argued that her prospective candidacy for the House of Commons "killed for all  time the suggestion that National Socialism proposed putting British women back in the home".

MUSSOLINI:  Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini KSMOM GCTE (29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945) was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism.

Mussolini became the 40th Prime Minister of Italy in 1922 and began using the title Il Duce by 1925. After 1936, his official title was "His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Duce of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire". Mussolini also created and held the supreme military rank of First Marshal of the Empire along with King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, which gave him and the King joint supreme control over the military of Italy. Mussolini remained in power until he was replaced in 1943; for a short period after this until his death, he was the leader of the Italian Social Republic.

Mussolini was among the founders of Italian Fascism, which included elements of nationalism, corporatism, national syndicalism, expansionism, social progress and anti-communism in combination with censorship of subversives and state propaganda. In the years following his creation of the fascist ideology, Mussolini influenced, or achieved admiration from, a wide variety of political figures.

 

OPPENHEIMER Julius Robert

Julius Robert Oppenheimer (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for his role as the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons, for which he is often referred to as the "father of the atomic bomb". In reference to the Trinity test in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was detonated, Oppenheimer famously recalled the Bhagavad Gita: "If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one." and "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

After the war Oppenheimer was a chief advisor to the newly created United States Atomic Energy Commission and used that position to lobby for international control of nuclear power and to avert the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. After provoking the ire of many politicians with his outspoken political opinions during the Red Scare, he had his security clearance revoked in a much-publicized and politicized hearing in 1954. Though stripped of his direct political influence Oppenheimer continued to lecture, write, and work in physics. A decade later President John F. Kennedy awarded (and Lyndon B. Johnson presented) Oppenheimer the Enrico Fermi Award as a gesture of political rehabilitation.

Oppenheimer's notable achievements in physics include the Born–Oppenheimer approximation, work on electron–positron theory, the Oppenheimer–Phillips process, and the first prediction of quantum tunneling. With his students he also made important contributions to the modern theory of neutron stars and black holes, as well as work on the theory of quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and the interactions of cosmic rays.

As a teacher and promoter of science, Oppenheimer is remembered most for being the chief founder of the American school of theoretical physics while at the University of California, Berkeley, contributing significantly to the rise of American physics to its first era of world prominence in the 1930s. After the second World War, he contributed to American scientific organizations again, as director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he held Einstein's old position of Senior Professor of Theoretical Physics.

PATTON George


George Patton was an American general in World War Two - and probably one of her most controversial. Patton found fame in the conquest of Sicily which followed on from the success of the North African campaign. It was here that George Patton found fame as a daring and unconventional military commander. Patton had known Dwight Eisenhower for many years and he received support from the Eisenhower throughout the rest of the war.


As a teacher and promoter of science, Oppenheimer is remembered most for being the chief founder of the American school of theoretical physics while at the University of California, Berkeley, contributing significantly to the rise of American physics to its first era of world prominence in the 1930s. After the second World War, he contributed to American scientific organizations again, as director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he held Einstein's old position of Senior Professor of Theoretical Physics.

Patton commanded American forces in Morocco, Tunisia and Sicily between 1942 and 1943 and in early 1944, he was given command of the American Third Army. Patton played a key role in the use of armour after the successful landings at D-Day. Armoured warfare speeded up the Allies advance across western Europe and Patton always seemed to be ahead of any other Allied armoured group. His tactics were uncompromising but undoubtedly successful.

Patton commanded American forces in Morocco, Tunisia and Sicily between 1942 and 1943 and in early 1944, he was given command of the American Third Army. Patton played a key role in the use of armour after the successful landings at D-Day. Armoured warfare speeded up the Allies advance across western Europe and Patton always seemed to be ahead of any other Allied armoured group. His tactics were uncompromising but undoubtedly successful. Montgomery was known to have commented that Eisenhower seemed to favour requests for equipment by Patton as opposed to British generals in the thrust across Europe. But, if true, Eisenhower probably had the evidence to favour Patton, especially after the heroic failure at Arnhem.

The 3rd Army Group broke through the Germans defences at Normandy and it cleared a path across northern France and in March 1945, it crossed the River Rhine and moved into mainland Germany and from there into Austria.

After the war in Europe ended in May 1945, Patton was made military governor of Bavaria but was removed from this post when he was accused of being too soft on the Germans. Certainly, by the time the war in Europe had ended, Patton saw the might of the Russians as more of a threat than the defeated Nazis. Patton was killed, the result of a road crash, in late 1945 aged 60.

A forceful and outspoken man, Patton made as many enemies as friends. Popular among his troops for his uncompromising leadership, he could also be harsh and only expected results from the men under his command.

 

 


George Patton was born in 1885 in California. Like Omar Bradley, he was educated at the American Military Academy. He graduated from here in 1909. In 1916, he served as an aide-de-camp to General Pershing in his expedition against the Mexican Pancho Villa who had crossed the American/Mexican border and sacked the town of Columbus in New Mexico. Many Americans were not aware that President Woodrow Wilson had even sanctioned this campaign and Patton was to be linked with such 'daring-do' throughout his military career. By the end of the First World War , Patton had established a tank training school and it was in armoured warfare that Patton was to make his name. One of the training officers at this camp was a young Dwight Eisenhower.

ROOSEVELT Franklin Delano

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945; also known by his initials, FDR) was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war. The only American president elected to more than two terms, he forged a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades. FDR defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover in November 1932, at the depths of the Great Depression. FDR's combination of optimism and activism contributed to reviving the national spirit. Working closely with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Germany and Japan in World War II, he died just as victory was in sight.



Starting in his "First Hundred Days" in office, which began March 4, 1933, Roosevelt launched major legislation and a profusion of executive orders that gave form to the New Deal—a complex, interlocking set of programs designed to produce relief (especially government jobs for the unemployed), recovery (of the economy), and reform (through regulation of Wall Street, banks and transportation). The economy improved rapidly from 1933 to 1937, but then went into a deep recession. The bipartisan Conservative Coalition that formed in 1937 prevented his packing the Supreme Court or passing much new legislation; it abolished many of the relief programs when unemployment practically ended during World War II. Most of the regulations on business were ended about 1975–85, except for the regulation of Wall Street by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which still exists. Along with several smaller programs, major surviving programs include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which was created in 1933, and Social Security, which Congress passed in 1935.

As World War II loomed after 1938, with the Japanese invasion of China and the aggressions of Nazi Germany, FDR gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China and Britain, while remaining officially neutral. His goal was to make America the "Arsenal of Democracy" which would supply munitions to the Allies. In March 1941, Roosevelt, with Congressional approval, provided Lend-Lease aid to the countries fighting against Nazi Germany with Great Britain. He secured a near-unanimous declaration of war against Japan after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, calling it a "date which will live in infamy". He supervised the mobilization of the US economy to support the Allied war effort which saw unemployment evaporate and the industrial economy soar to heights no one ever expected.

Roosevelt dominated the American political scene, not only during the twelve years of his presidency, but for decades afterward. He orchestrated the realignment of voters that created the Fifth Party System. FDR's New Deal Coalition united together labor unions, big city machines, white ethnics, African Americans and rural white Southerners. Roosevelt's diplomatic impact also resonated on the world stage long after his death, with the United Nations and Bretton Woods as examples of his administration's wide-ranging impact. Roosevelt is consistently rated by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.


STAUFFENBERG Claus Von


Stauffenberg served combat positions in all of Hitler's major campaigns from the Sudetenland to Poland to France to Tunisia. During Operation Barbarossa, Stauffenberg became appalled by the atrocities committed by the Schutzstaffel (SS), SD and “Security Police” units, particularly the mass murder of the Jews in Russia, but he was equally appalled by the atrocities committed by the German Army against Soviet prisoners-of-war and by the treatment of the civil population in Russia at the hands of the German occupation administration and forces, and Stauffenberg cited these matters to Major Joachim Kuhn in August 1942.

From the end of May 1940 to the end of January 1943, Stauffenberg served in the Army High Command/General Staff Headquarters.

In early 1943, Stauffenberg served with the 10th Panzer Division in Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps. On April 7, 1943, he was seriously wounded at Sebkhet en Noual, south of Mezzouna in the North African desert, when Allied fighters strafed his vehicle. He lost his left eye, right hand, and last two fingers of his left hand after surgery.

Stauffenberg had decided in 1942 that he must try to help overthrow Hitler. He had attempted throughout the summer of 1942 to persuade senior commanders to move against Hitler, and he had declared in September 1942 that he himself was prepared to kill Hitler. In 1943, he only agreed to join in conspiracy with the civilian side of the German Resistance, including Wilhelm Canaris, Carl Goerdeler, Julius Leber, Ulrich Hassell, Hans Oster, Henning von Tresckow, Fabian von Schlabrendorff , Peter Graf Yorck von Wartenburg, Ludwig Beck, and Erwin von Witzleben in what became known as the July Plot. According to the plan, after Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler were assassinated, Ludwig Beck, Erwin von Witzleben and Friedrich Fromm would take control of the German Army and seize key government buildings, telephone and signal centres, and radio stations. Stauffenberg was to become State Secretary of the War Ministry in the post-coup government.

In June 1944, Stauffenberg was promoted to Colonel and appointed Chief of Staff to Home Army Commander General Friedrich Fromm. This gave him direct access to Hitler's briefing sessions.

On July 11, Stauffenberg brought a bomb concealed in a briefcase with him to a briefing at Hitler's Berghof residence. He planned to assassinate Hitler that day, but circumstances beyond his control prevented him from doing so.

Four days later, Stauffenberg flew to the Fuehrer's Wolf's Lair headquarters with aide and co-conspirator Captain Klausing. He was ordered by senior conspirators in Berlin to abort the attempt after telephoning to report the absence of Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler and Luftwaffe Air Marshal Hermann Goering from the briefing session. He secretly agreed with close friend and Berlin co-conspirator Colonel von Mertz to try to kill Hitler anyway, but when he returned to the briefing room, he discovered the session had ended after only five minutes.

On July 20, Stauffenberg flew to the Wolf's Lair again with aide and co-conspirator Lt. Werner von Haeften. Stauffenberg, who had never met Hitler before, carried the bomb in a briefcase and placed it on the floor while he left to make a phone call. The bomb exploded. Of four men in the hut who died of the attack, only one was killed outright. Another died in the afternoon, and two more died later in hospital. Hitler's right arm was badly injured, but he survived the bomb blast. Stauffenberg returned to Berlin with Haeften and arrived at Army High Command Headquarters at 4:30 P.M. to launch the planned coup. The plot unraveled, however, for several reasons: Hitler survived the attack; co-conspirator General Friedrich Olbricht neglected to set the coup in motion during first two hours after the attempt; and the conspirators failed to seize any radio stations or retain authority over reserve army troops in Berlin.

In an attempt to protect himself, Fromm organized the execution of Stauffenberg along with three other conspirators, Friedrich Olbricht, Werner von Haeften, and Colonel Albrecht Ritter Mertz von Quirnheim, in the courtyard of the War Ministry. On July 21, 1944, at 12:30 A.M., Stauffenberg was executed by firing squad. It was later reported that Stauffenberg died shouting, "Long live free Germany."


Sources: Spartacus Educational and http://www.joric.com/Conspiracy/Center.htm

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Claus von Stauffenberg was born in Jettingen,Germany on November 15, 1907. In his youth, he belonged to Stefan George's circle and remained a disciple of the great poet for the rest of his life. He would quote George's The Anti-Christ when recruiting friends and trusted colleagues into the conspiracy.

A bright student, at nineteen he became an officer cadet. He attended the War Academy in Berlin and joined the General Staff in 1938 as a quartermaster officer in 1938 in General Erich Hoepner's 1st Light Division, which was renamed 6th Panzer Division in November 1939.

TOJO  Hideki  (General)

Hideki Tojo was born in 1884 and died in 1948. Hideki Tojo was Prime Minister of Japan when the attack on Pearl Harbour took place plunging the Far East into a war which was to end with the destruction of Hiroshima in August 1945. For his part in leading Japan into World War Two, Tojo was executed as a war criminal.

In the summer of 1940, Tojo became Minister of War in the government and he saw that Japan's future lay with the European dictators - especially Hitler - who were much admired in Japan. While the European dictators were admired and respected in Japan, the opposite was true for America. The people of America were thought of as decadent, lazy and without scruples compared to the disciplined workforce of Japan that worshipped their emperor, Hirohito.

Tojo was born in Tokyo and decided on a career in the army. He did well at military college and served as a military attaché in Germany shortly after the end of World War One. Tojo became the leader of the militarists in Japan and despised what he considered to be weak civilian politicians. His views were shared by many in the public and in the 1930's the army and all it represented was held in much greater esteem that politicians in general. This became even more so after the army's victories in Manchuria from 1931 on.

 

 

As Minister of War, Tojo made it clear that Japan should push south in the Far East and take land owned by European nations. On October 14th, 1941, Tojo was appointed Prime Minister of Japan. By this date, he was convinced that a war with America could not be avoided and he put Japan on a full war alert. He decided that a massive knock-out blow would be sufficient to remove America from the Pacific. As a result, Tojo authorised the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941.

The huge success enjoyed by the Japanese Army in the months immediately following Pearl Harbour, strengthened Tojo's standing in Japan - especially when the British Army surrendered at Singapore and Douglas MacArthur withdrew American forces from the Philippines.  

However, it was only a matter of time before the Americans and their allies organised themselves in the Pacific. As the Americans advanced throughout the many islands in the Pacific, Japan came into range of American bombers. With bombing raids reducing a lot of Japan to rubble, the emperor, Hirohito, believed that Tojo had lost control of events and Tojo offered his resignation on July 9th, 1944.

In November 1948, Tojo was put on trial as a war criminal. He was accused of instigating Japan's aggressive foreign policy in the early 1940's and of permitting the appalling abuse of prisoners-of-war, contrary to the Geneva Convention. He was found guilty and hanged.

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Truman Harry S  (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953). As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice-president and the 34th Vice President of the United States, he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his historic fourth term.

During World War I, Truman served as an artillery officer, making him the only president to have seen combat in World War I (his successor Eisenhower spent the war training tank crews in Pennsylvania). After the war he became part of the political machine of Tom Pendergast and was elected a county commissioner in Missouri and eventually a Democratic United States senator. After he gained national prominence as head of the wartime Truman Committee, Truman replaced vice president Henry A. Wallace as Roosevelt's running mate in 1944.


Truman's presidency was also eventful in foreign affairs, with the end of World War II and his decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan, the founding of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, the Truman Doctrine to contain communism, the beginning of the Cold War, the Berlin Airlift, the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Chinese Civil War, and the Korean War. Corruption in Truman's administration, which was linked to certain members in the cabinet and senior White House staff, was a central issue in the 1952 presidential campaign and helped cause Adlai Stevenson, Truman's successor for the Democratic nomination for president, to lose to Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1952 presidential election.

Truman, whose demeanor was very different from that of Roosevelt, was a folksy, unassuming president. He popularized such phrases as "The buck stops here" and "If you can't stand the heat, you better get out of the kitchen."He overcame the low expectations of many political observers, who compared him unfavorably with his highly regarded predecessor. At different times in his presidency, Truman earned both the lowest public approval ratings ever recorded, and the highest recorded until 1991. Popular and scholarly assessments of his presidency became more positive after his retirement from politics and the publication of his memoirs. Truman's legendary upset victory in 1948 over Thomas E. Dewey is routinely invoked by underdog presidential candidates.

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Truman faced many challenges in domestic affairs. The disorderly postwar reconversion of the economy of the United States was marked by severe shortages, numerous strikes, and the passage of the Taft–Hartley Act over his veto. He confounded all predictions to win election in 1948, helped by his famous Whistle Stop Tour of rural America. After his election he was able to pass only one of the proposals in his Fair Deal program. He used executive orders to begin desegregation of the military and create loyalty checks that dismissed thousands of communist supporters from office, even though he strongly opposed mandatory loyalty oaths for governmental employees, a stance that led to charges that his administration was soft on communism.

TURING Alan 

In 1939-40 Alan Turing and another Cambridge mathematician, Gordon Welchman, designed a new machine, the British Bombe. The basic property of the Bombe was that it could break any Enigma-enciphered message, provided that the hardware of the Enigma was known and that a plain-text 'crib' of about 20 letters could be guessed accurately.

Alan Turing made a brilliant contribution to the design with an idea that he himself related to the principle in mathematical logic that 'a false proposition implies any proposition.' It was this idea that overcame the apparently insuperable complication of the plugboard attachment. But that idea was just the beginning of a continuous struggle.

The work done by Turing and his colleagues at Bletchley Park brought cryptology into the modern world. It required ingenious logic, statistical theory, the beginnings of information theory, advanced technology, and superb organisation.


In 1941, Turing proposed marriage to Hut 8 co-worker Joan Clarke, a fellow mathematician, but their engagement was short-lived. After admitting his homosexuality to his fiancée, who was reportedly "unfazed" by the revelation, Turing decided that he could not go through with the marriage.

Turing travelled to the United States in November 1942 and worked with U.S. Navy cryptanalysts on Naval Enigma and bombe construction in Washington, and assisted at Bell Labs with the development of secure speech devices. He returned to Bletchley Park in March 1943. 

 

During his absence, Hugh Alexander had officially assumed the position of head of Hut 8, although Alexander had been de facto head for some time—Turing having little interest in the day-to-day running of the section. Turing became a general consultant for cryptanalysis at Bletchley Park. 

Alexander wrote as follows about his contribution:

There should be no question in anyone's mind that Turing's work was the biggest factor in Hut 8's success. In the early days he was the only cryptographer who thought the problem worth tackling and not only was he primarily responsible for the main theoretical work within the Hut but he also shared with Welchman and Keen the chief credit for the invention of the Bombe. It is always difficult to say that anyone is absolutely indispensable but if anyone was indispensable to Hut 8 it was Turing. The pioneer's work always tends to be forgotten when experience and routine later make everything seem easy and many of us in Hut 8 felt that the magnitude of Turing's contribution was never fully realised by the outside world.

In the latter part of the war he moved to work at Hanslope Park, where he further developed his knowledge of electronics with the assistance of engineer Donald Bayley. Together they undertook the design and construction of a portable secure voice communications machine codenamed Delilah. It was intended for different applications, lacking capability for use with long-distance radio transmissions, and in any case, Delilah was completed too late to be used during the war. Though Turing demonstrated it to officials by encrypting/decrypting a recording of a Winston Churchill speech, Delilah was not adopted for use. Turing also consulted with Bell Labs on the development of SIGSALY, a secure voice system that was used in the later years of the war.

Conviction for indecency

In January 1952, Turing met Arnold Murray outside a cinema in Manchester. After a lunch date, Turing invited Murray to spend the weekend with him at his house, an invitation which Murray accepted although he did not show up. The pair met again in Manchester the following Monday, when Murray agreed to accompany Turing to the latter's house. A few weeks later Murray visited Turing's house again, and apparently spent the night there.

After Murray helped an accomplice to break into his house, Turing reported the crime to the police. During the investigation, Turing acknowledged a sexual relationship with Murray. Homosexual acts were illegal in the United Kingdom at that time, and so both were charged with gross indecency under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, the same crime for which Oscar Wilde had been convicted more than fifty years earlier.

Turing was given a choice between imprisonment or probation conditional on his agreement to undergo hormonal treatment designed to reduce libido. He accepted chemical castration via oestrogen hormone injections.

Turing's conviction led to the removal of his security clearance, and barred him from continuing with his cryptographic consultancy for GCHQ. His British passport was not revoked, though he was denied entry to the United States after his conviction. At the time, there was acute public anxiety about spies and homosexual entrapment by Soviet agents, because of the recent exposure of the first two members of the Cambridge Five, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, as KGB double agents. Turing was never accused of espionage but, as with all who had worked at Bletchley Park, was prevented from discussing his war work.

Death

On 8 June 1954, Turing's cleaner found him dead; he had died the previous day. A post-mortem examination established that the cause of death was cyanide poisoning. When his body was discovered an apple lay half-eaten beside his bed, and although the apple was not tested for cyanide, it is speculated that this was the means by which a fatal dose was delivered. An inquest determined that he had committed suicide, and he was cremated at Woking crematorium on 12 June 1954. Turing's mother argued strenuously that the ingestion was accidental, caused by her son's careless storage of laboratory chemicals. Biographer Andrew Hodges suggests that Turing may have killed himself in an ambiguous way quite deliberately, to give his mother some plausible deniability. Others suggest that Turing was re-enacting a scene from the 1937 film Snow White, his favourite fairy tale, pointing out that he took "an especially keen pleasure in the scene where the Wicked Witch immerses her apple in the poisonous brew."

Read more in General Reference - Bletchley and Enigma

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The Unknown Warrior 

Not of WW2, but could be of interest nevertheless.


The British tomb of The Unknown Warrior holds an unidentified British soldier killed on a European battlefield during the First World War. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, London on 11 November 1920, simultaneously with a similar interment of a French unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in France, making both tombs the first to honour the unknown dead of the First World War. It is the first example of a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The battlefield that the Warrior came from is not publicly known, and has been kept secret so that the Unknown Warrior might serve as a symbol for all of the unknown dead wherever they fell.

The battlefield that the Warrior came from is not publicly known, and has been kept secret so that the Unknown Warrior might serve as a symbol for all of the unknown dead wherever they fell. 

WALLIS Barnes: 

Barnes Wallis is most associated with the Dam buster raid of 1943 when the legendary 'bouncing bomb' that Wallis developed destroyed several of the dams in the Ruhr. Barnes Wallis also developed the huge 'Tallboy' bomb and the Wellington bomber. His extraordinary talent was recognised by the nation when he received a knighthood.

Barnes Neville Wallis was born on September 26th, 1887 in Ripley in Derbyshire. When aged two, his father's work as a doctor took him to London where the family moved to New Cross Road. Both Barnes and his eldest brother John spent many hours in a workshop in their house making whatever they could - including paper toys for their sister Annie.

Wallis was educated at Christ's Hospital in Horsham, West Sussex. Here he built on his talent for Mathematics and Science and by the time he had finished at Christ's, Wallis had determined that he would become an engineer.

His first job was working for Thames Engineering Works - a firm that made ship engines. In 1908, he moved to the John Samuel White's shipyard in the Isle of Wight. In 1913, he joined Vickers - a company that was to become synonymous with airship and aircraft development. However, when World War One broke out, Wallis found himself unemployed as the Admiralty decided not to spend anymore money on airship development. He tried to join the Army but failed the eyesight test. He did pass another medical in a different section of the Army by memorising the eye test chart - before the actual test! Just at this time, the Admiralty decided to reconvene Vicker's airship development team and Wallis was recalled from the Army.

Wallis was very much involved in the development of the R100.

When World War Two broke out, Wallis believed that the quickest way to defeat Nazi Germany was to destroy its industrial base. Without factories, the Nazi war machine could not be supplied. The most important industrial area in Germany was the Ruhr. It was also very heavily defended by anti-aircraft guns and searchlights. A 'normal' bombing raid risked heavy casualties. Wallis developed in his mind a plan for a raid by a small, highly trained team of expert fliers, navigators, bombers etc who could fly so low that radar would not pick them up and hit, with pin-point accuracy, their target. In his mind, those targets should be the dams that held back the mighty waters of the Ruhr. If these dams were breached, the water would destroy anything in its path.

Wallis set himself the task of designing a bomb so special that it would break up the reinforced concrete that made up the Ruhr dams. The bomb needed to be dropped at an exceptionally low height so that it hit a dam, did not explode but sank into the water. At a given depth, a fuse would break and the bomb would explode. The shock waves created by the bomb would be accentuated underwater and, Wallis believed, would be enough to destroy the dam. The first tests of the bomb were done in a large indoors pool with a scaled-down bomb. The experimental indoors tests were a success. 

When a life-size one was dropped under the greatest of secrecy in the waters off of the beaches of Kent, the first test was a failure (as were those that followed it) and MOD personnel remained sceptical about any success for the 'bouncing bomb'. Wallis believed that the plane, which came in unusually low, was flying too high and asked the crew to fly in even lower for the next test. His gamble, and the crew's piloting skills, worked - the bomb bounced and bounced so, in its imaginary situation, it would have cleared any nets that protected the dams in the Ruhr.

In May 1943, the Dambuster Raid took place. 617 Squadron, commanded by Guy Gibson, VC, attacked the Ruhr Dams using the bomb invented by Barnes Wallis. The actual physical impact of the raid will always be open to debate. The huge psychological impact of the raid, however, can never be doubted. Wallis, however, expressed his view that the raid, having cost eight Lancaster bomber crews out of nineteen, may not have been worth the losses.

Wallis also invented the 'Tallboy' bomb that was used to penetrate the U-boat pens on the west coast of France. He also developed one of the mainstays of Bomber Command - the Wellington bomber, used so often in bombing raids over Nazi Germany.

Wallis continued inventing things after the war. He invented a glassless mirror that did not mist up - and put forward ideas for swing-wing planes. He retired aged 83 and his work for the country was recognised in 1968 when he was knighted. Barnes Wallis was also made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Barnes Neville Wallis died on October 30th, 1979, aged 92. In 1980, in recognition of what he had achieved, a memorial service was held at St. Paul's Cathedral.


When World War Two broke out, Wallis believed that the quickest way to defeat Nazi Germany was to destroy its industrial base. Without factories, the Nazi war machine could not be supplied. The most important industrial area in Germany was the Ruhr. It was also very heavily defended by anti-aircraft guns and searchlights. A 'normal' bombing raid risked heavy casualties. Wallis developed in his mind a plan for a raid by a small, highly trained team of expert fliers, navigators, bombers etc who could fly so low that radar would not pick them up and hit, with pin-point accuracy, their target. In his mind, those targets should be the dams that held back the mighty waters of the Ruhr. If these dams were breached, the water would destroy anything in its path.

Wallis set himself the task of designing a bomb so special that it would break up the reinforced concrete that made up the Ruhr dams. The bomb needed to be dropped at an exceptionally low height so that it hit a dam, did not explode but sank into the water. At a given depth, a fuse would break and the bomb would explode. The shock waves created by the bomb would be accentuated underwater and, Wallis believed, would be enough to destroy the dam. The first tests of the bomb were done in a large indoors pool with a scaled-down bomb. The experimental indoors tests were a success. 

When a life-size one was dropped under the greatest of secrecy in the waters off of the beaches of Kent, the first test was a failure (as were those that followed it) and MOD personnel remained sceptical about any success for the 'bouncing bomb'. Wallis believed that the plane, which came in unusually low, was flying too high and asked the crew to fly in even lower for the next test. His gamble, and the crew's piloting skills, worked - the bomb bounced and bounced so, in its imaginary situation, it would have cleared any nets that protected the dams in the Ruhr.


Bouncing Bombs

In May 1943, the Dambuster Raid took place. 617 Squadron, commanded by Guy Gibson, VC, attacked the Ruhr Dams using the bomb invented by Barnes Wallis. The actual physical impact of the raid will always be open to debate. The huge psychological impact of the raid, however, can never be doubted. Wallis, however, expressed his view that the raid, having cost eight Lancaster bomber crews out of nineteen, may not have been worth the losses.

Wallis also invented the 'Tallboy' bomb that was used to penetrate the U-boat pens on the west coast of France. He also developed one of the mainstays of Bomber Command - the Wellington bomber, used so often in bombing raids over Nazi Germany.

Wallis continued inventing things after the war. He invented a glassless mirror that did not mist up - and put forward ideas for swing-wing planes. He retired aged 83 and his work for the country was recognised in 1968 when he was knighted. Barnes Wallis was also made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Barnes Neville Wallis died on October 30th, 1979, aged 92. In 1980, in recognition of what he had achieved, a memorial service was held at St. Paul's Cathedral.

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