Anyone else watching the series on the History Channel which follows 12 people throughout the different phases of the war. Very interesting, and the footage/narration is top notch. Discuss.
OT: WWII in HD thoughts
and i've seen a lot of them. The footage is unreal, and the storytelling is simply amazing. Its very gripping and intense. Its pretty much a must see.
The coach and 11 players will go all WWII on Ohio st. There is nothing else to discuss/do, other than wait for kickoff on Saturday.
One of the coolest things I have done in this profession is interview vets from the last great war. This area is rich with vets, and their stories are truly amazing. Last year, I interviewed one of the last living survivors of the USS Arizona, and then there was another piece on a couple of guys who spent all 36 days fighting on Iwo Jima. A lot of them live alone now (their spouses have passed on), and they open up to you about some really deep stuff.
few days. The footage is great but I suspect the footage not ever before televised is some of the more gruesome stuff.
My uncle was a WWII vet and I didn't know it until just a couple of years ago. He was a gunner (the belly guns underneath) on B-17's for the 8th Army AF. Made his 30 missions, had one over Berlin. Never liked talking about it, though he did go to a reunion in DC a few years back. Sadly, he passed away this past July.
You're probably right about most of the unseen footage being the bodies. It is gruesome to say the least, but exactly how the vets I've spoken to describe it. They always comment about how it's a scent you never forget. What a terrible thing to live with forever.
Those B-17 gunners were tough as nails. They endured some terrible conditions inside those floating coffins and were at the mercy of God when the Germans peppered the sky in flak. Sorry for your loss. WWII vets are dying at an alarming rate, and that's why I think it's so cool we can hear their stories.
sitting in a pexiglass ball, underneath the fuselage, without much between them, the flak from below and the bullets from fighters all around. Those were some brave guys. I walked through a B-17 on the ground a few years ago was surprised at how thin the plane's skin was, and how narrow the fuselage was, about 7 feet wide, IIRC.
Thanks for sharing your uncle's story; sorry to hear of his passing.
I went to an air show at Selfridge (in MI) about 20 years ago. They had several WWII vintage planes, including an ME 109. I was stunned at how incredibly small it was (as were most fighters during the war, I'm sure).
I think that the different corps (Navy, including subs and merchant marine; Air Force, infantry, etc.) the stress must be so intense, but in different ways. I can't imagine being in a raid over Germany facing flak or fighters, and psychologically having to get back into to the plane and face it again in the next mission. Ditto a sub and depth charge attacks; or infantry facing an artillery barrage, etc.
It is a blessing that we live in this country that has had the men, made of stern stuff, willing to expose themselves to such genuine horrors, not only to preserve the liberty we enjoy today, but to help bestow it upon peoples of other countries.
That, to my knowledge of history, is quite unique.
This is why this blog is so great. Your uncle was a braver man than I, and I'm sure you're very proud.
Thank you for posting about this! I was tempted to earlier today.
I have watched parts of it while watching football and I have been very entertained and impressed with the footage.
My BS is in Modern US Military History and I am really enjoying the series. However, it can get a little tough to watch some times. I simply cannot imagine having to live thru something like that. We, as a country, cannot thank Veterans (of any war) enough.
I would have studied WWII history, or a similar degree as yours. Right now, I'm reading "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by William Shirer. The book is massive, but a must for anyone who wants to understand that movement. Albert Speer's memoirs are also a good read.
It is a great series. Another good single documentary is NOT the mini-series, but the documentary on the "Band of Brothers". I showed that to students on Veterans Day and had a few kids cry.
EDIT: P.S. I had them read a chapter out of a book talking about two of the veterans in the documentary growing up during the Great Depression beforehand to make the great video even have more meaning.
He lied about his age and got in the Navy at 17, and ended up on landing craft ferrying those poor bastard heroes to the beaches on D-Day. His job was to lower and raise the main doors to let the soldiers out, and he was under strict orders to raise and close the doors as soon as the last soldier was gone. The screams of the wounded and scared trying to get back in, hammering on the doors, as the landing craft was starting back to the troop ships for another load haunts him to this day. He can't talk about it without breaking up, even after 65 years. I haven't watched any of this series yet, but I'll be looking for D-Day stuff in particular.
He says that Saving Private Ryan was pretty good in its depiction of things, at least the parts that he experienced.
Speer's book is a long read but very detailed and provides good insight into the Third Reich. After reading that, I felt like he took the fall for a lot of crap for which he wasn't really responsible. But, he did the right thing and paid for his actions. A lot of other high ranking Nazi officials took the easy way out or bailed. There's nothing worse than a gutless turd.
It is a long read, but it gives a great inside view of Hitler's inner circle. Hitler always favored him because of his architect background.
Speer pleaded "not guilty" along with all of the other defendents. His remarkable candor and apparent remorse are what got him the lenient sentence of 20 years in prison. If you cue this video up to 8:50, you'll see Speer declare himself "nicht schuldig" which means "not guilty."
It has been a while since I read his memoirs, but I could have sworn it said on the jacket cover he was the only one who pleaded guilty at the trials. Perhaps an error on the part of the editor?
He didn't plead guilty, but he was fairly open about what he did, served his entire 20-year sentence and wrote memoirs owning up to his actions. Some call him "The Nazi who said sorry." Current scholarship on him is fairly mixed because while all of the above is true, he makes some claims that he was involved in anti-Hitler activity (such as trying to kill him in the bunker in the last weeks of the war) that can't relly be proven because any witnesses were dead by the time the war ended (either through suicide or being killed in the fighting in Berlin). Speer always claimed that he wasn't an ideologue, but rather an artist that was caught up in service to his country. True or not, there's no one that can really say whether that was true or if he really was a hardcore Nazi because most of the high-ranking officials he associated with were either dead at the end of the war or were executed following the Nuremberg trials. He is certainly a fascinating figure for historians, both for what he reveals about the inner circles of the Nazi hierarchy and what he may have concealed or fabricated about his own activity.
Speer was in complete command of the armament industry, a major user of slave labor. He deserved everything he got, IMO; but from what I recall from reading the book when it came out, he pretty much owned up to all of it. Speer was a guy whose focus on getting the job done caused his to overlook the most widespread and inhumane war crimes in history.
He was not oblivious to what was happening. He used slave labor for the war machine and is just as responsible as the next person.
Speaking of Nazis...I heard this on the news this morning:
Reminds me of the movie Apt Pupil, which is excellent.
This is good stuff. I am now recording these while watching them. For my money, my favorite documentary about WWII is "The War," which was on PBS and done by Ken Burns. It was/is just incredible. Very long (something like 10 hours) but competely worth it; I watched it a couple times.
If you'd like to see a less-HD, but more humorous take on WWII, this is worth reading:
When did they start airing this? Are they replaying it pretty frequently? Hopefully it'll be on over Thanksgiving, I'm pretty swamped right now and not much in the way of free time.
On a different note, I can not wait till The Pacific airs on HBO in the spring (same people who did Band of Brothers, set in the Pacific, obviously). It's based on two different memoirs, Eugene Sledge's With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa and another man's book (forgot his name) called Helmet For My Pillow. Another Marine is featured prominently in it too, John Basilone. I've been meaning to track down one of those memoirs lately; when I have time I am definitely tearing through them.
New episodes start at 9 p.m. on the History Channel, although they replay episodes starting at 6 p.m. I believe.
I'm pretty stoked about that Pacific series as well. I loved Band of Brothers, and this one looks just as good.
My grandfather was in the 1st Marine Division and fought on Tulagi, Guadalcanal, New Britain and Peleliu. The series is going to follow three Marines--Robert Leckie who later wrote "Helmet for My Pillow", Eugene Sledge who wrote "With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa" and John Basilone who won the Medal of Honor on Guadalcanal and was killed on Iwo Jima. Leckie and Sledge were in the 1st Marine Division and fought on the same islands my grandfather did.
I'm a big whimp when it comes to anything war-related, but this is beautiful. I love the fact that the people voicing it ( Rob Lowe, Ron Livingston, et cet.) are recognizable. It really makes it easier to get into.
Both my Grandfathers fought in the war. One was from Canada and the other from Britian and both managed to survive.
When I think about the men who fought in the war I am overwhelmed. I imagine myself at 18 and wonder what they must have been thinking....the things they saw and endured....
One of my grandfathers was caught behind enemy lines in Holland for over three weeks and lived above a families ceiling in their porch. Everyday the germans went to the house and searched it without success, but he heard them each time.
We hear a lot about how the Polish were farmers and not soldiers and people give them a lot of recognition for that fact (which they should). At the same time my grandfathers were 18 years old and one worked on a farm and the other in a coal mine. Neither were trained soldiers and their only experience with a fire arm was hunting game.
Don't ask why it took me so long in my life to think about this fact (that many of the allied forces were not trained soldiers), but since I have it has given me a whole new appreciation for what these young men did for the world.