Since this is Memorial Day, I thought it would be appropriate to share some 150 or so pics I found on archive.gov from World War Two. I am pretty sure that I can repost them since technically I paid for them *writes tax check*. And I have been wanting to post something about WWII for a while now. I have a few personal anecdotes.
My Grandfather’s brother was a paratrooper who jumped the night before the D-Day Invasion. He didn’t talk much about it but he did get his lunch shot out (well, it didn’t come out but you know). And he said the worst thing he ever had to do was kill his own guys. Apparently there were these tall hedgerow things. And they had super long thorns in them. And he said that if they jumped and anyone landed in them, it was a problem. The more you tried to get out the deeper the thorns went. And they would scream and scream but the hedges were too high to get them out of. So they had to shoot them. Now that I am older, I wonder if i am misremembering because it seems like guns would be louder than screams but he is dead now and I don’t know why he would make that up so I am going with the fact that it is true.
I am including some of the Concentration Camps pics because there are still people who deny the Holocaust ever happened. Actually had a guy on Imgur tell me the other day it was a ruse to allow them to steal Israel. Seems like having six million of your people army get cooked in ovens would be a crappy way to negotiate a real estate deal. And it makes this quote from Eisenhower all the more prescient.
“The things I saw beggar description…The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering…I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations to propaganda.”
The figure everyone remembers is the six million Jews (and it should be remembered). But there was plenty of monstrosity to go around. Here is a list for you.
- Between 21 and 28 million Russians died.
- China lost 3-4 million via military deaths and between 7-11 million to war crimes. The Japanese were monstrous.
- The US lost more than 400,000. That doesn’t seem like a lot (Germany had between 7-9 million die) but we did have to send our guys far away to get killed.
- I heard (no facts to back it up) that Russians killed 9 out of 10 Germans killed in the war.
I also heard that the US had plans to keep right on going and attack Russia after they killed Hitler but as soon as they saw the Russians in Berlin the generals called back and were like: “eff that”. I guess it makes sense that they had the plan but I can’t help wondering what would have happened if they had gone through with it.
I never read the “greatest generation” books and I don’t have a particular reverence for them. I know that some smacked their wives around and many of them were dicks. I know that what we call PTSD they called “shell shocked” and they carried terrible things around with them. But for all the things people can complain about (because if you dig deep enough you can always find the ugly) the fact is that the entire country was focused on winning the war. Look at some of these pics. I think people figured it out after a bit of time that Hitler really wanted to conquer the world. They found a prototype stealth bomber (shaped like our modern one) they had been working on and they estimated that they would have been done with it when they were done with their own nuke.
The threat of imminent destruction is a strong motivator. And that is what makes me sad about our politics now. It is like half the country just believes the OPPOSITE of the other half. On every single issue. Maybe if we had someone try to invade us or something we would all have to get on the same page. Prolly not, though.
My other takeaway from this is that Japan should be really be nervous that China is just sitting there waiting to pay them back for all the stuff they did to them. *shudders* So Happy Memorial Day!