World War II

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WWII Spies Subjected to 'Agent Fifi' Test

She was thought to be a myth

(Newser) - For British spies during World War II, one of the greatest challenges came from a colleague: one Agent Fifi, a beautiful woman tasked with getting trainee agents to leak their secrets. Fifi was long thought to be an urban legend, but newly opened documents from Britain's National Archives show... More »

WWII Vet Gets Purple Heart 70 Years Later

Plus, it was a surprise for Fred Zurbuchen

(Newser) - A World War II veteran was finally awarded a Purple Heart this week after earning it 70 years ago. When he was just 17, Fred Zurbuchen of Wisconsin enlisted and became a B-17 gunner in the Air Force. He got injured on his 10th mission, but fire destroyed his paperwork,... More »

Navy: Java Sea Wreck Is Grave of 700

USS Houston was lost in 1942 battle

(Newser) - More than 70 years after the heavy cruiser nicknamed the "Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast" was sunk by the Japanese, divers have confirmed that they have found its wreck. The USS Houston was found in the Java Sea; officials say there is oil seeping from the hull and... More »

Pope Meets Korean WWII Sex Slaves

Francis calls for peace on last day of Asian visit

(Newser) - Pope Francis wrapped up his first trip to Asia today by challenging Koreans—from the North and the South—to reject the "mindset of suspicion and confrontation" that clouds their relations and find new ways to forge peace on the war-divided peninsula. In a poignant moment at the start... More »

Last Surviving Member of Enola Gay Crew Is Dead

Navigator 'Dutch' Van Kirk helped drop atomic bomb on Hiroshima

(Newser) - The crew of the Enola Gay bomber that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima is now only in the history books. The last surviving member, navigator Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, has died in an Atlanta retirement home at age 93, reports WXIA . Van Kirk was 24 when he helped... More »

Accused Nazi About to Be Extradited Dies in US

Philadelphia's Johann Breyer, 89, was a guard at Auschwitz

(Newser) - An 89-year-old Philly man suspected of Nazi war crimes died last night in a local hospital, the AP reports—the same day a judge issued an order to have him extradited to Germany. Former toolmaker Johann Breyer had been arrested in June, and German prosecutors wanted to try him for... More »

Sunken Nazi Sub Slumbers Off Louisiana Coast

And a camera captures incredible images of the German U-boat

(Newser) - Many never knew how close German U-boats came to US soil during World War II, but new high-def footage reveals several wrecks on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Robert Ballard, known for discovering the Titanic, is now mapping some of these wrecks, including the SS Robert E. Lee... More »

Thousands of WWII War Crimes Records Unveiled

Holocaust Museum makes digital archive available to public

(Newser) - From Adolf Hitler down to the petty bureaucrats who staffed the Nazi death camps, thousands of perpetrators of World War II war crimes were eventually written up in vast reams of investigative files—files that now, for the first time, can be viewed in their entirety by the public. The... More »

Has Glenn Miller Mystery Been Solved?

'Perfect storm' led to 1944 crash, historian says

(Newser) - The Glenn Miller mystery is getting a fresh look nearly 70 years after the beloved bandleader disappeared over the English Channel in 1944 on his way to play a concert for US troops in Paris—and a historian says newly discovered documents help explain what happened to him. An episode... More »

WWII POW 'X-816' to Be Dug Up After Lawsuit

Family says the remains belong to Bud Kelder

(Newser) - An anonymous POW buried in an American war cemetery in the Philippines isn't "X-816," it's Bud Kelder, say family members who have finally won their fight to have the remains disinterred. The 26-year-old Army medic survived the Bataan Death March but died in a POW camp... More »

Normandy Invaded Again in Final D-Day Salute

1K paratroopers dropped on beach as 70th anniversary winds down

(Newser) - Nearly 1,000 paratroopers dropped out of the sky in Normandy today—but this time they did so in peace, instead of to wrest western France from the Nazis as they did during World War II. Drawing huge crowds who braved hot weather and lined the historic landing area at... More »

'Democracy's Beachhead': Vets, Leaders Honor D-Day

Obama in Normandy for 70th anniversary

(Newser) - World leaders joined thousands of veterans who stormed the beaches of Normandy 70 years ago today to commemorate D-Day. At Omaha Beach, the site of the bloodiest fighting, a US military band played while veterans from the 29th Infantry Division stood at attention at 6:30am, the precise moment Allied... More »

Last Original Navajo Code Talker Dies

Chester Nez helped create WWII code Japan couldn't crack

(Newser) - For the last of the group of Navajo men who created a code that confounded the Japanese in World War II, "baa hane' yée éí t'áá kódiíji' bíighah silíí"—"his life story ends here"—fellow Navajo veterans... More »

Churchill's Last Surviving Child Dies

Mary Soames passes just ahead of 70th anniversary of D-Day

(Newser) - Mary Soames, the last surviving child of British World War II leader Winston Churchill, has died. She was 91. "She was a distinguished writer and led a distinguished life, with her service in the war, and is part of that generation which is passing," her son, Nicholas Soames,... More »

How 50 Kids Were Saved From Hitler—by a US Couple

Meet Philly's Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus

(Newser) - They're a little like the American version of Oskar Schindler, but most probably haven't heard of Eleanor and Gilbert Kraus. Steven Pressman is out to change that with a new book called 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany,... More »

Audi Reveals Dark Details of Its Nazi Past

Predecessor Auto Union used concentration camp labor

(Newser) - Audi has finally released what Germany's other major car manufacturers have—a report detailing how its predecessor company made use of concentration camp labor. The admission comes via a newly released historical study that the company itself called for. It found that 3,700 concentration camp inmates were made... More »

WWII Paratrooper Finally Makes First Jump

He gets his wings more than 70 years after training

(Newser) - More than 70 years after he first trained as a paratrooper, a Canadian World War II veteran has finally jumped out of a plane. Ralph Mayville, 92, served in the elite US-Canadian "Devil's Brigade" for years but was never called upon to jump. On the weekend, he did... More »

Unopened WWII Letter Finally Heads Home

Michigan couple's granddaughter to get letter they never received

(Newser) - Just where a World War II letter has been for nearly 70 years is a mystery, but it's finally on its last journey home. The letter—sent by Army Sgt. Myron Cook to a Muskegon, Mich., address from an army base in Europe, WZZM reports—somehow re-entered the mail... More »

WWII Medal Found Stashed in Maple Tree

Charity to return medal to veteran's son

(Newser) - A Nebraska man is getting a memento of his late father from an odd place: A maple tree in Vermont. Robert G. Woody's 1945 Good Conduct Medal, awarded after he served in the Pacific theater throughout World War II, was found stashed in the tree along with assorted other... More »

'Rosie the Riveter' Plant Saved

Group just about raises the $8M needed to buy 150K square feet of it

(Newser) - The Detroit-area factory where Rosie the Riveter showed that a woman could do a "man's work" by building World War II-era bombers has been saved from the wrecking ball , organizers of a campaign to build a museum on the site announced today. The site's manager had given... More »

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