world war ii

The Japanese battleship Nagato [16" guns] was one of the major prizes found at the Yokosuka Naval Base when the Navy and Marines took over on August 30, 1945. She had been damaged in the great battle off the Philippines last October and had also received bomb hits since. The Japanese were rebuilding her but were making very slow progress. As is the Japanese way, she seems to be a combination of fantasy and workable efficiency. Although we may readily say that her features are “certainly not the way we would do it,” we cannot afford to indict as impotent so great a potential as the Nagato. Her guts and nerves are torn loose from her skeleton, although her heart still beats darkly. She lies dormant to a mooring, facing the west wind from Mt. Fuji some 60-70 miles away. Her immediate guard is the USS South Dakota, flagship of Adm. Halsey’s Third Fleet.”

“Post Mortem at Yokosuka: Damaged Bridge of Nagato, Former Japanese Battleship.

Painting, Watercolor on Scratch Board; by Standish Backus; 1945; Framed Dimensions 31H X 39W.”

(NHHC: 88-186-AC)


The men of the Das Reich Division on the long march towards Moscow during Operation Barbarossa in 1941. The vast distances in the Soviet Union took their tools on men and machines alike, while supply problems multiplied with every mile. Roads were very few and often little more than unpaved dirt tracks.

It’s a common story – lots of women enter the workforce during World War II, doing all the jobs normally restricted only to men, before millions had to go off to fight Fascism. Then the war was won, the soldiers came back, the women were forced back out.

But, at least, it was acknowledged, and, at least, some credit was given.

But not at Gibson Guitar. They officially say that they shipped no instruments during World War II at all – not a one. But that’s simply not true. They did – they made and shipped thousands of instruments, with a wartime workforce of women. Some even went with GIs overseas.

Apparently, management decided that people wouldn’t want instruments made by women, so they erased the Kalamazoo Gals from history. When law professor and music journalist John Thomas got a hint there had actually been wartime production, and found out the story, the acoustic department was initially very interested – and then corporate found out he had been digging, and started threatening him for revealing it. It’s fascinating:

Women guitar makers scratched from Gibson history
By Ryan Grimes

Women are constantly being erased from history, including music history. Sometimes more aggressively than others. Never forget that.

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Eighty years ago this month, the United States competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games in Nazi Germany, and 18 African-American athletes were part of the U.S. squad.

Track star Jesse Owens, one of the greatest Olympians of all time, won four gold medals. What the 17 other African-American Olympians did in Berlin, though, has largely been forgotten — and so too has their rough return home to racial segregation.

“Determination! That’s what it takes,” one of the athletes, John Woodruff, said during a 1996 oral history interview for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. “A lot of fire in the stomach!”

Woodruff won the gold medal in the 800-meter race — and he did it in Adolf Hitler’s Germany.

“There was very definitely a special feeling in winning the gold medal and being a black man,” Woodruff said. “We destroyed his master-race theory whenever we start winning those gold medals.”

Black U.S. Olympians Won In Nazi Germany Only To Be Overlooked At Home

Photo: Bettman Archive/Getty Images
Caption: At the 1936 Olympics, 18 black athletes went to Berlin as part of the U.S. team. Pictured here are (left to right rear) Dave Albritton, and Cornelius Johnson, high jumpers; Tidye Pickett, a hurdler; Ralph Metcalfe, a sprinter; Jim Clark, a boxer, and Mack Robinson, a sprinter. In front are John Terry, (left) a weight lifter and John Brooks, a long jumper.