World War II Codebreaker

“Unearthing great stories from CMU is less about finding a needle in a haystack, than finding a needle in a stack of needles. There are so many compelling stories that it’s hard to choose which ones to include. One obvious place to start, though, was 100-year-old World War II codebreaker Julia Parsons.” Read full story here. Listen to the podcast here.

Japanese American Redress Program

“This required working with the Japanese American community and essentially rebuilding trust between the community and the very government agencies that betrayed them 40 years earlier. The community-government partnership that prevailed really underpinned the success of the redress program and the spirit of justice held by all of those involved.” Read full story about this project here.

US World War II Veterans Project

“The 2016 graduate of Agoura High School, which is north of Los Angeles, has been on the road since December 2016 interviewing World War II combat veterans across the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He has done interviews in 46 states, and the only two states he has not visited are Alaska and Arkansas. Rishi Sharma, a first-generation American born to parents who emigrated from India in the 1980s, has interviewed more than 1,100 veterans so far and has no plans to stop. His project, which he calls “Heroes of the Second World War,” actually began in high school.” Read full story here.

Grandfather’s WWII Band

“Jason Burt, of Clarksburg, Calif., knew his grandfather played the trumpet in World War II. He had listened to stories about the 746th Far East Air Force Band boosting morale for servicemen on the front lines of the Philippines theater. But, for decades, the family hadn’t seen his grandfather’s vinyl recordings of the ensemble until 2019, when they were clearing out their grandparents’ house. “I knew they were around, and I was kind of hoping they would turn up at some point. And we found them in the attic,” Burt told NPR’s Morning Edition.” Read full story and listen to an excerpt of the music here.

Flying “the Hump” in WWII

“The Library of Congress Veterans History Project collects the first-hand remembrances of U.S. military veterans and Gold Star Family members so their stories will be accessible to future generations. Individuals and organizations across the country are invited to contribute a variety of materials to this important archive: oral histories, original letters, photos, unpublished memoirs, journals or diaries, 2-D artwork, and other military documents of veterans from World War I through current conflicts. At the project website you can find more information and a searchable database of transcripts and oral history recordings.” For full story click here.

WWII American Submariner Dies

“William Leibold was one of nine survivors of a crew of 87 on the Navy submarine Tang. The sailors were plucked out of frigid ocean water on Oct. 25, 1944, by an Imperial Japanese Navy patrol boat after the sub had aggressively attacked a convoy in the Formosa Strait en route to the Philippines. The Tang was credited with taking out 33 enemy ships, carrying out daring attacks and rescuing numerous downed airmen during its wartime patrols, earning it the reputation as the most lethal Allied sub in the Pacific in World War II.” Read full story with link to Leibold’s video oral history here.

Japanese Peruvians Kidnapped during World War II

“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) came out with a verdict on Aug. 4 that ruled in favor of Isamu Carlos “Art” Shibayama and the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project (JPOHP). The IACHR is an independent agency within the OAS, and its main mission is to promote the observance and protection of human rights in the American hemisphere. Because the IACHR has a huge backlog of cases, the ruling came 17 years after the Shibayama brothers — Art, Kenichi and Takeshi — and JPOHP filed a petition with the IACHR on June 10, 2003, and three years after Art Shibayama and Grace Shimizu with JPOHP testified before the IACHR in Washington D.C. Art Shibayama has since passed away and his brothers are in frail health.” This little known history is told here with a link to the oral history website.

Remembering the Atlantic War

“The Atlantic War Remembered: An Oral History Collection” edited by John T. Mason Jr., Naval Institute Press, 2020, 512 pages, $45

World War II has entered history. Some veterans are still alive, but fewer with each passing day. Even those born between 1939 and 1945 are retirement age. “The Atlantic War Remembered: An Oral History Collection” edited by John T. Mason Jr., allows people today to read what those veterans remembered. It collects accounts from participants in World War II’s Atlantic naval war. Read full review here.

Battle of Britain Veteran Dies

“In England they are known as “The Few”, the pilots who defended their country from Nazi aerial assault in the Battle of Britain during World War II. Among “The Few,” whose ranks numbered approximately 3000, Paul Farnes was one of the last surviving. And of those who remained, he was believed to be the only ace, or aviator with the distinction of downing five or more enemy aircraft.” Read full story here.

BBC in World War II

Documents and interviews, released by BBC History, include plans to replace Big Ben’s chimes with a recorded version in the event of an air attack. This would ensure the Germans did not know their planes were over Westminster. BBC programmers would also play music to contact Polish freedom fighters. Read full story, with videos and link to the website here.