Thursday, December 15, 2016

Who Was General Douglas Macarthur?

The Asia-Pacific region was not better off during the World War II. But during these trying times, the region saw the rise of a military leader—one with a corncob pipe. His name was Douglas MacArthur.

General MacArthur was born on 26 January 1880 in Arkansas. His father was an army officer, and he and his brothers were exposed to military activities while they were young. In 1893, he studied at the West Texas Military Academy. He finished the course with flying colors, being the top student in a 93-person class.

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MacArthur was the most-decorated soldier of the First World War. He returned to West Point after the war, and became the youngest superintendent of the institution. After his appointment in his alma mater, West Point doubled in size, and its curriculum improved. He returned to the Philippines to help his long-time friend, Manuel Quezon, who eventually became the country’s president years after.

MacArthur retired in 1937, a year after his appointment as Field Marshal in the Philippines. A few years after, he was recalled to serve the U.S. army as it prepared to enter the Second World War.

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Nations in the Pacific looked up to MacArthur, as his role was vital in the liberation of the region from Japanese forces—especially in the Philippines. Because of his contributions, he was promoted to five-star general in 1944. MacArthur also played a big role during the Korean War in the 1950’s, but was eventually sent back to the U.S. after having a rift with President Truman. General MacArthur spent the rest of his years in New York, and wrote a lot about his battles until his death in 14 April 1964.

John Eilermann here. Learn more about World War II’s military leaders when you visit this blog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Raoul Wallenberg’s Death Declared More Than Seven Decades After WWII Ended

Swedish diplomat and World War II hero, Raoul Wallenberg, was declared dead on Oct. 31, 2016, more than seven decades after the end of the war. The cause and time of death remain a mystery to everyone.
Wallenberg is one of World War II’s greatest heroes. He was credited with helping approximately 20,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. He helped thousands of Jews escape death by providing them with Swedish passports and passages to underground safe houses. Wallenberg was awarded “Righteous Among Nations,” an honor given to non-Jews who helped their brothers and sisters survive during the Holocaust. Modern-day historians believe that Wallenberg died under the Soviets.

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He vanished after being arrested in Budapest in 1945. Sweden remained neutral and passive after Wallenberg’s disappearance, and it was later found out that he had a connection with non-Communist resistance movement of Hungary. While the Soviets initially denied he was with them, they refuted their claims, saying Wallenberg had died of heart attack in prison two years after he was arrested on July 17, 1947.

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As if the earlier reports were not confusing enough, some suggested he was alive six days after his death in prison. There were also accounts from people who saw him even decades after his supposed death.
The Swedish Tax Authority, the country’s arm for registering births and deaths, has set Wallenberg’s date of death to July 31, 1952. This is following a rule that says a missing person presumed to have died should be pronounced dead after disappearing for five years.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Who were the Gestapo? Hidden roles of the Nazi secret police

Any discussion regarding World War II would not be complete without a basic introduction to the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei). This was a highly elite group of police officers, feared for their secrecy and diligence. They were directly under the supervision of Heinrich Himmler who led all police squads within Nazi Germany.

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The group was created to protect the country from influences that were deemed dangerous. These threats were handled in the fastest and most efficient manner possible. At the height of their existence, there were many factions and potential threats that were listed. This became a challenge, as the Gestapo – despite its growing number – was stretched to its limit. In the end, the police force was tasked to only two things. The first was to manage threats to the Nazi party and second, to quell any resistance movements and maintain order. This was to ensure the safety of all the citizens of Germany. 

Historians say that one of the things that made the Gestapo powerful was the perceived amount of influence they had. Records show that even when the police force was limited and undertrained, the fear they created was profound. It can be likened to George Orwell’s 1984 novel. There was a perception that the Gestapo had eyes and ears everywhere, which was not the case. Still, this perception was spread and strengthened until there were rumors of their "hidden roles". 

Data shows that the actions of the Gestapo were pretty straight forward. All accounts state that they were highly efficient in what they did. However, at the Nuremberg Trials, the force was labeled a criminal organization. 

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John Eilermann believes that studying history helps prevent certain events from happening and happening again. Learning from experience is always best. Learn more when you follow this Twitter account.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Short Discussion On The Atlantic Wall

The Atlantic wall is the name given to the coastal defensive structure that stretched from Norway to the Spanish border. It was ordered by Hitler on March 23, 1942 and was meant to provide a considerable defense against the Allies, had they decided to attack Europe from the coastline. It took around two years to build and at its completion was considered one of the most impressive structures at the time. The three-tier wall spanned around 2,000 miles and heavily defended strategic port cities. However, the British, Canadian, and American forces were able to breach the wall on June 6, 1944 in what will always be remembered as the Battle at Normandy. 

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That is what most people remember about the wall, but there are also a few unknown facts that should be more recognized. For example, the firearms that lined the Atlantic wall were a plethora of old machinery around Europe. There was no specific size or caliber to the guns. Some were decommissioned naval guns from French and German warships. Others were captured artillery. This, some historians believe, is the reason why despite the well-built structure, the wall could not be properly defended. The logistics in providing the correct ammunition for these types of guns, along with finding servicemen who could be proficient in all sorts of machinery, was staggering. For the most part, soldiers first learned how to fire their assigned gun in battle. 

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There are, of course, many other theories and conclusions as to why the wall fell but it is always good to keep an open mind and review the facts. 

John Eilermann is passionate about learning everything there is about World War II. To read more articles like this, like this Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Forgotten Ally? India In World War II

What was India’s role during World War II? While other people think that India was a relatively safe place to live in during the years of the war, the country served as a supply ground for the Allies—against the Japanese—in the Southeast Asian region. In battles of the Tobruk, Kohima, Imphal, and Monte Cassino, many Indian soldiers risked their lives to protect their land and faction. The Fourteenth Army, composed of Indian, African, and British forces, strived to take Burma back for the Allies.,_1944.jpg
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Not all Indians went to war as soldiers to support the Allies. Many of them worked behind the scenes as mechanics, shoemakers, cooks, and tailors. There were also women who mined coal until they gave birth. Their work was not as glamorous as fighting enemies, but they made sure the people on their team kept going.

Many Indians died in industrial accidents, like in an explosion in Bombay harbor in the 1940s. A ship full of cotton and explosives was set on fire, which blew warships and left 80,000 locals homeless. Dock and factory workers also suffered from aerial suffocation. These people did not write their memoirs of the war because the fiery, bloody conflict made a way for them to live by getting paid to work. There were also elite South Asians who made a fortune because of the war.

History does not acknowledge much of the importance of India during World War II. India was not directly an ally, but the people did their best to serve their side. Some historians say that India’s effort in the war was not forgotten, but was just simply unknown to many.
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Monday, May 30, 2016

How To Take Care Of Your Wwii Memorabilia

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Collecting WWII memorabilia extends beyond looking for them in stores. It is also about making them last. Unfortunately, many people do not know the basics of memorabilia care. These simple techniques can dramatically lengthen the lifespan of each artifact – ensuring the collector’s pleasure for longer.

Understand what is involved: Memorabilia comes in different materials. One of the hardest materials to care for is leather because it fades quite quickly. An important tip when dealing with leather is knowing how badly damaged the material is, if ever. To do this, apply a leather dressing solution using a Q-tip around the area (preferably in a hidden area). If the area darkens, then the leather needs to be retouched. There are local stores that deal with leather restoration. The memorabilia though may have to be kept in a glass container. This applies to other materials as well.

Consider storage and framing: Most WWII memorabilia are posters and paper clippings. These items are extremely delicate and need proper storage. A good tip is to store these paper items in an acid-free scrapbook. Glassine paper sleeves turn acidic after a few years, so it is good not to place expensive memorabilia in these containers.
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The most important suggestion is to speak with one’s supplier. Most WWII memorabilia are bought from fellow collectors themselves. They understand how to care for properly their items in the best way possible. Remember that memorabilia of considerable value should be well-taken cared for, if the purpose is reselling. Intrinsic value does decrease with age and any form of damage.

John Eilermann is an avid WWII memorabilia collector. Learn more tips and tricks about keeping them intact by following this Twitter account.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Impact Of Wwii On The Philippine Islands

World War II spanned continents and sent a ripple of massive change to every single country it touched. Most history lessons talk about the immediate effects of the war in America and Europe; yet for my part, I encourage everyone to remember the Philippines and how it became a critical war point in which both political sides gravitated.
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The Philippines is an archipelago located in South East Asia and was key in the Allies strategy in gaining dominance over Japan. The islands provided Americans the opportunity to sufficiently deploy troops in a relatively safe, and invitingly near area. After setting up base in certain regions, the Philippines became somewhat of an American naval station.

This led to the Japanese invading and laying claim of the country during the latter parts of the war. The invasion led to the massive destruction of its capital, Manila. In fact, history books recall the Battle of Manila as one of the worst in terms of overall structure destruction. It was also during this time that the Japanese fought for control of the Philippine Islands. The overwhelming sense of war drove the naturally independent tribes of the nation to band together. In an unforeseen turn of events, the war caused the Filipinos to work together to neither represent the Allies nor the Axis powers.
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World War II began its end after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. The Japanese officially surrendered and everyone paused for the horror of what was released. For the Philippine people, however, they too picked up the pieces of a destroyed nation. The war left its traces among the people. They could no longer ignore that they united for a single cause. After only a few short years of working with the United States, the Philippines declared itself an independent nation. Many historians attribute this action as a product of World War II.

My name is John F. Eilermann, an avid World War II enthusiast. I try to learn as much as I can about the war and share my learnings on this Facebook page.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Wwii And Technology: How The War Changed The Way We Live Now

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War is never an easy word to say. Just the very mention of it conjures images of death and destruction. There is a saying that goes something along the lines of “No one wins at war.” There is truth in that, but it would be a very naïve person to think that there have been no benefits to war. I do not mean to offend. By no accounts am I promoting war or death. Yet war has given us certain technologies, which have benefited us.

For example, many people forget that radar and sonar technologies were developed during World War II. Radar is an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging while sonar is for SOund Navigation And Ranging. Both of these technologies were constructed for intelligence-building and scanning. German engineers developed the radar technology to improve their attack and counter-attack operations. As both the Axis and Allied powers developed the technology, so did its usage. What was initially used to enhance airplane location and landings were now used to improve communication among groups. When the war ended, the technology was adapted for everyday purposes. The military still uses it, as well as various industries. Similarly, sonar is no longer limited to submarine usage. Many scientists use sonar ] in their researches. 

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World War II can be studied in many different ways. I think that its positive effects – as they were – should also be highlighted. Again, I cannot stress the intention behind this. The study of war should be done with an objective mindset, viewing both the negative and positive effects of the experience. I merely wanted to point out that certain aspects of our lives now have benefitted from the technologies spurred by war. 

Hi! I am John Eilermann and I am a World War II buff. I like studying and reading about history and posting some of my insights online. Learn more when you follow me on Twitter.

Monday, February 22, 2016

World Leaders: Notable Names During the WW II

Do you know your World War II leaders? Here are notable names from a challenging time in the world’s history.
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Adolf Hitler: Hitler was widely known as Germany’s leader in World War II. He lived in an underground headquarters in East Prussia for many years as he led the German and the Axis coalition during the war. He was an aggressor and was extremely successful in the first few years of the war.

Winston Churchill: Churchill was an author and the prime minister of the U.K. during the war. He was also a strategist and a great world historian. Churchill was one of the leaders of the allied forces.

Benito Mussolini: Mussolini served as the prime minister of Italy for 21 years, from 1922 to 1943. He formed the Fascist Party, which called for total obedience, nationalism, and aggressive military work. He was an ally of Hitler and joined the war in 1940 for the Nazis.

Franklin Roosevelt: He was the U.S. president during the Pearl Harbor attacks, which eventually led the country to be involved in the war. He died in 1945 and was replaced by Vice President Harry Truman.

Hideki Tojo: Tojo was the prime minister of Japan from 1941 to 1944. He was an aggressive army general but resigned from his post when he felt that Japan was going to lose the war. He was eventually executed when the war ended.
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Joseph Stalin: Stalin was the dictator of the Soviet Union from 1928 until his death in 1953. The Soviet Union forces under his command played a prominent role in the defeat of Adolf Hitler, and eventually, of the whole Nazi Party.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

The Emotional and Social Effects of Playing Sports

Most people are aware only of the physical benefits of playing sports: bodily strength, coordination, improved bodily functions, and overall fitness. However, playing sports brings more than just physical benefits, but emotional and social ones as well:

Stress relief Playing sports helps release endorphins, which make a person feel more energized and have a sense of wellbeing. When a person is stressed, playing sports can help by lessening feelings of frustration and anxiety.

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Improved self-Image Getting involved in a sporting activity gives players an improved self-image. They take measures on how to take care of their bodies. Sporty people are less likely to smoke, get drunk, and do drugs. Their self-esteem is intact; they know who they are and where they stand because they are confident about themselves.

Good academic or work performance Playing sports provides people with a sense of competitiveness. This is the reason people who play sports are good with work and school—they want to see the best version of themselves. Moreover, people who play sports are more productive and are less bored, because they always look for an active outlet.

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Better social skills People who play sports have a tight sense of teamwork, sportsmanship, and personal responsibility—which makes them better in dealing with social situations. They can easily overcome adversity because they look for ways their “team” can escape a tough situation. Sporty people are also more likely to establish good friendships not just with their teammates, but with other people, too.

Playing sports can make you look good and feel great about yourself. John Eilermann here. Know more about my love for sports when you visit this blog.