History in photos…
According to Time Magazine, the above photo was taken by Irish Jesuit priest Francis Browne who sailed with the ship for the first leg of its journey, from Southampton (England) to Cobh (Ireland) then called Queenstown. The priest would have stayed for the remainder of the transatlantic journey too, having received an offer of a ticket from a wealthy family he befriended while on board. When Browne reached Cobh, however, he received a note from his clerical superior, ordering him to return to his station immediately rather than sail on with Titanic.
Editor’s note: While I have literally hundreds of photos relevant to the RMS Titanic, I will save them for another time, perhaps a special post of the victims (many of whom were children). Meanwhile, there were other noteworthy historical anniversaries this week…
Sundown on the evening of Wednesday, April 15th signaled the beginning of Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Memorial Day. The full name of the day commemorating the victims of the Holocaust is “Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah” — literally the “Day of (Remembrance of) the Holocaust and the Heroism.” It is marked on the 27th day in the month of Nisan–a week after the seventh day of Passover.
Every year on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is important to remember that the Germans and their collaborators killed over a million Jewish children. They are not forgotten:
Little-known history that somehow got missed by the history books.
Pictured: July 1942, A rare picture of 16 year old (Norma Jeane Mortenson) Marilyn Monroe along with husband James Dougherty, West Virginia
In 1943, during World War II, Dougherty enlisted in the Merchant Marine. He was initially stationed on Santa Catalina Island off California’s coast, and Monroe lived with him there in the town of Avalon for several months before he was shipped out to the Pacific. Frightened that he might not come back alive, Monroe begged him to try and get her pregnant before he left. Dougherty disagreed, feeling that she was too young to have a baby
While Dougherty served in the Merchant Marine, his wife began working in the Radioplane Munitions Factory, mainly spraying airplane parts with fire retardant and inspecting parachutes. The factory was owned by movie star Reginald Denney. During that time, David Conover of the U.S. Army Air Forces’ First Motion Picture Unit noticed her and snapped a series of photographs, none of which appeared in Yank magazine
In September 1946, Monroe filed for divorce. Dougherty, served with divorce papers while aboard a ship on the Yangtze river in China, reported that he tried to persuade his wife against the divorce upon his return, but she refused.
I’m reintroducing Throwback Thursday on Crash Course. There are so many fascinating historical photos to be shared – because history is pretty cool!
During World War II, books were one of the few items distributed to the American armed forces that were meant to make life at war bearable. American publishers, wanting to do their bit in the war, designed books that would fit the servicemen’s needs: small volumes in tempting titles that weighed next to nothing. These books were Armed Services Editions (“ASEs”), incredibly tiny paperbacks designed to fit the pocket of a standard issue military uniform. Over 120 million were printed over the course of the war with titles ranging from comics to Shakespeare and everything in between. Lonesome, homesick GIs eagerly grabbed these books and read them everywhere—while waiting in line for chow or a haircut, when pinned down in a foxhole, and while swinging in their hammocks below deck. And they were even carried into the Battle of Normandy.
Under the leadership of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, plans for D-day were in the works for months before the invasion occurred in June 1944. In the final days leading to the boarding of the landing craft that would set out across the English Channel, American soldiers readied themselves. They crammed into their packs dozens of pounds of ammunition, provisions, extra weapons, and other necessities. Although the recommendation was that the men not bring more than forty-four pounds of equipment, it was estimated that some men weighed at least three hundred pounds as they waddled under the weight of their packs. As they waited for an announcement of when the invasion would begin, there was little to do but worry, pray, or read. Silence pervaded. A rosary could be seen in many a hand. According to one man, “Priests were in their heyday. I even saw Jews go and take communion. Everybody [was] scared to death.”
General Eisenhower took an especial interest in the morale of his troops. As he noted in his own memoirs, “morale, given rough equality to other things, is supreme on the battlefield.” Eisenhower was known to read western novels to relax and relieve stress, and the men who would be doing the fighting deserved no less. Anticipating the time it would take to assemble all of the men needed for the mission, and the boredom and anxiety associated with the chore of waiting, General Eisenhower’s staff earmarked over a half-million books to be distributed to the Americans as they waited for the invasion to begin. Among the ASEs that were set aside were Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Joseph Mitchell’s McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon, Charles Spalding and Otis Carney’s Love at First Flight, Booth Tarkington’s Penrod, and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Dozens of other titles joined the men on the shore of the English Channel.
Prior to the invasion, the Army’s Special Services Division, which was responsible for serving the morale needs of soldiers, distributed some of the soldiers’ favorite items. Packs of cigarettes were shoved into pockets, candy bars were grabbed by the handful, but of all things, the most sought-after item was the ASEs. As one Special Services officer recalled, palpable tension mounted in the staging areas, and books were the only thing available that “provided sorely needed distraction to a great many men.” When the loading process finally began, many men, realizing how much weight they were carrying, stopped to unburden themselves of unnecessary items near the docking area. The ground was littered with a variety of objects, but among the heaps of discarded inessentials “very few Armed Services Editions were found by the clean-up squads that later went through the areas.” Weighing as little as a couple of ounces each, ASEs were the lightest weapon that the men could bring along.
The Americans who landed at Utah and Omaha Beaches on June 6 had vastly different experiences. The American Fourth Division poured ashore at Utah Beach, meeting very little opposition. In fact, some men were a little let down at how anticlimactic the landing was; they described it as seeming like just another practice invasion. The early waves of troops landing at Omaha Beach, by contrast, faced near-certain death. As soon as the transports lowered their ramps, the exiting men were thrust into the line of fire. German machine-gun spray ripped across the boats, instantly killing the hapless Americans on them. For the first wave of LCIs that reached Omaha Beach, the death rate was nearly 100 percent; no one got off the beach. Later waves of troops faced grievous losses on the shore. Shell-shocked, many men simply froze, unable to move toward safety. Others who forded through the barrage of gunfire and mortar blasts and moved to the shelter of the cliffs at the top of the beach suffered injuries along the way. Unable to go farther, their shattered bodies dropped to the sand and stayed there until medics arrived. Many men who climbed the beach later that day would never forget the sight of gravely wounded soldiers propped up against the base of the cliffs, reading.
Excerpted from When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning. Copyright © 2014 by Molly Guptill Manning. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.