Posts Tagged ‘World War II’
“He was a secret agent, and still alive thanks to his exact attention to the detail of his profession”*…
The Descriptive Catalogue of Special Devices and Supplies, used by British spies sent to the Continent to track Nazi movements and aid resistance fighters during World War II, has been recently reprinted by the Imperial War Museum. These pages from the back of the two-volume catalogue, which was published in 1944 and 1945, show a few of the ways that the Special Operations Executive (the name for the secret British agency charged with training and deploying these agents) managed to sneak arms and ammunition to its operatives.
As historian-author Sinclair McKay writes in the introduction to the new volume, the Special Operations Executive trained many volunteers and recruits with no previous experience in the field. The recruits underwent crash courses, with SOE personnel bringing them quickly up to speed on the use of weapons and explosives, the maintenance of communications equipment, and the cultures of the places they were to infiltrate.
The two volumes of the manual are packed full of explanations of the many devices SOE operatives might encounter, or choose to use, in their operations…
More in the remarkable Rebecca Onion’s “Nifty Methods for Smuggling Contraband, From a Manual for WWII-Era British Spies.”
* Ian Fleming, Casino Royale
As we dawdle at the dead drop, we might recall that it was on this date in 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the “Infamy Speech”–the name deriving from the first line of the speech, in which Roosevelt describes the previous day as “a date which will live in infamy”– to a Joint Session of Congress.
“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”*…
In January of 1942, as the U.S was entering World War II, a Pennsylvania dentist (and friend of Eleanor Roosevelt) named Lytle Adams submitted the design of a new weapon to the White House, suggesting that it could be effective against the Japanese. Adams’ creation was a bomb that would drop over 800 hibernating bats– to each of which was attached a small incendiary device… as the bomb descended from a high-altitude drop, the bats would awaken, disperse, and nest in structures– which in Japan at the time were largely made of bamboo, paper, and other highly-flammable material. Later in the day the incendiaries would go off, starting fires across a wide area. Adams estimated that 100 bombs might start as many a 1,000,000 fires.
The U.S. military developed the “Bat Bomb”; and while the yields were never quite what Adams predicted, they were impressive enough to drive investment of an estimated $2 million. The project was abandoned only when it became clear that the Manhattan Project would finish before the Bat Bomb was ready.
Read more about the Bat Bomb here.
[TotH to Quora answerer Tal Reichert]
* Albert Einstein
As we try to find the ploughshare, we might recall that it was on this date in 1849 that Lewis Phectic Haslett was granted the first patent for a gas mask. In fact, Haslett was building on a long tradition: the ancient Greeks used sponges as make-shift gas masks, and the Banu Musa brothers in Baghdad described a rudimentary gas mask (for protecting workers in polluted wells) in their wonder-full 9th century Book of Ingenious Devices. Still, Haslett’s creation was the forerunner of the modern gas mask.
From it’s roots in phyllobolia (the ancient Greek custom of throwing branches, leaves, garlands, or other plant matter –sometimes barley, flowers, or fruit– over, onto, or before a person, generally in celebratory reverence); through its modern formation during Carnevale in Italy in the 19th Century; to its current role as “tinsel meth of the masses”– everything one could possibly want to know about confetti.
* Tom Waits, “Tango ’til They’re Sore”
As we bob and weave, we might recall that this date is the holiday, first celebrated in 1945, known as Victory in Europe Day, marking the end of World War II in the European Theater. Observances, especially in the years immediately following the war, frequently involved parades, which frequently involved confetti (and other forms of phyllobolia).
In September of 1939, Americans were reading of the outbreak of war. Nazi Germany invaded Poland, thus ending any pretense that Hitler’s goal was ‘peace in our time.’ Poland’s main allies, Britain and France, promptly declared war on Germany. And though the Nazi’s only avowed goal at the time was winning the Polish campaign, the phrase ‘Second World War’ was first widely used.
The U.S. at the time was swathed in a peaceful cocoon; newspaper editors and the wire services that supplied them struggled to find ways to communicate what was unfolding abroad– a challenge colored by each paper’s politics. The Isolationist-Interventionist debate in the U.S. was reaching a boil. Some papers encouraged their readers appreciate the enormity of the events in Europe; others did their best to minimize them…
The map above, created by Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA, as in the bottom right of the image), a syndication service specializing in both images (comics and pictures) and features, was delivered to over 700 newspapers across the country. Its caption read:
All this talk about history-making battles waged, armies on the march and territory taken sounds big in the day’s war news, but how small it is in American terms may be seen from the map above. Shifted to the American scene, European armies might fight their battles on the Maginot-Siegfried lines in the center of Illinois. This would put London about where Minneapolis is, Paris at Des Moines, Berlin at Toledo, Warsaw at Washington.
Read the whole story at Strange Maps‘ “All Quiet on the Illinois Front.”
As we ponder proximity, we might recall that it was on this date in 1943 that Joseph Stalin, Premier of the Soviet Union, issued Order No. 227– what came to be known as the “Not one step backward” order– in response to German advances into Russian territory. It declared: “Panic makers and cowards must be liquidated on the spot. Not one step backward without orders from higher headquarters! Commanders…who abandon a position without an order from higher headquarters are traitors to the Fatherland.”
The Robe à la Française, a gown popular throughout much of the 18th century, consists of an open front robe exposing a highly decorative underskirt, double box pleats at the back showcasing expansive ornate Rococo textiles, a square neckline and a conical shaped bodice achieved by a stomacher. The stomacher, or the triangular panel at the front of the bodice, was a separate component of the dress and often featured elaborate ornamentation. Zac Posen’s Fall 2013 showcase, featured a golden yellow gown with a similar triangular shaped bodice. This 18th-century reference was not constructed with an additional panel, rather through clever gathers and darts.
Lilah Ramzi is a graduate student of fashion history fascinated by the antecedents of modern couture…
I have come to the realization that much of the creative material produced and designed today has its roots in a previous incarnation or is essentially part nouveau.
Part Nouveau can be used to characterize fashion photography, fashion trends and ultimately anything within the creative field that borrows, reappropriates or is directly inspired by a work which preceded it.
The blog seeks to aid our contemporary eyes, so used to being presented with the newest and latest within the creative world, to recognize and give credit to what has come before.
In 1937, Elsa Schiaparelli launched the fragrance Shocking de Schiaparelli, packaged in bottles which resembled a female figure. The curves were supposedly based on those of the provocative actress Mae West, who also served as a muse to surrealist artist Salvator Dali in the creation of a mouth-shaped sofa modeled after West’s bee-stung lips. Jean Paul Gaultier’s similar body-shaped bottles have become a signature design throughout the brand’s range of fragrances.
Viennese Secessionist artist Gustav Klimt’s gold-leafed, kaleidoscopic paintings have been referenced, reinterpreted and looked to for inspiration by countless artists and designers. In Judith and the Head of Holofernes, Klimt presents us with his version of the biblical tale featuring his muse and reported lover, the Austrian socialite Adele Bloch-Bauer. In describing her F/W 2013 collection to Vogue, designer L’Wren Scott revealed, “I’m having a gold moment” looking to Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Bloch-Bauer for inspiration.
Keith Haring began his short career in 1978, producing paintings, sculptures and murals in his signature cartoon-like graphics until his premature death in 1990. Haring’s philosophy to heighten the accessibility of his art was reinforced by his Pop Shop, a store which carried Haring memorabilia, home goods and clothing all featuring Haring’s signature designs. In 2011, shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood paid homage to Haring with a collection of footwear showcasing Haring’s aesthetic and in doing so, continuing Haring’s commitment to enhance his artistic reach.
See more exploration of Picasso’s famous assertion that “good artists copy; great artists steal” at Part Nouveau.
As we watch our backs (as it is, after all, the Ides of March), we might recall that it was on this date in 1949 that clothes rationing ended in England. Introduced on June 1, 1941, two years after food rationing, the program was an effort to assure fair access, but also to limit consumer spending and free up manufacturing capacity critical to te war effort (and subsequently, to economic recovery). As the Imperial War Museum explains…
When buying new clothes, the shopper had to hand over coupons with a ‘points’ value as well as money. Each item of clothing had a points value, usually displayed alongside the price. The more fabric and labour that was needed to produce a garment, the more points required.
Children’s clothes had lower points values in recognition of the fact that they would need new clothes more often. Pregnant women were given an extra allocation for maternity and baby clothes. Clothing exchanges were set up by the Women’s Voluntary Service to help meet the needs of women struggling to clothe their growing families.
Many women used furnishing fabrics for dressmaking until these too went on the ration. Blackout material, which did not need points, was also sometimes used. Parachute silk was highly prized for underwear, nightclothes and wedding dresses.
Via the always-rewarding Dangerous Minds, a simple– and simply wonderful– graduation film made by Jurjen Versteeg, who explains the idea behind his project:
Designed as a possible title sequence for a fictitious documentary, this film shows a history of the title sequence in a nutshell. The sequence includes all the names of title designers who had a revolutionary impact on the history and evolution of the title sequence. The names of the title designers all refer to specific characteristics of the revolutionary titles that they designed.
This film refers to elements such as the cut and shifted characters of Saul Bass’ Psycho title, the colored circles of Maurice Binder’s design for Dr. No and the contemporary designs of Kyle Cooper and Danny Yount.
This title sequence refers to the following designers and their titles: Georges Méliès – Un Voyage Dans La Lune, Saul Bass – Psycho, Maurice Binder – Dr. No, Stephen Frankfurt – To Kill A Mockingbird, Pablo Ferro – Dr. Strangelove, Richard Greenberg – Alien, Kyle Cooper – Seven, Danny Yount – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang / Sherlock Holmes.
As we remember to “tell ‘em what we’re going to tell ‘em,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1946 that the first Cannes Film Festival opened. It had originally been scheduled for September, 1939 as an “answer” to the Venice Film Fest, which had become a propaganda vehicle for Mussolini and Hitler; but the outbreak of World War II occasioned a delay.
During World War II, German aircraft from Norway would fly on missions to northern England; because of the icy weather conditions, the barrels of their guns had a small dab of wax to protect them. As they crossed the coast, they would clear their guns by firing a few rounds at the golf courses there. Undaunted, the British played on…
There will always be an England…
As rethink our aversion to bunkers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1805 that a force of U.S. Marines and Berber mercenaries attacked the Tripolitan port city of Derna on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States. Lieutenant Presley O’ Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in what one might now think of as “the first Libyan War” that Hamet Karamanli presented him with the elaborately-designed sword that serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers; the phrase “to the shores of Tripoli,” from the official song of the U.S. Marine Corps, is a reference to the Derna campaign.
Presley O’ Bannon (source)