Tag Archives: World War II

How the French Hid the Louvre’s Masterpieces During WWII:


unveiling the mona lisa world war 2 louvre


Beginning in 1938, the threat of war prompted a large-scale evacuation of France’s public art collections. The storage sites chosen for works of art were châteaux, tranquil locations in the heart of the French countryside, far from strategic targets, and thus escaping the imminent danger of bombing.

On August 28, 1939, the Mona Lisa left the Louvre and on September 3, as war had been declared, a decision was taken to ensure that all of the most precious works would leave the premises by the end of the day.

During the war, Leonardo da Vinci’s smiling maiden would move another five times before being brought back safe and sound. It was an unprecedented journey for the world’s most famous painting.


Moving the Winged Victory of Samothrace

moving the Ascent of the Winged Victory of Samothrace world war II the louvre


On the Road

Stowed away in…

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The Day Which Lives in Infamy: December the 7th, 1941

this speech was delivered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on 12/08/1941 — the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor which helped usher America into World War II.

Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.


As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounding determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.


Spanish Bombs (yo te quiero infinito, yo te acuerda oh mi corazón)

Spanish songs in Andalucia
The shooting sites in the days of ’39
Oh, please, leave the ventana open
Fredrico Lorca is dead and gone
Bullet holes in the cemetery walls
The black cars of the Guardia Civil
Spanish bombs on the Costa Rica
I’m flying in on a DC 10 tonight

Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito
yo te acuerda oh mi corazón
Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito
yo te acuerda oh mi corazón

Spanish weeks in my disco casino
The freedom fighters died upon the hill
They sang the red flag
They wore the black one
But after they died it was Mockingbird Hill
Back home the buses went up in flashes
The Irish tomb was drenched in blood
Spanish bombs shatter the hotels
My senorita’s rose was nipped in the bud

Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito
yo te acuerda oh mi corazón
Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito
yo te acuerda oh mi corazón

The hillsides ring with “Free the people”
Or can I hear the echo from the days of ’39?
With trenches full of poets
The ragged army, fixin’ bayonets to fight the other line
Spanish bombs rock the province
I’m hearing music from another time
Spanish bombs on the Costa Brava
I’m flying in on a DC 10 tonight…

Scenes From the Spanish Civil War...

Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito
yo te acuerda oh mi corazón
Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito
yo te acuerda oh mi corazón

Spanish songs in Andalucia, Mandolina, oh mi corazon
Spanish songs in Granada, oh mi corazon


Seventy Years Later: The Zoot Suit Riots & the Complexity of Youth Culture

Tropics of Meta

zootsuitriots-thumb-630x470-52167 Top: Zoot suit riot erupts in front of the Hippodrome Theater on Main Street, Downtown Los Angeles, 1943

[Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared under the Intersections column at KCET Departures, May 30, 2013.]

In the film “American Me,” Pedro Santana, fresh from having his devotion to wife Esperanza tattooed on his arm, prepares for a night on the town. His wife, accompanied by another couple, wades through Los Angeles streets on their way to meet Pedro, as a soundtrack of sensationalized news reports of zoot-suited thugs, dangerous riots, and retributions delivered by U.S. servicemen blare in the background. His friends exhibit a clear wariness regarding the evening’s disruptive personality, but Pedro appears unconcerned, more focused on “walking the boulevard with his woman.” Just then several sailors burst into the shop, accosting them violently with wild cries of “pachucos.”

The scene descends into a disturbing violence…

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The Maunsell Sea Forts of WWII


WWII Sea Forts - Red Sands
Photograph by Neil Brown on Flickr

At the outbreak of World War II, the Port of London was the busiest port in the world. The German Navy recognized the Thames as an important shipping route and sought to disrupt its usage through the use of a new secret weapon — the magnetic influence mine. Essentially these mines were detonated by the presence of a large metallic object, like that of a steel-hulled ship. This meant that the mines could detonate with ships in close proximity, not having to actually make physical contact to be effective.

Hundreds of ships were sunk by these innovative mines and the Allies needed a solution, fast. Knowing the mines were laid by aircraft, Guy Maunsell (1884-1961), a British civil engineer, produced plans for offshore defences. After some modifications his plans were approved and the Maunsell Sea Forts and Army Towers were born. [Source: Project Redsand

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Remembering June 6th, 1944

A special thank you to all those who saved the world on that day in June. Much respect. — J.W.


Every year on this particular day, I find myself thinking about my father.  For you see, it was on this day sixty-nine years ago that he, along with thousands of other young men just like himself, ran across a gravel strewn beach on the northern coast of France.  The man who would become my father was only nineteen years old at the time.
I want you
Less than a year earlier, he’d graduated from high school in North Carolina.  Without giving it a second thought, he immediately enlisted in the Army.  After completing basic training, he was assigned to a unit headed overseas to prepare for the invasion and ultimate liberation of Europe.

As a kid, I was vaguely aware that my dad had been in the Army and had fought in World War II, but since he hardly ever spoke of it, it would take years for me to learn any details…

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