World War II | Texas Public Radio

World War II

Polish president President Andrzej Duda signed a bill on Tuesday that authorizes jail time for people convicted of suggesting the country was complicit in the Holocaust.

Audie Murphy the icon wasn't born on the big screen, but on the battlefields of Europe. Murphy, as a diminutive boy of 17, lied about his age to join the Army—the only branch that would take him—and went on to become the most distinguished and decorated warrior of World War II. Pretty good for a poor Texas boy, who was the son of sharecroppers.

For 72 years since the cruiser USS Indianapolis sank after being struck by Japanese torpedoes in the waning days of World War II, its exact resting place had been a mystery.

But a team of researchers led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen now says they have positively identified the wreckage, 18,000 feet below the surface in the Philippine Sea.

What was it like to experience the Holocaust?

There's a saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Apparently, so is history.

In the case of Poland's new Museum of the Second World War, the beholder is the nationalist government. Run by the populist Law and Justice Party, it has declared the museum an expensive mess that waters down Polish history and should be closed — or at a minimum, revamped. The museum opened March 23 in the northern port city of Gdansk, where World War II began when Germany invaded the city in 1939.

In 1944, World War II was dragging on and the Nazi forces seemed to be faltering. Yet, in military briefings, Adolf Hitler's optimism did not wane. His generals wondered if he had a secret weapon up his sleeve, something that would change the war around in the last second.

At 98, Riichi Fuwa doesn't remember his Social Security number, but he remembers this: "19949. That was my number the government gave me," he said. "19949. You were more number than name."

That was the number that Fuwa was assigned when he was 24 years old, soon after he was forced off his family's farm in Bellingham, Wash., and incarcerated at the Tule Lake camp, just south of the Oregon border in California's Modoc County.

Seventy-five years ago, Japan attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The strike killed more than 2,300 people and propelled the United States into World War II.

Seventy-five years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, some Americans have never stopped believing that President Franklin Roosevelt let it happen in order to draw the U.S. into World War II.

"It's ridiculous," says Rob Citino, a senior researcher at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. "But it's evergreen. It never stops. My students, over 30 years — there'd always be someone in class [who'd say], 'Roosevelt knew all about it.'"

Updated at 11 a.m. ET on Dec. 8

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor later this month, becoming the first Japanese head of state to visit the memorial at the site of the surprise attack.

President Obama will accompany Abe on the visit, which is scheduled for Dec. 27. The 75th anniversary of the attack is this Wednesday.

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