World War II | Texas Public Radio

World War II

Commemorations are getting underway in Honolulu to mark next week’s 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Now, a new unnarrated documentary that premieres Sunday on the Smithsonian Channel aims to tell the story of the strike on Dec. 7, 1941, through film recordings and radio news reports — some that have rarely been seen or heard in decades.

Filmmaker Mel Gibson has two obsessions: grisly violence and martyrdom. Hacksaw Ridge, his new World War II film, splits its 140 minutes between the two of them almost 50-50 (or 70-70). It's good, in a sturdy, muted, unsurprising way.

World War II pilot Elaine Harmon, who died last year at the age of 95, wanted to be laid to rest with her fellow veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.

And on Wednesday, Harmon's wish was fulfilled — thanks to a dedicated effort by her family and a law passed by Congress.

Harmon was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, a group of female pilots who flew military planes in noncombat missions in order to free up male pilots for fighting.

A group of about 50 people gathered in late June in the sunny courtyard of the Portuguese consulate in Bordeaux, France. It was from here in 1939 and 1940 that Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral e Abranches issued approximately 30,000 visas to Jews and other stateless refugees.

Lissy Jarvik, who lives today in California, was one of them.

"I was a recipient of a Sousa Mendes visa," she tells the group. "Otherwise I wouldn't be here. I would've no longer been alive 72 years ago."

Flags in New York City began flying at half-staff Monday, in honor of Roscoe C. Brown. He died Saturday at age 94 and was one of the last few "Red Tail" pilots, a subset of the Tuskegee Airmen. The Airmen were part of a grand experiment in racial integration that the Army reluctantly undertook.

The photograph has been ingrained in American culture since almost the moment it was taken — a steadfast presence in high school textbooks and an enduring symbol of U.S. perseverance. But it appears we've been wrong about Joe Rosenthal's Pulitzer Prize-winning image of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima, Japan, at least in one very important respect.

One of those six men has been misidentified for decades.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The French government is making available for the first time more than 200,000 documents on the Vichy government, which collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.

Veterans Day is a day to celebrate the service, sacrifice and achievements of Americans who served our nation in uniform.  While you may know veterans from Vietnam and the most recent wars, there is a vanishing breed.  Texas Public Radio recently spoke with two veterans of the "Greatest Generation."

Ninety-two-year-old Fred Chapal still works every day for the Army at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.  But on June 6, 1944, D-Day, he was on a ship headed for Normandy and Utah Beach in the European Theater.

Many people know that during World War II, the United States created a system of internment camps for resident aliens from Japan as well as American citizens of Japanese descent.

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