Category: world war II

Duct tape was initially used during World War II for a very specific military purpose: keeping ammunition boxes sealed. It quickly became clear that it was useful for many other things, as well. And its incredibly adhesive qualities as well as inherent waterproofing led to soldiers calling it “duck tape,” referring to a duck’s wicking feathers.

After the war, former American soldiers who went to work in construction spread the word about the amazing new tape. It ended up being used for all sorts of HVAC applications, but mostly for holding ductwork together, so “duck tape” became “duct tape.“

During Word War II, the Imperial Japanese Navy used Kaiten submarines, which were the torpedo equivalent to kamikaze pilots. Kaiten subarines were manned torpedoes that would engage in suicide attacks on enemy ships.

They were relatively ineffective and there are only three confirmed successful kaiten attacks in the Pacific theater.

Couple in Penn Station sharing farewell kiss before he ships off to war during WWII, 1943. Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt-LIFE.

Wartime Terminus, Paddington Station, London, 1942. Photographed by Bert Hardy.

Soldier consoling his weeping wife as he says goodbye at Pennsylvania Station before returning to duty after brief furlough during WWII, 1944. Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt-LIFE.

Did you know that Mao Zedong had a son? (Mao actually had 10 children, and 4 wives, but that’s another post.) The important son was Mao Anying. He had the vital qualities of being a man, surviving to adulthood, and not having mental health problems. Mao Anying was quietly being groomed, having been sent to the Soviet Union in 1936 for university. But then World War II broke out, and what does every good dictator’s heir need? Military experience!

Mao Anying joined the Soviet Red Army during World War II, serving as an artillery officer in Poland. As an added bonus, he got communist credentials, because China’s communist party was still friendly with the USSR at the time. When World War II ended he joined the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army, as a Russian translator and secretary, and was promptly sent to the new war in Korea. And in 1950 he was killed by an American napalm bomb.

With Mao Anying’s death, any chance of a Mao dynasty also died. China was forced to have a non-hereditary leadership, with the top job being given to who could politic the best.

Mao Anying’s chance death prevented China from becoming like North Korea, which does have a hereditary dynasty. Unfortunately for North Korea, the Kim family’s children were too young to fight in World War II or the Korean War, and all survived to inherit the dynasty.

Historic picture shows the different expressions of six polish civilians moments before death by firing squad, 1939.

This group of men show a wide range of emotions: the first from the left looks anguished, the next one looks defiant, the last one looks resigned… but the man third from the left is smiling at his executioners. He knows he is sure to die as others had been executed before him, but he faces his end with a smile.

On September 3, 1939, two days after the start of the German invasion of Poland, a series of killings occurred in and around the Polish town of Bydgoszcz (German: Bromberg), where a sizable German minority lived. These killings were termed ‘Bloody Sunday’.

The Nazis exploited the deaths as grounds for a massacre of Polish inhabitants after the Wehrmacht captured the town. In an act of retaliation for the killings on Bloody Sunday, a number of Polish civilians were executed by German military units of the Einsatzgruppen, Waffen SS, and Wehrmacht.

Evelyn Bross and Catherine Barscz, a couple, photographed after their arrest for cross-dressing and public indecency. Bross, who was 19 years old at the time, worked as a machinist at a WWII defense plant. But her men’s haircut and trousers clearly meant she was a danger to the public!

Racine Avenue Police Station, Chicago, USA, on June 5th, 1943.

Both British and American sailors have worn bell-bottom trousers. Named for the wide flare at the bottom, they were introduced in Britain in 1857, with the justification that it allowed men in the water to kick them off over their boots. 

Although its unclear when the US navy introduced them, they were first recorded as being worn by US sailors in 1813. The American justification for the weird pants was that they could be easily rolled up and kept dry when sailors scrubbed the decks.

By the way, picture is from the World War II hit song, “Bell Bottom Trousers.”

Your child can smile, talk, or play and does not have to sit up or put on a pretty face.
Algemeen Handelsblad, 12 April 1935

In April 1935, Polyfoto opened a shop in Amsterdam’s city centre. For 1 guilder, you could have a sheet made with 48 different portrait photos.

The Frank family went there to have their pictures taken. Photo sheets of all four family members have survived. Several photos were cut from the photo sheet of the 36-year-old Edith. One of these is in the photo album that Anne compiled when they were in hiding.