Category Archives: Picturing the War

Photos of little-known aspects of the war. You won’t see famous shots of famous battles or people here.

Nationalism had been, before the war, a claim pressed by minorities against large multiethnic empires, but after Versailles it became a claim that minority groups asserted against one another.

– Yehuda Mirsky

Screwball Airplane Factories

Inspection and rework at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, October 1942.

Hurd Barrett, who worked at several different jobs in three aircraft factories for seven years, drew two conclusions from his experience: Americans built the world’s finest airplanes, and the manner of their building was “strictly screwball.”

Maury Klein
A Call to Arms: Mobilizing America in World War II

Harry’s Choice: Truman and the Bomb

“Truman and his advisers made the only decision they could have made; indeed, considered in the context of World War II, it wasn’t really much of a decision at all.”

Source: No Other Choice: Why Truman Dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan | The National Interest

There is nothing we enjoy more here at The Presidio Review than reviewing the historical record of 20th century conflict and putting to rest self-serving misconceptions about the wars, their causes, their conduct, and their consequences. But we do not do so gratuitously: if we are going to reassess the wars, we must rely on historiography, not on passion or bias.

The old issue of whether the United States was justified in dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and later Nagasaki, has once again reared its head as President Obama plans to visit ground zero at Hiroshima.

At best today about half of Americans support Truman’s decision, and pressure is mounting for the president to make some gesture of apology.

Tom Nichols, who serves as Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College and author of No Use: Nuclear Weapons and US National Security, takes a decidedly different view. A calm, measured read through Nichols’ article in The National Interest is a reminder that much of the opposition to the bombings is at best ahistorical.

Nuclear arms are hideous, immoral weapons whose existence continues to threaten our civilization. To say, however, that Harry Truman should have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of American lives because of what happened in the nuclear arms race decades later is not only ahistorical, it is moral arrogance enabled from the safe distance provided by time and victory.

The more we open up the historical record, the more the decision was justified in the context of its time. Let’s put this one to rest and, finally, move on. For if we do not, we must go back and question every single command decision made by the US in the war, starting with the decision of some of our troops at Pearl Harbor to actually shoot back at the attacking  Japanese.


Marine Raiders Film at Indiegogo – BlackFive

Kat Croft befriended a Marine Raider. After his death, she was witness to the way his brothers in arms welcomed him home from war and honored his memory. She has decided she would like to try to capture the story on film, and is seeking a very modest budget of $15,000 for production. She has raised more than a third of this money already. If any of you would like to support her efforts, please follow this link.

Source: Marine Raiders Film at Indiegogo – BlackFive

Last Picture of the USS Panay Afloat

The USS Panay and the Yangtze Patrol evacuate Americans from Nanking in December 1937, just before Japanese naval aircraft bomb USS Panay’s crowded decks. Edited from Norman Alley’s Bombing of USS Panay Special Issue

Source: USS Panay Evacuates Americans from Nanking | History Net: Where History Comes Alive – World & US History Online | From the World’s Largest History Magazine Publisher


Göring’s brother was another Schindler – Europe – World – The Independent.

A fascinating story of how Albert Göring, the brother of Reichsmarschall Herman Göring, used the protection his kinship afforded him to defy the Nazis and save dozens of innocent lives, including those of Jews.

It is telling that seven decades after the defeat of Nazi Germany we are only just learning about these principled resistors. This story is yet one more proof that we are only beginning to learn the most important lessons of the World Wars.