Wednesday, August 31, 2005

BLOGGING THE HURRICANE, Day 3: Updates All Day from the Scene as the Disaster Spreads

NEW YORK For the third day, E&P will provide material from and about newspapers in the stricken Gulf Coast cities, mainly the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and the Sun Herald in Biloxi, updated frequently.***1:00 PM ET. The vital Katrina blog at WWL-TV in New Orleans has just provided these chilling reports from the local emergency service director Walter Maestri:"Director Walter Maestri: We have no food or water for the evacuees. Says emergency workers have seized the food and water and drinks from Sam's Club, Wal-Mart and other groceries for evacuees, but he said that is all gone. Says water supply is gone. More water expected, but its not there right now. Says evacuees are getting upset and harried."Director Walter Maestri: FEMA and national agencies not delivering the help nearly as fast as it is needed."Director Walter Maestri: Evacuees from New Orleans and the east bank of Jefferson are flocking to the west bank, overwhelming the facilities. "***12:20 PM ET. From the Times-Picayune, a brief item titled "Floating the Dead":"WWL-TV reporter Karen Swensen related a particularly sad tale from a region overflowing with sad tales. One New Orleans woman waded through the streets of the city, trying to get her husband to Charity Hospital. He had died earlier and she floated his body through the inundated streets on a door that dome off their home." *** 12:10 PM ET. The Mobile Register's "Storm Central" blog has just posted 100 new "damage" photos, and has a full gallery from the past three days.The Sun Herald (Biloxi) blog, sadly, remains silent today.***12:05 PM ET. From a reader's forum at the Times-Picayune, a report from an evacuee:"We are stranded in Tallahassee. There is absolutely no compassion here whatsoever. The Hampton Inn in Tallahassee is pretty much throwing us out because of a football game. We are running out of money with no way of getting more out of the bank. We cannot use debit cards and our credit cards are maxed out."I thought I would encounter a little compassion and understanding here in Florida seeing they have been through similar situations. There is none. People here and the manager of this motel are very cold and uncaring. If anyone out there has any suggestions please email me asap. I cannot get in touch with red cross or fema. Cell phones don't work. Can't get hold of any family member for help. Please help!!!!"***11:25 AM ET. Latest items, both related to the media, from the Times-Picayune:"It's an emotional time for everyone in south Lousiana - the media included. During a reading of odds and ends on WWL-TV this morning, Eric Paulson noted that St. Bernard Parish is entirely 'gone.'' It brought a moment of almost stunned silence among him, Meg Farris, and Sally Ann Roberts - followed by a heavy, aubible sigh." --T-P teams continue reporting, taking pictures"Although The Times-Picayune has evacuated its newsroom, teams of reporters are still combing the metropolitan area gathering news and information. One team was stationed uptown and was preparing to fan out again this morning."Sports Editor David Meeks is one of those working in region right now and said team members will attempt to get deeper into the West End and Lakeview areas today."***10:35 AM ET. Stan Tiner, executive editor of the Sun Herald in Biloxi, has resurfaced with a column on the paper's Web site, recalling how locals for years have worried that a hurricane could come that was worse than Camille -- and now it has come true. His full column is available here.
Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen?
Editor of Biloxi Paper Surfaces With a Column
'Times-Picayune' Finds New Home, Reports Looting
For 'St. Pete Times,' Katrina Coverage is a Test of Preparedness
Baton Rouge Paper Rides Out the Storm
Biloxi Paper Perseveres
Hurricane Blog, Day 2
Hurricane Blog, Day 1 ***10:20 AM ET. Word on the reaction of two of New Orleans' most famous native sons, Eli and Peyton Manning, courtesy of the Times-Picayune site:"Their parents, Archie and Olivia, evacuated to Philadelphia, Miss. And brother Cooper left with his family to Oxford, Miss.“'It’s pretty devastating, the pictures you see and the stories you hear,'” Peyton said. “'It’s hard to watch from a New Orleans standpoint and from a friends-and-family standpoint. … The Superdome is one thing, but I don’t need to see pictures. When I hear about certain areas, I know where they are. I used to play football in Buras and they’re not prepared for anything like a powerful hurricane.”"Said Eli: 'I talked to Mom last night, and she’s mad she didn’t put more things upstairs. … I know there’s going to be a whole lot of damage, so I keep it in my prayers and hopefully everybody will be alright.'”***9:55 AM ET. The Times-Picayune, which has relocated to Houma, published online only again today, this time with a 13-page PDF version. Unlike the Tuesday issue, which ran 28 pages, the paper this time did not provide an in-the-can Living section. The banner head reads: UNDER WATER.Latest update from the paper's Web site: "The catastrophic flooding that filled the bowl that is New Orleans on Monday and Tuesday will only get worse over the next few days because rainfall from Hurricane Katrina continues to flow into Lake Pontchartrain from north shore rivers and streams, and east winds and a 17.5-foot storm crest on the Pearl River block the outflow water through the Rigolets and Chef Menteur Pass. "
© AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Louis Deluca A wheelchair lies on the beach off Highway 90 in Gulfport, Miss., Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005.***7:30 AM ET. From the Times-Picayune:"Late Tuesday, Gov. Blanco spokeswoman Denise Bottcher described a disturbing scene unfolding in uptown New Orleans, where looters were trying to break into Children's Hospital."Bottcher said the director of the hospital fears for the safety of the staff and the 100 kids inside the hospital. The director said the hospital is locked, but that the looters were trying to break in and had gathered outside the facility. The director has sought help from the police, but, due to rising flood waters, police have not been able to respond."Bottcher said Blanco has been told of the situation and has informed the National Guard. However, Bottcher said, the National Guard has also been unable to respond."***11:30 PM ET (Tuesday). From the Sun Herald in Biloxi, after its blog had been down for quite awhile:"Communications to the Biloxi area are down--phone, e-mail, Internet .... These connectivity issues are what have kept Don Hammack and Geoff Pender from updating this blog."If you are from the area, please call 1-866-453-1925 to let someone know that you're OK. Even if you fled before the storm, friends and relatives might not know you're safe. We hope to share that information when we can."If you work for The Sun Herald, call 1-800-346-2472 to let us know where you are."As we know the news, we will post it to We're in this with you for the long haul."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

D-Day: Operation Overlord

On the 6th June, 1944, the largest amphibious assault in history was launched against the Normandy coast – its ultimate goal, the establishment of an allied foothold in Nazi-occupied France. Having seen the tide of the war turn in North Africa in 1942, and the subsequent invasion of Sicily and mainland Italy in 1943, there was growing pressure on the allies to open up a new front by launching an invasion of north-west Europe. This was compounded by the fighting on the eastern front, which had seen the Russians suffering huge casualties while slowly grinding their way forward against the tottering Wehrmacht. Therefore, in July 1943, the first plans were put in place for invasion – thPlanning D-Day
The first invasion plans for D-Day were drawn up in July 1943 and called for a single, large-scale, concentrated attack in the Normandy area. Previous incursions into Nazi-occupied Europe, notably the disastrous raid on Dieppe in 1942, had convinced allied planners that multiple small-scale attacks were likely to be unsuccessful. It was clearly necessary to gain local superiority in order to hold on to a stretch of coastline. The original D-Day plan involved landing three divisions on the Normandy coast in the Caen-Bayeux area, with a simultaneous airborne assault on Caen. This template wD-Day Deception
While planning for the invasion the allies also undertook a programme of deception to confuse and deceive the Nazis. The most obvious area for the D-Day invasion was clearly the Pas de Calais and the allies did everything they could to convince the Nazis that it was in Calais that the real invasion would strike. The allies developed a series of deception operations aimed at obscuring the true place and time of D-Day. It involved the creation of fake armies, the sending of fictional radio traffic, the delivery of false spy reports and the mounting of elaborate but fabricated security plans. To divert Hitler's attention from the real troops in training, a fake million man army named the First United States Army Group was created. It functioned as a real unit except for one fact – there were no actual troops. Tanks, trucks and armour were constructed of inflatable rubber and plywood supplied by a movie studio in order to deceive German reconnaissance planes. Prior to D-Day, Allied bombing raids were twice as heavy at Calais than at the real landing target. Mine sweepers cleared shipping lanes that would never be used. On the day of the invasion, allied planes dropped tons of aluminium foil strips called ‘chaff’ to fool German radar into thinking that an invasion air force was heading in that direction. Rubber dummy paratroopers also floated to the eGo! Go! Go!
The timing of the D-Day assault had to be perfect. Strongly dependant on the tide and weather, the night of 4-5 June was chosen as the most likely attack date. However, as the hours passed in the run-up to invasion, the weather was moving in. At the last minute the invasion was postponed for 24 hours and thousands The airborne assault
The airborne forces on D-Day were designed to carry out two vital tasks – secure the flanks of the landing zones and attack key strategic targets in order to facilitate the amphibious landings. The British: The British contingent was tasked with taking the eastern areas of the assault zone as well as specialised missions targeting key sites and installations. The most famous of these were the attacks on Pegasus Bridge and the Merville Battery. The operation to capture Pegasus Bridge would be carried out by a picked company – ‘D’ Company, 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry – and would see the first allied troops land in occupied France on D-Day. The attack saw this small force deployed in Horsa gliders – named for the Jutish king who invaded Britain in the 5th Century AD – and would involve some precise flying with little or no navigational aids in the dead of night. The soldiers – led by Major John Howard – had practiced the assault precisely for weeks before the operation and quickly overran the German defenders. In the process they liberated the first house in occupied France. Having captured the bridge the small company had to hold it against persistent German counter attack, with little or no heavy equipment and only the unreliable PIAT anti-tank weapon to ward off German armour. However, despite the tough assignment, Howard’s men managed to hold the bridge intact until reinforcements arrived, giving allied forces a vital crossing over the river Orne and Caen Canal. Another key target for the 6th airborne was the Merville Battery, which was a strong German gun emplacement that posed a major threat to any attack on Sword beach. This task was handed to the 9th parachute battalion led by Lieutenant Colonel Terence Otway. The German gun batteries were heavily defended and an ambitious plan of attack was conceived. After RAF planes bombed the fortress, soldiers would parachute down behind the barbed wire while gliders landed in the complex itself. But little went as planned. The RAF planes failed to bomb the gun batteries, and there was so much anti-aircraft fire that many planes veered off-course, dropping men far from the intended locations. Many drowned crossing an area recently flooded by Rommel, and soon only 150 men remained. Commander Otway considered pulling the mission, but decided that failure was not an option, and the men advanced. Lacking equipment the force had to improvise. In a stunning example of the bravery that would be seen throughout D-Day, the men advanced into minefields with no detectors and managed to clear a route of attack without compromising the element of surprise. Despite having far fewer men than anticipated, the quality of the training the men received came to the fore as the small force of airborne troops managed to take the battery and ensured that the Sword landings were free from the guns’ heavy fire. Interestingly, the museum at Merville today carries a story about the German battery commander on D-Day. After hearing the first glider land he quickly telephoned his superior to ask for instructions. However, unhappy at being woken at such a late hour he was quickly told: “Go to sleep. One glider does not constitute an invasion.” The Americans: The US airborne forces comprised of two divisions – the 82nd and the 101st airborne divisions – and were tasked with securing the right flank of the landings in the Cotentin peninsula. Like all airborne forces on D-Day, these divisions suffered from widely dispersed drops and often units were without over 60% of their personnel. This made it difficult to carry out operational objectives. However, despite these problems, the airborne troops managed link up with amphibious forces at Utah beThe seaborne assault
A few hours after the decision to launch Operation Overlord, the invasion fleet was slipping out to sea. The convoys concentrated off the Isle of Wight and then turned south along channels that had been swept clear of mines. The crossing was accomplished without serious loss or interference by the Germans, whose air and sea patrols had been cancelled because of the bad weather. The leading minesweepers came within sight of the French coast early in the evening of 5 June. The Germans remained unaware of the vast armada approaching them until thousands of throbbing engines were heard offshore at about 0200 hours next morning. The first troops ashore were those of 4th US Division, who landed at 0630 hours on Utah beach. Their sea passage had been comparatively easy and the infantry, supported by 28 amphibious tanks, soon overcame the light defences. The beaches were cleared with few losses and by noon troops were pushing inland. By contrast, on Omaha beach, where 1st US Division landed, the going was slow and tough. The landing craft lost their bearings in the heavy seas. Several of them sank and many more were destroyed by Rommel's mined obstacles on the beaches. Of 29 amphibious tanks launched 27 sank, with their crews trapped inside. Hundreds of infantrymen drowned before they reached the beach. Throughout the morning the Americans were pinned to the beach by a hail of fire. It was said that during this period Colonel George A Taylor declared: “Two kinds of people are staying on this beach - the dead and those who are going to die. Now let's get the hell out of here!” It was not until noon that the Americans began a painful advance inland. By nightfall, they had won a precarious foothold 6 miles wide and less than 2 miles deep, but at a cost of 3,000 casualties. On the British beaches - Gold, Juno and Sword - the surf was even rougher than in the American sector, and here too a number of landing craft were lost. The German strongpoints were quickly overcome by Hobart's 'funnies' - ingenious tanks and other armoured vehicles designed to swim ashore under their own power, lay paths and bridges or whirl chains mounted in front to strike the ground and explode a path through minefields. The infantry pressed rapidly inland and by nightfall British and Canadian troops had occupied a coastal strip 12 miles wide and 6 miles deep. The German reaction to the landings was slow and confused. Though reports of airborne and seaborne attacks had been pouring into German headquarters since early morning, it was believed that these were only diversions and the real weight of the invasion would come near Calais. The problem was compounded by the German command structure which had been deliberately set up by Hitler to ensure that he himself was the only person who could deploy several key Panzer divisions. Because he always slept late and no-one dared wake him, on the morning of the invasion it was some time before Hitler was informed. However, by the time these diThe German response
The German reaction to the landings was slow and confused. Though reports of airborne and seaborne attacks had been pouring into German headquarters since early morning, it was believed that these were only diversions and the real weight of the invasion would come near Calais. The problem was compounded by the German command structure which had been deliberately set up by Hitler to ensure that he himself was the only person who could deploy several key Panzer divisions. Because he always slept late and no-one dared wake him, on the morning of the invasion it was some time before he was informed. By the time these divisions were released it was too late – the allies were firmly ashore and the opportunity to drive them back into the sea had gone. Only the 21st Panzer Division attempted a major counter-attack on D-Day itself, and this fizzled out due to a lack After D-Day: Consolidation and breakout
On two beaches, Gold and Omaha, the construction of gigantic prefabricated Mulberry harbours began. Consisting of vast steel and concrete sections towed across the Channel and sunk off the beaches, they allowed the Allies to step up the flow of men and material without capturing a heavily defended seaport. For the next six weeks, the Allies a fought a gruelling campaign along the whole length of the bridgehead in order to expand it into an area large enough to assemble the forces they needed for a breakthrough into the interior of France. The Germans had strongly encircled the bridgehead and were determined to keep the Allies in, but in July US troops overran Brittany to the west and started to put pressure on the German forces. In August the breakout finally came with a vengeance, when a German army was trapped by the Allies in the area round Falaise, 20 miles to the south of the bridgehead – ten thousand Germans were killed and 50,000 captured. Though the battle of Normandy was won, the war in Europe was by no means over. Although D-Day had clearly played a vital role in the history of the Second World War, ahead lay many more months of bitter fighting. But in the long run Hitler's Reich, already hard pressed by the Russians from the east, was doomed. of infantry support. By 11 June the allies had established a bridgehead 50 miles wide by 12 miles deep into which they poured a total of 326,547 men, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies. Most of these were landed across the open beaches or in anchorages sheltered by breakwaters formed of sunken blockships. visions were released, it was too late – the allies were firmly ashore and the opportunity to drive them back into the sea had gone. Only the 21st Panzer Division attempted a major counter-attack on D-Day, and this fizzled out due to a lack of infantry support. By 11 June the allies had established a bridgehead 50 miles wide by 12 miles deep into which they poured a total of 326,547 men, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies. Most of these were landed across the open beaches or in anchorages sheltered by breakwaters formed of sunken blockships. ach and cause widespread chaos and confusion amongst the German ranks. Perhaps the most famous operation carried out by the US airborne forces was the attack on Ste Mare Eglise. In a terrible twist of fate a group of American paratroopers were dropped directly on to the town and were left defenceless. As they floated downwards they were picked off one by one by the German defenders. This brutal scene would be immortalised in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘The Longest Day’.of soldiers held their breath. The next night's forecast, though not ideal, was better. At a final meeting at 0415 hours on 5 June 'Ike' took a gamble, rose from his seat and announced, 'OK, we'll go'. D-Day was on. What his troops didn’t know at the time was that Eisenhower was far from convinced that the invasion would succeed. He had gone so far as to prepare a letter explaining the failure of the invasion, taking full responsibility for it himself; luckily he never had to use it. arth further confusing the German troops on the ground and causing German commanders to think twice before reacting to reported landings. These tactics ensured that even as the Germans saw the armada at Normandy, they didn’t believe it was the real invasion, thinking instead it was simply a diversionary raid designed to take German attention away from Calais. as later expanded by Bernard Montgomery, the British general in charge of allied ground forces, and American general Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was in overall charge of the invasion. The new plan was designated ‘Operation Overlord’. Since the whole invasion force could not land simultaneously, the landings had to take place on as broad a front as possible – otherwise allied forces would be overwhelmed before they could bring in adequate reinforcements. The expanded incorporated five divisions - 150,000 men - in the main seaborne assault, while three airborne divisions would secure the flanks. Provision was also made to quickly reinforce these forces by constructing makeshift 'Mulberry' harbours. e target, Normandy.

MANHUNT: The Hunt For Adolf Eichmann

In the spring of 1945 Allied forces occupied the German homeland after five long years of war. German war criminals including Adolf Eichmann prepared to hide from justice.

Eichmann visited his family in Austria and gave poison to his wife for her and the children in case they were captured by Russians.

On April 30 Adolph Hitler committed suicide. One week later Germany surrendered, launching a massive global manhunt for the criminals of war - especially SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Karl Adolf Otto Eichmann.

Britain's Boy Soldiers

Ninety years ago, Britain's teenage boys volunteered en masse to fight for their King and country. Such was their will to fight that a number of enthusiastic boys joined-up below the legal age to enlist.

Now, new research reveals that these boy soldiers were not just a passionate handful but a significant proportion of Britain's army. Additionally, the government has been found to have deliberately turned a blind eye to their enlistment.

At the outbreak of war, the minimum age for volunteers was 18, and soldiers had to be 19 before they could serve overseas. However, new research in the War Graves Commission records has shown that among the ranks of the British army were as many as 250,000 underage boys, some as young as 14, who had lied about their age in order to enlist.

Desperate for manpower, the government ignored such irregularities, tacitly colluding in the decision to allow children to go to war.

Using interviews recorded with a number of the longest-surviving boy soldiers, this moving documentary examines why so many were allowed to join up and fight, and what happened to just a handful of them.

It also charts the struggle of one man, Liberal MP Arthur Markham, to persuade the war office to tackle this issue, and to secure thereturn of tens of thousands of boys from the savage battlefields of Europe.

The nature and scale of 20th-Century warfare took Britain by surprise. Casualties were quick to mount up, and by late 1914, Lord Kitchener was spearheading his famous recruitment campaign, as a result of which 750,000 men joined up in just two months.

However, in their haste to strengthen the army, the authorities turned a blind eye to underage recruits who claimed to be 18.

Dick Trafford, a miner from Lancashire, was just 15 when he joined up. "I got home and I told my parents - my mother played hell," he remembers. Tommy Gay, then 16, was among the first to answer the call. "When I got home, I got the biggest pasting and good hiding that I've ever had in my life."

In their naivety, many of the boys envisaged a few months away fighting, followed by victory and a hero's welcome back home.

The reality proved quite different. Smiler Marshall recounts how he was only 17 when he saw his friend, also under age, killed in action in France.

The reality of war was also unexpectedly harsh for Abraham Bevistein, who lied about his name, age and nationality in order to fight for Britain. After being injured, treated and then returned to the front, his resolve cracked under bombardment, and he fled to a farmhouse ten miles from the front line. He was found and court martialled for desertion by the British army, and subsequently executed. He was 17 years old.

Horace Iles was another boy soldier not to make it home. As his sister wrote to him begging him to admit he was only 16 and return home, he was preparing for the Somme offensive.

Historian Richard van Emden takes up the story: "You can only imagine the horror and the terror that would've gripped Horace Iles. What he would've seen was carnage, there's no doubt about that." He never made it back from the assault, and the letter was returned home to his sister, stamped 'Killed in Action'.

Back home, authorities continued to ignore the issue of underage soldiers. There was only one significant voice of dissent. Arthur Markham, the Liberal MP for Mansfield, campaigned vocally and energetically against the fraudulent enlistment, fighting to abolish the practice and constantly quizzing the authorities in parliament.

At each turn, he was stonewalled by the War Office. Finally, in 1916, conscription was introduced, and with it tighter controls on the age of conscripts. But in spite of the efforts of Markham to secure the return of those underage soldiers already fighting in Europe, tens of thousands of boy soldiers already serving remained in action on the continent.

In August 1916, Markham died of a heart attack aged just 50, and those boys serving in the army lost their one significant voice.

Some, such as Tommy Gay, Smiler Marshall and Dick Trafford, made it home safely. Others, like Horace Iles and Abraham Bevistein, died at the front, despite being technically too young to fight for their country. Of the 250,000 under age boys thought to have enlisted in the war, 120,000 were killed or wounded. But it is possible that many more died unrecognised.

Tragically, the true number of boy soldiers who gave their lives may never be known.

The National History Challenge

The National History Challenge is an initiative from the History Teachers Association of Australia for full time students from years 5-12. It is a research based competition giving students a chance to be an historian!
The 2004 theme for the National History Challenge is Celebrations in Australian History. Celebrations encourage students to investigate, analyse and record a story of celebration for submission into a selection of eight categories. Categories include National Events, In War and Peace and Celebrating Heritage - all to encourage and inspire students to learn about their community and explore their own past. The student's choice of stories can be personal or on a more national level but must be a 'celebration' of Australian history.
For the first time, The History Channel is the exclusive sponsor of the category, Celebrating Australian Film. The scope of this category covers a broad range of angles from the silent to the sound era, the growth and development of Australia's film industry; its actors, directors or producers. Australia's film industry has a full and rich past, which to this day boasts world class standards with sort after directors and actors.
The History Channel will air a line-up of programmes relevant to Celebrating Australian Film to assist students in researching their projects, provide ideas and insights into the subject. The line-up includes the fascinating story of Australia's feature film industry from 1906 to 1976 in Sunshine & Shadows - 70 Years of Australian Movies and the three part documentary History of Australian Cinema.

Film About the Library To Air on the A&E History Channel

"Memory & Imagination: New Pathways to the Library of Congress," a one-hour documentary about the Library of Congress, is scheduled to air on the History Channel of the Arts & Entertainment Network on Monday, September 18, at 10 a.m. The program is scheduled to air again the same day at 3 p.m. and on Saturday, September 23, at 8 a.m.
"Memory & Imagination" was produced and directed by Julian Krainin for the Library of Congress. It received the Grand Award at the International Film & Television Festival of New York, and "Best in Show" at the CINDY awards and the Columbus International Film and Video Festival.
The film explores the role of the Library of Congress, the world's largest library, as the "memory bank of mankind" and examines the implications of new technologies for sharing the Library's vast resources electronically with the world.
Appearing in the production are Sam Waterston, Gore Vidal, Isaac Stern, Julia Child, Ted Koppel, Pete Seeger, James Watson, Francis Ford Coppola, Penn & Teller, Vice President Al Gore, Steve Jobs, Richard Wurman, Stewart Brand, Henry Steele Commager, Vartan Gregorian, Michael Feinstein, John Hope Franklin, and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
The History Channel is a new 24-hour cable programming service that features historical documentaries, movies, and miniseries. The History Channel is a part of A&E Television Networks, a joint venture of the Hearst Corporation, Capital Cities/ABC, and NBC.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Battles on Land

The first land battle of the Civil War was June 3, 1861 at Philippi, Virginia (now West Virginia). It was only a minor action with a total of 15 Confederate and 2 Union casualties. The first major battle happened in July 1861. With thousands of casualties and a Confederate victory, the first Battle of Manassas (or Bull Run) was the first sign that the war would be both bloody and long.Throughout the first year of the war, the Union and Confederate governments scrambled to find and train soldiers and to scrounge weapons and supplies to equip them. There were only 16,000 men in the regular United States Army when the war began.The new Confederate States of America had no national military at all. By the end of 1861 the Union and Confederate armies had nearly a million soldiers combined.1861 was a year of testing. The Armies skirmished in small-scale battles (compared to battles later in the war). They tested one another and established the boundaries of the two opposing regions. 1862 was a year of slaughter. Huge battles, like Shiloh and Antietam—the bloodiest single day of the war—shocked and horrified civilians and soldiers alike. A surge of victories in late summer gave the Southerners confidence. The Confederacy went on the offensive.By October, the Northerners had beaten them back, but it was a close call. Mississippi surrendered. This was an important victory for the North. The loss of Vicksburg—with the fall of Port Hudson, Louisiana—opened the Mississippi River to Union gunboats and supply ships. This cut the Confederacy in half.By the end of 1863 the South was on the defensive in the West. In the East the Confederates continued to hold Union lines in Virginia. Meanwhile, the Northerners had changed their goal. Instead of fighting simply to put the Union back together, they were now fighting to destroy slavery as well.In 1864, the North introduced the idea of “total war” to destroy the South. Union troops smashed everything in their path as they moved across Georgia and South Carolina and up and down Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Meanwhile, fighting centered in Georgia, Middle Tennessee, and Virginia.With a seemingly inexhaustible supply of troops, the Northern Army threw itself against the Southerners. The Northerners suffered incredibly high casualties, but they kept coming. Finally, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was bottled up in Petersburg, Virginia, protecting the capital city of Richmond. After months of siege, the Southerners could no longer hold their position. They were forced to abandon their defense of Richmond and pull out of Petersburg. Exhausted, hungry, and harried by overwhelming Union forces the Army of Northern Virginia finally surrendered at Appomattox Court House in April 1865. By June 23 the other Southern armies had laid down their arms as well Fighting slowed as the year ended. Cold, wet, winter weather turned roads into quagmires. In spring 1863, in a bold move, the Southerners decided to invade the North. They struck out towards Pennsylvania but were defeated in a three-day battle


The author of this book needs no introduction as the one who wrote the monumental History of the British Army which to this day remains one of the greatest masterpieces in the field of military history. It covers a period of great crisis in Britain’s history, the threat posed by Napoleon and is an account of recruiting in the Army during this period with all its difficulties and problems. In preparing this book the author draws on all the official records, returns, journals he can trace and which bear upon the problem. Fortescue calls this an “overflow” from his History, and with the encouragement (financial and otherwise) of the Secretary of State for War he turns what might have otherwise been thirty-page document into a detailed study ten times as long. Beginning with the desperate state the military forces had been brought to during the period 1784 to 1792 by the neglect of Pitt, he takes through the efforts to build up not just an army, but a very large army to back up his foreign policy. The county was a vital cog in the recruiting machine of those days of the Regular Army, Volunteers and Militia and the role of the Lords Lieutenant of those counties was of equal importance. There are a number of interesting tables of statistics for those twelve years:- casualties year on year with a high point of 21,630 in 1809, during the Peninsular War; recruits for the regular army totalling 115,967 men plus 18,349 boys; effective strengths by arm of service; effective strengths of Volunteers in Great Britain and in Ireland and much more beside.


Complete 2-vol. illustrated record of the British Army’s entire regimental and corps insignia as it was in its 1900 golden age, with brief histories of each unit. A must for the bookshelf of every serious student of the subject.
This is no dry-as-dust work of reference, but a detailed and magnificently illustrated two-volume record of the complete insignia of every regiment and corps in the British Army up to 1900. Illustrated by striking colour plates of the colours and uniforms, and by fine black and white drawings of their crests and badges, the text contains brief histories of each unit described, as well as lists of their commanding officers, battle honours etc. The books are complete and authoritative without being unmanageably large, and are an essential and extremely attractive additon to the library of any serious student of the British Army in its late Victorian heyday.


A TF infantry battalion on the Western Front, converted to divisional pioneers from 1 May 1916.
The Monmouthshire Regiment of the Great War was a Territorial Force regiment, formed in 1908 when the TF came into existence and in 1914 it consisted of three battalions. As in the case of the other TF regiments second and third line battalions were raised in 1914/1915 and the 1/2nd Battalion was the first to go to France, landing on 7 November 1914 thus becoming one of the few TF units to wear the 1914 Star. On arrival in France the battalion joined 12th Brigade, 4th Division but in May 1915, due to heavy casualties sustained by 1/1st and 1/3rd Battalions which arrived out in February, the three battalions were combined for a brief spell. In July 1915 1/2nd resumed its identity and returned to 12th Brigade. In May 1916 the battalion was converted to pioneers and from then on served as the pioneer battalion for the 29th Division (just returned from Gallipoli).This history is of particular interest in that it is the story of a battalion that fought as infantry in 1914/15 and then, for the rest of the war, as pioneers, and there are not too many histories of pioneer battalions. The 29th Division was one of those selected to march into Germany and its pioneer battalion went with it. Appendices give the list of Honours and Awards (they did well with twenty DCMs) and the Roll of Honour (540 dead) with names listed alphabetically by ranks. There is also the succession of Honorary Colonels, COs and Adjutants going back to 1861and other information. The first three chapters tell the story of the Monmouths from 1859, when the Volunteer Force, the predecessor of the TF, was formed, to the outbreak of war in 1914.


An important and rare description of the history of the dress and uniforms of the British soldier (and the Indian Army) from Roman times until 1852. With many fine illustrations.
This book was published in 1852 by subscription, so it is now a rare item indeed.The Library of the Royal Armouries at Leeds holds one copy, which has been chosen for reproduction by Naval and Military Press because of the scarcity of the book, the importance of its subject, and the expert and detailed descriptions given by the author.Col. Luard starts his history of uniforms with the ancient Britons, describing the dress of the soldiers of the Romano-British period, followed by the Anglo-Saxon and Norman invaders. As he approaches his own time his descriptions become more detailed. He describes the dress of British soldiers during the reigns of every sovereign from William Rufus to Victoria, and includes the Indian Army. He also includes their weaponry, marching drill, describes how armies were raised and formed in the various periods and explains the detail of armour, including armour for horses. The book is ideal for research into the changes in dress from the earliest times to the mid- 19th Century, and the illustrative plates add an extra dimension to the text. The excellent illustrations cover the whole period, from Roman soldiers via knights, cavalry and the New Model Army to the infantry, cavalry and artillery of 1852, Luard’s own era.

Anthony Ashley-Cooper: Victorian Social Reformer

The Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury's crusades against poverty, abusive child labour, and a lack of educational opportunities made him Britain's foremostStories about children growing up in harsh, unloving homes usually end with the children becoming social misfits. But sometimes the absence of a caring environment in childhood breeds a strongly empathetic adult who seeks to spare others from pain. Perhaps that explains why the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury became such a dedicated social reformer, campaigning against the abuse of children working in factories and mines and the scandalous treatment of the insane in lunatic asylums. He also laboured to establish schools, to abolish the use of small children as chimney sweeps, and to wipe out child prostitution. He was a vocal opponent of slavery but had little respect for the United States' President Abraham Lincoln and thought the South should be permitted to secede from the Union.
Shaftesbury was born into the aristocracy on 28th April, 1801. Though he was the eldest son and heir, he was far from spoiled. Young Anthony Ashley-Cooper's parents showed no love toward their nine children and often neglecteAshley moved on to Harrow in 1813 and found it a welcome change. Oxford followed Harrow in 1819, and upon graduation he toured the Continent. So far his life typified that of a 19th-century aristocrat. Physically attractive to the ladies, the intense young man experienced drastic mood swings, with the darker aspects predominating.
At age 25 Ashley was elected to the House of Commons. His appointment to the Select Committee on Pauper Lunatics in the County of Middlesex and on Lunatic Asylums set him on the path of social reform. Inmates in the dreadful asylums of the day fared worse than abused animals. Treatment--and not all asylums bothered to treat--consisted of bleedings, semi-starvation, and the plunging of unsuspecting patients into ice water. (There were isolated exceptions. A Quaker named William Tuke founded an asylum where patients received proper care. Not surprisingly, Tuke achieved an unusually high recovery rate.)
The Select Committee called many witnesses, but it made no inspections. Ashley's first speech in the House of Commons supported the establishment of a Board of Commissions to license and inspect asylums. Like many who espouse a new cause, Ashley was drafted to implement his own ideas, and he served on the Commission for 57 years. Tirelessly inspecting these scenes of misery, he gradually brought about improvements in the standards of patient care and treatment.
Ashley also championed the regulation of child labour. Children as young as four worked 16-hour days at dangerous tasks, often falling ill or being maimed as a result. Labour laws begged for reform, and Shaftesbury, working industry by industry, made every effort to marshal bills through the House of Commons that limited the number of hours children could work and the minimum age at which they could be employed. For years he struggled to push a bill through the House of Commons which would limit workdays to ten hours for children ages nine through 13 and abolish labour altogether for younger children. Drawings of half-naked youth and women yoked to coal carts in two-foot-high mine tunnels helped bolster public support for the effort. Ashley also initiated a campaign to ban the use of small children as chimney sweeps. Employers gave youngsters the dangerous job of crawling up narrow, still-hot chimneys. They emerged--if they didn't get stuck and perish in transit--scraped, burned, covered with soot, and prone to a particularly painful form of cancer.
Touring the underside of London, Shaftesbury found ragged young beggars living on the streets or crowded into filthy hovels and boarding houses. He led the effort to clean up the pest holes and provide clean water, better sanitation, and improved housing. He also promoted the establishment of schools for the children. Schooling was extremely important to him. As an Evangelical, he expected the imminent return of Christ and believed that everyone who had not come to know God would be condemned forever. Children who worked long hours, however, had no opportunity to go to school and learn about religion.
The schools then available to these poor, rough children were called Ragged Schools. (The name was intended to let youngsters know they could come without shoes or decent clothes.) John Pounds, a Portsmouth cobbler, launched the idea at the beginning of the 19th century when he invited young ragamuffins into his shop and taught them reading, arithmetic, cooking, shoemaking, and religion. In 1844 Ashley became President of the Ragged School Union and helped spread Ragged Schools throughout Britain.
Still, these children faced bleak prospects for honest employment. Inspired by a flotilla of old but still useful ships congesting the Admiralty yard, Ashley arranged to send eager orphans to labour-poor Australia and Canada. Rounding up 150 boys, he fed them a fine dinner and then asked them whether they would be interested in living on a ship and learning seamanship. The boys' enthusiasm was matched by contributors who provided the funds to outfit one ship, then another.
Lord Shaftesbury became the ragamuffins' darling. The ones he knew, he greeted by name. Sometimes they sent him notes. At the end of his long life, on the day of his funeral service at Westminster Abbey, the poor thronged the streets, hoping to catch a glimpse of his coffin on its way to the Abbey.d them. A household servant, Maria Millis, took the boy under her wing and introduced him to Evangelicalism, but she died shortly after he left home for boarding school at age seven. It was a miserable time for Anthony in a miserable place. He remembered the Manor House School at Chiswick as "bad, wicked, filthy; and the treatment was starvation and cruelty." Victorian social reformer.

Bloody Day at Boteler's Ford

The savage little Battle of Shepherdstown made for a bloody coda to the 1862 Maryland campaign. After an exhausting day, General Robert E. Lee settled into a much-needed sleep under an apple tree. It was not long before he awakened to a real-life nightmare. Brigadier General William Nelson Pendleton, who served as the Army of Northern Virginia's chief of artillery, stood over him in a near panic with terrible news. The army's entire rear guard, with 44 pieces of artillery, had just been overwhelmed and gobbled up by Major General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac at the Potomac River crossing of Boteler's Ford. "All?" asked Lee. The shaken Pendleton replied, "Yes, General, I fear all."
It was after midnight on September 20,At dawn on September 19, Lee was on horseback in the middle of the river as the last remnants of his army passed him. Major General John G. Walker rode into the Potomac and talked with the commander. Lee asked Walker how many men were left in Maryland, and was assured that all but one battery and the last of the wounded were safely across. "Thank God," Walker heard Lee say. With the army back on Southern soil, Lee had assigned Pendleton to guard Boteler's Ford. Now it looked like disaster had struck.
Boteler's Ford was a mile and a half downstream from Shepherdstown, a town in the part of the Old Dominion that in June 1863 would be carved off as the new Union state of West Virginia. Also called Blackford's Ford and Pack Horse Ford, the spot had been a crossing since colonial times. When the water level was down, the stony shelf of the ford was clearly visible, but according to Confederate artillery officer Lt. Col. Edward Porter Alexander it was "deep and rocky" during the retreat.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal paralleled the Potomac on the Maryland side, and the war had been hard on the man-made waterway. The canal's berm had been pierced in numerous places, draining the channel. Rolling hills on that side offered the Yankees abundant sites for their artillery. Heights also dominated the river at that point on the Virginia side, though they were sheerer and posed more of a challenge to the placement of the Rebel guns. On both sides, roads to the ford were in places too narrow for a horse to pass a wagon.
Lee might not have expected the cautious McClellan to pursue him too closely after such vicious fighting, but just the same he knew Boteler's Ford, his vital escape route to Virginia, should be guarded until his army was well out of the area. Perhaps because so many proven officers had been lost on September 17, he chose Pendleton, an officer with little combat experience, to guard the ford.
Pendleton, born in Richmond in 1809, graduated from West Point in 1830, a year after Lee. He spent three years in the Old Army before resigning to become an Episcopal priest, a vocation he continued in addition to his military duties during the Civil War and that led to his nickname "Parson." He taught at the Virginia Military Institute, serving on the faculty with the future "Stonewall," Thomas Jonathan Jackson. At the outbreak of the war, Pendleton commanded the Rockbridge Artillery, taking with him four guns from VMI dubbed "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke" and "John." Valued for his administrative skills, he moved through the ranks from colonel to brigadier general in March 1862 and the command of the artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia.
After the fighting of the 17th, Pendleton had pulled together 44 cannons to form an artillery reserve to protect the vital crossing point on the Potomac. He managed to place 33 of the weapons in positions bearing on the ford, but there were no good firing positions for the remaining 11, so they were sent to the rear to await a possible call to the front. While the number of guns seemed formidable, and included eight Parrott rifles and a long-range Whitworth, Pendleton's hodgepodge of cannons also consisted of several short-range howitzers and a dozen obsolete 6-pounders that would be of little use against longer-range Federal rifled guns. Brigadier Generals Lewis Armistead's and Alexander Lawton's two battered and understrength infantry brigades supported the gunners. Pendleton posted most of the infantry along the riverbank, instructing them to stay concealed and not to fire unnecessarily.
Major General Fitz John Porter's V Corps had been sent to pursue Lee once it was learned that the Confederates had evacuated their lines at Sharpsburg, and Pendleton was still tinkering with his cannon placements when the V Corps vanguard came into sight on the Maryland side of the Potomac on the 19th, at about 8 in the morning. Federal skirmishers quickly filed into the bed of the C&O Canal and began popping away while the Union gunners started wheeling their cannons into place.
Seventy Union cannons eventually began to hammer Pendleton's position, and the salvos drove the Rebel infantry back from positions near the ford and overpowered the Southerners' attempts to return the cannon fire. Some Southern cannonballs did take effect against Battery K, 5th U.S. Artillery, fatally wounding one man and breaking the legs of two of the battery's horses. Pendleton's gunners suffered much more, however. Captain Victor Maurin of the Donaldsonville Artillery, a Louisiana battery, started the day with six guns. He sent three smoothbore guns to the rear due to their short range, along with a 3-inch rifle for which he had no long-range fuses, forcing Maurin to rely only on his two 10-pounder Parrott rifles to answer Porter's bombardment. His battery lost 20 horses during the artillery duel, and a Yankee shell wrecked one of his 6-pounder caissons.
Colonel James Gregory Hodges, serving as commander of Armistead's Brigade, sent Pendleton anxious dispatches as the Union fire grew heavier. "They have opened another battery on us, and are bringing up one more," read one report. Later Hodges passed along a report from Colonel Edward Claxton Edmonds of the 38th Virginia. Edmonds, under fire from "20-odd" enemy guns, warned, "we have not a piece of artillery in position, firing." He added, "There is nothing to prevent the enemy from crossing except the line of sharpshooters on the river." 1862, not much more than 48 hours after the firing ended on the deadliest day of the Civil War, the Battle of Antietam. After that fighting of September 17, the armies eyed each other warily before the Confederates began to slip across the Potomac back into Virginia after dusk on the 18th. The retreat was a gloomy echo of their jubilant crossing into Maryland a couple of weeks before, when high-spirited Rebel soldiers were cheered by the strains of bands playing "Maryland, My Maryland." Cavalrymen posted in the river held torches to light the gloom as the long column of wagons, ambulances, guns and weary foot soldiers splashed across Boteler's Ford on their way into the relative safety of the Old Dominion.

The Puritan Migration: Albion's Seed Sets Sail

As tensions between Parliament and the Crown heated toward what became the English Civil War, dissenting Puritans in the Eastern Counties sought refuge from economic hardship and religious persecution. To the shores of Massachusetts Bay they brought their spiritual ideals and way of life. In 1618 John Winthrop could count himself among England's fortunate. He married Margaret Tyndal, the woman he was to call "mine owne, mine onely, my best beloved," and he inherited his father's estates, becoming Lord of the Manor in Groton, Suffolk. Born 30 years earlier, he had survived the high childhood mortality rates of his era and was to live another 31 years. He was already an esteemed country justice. With a thriving professional life, estates in one of the richest parts of England and a family of children born during two previous marriages to wealthy heiresses, Winthrop occupied a comfortably cushioned niche in society. Only 12 years later, however, and despite having won a royal legal appointment, he left England, taking himself and two of his sons, 9-yThe answers are many. Economically, times were bad. Wars in Europe had halved the markets for the Suffolk shortcloths (knee breeches) -- one of the main economic supports of Winthrop's county. Charles I was on the throne and, like his father James I, he raised money by selling monopolies that inflated the prices of many basic commodities. With a growing brood, Winthrop was not alone in thinking he might do better overseas. Many English families were emigrating to Ireland and the Caribbean as well as to America. Like them, Winthrop, who had lots of practical experience, probably foresaw economic benefits to be gained overseas. As his shipboard exhortation shows, though, his most powerful motives for leaving England -- and instructing his eldest son to sell the manor house at Groton and follow him across the ocean -- were religious. Winthrop and his fellow passengers were Puritans, and for Puritans life in England was especially hard.
Their problems were rooted in 16th-century religious controversies. Led by Martin Luther, John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli, early 16th-century European theologians set out to reform the church, questioning such doctrines as the real presence of Christ at the Mass and protesting such abuses as the sale of pardons, the levying of church taxes and the lax habits of its monks and priests. In England Henry VIII, flush with imperial notions and eager to divorce Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn, was easily persuaded that he, not the pope, was head of the English church; by 1532 he had insisted on a Submission of the Clergy that forced most priests to agree. In 1536 he went further, expropriating monastic lands and properties to boost his treasury or reward his courtiers.
Archbishop Cranmer encouraged Henry's supremacist policies, but Henry never abandoned Catholicism. Cranmer was more successful with his son Edward VI, who became king in 1547. Under Cranmer's tutelage, Edward banned cults of saints and customs such as blessing candles at Candlemass, or releasing doves from St. Paul's Cathedral at Whitsuntide. Church music was forbidden and church paintings were obliterated. Cranmer had long been secretly married; now all priests could marry. English replaced Latin as the language of church services, and everyone -- not just priests -- was encouraged to read one of the new translations of the Bible.
Describing "the exhilarating appeal of Protestantism," historian Simon Schama notes, "If there was destruction of false gods and idols, it was only so that the purity of gospel truth could be brilliantly revealed." The idea of "purity" is central to the religious debates of the era and especially to the beliefs of Winthrop and other passengers on Arbella. They strived to create a church and to live lives that shone with the spirituality of early Christianity. From these beliefs, they took the name Puritan.
But how pure was pure enough? Many Protestants happily abandoned the supremacy of the pope and the obscurity of the Latin service, but still loved gorgeous vestments, painted churches and the traditional sacraments. On the other hand, as theologians explored the Scriptures, radical Puritan ideas emerged. Doctrinally, they replaced the belief that grace was won by good works and repentance with the sterner notion that it was given by God only to those predestined to receive it. Puritans also believed in the inherent depravity of humankind and, like other Protestants, rejected the idea that Christian truth could only be approached through a priest. Indeed, personal encounter with the Scriptures was central to Puritan faith.
Possibly Winthrop and his peers would have lived contentedly in the Protestant regime of Edward VI, but in 1553 his half-sister Mary, the daughter of Catherine of Aragon, succeeded him. Mary was a fervent Catholic who repealed all of Edward's religious laws, returned England to the authority of the pope and arrested and eventually burned Cranmer along with nearly 300 other Protestants. Some saved themselves from the flames by fleeing to Holland or Geneva, where they immersed themselves in Calvinist doctrine.
When Henry's second daughter, the Protestant Elizabeth, became queen in 1558 she stopped the burnings. While she favored a celibate clergy, she tolerated leeway and permitted individuals to guide their flocks in many ways -- not, however, through the Church of Rome. Catholic priests trained on the Continent smuggled themselves into England at great risk. Equally, Puritan scholars persecuted during Mary's regime were not always entirely welcome to Elizabeth's archbishops. Ironically, then, Elizabeth's relatively tolerant policies polarized many churchgoers. Controversy continued under the Stuart kings, James I and Charles I, who followed Elizabeth in promoting a moderate English church that supported a hierarchy of bishops, an ornate liturgy and the efficacy of the sacraments.ear-old Adam and 10-year-old Stephen, across the Atlantic to an uncertain future on the rocky shores of Massachusetts.
Why? As the ship Arbella battled the waves, he told its passengers, "We must consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work...we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the way of God." But how had it come to pass that these serious citizens were leaving England for a distant continent whence most would not return?

Ambrose Bierce's Civil War: One Man's Morbid Vision

For Ambrose Bierce, the enemy was not really the gray-clad host at the other end of the field, but death, and the terror of death and wounds.
By Allen Guelzo
Ambrose Bierce would probably have been happier if he had never been born. Failing that, he would certainly have been more happy if he had not survived the Civil War; or, if he had, he would have been far happier if he had never left the Army at the war's end. Instead, almost against his will, he went on to become one of the sharpest American humorists who ever put pen to page. Today Bierce ranks second only to Samuel Clemens as a sarcastic chronicler of the quaint, the ridiculous and the downright idiotic in American life. In fact, Bierce's short stories about his Civil War service were like literary cousins to the books Clemens wrote about his youth on the Mississippi. But the cousins were extremely distant ones; whereas Clemens remembered his time as a riverboat man with rich fondness, Bierce remembered the Civil War with bleakness, and the humor of his stories, unlike Clemens', was twisted and grotesque rather than simply funny. The Civil War blasted Bierce's youth, and his recollections of the war turned up full of routine stupidities, wasted braveries and empty illusions. And perhaps for just that reason, Bierce's memories of the Civil War rang truer than the memoirs of corps commanders and supply clerks.
His angular name, Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce, was part of a family tradition. His father was named Marcus Aurelius Bierce, his uncle was Lucius Verus Bierce, and all of the Bierce brothers and sisters were equipped with names beginning with "A" (Ambrose himself had been named for the obscure hero of an obscure 18th-century play). That, unfortunately, was where their father's ingenuity exhausted itself, for Marcus Aurelius Bierce was otherwise a poor dreamer-farmer. The only thing he excelled at producing was children, Ambrose being the 10th, born on June 24, 1842, in the Western Reserve of Ohio. The Bierces' family life was no country idyll, and apparently young Ambrose did everything he could to make it harder. He rebelled frequently and was frequently whipped. He rejected the old-time religion of his family and grew up "suspicious, introverted, and resistant to authority." Much of this he later blamed on his parents' inattentiveness. There were, it seemed, too many competing egos in the form of brothers and sisters for Marcus Aurelius to shine any paternal warmth down to Ambrose, and Ambrose never forgave him for it.

The Birth of a Nation

The Clansman, later retitled The Birth of a Nation, is still considered a landmark of the American cinema. The film has been praised for its technical virtuosity and damned for its demeaning and racist depiction of black Americans. Birth was a kind of rite of passage for American movies, marking a transition from crude infancy to a robust adolescence. Griffith and his cameraman Billy Bitzer used a dazzling array of techniques to propel the story forward. Moving, tracking and panning shots gave new life to even static scenes. Crosscutting between two scenes built suspense, and the use of "cameo" profiles and close-ups gave the movie a new emotional intimacy.
Although Griffith did not invent these techniques, he used them in such brilliant and innovative ways that it seemed as if he had. The director was a master storyteller, and by 1914 he was at the height of his powers. Monumental in conception, epic in scope and narrative power, the movie influenced filmmakers for generations to come. The Birth of a Nation was pure Griffith, and every frame of celluloid bore his stamp.
David Wark Griffith, son of Jacob Wark Griffith, was born on January 22, 1875, in Floydsfork, later Crestwood, Ky. The older man, nicknamed "Roaring Jake," was a veteran Confederate colonel who had once commanded the 1st Kentucky Cavalry during the Civil War. Roaring Jake filled young David's head with nostalgic tales of dashing, gray-clad cavaliers defending the antebellum way of life.
The Confederacy was no more, and slavery had been abolished, but by 1880 most of the civil rights that blacks had enjoyed immediately after the war had been taken away by newly reestablished white supremacist state governments. The Peculiar Institution, chattel slavery, had been replaced by a kind of serfdom in which black sharecroppers, debt-ridden and disenfranchised, were relegated to second-class citizenship.
Jacob Griffith died suddenly when David was only 10. The old colonel had been badly wounded in the war, and there was speculation that the injuries had been responsible -- at least in part -- for his demise. In any case, Roaring Jake's passing caused quite a commotion, and his deathbed scene was forever etched in young David's memory.
In later years, the director took great pains to hide his true self from the public, adopting a patrician reserve that exuded an air of mystery. But when he described his father's death, he also unintentionally revealed his own deeply cherished core beliefs. When Griffith entered his father's bedroom, he later recalled, he was met by a scene of grief and lamentation: "Four old niggers were standing in the back at the foot of the bed weeping freely. I am quite sure they really loved him."
The unconscious racism and implied unquestioning acceptance of black inferiority in that statement reflect Griffith's view of black-white relations. Thirty years later, those attitudes would find new expression in The Birth of a Nation.
As a young man, Griffith tried a variety of jobs but nursed a secret ambition to become a great playwright. Initially, he became an actor, traveling across the country and appearing in stage productions of varying quality. Finally one of his plays was produced in 1907. Titled A Fool and a Girl, it was an embarrassing flop.
Faced with near destitution, Griffith turned to motion pictures as a source of income. The movies in the 1890s were cheap entertainment for the masses. Working-class people, many of them European immigrants crowded into urban slums, flocked to nickelodeons for a few minutes' escape from their daily toil. The early offerings were only about one reel long -- that is, about 12 to 14 minutes. By 1910 more middle-class people were attending movies, but many still held a deeply rooted prejudice against them as "cheap shows for cheap people."
Griffith shared these sentiments, at least at first, but then he began to see film in an entirely different light. He was among the first to grasp the potential of the movies -- their as yet untapped power to educate as well as entertain. The fledgling movie actor soon joined the Biograph Company in New York City, where in addition to appearing in front of the camera he wrote film scenarios. When Biograph's leading director became ill, Griffith was hired as a replacement.
The Adventures of Dollie, released in the summer of 1908, was Griffith's first directorial effort. Within a few years, the helmsman had his own "stock company," which included performers such as Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, Blanche Sweet, Henry B. Walthall and Lionel Barrymore. Eventually, however, Griffith broke from Biograph and formed a partnership with Harry and Roy Aitken of Mutual. The Aitkens would stay in their New York base, while Griffith would set up shop in Hollywood. He had done some filming on the West Coast before, but now the move would be more or less permanent. Many Biograph people followed Griffith, including Lillian Gish and cameraman Billy Bitzer, so there was no shortage of talent on hand.
All the pieces were falling into place; now what was needed was a subject worthy of Griffith's ambitions. A writer named Frank Woods introduced Griffith to a 1905 work titled The Clansman. It had achieved modest success as both a novel and stage play, and Woods was sure it would suit the screen. Griffith fully agreed and responded with alacrity. For him The Clansman was both inspired and inspiring, and it dealt with a subject close to his Southern roots.

Article from American History Magazine

'The Birth of a Nation': When Hollywood Glorified the KKK
Ninety years after its first screening and 100 years after the publication of the novel that inspired it, D.W. Griffith's motion picture continues to be lauded for its cinematographic excellence and vilified for its racist content. The film came from Griffith's personal vision, and as such it reflected the strengths and weaknesses of the man himself.
By Eric Niderost
On July 4, 1914, director D.W. Griffith began work on a new movie called The Clansman, an epic about the Civil War and the subsequent agonies of Reconstruction. It was a major production, an epic in every sense of the word, with sets that seemingly filled every foot of his Fine Arts Studio in Hollywood, California.
Griffith was a curious figure who didn't conform to the popular image of a silent-film director. Unlike his contemporary Cecil B. DeMille, he eschewed the usual costume of rolled-up sleeves, jodhpurs and riding boots, opting instead for a crisply tailored business suit complete with celluloid collar and immaculate tie. It was an outfit more in keeping with the boardroom than the cutting room, but it somehow reflected Griffith's reserved Victorian persona.

National History Day

National History Day is everyday! The National History Day (NHD) program is an annual, year-long initiative designed to promote the teaching and learning of history in America's schools. NHD is an exciting way for students to study and learn about historical issues, ideas, people and events. The program fosters academic achievement while helping teachers meet education standards.
The core of the program is a nationwide National History Day competition. Each September, students across the country engage in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics related to an annual theme, while honing their creative talents to produce innovative presentations. They analyze their topic's historical significance and present conclusions in dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries and research papers to public audiences throughout the country. Students may also decide to enter as individuals or as a member of a group. After a series of district and state contests the program culminates with a national competition at the University of Maryland each June.
During the 2001-2002 school year, National History Day invites students to research topics related to the theme, "Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History". The theme is broad enough in scope to encourage investigation of topics ranging from local to world history. To understand the historical importance of their topics, students must ask questions of time and place, cause and effect, change over time, and impact and significance. They must ask not only when events happened but also why they happened and what impact they had. What factors contributed to their development? Students investigating this year’s theme should think of it in broad terms, as the distinctions among revolutions, reactions, and reforms may be blurred. Revolutions and reforms are themselves often reactions to particular situations or events, and they in turn inspire reactions. Regardless of the topic selected, students must not only present a description of it, but also draw conclusions about how their topic affected individuals, communities, nations, or the world. The theme is a broad one, so topics should be carefully selected, and developed in ways that best use students’ talents and abilities. Then students may create documentaries, exhibits, papers, and performances for entry into National History Day competitions.

The project, Voices of Civil Rights

Xn the summer of 2004, journalists, photographers, and videographers toured the country for 70 days collecting thousands of stories from individuals who lived during the civil rights era of the 1940’s-60’s. The project, Voices of Civil Rights, was a collaborative effort by the AARP, the Leadership Council on Civil Rights (LCCR), and the Library of Congress. It promises to be the world s largest archive of civil rights oral history. This Save Our History™ documentary presents a sample of these stories and weaves them together into a poignant portrait of living in the United States during this tumultuous period of American history. This website serves as an online educational companion to the documentary for teachers and students.

Learning With Lincoln

The History Channel and Lincoln Financial Group are pleased to provide the following curriculum guides introducing students to the core life values Abraham Lincoln represents. Lincoln Financial Group proudly observes these six life values through their business practices. Through shared ownership and an emphasis on personal excellence in the workplace and beyond, Lincoln Financial Group encourages all employees to live up to the stellar model of our nation's sixteenth president. Through the following activities, Lincoln Financial Group strives to inspire young people to embrace these six values in their daily lives.

The Crescent & the Cross,

The History Channel will present the Crusades Classroom Debate program. High School and college teachers, debate team administrators and students are encouraged to utilize the thought-provoking themes of the Crusades to stage their own debate. Two grants will be given out to the high school and college team with the most intriguing debate. Visit The History Channel website this October for all of the resources needed to plan and hold a Crusades debate.

The Race Against Time

focuses on efforts by NASA, the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center to draw attention to American space exploration through the preservation and restoration of historic spacecraft and equipment from Apollo missions of the 1960s. Featuring interviews with former astronauts such Buzz Aldrin, who walked on the moon during Apollo 11 and Gene Kranz, flight director for many Apollo missions, give viewers the firsthand perspective of space program experts who lived through these events. From a tour of mission control in the Johnson Space Center in Houston to a visit to the special place where space suits are stored to the story of the restoration of the mighty Saturn V rocket, this program offers viewers a fascinating introduction to the many aspects of our nation's space program. Apollo: The Race Against Time offers educators and their students a unique view of the space program and its history, highlighting the importance of preserving its famous relics as humankind's exploration of the world beyond earth continues into the 21st century. Apollo: The Race Against Time website and teacher's guide coming soon.


In the mid 1990s the broadcasting industry created a voluntary ratings system intended to accompany all television programming. This ratings system is known as "TV Parental Guidelines." A monitoring board exists to ensure that ratings guidelines are applied accurately and consistently accross the television programming spectrum. Rating labels appear in the corner of your television screen during the first 15 seconds of each television program. They are also included in the online TV listings pages of A&E, The History Channel, The Biography Channel, and History International as well as the television listings of many newspapers. The labels were created to help parents determine which programs provide suitable viewing for their children. Each label corresponds to the degree, if any, of the following content contained in the designated program: Violence (V), Sex (S), coarse Language (L), sexual Dialogue (D).Ratings are assigned to all television programming on The History Channel. Below is detailed information regarding the different ratings levels.

Cable 'Lockbox' and Set-top Boxes

Cable subscribers may request a "lockbox" from cable operators to prevent viewing of any channel on which objectionable programming may appear. Cable operators are required to make lockboxes available for sale or lease to customers who request them. Lockboxes can also be purchased from other commercial distributors.The Communications Act includes a provision that is designed to increase control over the programming coming into a subscriber's home. Section 640 requires a cable operator to fully scramble or block the audio and video portions of programming services not specifically subscribed to by a household. The cable operator must fully scramble or block the programming in question upon the request of the subscriber and at no charge to the subscriber.Some cable analog and advanced analog set-top boxes have the ability to block channels of programming. To block the channel, the viewer enters the correct Personal Identification Number ("PIN") code using the set-top's remote control or keypad.Digital set-top boxes provided by cable operators have parental control capabilities that allow customers to block programming based on several criteria. While not all boxes have the same features, a digital box might allow viewers to block programming based on time and date, channel, program title, TV rating and/or motion picture rating.

V - Chip

The V-chip is a technology that lets parents block television programming they don't want their children to watch. The V-Chip electronically reads television-programming ratings and allows parents to block programs they believe are unsuitable for their children. (Ratings appear in the corner of your television screen during the first 15 seconds of a program and in TV programming guides). This rating is encoded into the program, and the V-chip technology reads the encoded information and blocks shows accordingly. Using the remote control, parents can program the V-chip to block certain shows based on their ratings.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

In one of the most competitive races in United States history

the challenge to put man in space captivated the world during the second half of the 20th century. With rockets that were taller than the Statue of Liberty, the United States and the Soviet Union were able to accomplish their goals early on by using innovative engineering. But what remains of the spacecrafts designed to propel American astronauts to the moon more than three decades ago? Where are they today? How are they being preserved to ensure their existence for future generations?
Save Our History: Apollo: The Race Against Time, with host Steve Thomas, recounts the history of the space program, shows the preservation process of its famous relics, and reveals some of the secrets that NASA has for the future.

Hog Heaven: The Story of the Harley-Davidson Empire DVD

A special-edition DVD commemorating the centennial of an American icon.
Features interviews with famous Harley fans like Jay Leno and Peter Fonda.
Includes two complete programs from THE HISTORY CHANNEL.
It has battled changing tastes, overseas competition and brushes with bankruptcy, surviving where names like Indian, Ace and Pope failed. Entering its second century, Harley Davidson is riding high, building the world's most famous motorcycles. This special commemorative DVD celebrates Harley's centennial with two complete programs from THE HISTORY CHANNEL tracing the history and heritage of these legendary machines.
Hog Heaven probes the Harley mystique and follows the company from its modest beginnings in a Detroit shack to today's phenomenal successes, drawing on interviews with industry insiders, company officials and famous fans.
MODERN MARVELS®: Motorcycles is a feature-length look at everything with two wheels and an engine--from surviving, turn-of-the-century cycles to jet-powered superbikes--highlighted by an in-depth look at Harley's remarkable renaissance.

Egypt Beyond The Pyramids DVD set - FREE History Guide!

An all-access look at the ancient structures that have confounded and captivated for thousands of years.
DVD Features: "Making Of." Featurette; Scene Selection, Interactive Menus.
Features footage from ongoing excavations and interviews with the archeologists in charge.
For a limited time, get a FREE

Christianity I and II DVD set

The complete, two-thousand-year sweep of Christianity comes alive in this extraordinary DVD set (I & II) that brings together all the programs from the acclaimed VHS sets CHRISTIANITY: THE FIRST THOUSAND YEARS and CHRISTIANITY: THE SECOND THOUSAND YEARS in a single package. It is an epic beyond anything Hollywood could imagine, embracing emperors and itinerant preachers, the teachings of a man accepted by millions as the Savior and the battles fought in His name.
From the Crucifixion to the revolutionary changes of Vatican II, CHRISTIANITY traces the rise and history of one of the world's great religions. Scholars explore everything from the intertwined fates of the Roman Empire and the faith it first persecuted, then adopted, to the challenges posed by the Reformation. And theologians detail how the New Testament was shaped and how it, in turn, shaped the world we live in today.
Drawing on ancient texts, the Scriptures and visits to sites like Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, this is a spellbinding, authoritative account of the evolution of one of the world's great religions.

A Complete History of Britain DVD set

DVD Features: Notable Figures Biographies; Scene Selection; Interactive Menus.
The complete, epic, 15-part series from BBC and THE HISTORY CHANNEL.
Written and presented by Simon Schama, author of Rembrandt's Eyes and A History of Britain.
From the dawn of civilization to the 20th century, A HISTORY OF BRITAIN re-animates familiar tales and illuminates overlooked aspects of England's past. Written and hosted by historian Simon Schama (the bestselling author of Rembrandt's Eyes and The Embarrassment of Riches), this monumental The History Channel®/BBC co-production has been hailed by critics for its colorful--and controversial--approach, which discards timelines and tiresome lineages for a lively look at the personalities and cultures that infuse British history.
From India to Ireland, the Norman Invasion to the American Revolution, Schama spotlights the epic themes and towering figures that transformed an island "at the edge of the world" into the greatest empire on earth, examining the impact of this extraordinary heritage on the modern nation.
All 15 episodes of the landmark series are available on DVD for the first time in this extraordinary collector's set that belongs in the library of every history buff.

The History Channel Presents: The War of 1812 DVD set

Surviving an 1812 Battleship" Episode From Extreme History, hosted by Roger Daltrey.
Behind the Scenes of "First Invasion: The War of 1812".
Interactive Menus; Scene Selection.
From a seemingly disastrous decision to declare war to the glory of the stars and stripes, THE HISTORY CHANNEL® PRESENTS: THE WAR OF 1812 chronicles of one of America's most defining moments.
Only 30 years after gaining independence, the upstart United States found itself once again battling Great Britain. At stake were the future of democracy and America's Manifest Destiny. Pitted against the world's most powerful nation, victory seemed unlikely. But then Andrew Jackson's brilliant leadership, a lone sniper, and one of the most lopsided victories in military history turned the tide of the war

The History Channel Presents: The American Revolution DVD set

Features the voices of Emmy Award-winner Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) and Michael Learned (The Waltons).
Over eight hours of top-notch documentary programming on five DVDs.
The most comprehensive documentary overview of the War of Independence available on DVD.
Revisit the birth of a nation in this definitive look at America's fight for independence and rise to glory. THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION features 10 powerful documentaries totaling over 8 hours of essential programming available together for the first time.
From the Declaration of Independence to the Treaty of Paris, these are the stories and events surrounding the remarkable achievements of heroic individuals seized by the epic forces of history. Hear the words of Founding Fathers and other key figures read by actors like as Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) and Michael Learned (The Waltons), while thrilling re-enactments of great battles, compelling period images, rare archival material and commentary by leading historians brings the past vividly alive.
Between Bunker Hill and Yorktown to Ben Franklin's masterful diplomacy and Benedict Arnold's deceit and tragedy, THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION presents a sweeping canvas of history.

Band of Brothers DVD set

All ten episodes in a distinctive tin collectors case.
DVD Features: 30-Minute "Making of Featurette"; Full-length documentary "We Stand Alone Together"; Actor Ron Livingston's Video Diaries; Interactive Field Guide with maps, timelines and more; photo gallery; scene selection; interactive menus.
The monumental Emmy, Golden Globe and Peabody Award winning series.
Based on the bestseller by Stephen E. Ambrose, the epic 10-part miniseries BAND OF BROTHERS tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army. Drawn from interviews with survivors of Easy Company, as well as soldiers' journals and letters, BAND OF BROTHERS chronicles the experiences of these men who knew extraordinary bravery and extraordinary fear. They were an elite rifle company parachuting into France early on D-Day morning, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and capturing Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. They were also a unit that suffered 150 percent casualties, and whose lives became legend.

The World At War: Collector's Edition DVD set

8 hours of Bonus Documentaries.
Gallery of Photos from the Imperial War Museum Collection.
Narrated by Academy Award winner Laurence Olivier.
More than 30 years after its initial broadcast, THE WORLD AT WAR remains the definitive visual history of World War II. Narrated by Academy Award® winner Laurence Olivier and digitally re-mastered for DVD, this is epic history at its absolute best.
Unsurpassed in depth and scope, its 26 hour-long programs feature an extraordinary collection of newsreel, propaganda, and home-movie footage drawn from the archives of 18 nations, including colo close-ups of Adolf Hitler taken by his mistress, that present an unvarnished perspective of the war's pivotal events. Penetrating interviews with eyewitness participants--from Hitler's secretary to Alger Hiss to ordinary citizens who stood outside the battle lines--add spine-tingling, first-hand accounts to an already unforgettable viewing experience.
Informative and unbiased, THE WORLD AT WAR is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an International Emmy Award®, The National Television Critic's Award® for Best Documentary, and knighthood for its creator, Sir Jeremy Isaacs.
DVD Bonus Features:8 hours of Bonus Documentaries:
Making the Series: A 30th Anniversary Retrospective
Secretary to Hitler
The Two Deaths of Adolf Hitler
Hitler's Germany: The People's Community 1933-1939
Hitler's Germany: Total War 1939-1945
The Final Solution Parts 1 & 2
From War to Peace
Experiences of WarGallery of Photos from the Imperial War Museum CollectionBiographies

Camp Colt to Desert Storm: The History of U.S. Armed Forces book

The tank revolutionized the battlefield in World War II. In the years since, additional technological developments--including nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, computer assisted firing, and satellite navigation--have continued to transform the face of combat. The only complete history of U.S. armed forces from the advent of the tank in battle during World War I to the campaign to drive Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991, Camp Colt to Desert Storm traces the development of doctrine for operations at the tactical and operational levels of war and translates this fighting doctrine into the development of equipment. George F. Hofmann, associate professor of history at the University of Cincinnati, served in the U.S. Army (Armor). Donn A. Starry is the principal architect of AirLand Battle doctrine, which was used so successfully in the Gulf War.

Modern Marvels: Deadliest Weapons

A look at the origins of five of the world's most lethal weapons.
Here are the stories behind the creation--and use--of these extraordinary devices.
Meet the engineers and experts charged with containing these awesome forces.
In this fiery hour, MODERN MARVELS® profiles five of the world's deadliest weapons, focusing on the inventors, battles, and dark technology behind their lethality.
Beginning with the deadliest bomb ever created, the Tsar Bomba--a 50-megaton nuclear bomb--the program moves on to the deadliest weapons ever used on people, the atomic bombs exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. During WWI, the machine gun led to the deaths of over 8 million, and in WWII, incendiary bombs killed hundreds of thousands of people. Another deadly invention of WWII was the proximity fuse that allowed artillery to detonate within a predetermined range of an enemy target. Finally, we examine VX nerve gas--a deadly chemical agent used twice by Saddam Hussein with devastating results--and visit Edgewood Chemical BioCenter, where suspicious items in the current war in Iraq are examined for traces of VX.

BIOGRAPHY: J. Robert Oppenheimer: Father of the Atomic Bomb DVD

He went from the intellectual and bohemian circles of Berkeley to the highest levels of government secrecy as the director of the Manhattan Project. He became the most famous scientist since Einstein.
J. Robert Oppenheimer was a surprising choice to head the project to develop a working nuclear weapon. But even his critics agree he performed brilliantly. From his childhood in New York to his ordeal during the Red Menace scares, this is the compelling story of "the Father of the Atomic Bomb." See formerly secret footage from the Manhattan Project, including the historic Los Alamos tests, and meet the scientists who worked with him. Old friends reveal the private side of Oppenheimer, while his tragic ordeal in the McCarthy hearings is recounted by his lawyer and through newsreel footage.

Enola Gay DVD

On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb intended as a weapon was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, instantly annihilating over 70,000 people. ENOLA GAY combines two compelling, topflight documentaries that tell the remarkable story of America's decision to forever alter the course of history.
Available on DVD for the first time, ENOLA GAY brings the full force of one of history's most pivotal moments straight into your living room.
Featured Programs:Enola Gay: Rain of Ruin puts you inside the cockpit of the historic B-29 Superfortress bomber whose devastating payload helped bring about the end of WWII. From the development of the atomic bomb to the horrific aftermath, highlights include dramatic footage taken by the crewmembers themselves.Hiroshima: The Decision to Drop the Bomb takes an in-depth look at the steps leading to America's fateful decision. Was Japan already on the verge of surrender? Or was Truman's motivation ultimately political? Get the full story in this revealing, powerful program.

Victory At Sea DVD set

All 26 episodes on DVD for the first time ever
Digitally restored and remastered for this 50th anniversary release
The Emmy® and Peabody® winning documentary classic
Arguably the most influential documentary in television history, VICTORY AT SEA, in the words of Harper's Weekly, "created a new art form." The 26 half-hour episodes were culled from over 13,000 hours of footage shot by the U.S., British, German and Japanese navies during World War II. Narrated by Leonard Graves and set to a score by Richard Rodgers, the program offered a remarkable look at the realities of naval warfare and the extraordinary challenges faced by the Allies.
Now, the complete, landmark series is available on DVD for the first time, digitally restored and remastered for this 50th anniversary release. From U-boat "Wolfpacks" to the epic battles at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, every major naval engagement of World War II is captured in some of the most riveting combat footage ever shot.

Heroes of Iwo Jima DVD

A fascinating look at the month-long battle that claimed 25,000 lives.
DVD Features: Timeline of Critical Events; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection
Includes extensive interviews with photographer Joe Rosenthal, who took the famous picture of the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi.
For nearly a month, U.S. Marines fought entrenched Japanese defenders for control of the tiny island. In the end, over 25,000 soldiers died--more than 3,000 for each square mile of Iwo Jima.
HEROES OF IWO JIMA DVD looks at the legendary WWII battle through the lenses of two photographers. Joe Rosenthal took the famous picture of five U.S. Marines and one Navy corpsman raising the U.S. flag atop Mt. Suribachi. But hours earlier, a similar moment was captured in a picture that is nearly forgotten. Here, the men who documented the struggle recall the horror and heroism they witnessed, while those who conquered "Hell's Volcano" explore their mixed emotions over the image that has become an icon.
Joe Rosenthal, flag raiser Charles Lindberg, and the co-authors of Shadow of Suribachi are among the nearly 50 people interviewed in this unique examination of the epic engagement.

History Sunday: Secret Allied Aircraft of WWII

Examine plans, rare photos and surviving examples of the classified projects the Allies were working on.
Meet the engineers and designers who conjured up planes that were decades ahead of their times.
See how the wartime plans were incorporated into civilian aviation.
At WWII's outset, U.S. and U.K. military aircraft designs were woefully behind Germany and Japan's technologically superior planes. But the genius and ingenuity of innovators on both sides of the Atlantic closed the gap. For America, it was a handful of visionaries and their teams; for Great Britain, a creative and thoughtful spirit fostered by the top leadership which was evident all the way through the ranks. These are the untold stories of their cutting-edge designs and solutions, some of which were decades ahead of their time.

D-Day: The Total Story set

This is the ultimate chronicle of the largest amphibious invasion in history. The momentous decisions and tragic losses, pitched battles and desperate strategies come alive with extensive footage from both Allied and Axis government vaults and revealing interviews with soldiers, commanders and civilians.
Trace the development of D-Day from the initial plans and strategies to the final breakthrough that sent Allied troops roaring to Paris. Follow the strategies of Eisenhower, Montgomery, Marshall and Bradley and the counter-attacks and defenses of their German opponents. See how the heroism and valor of individual men was vital to salvaging success from plans that went awry in the first few minutes. And get an incredible, front-line view of the pitched battles that sent so many men to their grave.

World War II: The War Chronicles set

From the beaches of Normandy to the sands of Iwo Jima, relive the drama and the intensity of history's greatest conflict in WORLD WAR II: THE WAR CHRONICLES. This extraordinary collection is the most complete account of World War II ever created.
Combining graphic combat footage and expert commentary, it's a commanding view of the battles and strategy, the men and machines, and the horror and heroism that marked this epic conflict. Here are the blazing naval engagements, the hand-to-hand combat and the stupendous air battles. From North Africa to Italy, across Europe to Berlin, and from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo, see and experience World War II in these seven unforgettable volumes as it's never been captured before!