What do an iconic peace-loving protester and easily the most hated man in all of human history have to do with each other? The answer is simple: a plea that was never heard. Mahatma Gandhi wrote to Adolf Hitler on July 23, 1939 to ask him to keep World War II from happening. At the time, Hitler was already progressing through Europe, having invaded Czechoslovakia earlier that spring. The letter never reached Hitler, (for unknown reasons) and it is hard to image that it would have had much impact if it did. Gandhi wrote two letters to Hitler, which are on display at Mani Bhavan, where Gandhi lived in Mumbai from 1917-1934. These letters are a known, but still shocking, part of the history of WWII. Certainly, they make you wonder what could have been, and even spark speculation about what the world leaders of our time really think about the current state of the world. (via World of Wonder, History Today)
Photos: Airplane Factory Was Camouflaged As a Small Neighborhood to Protect from Bombing During WWII
During World War II, U.S. officials were worried that the Japanese would bomb Lockheed's aircraft factory in Burbank. Their solution was an amazing act of military deception: They got the Army Corps of Engineers to disguise the entire massive plant as a bucolic rural subdivision. "Another person who lived in the area talked about as being a boy, watching it all be set up like a movie studio production. They had fake houses, trees, etc. and moved parked cars around so it looked like a residential area from the skies overhead." It gets even better: According to accounts, Lockheed and the government got Hollywood's help to further the ruse by making a fake Lockheed plant as a decoy. Warner Brothers disguised a nearby studio so that it looked like an aircraft plant from the air, in case the Japanese had intelligence that there was a military facility in the area. "For many years after one of the sound stages bore the leftover letters 'HEED AIRCRAFT COMPANY,' obviously the remanants of a fake Lockheed sign." (Barnstormers via Boing Boing)
Jonathan Kuriscak is not your average guy. Sure, plenty of people collect figurines and action figures, some for far longer than the 16 years Kuriscak's been at it. But while many people collect Star Wars figurines, significantly fewer custom-craft the miniatures into Nazi generals. In fact, it's probably just Kuriscak. The above figurine of Darth Vader showing off his Nazi armband and rapier (wit?) is just one of many World War II adaptations Kuriscak has crafted with figurines. You can see more on the website for Kuriscak's solo miniature modification organization, Pack Rat Studios. They're not all related to World War II or to Star Wars. But some are related to both:
Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov is a master of a technique called, alternatively, perspective-matching photography or the fancier computational rephotography, which consists of precisely matching the points-of-view of vintage and modern photographs and exploring what happens where they merge. Since last year, Larenkov has been assembling a series of such photos on World War II: As the photo above shows, the point of combination can be quite haunting.
Some Photoshop whizzes have criticized Larenkov's work on the grounds that the mergers are too jarring in their contrasts and could be executed with greater smoothness on his part, but, in the absence of an explanation of his work, I think that's kind of the point: It clearly takes a great deal of patience and technical aptitude to create these photos, and the harshness of imposing war and its devastation on pristine modern European cities works better when it's not too slick.
Below, a few more choice photos: