I Want You to View These Vintage Wartime Propaganda Posters (Second Edition)

4.2.7

Once again, the 4th of July puts us in the patriotic kick of things. Unless the Trump administration put a damper on that, like it does with everything. Anyway, I did a post of old wartime propaganda posters for the 4th of July last year. And since I have plenty left over, I thought it would be a good idea to do another. Because I think we all long for the days when propaganda didn’t try to pass itself as news. Though to be fair many of these wartime posters function more like public service announcements with messages like conserve resources, do your part, don’t give out any military secrets, buy bonds, enlist, and what not. And yes, you’ll find plenty with racist caricatures, particularly on any of the WWII ones featuring the Japanese. Still, they tend to be rather interesting to look at and not such for the artwork. But many of them have become so ingrained in the popular imagination that they’ve been parodied in pop culture for years. Nevertheless, for your reading pleasure, I give you a treasure trove of more propaganda posters from the old wartime years. Enjoy.

  1. Conserve water for the military industrial complex.

To be fair, this is for WWII when many nations were fighting for their survival. Still, the military industrial complex has gained a shadowy reputation since then.

2. This Christmas give your family the gift of war bonds.

Sure your kids may not enjoy them now. But wait until they’re about to go to college. Also, it’s your patriotic duty to do so.

3. Don’t get VD or else you’ll miss the boat.

Because our nation can’t afford soldiers with gonorrhea or chlamydia. So guys, keep it in your pants.

4. Angelic lady with harp wants you to enlist at your nearest recruiter station.

Because if you don’t enlist now, there’s a good chance they’ll draft you. A gem from World War I, by the way with George M. Cohan’s “Over There.”

5. One legged sailor wants you to do your part.

Because as you can see, he already did and got his leg blown off for it. And to him, it was worth it.

6. The YWCA wants you to support women workers.

Because women build planes and bombs so men can use them to blow up or shoot down other guys. By the way, average air time in a WWI aircraft was 20 minutes.

7. “When the sword is drawn, the Navy upholds it!”

So join the US Navy. Because spending long days warding off German U-Boats sure beats trenches and planes. Seriously, anything is better than the trenches.

8. Before you bang this woman, know that she might be an STD laden whore.

Yes, they seem to have a lot of wartime posters on STDs. But then again, contracting an STD is far worse than getting a cold.

9. Don’t be lazy or you’ll help the Nazis win.

Makes me wonder if they’re putting this guy down or sympathizing with him. I mean, the guy has a broken arm and can’t really do his job.

10. Even Mickey Mouse wants you to buy bonds.

Because Mickey loves America and wants to protect it from Nazis. Despite that Walt Disney was anti-Semitic.

11. Strike a blow for the Axis and give more wood for the army.

And we mean lumber this shirtless jacked guy chops down. Not the other kind since being gay in the military can give you a one way ticket to Levenworth, Kansas.

12. Civilians need food so plant more beans.

Because these people liberated from Axis occupation are absolutely starving. Mainly because of totalitarianism, systematic oppression, and the fact we bombed the shit out of their towns.

13. Buy war bonds to the moms and kids of fallen men.

Because a lot of employers simply won’t hire single moms during the 1940s. This is especially the case when she has two kids under the age of 5.

14. In a time of war, great Americans don’t take time off when their country needs them.

Though even during a time of war, can’t people just take time off for medical needs? Besides, everyone needs a break.

15. A woman loves a man who volunteered for submarine service.

Yet, serving in a submarine is absolutely no picnic at all. Still, at least they didn’t have women on there fortunately for her.

16. Defeat the Nazis and defend religious freedom.

Though I’d think it would be more to the point if it was a synagogue instead of a church. But church works fine.

17. The traffic light is right, stop waiting to beat Hitler and enlist.

However, they forgot to put a disclaimer: Must be 18 years or older. Though the traffic light is very effective.

18. Send your scrap to Uncle Sam so they can shoot down Nazi planes.

Still, I’m not sure a burning plane for a scrap metal poster is a good idea. But then again, this is WWII so it’s understandable.

19. Want to avoid VD? Try Prophylaxis.

Prophylaxis means prevention. And I guess the prophylaxis here is keeping it in your pants.

20. Whether in the fields, factories, or combat zones, we must attack at all fronts.

Yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean using a hoe or a blow torch as weapons. But they’re the home front.

21. Kids, help Uncle Sam win the war by buying war savings stamps with your change.

Since bonds are for grownups. And the US government isn’t above getting its hands on your monthly allowance to pay for a new machine gun.

22. Ladies, don’t worry about rations, can your food instead.

Yes, they encouraged people to can their food so they’d last for weeks. Then again, they didn’t have as reliable refrigeration then.

23. The Red Cross and Uncle Sam need you!

I don’t know about you, but Uncle Sam seems to be a bit creepy with that nurse. I have a bad feeling where this is leading.

24. Soldiers, when you sleep with a woman, you might pick up more than a girl.

And they think college hookup culture is bad these days. Yes, the World War II generation slept around, too.

25. This soldier wants you to save gas through carpooling.

Yes, carpooling saves gas. But the disadvantage of carpooling is that it’s not always feasible for co-workers living a neighborhood away from each other. Though this wasn’t much of a problem in the 1940s.

26. Before the war, men never thought a woman can do a blue collar job.

Yes, this is kind of sexist. But women did work in factories during both world wars. Not to mention, many female factory workers in WWI started out as girls.

27. Be wary and don’t fall for Axis propaganda.

Note they included religious bigotry on there but left out other faiths. Still, I’d worry more about Axis Sally than Tokyo Rose.

28. See a German U-Boat? Bomb it!

This is a navy recruitment poster. And here’s a guy carrying explosives. Hope he throws it at the Germans quick or he’s sunk.

29. Someone talked and this man’s ship got bombed.

Yes, scare them straight into shutting up while they make port in a foreign country. Still, you’d wonder if this guy ever learned to swim.

30. Uncle Sam wants you to shut up about military strategy.

Because you’ll never know when you meet a Nazi spy. So keep your trap shut.

31. The British Navy needs your bones for bombs.

They also need bones for all this other stuff, too. Though the aircraft one is puzzling to me.

32. Remember, loose talk during lunch can cost lives.

Nothing inspires paranoia like this one. Doesn’t help they’re drinking beer either. Oh, I see what they’re getting at.

33. Winston Churchill always holds the line to victory.

Here’s Churchill’s famous English bulldog portrait. And it doesn’t seem very flattering to me.

34. Careless talk will give you a German Iron Cross.

Or as this poster conveys, “make you a traitor.” Also not, the Nazi signet in full display.

35. Remember to eat healthy to be US strong.

Too bad a lot of people in our country do not nowadays. Still, you can see the point.

36. Talk less because you’ll never know if you meet a German spy.

Keep in mind that the Gestapo mainly dressed in civilian clothes in Nazi Germany. So this isn’t incredibly far fetched.

37. Fight for your country so you won’t have to lose your sacred rights.

Too bad they didn’t try to warn us during the 2016 election. Because our rights are now under attack from the Trump administration and the GOP as we speak. Have you seen the GOP healthcare plan and anti-protest laws?

38. VD can be cured, but antibiotics can’t relieve your regret.

So a sailor should be a good boy to keep it in his pants and his mouth shut. Because careless talk may mean death to your comrades.

39. Set to course to victory, join the US Coast guard.

Sure patrolling the nation’s borders may seem like a boring gig as you see these guys’ faces. But at least you most likely won’t die.

40. Defend America, don’t waste your food.

Because Americans need to be healthy to defeat the Nazis. So clean your plate at dinner.

41. Empty cans? Save them for ammunition.

Funny how the bullet chains are cans with tomatoes. As if they’re firing a machine guns with sauce bullets.

42. To avoid careless talk, don’t forget to tie your parrot’s beak shut.

Or any military camp could just ban pets. Much easier than tying something on a parrot’s mouth.

43. Soldiers, Uncle Sam wants you to take care of your gear.

For soldiers need to make sure everything’s working so their equipment can last. Doing that, the life they could save, could be their own.

44. Support oil for it powers planes and land vehicles.

Though today, you’d be more for clean energy like wind and solar. Okay, maybe we’re not that far yet, technology wise. But we’ll get there.

45. Join the Navy and man the guns!

I don’t know about you. But there’s something phallic about that missile and it doesn’t help that the guy doesn’t have shirt on. Just a thought.

46. Produce to the limit or else the 2 headed Axis hulk will storm New York City.

Because you don’t want this monster destroying the Statue of Liberty. Still, in movie world, cataclysmic events in New York are commonplace.

47. Use your ration stamps to stamp out black markets.

Funny how they have a black marketer in disgusting green. Yes, ration stamps get the job done.

48. Keep em’ fighting since production wins wars and prevent accidents.

Again with the bare chest and phallic looking missiles. And you wonder why sailors are more prone to gay stereotyping.

49. Every minute counts so avoid time off.

Instead of avoiding time off, it’d be better if it said, “avoid vacation time.” Because if someone needs a day off for illness, injury, or family, then they should have it.

50. Keep our cars rolling cause America can’t hitchhike to victory.

Still, hitchhiking isn’t a good idea even if that’s a way people got around at the time. And hitchhiking to victory, forget it.

51. “We’ve just begun to fight! Watch us put it across!”

I guess this is for recruitment as the eagle looks ahead. Guess this is from WWII.

52. The housewives brigade wants your scraps.

So give them all your junk so they can give to the war effort. Metal, paper, and bacon grease preferred.

53. Don’t read history, make it. Join the Navy.

But I think reading history is very important. This goes especially for the stuff that isn’t flattering like slavery.

54. Buy bonds to keep Germany and Japan from this mom and kid.

Yes, they have menacing hands that’ll go after your family. Just imagine the suffering.

55. Men who know always say no to prostitutes.

Because prostitutes are STD ridden whores who’ll infect them. Then again, this isn’t an entirely accurate description.

56. War bonds are the crop that never fails.

Though if I can grow money I would. But unfortunately money doesn’t grow on trees. Or from the ground.

57. Eat some of each from every food group every day. Other than that, eat whatever you want.

Nowadays, you’d have to eat a set of servings from each group. And it’s usually shaped within a plate or a pyramid.

58. In a time of war, it’s best you watch your weight.

So I guess they don’t want you to overeat either. Yes, it’s best you know your capacity.

59. Knock out VD. Prophylaxis prevents disease.

And yet, they have tanks shooting out saying, “soap,” “silver,” and “mercury.” Unfortunately, such treatment aren’t as good as penicillin.

60. July 4th is Uncle Sam’s birthday and the US is still going strong after 142 years.

And see Uncle Sam charge with his bayonet among the exploding bombs. Not necessarily a safe way to run through. But it’s WWI.

61. Simple Sam breaks a tool every day at work.

Here he is on a stool with a dunce cap. Yes, his antics in the factory waste time. But he really can’t help himself.

62. The Statue of Liberty wants you to buy a liberty bond or she perishes.

So while Uncle Sam urges men to serve, Lady Liberty urges everyone else to buy bonds. But she doesn’t look defenseless here.

63. Take the pledge that you’ll use ration points and not buy black market stuff.

Because it’s your patriotic duty to do so as an American consumer. So raise your hand and swear to it.

64. Let the guns do the talking for silence is security.

Because the guns can do quite a lot of damage. Kind of intimidating if you ask me.

65. Sure she might be hot but she could very well be a Nazi spy.

If you want to know, just ask her what she thinks about Jewish people. Okay, maybe that’s a bad indicator.

66. Always be be on the alert and join the Marines.

Here he has a gun pointed at planes during the night. I’m sure the planes don’t know what’s coming.

67. A rattlesnake is less dangerous than careless talk.

And rattlesnake bites are are real bitch. In fact, rattlesnakes can kill you. Just look at the fangs of this thing.

68. Think this Japanese beauty is hot? Avoid her.

Crazy how they managed to put a naked woman on here. Not often you see this on a WWII poster.

69. Sailor, beware of who you screw at port.

So don’t tell her anything about equipment, salings, or troop movements. She might be using her hotness to get you to talk.

70. Want to bring him back sooner? Get a war job.

Though the sooner you bring him back home, the sooner you’ll get a pink slip. So what it brings you is mixed.

71. “You give us the fire. We’ll give ’em hell!”

Here he is about to get in a fighter. Remember that bombers and pilots didn’t have a high survival rate in WWII. So he’s not likely to make it.

72. In Germany, someone is doing the same job as you, beat ’em.

Funny how they put it behind a large white swastika. Looks so evil.

73. The swastika marks the spot.

And it’s squarely on Hitler’s ass. And the planes are bombing it like crazy as he screams in pain.

74. Make every minute count for Pershing. Join the  shipyard.

However, keep in mind that WWI era wasn’t known for good health and safety conditions. And that the guy isn’t in proper safety equipment.

75. Remember, housewives, save fats for explosives.

Because fats contain nitro glycerin. So whenever you contribute grease to the military, you’re killing Nazis.

76. Women, there’s a war to be won. So get on your feet now.

Because when there’s a war on, the US needs everyone they have. So ladies, it’s off to the munitions factories.

77. Canada needs soldiers like you in its army.

Instead of a noble knight on horseback, we have a soldier on a motorcycle. Don’t think popping a wheelie is a good idea.

78. Smack the Japanese and join the submarine service.

Here’s a guy holding a V for victory. Hope he knows that the Pacific front was particularly horrific.

79. A starving child’s life was saved because you went without luxury. So give us money.

What a way to pull at people’s heartstrings. Though recently, the American Red Cross’s reputation has suffered.

80. “Let’s go Canada!”

Apparently, Canada didn’t have its famous maple leaf flag yet. And this guy hardly looks like a badass.

81. Every time you take the day off, you help Hitler.

Seems like they’re big on getting people not to miss any day at work. Though everyone deserves a break now and then. Even in wartime.

82. Break the bottle neck traffic, carpool.

Yet, in this one, the car breaks the bottle. But you have to agree, carpooling is a good idea, whenever it’s feasible.

83. Tell where he’s going, he’ll never get there!

Because telling where he’s going helps the enemy. So don’t. Okay?

84. Remember, make a mistake, you help the enemy! Because there’s a war on.

Sorry, but we can’t afford secretaries making mistakes. Too bad she might not have adequate training which I’m quite sure about.

85. Don’t forget that this hideous Japanese guy is the enemy.

Really? Depicting Japanese guys as raping white women? That’s about as racist and horrendous as sending a bunch of Japanese Americans to internment camps out west.

86. Still need more rags for salvage.

And yet, this old guy leads an invisible homeless guy. Couldn’t see anything so cruel.

87. “Remember Pearl Harbor and purl further!”

Seems like this was designed by a knitting circle. Still, it’s kind of clever.

88. Hey, British POWs, want some fresh air? Join the Free Corps.

The British Free Corps was a Waffen SS unit during WWII consisting of British prisoners of war who were stationed at the Eastern Front to fight the Russians. Only 54 joined up and major figures were later court martialed as traitors.

89. Fight the Japanese menace surrounding Australia. Blockade!

Though to be fair, militaristic Japan wanted an empire. And Australia is quite close to Indonesia.

90. “Couldn’t have done it without you!”

As if this American sailor can’t help but show how many Japanese boats he’s sunk. So proud of his accomplishments.

91. Salvage your rubber cause these guys have more important places to go.

Though it seems like they’re going on a joy ride more than anything. But they need rubber for tires to get around places.

92. Talk too much and this soldier’s behind a barbed wire fence.

Of course, he’d probably be at some POW camp which is nothing like Hogan’s Heroes. But at least he can be happy he’s not from Russia.

93. Can’t fight in war? Plant a victory garden instead.

After all, if you can grow it, you don’t need to buy it. You can even give some of your produce to the troops, too.

94. Open your eyes, America, since fighting Nazis isn’t business as usual.

Nor is it with the Trump administration. Not sure how we’ll get through that with our federal government intact.

95. Be good this year and invest in defense.

Because if you’ve been bad and help Nazis, then you’ll probably get something worse than coal. Like a charge for treason. And Santa wouldn’t like that.

96. Keep your mouth shut and don’t rat out information.

Cause you never know when the Axis powers would use it against you. So be smart and don’t say anything about war stuff.

97. The YWCA wants you to back our girls over there.

Yes, women who served in WWI didn’t get the credit they deserved. This switchboard operator is one of them.

98. Even a fish would keep its mouth shut around Japanese bait.

Boy is their rendition of the Japanese racist. Still, even if the fish took the bait, it would die right there.

99. After Iwo Jima, it’s all of us together.

This is a depiction of the famous photo at Iwo Jima. Subject of two Clint Eastwood movies.

100. Wasting stuff helps Hitler.

And they had to do a paper version of Hitler with a weird looking mustache brush. Not flattering but he’s a horrible man anyway.

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A Speech for Our Times

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The 1940 film The Great Dictator is a historically significant political satire where Charlie Chaplin condemns Hitler, Mussolini, the Nazis, and Anti-Semitism. At the end of the movie, Chaplin as the barber is mistaken for the titular despot and gives a speech denouncing totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany and rallying the soldiers along with the audience to fight for free liberal democracy. 76 years later with the rise of right-wing populist authoritarianism, Chaplin’s 5-minute climatic speech resonates as much as ever. These regimes may not be like the militarist nationalist regimes of the 1930s, but they can be just as much a threat to democracy, civil liberties, state institutions, human rights, and even the civic moral fiber. Many of these regimes came into power on platforms promoting racism and xenophobia. And many of the movements have demagogue leaders who have abused their power for their own enrichment, discredited and intimidated anyone who’s challenged or criticized them, and have little respect for the laws, values, and traditions in the very country they’re supposed to lead. Furthermore, their elections have emboldened extremists within their own nations into committing acts against vulnerable people with little or no consequence. But unlike some dictators of the 1930s, authoritarian leaders are much more likely to erode their constitutionally democratically elected regimes through legitimate means from within, which can even be scarier as well as just as disturbing. We must stand firm against authoritarian regimes that may not just compromise people’s liberties and rights, but can also rot a nation’s soul through corruption, misinformation, manipulation, and incompetence. Today we need to hear the words of Chaplin’s climatic speech more than ever to be reminded of our common humanity and how authoritarian leaders threaten our way of being. And since I doubt it’ll be heard at the Oscars this weekend, I have it on my blog.

Chaplin’s Final Speech from The Great Dictator:

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

I Want You to View These Vintage Wartime Propaganda Posters

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Now that we’re in the patriotic swing of things for the 4th of July, perhaps we should take a look at some wartime propaganda. Of course, last year I did a series on Declaration of Independence signers which wasn’t a huge hit among the blogosphere or Google Search. But this year, I think doing a post on wartime propaganda from the two World Wars from the early 20th century might bring some flag waving fervor. Or it just might be something that I could have a lot of fun with. After all, I’ve already done the American flag. Nevertheless, these propaganda posters not only served as iconic images from governments and other agencies to do their part for the effort, but also pointed out that as a nation at war, we’re all in this together. And if you’re not doing your part or making any sacrifices, you’re being an unpatriotic dimwit who should be ashamed of yourself. Still, it’s interesting to look at these posters and see what kind of messages and images there are at the time. You’ll find Uncle Sam and Rosie the Riveter. But you’ll also find stuff on encouraging conservation, not throwing stuff away, buying bonds, men keeping it in their pants, and even carpooling. Yes, carpooling. Not only that, but a lot of these propaganda posters have been parodied over the years, even after the conflicts that made their existence. So for your reading pleasure, I want you to see a treasure trove of some historical posters encouraging you to do your part for the cause.

 

  1. Your friends are fighting, why aren’t you, man?
This is a recruitment poster from Canada encouraging young men to join the armed forces. And Canada certainly participated in both world wars. James Doohan was one of the most famous Canadian WWII veterans since he was Scotty from Star Trek.

This is a recruitment poster from Canada encouraging young men to join the armed forces. And Canada certainly participated in both world wars. James Doohan was one of the most famous Canadian WWII veterans since he was Scotty from Star Trek.

2. Be a Merchant Marine and help deliver the goods.

The merchant marines are among the most underrated war heroes in both world wars since transporting supplies is crucial for any war effort. However, like you see in Mr. Roberts, they don't see much action and it was very boring gig.

The merchant marines are among the most underrated war heroes in both world wars since transporting supplies is crucial for any war effort. However, like you see in Mr. Roberts, they don’t see much action and it was very boring gig.

3. Ladies, Joan of Arc saved her country, you can save yours by buying stamps.

Except that Joan of Arc saved France by being the French Army's mascot and providing divine inspiration. Lincoln's comment of Ulysses S. Grant's drinking would describe her perfectly.

Except that Joan of Arc saved France by being the French Army’s mascot and providing divine inspiration. Lincoln’s comment of Ulysses S. Grant’s drinking would describe her perfectly for those who think she had schizophrenia.

4. “My M-1 does the talking!”

There are a lot of posters encouraging people to be careful what they say or write. Because they can unintentionally help the enemy. And you don't want to do that.

There are a lot of posters encouraging people to be careful what they say or write. Because they can unintentionally help the enemy. And you don’t want to do that.

5. Remember men, disease is disguised so don’t gamble with VD.

I know this is telling men to keep it in their pants. But given double standards and realistic consequences, I think this message is necessary. Because people really need to be careful on who they screw.

I know this is telling men to keep it in their pants. But given double standards and realistic consequences, I think this message is necessary. Because people really need to be careful on who they screw.

6. “He gives 100%. You can lend 10%.”

And it looks like he's stepped on a mine and isn't long for this world. If that's not giving 100%, I don't know what is.

And it looks like he’s stepped on a mine and isn’t long for this world. If that’s not giving 100%, I don’t know what is.

7. Uncle Sam says, “Fill those empty seats!”

Because car sharing saves on gas that could be used to fuel our tanks in North Africa. And this is definitely from WWII, by the way.

Because car sharing saves on gas that could be used to fuel our tanks in North Africa. And this is definitely from WWII, by the way.

8. Housewives, save waste fats for explosives.

Because bacon grease can be used as nitro glycerin. And I'm not kidding on this.

Because bacon grease can be used as nitro glycerin. And I’m not kidding on this.

9. Remember men, self-control is self preservation.

Because screwing whores at the front leads you prone to contracting nasty STDs. So keep it in your pants, boys.

Because screwing whores at the front leads you prone to contracting nasty STDs. So keep it in your pants, boys.

10. Survive the wartime winter with coal for warmth.

Because the war effort needs oil. But you can also order wood. Love the freezing penguin in this.

Because the war effort needs oil. But you can also order wood. Love the freezing penguin in this.

11. Can this Nazi save more grease than you?

There's ammunition in this kitchen with bacon grease. And even the Nazis know that.

There’s ammunition in this kitchen with bacon grease. And even the Nazis know that.

12. Maintain your gas mask.

Because you might need it during a gas attack. So don't use it as a knapsack and pillow. Wonder what people doing with their gas masks for that poster to exist.

Because you might need it during a gas attack. So don’t use it as a knapsack and pillow. Wonder what people doing with their gas masks for that poster to exist.

13. “Let’s catch him with his ‘panzers’ down!”

I think this is a clever one for WWII. Notice how Hitler has swastikas on his underwear.

I think this is a clever one for WWII. Notice how Hitler has swastikas on his underwear.

14. Mr. Peanut goes to war.

Not even corporate advertising mascots were exempt from war service. Mr. Peanut from Planter's ought to know.

Not even corporate advertising mascots were exempt from war service. Mr. Peanut from Planter’s ought to know. Weird to see him without his top hat and monocle.

15. Saving old metal and paper puts the lid on Hitler.

Salvage saves lives and so does recycling. So save as much as you can on paper and metal.

Salvage saves lives and so does recycling. So save as much as you can on paper and metal.

16. Buying bonds and saving money will beat the devil!

And the devil here is Adolf Hitler. Here he's even red with horns and pointy ears.

And the devil here is Adolf Hitler. Here he’s even red with horns and pointy ears.

17. Join the tanks and beat em’ rough!

Wonder why they have a screaming black cat here. Sure it looks evil but it was more stupid to be on a battlefield than malicious.

Wonder why they have a screaming black cat here. Sure it looks evil but it was more stupid to be on a battlefield than malicious.

18. Civilians, if you don’t need it, don’t buy it.

Yeah, you really don't need to buy a white elephant. Of course, it's only in here as a figure of speech.

Yeah, you really don’t need to buy a white elephant. Of course, it’s only in here as a figure of speech.

19. Uncle Sam says, “Protect your nation’s honor, enlist now!”

Enlist now because your nation has just been raped, metaphorically. Of course, I think this might be from WWI.

Enlist now because your nation has just been raped, metaphorically. Of course, I think this might be from WWI though.

20. This dog’s owner died because someone wouldn’t shut up.

Yes, go with the gold star dog treatment. Because dogs are seen as loyal friends to their master and are quite adorable.

Yes, go with the gold star dog treatment. Because dogs are seen as loyal friends to their master and are quite adorable.

21. “Tell nobody-not even her!”

Because you'll never know where you'll find a Nazi spy. This is especially if she talks in a German accent.

Because you’ll never know where you’ll find a Nazi spy. This is especially if she talks in a German accent.

22. Dressing extravagantly is unpatriotic.

Because in wartime, everyone should make sacrifices. So dressing to the nines isn't just bad form, it's unpatriotic. Get it?

Because in wartime, everyone should make sacrifices. So dressing to the nines isn’t just bad form, it’s unpatriotic. Get it?

23. This man’s life is in your hands.

If I were him, I'd be more worried about throwing it too late than it being a dud. Those things can blow your freaking hand off.

If I were him, I’d be more worried about throwing it too late than it being a dud. Those things can blow your freaking hand off.

24. Remember, the Nazis burned books that Americans can still read.

Because unlike Americans, the Nazis don't believe in a free press. This is why they staged book burnings. Yes, they hate American freedom.

Because unlike Americans, the Nazis don’t believe in a free press. This is why they staged book burnings. Yes, they hate American freedom.

25. No sailor has to prove he’s a man on shore leave.

Because giving in to 1940s masculinity pressures might get you an STD. And there's no medicine for regret.

Because giving in to 1940s masculinity pressures might get you an STD. And there’s no medicine for regret.

26. Drivers, drive a truck for Uncle Sam.

I could tell this is from WWI because of the car design. And the artwork is a little bit crude, too.

I could tell this is from WWI because of the car design. And the artwork is a little bit crude, too.

27. The kitchen is the key to victory, eat less bread.

Because our men need carbs, dammit. So eat more garden veggies instead.

Because our men need carbs, dammit. So eat more garden veggies instead.

28. Remember, our men are ready to fight at any time.

However, looking at this you have to wonder how these soldiers got any sleep. Oh, wait, some of these guys didn't sleep for days.

However, looking at this you have to wonder how these soldiers got any sleep. Oh, wait, some of these guys didn’t sleep for days.

29. This woman is wanted for murder.

Because she didn't know when to shut the hell up. This cost lives overseas. Yeah, watch your mouth, ladies.

Because she didn’t know when to shut the hell up. This cost lives overseas. Yeah, watch your mouth, ladies.

30. Uncle Sam wants you to stop stealing tools!

Because combat crews need them to repair stuff with. At least this poster makes a lot of sense.

Because combat crews need them to repair stuff with. At least this poster makes a lot of sense.

31. This, soldier, is what is known as a booby trap.

Because she's loaded with boobs and STDS. Don't have sex with her. Seriously, keep it in your pants.

Because she’s loaded with boobs and STDS. Don’t have sex with her. Seriously, keep it in your pants.

32. Help China! Because China is helping us.

Well, they should be helping us. But the Nationalist and Communist factions don't like each other at all. So it's not uncommon for these Chinese factions in some areas to fight each other or side with Japan.

Well, they should be helping us. But the Nationalist and Communist factions don’t like each other at all. So it’s not uncommon for these Chinese factions in some areas to fight each other or side with Japan.

33. Don’t let the Nazi swastika touch them!

So buy bonds and keep our kiddies safe from the Nazis. This is especially if you and/or your kids are Jewish.

So buy bonds and keep our kiddies safe from the Nazis. This is especially if you and/or your kids are Jewish.

34. Careless talk took her daddy!

So be careful of what you say. You may not know when you're talking to an enemy spy in your neighborhood.

So be careful of what you say. You may not know when you’re talking to an enemy spy in your neighborhood.

35. Losing an arm at Pearl Harbor shouldn’t keep you away from patriotic duties.

After all, just because he can't be a soldier no more doesn't mean he can't help. Because you don't need two arms to hold a blow torch.

After all, just because he can’t be a soldier no more doesn’t mean he can’t help. Because you don’t need two arms to hold a blow torch.

36. Keep your mouth shut and don’t be a sucker!

Because a fish that opens its mouth is a sucker, hook, line, and sinker. Still, you have to like the artwork on this.

Because a fish that opens its mouth is a sucker, hook, line, and sinker. Still, you have to like the artwork on this.

37. For defense, give blood since it’s life.

However, this offer's not available for blacks since their blood isn't fit for white GIs, especially from the segregated South. I know it's based on dubious claims based on racism, but that's what people believed in those days.

However, this offer’s not available for blacks since their blood isn’t fit for white GIs’ veins in transfusions. I know that concept based on pseudoscientific claims as well as stupid flagrant racism, but that’s what white Americans believed in the 1940s.

38. On April 19, 1917, Wake Up America Day.

I guess this date was picked specifically as the anniversary of the American Revolution. Also the girl is wearing a cocked hat and carrying a lantern.

I guess this date was picked specifically as the anniversary of the American Revolution. Also the girl is wearing a cocked hat and carrying a lantern.

39. Plant your own garden for victory.

Both world wars encouraged people to plant their own vegetable gardens for food. This is from WWI.

Both world wars encouraged people to plant their own vegetable gardens for food. This is from WWI.

40. It’s a women’s war so join the WAVES!

This woman's face says, "This is not what I signed up for. Really hope this ship on my radio doesn't get bombed. Don't want to hear a bunch of screaming sailors going down to their deaths."

This woman’s face says, “This is not what I signed up for. Really hope this ship on my radio doesn’t get bombed. Don’t want to hear a bunch of screaming sailors going down to their deaths.”

41. Soldiers, know the risks of syphilis and gonorrhea.

To be fair, regardless of what this ad says, there's a strong chance that many of these guys didn't have a lot of sex education. And yes, STDs do kill. But yeah, it's not really nice to women.

To be fair, regardless of what this ad says, there’s a strong chance that many of these guys didn’t have a lot of sex education. And yes, STDs do kill. But yeah, it’s not really nice to women.

42. “If you talk too much, this man may die.”

Another poster that says, "loose lips, sink ships." Besides, he seems like a handsome sailor in that submarine.

Another poster that says, “loose lips, sink ships.” Besides, he seems like a handsome sailor in that submarine.

43. Destroy this mad brute of a Hun, enlist.

The funny part about this poster that it's from WWI as you can see by the Kaiser helmet. Still, you have to ask yourself whether this image inspired King Kong.

The funny part about this poster that it’s from WWI as you can see by the Kaiser helmet. Still, you have to ask yourself whether this image inspired King Kong.

44. While commuting to work, try to squeeze for one more.

Yet, I'm not sure how many people this car can take. Since it seems full to the brim already.

Yet, I’m not sure how many people this car can take. Since it seems full to the brim already.

45. Remember, war bonds are always cheaper than wooden crosses.

Or military funerals for that matter. And yes, the US military did a lot of them during both world wars.

Or military funerals for that matter. And yes, the US military did a lot of them during both world wars.

46. Like digging a foxhole, conserving’s for your own protection.

Because conservation helps save resources for the war effort. Plus, it's good for the environment in an age where one of the biggest threats is climate change.

Because conservation helps save resources for the war effort. Plus, it’s good for the environment in an age where one of the biggest threats is climate change.

47. Wake up, America, civilization calls every man, woman, and child.

And here's the lady personifying America fast asleep. Another WWI poster.

And here’s the lady personifying America fast asleep. Another WWI poster.

48. Along with gardening, wartime housewives should also take to canning.

This is a famous picture I've might've seen somewhere. Nevertheless, the girl looks a bit freaky to me.

This is a famous picture I’ve might’ve seen somewhere. Nevertheless, the girl looks a bit freaky to me.

49. Remember, every time you miss work for no reason, you stab the Statue of Liberty in the back.

Because time must not be wasted. Still, bound to make you guilty of missing work during WWII.

Because time must not be wasted. Still, bound to make you guilty of missing work during WWII.

50. Always practice good eating habits in fox holes.

Because it might make your ass a huge target for enemy gunfire. So eat wisely.

Because it might make your ass a huge target for enemy gunfire. So eat wisely.

51. This soldier needs smokes more than anything else.

What he really needs is to quit smoking. But don't bet on that because only the doctors in his day see it'll kill him if the war doesn't.

What he really needs is to quit smoking. But don’t bet on that because only the doctors in his day see it’ll kill him if the war doesn’t.

52. See action now and join the submarine service.

They do a bunch of cool stuff like shooting down U-boats. However, I don't see a sinking ship on fire as a glorious sight worthy of a recruitment poster.

They do a bunch of cool stuff like shooting down U-boats. However, I don’t see a sinking ship on fire as a glorious sight worthy of a recruitment poster.

53. Remember, the enemy is watching you.

I've seen this one parodied a few times. Those eyes are so menacing which is kind of the point.

I’ve seen this one parodied a few times. Those eyes are so menacing which is kind of the point.

54. Help military pilots by building and fixing the planes right.

He can't fix any plane problems in the air. Nor could he shoot down Nazis either. So don't screw up his chances of survival. Not that they're great anyway.

He can’t fix any plane problems in the air. Nor could he shoot down Nazis either. So don’t screw up his chances of survival. Not that they’re great anyway.

55. Remember, men, beautiful blondes aren’t always so dumb.

This one tells soldiers to be careful that you're not discussing battle plans around pretty civilian women. Because she could be a Nazi spy and you don't want anyone to die.

This one tells soldiers to be careful that you’re not discussing battle plans around pretty civilian women. Because she could be a Nazi spy and you don’t want anyone to needlessly die.

56. Donate your books for soldiers to pass the time.

Because soldiers in the trenches can be really starved for entertainment. And they can't really abandon their stations there either.

Because soldiers in the trenches can be really starved for entertainment. And they can’t really abandon their stations there either.

57. More firepower, over here!

"But please, bomb them not me. We don't need any friendly firepower here." Note that friendly fire happens in wars 10% of the time.

“But please, bomb them not me. We don’t need any friendly firepower here.” Note that friendly fire happens in wars 10% of the time.

58. Gremlins like to throw stuff in your eyes, so wear safety goggles.

Gremlins or no gremlins, wear safety goggles. Because when you're working with munitions, you're working with a lot of harmful chemicals. Duh.

Gremlins or no gremlins, wear safety goggles. Because when you’re working with munitions, you’re working with a lot of harmful chemicals. Duh.

59. Every girl is pulling for victory!

Yes, these ladies are pulling for victory with their united war work while the men are languishing in the trenches. Surely anyone with a right mind needs to believe that they should have the vote by now.

Yes, these ladies are pulling for victory with their united war work while the men are languishing in the trenches. Surely anyone with a right mind needs to believe that they should have the vote by now.

60. In wartime, have you ever considered a staycation?

After all, it saves gas and you'd probably not want to go to Europe anyway. Or Asia. Or North Africa. Or anywhere in the Pacific.

After all, it saves gas and you’d probably not want to go to Europe anyway. Or Asia. Or North Africa. Or anywhere in the Pacific.

61. Even sports figures like Joe Louis enlist to do their part.

A lot of male celebrities fought in WWII like Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Tyrone Power, David Niven, Henry Fonda, and others. One major celebrity who didn't fight in WWII but could: John Wayne.

A lot of male celebrities fought in WWII like Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Tyrone Power, David Niven, Henry Fonda, and others. One major celebrity who didn’t fight in WWII but could: John Wayne.

62. For war nerves, stop needless noise.

Yes, war is scary. But it helps to keep calm in the face of danger even when you're shitting your pants. Same goes when you come in contact with a bear.

Yes, war is scary. But it helps to keep calm in the face of danger even when you’re shitting your pants. Same goes when you come in contact with a bear.

63. Whose boy will die if we should fail?

That's a harrowing propaganda poster. But when in war, a lot of soldiers die. Such is life.

That’s a harrowing propaganda poster. But when in war, a lot of soldiers die. Such is life.

64. Be patriotic and save the food.

Yes, people save food because soldiers need it. Because America is begging you.

Yes, people save food because soldiers need it. Because America is begging you.

65. GIs will take care of Japan, this is how you can save money.

This poster gives you some good ideas to save money at a time of rising prices on the Home Front. Also great tips for money saving in general. At least most of them.

This poster gives you some good ideas to save money at a time of rising prices on the Home Front. Also great tips for money saving in general. At least most of them.

66. This is a Russian soldier. He is your friend.

Well, only until the war ends and the Soviet Union is engaged in an arms race with the US over nuclear weapons. So don't expect the friendship to last.

Well, only until the war ends and the Soviet Union is engaged in an arms race with the US over nuclear weapons. So don’t expect the friendship to last. Also, he doesn’t really fight for freedom because Stalinist Russia isn’t a freedom loving place. Not to mention the genocide and purges.

67. Do with less so they’ll have enough!

That's another famous WWII poster, too. And the GI just sits drinking his coffee.

That’s another famous WWII poster, too. And the GI just sits drinking his coffee.

68. Remember, take precautions during an air raid.

Sure you're going to be scared shitless during one. But this doesn't mean you have to go crazy. In fact, on the contrary.

Sure you’re going to be scared shitless during one. But this doesn’t mean you have to go crazy. In fact, on the contrary.

69. Liberty on the phone, war effort needs cash now!

Not sure how she's able to talk with that ridiculous crown on her head. But she'll manage.

Not sure how she’s able to talk with that ridiculous crown on her head. But she’ll manage.

70. For action, enlist in the air service.

Just remember that you'll have insufficient time to train and that a pilot's in flight lifespan is 20 minutes. As I've learned from Blackadder.

Just remember that you’ll have insufficient time to train and that a pilot’s in flight lifespan is 20 minutes. As I’ve learned from Blackadder.

71. Join the Navy, the service for fighting men.

And that guy has to spread his legs on a torpedo. In a Dr. Strangelove bomb pose, no less.

And that guy has to spread his legs on a torpedo. As for fighting men, it doesn’t apply to everyone. Mr. Roberts points that out brilliantly.

72. We’ll win the war, you give us the stuff.

Guy seems quite proud of himself holding up a Japanese Rising Sun flag. He'll probably hang it as a souvenir in his office someday.

Guy seems quite proud of himself holding up a Japanese Rising Sun flag. He’ll probably hang it as a souvenir in his office someday.

73. Join the Veterinary War Corps and treat horses.

Sure the guys may learn something useful. However, WWI kind of helped us all realize that the cavalry had no future in 20th century warfare.

Sure the guys may learn something useful. However, WWI kind of helped us all realize that the cavalry had no future in 20th century warfare.

74. If I was a man, I’d join the Navy.

Seems like they're really pressuring guys to join the Navy with fanservice and an appeal of masculinity. From WWI by the way.

Seems like they’re really pressuring guys to join the Navy with fanservice and an appeal of masculinity. From WWI by the way.

75. Here’s life in the US Navy and what it offers.

A sailor's life at sea is great until either a U-Boat bombs it or seasickness. Also, I'm not sure if monkeys are allowed on board.

A sailor’s life at sea is great until either a U-Boat bombs it or seasickness. Also, I’m not sure if monkeys are allowed on board. Sure beats the trenches though.

76. Guys, enlist so you won’t have to disappoint your kids.

Of course, if men didn't list during WWI, there's a chance they could be drafted. Still, this is another famous poster.

Of course, if men didn’t list during WWI, there’s a chance they could be drafted. Also, didn’t seem to factor in PTSD either. Still, this is another famous poster.

77. Don’t take a chance with prostitutes, guys, these dames are loaded.

So, soldiers, keep it in your pants and don't take your chances. Yet, as we know from human nature, such statements aren't 100% effective.

So, soldiers, keep it in your pants and don’t take your chances. Yet, as we know from human nature, such statements aren’t 100% effective.

78. Join the submarine service and learn to operate something like this.

Wonder why they chose to use a shirtless sailor with a male gaze. Seems a bit suspect, considering that women weren't allowed on subs for a very long time.

Wonder why they chose to use a shirtless sailor with a male gaze. Seems a bit suspect, considering that women weren’t allowed on subs for a very long time.

79. Rosie the Riveter says: “We can do it!”

Of course, I couldn't forget to add her. Such an icon for female empowerment during WWII to get women working in factories.

Of course, I couldn’t forget to add her. Such an icon for female empowerment during WWII to get women working in factories.

80. Even Santa Claus has gone to war.

And he's holding an automatic weapon, too. Not sure if that makes him good or bad though.

And he’s holding an automatic weapon, too. Not sure if that makes him good or bad though.

81. Prevent trench foot, clean and dry your feet, soldiers!

I'm sure this was endemic during WWI since troops spend long spans of time in the trenches. Yet, where would they be able to clean them?

I’m sure this was endemic during WWI since troops spend long spans of time in the trenches. Yet, where would they be able to clean them?

82. In the Pacific, we’re all in this together.

Everyone should know this is the Iwo Jima pose from the photo. Now it's an American iconic image from WWII.

Everyone should know this is the Iwo Jima pose from the photo. Now it’s an American iconic image from WWII.

83. Ladies, take up the jobs he left behind.

Just note, that after the war, you'll be forced to give that job back if it's still available. After that, you'll need to settle into being a wife and mother in suburbia. Because housewives are what women were made to be (sarcasm).

Just note, that after the war, you’ll be forced to give that job back if it’s still available. After that, you’ll need to settle into being a wife and mother in suburbia. Because housewives are what women were expected to be in peacetime (sarcasm).

84. Uncle Sam wants you to buy war bonds.

Here Uncle Sam comes from the sky in blazing glory. He also carries an American flag, too.

Here Uncle Sam comes from the sky in blazing glory. He also carries an American flag, too.

85. Even a dog can enlist, why not you?

Man, they really tried to put men on guilt trips during WWI. Yet, here's scruffy in his Red Cross glory. One dog in that war was even made a sergeant (no joke).

Man, they really tried to put men on guilt trips during WWI. Yet, here’s scruffy in his Red Cross glory. One dog in that war was even made a sergeant (no joke).

86. Housewives, preserve perishable food with cans and jars.

Her she is holding her tin cans. Let's hope she didn't forget to label them because that would be a problem.

Her she is holding her tin cans. Let’s hope she didn’t forget to label them because that would be a problem.

87. In war, knowledge wins.

So learn something by going to your public library. Because the Internet ain't available yet.

So learn something by going to your public library. Because the Internet ain’t available yet.

88. Even office workers do their part with their typewriters.

Is that supposed to be Miss USA? Then again, I don't pay attention to those beauty pageants anyway.

Is that supposed to be Miss USA? Then again, I don’t pay attention to those beauty pageants anyway.

89. Remember, absence makes the war last longer.

So don't sleep in and stay on the job. Yes, it's not easy doing work all day. But you want victory, dammit.

So don’t sleep in and stay on the job. Yes, it’s not easy doing work all day. But you want victory, dammit.

90. Just because she looks clean doesn’t mean she is.

Another anti-STD ad to scare men into keeping it in their pants. As if they didn't have film noir to do it for them already.

Another anti-STD ad to scare men into keeping it in their pants. As if they didn’t have film noir to do it for them already.

91. Tragically, all these soldiers now have syphilis.

Some of them will soon give their wives and sweethearts a very big surprise. And, no, they won't like it. STDs: The gift that keeps on giving whether you'd like it or not.

Some of them will soon give their wives and sweethearts a very big surprise. And, no, they won’t like it. STDs: The gift that keeps on giving whether you’d like it or not.

92. Learn while you serve: join the US Coast Guard.

Because it's the least exciting military branch there is which is great for chickenshits. You just have to watch for enemy ships all day.

Because it’s the least exciting military branch there is which is great for chickenshits. You just have to watch for enemy ships all day.

93. Don’t be a job hopper, it’s bad for the war effort.

Like how the job hopper is depicted as an insect with a hat and lunch box. So funny.

Like how the job hopper is depicted as an insect with a hat and lunch box. So funny.

94. Save your cans and help pass the ammunition.

Like how the bullet chain turns into cans. However, this is about recycling and donating scrap metal.

Like how the bullet chain turns into cans. However, this is about recycling and donating scrap metal.

95. Buy bonds so your kid won’t grow up a Nazi.

Now this is a poster that'll make any parent scared. Yeah, you don't want your kids growing up Nazi.

Now this is a poster that’ll make any parent scared. Yeah, you don’t want your kids growing up Nazi.

96. Ladies, join the Armed forces and help win the war.

Yes, women served in the military during WWII, too. And yes, they did all kinds of things there.

Yes, women served in the military during WWII, too. And yes, they did all kinds of things there.

97. Don’t wait for them to come home, be with them by being a WAC.

Because it's a women's war, too. Also, don't forget to put on lipstick before venturing out of the battlefield.

Because it’s a women’s war, too. Also, don’t forget to put on lipstick before venturing out of the battlefield.

98. Remember, when you ride alone, you let the Nazis win.

So carpool whenever you can. You don't want an invisible Hitler in the passenger seat. You really don't.

So carpool whenever you can. You don’t want an invisible Hitler in the passenger seat. You really don’t.

99. Yes, it can happen here.

Yes, keep em' firing so it doesn't happen here. However, if you live in Britain, it already has since they dealt with the Blitz.

Yes, keep em’ firing so it doesn’t happen here. However, if you live in Britain, it already has since they dealt with the Blitz.

100. Sow the seeds for victory, plant a war garden.

Doesn't hurt if there's a rainbow shining on it either. Such an uplifting image during a time of war.

Doesn’t hurt if there’s a rainbow shining on it either. Such an uplifting image during a time of war.

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 79 – The Vietnam War

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Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 epic Apocalypse Now is a Vietnam War rendition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Though it may not be a film you may want to show your kids, it’s one of the more definitive films about Vietnam that has shaped the popular Hollywood perspective. Of course, it depicts the Vietnam War as kind of the hell it was with American soldiers of questionable sanity as well as the smell of napalm in the morning. Also, it has a psychedelic rock soundtrack, too.

Of course, I couldn’t begin the Post-War era and plunge into the 1960s without talking about a little thing called the Vietnam War which began as a war of colonialism between the Vietnamese and the French only to turn into a civil war with Cold War implications when Ho Chi Minh’s forces wanted to unite Vietnam under a Communist government. Whenever we think about this war, we usually picture jungle guerrilla warfare, draftees being sent against their will, American troops committing human rights violations, hippies protesting, napalm, Agent Orange, Asian hookers, and helicopters. Whenever you see a movie on Vietnam, you will tend to hear songs like “For What It’s Worth” b Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower,” the Rolling Stones, and other psychedelic rock music. Most Vietnam movies will feature US troops who may start the war either as idealistic young men or unwilling draftees then slowly become broken and disillusioned wrecks at best or crazy homicidal maniacs at worst. Either way, your American movie GIs will need serious psychological help when they come back home. And unless it’s the terrible John Wayne Green Berets or the unreliable narrative of Forrest Gump, don’t expect any movie adaptation on the Vietnam War speak favorably because it’s one of the most controversial conflicts as far as the US is concerned. And while the US may win some battles in Vietnam, let’s just say their fighting would be like trying to fix a watch with a sledgehammer. Nevertheless, there are plenty of movies about the Vietnam War that do contain their share of inaccuracies which I shall list.

Lyndon B. Johnson:

Lyndon B. Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War was an unpopular policy decision from the beginning. (Actually it was rather popular back in the day especially after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which happened when Johnson was running for his own term as President {he was serving out Kennedy’s term at this time}. It only started becoming unpopular in 1968 at least in the media {despite not having a single major newspaper thinking the US should leave Vietnam}, though a lot of civilians supported it then even if they didn’t like it. Yet, it had definitely become unpopular by Richard Nixon’s presidency though.)

Lyndon Baines Johnson got America into the Vietnam War. (He only brought that war closer to home. Actually, it was years in the making and had been supported by previous administrations of both parties. Other presidents would’ve done the same thing as Johnson at the time for escalation was bound to happen.)

Ron Kovic:
Ron Kovic apologized for his role in the accidental death of a Marine Corporal to his family, yet the man’s wife couldn’t forgive him. (Although this is depicted in Born on the Fourth of July, it never happened.)

Ron Kovic was inspired into becoming an anti-war activist when he saw his high school sweetheart in a protest after the Kent State shootings. (Contrary to Born on the Fourth of July, Donna never existed and Kovic didn’t see the protests in person, yet he was inspired into becoming an anti-war activist after seeing that protest on TV and was certainly outraged of how the protesters were treated.)

Major Fred Peck threatened to take Ron Kovic’s head if anything was said about the Marine Corporal’s day. (Peck wasn’t interviewed for Born on the Fourth of July, but Kovic did voice such concerns to him. However, the major just investigated and concluded that Kovic probably didn’t kill the Marine. He even promoted Kovic as a leader of a new scout group.)

Ron Kovic was a recipient of the Army Commendation Medal. (Kovic was a Marine, Oliver Stone.)

During Ron Kovic’s protest with his fellow Vietnam vets at the Republican National Convention of 1972, they made a scene that attracted a few cameras, blocked an aisle, and riled the delegates. When one Republican delegate spat at Kovic, security guards moved in, roughly pushing and pulling veterans from the hall and physically prevented reporters from following. Outside, Kovic was beaten and thrown out of his wheelchair by an undercover cop. (The scene with the Republican National Convention of 1972 actually happened but it was less dramatic than how Oliver Stone put it. Robert Dornan is said to have persuaded the guards into the convention but told Kovic and his pals not to make a scene. Unsurprisingly, Kovic and his friends ignore him. Yet, Dornan said, “It was not as big a disturbance as the movie showed, but it was a disturbance. They were screaming. The guards came down and politely pulled their chairs backward. [They] put them out peaceably.” According to UPI, the scene went like this: “After about five minutes, security agents wheeled them in protesting out a side door. I went out and watched him and the other two congratulating one another, bragging about what they’d accomplished.”)

Le Ly:

Le Ly was married to a US soldier named Steve Butler who later committed suicide. (Contrary to Heaven & Earth, she actually married two American men named Ed Munro and Dennis Hayslip. Her first husband was more than twice her age and died from emphysema. Her second marriage wasn’t a happy one. However, contrary to the Oliver Stone film, she hadn’t been in Vietnam since 1973 because she’s viewed as a traitor there.)

Adrian Cronauer:

Air Force DJ Adrian Cronauer was staunchly liberal, anti-military, and antiwar. (Sorry, but Good Morning Vietnam gets this wrong. Cronauer described himself as “a lifelong card carrying Republican” and served as vice-chair in the 2004 Bush/Cheney re-election campaign {as far from an anti-war liberal as anyone could possibly be but much more controversial}. Not to mention, he was a Sergeant, not Airman First Class. Cronauer also states that much of what Robin Williams did in that movie would’ve gotten him court-martialed in a heartbeat. And, no, he wasn’t kicked out of Vietnam but left when his tour of duty ended.)

Air Force DJ Adrian Cronauer played rock music with commentary during his tour in Vietnam. (Actually he just played rock music with no commentary.)

Adrian Cronauer lied his way to teach an English class so he could get close to a local. (Yes, he did teach English but not for that reason and he didn’t lie his way in either.)

Khmer Rouge:

Dith Pran and his family escaped Cambodia by going straight to Thailand and the Red Cross. (Actually contrary to The Killing Fields, he was found by the Vietnamese before that and made a village chief before his American ties were discovered. Also, the movie doesn’t show him being tortured and the fact that he lost over 50 family members including three brothers and a sister during Khmer Rouge. Interestingly, the man who played Pran, Dr. Haing Ngor also survived Khmer Rouge as well but lost his wife. After winning his Oscar, he was gunned down in an LA parking garage by muggers who wanted the locket he swore never to part with.)

New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg was a loyal friend to Dith Pran. (Contrary to The Killing Fields, the real Al Rockoff said that Schanberg was a lying coward and that many of the scenes in the French Embassay at Phnom Penh are inaccurate. Let’s just say that Schanberg and Rockoff probably didn’t get along.)

Laos:

The Pathet Lao POW camp had 6 prisoners. (Contrary to Rescue Dawn, it had seven besides Christian Bale’s character.)

US Navy pilot Dieter Dengler spoke English with an American accent. (While his Christian Bale portrayal does in Rescue Dawn, he actually spoke English with a heavy German accent since he was born in Germany.)

Dieter Dengler was a Flight Lieutenant in the US Navy. (There’s no such rank in the US military. It’s an RAF rank. Dengler’s real rank was Junior Grade Lieutenant.)

US Air Force pilot Eugene DeBruin was a selfish and unstable prisoner who threatened to betray his fellow captives at any time and didn’t know what to do when it came time to escape. (DeBruin’s brother Jerry and fellow captive Pisidhi Indradat were very unhappy with how Eugene DeBruin was depicted in Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn. Both say that DeBruin taught his fellow cellmates English, shared his food and blanket, and even returned after escaping to help an injured cellmate. When it came time to escape, DeBruin simply refused to leave while some sick prisoners remained and he is still considered missing to this day {though there were reports of him being alive as late as January 1968}. Pisidhi Indradat called him,“The finest man I have ever met.” Not only that, he also helped plan and implement the escape as well. Of course, the film was already completed by the time Werner Herzog found this out.)

During the escape from the Pathet Lao POW camp, Dieter Dengler shot the two prison guards. (Contrary to Rescue Dawn, this was DeBruin’s idea and it was Pisidhi Indradat. Also, the Thai Indradat would later be captured and put in another prison camp but he and his fellow Lao prisoners would  be rescued by Lao troops and the CIA. He’s the only survivor from Rescue Dawn who’s still alive to this day.)

Dieter Dengler formulated the idea of storing rice in bamboo tubes during the escape from the Pathet Lao camp. (This was Eugene DeBruin’s idea.)

While in the Pathet Lao POW camp, Dieter Dengler  formulated an entire escape plane that included uncuffing the hand cuffs with a nail. (Contrary to Rescue Dawn, this was the other prisoners’ idea before Dengler ever stepped foot at the camp and didn’t tell him about it until two weeks after he arrived.)

American Home Front:

The military was outraged by the idea of a US sergeant and his men kidnapping, gang raping, and killing a Vietnamese girl. (Though the men were convicted and sentenced, there’s very little evidence that anyone was. Also, though not mentioned in Casualties of War, the convicted men’s sentences were greatly reduced on appeal. Unsurprisingly, the military still has a problem with handling cases of sexual assault.)

Vietnam veterans were spit on by anti-war protestors. (Not a single incidence of this has been reported.)

Vietnam produced more American casualties than almost any other. (Of course, movies set in Vietnam do put emphasis on the US casualty rate which was 58,000 troops, which is less than what America lost in the American Civil War and both World Wars. Yet, the Vietnamese suffered much more.)

Older people supported the Vietnam War while younger people opposed it. (Actually younger people were more likely to support the war than their parents; younger people who opposed it were just more vocal. The parents were more likely to oppose the war due to WWII and Korea and especially if they had a son who was eligible for the draft.)

Married men couldn’t get drafted to Vietnam. (US legislation sewed up that loophole in 1965. Yet, if you were the son of a famous politician in Texas, on the other hand….)

Pittsburgh during the Vietnam era was filled with people of Eastern European descent and Orthodox living in trailer parks whose women wore babushkas and combat boots and men worked in the steel mills as well as hunted in forests with Ponderosa pines. (Contrary to The Deer Hunter, there are no Ponderosa Pines in Pennsylvania and though most guys did work in steel mills, most millworkers didn’t live in trailer parks, have wives that wore babushkas or combat boots. And not everyone in Pittsburgh is Eastern European descent or Orthodox in that matter. Oh, and why did they have to hunt Asian Red deer instead of white tail deer?)

Most American soldiers during the Vietnam War were draftees. (Contrary to most Vietnam War movies, 2/3 of American forces serving there were volunteers and so were three US presidential candidates like John Kerry, John McCain, and Al Gore. Of course, these are volunteers in the loosest sense such as people who voluntarily enlisted.)

Most US draftees were usually sent to Vietnam. (Actually many were sent someplace else to fill in for other soldiers but you wouldn’t want to go to Vietnam though.)

The first US draft lottery took place in 1968 before the MLK assassination. (It took place in 1969.)

Miscellaneous:

In Vietnam, the sun set over the ocean. (Vietnam has no west coast.)

The Vietnam War was just North Vietnamese vs. the US. (It was at first the French vs. the Vietnamese then it was the North Vietnamese vs. South Vietnamese with South Korea, the United States, Australians, and New Zelanders aiding the South and the North Koreans and Soviets aiding the North. Then it was the Vietnam vs. China.)

The Vietnam War was a guerilla jungle conflict. (Well, most of the time it was. Yet, about 75% US troops there lived on bases that were decked like little isles off Americana with all the amenities of American living. Those 75% had to worry more about getting injured in sports or catching STDs than getting killed.)

The North Vietnamese were a poorly armed guerilla force. (They had a badass air force as well as were supplied by the Soviets with tanks, anti-aircraft guns, and heavy artillery. Yet, the equipment was so good that the Soviets had to stop shipping it through China because the Chinese kept swiping it. Not only those, but the guerrillas in the South were well-integrated into the regular North Vietnamese forces and had some training before seeing combat. Oh, and they had AK-47s which were far superior than what the Americans had, especially M-16s which sucked. But, yeah, they did use guerilla tactics to an advantage.)

US Sergeant Tony Meserve saved Private Sven Erickson. (Contrary to Casualties of War, he didn’t but Meserve did have a heroic reputation and was nominated for a Bronze Star for coming to a GI’s aid when his ammo pouch had exploded.)

NVA/VC Sappers were used as suicide bombers. (Though it’s said so in Platoon, Sappers were actually too valuable to be seen as such for they were specially trained combat engineers/reconnaissance commandos who used stealth to infiltrate a camp’s defenses and take out strategic targets, such as barbed wire obstacles or bunkers, with explosives before the main attack. Yet, the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong did use suicide bombers but they didn’t consist of their demolitions experts.)

NVA/VC troops wore steel helmets. (Contrary to Platoon, only North Vietnamese anti-aircraft troops protecting bases in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. Those in South Vietnam wore floppy “boonie hats” or the standard North Vietnamese sun helmet.)

The 3rd Training Ranger Battalion served in the Vietnam War. (There has never been such unit in the US military yet We Were Soldiers does give special thanks to them in the credits.)

Parris Island trained Texas Marines for Vietnam. (Contrary to Full Metal Jacket, Cowboy would’ve trained in San Diego since it was for Marines recruits who lived west of the Mississippi River. Parris Island was for recruits who lived east.)

Vietnam Marine era drill instructors were nasty and sadistic pieces of work. (Contrary to Full Metal Jacket, Lee Ermey {who was a sergeant in real life} said in an interview that a drill instructor would never slap, choke, or punch a recruit {at least openly}, even back when he was a young Marine. Also, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman is far more verbally abusive in the movie than what would be permitted in real life. The drill sergeant in Forrest Gump is a more accurate example.)

The French Mobile Group 100 was ambushed and killed to the last man. (Contrary to We Were Soldiers, it was ambushed several times and they were able to escape in all of them, though they did suffer severe casualties. Also, they didn’t consist of members of the French Foreign Legion but rather the 1st and 2nd Korea Battalions, Battalion de Marche of the 43rd Colonial Infantry and the 2nd Group of the 10th Colonial Artillery.)

Huey helicopters could lift about 19,000 pounds. (Contrary to Apocalypse Now, they couldn’t life more than 10,500 pounds.)

M16s had 30 round magazines. (They had 20 round magazines.)

The Vietcong used red tracer ammunition. (The US did. The Vietcong used green.)

US soldiers wore camouflage uniforms during the Vietnam War. (They wore green. )

Vietnamese civilians were passive victims, prostitutes, or conniving with the enemy.

The Vietcong were ludicrously sadistic and evil. (As you see in The Deer Hunter. In real life, they were just very determined to win.)

Every American helicopter used in the Vietnam War was a Huey. (H-34 Choctaws, SH-3 Sea Kings, CH-47 Chinooks, CH-46 Sea Knights and OH-6 Cayuses were also in use but you wouldn’t see them in Vietnam Era films.)

The Communist Vietnamese won almost every major engagement in the Vietnam War. (Actually the US won every single major battle in the Tet Offensive, while the Viet Cong took so many losses they played no major role in the war at that point. Not only that, the North Vietnamese never really won a major battle. The reason why the North Vietnamese won the Vietnam War had more to do with the fact that they just kept coming no matter what the Americans threw at them. In short, they wanted to win more than Americans wanted them to lose.)

American troop levels in Vietnam were 500,000 in 1968. (Levels reached 500,000 a year later.)

American jeeps in Vietnam had ignition switches. (They didn’t.)

National Security Action Memorandum 263 was the first step in total US withdrawal in the Vietnam War. (Contrary to JFK, it only foresaw the withdrawal of 1,000 advisers, and not even those if South Vietnam failed to “take up slack.”)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 71 – World War II: POWs, Resistance Fighters, and Other Things

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1963’s The Great Escape famous for starring Steve McQueen in that iconic motorcycle scene where he’s chasing himself. Yet, it’s also known for it’s famous depiction of a great POW camp escape in which three tunnels were dug in the prisoners’ bunkers that were named Tom, Dick, and Harry. While it kind of does take liberties with the truth, I’m sure this film will be loved by generations. Nevertheless, POW camp prisoners in Germany considered escaping as a duty and would come up with a lot of creative ways to do so, some of those not shown in film.

I mainly did my movie history blog posts around World War II based on location but there are some aspects in which it isn’t possible, yet there are plenty of movies made pertaining to them nevertheless. In some ways, World War II movies don’t just have to be war movies. You can have prison movies set in POW Camps like Bridge on the River Kwai or The Great Escape with Nazi commandants and such. A lot of times you’ll always have at least one person who wants to escape but some may not have the kind of bad luck William Holden did. You have movies with Resistance (mostly French) freedom fighters who’ve had enough with Hitler’s occupation and if Hitler was in a theater, they wouldn’t hesitate to blow it up to bits. Then you have spy stuff with internationally assembled crack teams of soldiers played by some of the most famous names in cinema also possibly trying to blow something up. Or possibly stealing some secrets from the Nazis. Either way, there would have to be a Nazi uniform change at some point in the plot. Still, while there are plenty of movies about these things, there are plenty of stuff they tend to get wrong, which I shall make note of accordingly.

Resistance Movements:

Everyone in France supported the French resistance and the Free French movement. (The truth is most French mostly remained neutral at least in the beginning up to D-Day even though they certainly didn’t like being occupied. Also, the French Resistance mostly consisted of young people.)

Else Gebel was a political anti-fascist prisoner who was sympathetic to Sophie Scholl’s plight. (Unlike the German movie Sophie Scholl, it’s plausible that Gebel was a Gestapo mole. Then again Sophie probably wouldn’t have known that.)

Resistance movements were only on the Allied side. (Actually there were people who did have resistance movements but joined the Axis powers. People like Indian Independence leader Chandra Bose for instance. You can see why he isn’t remembered. Also, you have the White Russians.)

Resistance movements were all united in a common goal and seldom fought amongst each other. (Some countries actually had more than one movement and it wasn’t unusual for them to end up fighting each other as well. According to TTI: “China had so many turncoats-turned-resistance fighters-turned-bandits that the historical community generally wrings its hands and splits it up into local and regional warlords, nationalist guerrillas, communist guerrillas and Chinese Communist Party guerrillas, with some room for overlap.”)

Norwegian “limpet mines” gave off big explosions on German ships. (Contrary to Max Manus, according to Imdb: “Such mines contained only a small amount (4 kg) of explosives and were placed on a target ship’s hull beneath the water line. In that position, even a small hole can do a lot of damage (in part due to the water pressure surrounding the hull).” But filmmakers can’t be satisfied with a small amount of explosives so if it doesn’t blow up spectacularly, it’s not worth seeing.)

Jens Christian Hauge was in the Norwegian resistance in 1940. (He joined the resistance later because he was in jail in 1940.)

The Oslo harbor was brightly lit to help Norwegian resistance members sabotage German ships. (Unlike in Max Manus, Oslo had a blackout enforced in case of long awaited Allied bombing raids. Max and his friends probably had to work in the dark.)

POW Camps:

World War II prisoners were treated in accords with the Geneva Conventions or at least had a right to. (The Japanese weren’t subject to the Geneva Convention and POWs until the 1950s and treated their prisoners horrifically {though this had more to do with them being under a fascist military dictatorship}. As for Japanese POWs, they didn’t expect to be treated as anything other than shit to begin with though the Japanese government at the time couldn’t care less about their fates. Still, treatment of them varied by country, though no Japanese POW wouldn’t want to be held in captivity by the Chinese or Soviets.

As for the Germans, while they generally kept to the Geneva Convention when it came to US, UK, French prisoners or what not until perhaps close to the end though treatment did vary from camp to camp. Yet, the Nazis didn’t believe the Geneva Convention applied to Eastern Europeans so captured Red Army soldiers usually ended up as slaves or starved in death camps at best {this is why they’re considered Holocaust victims. Also, while 5 million Soviet POWs were taken, only 2 million were liberated by the end of the war}. Those who were liberated were sent to filtration camps that were effectively high security prisons until they were cleared or condemned. Those who were cleared were cleared {consisting of more than 90% of Soviet POWs}, were freed and sometimes re-drafted. Those who were condemned could be executed, sent to a Siberian gulag, or stripped of rank and sent to a penal regiment {which was for mid-rate crimes like surrendering or retreating when fully capable to fight}. Those in penal regiments had hard, dirty, and dangerous jobs with a high death rate. This would entail penal tank crews being sent out with their hatches shut to prevent them surrendering again while penal infantries were tasked with playing a deadly game of minesweeper. Maybe the Japanese had the right idea with committing suicide as far as the Russians were concerned. Italian POWs in German custody were also treated poorly. Soviet prison camps were unsurprisingly harsh to Axis prisoners that many would try to surrender to other Allied countries like Britain or the US. Their treatment of Axis POWs consists of basically what you’d expect in Stalinist Russia. Then you have the Katyn Massacre of Poles that happened while Russia was allied with Nazi Germany.)

The three guys who got away in the great escape were from the British Commonwealth. (Contrary to The Great Escape, the guys who got away were Dutch and Norwegian. Most were killed, executed, or sent back though.)

The great escape happened during the summer months. (The actual escape actually occurred in March when there was still snow on the ground. Most of the escapees trying to run across country were forced by deep snow to leave the fields and go onto the roads as well as into the hands of German patrols. Oops!)

Escapees during the great escape were all shot in a common space at one time. (50 were shot in many different places, sometimes alone or in groups.)

Executions of great escapees were conducted by uniformed German troops using a Spandau machine gun. (Actually contrary to The Great Escape, they were conducted by Gestapo agents using pistols at close range not with a machine gun in Ramboesque fashion.)
It wasn’t unusual for Allied prisoners to assault German guards during an escape. (Contrary to The Great Escape, Allied prisoners actually avoided doing this at all costs since such actions would be tantamount for inviting execution or at least some time in a highly unpleasant German military prison like Colditz if lucky.)

Italian prisoners in Allied POW camps were considered civilians once Italy joined the Allies. (Sorry, Major Battiagila, but your country’s allegiance doesn’t exempt you from being tried for war crimes as you said in Von Ryan’s Express.)

POWs in German prison camps always wanted to escape for some reason. (Actually it was their duty to try to escape and would go through many creative ways to pull it off. Believe me, I’ve seen Nova episodes on this.)

Officers and enlisted men would be in mixed quarters in every German POW camp. (The Germans always segregated officers and enlisted men in separate POW camps.)

A group of Allied prisoners at a German POW camp formed their own soccer team that won against Germans for respect. (Well, there’s a movie about this called Victory, but there wasn’t an Allied soccer team and to my knowledge I don’t think Pele served in World War II, let alone do time at a German prison camp {seriously why?}. Yet, there was a Ukranian POW soccer team but they beat their resident Nazi captors miserably and repeatedly that they ended up arrested, tortured, and executed by the Gestapo as well as taken to work camps.)

Espionage:

Ian Fleming was a WWI vet by the time he joined the 30 Commando Unit. (Though Fleming is seen wearing ribbons of the 1914-1918 War Medal and Victory Medal in Age of Heroes, he was born in 1908 and would’ve been too young to fight since he was only 10 when the war ended.)

British spy Violette Szabo was tall blonde. (She was a brunette who was less than 5’5.” But she’s played by British actress Virginia McKenna {the woman from Born Free} in a biopic about her. She was a widow of a French soldier as well as a British spy who underwent two missions in occupied France. She was captured by the Germans on her second mission who interrogated, tortured, and deported her to a concentration camp in Germany. Still, the film Carve Her Name with Pride doesn’t show her fate in Ravensbrueck concentration camp which was execution by firing squad at the age of twenty-three but it was made in the 1950s. Her companions were gassed.)

A Polish spy at Bletchley Park passed crucial secrets to the Soviet Union during the Enigma decryption. (Actually contrary to the 2001 Enigma, the traitor was actually a guy named John Cairncross who’s British.)

The OSS was around before Pearl Harbor. (It was founded in 1942.)

MI6 was a reliable intelligence agency during WWII. (Actually in 1939, the Nazis had already exposed MI6’s networks in Europe and the Special Operations Executive took over functions in wartime. Thus, you wouldn’t want to report secrets to MI6 but the SOE.)

Ulysses Diello was a valet to the British ambassador in Turkey who passed secrets to the Germans as Agent Cicero. (Yes, there was an Agent Cicero who was a valet to the British Ambassador to Turkey and was an immensely successful spy. Yet, unlike what 5 Fingers suggests, he was actually Kosovo born Albanian Elyeza Bazna who spoke very poor English and was far from the perfect facsimile of an English gentleman as James Mason’s portrayal. Also, that part about the pursuit after Agent Cicero flees the British Ambassador’s residence is pure fiction.)

War Crimes Trials:

German soldiers were executed for the Malmedy massacre during the Battle of the Bulge. (Actually while there were Germans found guilty as well as sentenced to death, no death sentence was carried out so Marlene Dietrich wouldn’t have to worry so much in Judgment at Nuremberg.)

Wehrmacht officers would disguise themselves as SS officials during the Nuremberg trials. (Actually SS officers would try to disguise themselves as Wehrmacht officials to hide their involvement. At Nuremberg, you’d rather be an ordinary soldier than an SS official.)

Miscellaneous:

World War II soldiers lit their cigarettes with butane lighters. (Butane lighters weren’t invented until the 1950s.)

Air raid sirens always gave a continuously constant sound. (Most of the sirens were hand cranked and gave variable sound when cranked hard 5 times and slacked off 5 times.)

Nazi sympathizers were fans of Chopin’s music. (Contrary to Shining Through, most Nazi supporters would’ve detested Chopin for his Polish and French ethnicity alone.)

WWII bombing crews always stood at a good chance of surviving. (If it’s World War II and you find yourself on a bombing crew, make sure you get your affairs in order and make your peace with the Almighty because less than 50% of them managed to survive their tour.)

German soldiers used night vision scopes in World War II. (Well, not exactly though they were around in Nazi Germany at the time. Still, these infrared scopes were clumsy, very heavy, rare, and reserved for special ops. Also, it’s inconceivable any would’ve been stationed near a glorified officer’s brothel.)

Combat squads could travel in broad daylight and allow enlisted men to talk a lot. (Unlike the journey in Saving Private Ryan, squads would never be allowed to travel during the day time because they’d risk exposing themselves to the enemy. They usually would travel at night in order to go unprotected by the enemy. Also, arguing with your captain during such a mission would’ve resulted in you getting court-martialed.)

World War II military vehicles had radial tires. (Radial tires were patented in 1915 but they weren’t used on vehicles until the 1960s.)

Monopolization of the radio during combat was always a good idea. (Radio nets were shared with the entire squadron during combat and were only to be used in emergencies or by a commanding officer. To describe everything you’re doing while crowding out what others in your squadron are doing, would lead to your squad mates beating the living crap out of you back at the base.)

Aerial torpedoes were designed to attack airfields. (They were made to attack ships and were launched at low-level waters, not to attack land based targets.)

Military nurses had long flowing hairstyles during the war. (They weren’t permitted to have long flowing hair styles while in uniform. Rather the permitted length of hair had to be just above their collars. Thus, they either had to wear it up or cut it. As for makeup, they either were allowed to wear skin tone cosmetics or none at all.)

Nobody smoked during World War II. (Contrary to Pearl Harbor, most people smoked during the 1940s. The only people who didn’t smoke in 1940s movies, were those who hadn’t yet entered puberty. To have nobody smoke in a World War II film is perhaps one of the greatest historical sins a filmmaker could commit. Yes, I know smoking is bad for you, but still.)

Mistreating civilians was a violation of the Geneva Convention at this time. (No, the revision of the Geneva Convention in regard to civilians wasn’t adopted until 1949, unfortunately.)

Soldiers always wore their helmets buckled. (It was common for soldiers to leave their helmets unbuckled due to the common belief that the helmet would break a soldier’s neck when it reacted to a concussion due to a nearby explosion.)
During the war, people rode on bicycles with rubber tires. (By a certain point in the war, only wooden tires would be available, especially in Europe.)

You could easily pick out a Gestapo. (Gestapo usually wore civilian clothes so, no.)

Foreign girls always went for American GIs, particularly if he’s the white protagonist.

During special operations, an Allied soldier could always find a Nazi uniform to fit him perfectly as a disguise.

Special operations always consisted of a group of people from different countries played by big named actors so no Allied country’s participation in the war goes unrecognized.

Despite being bombed, buildings would always have electricity and running water.

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 70 – World War II: The American Home Front

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The 1989 film Fat Man and Little Boy is about the story of the Manhattan Project and the development of the Atomic Bomb. Paul Newman is seen here playing General Leslie Groves while a guy named Dwight Schultz plays the legendary Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer. Nevertheless, while Richard Joffe does get some things right, the story is more suited for his political viewpoints and it’s far from the historic truth. For one, it was Oppenheimer’s dream job to work in the Manhattan Project (while Groves would rather be leading combat troops) and he and Groves got along famously, despite being polar opposites in personality for they both wanted the same thing. Also, Oppenheimer and many of his fellow scientists didn’t have any second thoughts about dropping the atom bombs until after they found out about the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Also, Paul Newman was way too handsome to be General Groves.

Of course, while there wasn’t much attacking on US soil besides Pearl Harbor, it didn’t mean that there wasn’t much going on in the home front. Like the British, Americans did experience rationing, air raid drills, sending bacon grease and scrap metal to the war effort, women working in munitions factories as well as families waiting for their loved ones to come home from the war. Yet, in other ways, it was unique with WWII propaganda films as well as movies from Hollywood, the USO, the role of racial minorities, and other things. You have Japanese American internment camps that were filled with a group of people who were displaced mostly due to ethnicity, culture, and they or their ancestors came from an enemy of the US at the time. Oh, and racism as well of suspicion of disloyalty did have a lot to do with it, too. Yet, the disloyalty of Japanese Americans was somehow put to rest since 20,000 of them fought in the war. You have the Tuskegee Airmen who were an elite unit aerial African American fighters whose overcoming of racism and adversity greatly contributed to their success. Then there’s the Manhattan Project which would be famous for developing one of the most deadly weapons in human history and usher in the atomic age. Nevertheless, while there are plenty of movies made about the American home front, there are plenty of inaccuracies in them as well, which I shall list.

Japanese American Internment:

Japanese Americans were the only group in America to be rounded to internment camps. (Actually, they were the only group to be interred who were mostly American born. German and Italian Americans were also interred but these numbers were small and only pertained to first generation or legal aliens.)

Almost all Japanese Americans were placed in internment camps during World War II. (Actually you may think this is true but not really. Most of the Japanese Americans interned were living on the West Coast, particularly in California where interment was popular among white farmers who resented their Japanese American counterparts {most Japanese Americans there at the time were farmers}. Not to mention, California wasn’t a state known by its friendliness toward Japanese Americans, just the opposite. Anti-Japanese bias on the West Coast was prevalent at this time. By contrast, Hawaii only sent a very small portion of their Japanese American population to internment camps {mostly prominent politicians and community leaders} since the area had been on martial law already and the risk of sabotage and espionage by Japanese residents on the islands was low. Not to mention, 35% of their population had Japanese ancestry and they were active in almost every sector of its economy. Had Hawaii had most of their Japanese American population interred, the then-territory would’ve had its economy crippled. Over 50,000 Japanese Americans on Hawaii remained undisturbed during the course of the war mostly due to being too economically viable to evict.)

The AAGPBL:

The AAGPBL played regulation baseball. (Contrary to A League of Their Own, they actually played a baseball/softball hybrid game. In its first years it was closer to softball.)

Racine won the 1943 World Series in a 7 game series against the Rockford Peaches. (It was in a 5 game series against the Kenosha Comets.)

The Tuskegee Airmen:

Not a single Tuskegee Airman was shot down by enemy fire. (66 Tuskegee Airmen were killed in action and they didn’t have an official flying ace even though one may have had enough unregistered kills to qualify. 25 of their bombers were lost to enemy fire.)

The Tuskegee Airmen was created to prove that blacks could effectively fly a plane. (They were trained by racist instructors who washed trainees out for the smallest mistakes to prove that African Americans were unsuitable to be fighter pilots. The result was hand-picked elite that wiped the floor with everything they met as well as were provided the best protection of all US Army Air Force fighter groups in Europe. Thus, contrary to Red Tails, their status as an elite fighting unit was almost purely accidental and as a result of training from hell.)

The Manhattan Project:

Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Reed Flutes” was played during the countdown of the Trinity atomic test in Alamogordo, New Mexico. (Actually it was Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade of Strings” but this is a minor error in Fat Man and Little Boy.)

Frenzied nuclear weapon expansion had been driven from the outset by pigheaded militarists intimidating morally sensitive scientists into doing what they knew to be wrong. (Sorry, Richard Joffe, but this is wrong. Nuclear expansion served the best interests of the military and the Manhattan Project scientists. Maybe they knew designing the bomb was wrong, but they greatly underestimated the bomb’s potential for wiping humanity which came to haunt them after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki.)

General Leslie R. Groves was a warmongering jerk and strutting martinet. (Yes, he was a jerk as Major General Kenneth Nichols called him “the biggest son of a bitch I’ve ever met in my life. I hated his guts and so did everyone.” He was known to be arrogant, socially awkward, as well extremely sarcastic. Yet, even he said that his commander was one of the “most capable individuals” he ever met. He’s said to be an organizer without equal as well as a tireless leader who held together the far-flung elements of the Manhattan Project, which employed 125,000 workers at facilities nationwide. Not to mention, he was the guy in charge of building the Pentagon which was the reason he was picked to lead the Manhattan Project in the first place. He was also a student of MIT before transferring to West Point, where he graduated 4th in his class. Then again, his security measures weren’t the most adequate since Los Alamos employees named Klaus Fuchs and David Greenglass {brother-in-law to Julius Rosenberg} were still able to smuggle atom bomb details to the Soviets, which Fat Man and Little Boy doesn’t address.)

General Leslie Groves was happy leading the Manhattan Project. (Groves actually didn’t want to lead the Manhattan Project, which he called, “Oh, that thing” and later chafed at being a taskmaster to “the largest collection of eggheads in the world.” He had longed to lead combat troops into war but his career had languished in the corps of engineers and his leadership of the Pentagon’s construction was a success, that he was the most likely candidate. He only changed his mind about the job when he saw that the Manhattan Project was his opportunity for glory and worked unceasingly to the end.)

Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and his fellow scientists were against the idea of the atom bomb and felt guilty about being a part of the Manhattan Project for the rest of their lives. (Well, yes, many Manhattan Project scientists did regret their roles in the Manhattan Project but only after the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were known, unlike in Fat Man and Little Boy. He would become a vocal opponent of the development of the even more powerful H-bomb though. But during the atomic bomb’s designing phase, Oppenheimer craved a job at Los Alamos so badly that he’d even be interested in obtaining an army commission to curry favor with General Groves. Once hired in 1942, Oppenheimer worked on the Manhattan Project with appropriate martial zeal as well as gave an idea of poisoning the Germans’ food with radiation. Most of his fellow scientists supported nuking Japan as well and had a big celebration after the bombs were dropped and Japan surrendered.)

Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer was a quiet, moralistic, and easy going man. (Actually though kind of bohemian and witty, this was a guy who stole chemicals and tried to kill his own tutor for making him attend classes on experimental physics which he hated {he preferred theoretical}. This was while he was studying for his doctorate in physics at Cambridge University.  He also betrayed his friend Haakon Chevalier, a literature professor at Berkeley, as someone who had contacted him about sharing secrets with the Russians when asked by the FBI to name names during his time at Los Alamos {though he’d later regret this and said he invented this “cock and bull” story but Chaevalier’s career was ruined because of him, though Oppenheimer might’ve named him to protect his brother who was a known Communist Party member}. Also, contrary to Fat Man and Little Boy, he was a much more outgoing man than portrayed in the film. Interestingly, the said tutor was Patrick Blackett who’d  go on to win a Nobel Prize. Oppenheimer also had a humongous ego to boot despite having a voice like Mr. Rogers. And yes, he was associated with Communist politics in the 1930s as were both his wife and ex-girlfriend. His past association with leftist politics would later hurt him during the Red Scare as he opposed the Cold War arms race.)

Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie R. Groves didn’t get along. (Contrary to Fat Man and Little Boy, despite their personality differences, they got along fine because they both wanted the same thing. Groves even praised him on his work in the Manhattan Project saying, “I was reproachfully told that only a Nobel prize-winner or at least a somewhat older man would be able to exercise sufficient authority over the many ‘prima donnas’ concerned. But I stuck to Oppenheimer and his success proved that I was right. No one else could have done what that man achieved.” Groves also got along well with the other scientists save Hungarian Leo Szilard.)

Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer came up with the idea of implosion. (It was actually fellow scientist Seth Neddermayer who proposed the theory and his formulation came gradually.)

The experiment with the two hemispheres of beryllium surrounding a core of plutonium and held apart with a screwdriver was called the “drop” experiment. (It was called “tickling the dragon’s tail” but it’s by the expy for Canadian physicist Louis Slotin from Fat Man and Little Boy. Yet, though he died from an experiment relating to radioactivity, his death didn’t provide any cautionary warning for Oppenheimer since it happened on May 30, 1946.)

General Leslie Groves was a fit man. (Actually he weighed between 250-300 pounds in contrast to Paul Newman’s fit figure in Fat Man and Little Boy. Oppenheimer by contrast, weighed 116 pounds during the Trinity Test.)

J. Robert Oppenheimer’s ex-girlfriend Dr. Jean Tatlock committed suicide on January 1945. (She killed herself in January of 1944. Interestingly, she was Oppenheimer’s first love and the first person he ever dated but she suffered from depression {he married his wife Kitty a year after he broke up with Jean}. Still, it’s said he had an affair with her during his time in the Manhattan Project while some say that he only spent the night with her once in mid-June of 1943 after he was picked as head of the laboratory in Los Alamos. It’s highly disputed. We could say that he certainly cared about her and may have felt guilty on breaking up with her despite knowing that she certainly wasn’t relationship material. Still, while we can’t really confirm whether Oppenheimer and Tatlock were romantically involved during his time at Los Alamos, he did have an extramarital affair but it was with Kitty when she was married to her third husband, a physician named Richard Harrison. And it wasn’t until Kitty found out she was pregnant to Oppenheimer when she divorced Harrison and Robert became her fourth
husband in November of 1940. Still, despite only dating two women throughout his entire earthly existence, Oppenheimer certainly had an interesting love life.)

General Leslie Groves was a recipient for the Good Conduct Ribbon. (To qualify for the Good Conduct Ribbon, a soldier must be an enlisted man for at least 36 months. Groves was a West Point graduate and thus ineligible.)

General Leslie Groves met Dr. Leo Szilard in his hotel bathroom while the latter was in a bathtub and the former was on the toilet. (They actually met at the Metallurgy Laboratory at the University of Chicago along with the rest of the scientists. They had an antagonistic relation and Groves tried to fire him.)

The Trinity explosion took 2-3 seconds. (It actually took 40 seconds.)

Kitty Oppenheimer was an adoring wife who thought her husband Robert was the greatest man who deserved anything he wants. (Oppenheimer would’ve probably wished his wife to be like this since he kind of thought he was God’s gift to humanity who deserved anything he wanted. Still, she was known to drink and make catty remarks about her husband.)

Miscellaneous:

America had the best artillery, tanks, tacticians, or generals in World War II. (America had the most money, the highest rate of productivity, and perhaps the most adaptive and self-reliant rank and file of all the fighting armies.)

USAAF bombing crews usually survived with no ill effects. (Since the USAAF bombed German targets by day, they had a monstrously high casualty rate in the bomber department. There’s a reason why the policy for USAAF airmen was “25 and out” for most of the war. Once most airmen completed 25 missions, their war was over but the average crewman only had a 1 in 4 chance of actually completing his tour of duty. Yet, as the war progressed, 25 got upped to 30 and then 35. The average bombing crew got shot down in its 20th mission. American bomber crews were known to be notoriously fatalistic, having determined that after reaching the half-way point on their tours of duty, they were living on borrowed time.)

“Little Brown Jug” was recorded after Glenn Miller’s death. (Actually contrary to The Glenn Miller Story, it was one of his first bonafide hits in 1939, but the movie makes it clear where he got it from.)

WWII was a universally supported one in the US. (The US only went into the war at around Pearl Harbor and even then there were Americans who opposed the war either because they were pacifists or Nazi sympathizers. And yes, World War II did have its share of draft dodgers even in the United States.)

A PT boat’s main function was “to harass the enemy and buy time for a navy that was still on the drawing boards.” (This is sort of accurate but as Washington lawyer and WWII veteran Leonard Nikoloric said, “Let me be honest. Motor torpedo boats were no good. You couldn’t get close to anything without being spotted. I suppose we [Squadron Three] attacked capital ships maybe forty times. I think we hit a bunch of them, but whether we sank anything is questionable. The PT brass were the greatest con artists of all time. They got everything they wanted-the cream of everything, especially the personnel. But the only thing the PTs were effective at was raising War Bonds.”)

The United States military was integrated at this time. (Actually it was still segregated and would be desegregated shortly after World War II. However, many of World War II movies were made after that time and with the assistance of the US military like The Glenn Miller Story. However, such errors could be forgiven since the war was fought by Americans of all races and creeds anyway even if they didn’t fight in integrated units.)

Female cadets were in attendance at West Point at this time. (West Point didn’t start admitting women until 1962.)

There were no gays in the US military during World War II. (Actually the US military effort during World War II was one of the reasons why the gay community became a more prominent force in later years. Sure there was a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy but the war effort brought so many people away from their homes and into contact with people they wouldn’t have met otherwise, sometimes these were people like them. Also, gay US WWII vets include Rock Hudson, Gore Vidal, and others.)

The US Navy made a petty fuss about shirts. (Actually Mister Roberts is right about the US Navy’s fuss about shirts but it wasn’t out of pettiness. The navy’s medical branch actually found that shirts provide protection against burns in case of explosion.)

US soldiers would leave their sweethearts behind who faithfully waited for them to return home, while their men didn’t mess around. (This wasn’t 100% the case since there were soldiers who did cheat on their sweethearts {sometimes wives} or sometimes abandoned them altogether. Not to mention, sometimes the sweethearts weren’t so devoted either as you understand the concept of a “Dear John” letter. Then there’s the fact that 1946 saw a jump of divorces in the United States.)

“Fouled up” was a common phrase of American soldiers during World War II. (Contrary to Saving Private Ryan, I believe the correct terminology is “fucked up.” For God’s sake, Spielberg, were you aiming for a PG-13 audience? I mean what’s wrong with including swearing in a rated R movie, especially if the main reason for it is violence.)

During combat jumps, US paratroopers jumped out of planes one by one with the jumpmaster commanding, “Go! Go!” (The jumpmaster was always the first off the plane while the rest of the paratroopers immediately followed behind him exiting the plane as fast as they could in order to land as close together as possible. I know the one by one combat jump is always done in movies but paratrooping has never worked that way since it would result in the whole unit being spread out in various locations. Try locating the rest of your unit using that method.)

American soldiers used “thunder” as a challenge word to identify friendlies while “flash” was used as a response. (Contrary to Saving Private Ryan, it’s the other way around with “flash” as the challenge word and “thunder” as the response. The reason why “thunder” was chosen as a response word for identifying friendlies was because of the “th” sound which is nonexistent in German. Thus, if a German were to say, “thunder” to “flash” he wouldn’t be able to hide his accent.)

The US Army had a 113th Tank Division during this time. (There was never a US 113th Tank Division in WWII.)

The Pentagon was completed by 1942. (It wasn’t completed until 1943.)

Women factory workers in the US home front were treated decently by their bosses. (While the average US serviceman was paid $54.65 weekly, factory women were paid $31.50. Also, if they were working among men, there’s a possibility that sexual harassment was frequent in some places. I mean there were no laws against it.)

World War II was the first time when housewives took up work outside the home as their husbands went to war. (Despite the fact that women were expected to be housewives throughout most of human history, this wasn’t always the case, even in America. Even before World War II, many women worked outside the home, especially in times under financial ruin like the Great Depression or death in the family like a spouse. If you’ve seen Mildred Pierce, you know what I mean. It was just that more women were doing the more important jobs that would be normally reserved for men. Not to mention, before that time, many didn’t really consider women’s work as anything of relative importance.)

“Little Orphan Annie” was a 1940s radio show sponsored by Ovaltine. (Ovaltine dropped “Little Orphan Annie” and switched to “Captain Midnight” in 1940. That year “Little Orphan Annie” would be sponsored by Quaker Puff Wheat. Announcer Pierre Andre would also go to “Captain Midnight” in early 1940 since audiences identified him too much with Ovaltine. This detail would help set A Christmas Story to 1939 since The Wizard of Oz came out that year and there’s no mention of Pearl Harbor.)

Bing Crosby’s “Merry Christmas” album was released at around 1940. (It wasn’t released until 1945 and reissued in 1947.)

The Red Ryder BB gun had a sundial and a compass among its features. (The screenwriter for A Christmas Story confused the Red Ryder with another kind of BB gun that had these features. Thus, guns had to specially made for the film. Yet, the Red Ryder BB gun was real but it doesn’t have a sundial and compass.)

Indiana schools were integrated in 1939. (They weren’t until 1949 yet there are three black kids in Ralphie’s class.)

Window air conditioners were widely available at this time in the US. (Contrary to Lost in Yonkers, while window air conditioners were sold as early as 1938, they weren’t mass produced until after World War II.)

US Navy seamen were experienced swimmers. (US Navy seamen weren’t required to know how to swim and many didn’t during this time.)

Movies during this time were seen in a wide screen format. (Not until the 1950s.)

All American aircraft carriers had angled decks. (Not in World War II they didn’t. But there aren’t that many straight decked carriers left as attempts to preserver the USS Enterprise {most decorated warship in US history} into a museum as a museum all ended in failure.)

June Carter was 10 in 1944. (By this time, she would’ve been 14 or 15.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 69 – World War II: The British Home Front

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1942’s Mrs. Miniver is perhaps one of the best known movies set in the British home front during World War II that portrays people having to deal with the conflict at home and abroad. It is part news story and part propaganda so it’s not 100% accurate. Though they didn’t have the worst of it, the British had to deal with nighttime air raids or the possibility of having their house bombed. Still, this scene with Greer Garson and the German soldier is pretty relevant for such instances probably did happen. Also, the German pilot probably wasn’t going to fight again since he ended up a POW for the rest of the war.

World War II brought war in the homes of more people than any other conflict has before or since. Sometimes this consisted of having to dodge bombs and fire or having to deal with being occupied by Germany which presents horrors in of it itself. Of course, the British didn’t have to face the latter (save those in Jersey, and no, not that Jersey) but they still had to fight a war at home with having to adjust to a lifestyle accommodating wartime standards. Everyone had to do their part for the war effort whether it be serving in the armed forces, working in a factory or farm, serving in the Home Guard or other methods. Supplies were rationed, air raid drills were a part of life, sometimes kids were evacuated to the country, and there was always the risk a family could lose everything in a blink of an eye, even their lives, especially during the Battle of Britain. Britain was never more in danger than in the Battle of Britain when the German Luftwaffe tried to invade the country but were ultimately thwarted by the RAF. Later in the war, the RAF would go on regular bombing raids to Germany along with the USAAF forces, which would also bunk in Britain as a home away from home. It was also the time of Winston Churchill who was prime minister at time many would call it’s finest hour. Nevertheless, movies set in WWII Britain do present some inaccuracies which I shall list.

Winston Churchill:

Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a universally beloved leader of the good guys. (Yes, he was a great orator and an effective cheerleader but his popularity didn’t extend beyond a psychological concept like the “rally around the flag” effect that significantly reduces criticism of a character/government post-crisis. It didn’t last since he was kicked out of office months after Germany surrendered. He was also a racist and a staunch opponent of Indian independence or any kind of Indian autonomy {you don’t want to hear what he said about Gandhi}. He also had a militarist streak comparably to an unusually avid Tom Clancy fan to keep fighting WWII as long as he felt like it which made him unpopular with the British military. After Germany surrendered, Churchill ordered the British General Staff to work out a plan to rearm the German forces and launch an invasion on Russia which his terrified subordinates named “Operation Unthinkable.” Even his closest supporters thought this was insane. He also called his Labour opponents, “Gestapo” despite some of them serving key posts in his war cabinet.)

Barnes Wallis:

Barnes Wallis faced bureaucratic opposition in the creation of the Vickers Wellington bombs. (Contrary to The Dam Busters, Wallis never said he had. Also, the targets for Vickers Wellington bombs were already selected by this time. Not to mention, contrary to the film, there’s never been any truth whether bouncing cannonballs were the idea of Admiral Nelson, yet the ideal might’ve originated in the 16th and 17th centuries as the real Wallis once mentioned.)

Barnes Wallis was the chief designer of the Vickers Wellington bombs. (Contrary to The Dam Busters, while he was heavily involved with the bomb’s design which used his geodesic construction method, he wasn’t the chief designer.)

Wing Commander Guy Gibson:

Wing Commander Guy Gibson’s entire crew at 106 Squadron volunteered to follow him at his new command when it came to the Vickers Wellington bomb. (Actually only his wireless operator Hutchinson went with him to 617 Squadron.)

Guy Gibson was congenial, friendly, and gregarious. (Contrary to the Richard Todd portrayal, air crews and ground staff who worked with Gibson said he was a loner, strict disciplinarian, and having little personality. In other words, they saw him nothing more than a pain in the ass.)

Wing Commander Guy Gibson devised a “spotlights altimeter” after visiting a theater. (This devise had been used by RAF Coastal Command aircraft for some time back in the World War II era. Also, the idea for spotlights altimeter was suggested by a guy named Benjamin Lockspeiser when Gibson requested they solve a problem.)

Douglas Bader:

Douglas Bader was a stoic and cheerful man. (Reach for the Sky leaves out that he was regularly accused of being a reactionary racist who thought he should be Prime Minister. Yet, as a man with no legs, he’s a teddy bear compared to Oscar Pistorius.)

Dylan Thomas:

During the war, while his friend William Killick was away in Greece, Dylan Thomas took up an affair with his soldier friend’s wife Vera Philips, who Thomas had known since childhood. (While The Edge of Love implies this, there’s scant evidence on whether there was an affair between Thomas and Vera. Still, Thomas had been best man in Killick’s wedding and their wives were quite close to each other so having Vera move in with the Thomases wasn’t a big deal. Also, Killick returned from the war with PTSD and probably suspected the worst. Still, Dylan Thomas was an alcoholic.)

After William Killick’s violent rampage, Vera Philips persuaded Dylan Thomas not to testify against her husband. Yet, Thomas did so anyway. (Thomas didn’t testify against William. Also, William was acquitted by the jury on the advice of the judge not in defiance of him.)

Vera Philips:

Vera Philips was a glamorous night club singer. (Contrary to The Edge of Love, she was an eccentric sculptor who was trained by Henry Moore. As the real Dylan Thomas said, “Vera lives on cocoa, and reads books about the technique of third-century brass work, and gets up only once a day to boil the cat an egg, which it detests.”)

Battle of Britain:

RAF pilots were mostly British. (Actually, some of the RAF pilots actually were American, Canadian, Polish, Australian, New Zelander, Indian, and Czech.)

British pilots were well trained and experienced. (During the Battle of Britain since Great Britain was in a life-or-death situation, the training course for RAF pilots was repeatedly shortened as constant fighting took a death toll on the squadrons. New inexperienced pilots had a reduced life expectancy.)

British pilots usually survived most of their missions. (Most pilots were considered lucky if they survived at least 5 missions. As for bombers, well, the RAF only went on night bombing missions which were very dangerous for British airmen. Out of 100 British airmen sent on bombing raids, 55 usually ended up dead on average.)

It was the fast and maneuverable British Spitfires that won the Battle of Britain. (This is a popular notion you see in movies, recent statistics say that it was actually the Hurricanes that won the Battle of Britain since they were more durable, comprised of 55% of RAF fighters {Spitfires only made up 31%}, easier to land, and simpler to maintain and repair. Despite being slower and less aesthetically pleasing, the Hurricanes managed to shoot down 656 German aircraft while Spitfires shot down 529.)

The Battle of Britain actually swung into favor for the Allies because of the skill of RAF pilots. (Actually it had more to do with German miscalculation at command level than anything. The Luftwaffe already had a disadvantage flying far from home when its pilots were already tired. Also, while British could reload on fuel and ammunition when running low on either or have pit crews to fix their planes, German pilots had to return home, which limited their capacity for engagement. They also had to fly without escort protection. Not to mention, while RAF pilots could bail out or crash land if they were hit, they didn’t have much to worry about since they could be picked up from the sea by the British Coastal Command or could walk or take a train to the airfields. This resulted in a survival rate of 60% of RAF pilots and only 443 lives lost despite 1,220 crashes. Germans had to land on enemy lands and may risk having to surrender even to British civilian housewives like in Mrs. Miniver. The RAF also had radar while the Luftwaffe didn’t. Still, this proves that having home field advantage has significant benefits in this case.)

There was an Israeli RAF pilot. (Israel wouldn’t be a country until 1947 but there was a pilot from Egypt and one from Austria as well as two from Jamaica.)

The RAF No. 188 Squadron existed during World War II. (There was never a No. 188 RAF Squadron at this time, but there has been one in WWI but it has never been re-activated.)

London was bombed in August 1940. (It was bombed in September. Also, aerial battles were often fought in the countryside away from London to stop the German bombers before they hit the city.)

Most of the Battle of Britain was conducted during the night. (It was actually conducted during the day because the planes weren’t able to navigate at night yet. Also, their most likely targets were airfields, since coastal airfields were among the most hammered sites during the Battle of Britain.)

Evacuee Children:

British evacuee children weren’t afraid of farm animals and actually enjoyed the countryside.

If sent overseas, many British evacuee children were sent to the US or Australia. (Most overseas evacuees from Britain were sent to Canada whose contribution to the Allied effort during World War II is usually ignored. Besides, the Blitz occurred during a time when the US was trying to remain neutral and Australia was farther away and near danger itself. Also, there were a lot of things in Australia that could kill you.)

All British evacuee children returned to their parents by the end of the war. (Actually 40,000 British children went unclaimed by the end of the war. It’s possible that a British child may return home and find that Mom and Dad have been killed in an air raid or upped and left. Some who reached adulthood overseas decided never to return themselves.)

The Battle of Britain saw the end of German bombing in Great Britain. (Actually no, but the German bombings were less frequent after that time.)

Miscellaneous:

The SIG stood for Special Identification Group which had German Jews serving with the British. (This is what the SIG was in Tobruk. It was a real organization in Britain but we’re not sure what this group did. In fact, we’re not sure what the initials in SIG stand for.)

US military personnel were executed by US MPs on British soil during World War II. (Yes, there were US servicemen executed on British soil yet contrary to The Dirty Dozen, US MPs weren’t legally allowed to conduct them. Yet, American servicemen could act as witnesses while executions of US servicemen were carried out by British executioners.)

Vickers Wellington bombs were highly effective weapons. (Yes, but unlike its depiction in The Dam Busters, they were almost suicidally dangerous to deploy because they not only required a heavy bomber to fly in a perfectly straight line at treetop height, which would make such planes painfully easy targets for anti-aircraft guns or passing fighters. The British were never able to develop a strong enough casing to withstand ground impact yet light enough to be carried by an aircraft like the Lancaster. Not to mention, the bombs had a nasty habit of rebounding unpredictably when used over even mildly choppy water. Thus, they were only really used for just one specific job of busting dams.)

British women put makeup on their legs when they couldn’t get any nylons. (Sometimes they used gravy.)

British houses were usually destroyed by bombs during this time. (Sometimes they were destroyed by some things like regular fires.)

Wooden “coat hanger” bomb sights were mostly successful. (Actually though the wooden “coat hanger” bomb sights were intended to enable crews to release Wellington Vickers bombs at the right distance from target, it wasn’t totally successful. Besides, while some crews used it, others came up with their own solutions, such as pieces of string in the bomb-aimer’s position and/or markings on the blister.)

The RAF had a 633 Squadron. (Contrary that there’s a movie called 633 Squadron, it didn’t exist, but there was a 613 Squadron though.)

There was a General Mountbatten. (No, but there was an Admiral Louis Mountbatten of the Royal Navy.)