Friday, September 21, 2007

World War II Living History Project (WW2LHP)

World War II Living History Project (WW2LHP). This site is the product of an ongoing high school educational project designed to collect and disseminate the personal histories of the World War II generation. Stories are compiled by Hudson Falls High School in upstate New York. Parts of the site are still empty but there is some good primary source content up.

Here are a few quotes taken from World War Two veterans:

"My co-pilot was sitting in the escape path, so I put my foot in his back and shoved him out. I immediately followed. Just as I cleared the plane, she blew. All I saw was a huge flash and felt some of the concussion. I was in the clouds and got scared and knew that if I opened my chute, it would be damaged by air currents. I decided to delay opening until I broke out into the clear..." Earl Morrow, B17 pilot, shot down over Germany, POW

"I remember this one time, we were under heavy German fire, and we jumped into a foxhole. The officer in charge said to me, “ Are they still firing, Dashnaw?” I replied to him, “ Go stick your head up there and see, sir!” Alfred Dashnaw, US Army, French Interpreter

"We never did find the Japanese fleet and I am awfully glad that we didn’t, because they had attacked us there with 6 carriers, 3 battleships, 10 or 15 cruisers, and about 20 destroyers. The planes alone would have taken care of us, so I was grateful that we never found them. We were out there searching for 36 hours... When we came back into Pearl it was pitch dark, and we could see the fires from the Arizona and the other ships still burning in the harbor..." Barney Ross, U.S. Navy, Pearl Harbor

I wish my high school had been this innovative back in the 80s when I was in the secondary grades. A lot of World War Two veterans I grew up talking with are now gone. There stories were probably not recorded. I wish my history teacher had thought to do something like this. I hope other schools consider getting students involved in similar projects.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Massive Indonesian Earthquake Yet to Come?

Indonesia has been hit by three large earthquakes in the last week. However, the worst may be still to come. So says a CNN story titled Indonesia's big one 'on its way' by Hugh Riminton.

Is some horrific history about to happen in Indonesia? Perhaps bad things for many Pacific and Indian Ocean countries as a huge tsunami wrecks havoc afterwards? It does not look good...

Riminton notes, "The 30 measuring stations along Sumatra's western coast tell an ominous tale. Driven by the plate beneath the Indian Ocean, the entire coastline is flexing, as the earth literally bends. The pressures are already enormous, and at some point probably soon, they will become intolerable. The implications are terrifying."

"Eventually it has got to release in (the form) of giant earthquake," states seismologist John Galetzka matter-of-factly. "It could be a rare magnitude-9 quake, and with the plates so tightly sprung, it will happen sooner, rather than later."

The article continues, "As he criss-crosses around the islands, searching for data, Galetzka says his aim is to save lives. But he, more than anyone, knows the risks -- that one day he'll confront a giant wave, a tsunami powerful enough to swallow islands."

I really hope Galetzka is wrong. If I was in Indonesia right now, I might think of moving away or at least far inland. Perhaps disaster relief organizations should start preparing for what could go down as one of the worst natural disasters of the 21st century?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Photos of Lost Cities

Photos of Lost Cities. This site has a large collection of photos from the world's lost and in-ruins cities. The cities are on several different continents and from various ancient time periods. There are a lot of photos here.

The site has a blog which adds commentary on many of the photo collections. For example, the text on the Land of Two Rivers reads, "Punjab comes from two Persian words, panj ("five") and ab ("water"), thus signifying the land of five rivers (the Beas, Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, and Sutlej). The present Indian state of Punjab is the result of two divisions: a) during the partition of India in 1947, and b) during 1966, when the majority Hindi-speaking areas were separated to form Haryana. "Punjab" is a misnomer today since only two rivers, the Sutlej and the Beas, lie in its territory. Chandigarh, a union territory, is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana. Cultural clich├ęs associate Punjabis with prosperity, hard work, straight talk, tolerance, a relaxed yet enterprising spirit, stellar contributions to Indian defense, politics, media, sports, and entertainment, a huge presence in Bollywood, truck/cab driving, dhabas and Punjabi food (the best known Indian cuisine worldwide), turban and beard, a butt of ethnic jokes, and a joie de vivre that manifests itself in the exuberant song and dance routines of the bhangra. Women here seem among the freest in the north. Literacy stood at 70% in 2001, higher than the Indian average of 65%. Sikh Gurdwaras are cleaner and more charitable and welcoming to outsiders than most temples and mosques I have visited. From the road, the harsh edge of poverty is visible here far less than in most parts of India."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Military History Carnival #6

Military History Carnival #6 is up at Armchair General. The host notes, "Armchair General is proud to host this month’s edition of the Military History Carnival! Although our site is not a blog in the perfect sense, we are glad and thankful to host and share content from all our fellow military historians across the Internet. So, generals, settle yourselves into your favorite armchairs and let the military history reading commence!"

The October edition of the Military History Carnival will be hosted by Brett Holman at Airminded (http://airminded.org/) on 14th October. The address for submissions is bholman@airminded.org, or use the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found at the blog carnival index page.