A Unique Podcast Focused on Interviews with World War II Veterans, Authors, Actors, Filmmakers and Those Who Are Telling and Sharing the Stories of World War II in Print, Television and in the Movies, both Past and in the Present.
World War II: Saving the Reality
55:38Narrated by Dan Aykroyd. From the Holocaust to the dropping of the Atomic bombs, this film tells the story of an individual who owned the largest private collection of World War II artifacts in the world. Over 50 interviews with veterans and survivors of the war help tell the story of the meaning of the over 7,000 individual items in the collection of Kenneth W. Rendell. From the rise of Hitler and Nazism to the Holocaust and the war in Europe and the Pacific, this film marries the artifacts of WWII with the personal stories of those who were there. Narrated by Dan Aykroyd (Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters, Coneheads).
The Tuskegee Airmen: Return to Ramitelli
57:00Narrated by Darius Rucker. The Tuskegee Airmen were all black pilots who flew heroic missions for the United States in Europe in World War II. Their base in Ramitelli, Italy, was a proving ground for these pilots, who were segregated at home and overseas but became household names for their courage and bravery in World War II.
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Surrender on the USS Missouri
56:58Narrated by Country Music’s number one recording star, Luke Bryan. On September 2nd, 1945, World War II came to its official end aboard a legendary battleship anchored in Tokyo Bay. Some seventy million people had died during the war, but now the fighting would end not with a rifle shot but rather with the swift stroke of a ceremonial pen. The USS Missouri hadn’t been in the fight long, heading into the Pacific theater of war in 1944, but she would become one of the most famous military ships in history when all was said and done. “Mighty Mo” had been involved in the vicious fight at Iwo Jima and then headed for Okinawa, where she dodged suicidal Kamikaze air attacks during World War II’s last great battle. Missouri then would bomb Japan before being told to leave the coast for no apparent reason. The reason turned out to be two Atomic bombs that were set to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The official surrender ceremony on the USS Missouri would attract a world-wide radio audience with famous Pacific commanding General Douglas MacArthur handling the Instrument of Surrender proceedings. Over 3,000 soldiers and dignitaries looked on from every inch of Missouri’s decks, including a small delegation of conquered Japanese. World War II was finally over. Peace. Why was the USS Missouri chosen as the ship the formal surrender would take place? President Harry S. Truman had something to do with that. What happened immediately after the signing that left so many in complete awe? What is Mighty Mo’s legacy today at Pearl Harbor, where she rests not far from another famous battleship, the USS Arizona? Are there veterans still alive who were there to witness the Japanese surrender ending the war? Surrender on the USS Missouri answers those questions and more. As General MacArthur famously said at the end of the surrender ceremony: “These proceedings are now closed.” However, the story of the USS Missouri never really ended and is still being told today.
Rommel: The Soldier, The Son and Hitler
57:55Narrated by Greg Kinnear. Germany’s most famous commander of World War II, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, had one fatal flaw: He always spoke his mind to Adolf Hitler. Rommel would pay for voicing the truth to his Fuhrer with his life. An earlier hero of World War I, Erwin Rommel was many things. A career soldier, a loyal German, one of the most successful generals of World War II on either side of the conflict and above all, a caring father to his son Manfred and loving husband to wife, Lucie. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was also a realist. Highly decorated and one of Hitler’s favorite commanders in the early years of World War II, the “Desert Fox” as his British adversaries labeled him, was somewhat of an enigma. Never a member of the Nazi party, Rommel detested the blending of politics and war. He would discover quickly both were always in play in Hitler’s Germany. Rommel was somewhat naïve to the ways of Hitler until the latter days of the Afrika Korps defeat in North Africa in 1943. By then, Rommel started to surmise that Germany’s fate was sealed. Put in charge of the famed and flawed Atlantic Wall in western Europe in late 1943, Rommel tried his best to prepare France for the coming Allied invasion. In the end, it would not be enough. D-Day’s success only reinforced Rommel’s belief that Adolf Hitler should sue for peace in the west. Something Hitler found treasonous. Was Rommel in on the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944? If not, why did Germany’s Fuhrer force his top general to commit suicide? In a rare interview with the World War II Foundation, Erwin Rommel’s late son Manfred lends his personal thoughts to his father’s military story, revealing what happens when an honest career soldier confronts a Dictator named Adolf Hitler. Manfred was there and saw it all play out.
Grandpa's War Story Goes Viral
58:01Narrated by Liev Schreiber. Social Media is an essential tool in telling the real-life stories of World War II’s Greatest Generation. For Alaskan teenager Henry De Hoop, social platforms such as Facebook have proven to be an incredible resource in sharing his grandfather, James Schmidt’s story, with a global audience. Jim Schmidt, like 16 million others of his generation, served in World War II. But the war journey of Henry’s granddad is anything but routine. It’s unlike anything most of us have ever heard or even thought possible. Jim Schmidt was keeping a big secret from the military and from his family too. This incredible journey begins in a movie theater in 1942 with the film Parachute Battalion playing on the big screen in San Rafael, California. The United States is now at war on two fronts. The story continues after World War II in Korea at the infamous frozen Chosin Reservoir. It ends in the sweltering jungles of Vietnam more than two decades after WWII is over. To use a 21st Century expression: Grandpa’s War Story is About to Go #Viral thanks to Jim Schmidt’s social media savvy grandson Henry De Hoop. And what an amazing story it is!
The Seabees on Iwo Jima
57:00Narrated by Jim Nantz. Their motto in World War II was "We Build. We Fight." This is the story of the United States Navy Construction Battalions in World War II, especially in the Pacific, where these hardened and, many times older men, made up construction teams helped win the war against the Japanese.
Jack Taylor: The Enterprise
57:22Narrated by Gary Sinise. Jack Taylor was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1922. Jack heeded his country’s call after the attack on Pearl Harbor drew the United States into World War II. In 1942, he enlisted and served as a decorated Navy Hellcat pilot in the skies over the South Pacific. Then, like so many others of the “Greatest Generation,” Jack returned home to raise his family and start a business. Lessons learned in the Navy – including the values of integrity, hard work, team spirit, and simply doing the right thing – helped shape his personality. They also made their mark on the company he founded in 1957, Enterprise Rent a Car. He named his new business after the aircraft carrier he served on, the USS Enterprise, the most decorated American ship in WWII. The incredible story of a World War II veteran utilizing his lessons home from war to establish one of America’s most successful post-war companies.
Her War, Her Story: World War II
58:30Narrated by actress Jane Lynch. The individual stories of more than two dozen women caught up in World War II, from the American Home Front to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland. Included in this hour-long film are also the personal stories of the incredible women who served in uniform in the military or were “Rosie the Riveters” at home building the tools of war, whether they were black or white. This documentary focuses on the role of women in history’s most violent conflict, from the perspective of those who served, witnessed or were caught up in a war that proved women were the equal of men when it came to patriotism, service or in some cases, self-preservation during watershed moments which called for steadfastness.
Dick Winters: Hang Tough
55:42Narrated by actor Damian Lewis ("Dick Winters" in Band of Brothers). In 2012, a statue was dedicated in Normandy, France recognizing American Junior Officer leadership on D-Day. Thanks to the HBO series Band of Brothers, the figure depicts one of the war's most famous officers, Richard "Dick" Winters of the "Band of Brothers." Hear how the statue came together and how Dick Winters's legacy still resonates in Normandy today.