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Articles on World War II

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Betty Smith’s novel sold millions of copies in the 1940s. Weegee/International Center of Photography via Getty Images

Betty Smith enchanted a generation of readers with ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ − even as she groused that she hoped Williamsburg would be flattened

No other 20th-century American novel did quite so much to burnish Brooklyn’s reputation. But Smith rarely saw her hometown through rose-colored glasses − and even grew to resent it.
The ruins of a church in Bohorodychne, Donetsk district, Ukraine, on Jan. 27, 2024. Ignacio Marin/Anadolu via Getty Images

The Russia-Ukraine War has caused a staggering amount of cultural destruction – both seen and unseen

In addition to destroyed buildings, there’s an entire underground world – filled with untold numbers of artifacts, bones and ruins – that are exposed and damaged by the digging of trenches.
In this photo released by Sputnik news agency on Feb. 9, 2024, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson at the Kremlin in Moscow. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Vladimir Putin justifies his imperial aims in Tucker Carlson interview

Why is there such a Russian focus on the Second World War? Because it’s used to justify authoritarian states, the rule of dictators like Putin and Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko.
Berliners giving the Nazi salute following the announcement of the German invasion of Poland on September 1 1939. Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo|Alamy

How the social structures of Nazi Germany created a bystander society

The German population was transformed under Nazism into a “bystander society” – even before the conditions of wartime normalised acts of excessive violence.
Franz Roselbach, a Roma survivor of the Holocaust who was sent to Auschwitz when he was 15, attends a ceremony at the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 2006. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Nazi genocides of Jews and Roma were entangled from the start – and so are their efforts at Holocaust remembrance today

Many young people today know little about the murder of European Jews during the Holocaust, and even less about the murder of Romani communities.

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