Why Are So Many Eastern Europeans Suddenly Celebrating Nazi Collaborators?

New National Mythologies Rely on ‘Heroes’ That Help Downplay the Holocaust

When is a hero not really a hero? When a country resurrects a tainted figure to serve the needs of a new national mythology. Consider the case of Latvian national hero Herberts Cukurs and his role in the Holocaust.

At the end of World War I, aviator Cukurs fought alongside other Latvians for independence from the Russian Empire. He earned fame after building a single-engine plane, flying it to Gambia in the 1930s, and winning an international aviation prize.

But Cukurs’s celebrity shifted to notoriety in World War II, when he …

The Black Women Soldiers Who Demanded Opportunities

During World War II, Four African Americans at Fort Devens, Massachusetts Went on Strike to Do Skilled Jobs Instead of ‘Maid Work’

In late 1944, four African-American women—Mary Green, Anna Morrison, Johnnie Murphy and Alice Young—enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps, or WAC, the newly established military branch for women. All …

Portraits of Loyalty

Shane Sato Depicts Japanese-American Veterans Who Fought for the Country That Imprisoned Their Friends and Families

Growing up as a Japanese American in a Los Angeles suburb, Shane Sato says, he felt “safe and comfortable” and had little, if any, experience with racism or prejudice. Only …

How Deprivation and the Threat of Violence Made Sweden Equal

War and the Great Depression Spurred Its Embrace of the Welfare State

Sweden is almost universally regarded as a bastion of sensible people, temperate social policies, and steady, evenly distributed economic growth. So it surprises many to learn that the Scandinavian country …

How My Parents’ Wartime Gamble on Greyhounds Paid Off

The Sentimental Journey of My WWII Childhood Mixed Dog Racing with an Idyllic Life on the Road

The greyhound racing tracks were like big shiny carnivals, but I could only see them from the outside. Kids weren’t allowed in where people were gambling. Sometimes mother took …

How a Segregated Regiment of Japanese Americans Became One of WWII’s Most Decorated

The About-Face Permitting Japanese Americans to Enlist Provoked Dissent, Anger—and the Remarkable 442nd Regiment

In January 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his War Department abruptly reversed course by allowing Japanese Americans to enlist in the U.S. Army in the fight against Germany …