World War II

A joke is making the rounds among Vladimir Putin’s opponents in Moscow: His two main accomplishments as Russia's president are Yuri Gagarin’s trip to space and Russia’s victory in World War II. This biting bit of sarcasm, which takes a swing at Putin's populist rhetoric, actually gets at something much deeper. It reflects Putin’s vision of the country’s development as well as the style in which he communicates with his citizens and the international community. And yet, though people in Russia understand him, those in the West do not.

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War Movies Used to be Big, Sprawling Things. What Happened?

The trend of small-minded war movies continues

Last year, Walter Kirn lamented the state of the ever-shrinking American war movie.

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There is one moment in The Monuments Men that is as sweet and pleasing as a fresh cupcake. It has a charm that is no small thing in the making of movies. Let’s not spoil the moment by spelling it out, let’s just admit that it employs someone named Clooney. I am happy to say that now, and happier still holding on to its memory, for apart from that this is one of the most dreadful, smug, and incoherent films I have ever seen, and a travesty of its many large subjects.

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Germans Make a Sympathetic TV Series about WWII. What Could Go Wrong?

The well-intentioned, deeply troubling hear of "Generation War"

To turn history into TV, producers everywhere make the past tidy and simple and sympathetic. But when it's Germans presenting WWII, middlebrow conventions are no excuse.

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When Evil Was a Social System

The moral burdens of living under communist rule in Eastern Europe

Anne Applebaum and Marci Shore have shown that there is much to know about communism in this century that was not obvious to everyone. Both regard Soviet communism as more intertwined with the history of Nazism than most historians did before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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The decisive experience of warfare 
is not victory or defeat; it is being occupied. In the Fog is about occupation and the destruction of an understanding of one’s own history—and it's also a masterpiece.

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The Lost Boys

The story of WWII deserters

A new book goes deep into the desertion of WWII soldiers.

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German War Guilt: The Miniseries

The country's breakout television series confronts WWII atrocities head on

The country's breakout television series confronts WWII atrocities head on.

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