We walked round Washington growling at the WWII memorial saying the conflict was from 1941-45, imagine my surprise when I discovered the war ended in 1946!

The attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into the Second World War – but when did it officially end?

This isn’t one of those mystery stories about a Japanese soldier stumbling out of the jungle in the late 1940s to discover that the war had been over for several years, nor a rehashed version of the fact that Berwick-upon-Tweed was at war with Russia long after the Paris Treaty at the end of the Crimean War. However, it does start with the mild irritation of walking around The Mall in Washington DC.

History tells us that the war ended with the fall of Berlin with VE day on May 8th 1945 or more accurately with the end of the war with Japan on September 2nd 1945. But the actual end of the war with both of these countries came much later following a Presidential Proclamation, 2714, on this day 31st December 1946.

It is, in fact, the reason that US veterans from that war are defined up until that date.

Arguably the war technically ended in 1951, when Congress passed a resolution ending the declaration of war on Germany. This may seem odd, as we all generally accept that the war ended in 1945.But, because of the on-going occupation of Germany and Japan by US forces, as well as those of the victorious powers. It also allowed the Nuremberg Trials to go ahead as a military court rather than a civilian process.

So, should the memorial in the Washington Mall really say 1941-1951?


Mussolini’s brain is missing: discovered for sale on Ebay!

Mussolini's brain has been discovered for sale on Ebay

Those of us that remember Spitting Image’s series of sketches showing Ronald Reagan’s brain as missing will be interested to hear the news that Mussolini’s brain in missing.

Knowing that Mussolini was an MI5 agent came as quite a shock recently, but apparently stranger news has revealed that his brain has appeared on Ebay for 15,000 Euros.

His remains, apparently contained in three glass vials, had apparently been stolen from a hospital in Milan, where an autopsy was conducted on his body, following his execution, by partisans at the end of the Second World War.

However, due to Ebay rule, which do not allow the sale of body parts on their website, it has been taken down from the website.

Commenting, his granddaughter, Alessandra Mussolini, a right-wing Italian MP said;

“I was advised this morning that pieces of my grandfather’s brain and some of his blood were being sold on eBay for 15,000 euros.

“This is very serious, these are the kinds of things we have to guard against,” said the former show girl.

Find out more about the sale here.

1 in 6 children think Auschwitz is a Second World War theme park…


According to a Poll today 1 in 6 children think Auschwitz is a World War II theme park

News today shows that schools may not to be teaching children sufficiently about the Second World War and the events that surround it.

A poll of 2000 children, aged nine to fifteen, was conducted by a Scottish charity, Erskine, which provides nursing and medical care for veterans, and says it will now take part in a nationwide scheme to educate schoolchildren about the two world conflicts.

Some of the figures are genuinely shocking, but remind us, that unless we actively engage young people in understanding history, ‘we shall remember them,’ may not be a phrase that Britons use forever. I, more than once,  have been asked, by young people, why we wear poppies at this time of year.

Of the children surveyed, 40% said they did not know when Remembrance Day was, but thankfully 70% of the children surveyed said they wanted to learn more about the two wars in school.

There is hope then.

But, the work that Harry Patch and Henry Allingham both engaged in, as First World War veterans, should be encouraged in present day veterans, and they should go into schools to tell them more about our history, from the wars of the 20th Century and those of the 21st Century.

There’s more in The Telegraph here.