History, the real thing, tends to be more amazing than a great film or terrific novel.
The House of History Podcast will be published three times per week: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 12:00 GMT.
German Youth Gangs that Opposed Hitler: the Edelweiß Pirates
The Edelweiß Pirates were youth gangs that opposed the ever-increasing totalitarian grip of the Nazi regime. Their actions ranged from passive resistance to robbing munitions depots and even murder. Curiously enough, after the Second World War came to an end, a group of post-war Nazi resistance cells coopted their name and carried out a series of bombings and attacks against the occupying Allied powers.
Hitler's Favourite Pilot: Hanna Reitsch
The German Hanna Reitsch was one of the best test-pilots ever. She attended the 1936 Berlin Olympics and participated in the Air Sports discipline; she broke multiple endurance and altitude records and has flown nearly every German aircraft during her career. She flew bombers, fighters, and even the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet-rocket plane. She was one of the first test pilots to fly the Focke-Achgelis Fa 61, world’s first operable helicopter. There was a dark side to Hanna, though. She was a fanatical Nazi, loyal to Hitler and very involved in Luftwaffe operations. In fact, she stood at the forefront of the notorious German V-1 human-glider bomb project. This was a last-ditch attempt by the Germans to turn the tide of the war, by utilising suicide pilots against Allied troops. She survived the war and wrote several books about her life, giving us a very candid look at the life of the woman Hitler referred to as his favourite pilot.
The Forgotten 'Battle' of Ni'ihau Overshadowed by the Pearl Harbor Attack (Dec, 1941)
On December 7, 1941, the 'battle' of Ni'ihau commenced. For obvious reasons this incident is usually overshadowed by the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Ni'ihau incident was a deadly incident on an island that was assumed to be deserted, but was inhabited by a few Hawaiians. What followed was part of the population siding with the Japanese pilot, and part of the population siding with the United States once they realised an attack on Pearl Harbor had taken place.
The Legendary Dambusters Raid: Operation Chastise (Germany, 1943)
The May 1943 secret operation by Britain's Bomber Command to destroy several German dams located in its industrial heartland, the Ruhr Area, was a groundbreaking mission. Not just because of the risk involved, but because a new weapon would be used for the first time: the so-called 'Bouncing Bomb'.
The only U.S. Pilot to defect to the Waffen-SS during WW2... in October 1944
During the Second World War there were multiple people from Allied countries that deserted to the Axis powers. Actually, there are too many to name them all. Some of them ended up working propaganda jobs, and the ‘American-Germans that travelled to Germany to defend the Reich’ was of course immortalised by the (fictional) scene in Band of Brothers. But all these people generally deserted before there was a full-fledged war between the United States and Germany. Let alone when it became obvious that Germany was going to lose the war. Well, not Martin James Monti.
Playing a bit of bluff he ended up in German-held territory in Europe, joined the SS propaganda unit and even fought on the German side. But what makes the case perhaps even more strange is that all this happened in late October 1944, when it was evident to nearly everyone that Germany would lose the war.
The Secret "Mannerheim-tape" of Hitler's Normal Voice
Oddly enough although many speeches given by Adolf Hitler have been preserved, there is no audio footage of his normal conversational voice. Well, except one tape, recorded in secret by a Finnish sound engineer and released to the public only decades after the war ended.
Article with transcripts: https://houseofhistory.co/2020/11/29/the-only-secret-recording-with-hitlers-normal-voice/
Video with transcripts: https://youtu.be/WE6mnPmztoQ