Monthly Archives: August 2017

Ghost Army Map

Ghost Army Part II

On this episode of History with Mark Bielski, filmmaker and author Rick Beyer returns to discuss in further detail the extraordinary deception soldiers better known as the Ghost Army. Rick made the PBS documentary, The Ghost Army, and co-authored the book,The Ghost Army of World War II. As we discussed in Part I, the Ghost Army specifically refers to the 23rd HQ Special Troops.  They ran series of deception operations so secretive that few of their fellow GIs knew anything about it, and the Army kept it top secret—during the war and for decades afterwards.  To put it succinctly, The Ghost Army was about fooling people.  Their goal was to make the enemy believe that something is happening even though it is not.  Imagine the German soldiers on the front lines thinking there is an armored division moving into position just beyond the woods on their perimeter.  Or, Luftwaffe air reconnaissance reporting back to HQ that there were scores of American tanks and aircraft preparing for invasion.  Imagine is the key word, because the Ghost Army made it all happen with illusion and trickery. Rick Beyer produced the PBS special entitled The Ghost Army of WWII, as well as co-authored with Elizabeth Sayles, the…

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Ghost Army inflatable tank

Ghost Army Part I

On History with Mark Bielski, filmmaker and author Rick Beyer visits with Mark to discuss the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, the extraordinary deception soldiers better known as the Ghost Army. Rick made the PBS documentary, The Ghost Army, and co-authored the book, The Ghost Army of World War II. Rick is also the historian for The Ghost Army Tour, one of the many bucket list WWII tours you can take with Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours. Listen to the History with Mark Bielski podcast on the Ghost Army here. The Ghost Army that we discuss in this episode, conducted a series of deception operations that took place once we had American troops on the ground in Europe. The appellation specifically refer to the 23rd HQ Special Troops, an outfit that later became known as the Ghost Army. It was a little-known operation, and it was extremely secretive. Not even the soldiers, in close proximity on the front lines, knew anything about what the men of the 23rd were doing. They conducted twenty-one different deception operations as, with “stagecraft and sleight of hand.” Everything they did was top secret—certainly during and for decades after the war. Their operations called for creative imagination, and…

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Sons of the White Eagle book cover

Sons of the White Eagle Review in Journal of Southern History

I am delighted to share the latest review of Sons of the White Eagle in the American Civil War: Divided Poles in a Divided Nation by William B. Kurtz that was published in the Journal of Southern History (Volume 83, Number 3, August 2017). The Journal of Southern History, which is edited at and supported by Rice University, is a quarterly devoted to the history of the American South broadly conceived. The Journal publishes refereed articles and solicited book reviews on all aspects of southern history and is unrestricted as to chronological period, methodology, and southern historical topic. It is published by The Southern Historical Association. Journal of Southern History Review of Sons of the White Eagle in the American Civil War Recent scholarship on ethnic Americans during the Civil War has understandably focused on the two largest groups, German and Irish immigrants. Polish Americans, estimated as numbering perhaps 30,000, have received comparatively little attention due to their small numbers and the difficulty of working with Polish materials. Thus Mark F. Bielski offers a welcome take on the Polish Civil War story in his new book, Sons of the White Eagle in the American Civil War: Divided Poles in a Divided Nation.…

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