TIME France

2,000 Migrants Tried to Storm the Channel Tunnel in a Desperate Bid to Reach the U.K.

Migrants walk along railway tracks at the Eurotunnel terminal on July 28, 2015 in Calais-Frethun.
Philippe Huguen—AFP/Getty Images Migrants walk along railway tracks at the Eurotunnel terminal on July 28, 2015, in Calais-Fréthun.

Eurotunnel called the incident “the biggest incursion effort in the past month and a half”

More than 2,000 migrants tried to breach the Channel Tunnel in the French port of Calais on Monday, in an attempt to reach the U.K., operator Eurotunnel announced.

Several migrants were reportedly injured in what authorities described as “the biggest incursion effort in the past month and a half,” reports the BBC.

For several weeks, large numbers of migrants have tried to smuggle themselves onto trucks around the terminal in the hopes of reaching the U.K. Some 3,000 displaced people — most of them fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty in Africa and the Middle East — have set up camp near the port and risk death and injury attempting to cross the channel to Britain.

Since the beginning of June, eight migrants have died trying to enter the Channel Tunnel.

Monday’s mass incursion caused delays to the train service on Tuesday, and Eurotunnel reported damage to fences.

“There was some damage to our fences — which we’ll have to repair — as they tried to board shuttles. Fortunately, there wasn’t any damage to shuttles,” a Eurotunnel spokesperson told the BBC. “It is an almost nightly occurrence — we’re trying to run a travel business here.”


TIME conflict

Fighting Between Turkey and Kurds Escalates Amid NATO Tension

A missile-loaded Turkish Air Force warplane takes off from the Incirlik Air Base, in the outskirts Adana, south-eastern Turkey on July 28, 2015.
Emrah Gurel—AP A missile-loaded Turkish Air Force warplane takes off from the Incirlik Air Base, in the outskirts Adana, south-eastern Turkey on July 28, 2015.

NATO members have shown support for Turkey, but urged the country to refrain from using excessive force

(ISTANBUL) — Fighting between the Turkish military and Kurdish rebels escalated Tuesday amid signs of unease from NATO allies attending an emergency meeting about Turkey’s conflicts with the Islamic State group and the Kurds.

On a violent day, Turkish fighter jets pounded rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK after soldiers were fired on with heavy weaponry in Sirnak province, according to a military statement. Turkish soldiers also came under attack in two other incidents.

Meanwhile, NATO allies met in a rare emergency meeting at Turkey’s request and proclaimed “strong solidarity” with the country’s fight against the Islamic State group.

“The security of the alliance is indivisible,” ambassadors from all 28 NATO nations declared in a joint statement after the meeting.

But a NATO official said members also used the closed-door meeting to call on Turkey not to use excessive force in reaction to terror attacks, while urging it to continue peace efforts with representatives of the Kurdish minority. The official was not authorized to speak on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The special session of the alliance’s main political decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, was held at Turkey’s request under a clause of NATO’s founding treaty that empowers member countries to seek consultations if they believe their security, territorial integrity or political independence is at risk.

It was called after Turkish warplanes last week started striking militant targets in Syria in response to an Islamic State group suicide bombing in southern Turkey that left 32 people dead, and another IS attack on Turkish forces, which killed a soldier.

But in a series of cross-border strikes, Turkey has also targeted Kurdish fighters affiliated with forces battling IS in Syria and Iraq.

The Syrian Kurds have been among the most effective ground forces in the fight against IS and have been backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, but Turkey fears a revival of the Kurdish insurgency in pursuit of an independent state.

The spike in violence in recent days has prompted concerns that a promising peace process between Turkey and Kurdish rebels is falling beyond repair.

German diplomats said Tuesday it would be a mistake for Turkey to break off the peace process with the PKK now.

“We believe that it’s right to continue the process of rapprochement and to build on the positive steps of the past years,” a diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

As the ambassadors were gathering at NATO headquarters, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference in Ankara that it was impossible to advance a peace process with the Kurds as long as attacks on Turkey continue.

The Kurds are an ethnic group with their own language living in a region spanning present-day Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, has fought Turkey for autonomy for Kurds in a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1984.

In the past few days, the PKK has launched a number of attacks on Turkish security forces and Turkish jets have targeted both the PKK’s mountainous headquarters in Iraq and Kurdish fighters in a Syrian village, a Kurdish militia and an activist group said.

On Tuesday, a Turkish soldier died after he was shot in the head by a Kurdish militant near the border with Iraq, Turkey said. In a second incident in Sirnak province, suspected PKK rebels hurled a bomb at a military vehicle, wounding one soldier, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The developments follow a decision last week by Turkey’s leaders to allow the U.S. to launch its own strikes against the Islamic State group from its strategically located Incirlik Air Base.

Erdogan told reporters in Ankara that Turkish and U.S. officials were also discussing creation of a safe zone near Turkey’s border with Syria, which would be cleared of IS presence and turned into a secure area for Syrian refugees to return.

Asked for his opinion, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said “NATO is not part of these efforts. This is something that is discussed on a bilateral basis between Turkey and the United States.”

Stoltenberg said the Turks did not use the meeting Tuesday to request military assistance from other NATO members.

“What we all know is that Turkey is a staunch ally, Turkey has very capable armed forces — the second largest army within the alliance,” the NATO chief told reporters after the session, which was the fifth such meeting in the alliance’s 66-year history and lasted a little over an hour.

The alliance official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Turkey’s allies unanimously spoke at the meeting in favor of its “right to defend itself.” One outside analyst said eliciting such support may have been why Turkey sought the unusual forum in the first place.

“I think the main purpose is to give them some reassurance in terms of their bombing campaign in Syria and northern Iraq so that they won’t be accused of violating international law,” said Amanda Paul, a senior policy analyst and specialist on Turkey at the European Policy Center, a Brussels think tank. “They wanted to cover their backs basically by having NATO say, ‘OK it’s fine.'”

For some NATO members and independent observers, it’s unclear whether Turkey’s No. 1 target in the recent attacks is the Islamic State group or the Kurds, said Ian Kearns, director of the European Leadership Network, a London-based think tank.

“There is no difference between PKK and Daesh,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday, using an Arabic acronym to refer to IS.


Dahlburg reported from Brussels. Mark D. Carlson in Brussels, Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed.


TIME On Our Radar

Discover an Enduring Afghanistan Through Its Landscape

War-torn landscape photographer Simon Norfolk traces the passage of time in Afghanistan's central highlands

Afghanistan is a country Simon Norfolk knows well. Since his first visit in 2001, he has returned to the rugged slopes of its snowcapped mountains and gritty valleys at least a dozen times, first in 2002 to depict the ruins of its war-torn towns (Afghanistan: chronotopia) and then again in 2010, to create a series mirroring the earlier work of Victorian photographer John Burke with a modern perspective (Burke + Norfolk).

Traveling from London, where he is currently based, Norfolk has returned eight times over the course of 2013 to bring back an image of Afghanistan that belongs to and speaks of the Afghan people, without turning away from the bruises of war, he says. In Time Taken, Norfolk paints a romantic portrait of one of the most distinctive and poetic aspects of the country: its landscape.

“I wanted something that would say not much about soldiers, helicopters, drones, not about all that kind of thing, which fills the press in the West,” Norfolk says. “I wanted to show something that was the opposite of that.”

Traveling across Bamiyan province, in the central uplands of the country, equipped with a Phase One camera, a digital back, a tripod and the reassuring presence of a good translator to help with security and interactions, Norfolk produced a series of 12 intimate “portraits” of a changing landscape, from winter to summer and back again, tracing the passage of time through details like the snow line “that marches up the mountain as the summer progresses and then descends as the autumn comes on.”

As he embarked on this project during the British and American troops’ withdrawal, yet another episode in Afghanistan’s long history of conflicts and conquerors, Norfolk attempted to summon up the unseen soul of the country. “There was something about this Afghanistan that was there before, and all the way through [the conflict] and that will continue afterwards. The enduring Afghanistan.”

The landscape bears deep wounds. But when nurtured by the farmers, a new cycle of nature, a new hope, rises. Norfolk describes the local farmers as untrained, untaught amateur engineers and talented landscape architects, who cut drainage ditches, smooth fields and dam streams. To those who wonder where Afghan culture lies, Norfolk replies without hesitation: “The landscape itself. The landscape is created by hand, thousands and thousands of hours of hand work,” he says. “[Culture] is all around you.”

Norfolk calls himself an archeologist. “I wanted something that was about history itself, that was about time and time’s thickness,” he says. “On the top of my camera there’s like a dial that says a thirtieth of a second, a fifteenth of a second … I wanted to set the camera to a year, photograph a whole year,” to show the thick layers of which Afghanistan is composed.

The process involved a high degree of unpredictability. The mellow, ethereal aesthetic of the photographs recalls the dreamy atmosphere of romantic European paintings – the golden light in John Constable, J.M.W. Turner and Claude Lorrain’s canvasses – as an endless font of inspiration. To capture the smooth golden light and avoid the wind, Norfolk shot in the early hours of dawn and at sunset. Still, the landscape could change erratically as a result of meteorological forces or human actions, as when a farmer built a wall across the view of his camera. Out of the 60 sequences he took, he saved a dozen. The work also evolved into a video multimedia project, where the slideshow proceeds at the speed of human breathing at rest, Norfolk explains. “I wanted it to have that breathy slowness to it. I live by the sea now, and I wanted to be like the rhythm of the waves breaking on the shore on a very calm day.”

Mostly, Time Taken is a “love poem,” the photographer unabashedly admits. “I’ve never met anybody who has been to Afghanistan who hasn’t fallen in love with the place,” he says. “Everybody I know has this Afghanistanitis.”

Simon Norfolk is a landscape photographer whose work predominantly focuses on conflict zones and on the concept of battlefield in all his forms. His latest work, Time Taken, will be shown at the Michael Hoppen Gallery, in London, from Aug. 3 to Sept. 8.

Lucia De Stefani is a writer and contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

TIME conflict

See How Northern Ireland’s Bloody Sunday Turned Violent

An exclusive clip from the upcoming episode of CNN's 'The Seventies' shows how the historic clash began

In late January of 1972, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland took a risk: he banned all protest demonstrations. Parades had been the starting points of several clashes during the long conflict over Britain’s role in the region, and it seemed like ending them couldn’t hurt—at first. “There were some suggestions that the I.R.A., for its part, might try a new tactic by organizing illegal parades of Catholics to test the ban and the government’s will,” TIME reported. “The result might well mean more bloody clashes between the warring sects, the need for still more British troops to maintain order, and more trouble for a land that has trouble enough.”

As shown in this exclusive clip from the next episode of CNN’s The Seventies, which airs on Thursday at 9 p.m. E.T., the prediction that the parade ban would not put an end to violence quickly proved correct. In fact, the violence that followed shortly after the ban was one of the best-known incidents of the period: Bloody Sunday.

On Jan. 30, 1972, a Catholic protest over the imprisonment of I.R.A. suspects turned violent, as TIME reported the following week:

On that bright, wintry afternoon, a march in the Catholic ghetto of Londonderry called the Bogside suddenly turned into a brief but violent battle between the marchers and British troops. When the shooting stopped, 13 people lay dead in one of the bloodiest disasters since the “troubles” between Ulster’s Protestant majority and Catholic minority began almost four years ago. The incident seemed to end almost all hope of a peaceful settlement in Northern Ireland. Not since the executions that followed Dublin’s 1916 Easter Rising have Catholic Irishmen, North and South, been so inflamed against Britain and so determined to see Ireland united in one republic at last.

Read more from 1972, here in the TIME Vault: The Bitter Road from Bloody Sunday

TIME Syria

3 Spanish Journalists Reported Missing in Syria

Khaled Khateb —AFP/Getty Images People walk past a damaged building in the al-Kalasa neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on July 19, 2015.

The three men disappeared while working in the northern city of Aleppo

(MADRID)—Three Spanish freelance journalists who traveled to Syria to report amid the country’s long-running civil war have gone missing around the embattled northern city of Aleppo, a Spanish journalism association said Tuesday, the latest ensnared in the world’s most dangerous assignment for reporters.

The disappearance of Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre, presumed to be working together, comes as most media organizations have pulled out of Syria, especially with the rise of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group. At least 84 journalists have been killed since 2011 in Syria, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, while others remain missing or have been released for ransom.

Elsa Gonzalez, the president of the association, told Spanish National Television in a telephone interview that the three disappeared while working in the Aleppo area. She said they entered Syria from Turkey on July 10 and were last heard of two days later.

Sastre, a television journalist, last posted on Twitter July 10, when he wrote “courage” in Arabic, English and Spanish. Pampliega worked as a freelance reporter, whose most recent work featured a story about Spaniard fighting with Kurds in Kobani against the Islamic State group. Spanish media identified Lopez as a photojournalist.

It was not clear where exactly the men went missing. Once Syria’s commercial center, the city of Aleppo been carved up between government- and rebel-held neighborhoods since 2012, with government forces controlling much of western Aleppo and rebel groups in control of the east.

The Islamic State group, which has kidnapped Western journalists in Syria and later killed them, is outside the city and controls parts of the northern and eastern Aleppo countryside. The extremists are responsible for most kidnappings in Syria since the summer of 2013, but government-backed militias, criminal gangs and rebels affiliated with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army also have been involved with various motives.

An unprecedented spate of kidnappings by Islamic State militants starting in summer 2013 has kept most journalists away, particularly since the group began killing foreign journalists and aid workers it holds, starting with American journalist James Foley in August last year. Foley’s taped beheading was followed by the killing of American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, American aid worker Peter Kassig, as well as Japanese nationals Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.

The group also has generated cash from ransoming European journalists.

Often media don’t report abduction cases at the request of the families or employers. It’s not clear how many foreign and local journalists remain held in Syria, though the number likely is in the dozens.

A Spanish Foreign Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with policy regulations said the ministry is aware of the situation and is working on it, declining to elaborate. Gonzalez did not say whether the journalists were on assignment for specific media organizations.

Aleppo is the scene of daily fighting. Government helicopters also regularly drop explosive barrels on rebel-held parts of the city.

A missile attack on a rebel-held neighborhood in Aleppo killed at least 10 people and wounded many others Tuesday, two activist groups said.

The Local Coordination Committees said the attack on the Maghayer neighborhood killed 10 people, including women and children.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack killed 18 people and wounded more than 50. It said the surface-to-surface missile destroyed several houses in the area.

It is not uncommon to have different death tolls in the aftermath of attacks in Syria, where the four-year conflict has killed more than 220,000 people.

Meanwhile near the border with Lebanon, Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah fighters captured several neighborhoods in the mountain resort of Zabadani that has been under attack for nearly three weeks.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television station said troops and Lebanese militants have besieged rebels inside Zabadani from all sides, adding that they inflicted heavy casualties among them. It said dozens of fighters were wounded in the fighting.

The Observatory, which has a network of activists around Syria, said the Syrian government air force has dropped 36 barrel bombs on Zabadani since Tuesday morning. The Observatory reported that dozens of airstrikes have targeted Zabadani since the offensive began on July, 3.

The capture of Zabadani would tighten Hezbollah’s grip on Syrian territories bordering Lebanon and strengthen the Syrian government’s control over of the Beirut-Damascus highway.


Karam reported from Beirut. Associated Press writers Bassem Mroue in Beirut and Jon Gambrell in Cairo contributed to this report.

TIME conflict

Nearly 100 Killed by Rebel Shelling in Yemen

Yemen Dar Saad
Saleh Al-Obeidi—AFP/Getty Images Yemenis watch as smoke billows following clashes between fighters loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and Huthi rebels, in the Dar Saad suburb of the southern Yemeni city of Aden on July 19, 2015.

The shelling in Dar Saad began after the Houthi rebels lost control of much of the Aden district of Tawahi, according to officials and witnesses

(SANAA, Yemen)—The death toll in Yemen from the Shiite rebel shelling of a town near the southern port city of Aden rose Monday to nearly 100, the head of an international aid group said, describing it as “the worst day” for the city and its surroundings in over three months of fighting.

The rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies started shelled the town of Dar Saad on Sunday after earlier losing control of some of Aden’s neighborhoods. The violence highlighted the bloody chaos of the civil war gripping the Arab world’s poorest country, which also has been the target of Saudi-led, U.S.-backed airstrikes since late March.

Hassan Boucenine of the Geneva-based Doctors Without Borders said that by Monday, his organization reported nearly 100 people dead, twice the casualty toll from the previous day.

The shelling also wounded about 200 people, said Boucenine, the head of the organization in Yemen. Of the victims, 80 percent are civilians, including many pregnant women, elderly and children, he added.

“Yesterday was the worst day in Aden since (the Saudi-led coalition campaign) started in March,” Boucenine told The Associated Press, adding that he fears “attacks on civilians will continue.”

Sunday’s shelling in Dar Saad began after the Houthi rebels lost control of much of the Aden district of Tawahi, according to officials and witnesses. Tawahi is now under a security lockdown, the officials said, as anti-Houthi forces search buildings looking for rebels, some of whom had fled to the nearby mountains.

Overnight, the Saudi-led coalition targeted Houthi positions north of Aden and in Dar Saad, killing at least 55 rebels, officials and witnesses said.

The coalition also struck the home of Mehdi Meqlawa, a prominent supporter of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in a Sanaa suburb. In the Yemeni capital, it also hit Houthi headquarters near the Souq Aziz market, killing one person.

Rebel shelling continued Monday in Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, killing eight residents, while ground fighting raged on in Marib, with six anti-Houthi tribesmen and 10 Houthi fighters killed in clashes. All officials and eyewitnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters or feared reprisals.

Houthi officials declined to comment on the fighting.

The spokesman of the Yemeni government in exile, Rageh Badie, said they appointed the head of the Resistance Council, Nayef al-Bakri, as governor of Aden. Al-Bakri served as deputy to the former governor, Abdulaziz bin Habtoor, who fled the embattled city earlier this year. Al-Bakri is joined by the exiled deputy minister of health and the transportation and interior ministers, who have flown into Aden two days ago from Saudi Arabia. Other exiled ministers will follow suit over the next few weeks, Badie said.

Yemen’s conflict pits the Iran-allied Houthis and troops loyal to the former president, Saleh, against an array of forces, including southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants as well as loyalists of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is backed internationally.


Youssef reported from Cairo.

TIME conflict

The Forgotten World War II Story of Europe’s Last Battle

War and Conflict. World War II. pic: May 1940. A German soldier stands guard over a captured Dutch gun on the island of Texel. Germany invaded Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg in May 1940 claiming justification because they feared that the Allies, (France
Popperfoto/Getty Images May 1940, A German soldier stands guard over a captured Dutch gun on the island of Texel

The island of Texel was turned into a scene of carnage that spared no one

History Today

This post is in partnership with History Today. The article below was originally published at HistoryToday.com.

For five years it was as idyllic as war could be. But for the last six weeks – extending beyond the official end of the Second World War – it was bloody carnage. Those who were once comrades in uniform suddenly took to butchering one another in a conflict that has come to be called ‘Europe’s last battle.’

Photographs of German soldiers, who in the Second World War were stationed on the pastoral island of Texel, the largest of the West Friesian Islands, show them beaming as they write home. Texel (pronounced ‘tessel’) was a plum posting, a gem of endless sandy beaches surrounding productive fields of grain, potatoes and pasture for contented sheep. By April 1945, in what everyone knew were the last days of an appalling conflict, the 1,200 Wehrmacht soldiers on Texel had good reason to hope they would see war’s end without firing an angry shot.

But early on the morning of April 6th, tranquility turned to terror as Wehrmacht soldier slaughtered Wehrmacht soldier, using everything from bayonets to artillery. Friend and foe were distinguished by one small difference in their uniforms: some 800 of the men wore a small patch identifying them as Georgians, while 400 officers and non-commissioned officers were German.

The Georgians had begun the war not in German uniforms but Soviet. In 1941, when the USSR mounted a desperate resistance to Hitler’s massive invading army, the Soviets pressed every citizen into service. Coming from Stalin’s birthplace, Georgian citizens were given Soviet colors and weapons and thrown into the defense of the motherland.

The Georgians, captured earlier on the Eastern Front, were given a dismal choice. They could accept prisoner of war status with a future promising hunger, abuse and possible death, or they could enlist in the Wehrmacht. The choice of some 30,000 Georgians to don a German uniform was understandable but it made them traitors.

As the end of the war loomed, the Texel Georgians’ future looked bleak – a return to retaliation and punishment in the USSR. Fearing that fate, the members of the 822nd Battalion, having already replaced Soviet uniforms with German ones, changed their allegiance again, back to the Allied side.

Inside their barracks just after midnight on April 5th-6th, 1945, the Georgians turned on their German comrades, killing many of them with bayonets and knives in coordinated attacks. But some, including the commander, Major Klaus Breitner, who had spent the night with his mistress in the village of Den Burg, survived. Breitner and a few other German survivors were able to escape to the mainland.

On April 6th Breitner launched a counter-attack, having mobilized a force of 2,000 marines and members of the feared German SS. What had appeared to be a complete Georgian victory was quickly reversed. A house-to-house hunt for Georgians swept through Texel.

Captured Georgians, including 57 who finally surrendered control of the lighthouse where they had barricaded themselves, were forced to strip – their mutiny having disgraced their uniforms – and dig their own graves. Over 130 of them were executed in this gruesome fashion.

Texel was turned into a scene of carnage that spared no one, including civilian Dutch inhabitants. Resistance forces and ordinary citizens who sheltered and helped the Georgians were executed and the villages of Den Burg and Eierland saw serious damage to homes and buildings as the Germans exacted their revenge. ‘Texel is under a reign of terror’, wrote one Texeler.

Even the surrender of German forces throughout the Netherlands on May 5th and the official end of the war on May 8th brought no end to the slaughter, as the German execution campaign continued for almost two more weeks. The death toll in the six-week battle was 812 Germans, 565 Georgians and 120 Dutch.

Throughout the nightmare, Texel received no Allied assistance. Only on May 20th was a small unit of the Canadian First Army sent to the island to negotiate an end to the conflict.

The Canadian commander on the scene was so impressed by the Georgian resistance that he refused to class the 228 survivors as enemy personnel. Lieutenant-General Charles Foulkes wrote to the Soviet High Command urging clemency for the Georgians. This would have been a significant bending of the rules agreed upon by the Big Three leaders at the Yalta Conference that all nationals would return to their homeland at the end of hostilities.

Stories circulated that the surviving 228 Georgians would not have to return to the USSR. But, if the promise was made, it was revoked over the course of the next few weeks and the surviving Georgians were dispatched to their home country.

Contrary to expectations of retribution, in 1946 the Soviet daily newspaper Pravda praised the Texel Georgians as ‘Soviet patriots’ and wrote of them as rebelling prisoners of war. Soviet officials also visited the island regularly after the Second World War to pay tribute to the Georgians’ anti-German resistance.

Today, few pause at the collective grave of 475 Georgians killed in combat or through summary execution, their resting place marked by 12 rows of red roses and a simple cairn. Europe’s last battlefield is silent, remembering the murderous nationalist antagonisms unleashed on it when the outcome of the Second World War was already decided.

Larry Hannant teaches History at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia.

TIME Books

These Books Boosted Troop Morale During World War II

Armed Services Edition
Harry Ransom Center

The Armed Services Editions also fostered a new generation of readers

This post is in partnership with the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin. A version of the article below was originally published on the Ransom Center’s Cultural Compass blog.

The book When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning celebrates the importance of the Armed Services Editions. Published between 1943 and 1947, these inexpensive paperback editions were given to servicemen on the frontlines. As Manning points out, not only did the editions achieve their principal purpose of raising morale, they encouraged a whole generation of readers who retained their appetite for reading when they returned home. Possibly a few stopped bullets or shrapnel. It’s necessary to remember that the cheap paperback edition was still a novelty at the beginning of the war, having been pioneered by Penguin Books in England and Albatross Books in Germany during the 1930s.

Armed Services Editions were made possible by a group of publishers called the Council of Books in Wartime. This group collaborated by eliminating royalty payments and arranging for the production and distribution of paperbacks in the most inexpensive possible formats. The Ransom Center has a couple of connections with these books. Although there are larger collections at the University of Virginia and the Library of Congress, we own more than 1,400 of the books, most of them shelved together as a discrete collection in the stacks, while some are kept with other editions of our major authors, such as John Steinbeck. Because they were printed on poor-quality wartime paper that is now brittle and brown, each is protected in a simple acid-free enclosure, invented by the Center’s Conservation department in the 1980s, and called a “tuxedo case.” Students of publishing history can use the collection to study which books were most successful (Manning concludes that books with a touch of nostalgia or sex were particularly popular with soldiers, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was one of the best-selling titles, even though it was considered a flop when first published in hardback during the 1920s). The books were generally published in an oblong format, with the cover notation “This is the complete book—not a digest.” In all, some 125 million copies were produced.

Among the founding members of the Council of Books in Wartime was Alfred A. Knopf, the eminent literary publisher (the massive Knopf, Inc. archive is here at the Center). Ironically, Knopf was famous for encouraging high production values in his own trade books, but he immediately recognized the importance of encouraging reading and raising morale and contributed a number of series titles by familiar authors in the Knopf stable, including thrillers by James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler and more literary works by Thomas Mann and Sigrid Undset.

In the postwar era, a number of paperback reprint publishers capitalized on increased demand for books, the availability of new outlets for cheap editions, such as chain department stores and drugstores, and Americans’ newly enhanced disposable income. Pocket Books debuted in 1939 and became well known after the war for its lurid covers, which, as Louis Menand points out in an illustrated recent New Yorker piece, graced not only the unabashed pulp of Mickey Spillane but also higher-toned works by William Faulkner and James Joyce. Ballantine and Bantam editions flourished, and the era of the mass market paperback had arrived. Nearly every prominent American hardback publisher developed a line of paperback books. Oddly, Knopf, Inc. was a holdout, arriving late to the game with Vintage Books in 1956. But it was the Armed Services Editions that gave the American paperback its big push.

See more photos of the book here at the Harry Ransom Center blog

TIME Media

The Other Pentagon Papers Secret: Few People Actually Read Them

Anti war activist Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the
Steve Hansen—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the media, at a press conference in July of 1971

June 30, 1971: The Supreme Court rules to allow the publication of articles about the Vietnam War’s origins, based on the Pentagon Papers

As classified documents went, the Pentagon Papers were such dry reading that almost no one made it all the way through them — including Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s national security adviser and chief strategist on the Vietnam War.

When the 40-volume Pentagon report on America’s entanglement in the controversial war was delivered to reporters, however, it became the WikiLeaks of its day: “[t]he most massive leak of secret documents in U.S. history,” according to TIME’s 1971 account.

But even after the study’s revelations became front-page news in the New York Times, few lay readers could get excited about the story, which TIME described as “six pages of deliberately low-key prose and column after gray column of official cables, memorandums and position papers.” Most Americans only understood the scathing significance of the report when they saw how hard the Nixon administration fought to keep it under wraps.

What followed was a historic clash between the Executive Office and the Fourth Estate: For three weeks, the White House battled in court to keep the Times and the Washington Post from publishing stories based on the leaked documents, which revealed staggering incompetence and deception on the part of both the Johnson and Nixon administrations. The White House argued that publishing the information jeopardized national security; the newspapers argued that the public had a right to understand the machinations that had led the nation into its most unpopular and unsuccessful war.

In the end — on this day, June 30, in 1971 — the Supreme Court sided with the press and ruled that the newspapers could immediately resume publishing the classified reports. The 6-3 vote marked deep divisions within the court, however, prompting the justices to “[vent] their opinions in nine separate opinions,” as the Post put it the day after the ruling. TIME summarized the differences between their takes on the case:

Three of the Justices—Hugo L. Black, William O. Douglas and Thurgood Marshall—contended that there can be no exceptions to the First Amendment’s press freedom; no matter what the potential impact on the nation, prior restraints on news cannot be imposed by Government. Another trio composed of Justices Potter Stewart, William J. Brennan Jr. and Byron R. White took a middle position, contending that the First Amendment is not absolute and a potential danger to national security may be so grave as to justify censorship. However, they agreed that this had not been demonstrated in the Times and Post cases.

And while Daniel Ellsberg (who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press by sneaking them out of his office safe, one volume at a time, to be Xeroxed by a colleague’s girlfriend in all-night copying sessions) initially faced felony charges for his role in the leak, there were many who commended him for his courage as a whistleblower.

The charges against Ellsberg were dropped in 1973, but the Pentagon Papers themselves were only declassified four years ago, in 2011. Ellsberg told the Times he believed they still held valuable lessons for the American populace — although he found it even more unlikely that anyone would wade through the 7,000-page report 40 years after it was leaked.

“The rerelease of the Pentagon Papers is very timely, if anyone were to read it,” he said.

Read TIME’s 1971 cover story on the Pentagon Papers, here in the TIME archives: The Secret War

TIME conflict

How the Korean War Started

UN forces' transport vehicles recrossing
Time Life Pictures—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty UN forces' transport vehicles recrossing the 38th Parallel as they withdraw from Pyongyang in 1950

The line between North and South was crossed on June 25, 1950

Though the Korean War started on this day 65 years ago—June 25, 1950—when North Korean tanks crossed the 38th parallel, the boundary with South Korea, TIME’s reporting from the following week reveals it took several days for the United States to realize the scope of what had happened.

It was early Sunday morning in Korea, the middle of Saturday afternoon in Independence, Mo. In the former, TIME reported, “North Korean radio broadcast war whoops” as “past terraced hills, green with newly transplanted rice, rumbled tanks.” In the latter, U.S. President Harry Truman was visiting with friends and supporters in his home state when he received a telephone call from Secretary of State Dean Acheson.

About a day passed. In Korea, American civilians were evacuated as the Southern army rallied to try to hold the line. The 38th parallel was, one State Department official admitted, an entirely arbitrary line, chosen by the World War II victors in Potsdam with no consideration for the geographical, economic or political realities of the country—but it was the border, nonetheless, and it had been crossed. In the U.S., Truman returned to the capital to meet with advisers. The nation had already taken a side and promised help, but the question of how to help was unresolved. “As the tense White House conferences stretched through Sunday night and Monday,” TIME reported, “that question merged with another: Would the rapidly retreating South Koreans be able to hold out long enough for the U.S. to act?”

South Korean President Syngman Rhee said publicly that he was disappointed with the American response: “Our soldiers are very brave. They sacrifice themselves against the tanks . . . Korea is very hard up because aid was so slow. It is too little and too late.” Via North Korean radio, the South was urged to surrender.

Then, on Tuesday, June 27, President Truman and his advisers came to a decision. “Shortly after 11 a.m., the U.S.’s political and military policymakers began to arrive at the White House from the State Department, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill,” TIME reported. “By 11:30 they had closed the high doors of the Cabinet Room behind them. Outside 100 reporters thronged the executive lobby or stood by telephones in the adjacent press room. Exactly at noon, Presidential Secretary Charles Ross stirred them into a whirlwind as he passed out the text of the gravest, hardest-hitting answer to aggression that the U.S. has ever made in its peacetime history.”

The President’s statement, as reprinted in the magazine, began:

In Korea the government forces, which were armed to prevent border raids and to preserve internal security, were attacked by invading forces from North Korea. The Security Council of the United Nations called upon the invading troops to cease hostilities and to withdraw to the 38th parallel. This they have not done, but on the contrary have pressed the attack. The Security Council called upon all members of the United Nations to render every assistance to the United Nations in the execution of this resolution.

In these circumstances I have ordered United States Air and Sea forces to give the Korean government troops cover and support.

The attack upon Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that Communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war.

It has defied the orders of the Security Council of the United Nations issued to preserve international peace and security. In these circumstances the occupation of Formosa by Communist forces would be a direct threat to the security of the Pacific area and to United States forces performing their lawful and necessary functions in that area.

After the statement was read in Congress, though some (like Missouri Senator James Kem) questioned whether the President was in effect declaring war without the proper congressional path to action. Those in Congress who supported the President’s actions carried the day, and the House quickly approved an appropriation bill to fund the military action, which would officially continue for about three more years.

Read more about Truman’s response, here in the TIME Vault: Challenge Accepted

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