TIME Argentina

Secret Nazi Hideout Believed Found in Argentina

Researchers found German coins and a porcelain plate dating back to World War II

Archeologists have discovered ruins in a remote jungle region of Argentina that are believed to be Nazi hideouts intended to act as safe havens if Germany lost World War II.

Inside three run-down buildings in the Teyú Cuaré park, near the border with Paraguay, researchers found five German coins minted during the Nazi regime and a porcelain plate marked “Made in Germany,” the Clarín newspaper reports.

“Apparently, halfway through World War II, the Nazis had a secret project of building shelters for top leaders in the event of defeat — inaccessible sites, in the middle of deserts, in the mountains, on a cliff or in the middle of the jungle like this,” team leader Daniel Schávelzon told Clarín.

In fact, the hideouts would prove unnecessary because after the war then Argentine President Juan Perón allowed thousands of Nazis, and other European fascists, to resettle in the South American nation. Most notorious among them was arguably Adolf Eichmann, a leading architect of the Holocaust, who in 1960 was found in Argentina by an Israeli intelligence group. He was abducted and eventually executed in Israel for his crimes.


Read next: How a Speech Helped Hitler Take Power

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TIME World War II

When the Tuskegee Airmen Got Their Wings

On the anniversary of their activation in 1941, a look back at the 99th Pursuit Squadron

When members of the 99th Pursuit Squadron got their wings in March 1942, the honor was more than just recognition of the training they’d undergone to serve as pilots in the U.S. military. As LIFE wrote that month, “Upon their performance and promise hang the hopes of additional thousands of aspiring Negro fliers throughout the land.”

The Tuskegee Airmen, first activated for training at Chanute Field, Illinois, on March 19, 1941, served as the first black pilots in the U.S. military. Their admission came only after decades of pressure from civil rights and labor leaders advocating for equal opportunity in the military. Though it represented progress, the military into which these pilots flew was still segregated, and would remain so until 1948.

LIFE photographed the first class of lieutenants, including leader Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., a West Point graduate whose father had been the Army’s first black general officer. In total, 992 pilots would be trained in Tuskegee, about one third of whom would be deployed overseas. Eighty-four would lose their lives, including 68 in action, with another 32 captured as prisoners of war.

The emotion that courses through Gabriel Benzur’s photographs is pride. And LIFE’s readers overwhelmingly applauded the photo essay as crucial to “building up confidence, morale and patriotism” and “an incentive to all races and creeds to unify their efforts for victory.”

An attorney from Detroit, William C. Smith, wrote the editors to express what it meant to see the airmen in the magazine. “In spite of the often unhappy treatment we have received, both in and out of government, we know that this is our America, we want to do our share.”

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME conflict

Behind the World War II Fire Bombing Attack of Tokyo

Fleet Planes Headed To Tokyo
Interim Archives/Getty Images Carrier-based fighter planes Tokyo-bound over Japan during World War II, 1940s.

The bombing campaign started 70 years ago, on Mar. 9, 1945

When the United States launched a bombing operation over Japan on Mar. 9, 1945, firebombing was hardly a new tactic. But the scope of the damage was unprecedented: as TIME framed it the following week, the fire in Tokyo destroyed “approximately 9,700 acres, or 15 square miles,” versus a single square mile that was destroyed by a Luftwaffe attack on London in 1940.

“This fire left nothing but twisted, tumbled-down rubble in its path,” Major General Curtis E. LeMay reported, according to TIME.

What changed?

For one thing, the firepower available to U.S. pilots was on another level. The hard-fought and ongoing battle for Iwo Jima proved worthwhile, affording the American pilots an airfield within striking distance of the enemy capital, and planes also flew in from Saipan, Tinian and Guam. The hundreds of aircraft each carried several tons of incendiaries for a combined total of about 700,000 bombs. Though Japan did have anti-aircraft defense, it was aimed thousands of feet higher than the low-flying bombers flew.

Secondly, that firepower came in a new format: the M-69. The new bomb—a pipe full of gasoline jelly enhanced by a secret ingredient that had been developed by the oil company Esso; this jelly is now better known as napalm—created fire that was hotter and harder to put out than fires created by other common incendiary materials. “Dropped in loose clusters of 14, or ‘amiable’ clusters of 38, the finless oil-bombs are exploded by a time fuse four or five seconds after landing. Thereupon M-69s become miniature flamethrowers that hurl cheesecloth socks full of furiously flaming goo for 100 yards,” TIME reported shortly after the attack. “Anything these socks hit is enveloped by clinging, fiery pancakes, each spreading to more than a yard in diameter. Individually, these can be extinguished as easily as a magnesium bomb. But a single oil-bomb cluster produces so many fiery pancakes that the problem for fire fighters, like that of a mother whose child has got loose in the jam pot, is where to begin.”

Thirdly, areas of Tokyo—and other Japanese cities that were also targets—were particularly liable to burn. Though some buildings had been reinforced with concrete after recent earthquakes, many were pre-modern constructions of flammable materials. That meant a building didn’t have to be struck to burn: a firestorm spread throughout the city,

And finally, conditions that day were favorable to the bombers, with good visibility and wind.

The fatalities from the bombing raid were, as Kirk Spitzer explained for TIME.com in 2012, on par with those caused by the atomic bombings that would come a few months later, even though historical memory of the former has faded significantly more.

TIME movies

Watch Sir Ian McKellen Put a New Twist on an Old Favorite in Mr. Holmes Trailer

Benedict Cumberbatch watch out, there is a new Sherlock in town

Sherlock Holmes will get a silver-screen twist when Sir Ian McKellen plays an elderly version of Britain’s most famous detective this coming summer.

Mr. Holmes, based on the novel A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin, follows a retired Sherlock as he tries overcome his failing memory to crack an unsolved mystery.

The trailer opens in the British countryside just after World War II and suggests the older Sherlock will rely not on Dr. Watson, but a young boy named Roger, played by Milo Parker, as his trusty sidekick.

The film is by Bill Condon, who recently shot the final two Twilight installments.

McKellen is a venerable Oscar-nominated English actor who has recently played Magneto in the X-Men movies and Gandalf in The Hobbit trilogy.

TIME World War II

Microsoft Co-Founder Discovers Spooky Remains of a Japanese Battleship

Paul Allen found the Musashi

Long-lost wreckage said to belong to a World War II Japanese battleship has been discovered by none other than Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

The philanthropist and Microsoft alumnus posted images on Twitter that appear to show the Musashi, once one of the two largest warships in the world. Allen said the ship was found 1 km deep by an unmanned submersible launched from his superyacht, the MY Octopus. The find near the Philippines was the culmination of an eight-year search.

“Since my youth, I have been fascinated with World War II history, inspired by my father’s service in the U.S. Army,” Allen said in a statement.

Allen showed the bow of the ship with a distinctive chrysanthemum, the flower of Japan’s royal family, and a massive anchor. The ship was one of two Yamato-class battleships constructed by the Japanese Imperial Navy, the largest class of warship built at the time, CNN reports.

The Musashi was sunk by the U.S. Navy in October 1944 with the loss of more than 1,000 crew.

Allen, who has a net worth estimated at $17.5 billion, is the owner of several U.S. sports teams including the Seattle Seahawks. He founded Microsoft alongside Bill Gates in 1975 and resigned from the Microsoft Board in 2000.

TIME conflict

Who Started the Reichstag Fire?

World War Two
FPG / Getty Images Firemen surveying the ruins following the Reichstag fire in Germany, 1933.

On Feb. 27, 1933, the building was destroyed — and no matter who did it, the Nazis got what they wanted

It’s a semi-mystery that’s over eight decades long: who set fire to the Reichstag, the German parliament, on Feb. 27, 1933?

As described in the Mar. 6, 1933, issue of TIME, the arson came amid “a campaign of unparalleled violence and bitterness” by then-Chancellor Adolf Hitler, in advance of an approaching German election, and it turned a building that was “as famous through Germany as is the dome of the Capitol in Washington among U. S. citizens” into “a glowing hodge-podge of incandescent girders.”

Marinus van der Lubbe, an unemployed Dutch bricklayer linked to the Communist party, was tried and executed for the crime the following year, but even then TIME questioned whether the Nazis who held him responsible were also the ones who had paid him to set the fire, “promising to save his neck by a Presidential reprieve and to reward him handsomely for hiding their identity and taking the whole blame in court.”

In 1981, a West Berlin court declared that the trial had been “a miscarriage of justice,” though they stopped short of saying that he had been innocent. In 2001, evidence emerged that the conspiracy theory had been right along, with historians announcing that the Nazis had been the ones responsible for the fire, though even then others disagreed — and, as recently as 2014, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum noted that “the origins of the fire are still unclear.”

But, while van der Lubbe’s life still hung in the balance, reporting on the aftermath of the fire made clear that, whoever set the spark, the aftermath had already been determined by Nazi powers, in their own favor. Here’s how TIME summed it up just a week after the original report on the fire:

Before German Democracy could thus be downed this week, the Hitler Cabinet had to launch last week a juggernaut of super-suppressive measures & decrees for which they needed an excuse. What excuse could be better than the colossal act of arson which had just sent a $1,500,000 fire roaring through the Reichstag Building […] gutting completely the brown oak Reichstag Chamber and ruining its great dome of gilded copper and glass.

The Reichstag fire was set by Communists, police promptly charged. Over a nationwide radio hookup the Minister of Interior for Prussia, blustering Nazi Captain Hermann Wilhelm Göring, cried: “The Reichstag fire was to have been the signal for the outbreak of civil war! … The Communists had in readiness ‘terror squads’ of 200 each … These were to commit their dastardly acts disguised as units of our own Nazi Storm Troops and the Stahlhelm … The women and children of high Government officials were to have been kidnapped as hostages and used in the civil war as ‘living shields’!…

“The Communists had organized to poison food … and burn down granaries throughout the Reich … They planned to use every kind of weapon—even hot water, knives and forks and boiling oil!…

“From all these horrors we have saved the Fatherland! We want to state clearly that the measures taken are not a mere defense against Communism. Ours is a fight to the finish until Communism has been absolutely uprooted in Germany!”

The “juggernaut” of new decrees included increasing the weaponry provided to Nazi troops (despite violation of the Treaty of Versailles) and the transfer of the majority of state powers from President Paul von Hindenburg to Hitler and his cabinet. Rights ensured by the German constitution were suspended, and a gag rule was placed on foreign journalists within the country, with severe punishments for violation. The German government was moved from Berlin to Potsdam. Within the month, TIME reported that nearly all of the country’s leading Communists and Socialists were in jail. By April, Nazis were using the threat of another fire to ensure the passage of the Enabling Act, which solidified Hitler’s place as dictatorial leader for years to come.

Whether Nazi involvement in the Reichstag fire was direct or indirect or, improbably, nonexistent, the result was the same.

TIME People

How a Speech Helped Hitler Take Power

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) pronouncing a
Albert Harlingue—Roger Viollet/Getty Images Adolf Hitler giving speech at the terrace of Royal Castle of the Lustgarten of Berlin, during his election campaign, circa 1920

The Nazi Party platform was announced on Feb. 24, 1920

It was exactly 95 years ago — on Feb. 24, 1920 — that Adolf Hitler delivered the Nazi Party Platform to a large crowd in Munich, an event that is often regarded as the foundation of Naziism.

The German Workers’ Party (later the Nazi party) already existed before that date, though it was on that day that its exact goals were laid bare: the platform, set forth in 25 points, did not shy away from the central idea of strengthening German citizenship by excluding and controlling Jewish people and others deemed non-German. Still, those ideas weren’t new for the party. So what changed in 1920, and how did that help lead to Hitler’s ultimate rise to Nazi power?

His record of speech-making was what brought the audience to that hall in Munich in 1920. And, as Stefan Kanfer explained in TIME’s 1989 examination of the origins of World War II, Hitler’s power was closely linked to his abilities as an orator:

After the war, Hitler joined a new and violently anti-Semitic group, the forerunner of the National Socialist German WorkersParty — Nazi for short. There, for the first time since adolescence, he found a home and friends. Within a year, he became the chief Nazi propagandist. Judaism, he told his audiences, had produced the profiteers and Bolsheviks responsible for the defeat of the fatherland and the strangulation of the economy. Jews were bacilli infecting the arts, the press, the government. Pogroms would be insufficient. ”The final aim must unquestionably be the irrevocable Entfernung [removal] of the Jews.”

Early on, Hitler had a central insight: ”All epoch-making revolutionary events have been produced not by the written but by the spoken word.” He concentrated on an inflammatory speaking style flashing with dramatic gestures and catch phrases: ”Germany, awake!”

Read the full story, here in the TIME Vault: Architect of Evil

TIME conflict

The Story Behind World War II’s Most Famous Photograph

Joe Rosenthal—AP Photo U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945.

The image of American soldiers raising an American flag on the island of Iwo Jima was taken on Feb. 23, 1945

One day in late February of 1945, TIME correspondent Robert Sherrod cabled his editors a report about what had occurred on the island of Iwo Jima during the previous day. The island’s Mount Suribachi had been captured that morning, Feb. 23, and an American flag had been raised there. “A lot of the boys cried when they saw the flag raised on top of the mountain,” Sherrod reported, in parentheses, having heard so from a marine officer.

“When the U.S. flag was raised over this highest point on the island,” the magazine duly informed readers in the next issue, “some marines wept openly.”

(Read more about Sherrod’s cables from the beginning of the battle here.)

The sight that made those men weep led to one of the most enduring images of the war and perhaps the 20th century. The Joe Rosenthal Associated Press photograph of a flag-raising on Suribachi was printed in that very issue of TIME, with a caption noting that the moment would “rank with Valley Forge, Gettysburg and Tarawa.” And, within weeks, the picture had become, as TIME reported then, “easily the most widely printed photograph of World War II.”

But did the photograph actually capture the moment that made the marines cry? It’s hard to be certain. Rosenthal’s photo wasn’t of the first moment the mountain was captured and claimed, as TIME explained:

Along with the praise came inevitable murmurs that the sculptural symmetry of the picture was “too good to be true.” Last week short (5 ft. 6 in.), bespectacled, mustached Associated Press Photographer Rosenthal, 33, camera veteran of Guadalcanal, Guam and Peleliu got back to the U.S. Said he: the picture was taken without one word of direction by him, was completely unposed.

Along with him came the full story of the first flag raising on Mt. Suribachi (Rosenthal’s was the second) and the bad luck of Marine Photographer Louis R. Lowery. On D-plus-four, Sergeant Lowery, the only photographer present, scrambled to the top of 546-ft. Suribachi, took 56 pictures of marines raising a 3-ft. American flag under heavy fire. A Jap grenade landed at Lowery’s feet; he ducked, tumbled 50 feet down the side of the volcano, wrenched his side, smashed his camera. For all his pains, his shot of Iwo’s first flag raising was far from dramatic. A few hours later, when firing was less severe but still continuing, a second band of marines made their way to the top, planted a larger flag in the same spot. This time A.P.’s Rosenthal was along, got his great picture.

And, the article added, neither of those moments were official. Though the high point had been captured, it would take weeks for the marines to take the whole island. It wasn’t until March, when that mission had been accomplished, that the U.S.’s Admiral Chester Nimitz supervised the official raising of an American flag at Suribachi.

Read next: The True History Behind Downton Abbey’s Anti-Semitism Storyline

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TIME relationships

World War II Veteran Reunited With Love Letter He Wrote 70 Years Ago

Bill Moore wrote the letter to the woman who would become his wife in 1945

In 1945, while fighting in World War II, Bill Moore wrote his beloved girlfriend, Bernadean, a love letter. Seventy years later, the recently rediscovered letter is back in the hands of the still-smitten writer – and serves as a poignant reminder of his lost love.

“I was really surprised, because I had no idea it would show up in the way it did,” Moore told ABC 7 in Denver after a determined stranger found the letter and made sure it was returned to its rightful owner.

When Ilene Ortiz brought home a record she had purchased at a thrift shop in Colorado, she was surprised to find a love letter inside.

“I thought, ‘This is such a romantic letter and someone should have it,’ ” Ortiz also told ABC 7 in Denver after contacting the news station for help locating the owner.

Six months later, she got in touch with the couple’s daughter, Melinda Gale, who couldn’t believe her eyes.

Turns out, Bernadean had saved all the letters Bill sent her, but they got lost after she died in 2010, after 63 years of marriage. Gale and her father, now 90, are grateful to now have this one.

“Most of their dating was through letters in the war,” Gale told the outlet. “I can’t even imagine their relationship and how hard it would have been to love one another so very much and to never know what was going to happen.”

The letter from 20-year-old Bill reads, “My darling, lovable, alluring, Bernadean. I ran out of space, but I could have written a lot more adjectives describing you. You are so lovely, darling, that I often wonder how it is possible that you are mine. I’m really the luckiest guy in the world, you know. And you are the reason, Bernadean. Even your name sounds lovely to me. It’s just when I get so horribly, terribly lonely for you that I write letters like this. I have never been so homesick for anyone in my life as I am for you.”

“They had so many great, wonderful years together that just going back to the beginning is always something that’s an amazing thing,” Gale said. “This is the most wonderful gift.”

Seventy years after first penning the letter, it’s clear Bill’s passion for Bernadean still burns bright.

“I loved her,” he told ABC 7 through tears. “And she loved me. That’s all I can tell you, that it’s a heartache not being with her all the time.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME conflict

Cables from Iwo Jima: An Eye-Witness Account of the World War II Battle

Iwo Jima Map
TIME From the Mar. 5, 1945, issue of TIME

The Battle of Iwo Jima began on Feb. 19, 1945

On Iwo Jima last week at least 40,000 Marines fought to the death with 20,000 entrenched Japanese in an area so constricted that the troops engaged averaged twelve men to an acre. Ashore with the marines, TIME Correspondent Robert Sherrod radioed his account of the battle…

With those words, the Mar. 5, 1945, issue of TIME launched into a description of the horror and bravery that Sherrod had witnessed in the days since the U.S. struck the island of Iwo Jima — 70 years ago, on Feb. 19, 1945 — in what would be one of the Allies’ most crucial World War II victories. As the magazine explained the readers, the island itself wasn’t much, just a few square miles of beach and cliffs, but it was one of best-defended locations in the world. Going in, it was known that the Marines who fought there would likely take heavy casualties, but that there was no other option: winning Iwo Jima — site of airfields used by the Japanese, which would be game-changers if put to use for U.S. airstrikes of Tokyo — was absolutely necessary.

Seven decades after the battles, Sherrod’s cables to his editors provide unusual insight into the experience at Iwo Jima. They’re written during the fighting, and the man behind them was uniquely qualified to comment on what he was seeing: Sherrod had covered battles throughout the Pacific, and in 1944 had published a book, Tarawa: The Story of a Battle, about what he experienced on that atoll. (He would go on to write a book about his later experiences too, On to Westward: the Battles of Saipan and Iwo Jima.)

Sherrod had gone ashore with a combat team on the day the battle began and, in the Feb. 26 issue, TIME was able to quote from a message that he had radioed from before the attack. Typically, issue dates are a week ahead of publication, which means it would have been printed pretty much as soon as his Feb. 19 message arrived. In describing the fighting that had begun, the magazine passed on his warning to readers that “there is little overoptimism to be found among admirals, generals or their troops.” In fact, Sherrod’s cable had been a warning to his editors, not to readers: “I suggest that you confine this week’s action report to a simple statement that we have landed on Iwo Jima,” he also wrote, cautioning that the magazine should not rely on reports from any newer journalists among those present, who might “endeavor to win the war in the first flash.”

The next message from Iwo Jima came on Feb. 21, with the note that it would arrive in time to be printed in LIFE magazine (TIME’s sister publication) but not in TIME itself; LIFE did end up printing nearly the entire cable, about 2,500 words long, pretty much verbatim. (Interestingly, the magazine cut out some of his less objective passages, which are highlights in hindsight: “But the ultimate factor in the fall of Iwo Jima can be attributed only to the character and courage of the United States marines. In war there comes a time when power alone has reached its limits, when planes no longer can be called upon to deliver bombs effectively, when ships have no more shells to fire, when defenses will no longer yield before fire power, however heavy. That is the time when men on foot must pay for yardage with their lives. That is when they call on the marines,” he wrote. LIFE printed only the first sentence.)

Further messages arrived over the next few days, as the Marines captured Mount Suribachi and a Japanese airfield, among other objectives. “This is a record of twenty-four hours in Iwo Jima,” the Feb. 24 missive began. “It covers the period between 4:00 PM of the fifth day and 4:00 PM of the sixth day, but it might apply to any twenty-four hours in the day following our landing and capture of Motoyama airfield number one. After that early capture, the Iwo Jima battle settled down in the same grueling routine described herein – the slow advance of the front lines, the incessant booming of our artillery and naval gunfire, the monotonous whine of the Jap snipers’ bullets.”

That cable, combined with some details from the earlier messages, became the main Mar. 5 report on the situation, which ran under the headline “It Was Sickening to Watch…” accompanied by the map reproduced above.

At left, a page from a cable sent by TIME correspondent Robert Sherrod on Feb. 24, 1945. At right, a page from the Mar. 5, 1945, issue of TIME. The highlights have been added to indicate how Sherrod’s observations were used by the magazine. On a desktop, roll over the picture to zoom; on mobile, click to zoom.


Not every detail of that 24-hour period made it to print, including his sign-off, telling his editors that he could look forward “to another 24-hour period of creeping warfare, and to other similar periods after that.”

Many such days would follow: the battle would last more than a month.

Read the full story, here in the TIME Vault: It Was Sickening to Watch…

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