There was a war, a great war, and now it is over

On November 11th of 1918, the First World War effectively came to an end with the signing of the armistice—an agreement between Allied and German forces to end, with immediate effect, all hostilies and withdraw troops from the battlefield. Peace, at last, after four years of fighting and more than 16 million deaths. Shortly after the armistice

Must we hate them?

In April of 1937, Jamaican-born mechanic Canute Frankson left his home in Detroit and travelled to Europe to join the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, a group of approximately 2,800 American volunteers who were keen to offer support in the fight against Franco and his supporters during the Spanish Civil War. Three months after arriving, Frankson wrote the following powerful

You must not worry about Santa

In 1961, immediately after overhearing her parents discuss the possibility of Soviet nuclear tests at the North Pole, 8-year-old Michelle Rochon grabbed a pencil and wrote a letter to U.S. President John F. Kennedy, in which she asked him to prevent the tests for one particular reason. Her letter, and the reply she soon received

It’s a strange and confusing world

In October 1974, as he lay on his death bed at the end of a battle with cancer and reflected on his past, Clyde S. Shield (pictured above) wrote the following heartfelt letter to his 3-week-old grandson and offered some poignant advice for the road ahead. 30 years previous, Clyde had played a significant role in

Grow up as good revolutionaries

In 1955, Argentinean-born Che Guevara met Fidel Castro and quickly joined his efforts to oust Fulgencio Batista as leader of Cuba — a revolution in which he would go on to play a major role and which would lead to Guevara becoming Finance Minister under Castro’s rule. By 1965, Guevara was keen to spread his

Sleep well my love

The following heart-rending love letter was written by American World War II veteran Brian Keith to Dave, a fellow soldier he met and fell in love with in 1943 while stationed in North Africa. It was penned on the occasion of their anniversary and reprinted in September of 1961 by ONE Magazine, a groundbreaking pro-gay magazine first published in

I will always be there with you

On May 1st of 2003, just weeks after being deployed to Iraq, Army Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, of Springfield, Missouri was killed when his tank fell into the Euphrates river. He was 34-years-old. Shortly after his death, the following farewell letter was delivered to his bereaved wife, Melissa, and his 6-year-old stepson, Dakota (“Toad”). Melissa and

The sacrifice is not in vain

In November of 1918, just days after the end of World War I was announced, a young soldier named Richard Hogan was hospitalised in France with influenza. Two weeks later, he passed away. Shortly after his burial, Maude Fisher, the American Red Cross nurse who had cared for him during his final days, wrote the

Sin-sationally, Mae West

In 1942, midway through World War II, Hollywood actress Mae West discovered that RAF aircrew had taken to calling their life jackets “Mae Wests” — in part due to rhyming slang, and also as a result of their “bulging” shape when inflated. West, delighted to be playing even a minuscule part in proceedings, immediately wrote the following letter to the RAF. (Source: Air Force Association, 1943;

You are not so kind as you used to be

It’s difficult to imagine the stress experienced by Winston Churchill in June of 1940, as WWII gathered pace just a couple of months after he first became Prime Minister. Behind the scenes, however, the weight on his shoulders was noticed and felt by all those around him — so much so that on the 27th of

To Hell with Hitler

In 1940, a year after fleeing Nazi Germany and setting up home in New York, the writer of the following letter attempted to enlist with the U.S. Armed Forces; however, his application was denied for one incredible reason: his uncle was Adolf Hitler. He wasn’t deterred, and two years later, a few months after his

I shall be waiting for you

In 1615, having successfully commanded an army at the Battle of Imafuku some months before, 22-year-old Japanese samurai and “peerless hero of the nation” Kimura Shigenari once again prepared to lead his men at the Siege of Osaka, despite his troops being heavily outnumbered. His young wife, Lady Shigenari, feared the worst and, having decided not

The real heroes are the parents

In July of 1918, whilst serving as an ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, Ernest Hemingway was seriously wounded in a mortar attack that resulted in both legs being “riddled” with shrapnel and a six month stay in a Milan hospital. Three months after the incident, as he recuperated, 19-year-old Hemingway wrote the following letter

Remember the Ladies

As you read the following letter, in which Abigail Adams boldly asks her husband — future U.S. President, John Adams — to “remember the ladies” when drafting new laws or else fear rebellion from the female population, bear in mind that it was sent over 200 years ago, at the start of the American Revolutionary War — a time when women had very

You will then know how to talke to me

In September of 1864, as the American Civil War approached its conclusion, a slave-turned-soldier named Spotswood Rice wrote the following furious letter to his former owner, Katherine Diggs, and sternly warned her that she would soon be seeing him again: he was returning to Missouri, together with a thousand-strong army of black soldiers, to rescue

I shall always be near you

In 1861, as the American Civil War approached, a 32-year-old lawyer named Sullivan Ballou left his wife of five years and two sons at home, and joined the war effort as a major in the Union Army. On July 14th of that year, acutely aware that particularly perilous times were ahead, he wrote, but didn’t

America is pretty empty without you kids

Groucho Marx wrote this lovely letter to U.S. troops stationed in Suriname in 1943, in response to a request from a Corporal Darrow to send a morale-boosting message. Groucho doesn’t disappoint, and cracks a couple of gentle jokes about life back home and his attempt to grow some vegetables; there are even a few genuinely

The price for ridding society of bad is always high

In June of 1945, this striking letter arrived at the home of 3-year-old Dennis Helms in Washington, written on a sheet of Adolf Hitler‘s letterhead. It had been penned by his father, Lt. Richard Helms, an intelligence operative with the OSS who, following Germany’s surrender the month before, had managed to acquire some of the

We want more Coca Cola

[We now have a postal address. More details here.] As World War I continued in April of 1918 and temperatures soared in Waco, Texas, 4’000 U.S. soldiers at Camp MacArthur faced a morale-denting dilemma in the form of a Coca Cola shortage. Obviously this was an unacceptable situation, and so, as troops faced “defeat at

Please ask Ike to bring Elvis back

The following pleading letter is just one of thousands sent by desperate fans of Elvis Presley to the White House in the late-1950s, in an effort to have the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll returned to the United States from Germany, where he was posted with the U.S. Army. This particular missive was sent by

Subject: Toilet Paper

On June 11th of 1942 (not 1943, as the memo’s opening typo states), the Commanding Officer of USS Skipjack, Lt. Commander James Wiggins Coe, sent the following sarcastic memo to the Navy’s supply department at Mare Island. At this point it had been almost a year since crew aboard the submarine had placed a simple

You are directly responsible for the loss of our son’s life

The following angry letter was sent to then-U.S. President Harry Truman in 1953 by the father of George Banning, a young soldier who had recently been killed whilst serving in the Korean War. When Truman passed away 20 years later, this letter was discovered in his desk along with Banning’s posthumously awarded Purple Heart. Transcript follows.

11 ALIVE…NEED SMALL BOAT…KENNEDY

On August 2nd of 1943, whilst serving as commander of the PT-109 during World War II, John F. Kennedy and crew  (pictured above, JFK on the right) were rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri; their boat instantly halved by the impact and two of the crew killed. Six days later, stranded in the Solomon Islands with

Finished with the War: A Soldier’s Declaration

In July of 1917, mid-World War I, following a period of convalescent leave during which he had decided to make a stand by not returning to duty, celebrated poet Siegfried Sassoon sent the following open letter to his commanding officer and refused to return to the trenches. The reaction was widespread, thanks in no small part to

Permission to land

Top-left: A Huey thrown overboard; Top-right: Buang-Ly lands safely; Bottom: A rapturous welcome On April 30th of 1975, with the Vietnam War coming to a close and the U.S. evacuating as many people as possible from South Vietnam in Operation Frequent Wind, crew aboard the USS Midway were surprised to see a small two-seat Cessna O-1 Bird

Scientists have a special responsibility

On the 5th of April, 1955, Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell sent the following letter to Albert Einstein along with a rough draft of what would soon be known as the Russell-Einstein Manifesto – a written warning to the world’s population on the dangers of nuclear weapons, and a plea for all leaders to avoid war when faced with

I’m the nurse in your famous shot

On August 14th of 1945, as millions celebrated the surrender of Japan and, effectively, the end of World War II, photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped the above picture of an elated sailor kissing a nurse in New York’s Times Square. Within a week it had been published in LIFE magazine, and to this day remains one of the

However, since you are twelve…

These days Bill Dobrow is a successful drummer, having recorded and toured with a whole host of successful acts that include The Black Crowes, Sean Lennon, and Martha Wainwright; however a career in music wasn’t always his dream, as evidenced by the following rejection letter he once received after applying to become a Marine. Hats off to

Ezra Pound is obviously crazy

In addition to being one of the most influential figures in the world of modern poetry, highly-regarded American poet, editor and critic Ezra Pound also became one of the literary world’s most controversial characters when, in 1945 – at which point he lived in Rome – he was arrested by the U.S. Army after recording

I don’t support Clay’s decision to refuse induction

“Ain’t no Vietcong ever called me Nigger.” – Muhammad Ali, 1966. In a frank letter to friend William Reinmuth in May of 1967, retired heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano weighs in on the debate surrounding fellow boxer Muhammad Ali‘s public refusal, in 1966, to serve in the U. S. Army during the Vietnam War. The situation

The War is officially ended

On August 15th of 1945 – following six years of conflict, two atomic bombs, and the deaths of over 50 million people – Hirohito announced the surrender of Japan to the Japanese population, effectively bringing World War II to an end, and as word soon spread through various channels a sigh of relief slowly swept across the globe. Below is

Our government doesn’t give a fuck about our troops

From celebrated humanist, author and one-time prisoner of war, the late-Kurt Vonnegut, comes a 1991 letter to activist Robert Henry Walz, in which the Slaughterhouse Five novelist responds to a request for assistance with regards to the support of American war veterans. Writing just four months after the end of the Gulf War, Vonnegut was

Your products are stronger than the atomic bomb

On August 6th of 1945, at 08:15hrs, the Enola Gay B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. 43 seconds later, it detonated. Tragically, very little survived the explosion, including many thousands of the city’s inhabitants and countless buildings, but the letter seen below–sent five years later by the manager of

Thomas Pynchon on plagiarism

1977: Romance novelist Lucilla Andrews‘ autobiography, No Time for Romance, is published. In it, she describes, in detail, her experiences as a nurse during World War II. 2001: Atonement – an Ian McEwan novel in which the heroine at one point works as a wartime nurse – is released to much critical acclaim. In the

Be an unbeatable person and avenge my death

On the evening of May 23rd, 1945, in the Japanese town of Chiran, Masanobu Kuno sat down and hand-wrote the following farewell letter to his 5-year-old son, Masanori, and 2-year-old daughter, Kiyoko. The next day, Captain Kuno proudly boarded his explosive-laden aircraft, took to the skies and, as did thousands of other Kamikaze pilots during World War

Speaks through his nose and cannot pronounce the letter S

Sent in December of 1899 by Boer police, the following telegram marked the beginning of a hunt for an escaped prisoner of The Boer War. The young man – a British war correspondent who walked with ‘a slight stoop’, had an ‘almost invisible’ moustache and was ‘unable to pronounce the letter S’ – happened to

Neo-Nazis, Syphilis, and World War III

In 1972, a far-reaching neo-Nazi organisation discreetly began to contact various high-profile authors in the U.S. with a view to enlisting their help; the plan being to covertly plant codewords into millions of science fiction novels and spread a secret message to certain sections of society. The message related to a new, deadly, and incurable

Tesla’s Death Ray

In his later years, the supremely gifted Nikola Tesla announced to the public the ongoing development of Teleforce, a stunningly powerful, highly controversial new invention that was to act as an instrument of national defense. Dubbed ‘The Death Ray’ by press, Tesla’s charged particle beam weapon promised, initially via a 1934 New York Times article: [to]

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade

On the evening of June 5th, 1944, just hours prior to the D-day landings in Normandy, copies of the letter seen below – Eisenhower‘s Order of the Day – were distributed to members of the allied forces. The meticulously crafted, highly encouraging call-to-arms was drafted by Eisenhower himself over a period of four months, and

These bastards let your brother die

To usher in the weekend we have a blistering attack on early-science fiction fandom from an unlikely source: science fiction novelist Robert Heinlein. In a letter to super-fan Forrest Ackerman, written during the final months of World War II, Heinlein begins by offering his condolences following the death of Ackerman’s brother whilst serving his country, then

FOR HEAVENS SAKE STOP IT

October, 1918: Trapped behind enemy lines in Charlevaux, France, and surrounded by hundreds of German troops, the few hundred surviving members of the Lost Battalion soon had another problem to deal with in the form of friendly fire. His men rapidly succumbing to the onslaught and with two birds already shot down, Major Charles Whittlesay

I’m trying very hard to be a regular soldier

It was 1959, and not long ago the unspeakable had happened: Elvis Presley had been called up for national service. Now stationed in Friedberg, Germany, many miles from home, he was finding it difficult to cope with the constant stream of mail reaching him from all corners of the globe; many of his fans still

Posterity is quite apt to be a little rough on you

Late 1946, a preview screening of The Beginning or the End – a dramatisation of the events surrounding the bombing of Hiroshima – was arranged for then-U.S. President Harry Truman and his aides. They were unhappy, in particular due to Roman Bohnen‘s unflattering portrayal of Truman when deciding – quite quickly and with little consideration

Joan of Arc’s Call for Arms

November 9th, 1429, with her forces’ weaponry and other supplies severely depleted following months of successful fighting, Joan of Arc dictated and signed the following letter to the population of Riom in the hope of rounding up replenishments in time for the Siege of La Charité. Approximately 17 years of age and illiterate, Jeanne was more

Fifty Lady Sharpshooters Await

As the Spanish-American War loomed in April of 1898, celebrity sharpshooter Annie Oakley – a Buffalo Bill performer so famous that she was essentially the world’s first female superstar – decided to donate her resources to the government by sending the following letter to then-U.S. President William McKinley. The offer was simple: Oakley would supply the

When a real and final catastrophe should befall us…

On April 9th, 1948, a month before Israel declared independence, just over one hundred residents of Deir Yassin were massacred by members of two militant Zionist groups – Lehi and Irgun – as part of an effort to cleanse the area of its Arab population. The next day, Albert Einstein wrote the following passionate letter

Life on the battlefield is different from the movie version

Writing letters of admiration to Hollywood pin-ups was a regular pastime for many soldiers during World War II, and the gracious responses and photos they received went some way to boosting troops’ morale at such uncertain times. In 1943, Lieutenant Norman Klinker wrote such a letter to Hollywood actress Donna Reed (It’s a Wonderful Life,

How many lives are you willing to sacrifice?

August 2nd, 1990: Tensions originating from the Iran-Iraq War spill over and Iraqi troops invade Kuwait. Within days they take control of the country and its oil fields. August 7th, 1990: Sensing the potential for a similar invasion of oil-rich Saudi Arabia, U.S. troops gather in the Kingdom in order to defend the area. Operation

You must not even think of settlement during the war.

As World War II took hold, Rolex benefited from its growing reputation and unofficially became the brand of choice amongst British Royal Air Force pilots. Of course as captured pilots became prisoners their watches were confiscated, and when he caught wind of the situation the company’s founder – Hans Wilsdorf – offered to replace them,

A cunning suggestion

In a valiant attempt to keep her father at home during World War II, ten year old Carolyn Weatherhogg sent the following letter to the White House in October of 1943. Since 1942 the U.S. Army had drafted new recruits by way of a lottery system, and as luck would have it Carolyn’s father had

Pardon me

Sensing an opportunity to be pardoned of all previous crimes, William Bonney – a man of many names, now best known as Billy the Kid – approached Governor Lew Wallace in 1878 and offered to stand as a prosecution witness. Bonney had recently observed the murder of a lawyer during the final stages of the

Thank you Bob

In 1997, as a result of his tireless efforts to entertain American troops and campaign on their behalf, an act of congress was signed which resulted in Bob Hope becoming the world’s ‘first and only honorary veteran of the U.S. armed forces’. Nothing illustrates the effect of Hope’s humanitarian work more than the following letter,

The Quill Letter

I’ve spoken before about the secretive communication methods used during the Revolutionary War – see The Masked Letter and Fire or Acid – and here’s another, decidedly lower-tech example: The Quill Letter. The idea was simple and effective: messages were delicately written on long, extremely thin strips of paper, then rolled up and inserted into

Hostages For World Peace

Circa 1986, Jeremy Stone (then-President of the Federation of American Scientists) asked Owen Chamberlain to forward to him any ideas he may have which would ‘make useful arms control initiatives’. Chamberlain – a highly intelligent, hugely influential Nobel laureate in physics who discovered the antiproton – responded with the fantastic letter seen below, the contents

This rain of atomic bombs will increase manyfold in fury

At 11:00am on August 9th, 1945, just a minute before the second atomic bomb in the space of three days was dropped on Japan, a B-29 bomber named The Great Artiste quietly dropped three canisters from the sky. Inside each of the canisters, alongside a shockwave gauge designed by American physicist Luis Alvarez, was an

THIS IS NO DRILL

At 07:58am on December 7th, 1941, Commander Logan C. Ramsey ordered the following telegram to be sent to all ships in the Hawaiian area after watching a low-flying plane drop a bomb on Ford Island. Ramsey had in fact just witnessed the very beginning of a coordinated attack on Pearl Harbor in which the Japanese, over the

Daddy, my Poppy hasn’t grown yet

On May 11th, 1964, the following heartwarming letter was written by war veteran David Bailey in relation to a missing Returned from Active Service badge. I’ll offer no more details so as not to spoil the story. Transcript follows. Thanks to Linda for the tip.  Source Transcript 16 Lambeth Street,PANANIA.11th May, 1964 The Officer in

Slaughterhouse Five

In December of 1944, whilst behind enemy lines during the Rhineland Campaign, 22-year-old Private Kurt Vonnegut was captured by Wehrmacht troops and subsequently became a prisoner of war. A month later, Vonnegut and his fellow PoWs reached a Dresden work camp where they were imprisoned in an underground slaughterhouse known by German soldiers as “Schlachthof

Thousands of other Daddies went too…

On October 21st of 1942, not long after being called to New Guinea to fight the Japanese forces during World War II, a young Australian soldier named John Byrnes decided to write to his 2-year-old daughter in an effort to explain his situation. His letter can be seen below. It’s beyond beautiful. (Update: It seems

There is no time to be tactful

For fans of Mad Men it will prove difficult to learn of the story behind ‘Peace, Little Girl‘ – a brutal 60 second television spot which first aired on September 7, 1964 – and not imagine the offices of Sterling Cooper. The ad was conceived by agency Doyle Dane Bernbach on behalf of President Lyndon

Life unworthy of life

July 1933: Adolf Hitler passes the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, in turn enforcing the compulsory sterilisation of any citizen with a “genetic defect.” Defects include schizophrenia, deafness and even chronic alcoholism. In the coming years, approximately 400,000 sterilisations will be carried out. May 1939: Hitler — as per a request from

If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong

Three years into the American Civil War, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln wrote the following letter in order to summarise on paper some points he had previously made regarding the recruitment of slaves as Union soldiers and, ultimately, their freeing from the institution of slavery itself. Come the end of the war, all slaves in the

Full Metal Jacket offers no easy answers

On September 30th, 1988, a full year after controversially being classified VM18 by Italian authorities, Full Metal Jacket was reclassified and given a VM14 rating in Italy, effectively allowing anyone over the age of 13 to watch the movie. The original decision in 1987 had sparked much debate in the media, mainly as a result

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Two years into World War I, on January 16th of 1917, the following coded telegram was sent by German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann (via the German Ambassador in Washington) to the German Ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. In it, Zimmermann told Eckardt to approach the President of Mexico with a view to forming a

The lowest class of people I ever heard of

Whilst stationed in Egypt in 1941, Australian soldier Jim Moody befriended a stray puppy. The animal – Horrie – quickly became the entire battalion’s mascot and guard dog, accompanying them through Greece, Crete, Palestine and Syria. Horrie worked as a messenger, warned of approaching aircraft as a result of his acute hearing, and survived a

Einstein’s One Great Mistake

On August 2nd, 1939, after consultation with fellow physicists Leó Szilárd and Eugene Wigner, Albert Einstein signed the following letter to then-U.S. President, Franklin Roosevelt. The letter warned that the construction of an atomic bomb using uranium was indeed possible, advised the U.S. Government to invest time and money into its research, and then hinted that

We all feel like that now and then

At the height of World War II on April 6th, 1943, the British Ambassador to Moscow, Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, wrote a letter to Foreign Office minister Lord Reginald Pembroke in an effort to simply brighten up his day–a letter which has since become a classic piece of correspondence for reasons that will soon become

The birth of Roger Thornhill

Late theatre critic and arts editor Otis L. Guernsey wrote the following letter to Alfred Hitchcock in 1957. In it, he effectively handed over the rights to a movie idea he had already suggested to the director in the early 1950s, the treatment of which Hitchcock subsequently bought from Guernsey for $10,000. This ‘fake masterspy’

Whatever you do, don’t touch his hair

On January 8th, 1957, a press conference confirmed millions of music lovers’ worst fears: that Elvis Presley would soon be drafted into military service. For the next 14 months – at which point his induction took place – countless Presley fans became consumed with panic and spent much of their time speculating about the King

Fire or Acid

American physicist Benjamin Thompson wrote the following letter in 1775 at the start of the American Revolutionary War, a war during which Thompson, a loyalist, acted as a spy for the British Army. The letter actually contains two different messages. The first, longer message spans three pages, was readable by all and is notable in

I refuse to allow Stanley to get away with his robbery

Whilst serving as a combat correspondent during the Vietnam War, U.S. Marine Gustav Hasford began to write a semi-autobiographical novel entitled The Short-Timers. Released in 1979 to critical acclaim and later picked up by Stanley Kubrick, the book was adapted to become Full Metal Jacket, but not without problems, as disputes arose between Hasford and

Lord Luv a Duck, Gov’nor

Prior to being called up as a B-17 pilot during World War II, David ‘Bud’ Swift worked as an animator’s assistant – and later animator – at Disney, initially under the watchful eye of Ward Kimball. His handiwork can be seen in films such as Pinocchio and Fantasia. The following amusing letter was sent to

The things I saw beggar description

The concentration camp in Ohrdruf was the first to be liberated by U.S. forces during World War II, and just a week later, General Dwight D. Eisenhower paid a visit in order to survey the scene. The following letter, in which Eisenhower describes said experience, was written by the future President three days later and

To one and all I wish a speedy victory

As World War II took hold, the re-routing of seaborne traffic resulted in an incredibly slow international postage system. As a result the General Post Office, after seeking a speedier method by which to send correspondence to troops stationed in the Middle East, introduced Airgraph. In short, postal workers photographed each message and then flew

The Masked Letter

Written by a frustrated Lt. General Sir Henry Clinton during the Revolutionary War in 1777, this beautifully crafted Masked Letter is a perfect example of early coded correspondence. The letter reads perfectly well on its own, however only when you place a mask over the paper does the true meaning appear. Incredibly clever, and surprisingly

For the sake of my conscience

A guilty conscience caused the following anonymous letter to be sent to the Secretary of the Treasury in 1899, over thirty years after the Civil War in which this hungry Union soldier managed to secure an extra loaf of bread at mealtime. As you can see, the enclosed dollar – a healthy sum of money

I can pay you back with penny stamps

Ann Kemp sent the following ‘secret’ letter to her father in 1945 while he was at war. She was 12yrs old at the time and clearly had problems budgeting. Source Transcript 4-12-45Tuesday. Dear Daddy This is just a very secret letter between you and I. I really do not like asking you, but do you

He put up a great fight against Fritz

Below is a letter sent by the Australian Red Cross to the wife of Leslie Clark – a soldier who perished whilst fighting in France during the First World War – 8 months after her husband’s death. The letter confirms his passing and then, using a quote from a fellow soldier, tells of a previous

Do Not Lose This Letter

At the height of the Cold War in 1957, the following, horrific letter was issued to key personnel working on the biological weapons program (BW) at Fort Detrick, this particular example having landed in the lap of someone within the Atmospheric Sciences division. In a nutshell, anyone who received a letter similar to this one

It was hard to give five sons to the Navy

November, 1942: Five brothers, all serving on the same vessel during World War II, are killed in action as a result of said warship sinking at the Battle of the Solomons. Two months later, after hearing no word from the Navy regarding her sons’ well-being, Alleta Sullivan writes the following, deeply moving letter to the

And a bomb was dropped

Written in April 1966 and now declassified, the following letter from then Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, W. J. Howard, to Chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Chet Holifield, lists four separate incidents which resulted in nuclear weapons being lost and never recovered. According to Howard, the first two incidents listed in

From your Daddy and pal always

On September 27th of 1945, whilst on a ship headed for Sydney, Australian soldier Charles Castle wrote the following emotional letter to his young son after being released from Changi‘s Prisoner of War Camp — a camp at which he had been held captive for 3 years — and announced his imminent return. Charles eventually arrived

Everything you hear is true

A heartbreaking letter, and farewell, from a brother to his sister. At the time of writing, Herbert Langer was based in Terezín, a Czech town which was used as a Nazi German concentration camp by the Gestapo during World War II. Herbert’s sister Elly – the intended recipient of the letter – was living in

It would be best for the country to keep baseball going

On December 7th of 1941, the Japanese Navy carried out a devastating attack on the U.S.’s naval base at Pearl Harbor, and ultimately sealed the Americans’ participation in World War II.  Just a month later, Kenesaw Landis — then-Commissioner of Baseball in the U.S. — asked President Roosevelt whether the upcoming baseball season should be called off in

How noble a woman’s heart can be

On July 17th of 1915, Winston Churchill wrote the following letter, sealed it in an envelope marked, “To be sent to Mrs Churchill in the event of my death,” and then rejoined the army. Luckily, his wife, Clementine, never had reason to open it. Churchill became Prime Minister 25 years later. Transcript follows. (Source: University of

For the sake of humanity

On July 23rd of 1939, as tensions mounted in Europe following Germany’s occupation of Czechoslovakia, Mohandas Gandhi, the famously non-violent leader of the Indian independence movement, wrote a letter to the man who was orchestrating what would become World War II: the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler. As it happens, Gandhi’s letter—a clear and

God is great….God is great

On December 26th of 2003, less than a fortnight after his capture, Saddam Hussein gave the following letter to his jailers. In it, he complained of beatings, sleep deprivation due to the sounds associated with others being tortured, and generally poor conditions.  He was executed 3 years later. Translation follows. (Source: Daily News; Image: Saddam Hussein at trial in