History research links page to find people, aircraft, naval and other original data sources.
I have always liked reading about historical occurrences. History CAN teach you a lot of things and it especially can teach you why things are the way there are today due to past happenings. Unfortunately, most schools never teach a practical aspect of history -- just rote learning. I certainly never learned how to apply what I learned during history classes to everyday life during my first 12 years of mandatory school. I learned a lot more about history, and applied it to everyday needs, on my own than I ever did during those 12 years of classes.
I read out the history sections in my school libraries during my early education. This is one reason why I got to like Science Fiction so much. After reading out the history section in Junior High (Middle School to West Coast people) a librarian told me to try "When Worlds Collide" which got me into reading Science Fiction books.
A strange learning of history can be obtained by reading "The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy" (THHGTTG) by Douglas Adams. A radio series, BBC TV series, books and a movie (in 2005) has been done about it. It is based on what he actually experienced in life.
History can be fun. Here is what the Gettysburg Address would be like if done in Microsoft PowerPoint® now-a-days. Even learning your own personal history can be a lot of fun. At ancestry.com you can review obit information, marriage records, war info, and much more that will illustrate exactly who your relatives were and what they did. I subscribe to Fold3.com since it has all the MACR addresses, unit rosters, naval records, photos, civil war records - lots of military recrods and photographs that I do research on.
I've been a long time board gamer ever since 1968 when Lou Zochhi came out with "Battle of Britain" game. Since then computers have really supplanted the game play in many areas. The "fog of war" can really be simulated well with the new games. However, I still enjoy playing these board games. You both can see your enemy, you know what units can do, but you have no idea how the player will really use them. Avalon Hill International Kriegspiel Society - AHIKS - came into being to facilitate people playing both Face to Face (FTF) but also Play By Mail (PBM). I've been a member for decades. Their site has more information and the benefits of joining.
Flying Buffalo Inc. (FBI), is a company that I have known about since 1972. It does facilitates multi-player PBM games of all sorts. Before Star Wars was ever created they had a game that allowed you to capture the galaxy - - Star Web. Also Nuclear Destruction, Tunnel and Trolls plus many other games. Though not direct history, the games do teach you both diplomatic and military strategy.
You can learn a lot when you visit museums. Michael A. Blaugher wrote a book with a list of over 900 aircraft museums that you can visit just in the USA and Canada. Outside of the North American continent there are a lot of great ones that I went to in England aside from the Imperial War Museum in London England. (If there also see the HMS Belfast and the Cabinet War Rooms.) Many were real small but still much better than the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. In every museum you visit you can learn something. You have to have an open mind and a willingness to learn. Locally in Portland Oregon you can go to the Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver Washington to see how great a small museum can be. There are lots of aviation museums on the web now. A good source to see a list of museums is at http://www.landings.com/_landings/pages/museums.html
Going further south, like in New Zealand, there is http://www.nzfpm.co.nz/ New Zealand Fighter Pilot Museum. The Alpine fighter collection is based at Wanaka, and Sir Tim Wallis's airfield is the sight of the biannual air show. The next show is during Easter 2002. In 2000 they had Mustangs, Kittyhawks (P-40), a Hurricane IID, a Spitfire Mk XVI, 3 Polikarpov I53, 5 Polikarpov I16, a Mig 15, Vampires, 6 Chinese Nanchangs, 3 Yak 52, a Catalina PBY, Fouga Magister, a ME 108 plus other interesting vintage aircraft. There were also newer aircraft which had to operate out of a very small field. They even had two flight demonstration teams, the Red Checkers and Black Falcons.
North of NZ around two thousand miles away are the Philippines where Erwin Jabor runs a web site on World War II German Helicopters They had a few flying in 1942 but the politics delayed funding and priority research into vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.
Locally in Oregon there is the Oregon Military Museum in Clackamas County.
There are many official government sources for history. These sources can be what is considered "original source", compilations from official sources or summary of summaries! Historians like to read original documents (flight logs, after action reports, letters from participants (written at the time) to get the facts and then interpret them from there.However, even original source items needs to be cross checked at times. I checked out July 4, 1942 since I read about the first raid by the 8th AF in the official WWII Air Force magazine "Impact" which was "restricted" reading during the war. In it they state 3 aircraft were lost and 4 dispatched while the above site states only 2 were lost and 8 dispatched. Seeing that you would have to now go to the unit histories and the Luftwaffe histories to find out who is really right.
A great source for US Army Air Forces is the Army Air Forces Statistical Digest.
If you are into researching WW II, WW I, Civil War, and other conflicts or just history in general - Fold3.com is a great place to purchase a membership into. I use it to research MACRs for the WW II aircraft losses. They also have Naval records of WW II and lots of other unusual research data. The Fold 3 refers to the way a US flag is folded.
During WW-II almost every side had specialized troops - - including Mountain troops. The US had the 10th (Mountain) Division and it still exists today as an active division. The Germans had a few mountain divisions also. This is a good research site http://www.gebirgsjaeger.4mg.com/ on German Mountain Troops.
For those who like to ride the rails than fly the wing, going to http://www.4449.com gets you to the web site of the SP steam train 4449. The other local train in Portland is the Spokane, Portland and Seattle 700 steam engine.
These two engines just do not sit in a museum! During the summer they are back on the rails in the Pacific NW on limited excursions (some lasting 2 to 5 days). Their web sites have details on upcoming steamings.
I also have a section on the site just for images that I take of trains.
Here is a page with some information and images from the World War I battlefields that I have been to.
Here is a site about one of the battlefields that I visited at Vimy Ridge.
If you want to go back further you can read Spy Letters of The American Revolution at the University of Michigan web site. I have not posted images that I have of the 1st Maryland Regiment firing their cannon (with live grapeshot) or other Revolutionary war reenactment pictures that I have
In the USA there actually is a National WWI Museum - built right under the Liberty Memorial built to honor those who served in WW I in Kansas City, Kansas. 100 W. National World War 1 Museum, 26th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108-4616.
A link for WWII posters is at http://www.library.northwestern.edu/govpub/collections/wwii-posters/adv-search.html
Course you do have to read to learn in detail about history. For example you can read Patton's speech to the Third Army and learn a lot about General George S. Patton the leader and his philosophy.
One of the most famous British units was 616 Squadron who flew Spitfires during World War II. This site, http://www.redtwo.demon.co.uk/616/Welcomehist.htm is about that unit and the people who flew in it - - including the likes of "Johnnie" Johnson, Douglas Bader (who flew with a pair of artificial legs) and others is a site where you can read about a specific unit's history.
Another UK site is called http://alliesinwar.com - - the site was called "My Sugar Babe" after the slang terms that GI's called the girls while over in the United Kingdom during World War II but had to change due to copyright issues of a band that is based in the UK. Why was that term used? Since the GI's dated so many women while there, and if they could not remember a girl's name they called her "sugar" or "babe" so they would not get in trouble!
One of the nice things about time is that after a while people just like talking and learning about history even those of their then enemy at the time. Here is a German site dedicated to B-17s! http://b17.ixy.de/
This is a image that I took back in 1995 of a US Civil War reenactment which was a Civil War reenactment at McIver park in Estacada outside of Portland.
I have a whole page of this US Civil War Re-Enactment at McIver Park, Estacada Oregon 2004 with comments and explanations where needed.
They do not always re-enact here in the states. This US Civil War reenactment photograph I took August of 1998 at Audley End House in England!
I also visit real battlefields. Gettysburg, Bull Run and others along the East Coast of the US. At Bull Run I took this picture of the stone bridge that the Union forces retreated across (twice!).
To find out more about US Civil War go to www.civilwar.org .
Castles in Wales (27K) like Harlech Castle is a great place to visit and learn lots of interesting and useful facts. The building, including the financing of them the local politics that were involved and even how the landscape changed over time can be learned about during a visit. I even learned more about the Gulf steam and how it effects climate in Wales during the visit to the castle! Of course there are people who live in Wales and have photos and history of these castles on the web like this link http://www.castlewales.com/home.html.
There are many web and physical places to visit in Western Europe. There are as many in Eastern Europe also. Many places that were once impossible to visit (easily) are now open. There is still some danger but they are there. One place I would like to visit is the countries that were part of the USSR. I would like to visit Stalingrad and other places from that points westwards. Of course I would need years to visit all the places that I have only read about!
To dine in a WWII atmosphere one restaurant chain uses various bomber, fighter, transport or other WWII aviation units as a base theme to decorate their establishments. They have original WWII items all over the place. There is one located at the San Jose Airport (west side) using Air Transport Command as a theme and there is another one just south of Philadelphia using the 56th Fighter group as a theme. Good food and a great a atmosphere!
If you want to read a REAL good book find "Between Silk and Cyanide" and read about the real exploits of a British code master.
Airplanes (28K) are quite special. I not only like flying them (full scale and R/C) but enjoy trying to photograph them. I strive to capture the essence and spirit of the times that they were built in. To photograph planes (just like most other objects and people) is always a challenge. The local Aviation Museum for the Portland area is Pearson Air Museum and Airpark located right off of I-5 at the Columbia River in Vancouver Washington. Four other local Aviation museums in the Northwest are at Boeing Field outside Seattle, Olympia, McMinnville, and the Tillamook Blimp Hanger Museum on the Oregon Coast. Belonging to the Pearson museum gives you free admission into the Tillamook, Seattle museums and vice versa.
An aviation museum that opened up in 1999 is in the Tri-Cities area of Washington Pasco-Richland-Kenniwick Located in the a 1926 building this museum was inspired by Charlie McAllister who opened his flight school in this building.
He had his pilot license signed by Orville Wright. Charlie is mentioned in the Pearson museum new two hour video about the history of Pearson field that was recently completed. The air mail route that he bid on, won and flew in Washington in the late 20s and early 30s later merged with Boeing Air Services and then became United Airlines! It is located on Yakima airport.
A guide to help find aircraft museums has been published for many years can be found at www.aircraftmuseums.com Guide to Over 900 Aircraft Museums 22nd Edition ISBN 0-9749772-0-9
1192 Aircraft Museums in the United States and 125 Aircraft Museums in Canada
that are Alphabetically Listed by State, City and Museum. Each Museum Has :
Address, Phone, Hours, Price and List of all Aircraft, Gift Shop, Cafe, Theater,
249 City Parks or Legions with Aircraft
59 Restaurants with Aircraft In/Outside or part of the facility.
62 USS Naval Ship Museums; 34 Cities with WWII Landmarks
26 Places that offer rides in aircraft 9100 Aircraft listed alphabetically in the guide and which museum it belongs.
It retails for $20.
I have been purchasing this guide for myself since I first found out about it in 1978.
There are many local history web sites that deal with specific battles or events. One such site is The War Over Findon in the UK. Findon is in Sussex. These people, living where the action actually took place, have a much easier time doing research than those who live elsewhere and can only hope to visit once in a while.
A site in Sweden has short synopsis of various aircraft and a few pictures is called The Aviation History Online Museum but is still a work in progress.
There are many fine small museums around — but you have to really hunt to find them. Small museums just cannot spend lots of money to advertise. Here in Oregon this is one such one called the Oregon Military Museum in the city of Clackamas. (P.O. Box 2516, Clackamas, Oregon 97015-2516; located on Camp Withycombe; 503-557-5359; Friday-Saturday 9 AM to 5 PM).
These small museums usually have a VERY good collection. Most items are donated to them and people have collected some of the most unusual items. They brought some aerial WW II era aircraft guns to a meeting of the 8th AF Society in 2002. Pretty neat stuff.
As a Member of the 8th Air Force Historical Society you can read about current and past experiences of the people who flew in the 8th AF out of England in their magazine and for a little while longer meet them.
The main HQ / Museum is in Savannah Georgia.See the Mighty 8th Air Force Historical Society web site.
The Oregon Chapter Eighth Air Force Historical Society also now has a web site.
This is another small outfit based in Vancouver Washington. They collect, educate and display all things Marines. Sgt. Major Robert Burns is the POC for this outfit. 14300 NE 71st Street; Vancouver, Wa. 98682. 360-891-3818. E-mail him at dlfrompl @ aol.com.
B-17G Texas Raider S/N 44-83872 The "Nose Art" that appears on many planes, like this on the nose of B-17G Flying Fortress, is a work of art itself. I have around 300 photos of just nose art from various aircraft. Most were shot at the Reno Air Races. I've shot others at Troutdale, Vacaville, Duxford, Manston, Hawkinge, Castle AFB and many other museums or airports that I have passed through.
There are some artists that takes old a/c parts and creates original or re-creates famous aircraft nose art for purchase.
It is always best to read a lot of books, magazines before you go out in search of history. There are thousands of publishers but very few distributors that specialize in military related books. The Scholar's Bookshelf (military section) is a commercial firm. They put out flyers that deal exclusively with military history. The Naval Institute Press (where "Hunt for Red October" was first published) is another type of distribution point for military books. The more you know about a particular historical occurrence, geography the better you can appreciate it when you get there -- and the easier it may be to find it!
Due to my interest in Science Fiction I made a side trip to Wales to visit "The Village." Portmeirion is the name of the village where the location shots of series was filmed. Along the way if you stop in Llangollen, you can go into the Dr. Who Museum.
Number 6's entrance to his quarters in "The Prisoner" series
These small firms are a good place to find history books.
GreenWood Publishing Group is a firm that distributes academic books.
Aero Vintage is a good source for books and videos.
Another source for videos is Rare Aviation.
Various firms specialize in history books. The University of Nebraska press is one such place. The Scholar's Bookshelf, Naval Institute Press and others.
Some really small publishers, like Rienner Publishers, occasionally have unusual history books. You only find out about them (like I did) by accident.
A Site for Trying to Get Publishers interested in Your BookBull Run of Vermont, Inc., where people have posted what they have written and are looking for publishers. It has only WW 2 stores from what I saw in the list from people who are looking for a publisher. The site is NOT dedicated for this, but is really a trout stream site!
However, this is useful for finding out what people are trying to get published.
It is always best to read a lot of books, magazines, online histories before you go out to a physical site. The more you know about a particular area, problems, reasons things happened the way they did, and what exactly happened, you can appreciate it that much more when you physically get there and -- it may be easier to find it!