A Musician Caught Between Art and Politics is Forced to Explain his Actions

Chenango River Theatre is presenting Ronald Harwood's play 'Taking Sides'. Wilhelm Furtwängler was the best conductor of his time.  Unfortunately that time included Nazi Germany and World War II.  He remained in Germany, an ardent opponent of the Nazis, insulated by his great fame, and useful as a propaganda tool.  Yet, after the war, his actions were judged suspect. 'Taking Sides' explores the interrogations he experienced. Actor James Wetzel talks about playing the American Major charged with forcing Furtwängler to admit that he willingly collaborated with the Nazis. http://wskg.org/audio/sidesmix.mp3

 

Photo Credit: iClassical.com via Flickr

 

 

Female World War II Veteran gets Historic Marker in Owego

Today, a new historic marker was dedicated in Owego honoring the life and service of Corporal Margaret Hastings. Born in 1914, Cpl. Hastings grew up in Owego and joined the Women’s Army Corps, or WACs, in 1944. On May 13, 1945, as the Second World War drew to a close, Cpl. Hastings boarded a transport plane with 23 other service men and women. It was for a sightseeing trip over the uncharted jungles of Papua New Guinea. However, the pleasure cruise ended unexpectedly when the plane crashed violently into the side of a mountain.

Corporal Margaret Hastings | #tbt

Today's throwback Thursday photograph shows Owego, New York, native Corporal Margaret Hastings on her Victory Bond tour at the close of World War II. In Spring, 1945, Owego native Corporal Margaret Hastings boarded a transport plane with 23 other service men and women. It was for a sightseeing trip over the uncharted jungles of Papua New Guinea. But the trip ended when the plane crashed violently into the side of a mountain. Cpl. Hastings was one of only three survivors.

Clara Cook

In December of 1941, America was thrust into World War II and thousands of young men and women answered the call to enlist. This included star athletes and Major League Baseball players like Bob Feller, Ted Williams, and Joe DiMaggio. In order to keep the sport of professional baseball vibrant and in the public eye during the war, baseball executives formed a new league – The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. One of the leagues first players was a fast pitch left-hander named Clara Cook. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OhieuZy87w

‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Links:

Path Through History
Chemung Valley History Museum
National Baseball Hall of Fame

Photos Courtesy of:
Chemung County Historical Society

Rescue from "Shangril-La" | #tbt

In today's throwback Thursday photograph, residents of Owego, NY welcome back one of their World War II hometown heroes  – Corporal Margaret Hastings. On May 13, 1945, Cpl. Hastings was on a sightseeing flight over the uncharted jungles of Papua New Guinea, nicknamed “Shangril-La", with twenty-three other service men and women. Her plane crashed violently into the side of a mountain and Hastings was one of only three survivors. Cpl. Hastings and the two other survivors of the crash were finally rescued from the remote jungle valley over a month later on June 28, 1945. The story of Cpl. Hastings' rescue made her a media sensation and she was given a hero's welcome upon her return to Owego.

'So Close to Home' Illuminates a Little-Known World War II Event

Recently, New York Times bestselling author Michael J. Tougias spoke with WSKG History about his new book, “So Close to Home: A True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival During World War II" (2016). Co-written with journalist Alison O’Leary, “So Close to Home” chronicles a U-boat attack in the Gulf of Mexico, a family’s resilience, and the daring patrol of the submarine commander. Michael J. Tougias is the author and co-author of over 20 books, including “The Finest Hours” (2009) which was adapted into a major motion picture starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck in 2016. Many of his books have a predominant theme of true survival-at-sea adventures. He has also written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, USA Today, and many other publications. Listen to the interview:

(The partial transcript below has been edited for clarity.)

 

Interview Highlights
On the war in the Atlantic

When the U.S. entered the war with Germany, the first thing the Germans did was launch Operation Drumbeat. They sent over U-boats here before we could become proficient at defending against them, and it was like a turkey shoot.

Lt. Col. George J. Haley

During the fast paced aerial dogfights over Europe during World War II, the first all-black fighter group known as the Tuskegee Airmen would make history and ultimately help break the military color barrier. Lt. Col. George Haley, of Bath, NY would be one of the 900 elite fighter pilots in this historic group. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXXhhQzpC1g

‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Links:
Path Through History
WSKG’s Path Through History
Steuben County Historical Society

Photos Courtesy of:
Steuben County Historical Society
Library of Congress

Corporal Margaret Hastings

On May 13, 1945, as the Second World War drew to a close, twenty-four American service men and women boarded a transport plane for a sightseeing trip over the uncharted jungles of Papua New Guinea know as “Shangril-La”. However their pleasure cruise ended unexpectedly in tragedy, crashing violently into the side of a mountain. Corporal Margaret Hastings, an Owego, New York native, was among the three survivors of the crash. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDeTx8s7ofg

‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Links:
Path Through History
WSKG’s Path Through History
Tioga County Historical Society

Photos Courtesy of:
Tioga County Historical Society
Library of Congress

Cornell ROTC | #tbt

During World War II, colleges and universities across the country expanded their ROTC programs and participated in other military training programs. This was especially true at Cornell University where there were both specialized army and navy training programs. In all, over 20,000 students who trained at Cornell during the war would serve in World War II. Our new local history documentary, "Class of the Century" explores how World War II and the G.I. Bill helped forever change the landscape of higher education in America. https://youtu.be/y21cLFB8rb8?list=PLkEiFS5w2pdmio2Y73g5lrQVfXkcYrLsP

Photo courtesy of The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell.