Archive for November, 2012

This is Lindbergh’s diary entry about figh

Monday, November 26th, 2012

“My tracers and my 20’s spatter on his plane.”

Lindbergh kept a diary describing the day he shot down his only enemy fighter. We join his story as he flies with a squadron of four P-38 “Lightning” fighters to attack a Japanese airfield on an island near New Guinea. Below them they see two enemy aircraft and prepare to attack:

“July 28

We jettison our drop tanks, switch on our guns, and nose down to the attack. One Jap plane banks sharply toward the airstrip and the protection of the antiaircraft guns. The second heads off into the haze and clouds. Colonel MacDonald gets a full deflection shot on the first, starts him smoking, and forces him to reverse his bank.

We are spaced 1,000 feet apart. Captain [Danforth] Miller gets in a short deflection burst with no noticeable effect. I start firing as the plane is completing its turn in my direction. I see the tracers and the 20’s [20mm. cannon] find their mark, a hail of shells directly on the target. But he straightens out and flies directly toward me.

I hold the trigger down and my sight on his engine as we approach head on. My tracers and my 20’s spatter on his plane. We are close – too close – hurtling at each other at more than 500 miles an hour. I pull back on the controls. His plane zooms suddenly upward with extraordinary sharpness.

I pull back with all the strength I have. Will we hit? His plane, before a slender toy in my sight, looms huge in size. A second passes – two three – I can see the finning on his engine cylinders. There is a rough jolt of air as he shoots past behind me.

By how much did we miss? Ten feet? Probably less than that. There is no time to consider or feel afraid. I am climbing steeply. I bank to the left. No, that will take me into the ack-ack fire above Amahai strip. I reverse to the right. It all has taken seconds.

My eyes sweep the sky for aircraft. Those are only P-38’s and the plane I have just shot down. He is starting down in a wing over – out of control. The nose goes down. The plane turns slightly as it picks up speed-down-down-down toward the sea. A fountain of spray-white foam on the water-waves circling outward as from a stone tossed in a pool-the waves merge into those of the sea-the foam disappears – the surface is as it was before.

P-38 Lightning

My wingman is with me, but I have broken from my flight. There are six P-38’s circling the area where the enemy plane went down. But all six planes turn out to be from another squadron. I call ‘Possum 1,’ and get a reply which I think says they are above the cloud layer. It is thin, and I climb up through on instruments. But there are no planes in sight, and I have lost my wingman. I dive back down but all planes below have disappeared, too. Radio reception is so poor that I can get no further contact. I climb back into the clouds and take up course for home, cutting through the tops and keeping a sharp lookout for enemy planes above. Finally make radio contact with ‘Possum’ flight and tell them I will join them over our original rendezvous point (the Pisang Islands).

The heavies are bombing as I sight the Boela strips; I turn in that direction to get a better view. They have started a large fire in the oil-well area of Boela – a great column of black smoke rising higher and higher in the air. The bombers are out of range, so the ack-ack concentrates on me-black puffs of smoke all around, but none nearby. I weave out of range and take up course for the Pisang Islands again. I arrive about five minutes ahead of my flight. We join and take up course for Biak Island. Landed at Mokmer strip at 1555.

(Lieutenant Miller, my wingman, reported seeing the tracers of the Jap plane shooting at me. I was so concentrated on my own firing that I did not see the flashes of his guns. Miller said the plane rolled over out of control right after he passed me. Apparently my bullets had either severed the controls or killed the pilot.)”

References:
Lindbergh’s account appears in: Lindbergh, Charles, A., The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh (1970); Berg, A. Scott

Journal Week 13

Monday, November 19th, 2012

In the article, “That’s Not What I Said,” it was an interesting point when the author discussed that sometimes for the interviewer it is important to remember how the interview went and that can help you remember the interview. People can identify with a story based on how the story is told. In order to understand why or how someone is retelling a story, you have to understand their thought process. From the authors explanation of the events of the story, or the sub-context of the story, an interviewer has a difficult task in analyzing the importance of a seemingly unimportant event. This is important because sometimes the interviewee does not think a particular event is important, but the job of the interviewer is to dissect this and find the importance.

The article, “Oral History Theory,” was a dense reading with a lot of information. Like “That’s Not What I Said,” the author informs the interviewer needs to understand the historical significance of the topic in which she/he is interviewing. The interviewer is assigned with the task to find out how and why something is said. Everything has importance, even if it may not seem that way. Oral history is all about interpreting, and the interviewer has to be careful not to interpret something in a biased fashion. The theory of oral history is just as important as the information because in order to extract the important information one needs to understand the theories and how to get the important information out of the interviewee.

All of the readings this week were related. They all go over why interviews are important and why the methods to interviewing are just as important to obtain valuable information in your interviews.

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Journal

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Michael Corrigan

I think this week’s readings only reinforce many of the things we have been discussing the entire semester. The articles present many problems that oral histories can run in to. I can’t remember which article it was from a few weeks ago that talked about how a person’s oral history represents more than just a personal story but rather it is an example of collective history and how that person fit into history. The reading also talked about ways to interpret an interview. I love seeing the many ways in which we, as oral historians, can read and use an oral history to learn about more than just one person. V I think one of the most important things I’ve learned from this reading and over the entire semester is that while memory is important, forgetfulness or lapses in memory are just as important. We as historians have to examine our interviews for broader implications provided by our narrators. That is to say that we have to look at not only what they said, but how they said it or what they did not say. Every week we learn more about how Oral History provides alternative glimpses and strategies to learning about history and this week was no exception. This week’s reading was largely theoretical but I found it to be just as useful as the other concrete readings over the past few weeks. I believe that theory, more specifically the theories for studying history, reveal how imprecise history can be. But does that make it bad or completely useless?

Word Count: 275

Primary Source Week 13

Monday, November 19th, 2012

This is a prime example of a World War II propaganda poster. The poster tells people to buy war bonds and stamps in order to defeat the Fascist Nazi’s.

University of Montana, Montana Museum of Arts & Culture, “WWII Propaganda Posters,” 1943. http://www.umt.edu/montanamuseum/permanent/americanartwork/ww2propagandaposters.aspx. Accessed November 18, 2012.

Primary Source 9

Monday, November 19th, 2012

This is a World War II propaganda film made in 1942. Superman takes part in the war effort to destroy parts of Japan. Clark and Lois are imprisoned reporters and Superman gets the Japanese ruffled up. He knocks their ships into the ocean. He takes down the ships so easily; a whole American ship could do the same. It shows that Americans need to take an active participation in the war.

http://archive.org/details/superman_eleventh_hour (video)

Archive.org. “Superman: Eleventh Hour.” http://archive.org/details/superman_eleventh_hour (accessed November 18, 2012).

National Guard

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The National Guard is preparing to leave for Summer Camp in 1939. It is interesting to note that their hats were wide brimmed and their pants were tucked into their shoes. I wonder if they dressed that way for safety and practical reasons.

Smith post

Monday, November 19th, 2012

            Smith argued that oral history interviews are significant because they show individual’s personal role in history and offer a reinterpretation of  historical events. It was interesting when he talked about symbols and motifs being displayed in different life stories. I realize that my interviews have many different themes, which offer an understanding of  both historical context and progression. It surprised me that he brought back Portelli and cited his research as an example of one of the ways to interpret the oral history interviews. Coming back to Portelli after doing the interviews changed the meaning behind the message that he was trying to put across about learning from things people said and the presentation of events. Transcribing allows me to see the progression of historical event and its individual impacts. Instead of seeing historical events in the broader scope of changing society, now I am seeing how it is something that influences both the decisions and responses of individuals on the ground.

            Narrative analysis allows the interviewer to take a closer look at the historical memory and its influence on the next generation. For example, we all grew up hearing about Rosie the Riveter, but it personally took on new meaning for me when listening to women describe their World War II experience in the context of their perception of who Rosie the Riveter was. To me, Rosie the Riveter was a feminist heroine urging women to get out of the domestic sphere and into the workforce. For many women during World War II, they saw it as an patriotic duty to get involved so they could support their male counterparts. The historical memory and the interpretation of historical event are very closely linked even though they differ.

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Journal 12

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The readings for this week bring up important ways to interpret and analyze an interview. As I was reading through the various ways an interview should be used I found myself asking how my interviews would hold up or fit in with what the various authors discussed. I know my narrators did not tell me the whole story of their lives and chose not to mention certain things and opted for more pleasant topics to discuss, but they also were not pressured to talk or not talk about certain things like in Dona Maria’s case. I agree its important to figure out what each narrator’s motive is in agreeing to be interviewed and being cognizant of what effect that might have on the resulting narrative. After reading these articles I realized how much I want their stories to be fact, how satisfying it would be to hear the truth about the past from someone who lived through it. But, its not that easy. Smith’s article stresses how the narratives obtained from the interviewees are more a reflection of the society’s collective memory, how events and experiences have been shared  and discussed and interpreted way before your interview took place so what you get are stories that have been told over and over, shared and changed depending on the audience until they get to a point where they are a figment of what they once were and have only the framework of the original experience. When most of our interviewees are 80, 90 something years old imagine how many times their stories have been told over the dinner table, at parties, etc. Something else I’ve come up with after reading my interviews is how do my narrators want to be remembered?

Journal 9

Monday, November 19th, 2012

In Katherine Borland’s That’s Not What I Said: Interpretive Conflict in Oral Narrative Research, Borland states the oral narratives occur naturally. Oral historians just take those, record them, write them down, and analyze them. Feminist theory ties into the examination Borland’s grandmother’s narrative. Her story shows that horse racing was a male sphere and we can examine her grandmother as a figure in that sphere. Borland’s feminist interpretation of her grandmother’s story was her own, even though her grandmother believed that it changed her story. The concern is what historians do with the texts of narratives and how people interpret them. Everyone interprets history in his or her own way. In Richard Candida Smith’s Analytic Strategies for Oral History Interviews, Smith brings up that the narrator has analyzed their oral history. We then take that with primary/secondary sources to evaluate their narrative. We can use this because Smith looks at the different approaches we could take for analysis. For example, we can look at how the narrator stereotypes his or her self or how they viewed their role. It’s interesting that both Daniel James and Richard Smith use Paul Thompson’s The Voice of the Past and question the validity of a narrative. James also said, “oral testimony speaks far more directly to the domain of working-class experience.” (122) Both of my interviewee’s families were working-class Americans. We can look at workers’ experiences and how they see the changes in the world around them. We can use their memory to examine parts of history that can’t be in a graph and question it at the same time, due to memory loss or old age. (273 words)

Primary Source

Monday, November 19th, 2012

My interviewee Ms. Mills and her family were affected by the construction of Fort A.P. Hill. Her family lived on a farm which became part of the military base and they were forced to move from their home. This photo shows some of the original construction on the base in June 1942. Many civilians lost their homes and farm land to the government due to land use for the base.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortaphill/page9/