Pritzker Military Museum & Library

Pritzker Military Museum & Library The PMML features books, exhibits, live webcasts, and audio podcasts about the military history and affairs.
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In commemoration of D-Day, and in support of our upcoming exhibit D-Day +75, we've compiled a list of interesting facts ...
05/14/2019

In commemoration of D-Day, and in support of our upcoming exhibit D-Day +75, we've compiled a list of interesting facts to review in anticipation of the 75th anniversary and our exhibits premier, June 6th.

1. D-Day (Operation Overlord) occurred on June 6th, 1944 but was initially planned for June 5th. The operation was delayed 24 hours due to weather.

2. This was the largest amphibious (land and water) invasion in history, with more than 13,000 aircraft and 5,000 ships supporting the operation.

3. Normandy was chosen in hope of surprising the Germans. The Germans expected the Allies to focus on Pas de Calais, as it was the closest point to the UK. Normandy was selected as it still was within flying distance and had a port.

4. Operation Bodyguard was the deception campaign to mask the true location and timing of the Normandy landings. This initial campaign deployed decoy convoys, simulated air assaults, and created fictitious army groups set to invade Norway and Pas-de-Calais, France. As the closest point to England, Pas-de-Calais was where the Germans believed the Allies would attack. This false intelligence created enough confusion that even after D-Day Hitler believed the true invasion had not yet occurred.

5. D-Day action centered around five beaches: "Utah," "Omaha," "Gold," "Juno," and "Sword." In all, the D-Day beaches were part of a 50-mile coastline. The Canadian 3rd Division landed on Juno; British forces touched down on Gold and Sword; and the Americans were sent to Utah and Omaha. Omaha saw the most bloodshed - 2400 American casualties and 1200 German casualties.

6. The “D” in D-Day actually only stood for Day and was simply used to preserve secrecy. For every day after D-Day, the name changed to D-Day +1 (June 7), D-Day +2 (June 8) and so on.

7. The success of Operation Overlord was due in large part to the actions of the nearly 20,000 Allied paratroopers and glider infantrymen who dropped behind the German lines early on June 6. The men of the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions completed rigorous training for nearly two years prior to D-Day, but less than half had ever made a combat jump.

8. As the men of these airborne divisions flew over the coast of France shortly after midnight on June 6, they attracted heavy anti-aircraft fire, forcing many to jump well off their intended course and resulting in the first American casualties of the day. While figures vary, nearly 2,500 airborne troops would become casualties on D-Day alone, and only about 1 in 6 landing in their intended locations.

9. More than 1,000 Higgins boats made their way to shore on D-Day. Packed inside each boat were upwards of three dozen infantrymen, many of whom became sea-sick in the journey. The Higgins boat was named after its creator Andrew Higgins, who designed the boat based off of designs for operating in swamps and marshes. Higgins may have originally designed the boats for people intending to smuggle illegal liquor into the US during Prohibition or for it to be flat-used to rescue flood victims on the Mississippi river in the US.

10. Adolf Hitler was asleep when word of the invasion arrived. No one dared wake him and it’s said vital time was lost in sending reinforcements.

Learn more about D-Day in our new exhibit, D-Day+75, opening on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6th. Visit pritzkermilitary.org for more information.

Pritzker Military Museum & Library's cover photo
05/14/2019

Pritzker Military Museum & Library's cover photo

05/13/2019
D-Day +75 Announcement

Opening June 6th, 2019 on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, D-Day +75 gives resonance to the collaborative intelligence gathering, logistics, deception campaign, and post-landing plans that worked in concert to allow the Allied push towards Germany.

This exhibit brings together documents from the Museum & Library’s large collection of World War II images and artifacts, as well as those from the partner institutions such as the National WWII Museum, the National Archives, and Naval History and Heritage Command. Incorporating both visual and audio components, the exhibit works chronologically to show how multi-dimensional the operation needed to be in order to succeed.

Learn more at http://www.pritzkermilitary.org/DDay75

Throughout the 1800s, and entering into the 20th century, the British Empire was known for having the largest naval forc...
05/10/2019
Trent Hone: Learning War: The Evolution of Fighting Doctrine in the US Navy, 1898-1945 | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago

Throughout the 1800s, and entering into the 20th century, the British Empire was known for having the largest naval force. However, after winning two major battles during the 1898 Spanish–American War, the United States Navy continued to build upon its strengths, and by 1921 had more men and women in uniform than the British Royal Navy.

“Learning War” by author Trent Hone examines the U.S. Navy's doctrinal development from 1898-1945 and explains why the Navy in that era was so successful at fostering innovation. Catch this discussion in the latest episode of Pritzker Military Presents, airing 5/4 on WTTW-Prime at 9am!

LEARN MORE: https://bit.ly/2N5UhqK

Trent Hone visits the Museum & Library to discuss his book which explains the US Navy's development of doctrine from 1898 to 1945 and reveals how the Navy embraced innovation.

#OnThisDay in 1968, after 34 days of going back and forth in selection of a site, the Vietnam peace talks begin between ...
05/10/2019

#OnThisDay in 1968, after 34 days of going back and forth in selection of a site, the Vietnam peace talks begin between the United States and North Vietnam, after finally agreeing to begin formal negotiations in Paris.

The beginning of negotiations brought a burst of hope that the Vietnam War might be more quickly settled than originally anticipated. Unfortunately, the peace talks quickly slipped into a monotonous procedure of weekly meetings, during which both sides would repeatedly hold their traditional positions without ever appearing to come close to any form of resolution.

The original meetings were tarnished with quarrels over procedure and even moments of bickering over the types of furniture to be used. The North Vietnamese demanded the extraction of U.S. troops, the dissolution of the South Vietnamese government, and the return to the principles of the Geneva Accords. On the other hand, the United States maintained their desire that Hanoi recognize the sovereignty of South Vietnam government. The two parties were so fundamentally opposed that any sort of compromise or settlement seemed impossible.

The Paris peace talks would last for more than four years, plagued with setbacks and cessations from day one. Finally, in January of 1973, after President Nixon ordered the suspension of U.S. bombings of North Vietnam, the Paris Peace Accords were formally signed by representatives from the U.S., North and South Vietnam and the National Liberation Front.

The agreement removed the US from the conflict in Vietnam and by August 15, 1973, 95% of American troops and their allies had left Vietnam, though Nixon had secretly promised South Vietnam aid should it be necessary. Nixon’s subsequent resignation due to Watergate and the loss of public approval for the war led to Congress refusing additional military support despite North Vietnam continuing to enlarge its control. By 1975, Saigon had fallen to the North Vietnamese army and the US evacuated the last of its diplomatic, military and civilian personnel from Saigon via helicopter in April, 1975.

If you’d like to learn more about this period in history, please check out our website where you’ll find our past exhibit on the Vietnam War, Faces of War. See the exhibit here: https://bit.ly/2Uk4Yfc

#OnThisDay in 1941, the British Royal Navy successfully completed “The Secret Capture”. The Secret Capture was a Bri...
05/09/2019

#OnThisDay in 1941, the British Royal Navy successfully completed “The Secret Capture”. The Secret Capture was a British operation to intercept and capture the German submarine U-110, examine and investigate the contents of the sub, and then sink the U-boat a day later, a fact kept from the survivors of the submarine’s crew. The capture of the German submarine U-110 gave the British valuable code books, charts, ciphers and, most significantly, a complete and undamaged Enigma machine.

This capture by the British was a significant achievement, not only because the capture of a U-boat on high seas was rare, but also because submarine crews had the tendency to destroy their boats rather than let them fall under enemy control. In this specific case, Kapitänleutnant Fritz Julius Lemp (Commander of the U-110) ordered his crew to abandon the ship, thinking he was about to be rammed by the oncoming British destroyer. Lemp’s final order was, “Last stop. Everybody off.”

The Enigma Machine, the German’s highly secret cipher machine, was taken to Bletchley Park in England where cryptographers like Alan Turing worked towards breaking and understanding the German naval code. Two months after the capture of U-110, on July 9th, British cryptologists successfully broke the secret code that was used to direct the German army’s ground-to-air operations on the Eastern front.

Assuming that the U-110 had sank with its secrets intact, the Germans failed to recognize that their code had been broken. The information intercepted after the code was broken dramatically helped the Allies during the remainder of WWII, especially during the Battle of the Atlantic.

If you’d like to learn more about code breaking in WWII, please check out a program we did with John Prados and Gerhard Weinberg during last year’s On War Military History Symposium. In this episode of Pritzker Military Presents, Dr. Weinberg and John Prados discuss the importance of code breaking and espionage throughout the Second World War. Watch here: https://bit.ly/2DXoBQI

Image borrowed from Wikipedia

Today is Victory in Europe Day! Commonly referred to as V-E Day, today is a day of celebration as we remember Nazi Germa...
05/08/2019

Today is Victory in Europe Day! Commonly referred to as V-E Day, today is a day of celebration as we remember Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of May 8th, 1945 – formally ending World War II in Europe.

#OnThisDay in 1945, the United States and its ally Great Britain celebrated their defeat over the army of Nazi Germany. The 8th of May marks the day when German troops throughout Europe – in Prague, Copenhagen, Oslo, Karlshorst, and Latvia – surrendered to allied forces in a cease-fire. The act of military surrender was originally signed around 3am on May 7th in SHAEF Headquarters at Reims, however, later a slightly adapted document was signed in Berlin on May 8th.

Cities across the Unites States, Great Britain, and formerly occupied cities across Western Europe raised flags and banners, reveling in the defeat of the Nazi party. More than 1 million people celebrated throughout the streets of Great Britain, a massive celebration commenced in New York’s Time Square, and Truman gave a speech where he stated that this victory made that day his most enjoyable birthday, dedicating the victory to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Although the war had been won against Nazi Germany, both Churchill and Truman pointed out that the war against Japan was still a concern. On V-E Day Churchill, in a radio broadcast, is quoted saying, “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing as Japan remains unsubdued” and Truman said that the day was “a victory only half won”. Both leaders were well aware of the fight to come, despite celebrating with the rest of the world #OnThisDay in 1945.

Learn more: https://bit.ly/2VPv2iX

#OnThisDay in 1984, Vietnam veterans accepted a $180 Million settlement, avoiding a long-scheduled trial, surrounding th...
05/07/2019

#OnThisDay in 1984, Vietnam veterans accepted a $180 Million settlement, avoiding a long-scheduled trial, surrounding the issue of Agent Orange.

The settlement came as a surprise after five grueling years of litigation between the lawyers representing veterans and the manufacturers of Agent Orange - the Monsanto Company, the Diamond Shamrock Corporation, the T. H. Agriculture and Nutrition Company, and the Thompson Chemical Company.
Within the settlement agreements, the companies involved denied any liability for the veterans’ health problems. However, the large sum they settled on indicates otherwise and the amount was the largest settlement in history at the time.

The $180 Million fund created by the companies involved with Agent Orange, set up for the thousands of Vietnam veterans and their families affected by the herbicide began accruing interest immediately. The fund accrued interest at rates of about $61,000 per day, amounting to around $21 million per year, and was anticipated to last 25 years. This amount and timeline was shaped with the idea that within 25 years of Agent Orange being dispersed, all illnesses and genetic damage to unborn children caused by the herbicide would have vanished. The fund was closed in 1997 after all the assets had been distributed to both veterans and social service organizations.

According to documents made public throughout litigation, Agent Orange was contaminated by unpredictable trace amounts of dioxin, an extremely toxic impurity created during its manufacturing that has caused illness and death in laboratory animals but whose effects on humans remained uncertain at the time. Between 1961 and 1971, the U.S. Army sprayed some 12 million gallons of Agent Orange over a large portion of southern Vietnam.

If you’d like to learn more about Agent Orange and how it was used during the Vietnam War, please check out our website where you’ll find a number of books written on the subject. See here: https://bit.ly/2Wu451z

Comic from 1981 by Bill Mauldin: In 1981, the U.S. government revealed that substantial numbers of servicemen on military bases in Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange when planes on defoliation missions had to jettison cargo. Some veterans blamed the herbicide for a variety of diseases, including cancer, birth defects in their children, miscarriages, impotence, respiratory problems and liver, skin, nerve and emotional disorders, but the Veterans Administration said it had no evidence that exposure caused any problem other than a skin disorder, and refused to pay disability compensation to veterans who ascribed their ailments to Agent Orange.

In honor of #NationalNursesDay we wanted to highlight those who have served our armed forces as nurses since the dawn of...
05/06/2019

In honor of #NationalNursesDay we wanted to highlight those who have served our armed forces as nurses since the dawn of war. Below you’ll find a list of books that discuss in detail the experiences that nurses went through while helping out on and off the battlefield.

We’ve also included some links to Oral Histories out staff has completed with nurses who shared their stories with us, as part of our Holt Oral History Program. Take a look below.

Books:

Revolutionary War: https://bit.ly/2J355qj

Civil War: https://bit.ly/2vGBj1W

WW1: https://bit.ly/2JiNvOl

WW2: https://bit.ly/2Y72a3p

Korea: https://bit.ly/2ZZNJju

Vietnam: https://bit.ly/2WpQEiV

Iraq/Afghanistan: https://bit.ly/2VjbCnh

Oral Histories:

Diana J. Ramsey, 1st Lieutenant: https://bit.ly/2IUzLLd

Ruth Berger, 1st Lieutenant: https://bit.ly/2WridZh

General Lengyel serves as the 28th Chief of the National Guard Bureau and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In t...
05/03/2019
General Joseph L. Lengyel: Chief of the National Guard Bureau | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago

General Lengyel serves as the 28th Chief of the National Guard Bureau and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he serves as a military adviser to the President, Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and is the Department of Defense’s official channel of communication to the Governors and State Adjutants General on all matters pertaining to the National Guard.

Don’t forget to check out WTTW-Prime this Saturday morning at 9am for our latest episode of Pritzker Military Presents featuring a discussion led by Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Joseph L. Lengyel.

LEARN MORE: https://bit.ly/2Se8VBP

General Joseph Lengyel visits the Museum & Library to talk about his service and the role of the National Guard. General Joseph L. Lengyel serves as the 28th Chief of the National Guard Bureau and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This morning, Al Lynch and members of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library attended the graduation ceremony for the US...
05/03/2019

This morning, Al Lynch and members of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library attended the graduation ceremony for the US Army Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia at the National Infantry Museum, where Al was the graduation keynote speaker. While there, he met with recruits and signed copies of his book, Zero to Hero.

As a thank you, his was gifted an ax from the graduating 2-58 Infantry battalion. The 2-58 is a patriot battalion and the ax dates back to the original weapons used starting in 1917 when the battalion was first activated, when they either carried a knife, hatchet or a musket.

Please see photos below and make sure to buy your copy of Zero to Hero (available at pritzkermilitary.org/zerotohero)

#OnThisDay in 1469, Italian philosopher and writer Niccolo Machiavelli was born. Machiavelli was an outspoken proponent ...
05/03/2019

#OnThisDay in 1469, Italian philosopher and writer Niccolo Machiavelli was born. Machiavelli was an outspoken proponent of a unified Italy, eventually becoming a forefather of modern politics.

At age 29, Machiavelli began his political career and as defense secretary where he was able to differentiate himself through implementing policies that strengthened and unified Florence politically. Later, he found himself being assigned diplomatic missions where he met with important figures, such as Louis XII of France, Pope Julius II, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and Cesare Borgia. Borgia would later become the inspiration for the title of Machiavelli’s “The Prince”.

“The Prince” outlined Machiavelli’s vision of an ideal leader which he describes as an unethical, conniving tyrant for whom the end always justified the means. His stance on this topic not only failed to win over the sympathy of the powerful Medici family, but also alienated him from his Florentine people.

Machiavelli’s political career took a turn for the worst when he lost popularity amongst the powerful Medici family, resulting in him being accused of conspiracy. He was eventually imprisoned, where he was tortured and then briefly exiled from Italy.

When the Florentine Republic was reestablished in 1527, Machiavelli was never truly welcomed back into politics, being perceived as greatly suspicious. Machiavelli passed away later that year, estranged and kept away from the Florentine society, the same society he had fought so hard to unify.

Learn more about Machiavelli in this program we did with Chirstopher Lynch: https://bit.ly/1crQVnG or by checking out our copy of Machiavelli’s book, The Prince, available via inter-library loan and found here: https://bit.ly/2GRGKAe

Attached is a portrait of Niccolo Machiavelli by Santi di Tito

Address

104 S Michigan Ave, Fl 2nd
Chicago, IL
60603

Adams/Wabash CTA elevated Monroe CTA subway

General information

Since opening in 2003, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library has produced over 300 programs including events with award-winning authors, interviews with Medal of Honor recipients, and Emmy-nominated panel discussions on military issues. Programs are presented in front of a live audience, webcast live on the Internet, and recorded for later broadcast on WYCC-TV/Channel 20 and WTTW-TW/Channel 11, PBS affiliates. Programs are also available for download as audio podcasts. Winner of the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library features a collection of books and films on subjects covering the full spectrum of American military history, along with military-themed posters, photographs, medals, uniforms, and other artifacts from private donors and the collection of the Library’s founder, COL (IL) J.N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired).

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 18:00
Thursday 10:00 - 18:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00
Sunday 12:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(312) 374-9333

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