Loose Lips Sink Ships Keep It Under Your Stetson

Stetson Gives Sound Advice in World War Two


Few American images are more iconic than the Stetson cowboy hat although the company made other types of hats. These posters both advertised their product and showed their patriotism.

The Stetson Hat company decided to do a series of posters during World War II to demonstrate what would happen if people had “loose lips” – they publicly discussed what they knew about war activities and production. The tagline for these posters was “Keep it under your Stetson,” with a Stetson being the famous cowboy hat worn by Buffalo Bill through John Wayne and Annie Oakley.
















[Images courtesy of the American Merchant Marine at War.]

Popular Myth About Winston Churchill Completely Wrong

An Actor Read Churchill’s Wartime Speeches Over the Wireless. This popular myth is completely wrong.


Winston Churchill Broadcast From White House

 Washington, DC. 1943.  Winston Churchill broadcasts the news of the third anniversary of the English Home Guard while visiting the White House.

Winston Churchill is such a towering figure in history that numerous myths about him have taken root over the decades. One of those myths is this: actors mimicked Churchill’s voice and broadcast his famous speeches on the BBC after he had given them in Parliament. (There was then no recording equipment in the House of Parliament). Winston Churchill’s speeches were uniquely his own.


an iconic photograph of Winston Churchill by Cecil Beaton at Number 10 Downing Street after he became Prime Minister

Churchill did not enjoy broadcasting since he couldn’t see the audience of listeners and was simply speaking into a microphone in a recording studio. Not the ideal venue for him.

Nonetheless, Churchill personally broadcast his speeches. Other times when he made brief comments on the BBC, he and only he broadcast those. No actor ever, not ever, presented himself to the BBC radio audience as Winston Churchill.


Churchill in his uniform as Honorary Air Commodore. He loved wearing uniforms but only wore ones he was entitled to wear. All the ribbons are decorations he had won as an army officer.

During his lifetime Churchill had been under enemy fire many times and was the first Prime Minister since the Duke of Wellington to have killed men in battle. As a young officer in the Empire, as a war correspondent, and as a Lt. Colonel commanding a battalion on the Western Front in World War One, Churchill was well acquainted with war and saw no glory in it.

“Ah, horrible war, amazing medley of the glorious and the squalid, the pitiful and the sublime, if modern men of light and leading saw your face closer, simple folk would see it hardly ever.” —Winston Churchill, 22 January 1900





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Great Read Berlin Embassy by William Russell part one

Berlin Embassy by William Russell

Five Stars

I like this book a lot. I’ve read it four or five times. Part of the reason is the detail on everyday life in Berlin during the years 1939, 1940, and 1941. When I was researching my first novel, An Honorable German, I read this book on Berlin, among many others, because several chapters take place in the city of my book take place in Berlin and I needed details.

Another reason I like the book is that William Russell, a thoroughly decent and polite young guy from Mississippi, was in Germany studying German. He had very little money and often could afford only one meal a day. Finally, he got taken on as a part-time (later full time) clerk at the American Embassy, one of the reasons being his fluency in German.

Hitler’s new Reich’s Chancellory under construction in 1938

Russell was not important. Didn’t come from an important family. Had no high-level social contacts, had no money and didn’t know anyone important. Yet he happened to be at the epicenter of calamitous events and watched the Nazis ready their nation for war.  Just as important, he realized it which is why he kept notes for this book which appeared in 1941 to great acclaim.

Russell has an eye for detail including everyday exchanges he had with people he saw each day such as the Portierfrau for his apartment house. “The postman told me today that you forgot to pay your radio tax last month.” In Nazi Germany, if you owned a radio you had to pay two marks a month, or .80 cents, to listen since it was public radio, so to speak, and without commercials.

“Tell the postman that I don’t listen to German stations,” Russell said, “Tell him I consider London more accurate.” The Portierfrau laughed, somewhat uneasily.

Germans were forbidden to listen to foreign radio although a huge portion of them listened to the German Service of the BBC to get accurate news. The author speculates that based on his observations 60% to 70% of Germans listened to foreign radio, which is in line with the figures from post-war surveys. Russell also tells us: “Old fashioned headphones, which could be used for extra private listening, were sold out in every German radio shop during the first week of the war.”


Rechts das Brandenburger Tor
Aufnahmedatum: 1939
Aufnahmeort: Berlin
Inventar-Nr.: Hu U1598-1a
Geographie / Europa / Deutschland / Orte / Berlin / Regierungsgeb‰ude / Botschaften
The US Embassy in 1939 is on the left in this picture. USA is printed on the roof in an attempt to minimize damage from accidental aerial bombings. The Brandenburg Gate is to the right. Damage sustained by the Embassy during the Battle of Berlin and from aerial bombings proved to be extensive partially as a result of being located so close to Hitler’s bunker (which was a block farther south of the embassy which is to the left in this picture).


Obama Nostalgia On a State Visit to Asia When President of the United States

Former President Barack H. Obama is a man of dignity and gravitas.  

When President, he represented America when making a state visit to countries and conferences and always was a gentleman and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, was a true lady. I’m having Obama nostalgia. I wish he could be President again.



President Barack Obama visits a Dignity for Children Foundation classroom in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 21, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


President Barack Obama greets participants following a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) town hall at Taylor University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


President Barack Obama talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico prior to an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila, Philippines, Nov. 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


President Barack Obama talks with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Brunei Darussalam, wearing traditional off-white linen Barong Tagalog shirts, at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) leaders welcome dinner at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines, Nov. 18, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)