July 27, 2012

The Best World War II Account on Twitter

As great as it is to follow members of the Star Wars community on Twitter, by far the highlight of my Twitter feed every day is @RealTimeWWII.  Every day, I get a handful of tweets about the war, as it happened on this day seventy two years ago.  All summer, I have been watching the fall of Europe happen day by day.  Now in late July, the updates are getting into the thick of the Battle of Britain.  At this point in the war, Britain stands alone against Germany. 

The 140 character updates range from links to news stories, headlines, pictures, and personal stories from people who were actually there.  The updates happen in the order that they might have been reported; events unfold over the course of hours, days, or weeks.  By keeping up with the feed, you get to see common threads unwind and stories progress.  You see leaders shrink and others grow.  You understand that the war is a complex and multifaceted event. 

Perhaps my favorite aspect of watching the war unfold like this is the fact that you see the war like the people who lived it.  It's easy to look back seven decades later and understand the total context of the conflict.  It's more interesting though to watch it all unfold - within the thick fog of war, the limited public knowledge, and the ups & downs of everyday life.  You get a sense for what people knew at the time; the information they had to work with.  There's no Monday Morning Quarterbacking when you watch the war in real time. 

If you aren't on twitter, you can still follow along with the war on Facebook.

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