Rick Beyer Presents “The Ghost Army of World War II: How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, and Other Audacious Fakery”
5:00 p.m. Reception | 6:00 p.m. Presentation | 7:00 p.m. Book Signing
In conjunction with The National WWII Museum’s special exhibit, Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II, the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy is excited to host Ghost Army Legacy Project President and Exhibit Consultant Rick Beyer to speak about his book, The Ghost Army of World War II: How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, and Other Audacious Fakery.
In the summer of 1944, a handpicked group of young GIs that included such future luminaries as Bill Blass, Ellsworth Kelly, Arthur Singer, Victor Dowd, Art Kane, and Jack Masey landed in France to conduct a secret mission. Armed with truckloads of inflatable tanks, a massive collection of sound-effects records, and more than a few tricks up their sleeves, their job was to create a traveling road show of deception on the battlefields of Europe with the German Army as their audience.
From Normandy to the Rhine, the 1,100 men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, known as the “Ghost Army,” conjured up phony convoys, phantom divisions, and make-believe headquarters to fool the enemy about the strength and location of American units. Between missions, the artists filled their duffel bags with drawings and paintings and dragged them across Europe. Every move they made was top secret and their story was hushed up for decades after the war's end. The Ghost Army of World War II is the first publication to tell the full story of how a traveling road show of artists wielding imagination, paint, and bravado saved thousands of American lives.
This program is part of special exhibit Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II, on view from March 5, 2020, through September 13, 2020, located in Hall of Democracy’s Senator John Alario, Jr. Special Exhibition Hall. The exhibit will be open for viewing during the event’s reception.
Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II is exclusively sponsored by E. L. Wiegand Foundation.
Can’t make it to the Museum? Livestream the event.
About the Author:
Rick Beyer is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and best-selling author. He wrote The Greatest Stories Never Told book series and produced films for PBS, History channel, National Geographic channel, and the Smithsonian Institution.