Questions related to aspects of World War II (1939-1945 AD). An international conflict whose major participants were the fascist countries of Germany, Italy, and Japan engaged against the allied nations of the UK, France, USSR, and the USA. The conflict began with the German invasion of Poland and ...

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What is the source of the claim that Enigma codebreaking efforts shortened the Second World War by years and saved millions of lives? [on hold]

Since the release of the film The Imitation Game, it has been widely asserted that The cracking of Germany’s Enigma code shortening the war by two to four years and saving an estimated 14 ...
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German invasion of Poland details

In this Hitler speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tran_0-lC5c Hitler claims that during the conflict with Poland, he gave orders to the Luftwaffe to commit the war in a "humane manner" IE: ...
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France vs Germany in 1940: equipment vs. organization [on hold]

Many times I heard that in 1940 France had more tanks than Germany and that French tanks were better than German ones. Is it indeed so? What about airplanes?
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181 views

History of the Wehrmacht after the surrender

Wikipedia tells us, that: Following the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht, which went into effect on 8 May 1945, some Wehrmacht units remained active, either independently (e.g. in ...
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What happened with North African oil during the Second World War? [closed]

From everything I have seen, the war in North Africa was solely about getting oil from the Middle East. Had oil simply not been discovered in North Africa during the time of the war?
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Scaffoldings on Taj Mahal?

I recently came across this picture (removed now, look at wiki article instead), saying that it is a scaffolding erected during WW2 over Taj Mahal to protect it from Japanese Air Force. Even the ...
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179 views

Medical personnel fighting on the battlefield

How common was it for Red Cross medical personnel to take part in military action on the battlefields (in both World Wars)? How was this received by the combatants (friendly and enemy)? The question ...
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1answer
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No prosecution for retaliatory mass murder after Maurice Rose's killing?

Source: Partisan War and Reprisal Killings, By Dipl.-Chem. Germar Rudolf and Sibylle Schröder ...On April 4, 1992, the Paderborner Zeitung reported an incident where the Americans had taken harsh ...
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271 views

Can anyone identify this warship?

The picture is of a ship that my late father is believed to have served on, I can find no identification marks on the photograph, so even a type of vessel would be a great help, as I have no records ...
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360 views

Soviet-German friendship propaganda posters (1939‒41)

Upon reading Putin’s New Nostalgia article by Timothy Snyder, I was specifically intrigued by one particular historical point he mentioned. Given the charged nature of current events, and Snyder’s ...
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73 views

How Many German Born American Citizens served for the U.S. in World War II? [closed]

I have been searching for the number of German born American soldiers in WWII that are still alive (in 2015). I was quite shocked to not even be able to find how many German born American Citizens who ...
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What has prevented the United Nations from failing the same way as the League of Nations? [closed]

The League of Nations proved to be incapable of controlling the Axis Powers in the 1930s and was subsequently replaced by the United Nations after WWII. What has kept the United Nations together ...
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Were there any pilots that declined to carry out the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Were there any pilots that refused (or politely declined) to take part in the operations of "Fat Man" and "Little Boy," knowing the destruction these would cause? Similarly, were there any scientists ...
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132 views

Russian war reparations from Germany post WW2 [closed]

Is there any record of negotiations(if any), regarding war reparations from Germany to Russia following WW2, if there were reparations paid by Germany to Russia following WW2, do they have an impact ...
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237 views

Where did the so-called “Jap Skulls” end up?

I have read that there was a disturbingly common practice of American soldiers in the Pacific theater of WWII to take the skulls of dead Japanese soldiers as trophies to take home, give to ...
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86 views

What was the largest warship sunk by a Motor Torpedo Boat in WW2?

I know that in WW1 the Austrian battleship Szent Istvan was sunk by an Italian motor torpedo boat. What was the largest warship sunk by a PT boat in WW2?
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What made Stalingrad a turning point in the second world war?

Operation "Barbarossa" the german plan to invade the Soviet Union was a colossal success until Stalingrad. Capturing one third of European Soviet Union and having the Luftwaffe taking monopoly of the ...
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105 views

Why was Villa Gaggia chosen as the setting for Hitler & Mussolini's July 1943 meeting?

Ian Kershaw's Hitler biography Nemesis describes Hitler's hurriedly arranged summit with Mussolini in July 1943: After landing at Treviso, Hitler and Mussolini travelled in the Duce's train to a ...
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1answer
197 views

What happened to the French soldiers evacuated at Dunkirk and elsewhere in 1940?

How many of them fought on in the Free French Forces and how many of them simply repatriated back to France?
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Was there a secret side-agreement between the USSR and Nazi Germany to summarily execute the Polish officer corp? [closed]

In a recently published novel by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth, IV, The Assassination Option, the authors tell a story of a dinner conversation at the Tehran Conference. The story, ...
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4answers
292 views

Why were the 8th Route Army better at fighting the Japanese than the Nationalists were?

Numerous sources have noted the (Communist) 8th Route Army's effectiveness in its resistance against Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) occupation; British, American observers, even Japanese commanders have ...
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Did a capital ship ever hit anything with a torpedo?

It seems WWI and inter-war ship designers went a bit torpedo mad, both in their fear of them and in their use, finally coming to their senses in the harsh realities of WWII. I've seen many examples ...
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1answer
135 views

Did De Gaulle really say “I am France” (Je suis la France)?

My great grandpa always told me WWII stories and he always told me De Gaulle said that, however, I can't find any reliable source for it. I have a book stating that supposedly he wrote that in a ...
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Was the communication between Spitfire and other fighters' pilots encrypted?

If machines like SIGSALLY were occupying so much space like in the picture above, were the pilots' communication encrypted or somehow obscured in order to prevent the enemy from eavesdropping on the ...
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417 views

During the Normandy landings, were any German naval assets brought to bear against the Allies?

I know the allied fleet suffered heavy losses during the operation: Naval losses for June 1944 included 24 warships and 35 merchantmen or auxiliaries sunk, and a further 120 vessels damaged. ...
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288 views

Did Goebbels really say “Truth is the enemy of the state”? If so, when?

One of the most famous so-called quotation attributed to Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels is: If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The ...
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How did the Allies communicate during World War II?

I was wondering how the allied (America and England, since France was occupied by the Nazis) communicated securely with each other in 1943. I know that the SIGSALY existed, but I am most interested in ...
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How close did Germany come to interdicting Soviet oil shipments from the Caucasus in 1942?

In 1942, the Germans captured a relatively small oil complex at Maikop in the North Caucasus, and got within 25 miles of a larger one at Grozny. But the biggest prize was at Baku, on the "far" ...
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Japanese peace negotiations in WWII

As I understand it, the Japanese plan for the Pacific War was to grab a bunch of territory, then negotiate peace from a position of strength. Did the Japanese ever try to start those peace ...
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Why didn't Henry A. Wallace become President in 1945?

Henry A. Wallace was Roosevelt's vice-president during WWII. Shortly before Roosevelt's death (82 days) following a slow decline in health, the Conservative wing of the Democratic Party started an ...
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1answer
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Did MacArthur ever consider ordering Wainwright's troops to fight an insurgency war, rather than surrendering?

The American surrender of Wainwright's and Sharp's forces in the Philippines, during World War II, was the largest surrender of troops under the US flag in the history of the country. Reports at the ...
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1answer
161 views

Did the Torch operation help doom the Germans at Stalingrad?

Amid calls for a "second front," the Anglo-Americans landed in North Africa Operation Torch, in early November, 1942. Some say that it was a "sideshow," others say that it was a "cross-ruffing" ...
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How many of Japan's 29 lost Pearl Harbor aircraft have been accounted for?

I've seen varying numbers regarding the amount of Japanese aircraft that attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, but the number of attacking planes that failed to return to Japan's carriers remains ...
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Why were Soviets so extremely effective snipers in WW2?

I found a top 10 sniper list from 2nd world war which contains 9 soviet soldiers, and only 1 finnish soldier. Namely: Stepan Vasilievich Petrenko Vasilij Ivanovich Golosov Fyodor Trofimovich ...
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High Quality, Primary Source on Troop Movements and Losses in Operation Barbarossa [closed]

I'm searching for a primary source on troop movements and losses in Operation Barbarossa. I've found one source, but it doesn't give any details about the source for the information, just "Army Doctor ...
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1answer
163 views

In a Nazi concentration, labor, or death camp, what was a “'sale' Appel”?

I have listened to 100+ hours of testimonies by Holocaust survivors. Those who were in concentration, labor, or death camps invariably described the brutal roll calls known in German as Appels. ...
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What are those X in top of the flag?

Well, I was wondering. What are those crosses in the top of the flag when we visualize military battleplans? For instance, take a look in a map of the Battle for El Alamein: The Free French ...
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1answer
92 views

What was the ideological and philosophical underpinnings of World War II? [closed]

What was the ideological and philosophical underpinnings of World War II? How does imperialism fit into the causes of the war?
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183 views

What relief efforts did the Japanese attempt after the atomic bombings?

Obviously, once the atomic bombs dropped in 1945, the war was almost over. There wasn't much time to rebuild, or even offer aid, to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki before the Japanese ...
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What races are being depicted in this American WWII cartoon?

No racial intolerance - it causes dangerous disunity. We're all Americans! The cartoon, recently publicised by this tweet, has seven children dancing around a US flag. The child in the yellow ...
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Why did Germany not attack Turkey during WW2?

Most of us might have heard something about the Geo-strategic position of Turkey. She connects two continents to each other and provides a bridge between the relatively advanced Europe and the ...
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Why did the Allies let Hitler break the Treaty of Versailles?

I was reading about what led up to ww2 and I noticed that Hitler broke several of the agreements in the Treaty of Versailles such as getting a army of more than 100000 men. I was wondering why the ...
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Why did Hitler not invade Sweden?

I was looking over a map of where the Nazis invaded and they never attacked Sweden. I was wondering why since it seems like a much better strategic move than invading Russia. Why might they have ...
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1answer
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Was breaching the Yellow River dykes Chiang Kai-Shek's Mers-el-Kebir?

In 1938 Chiang Kai-Shek's nationalist opted to breach the dykes of the Yellow River to flood the area in front of the Japanese advance and thereby slow down their enemy and protect the the key city of ...
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How important were “columnar” strategies in Japan's invasion of China?

In trying to invade a large country like China, there are at least two main strategies 1) a narrow "columnar" strategy, usually based along an artery such as the Yangtze River that provides a natural ...
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3k views

How far were women able to advance in the Gestapo?

I'm trying to write a story happening during World War 2, and I'd like to include there a female Gestapo agent/interrogator as a main character. However, I've been searching and I can't find evidence ...
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What wars were there which were contemporaneous with but unconnected to ww2? [closed]

One possible example is the Ecuador-Peru war of 1941. Were there others? Just to be narrow/precise, restrict attention to any wars that were ongoing any time between Sep 1 1939 and May 9 1945.
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How much firepower did the British navy represent in 1940?

A question was recently asked about how Britain would have defended herself against a cross-channel invasion by Hitler. A key element in the British defense would be the Royal Navy. At the beginning ...
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How did the Nazis plan to defeat America during World War II?

Yamamoto famously advised against a war with the United States, because he could tell how powerful they would be once they got going. The Nazis, however, declared war on the United States of their ...
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What were Britain's defensive plans for a Nazi invasion?

Despite the fact that it never ended up happening, a Nazi invasion of England was kind of a common sense inevitability for a while during the beginning of World War 2. Had the Battle of Britain gone ...