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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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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3answers
920 views

Why was the 1944 surrender of 20,000 Germans on the Western Front remarkable?

I remember very well those days last September when we first heard the rumor that General Elster would surrender to the 99th Division, no one would believe it. "20,000 German troops and their ...
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1answer
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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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3answers
841 views

To what degree did women participate in the air war during WW2?

I read that Lydia Vladimirovna Litvyak and Katya Budanova, the latter is in the above picture, were fighter pilots in the Soviet Air Force during World War II. Since I cannot find other fighter ...
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70 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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Why did Britain and France not declare war against the Soviet Union when it invaded Poland in WW2?

At the beginning of WW2, although they were slow in actually attacking Germany, Britain and France did declare war against it after Germany invaded Poland. The reason for this was the treaty where ...
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141 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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103 views

What preparations went into the Tehran Conference of 1943?

The Tehran Conference during World War 2 was a hugely important meeting, and perhaps more importantly, a hugely dangerous proposition. Having all those leaders together in one place risked utter ...
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2answers
444 views

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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3answers
706 views

How close was the Soviet Union to collapsing during WW2?

Are there any sources or reports which explain how close the country was to collapsing under the Nazi assault? By 'collapse' I mean 'completely lacking either the willpower (as seen by France in 1940 ...
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164 views

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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1answer
696 views

What effect did the Attack on Mers-el-Kébir have on Great Britain's international relations during WW2?

The Attack on Mers-el-Kébir/Battle of Mers-el-Kébir was an action that took part between the Royal Navy and the French Navy on July 3rd 1940 that was a result of Winston Churchill ordering that the ...
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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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4answers
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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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2answers
133 views

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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Why did antique guns and swords from the Franco-Prussian War make part of the demilitarization program to which Germany was subjected?

As is well known, after the WW2 ended, the U.S. imposed a strong program of demilitarization to Germany. Can anybody explain the reason why the "antique guns and swords from the Franco-Prussian ...
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2answers
319 views

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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4answers
444 views

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 ...
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2answers
327 views

Why did Hitler not order the use of poison gas in combat?

From what I know, Hitler wanted Germans to fight, quite literally, to the last, and he wouldn't have minded terribly if every last German died fighting the enemy. So why did he never use poison gas ...
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What were the Allies' plans for if they caught Hitler alive?

Hitler committed suicide in 1945, but I'm curious as to what would have happened to him if he hadn't. Did the Allies have any formal plans as to what they would do with Hitler if they caught him ...
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1answer
221 views

What was Hitler like in private?

The image of Hitler is very well-formed in the modern public imagination: stern, stoic, focused, commanding and intimidating, with a powerful oratory skill and a terrifying ability to stir up passion ...
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0answers
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Did Ivan Marchenko actually exist? [closed]

According to Wikipedia (and other sources I saw) so very little is known about Ivan Marchenko that his name is not even mentioned in official documents around that time; even his date of birth is ...
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4answers
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How true is the statement “Soviet troops got into Berlin riding American trucks, walking in American boots and using American trains”?

In other words, how significant was American lend-lease in helping the Soviet front? Would the Soviets be suffering a lot more had lend-lease not happen, or was it not as significant as people make ...
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Why did the US drop nuclear bombs on a weakened Japan? [closed]

Why did the United States drop two nuclear bombs on the Japanese mainland? It appeared that Japan was ready to surrender.
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5answers
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How did Nazi Germany finance itself during WW2?

How did Nazi Germany finance itself during the war? They produced a large amount of war material during 1939-1945, but how was this production financed? What were Germany's revenue streams that ...
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707 views

Treatment of Jewish WWI Veterans

I was just wondering if during WWII or any time during Hitler's tenure (1933-1945), did the Germans give any special consideration to Jewish veterans of the First World War? By special consideration I ...
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Why were Spain and Portugal neutral / not invaded in WWII?

Why was not Spain and Portugal involved in World War II with either side? Was not Franco sympathetic with the Axis powers given the help they offered during the civil war? Also, given their ...
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Why didn't Imperial Japan attack the Soviet Union during World War 2?

Japan and the Soviet Union shared a common border in Manchuria and the German invasion of the Soviet Union weakened the Soviets greatly. In view of the advantages to Japan in seeing the Soviet Union ...
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1answer
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Was Marine Corps B. Gen. Evans Fordyce Carlson — leader of the Carlson Raiders — suspected of being a communist?

Brig. Gen. Evans Fordyce Carlson is known in history as a three-time awardee of the Navy Cross, a Marine who had served in several wars as an enlisted man and officer, the co-founder of the Marine ...
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Why did Central and South American nations participate in WWII?

Somewhat related question: Did either of the World Wars involve South or Central America? I've always been interested in why so many South American and Central American countries took the side of the ...
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Aside from the Jews, did Hitler have a final solution plan for other ethnicities/races in the Third Reich?

We know that Nazi ideology explicitly singled out Jews as the main reason for all Germany's problems, and planned to exterminate all of them. Nazis also persecuted gypsies, Polish people, and POWs. ...
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8answers
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At the end of WWII, were nazis working on any other super weapon besides V-2?

At the end of WWII, were nazis working on anything else besides V-2? If so, what was it, how close was it to completion, and could it potentially turn the events around for them?
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Did Japan use reconnaissance balloons in WWII?

I have heard that Japan had used reconnaissance balloons in WWII, especially in China as the Chinese lacked air power and effective anti-air weaponry. I know that balloons - airships to be precise - ...
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Pre-WW2 location of Skalat

Was Skalat on the border between Poland and USSR before WW2? Is there a pre-WW2 map with Skalat? I am trying to confirm information from a 90-year old who reportedly crossed the former border between ...
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3answers
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Was the Italian campaign a strategic mistake?

Background In September 1943, the Allied forces invaded Southern Italy in combined amphibious operations in Reggio di Calabria (Operation Baytown), Salerno (Operation Avalanche) and Taranto ...
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3answers
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Where was the Japanese surrender signed on Okinawa in June 1945?

On the 21st of June, Japanese defences on the southern fringe of Okinawa collapsed. The following day General Mitsuru Ushijima and chief of staff Isamu Chō committed suicide. Colonel Yahara was denied ...
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1answer
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What were the Japanese defenses for an allied invasion of Kyushu?

At Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and other island bases of the Japanese forces, the Japanese created a network of deep tunnels and bunkers that made US attempts to evict Japanese forces extremely difficult, time ...
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2answers
237 views

Was there a plan “B” for the D-Day?

I could find only debates on the subject whether there was a plan "B" or not in case D-Day landing would have had actually failed. I wonder if there was an idea to make an alternative invasion plan. ...
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4answers
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Why and how were east Brandenburg, Pomerania and Silesia taken away from Germany after WW2?

These areas have always been German, in fact Pomerania and Brandenburg were both part of Prussia since the 1700's. Why did the Soviet Union do this, and how did the victorious powers justify taking ...
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Did the United States have a third atomic bomb to drop on Japan?

On 15 August, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan announced its surrender to the United States, signing the instrument of surrender on 2 September, officially ending the war. The question ...
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Were the 1940-42 RAF bombing raids over Germany unescorted?

Considering the Spitfire's chronic lack of range, was the RAF doing unescorted bombing runs over Nazi Germany in 1940-42 or did they have another fighter that escorted their bombers?
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Was the death toll in the atomic bombing of Japanese territory greater than was expected by the US?

It is known that the US tried to justify their atomic bombing of Japanese cities by claiming they were aimed at military targets such as a plant and a bridge. Yet the bombs destroyed much more than ...
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2answers
271 views

Identify WW2 ammo

I found some ammo, which I think is from World War II. The cartridges are stamped WRA 42 and DEN 42. I do not know what the big piece is. It has a stamp: N2117 III Does anyone know what the big ...
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1answer
164 views

The original Lord Haw Haw's life in exile (Ireland)

I am writing a biography about my great uncle "Capt Tom Smith" who fought in WW1, WW2 and the Spanish Civil War During recent interviews the name Norman Baillie Stewart (wiki link) keeps cropping up ...
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Axis use of Vila Cisneros during WW2 for contact with South America?

I have read that a German U-boat refueling at Villa Cisneros was attacked and sunk. I have also read that After Germany Invaded Russia in 1941 a Japanese technical mission returning to Japan was flown ...
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5answers
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Why were there no Internment camps for German-American Citizens in USA during WW2?

I am certainly aware of Japanese-americans being detained in Internment camps , after the attack on Pearl Harbor , and subsequent declaration of war on United States , by the empire of Japan. About ...
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When did the Luftwaffe lose air-superiority over the Reich?

To me one of the many crucial stages of WWII was when the Luftwaffe were no longer able to mount serious resistance to the Allied bombing raids. While the effect of the raids if often debated, it ...
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237 views

What was World War 1 called before World War 2? [closed]

Today it seems common to refer to both World Wars with the terms "World War 1" and "World War 2" pretty much everywhere. (in the respective translation of course) But I recently realized that this ...
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Why didn't Germany attack US ports with U-boats during WW II?

During WW2, Germany owned ships along the eastern US coast with U-boats pretty much unopposed. So... why didn't Germany head into US ports and destroy infrastructure? Why did they keep their actions ...
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Did the Germans lose the U-Boat war in World war II because of a shortage of quality, rather than quantity?

In the "Battle of the Atlantic," the Germans lost almost 800 of their 1200 submarines (nearly two-thirds) sinking 3,500 Allied merchant ships and 175 warships. ...