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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Where can I find more information on the Katyn massacre?

I want to research the Katyn massacre; I've reviewed the Memo from Beria to Stalin, proposing execution of Polish officers. Are other documents (e.g. protocols of NKVD, logistics) available? Why are ...
60
votes
12answers
16k views

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 ...
-4
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1answer
126 views

Did Hitler plan a war with his allies?

Nazi Germany's allies, Italy and Japan displayed a lot of ideological dissimilarities with the Nazi Germany's ideology and also Germany had some Germans-populated regions inside Italy (South Tyrol). ...
6
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0answers
158 views

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 ...
31
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6answers
13k views

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 ...
7
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4answers
2k views

Before entering WW II, why was the US so against Japanese aggression in China but did nothing about Germany in Europe?

The US was very vocal against Japanese aggression in China in the 1930's and early 1940's but said nothing against German aggression in Europe. The US finally placed an embargo on sending oil and ...
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1answer
193 views

What was the role of U.S. involvement in World War II? [closed]

I recently read the book 1945 by Newt Gingrich and Harry Turtledove, where the premise is that Hitler got injured, and his advisers chose to wait to attack Russia until winning on the western front, ...
-4
votes
1answer
134 views

Borisov aktion of 23 July , 1941 [closed]

I'm looking, following a similar former request, for info, regarding certain actions performed by einsatzgruppen of the SS in Barysaw on 23 July, 1941....couldn't find anything on the web but could be ...
0
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2answers
147 views

Were naval mines an underutilized weapon in WW2? [closed]

Why did the Germans (and Allies for that matter) not devote more energy to the mining of enemy controlled waters (in the Med, British and North American waters for the Germans and Med, Baltic and ...
5
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3answers
394 views

What is the most noteworthy defection of a member of the Nazi party to the Allies during WWII?

During WWII, before it became clear the Nazis were going to lose, is there any especially noteworthy examples of a member or members of the Nazi party defecting to the Allies? I'm aware noteworthy is ...
12
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3answers
2k views

What percentage of British and American troops were involved in direct combat with enemy in World War II

How large a proportion of British and American troops were involved in direct combat with the enemy in World War II? What was the casualty rate among those men?
4
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1answer
181 views

Does the reversal of the ribbon on a military medal (South Africa / UK; WWII) carry meaning or is it simply an error?

My father was showing me his father's WWII medals for service in the South African military. Having found images depicting the official order of wear I noticed that some had reversed ribbons. I ...
11
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5answers
17k views

Number of bullets used in WW2

I have wondered if there are any estimates on the number of bullets used in World War 2. I have thought about the question but cannot even get a plausible attack strategy.
8
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1answer
747 views

How did Churchill and Stalin intend to translate the percentages in the “Percentages agreement”?

In "percentages agreement", Stalin and Churchill allegedly divided Southeastern Europe to sphere of influences of the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. According to Churchill's account quoted by ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

Usage of German camoflage during World War II

Although most do not know this, Germans used camouflage during the war. The grey uniform was only ceremonial. However, they are pictured without the camo 99% of the time so I'd like to ask, during ...
20
votes
6answers
39k views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
346 views

What were French actions against Germany during September 1939?

In Poland "Phoney war" is treated as betrayal by UK and France, who only declared war against Germany and did not perform any other actions. This combined with Soviet attack on 17th September is said ...
3
votes
4answers
349 views

Why are only the Normandy landings referred to as D-Day?

Thinking about the anniversary of the Normandy landings, I was struck that the terms D-Day and H-hour were used to denote the start time of all allied military operations. Are there any specific ...
3
votes
1answer
235 views

How were snipers used on the western front during WW2?

When the topic of snipers in WWII comes up, it's almost always about Soviet snipers and the eastern front. What about the western front? I'm specifically interested in how or if the British, American, ...
3
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4answers
470 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
354 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
257 views

What was American anti-tank doctrine during WWII on paper, and how did it differ from in practice?

What was the prevailing doctrine in the US Army on how to deal with German tanks during WWII? In an ideal situation, what sort of unit (anti-tank infantry, tank destroyers, towed AT guns, etc.) would ...
4
votes
2answers
222 views

When did the Soviet Union stop blaming the Entente for WW2?

In the fall 1939 the SU blamed Britain and France for starting WW2 exclusively (i.e., no blame was put on Germany). It shifted the blame to Germany after 1941-06-22 (obviously). When was the last time ...
2
votes
2answers
159 views

German offensives between Normandy and Bulge?

In regards to World War II, I always hear about the great number of Allied victories won between the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Very little is spoken of German victories. ...
10
votes
1answer
205 views

Soviet reaction to Battle of the Denmark Strait

At the time of the Battle of the Denmark Strait - 1941-05-24 - Soviets were still officially friendly with Germany. I wonder what the reaction to the battle was, e.g., Did they send an official ...
6
votes
3answers
994 views

Was the Flakpanzer IV used against infantry? If not, what was?

I know it's not good to take video games' word for it when it comes to history. However, in the game "Company of Heroes 2", the German team can deploy an "Ostwind" Flakpanzer IV, which to my ...
3
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2answers
178 views

Was the attempt to take Stalingrad a distraction to the original objectives of the German Sixth Army during Case Blue in 1942?

If the objective of Sixth Army was to close the Volga to Russian shipping while simultaneously protecting the left flank of the Caucasus forces, then attacking Stalingrad could be seen as a ...
30
votes
3answers
13k views

Did World War II-era bombs actually whistle?

In WWII-era films and newsreels, aerial bombs are often shown making a whistling sound as they fall; starting high pitched, then decreasing as the bomb approaches the Earth (example here, starting at ...
9
votes
3answers
535 views

What factors discouraged the Nazis from focusing all their forces on the Caucasus region during Operation Barbarossa?

Instead of splitting his invasion force into three groups, it appears to be more sensible to focus on taking over the Caucasus region first. At the time, Baku, a Caucasus oil metropolis accounted for ...
18
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4answers
7k views

How did Germany produce such an impressive portfolio of officers for WW2?

von Runstedt Model Dietl Guderian von Manstein Rommel Kesselring (who was an able commander both on land and in the air) Richtofen Donitz Raeder All of these German names have been featured heavily ...
0
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1answer
315 views

What effect did the Mafia have during World War 2?

I have heard that the Mafia cooperated with different governments in WW2. How extensive was this cooperation and was it effective?
8
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3answers
1k views

GDP per capita of major combatants before and after WWII?

Perhaps this is difficult to measure and maybe not even a good metric for anything meaningful, but what was the GDP and GDP per capita for nations around the world immediately before World War II? ...
9
votes
2answers
554 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
644 views

Income distribution of major combatants before and after WWII?

This question about GDP per capita of major combatants before and after WWI made me wonder how these GDPs were distributed. Do we know the Gini coefficient (or a similiar metric) for the major ...
3
votes
0answers
165 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 ...
2
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3answers
304 views

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

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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2answers
177 views

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: ...
-2
votes
1answer
727 views

WWII: Did the entire war depend on breaking the ENIGMA cipher? [closed]

I recently watched this great historical movie called Enigma (2001) As I saw the movie, a British general claimed that the entire war was depended on breaking the Enigma cipher? Is this really a ...
29
votes
5answers
3k views

Has Britain's 1940 invasion of Iceland been downplayed by historians?

On the face of it Operation Fork (Britain's invasion of Iceland in 1940) wasn't so terribly different from Germany's territorial landgrabs in 1939 and 1940. Britain and her allies will have ...
1
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2answers
220 views

France vs Germany in 1940: equipment vs. organization [closed]

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?
1
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1answer
3k views

Why haven't Russia and Japan signed a peace treaty after WW2?

I have read that Russia and Japan, which had been fighting long before World War I, are still at war, at least technically, since they have not signed a peace treaty at the conclusion of World War II. ...
8
votes
4answers
429 views

Did The Soviet Union Need Both Prongs to Succeed At the Battle of Stalingrad?

In November, 1942, three months after the battle of Stalingrad began, the Soviet Union, launched Operation Uranus, a counterencirclement of the German forces in and around the city, in two prongs. ...
4
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4answers
1k views

What was the fate of most SS members after World War II?

What happened to most of the members of the SS after the war? Were they punished?
0
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1answer
133 views

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?
12
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4answers
2k views

Could The Soviet Union have continued fighting World War II without Caucasus oil?

In 1942, Germany's Fall Blau was initially aimed at capturing or interdicting shipments of oil from the Caucasus to the rest of the Soviet Union. Even though armies were diverted to Stalingrad and ...
14
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2answers
1k views

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 ...
21
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4answers
12k views

Why didn't the US choose to demolish Tokyo with an atom bomb?

Tokyo was Japan's capital. Why didn't the US choose Tokyo to demolish with Atom Bomb? Bonus Question: What factors decided to bring Hiroshima and Nagasaki on table?
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2answers
500 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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2answers
258 views

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 ...
16
votes
8answers
5k views

Why weren't aircraft carriers utilized during D-day?

Why were aircraft carriers not used during and following D-Day? They could have added a great deal of range to the air support operations.