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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How frequently were homing pigeons used in the World Wars?

It seems that the strategic weight of specially breeded pigeons is much higher than I thought at first, based on the number of pigeons used and the effort to stop them. (In WW2 Germans even trained ...
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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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Why did Nazi soldiers do Hitler's bidding?

The atrocities committed by Nazi soldiers during World War II are well known. I'd like to know what motivated those soldiers to do Hitler's bidding. Were they brainwashed? Did they believe they were ...
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Why, in the US, is Japanese brutality ignored compared with the Nazi brutality in WW2?

Instead of accepting too much of what I have read in my textbooks, I have read up a bit about WW2 on my own and have always pondered, why in the USA is the brutality and actions of the Japanese during ...
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Did Joseph Stalin kill anyone personally?

I read "Stalin: Triumph and tragedy" by Dmitri Volkogonov and (I believe) it said that Stalin didn't kill anyone with his own hands. He signed a lot of "death lists", but those are just pieces of ...
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Were there any war movies made during WW2 that were well regarded by front-line American soldiers?

I've read in a few places that American soldiers during WWII (meaning men who had actually seen combat, not rear echelon troops) preferred light comedy or romance movies to the sanitized propaganda in ...
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How was occupied France governed during World War II?

During the occupation of France during World War II, how was the area governed? Specifically, were local governments still allowed and who handled normal police activities? If local Frenchmen did ...
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What were the original casualty projections for Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

I remember hearing several times that the bombs dropped on Japan were a lot deadlier than expected. What were the original projections for casualties for both and how much less than the actual ...
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What role did Lucky Luciano play in faciliting South Europe invasion?

On the night of July 9, 1943, 160,000 Allied troops landed on the extreme southwestern shore of Sicily. After securing a beachhead, Gen. George Patton's U.S. Seventh Army launched an offensive into ...
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percentage of British and American troops 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?
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How many lives were saved by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs?

**President Truman in a August 9, 1945 radio address to the American people, outlined the reasons why we dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (and later Nagasaki) I realize the tragic significance ...
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Why was Switzerland not attacked during the two World Wars?

Why in WW1 or WW2 or ever nobody invaded Switzerland? All other countries was in some wars. How Switzerland do it and should we learn from them? I hear that many people with power have money in swiss ...
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Why did Soviet soldiers who plundered occupied territories during WW2 prefer watches to other valuables?

EDIT: text in bold was added later to not suggest that this practice was common. I'd known from stories told by my Grandmother and other people of Her age, that after entering pre-war Polish ...
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Did Churchill and Roosevelt know about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the following secret pacts between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prior to, and during WWII. It seems that the actions of the two countries after the invasion of Poland ...
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Did the poor performance of the Red Army in the Winter War significantly contribute to German underestimation of the USSR's military capacity?

Wikipedia says in the article on the Winter War: Perhaps more importantly, the very poor performance of the Red Army encouraged Hitler to think that an attack on the Soviet Union would be ...
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Why was Johannes Blaskowitz indicted at the Nuremberg High Command Trial

Johannes Blaskowitz was a German General during WW2. He committed suicide in 1948 while being tried as a war criminal. His action during the polish offensive seem rather counter to this, to quote ...
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Did Hitler make the right decision for Germany when he called off Operation Zitadelle (during the Battle of Kursk)?

On the night of 9/10 July, the Western Allies mounted an amphibious invasion of Sicily. Three days later, Hitler summoned Günther von Kluge and Erich von Manstein to his Wolfsschanze ...
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Tito's partisans loyalty

Why was Tito able to rally the loyalty of so much of the young people in ex-Yugoslavia, and the royalist Draza Michailovich (Драгољуб "Дража" Михаиловић) was not? The so-called chetnicks, loyal to the ...
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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 ...
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Austria and Iron Curtain during Cold War

Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech from 1946 contains the following famous passage: From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the ...
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How was beer production affected by the war during WW2?

How did the war affect beer production during World War II? This is a follow-up question to this question at Seasoned Advice, which is gathering interesting food-science answers but which are are ...
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How did Finland treat Jewish locals during WWII?

First, what facts do I know. There was no prosecution of Jews in Finland Jewish POWs were separated in special POW camps for Jews. They were told that Finnish people hate them and they are to be ...
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Nazism and Jewish persecution awareness during the WW2 years [closed]

I've always wondered how is it possible that an entire nation and beyond (Germany) wasn't aware of the Jewish persecution during the WW2 years or, if they were, that they did nothing to stop it. Were ...
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Where was the pre-war (ww2) border between Poland and Germany?

I am interested in mapping the pre-war (WWII) border between Poland and Germany. Is there any data available in a public resource? Can anyone describe waypoints along the border in terms of modern ...
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Why did the Germans fall behind the Americans in the development of the atomic bomb after an initial lead?

I actually know certain facts about this matter, but am seeking guidance in interpreting these facts into "theories." 1) Theory 1, Economic: The Americans spent something like $2 billion (in money of ...
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Is the USA a superpower today because of WW2?

I understand that the USA funded the war effort against the Axis, although the Allies in Europe had to pay for this help in one way or another. It's fascinating to see how not that long ago ...
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“More Frenchmen bore arms for the Axis than for the Allies during the Second World War”?

True or false? This is claimed by Andrew Roberts in The Storm of War. Quote: As more Frenchmen bore arms for the Axis than for the Allies during the Second World War, it is unsurprising that ...
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Did Japan ever pay Russia war reparations after WW2? Why or why not?

Russia had the largest number of casualties during WW2, and Russia had taken many Japanese prisoners. So, why didn't Russia receive a reparation from Japan to help boost Russia's economy after the ...
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Did Stalin want to restore the Russian Empire's borders?

On one hand, it seems so because the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact defined the border between the two spheres of influence to be the border of the Russian Empire before WWI. On the other hand, the USSR ...
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WWII boat-looking bus

What was the purpose of this WWII boat-looking bus? Description says: Royal Navy officers 'aboard' 'HMS SPURIOUS MARK II' - a bus converted to resemble the island of an aircraft carrier. The ...
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Did American policymakers seriously consider scaling down Lend Lease Aid to the Soviet Union after the battle of Kursk?

In 1941, Senator (and future President) Harry Truman famously said, "If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany." ...
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What was the British version of enigma machine

At the time the Germans were using the enigma machine what were the British using to encrypt their messages and was it ever broken?
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How did diplomats of the Axis powers travel and communicate among themselves in World War II

In World War II, Japan and the European Axis powers had to communicate over strategy and other things. Also, their diplomats must have had to go to their own countries sometimes. After the USSR ...
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Why did the French insist on reclaiming Indo-China after WWII?

After WWII France was in rebuilding mode, and yet they insisted on trying to reclaim Indo-China. It would seem that in the new world order this did not make much sense for a country that was trying to ...
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Did France & Italy continue to develop and manufacture sophisticated military hardware once under German control?

Both France and Italy were designing and building advanced vehicle engines, motorcyles, aero engines and airframes through the 1930s and early 1940s. In the case of those advanced economies of ...
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In WWII, why did people not run away from executions?

In several videos and photos you see people getting round up. In the photo below they're at the site of a mass grave and can clearly see they're going to die. Why does nobody try to run away? Same ...
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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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Have Germany and Poland ever signed a peace treaty after WWII?

I met a shocking (for me) information, that Germany and Poland have not signed a peace treaty after the World War II. Because I could not believe this, I performed some research. In the Potsdam ...
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Rosie the Riveter and “We Can Do It!”

I have read that Rosie the Riveter is a symbol of the American woman who worked in factories instead of men during the Second World War. She appears to be associated with the slogan “We Can Do It!” ...
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Has this newspaper printed the wrong picture (as well as a baffling caption)?

Yesterday's Daily Express decorated its WW1 piece with a picture and caption. Link to the story here. It was picked up on Twitter by @philipoltermann: Missed this at the time: Express invents ...
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Why did the British have so few destroyers going into World War II?

In September, 1940, Britain traded a number of its New World naval base sites for 50 "overaged' (old) destroyers in the so-called "Destroyer Deal." That doesn't seem like a large number of destroyers, ...
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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 ...
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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.
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Which city was attacked by Nazi-German war flights in India during WW2?

Nazi-Germany ran a bombing raid over India, in WW2. Which city was bombed, and what effect did it have? i.e how many casualties, or was transport closed down.
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How many Germans were killed in action in the taking of Paris, 1940?

Could the following possibly be true? Quote from Andrew Roberts, The Storm of War, 2009, p. 330: The original quote can be found here: The Beginning of the Road, by Vasili I. Chuikov, p. 158. ...
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Plans for More Nuclear Warfare in Japan during WW2

When reading about Operation DownFall I noticed that if Japan had not surrendered following the nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki there could have been at least 7 more Nuclear Bombs ready for ...
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German Government branches during World War 2

During World War 2, what government branches, if any, existed in Germany? I've always heard about the Third Reich and Hitler, but I never heard about the rest of the government.
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Did Germany produce ammunition with depleted uranium?

Albert Speer in a footnote in Inside the Third Reich states, "During 1940 1200 metric tons of uranium ore had been seized in Belgium." Later in the book, Speer states, "In the summer of ...
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What were Rommel's views on the Nazi crimes?

Erwin Rommel is often portrayed as the chivalrous Nazi. I've read on the internet that he once proposed to Hitler that a Jew be appointed a Nazi official, but I'm not able to verify that. What were ...
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Did Hitler not intend a major war while invading Poland?

A J P Taylor in his book "The Origins of the Second World War" writes, "Hitler never intended a major war and at most was prepared for only a limited war against Poland." "In 1938-39, the ...