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 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 ...
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261 views

Who was in charge of the Barysaw massacre (20 October 1941)?

I'm looking for information about the Barysaw Massacre of 20 October 1941. Who preformed it and who was in charge of this operation?
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166 views

When was General Douglas MacArthur made aware of the Manhattan Project?

Considering the US government's low opinion of General MacArthur* even before he almost performed a military coup in the 1950s: Was Douglas MacArthur ever made aware of the Manhattan Project before ...
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235 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 ...
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408 views

German influence if the Nazis had won [closed]

By German influence I am referring to the German language. I hear all the time that if Germany won the war we would be speaking German right now. Clearly there is a lot of exaggeration there and the ...
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161 views

Which sources should I believe regarding CV-8 Hornet? [closed]

According to wikipedia's The Battle of Midway, the Naval Carrier CV-8 "Hornet" participated in the Pacific theatre in 1942. Where could I find more confirmation on the Hornet?
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Nicknames of M36 Gun Motor Carriage

During World War 2 and Korean War United States Army used tank destroyer M36 (90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36). British soldiers gave one of nicknames to it, "Jackson", after general Thomas Jonathan ...
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1answer
206 views

Why were all Y-12 operators of Manhattan Project women?

I have searched a while and I have not found any evidence of why all operators at Y-12 had to be women. I am interested especially in in two aspects: Who was the person from inside of the project ...
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410 views

How many Axis troops fought on D-Day?

How many Axis troops fought on D-Day, I've tried many sources and they have focused primarily on the Allied Forces.
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Were any German cities spared by by the Allies for personal or idiosyncratic reasons?

Histories of the bombing campaign against German cities in WW2 often mention that German civilians towards the end of war were prey to fantastical rumours that such-and-such a city "is being spared" ...
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239 views

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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4answers
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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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139 views

Why weren't R-4 helicopters used in the European theatre in 1944-5?

Early helicopters it seems were deployed by the American military in WW2 in the Burma and China theatres, and in the South Pacific. Their principal use would appear to have been small scale rescue ...
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160 views

How much of the success of the Soviet forces in WWII can be attributed to the modernization efforts enacted by the Soviet/Bolshevik leadership? [closed]

Many Tzars tried but failed to modernize Russia throughout its history. Then the Bolsheviks took power in 1917 and were able to achieve significant progress in the industrialization and ...
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2answers
106 views

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 ...
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2answers
282 views

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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6answers
506 views

Why did Japan not withdraw from China as its pacific front was crumbling and the threat of US invasion imminent?

Even in August, Japan still kept garrisons in China totalling around 3 million men. They were second-line troops and poorly equipped, yes, but why did Japan not recall everyone to defend the home ...
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2answers
319 views

Was the attack on Pearl Harbor totally unexpected?

According to "British Intelligence in the Second World War: Security and Counter-Intelligence", by Francis Harry Hinsley and C.A.G. Simkins, Tricycle, a British double agent, complained that the FBI ...
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1answer
221 views

During World War II, in the U.S., were diapers available?

As is well known, during World War II many consumer goods became difficult to find and with regard to the situation in the United States, after some searches, I observed that, among others: U.S. ...
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5answers
574 views

What is the historical evidence behind the claim that the Soviet armies perpetrated mass rapes during their stay in Germany?

Besides accounts from Anthony Beevor's book and research done by Sander & Johr, which some members of the amateur historian community dismiss as biased and revisionist, are there any other source ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
513 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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2answers
237 views

Why the six hour gap between British and French declarations of war?

In Britain the story (and the audio) of the events of 3rd September 1939 are so well known and Neville Chamberlain's moving broadcast so cherished that the it's strange that the French declaration of ...
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437 views

Why did France just give up without a major fight in WW2? [closed]

Why did France give up when Paris was taken in WW2? They could have kept fighting just like the Polish did.
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4answers
695 views

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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495 views

Why did American public opinion move away from isolationism in 1940-41?

In Lynne Olson's recent interview in the New York Times dealing with her book Those Angry Days she notes that isolationism was "finished" by late 1941 and that a "sea change" occurred in American ...
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1answer
146 views

Is there a way to find who died and what american plane crashed over a spot in Romania in 1942/1943?

My grandparents told be that in the nearby forest there was an american plane crash when american planes got back from bombing Ploiești. This is the place on Google Maps. To put things a bit in ...
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2answers
151 views

Did the commonwealth surrender prematurely at Crete?

In the Battle of Crete in 1941, the numbers were around equal but the British have supremacy in the sea and in land equipment. The only advantage the Germans had was air supremacy. So why did the ...
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2answers
357 views

How did Allies secure southern flank during “Race to the Rhine”?

As I read about western front during the WW2 there is usually big topic about the "D-Day", then clearing Normandy (capturing Cherbourg), then liberating Paris and then authors quickly move to "Race to ...
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959 views

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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1answer
479 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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6answers
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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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4answers
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Did Germany lose World War II when/because “kill ratios” started moving “against” her?

In the first major action between the Germans and Americans, at the battle of Kasserine Pass http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Kasserine_Pass, the Germans inflicted casualties against ...
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Chiang's allies were “a kidnapper, a hooligan and a bully” but which was which?

It is said that Chiang Kai-shek complained bitterly about his allies Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union (the latter admittedly not at war with Japan till the very end). But when he ...
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1answer
158 views

Did the Dutch carry out trials for collaboration with the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies?

After the Second World War, the Netherlands tried Dutch citizens for acts of collaboration with the German occupation. Did they do the same (as the UK did on a limited scale in India and other areas ...
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2answers
675 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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525 views

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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3answers
648 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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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. ...
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220 views

Did it matter that the Red Army clung on to Stalingrad's west bank in 1942?

All histories of the Stalingrad battle emphasise the heroic defence of the west bank of the Volga by the Red Army in 1942. It implies that if the German 6th Army had just managed to oust the last ...
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3answers
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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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9answers
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Why was France granted an equal status among victors of World War II?

How is it that France emerged from World War II with a similar status as the U.S.A., Britain, the Soviet Union, and China in terms of possession of a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, ...
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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
147 views

Why were “holding out” outposts a feature of the European war in 1944-5 but not 1940-1?

Many far flung garrisons and especially islands were still in German hands at the end of the war in May 1945. Parts of Crete, Dunkirk, the Channel Islands, La Rochelle, St Nazaire and several other ...
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56 views

A memorial Georgia (U.S.) plaque

This memorial plaque lists the numbers of Georgians who served in various wars and details the casualties. What I find odd is that for WWI, Korea, Vietnam, and Gulf round numbers are given for the ...
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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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What was the role of Nikita Khrushchev during the battle of Stalingrad?

In the movie Enemy at the Gates there is a moment when Nikita Khrushchev comes to take control over the Soviet forces defending Stalingrad, even making previous commander commit suicide (is this ...
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The Rosenberg diary and the functionalist-intentionalist debate

Today it was announced that the diary of Alfred Rosenberg was been found, after it had disappeared in 1946. Prima facie, this would seem to be a major piece of historical evidence for the ...
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Why was Woody Woodpecker a “natural” hit during WW2?

Woody Woodpecker "with his innate chutzpah and brash demeanor, ... was a natural hit during World War II. His image appeared on US aircraft as nose art", Wikipedia says. Why was Woody Woodpecker a ...
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332 views

In U.S. military forces, did black soldiers suffer a heavy racial segregation during World War II?

Source: BBC In his book, Mr Hitchcock raises another issue that rarely features in euphoric folk-memories of liberation: Allied looting, and worse. "The theft and looting of Normandy ...