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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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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995 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 ...
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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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668 views

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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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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About the reasons for the US involvement in WW2 in Europe

From this question: World War II - Have Historians Envisioned How The Axis Powers Might Have Won? I understand that it is unlikely that Germany with its allies could have won WW2 even if they had ...
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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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294 views

Were some Yugoslav “nationalities” more pro-Axis/Allied than others during World War II

"Yugo" (South) slavia, is actually a motley collection (mixed bag in the American idiom) of groups such as the Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Dalmations, Macedonians, Bosnians, and others. During World War ...
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349 views

When did Australia declare war on Germany in WWII

In 1939, Australia had not ratified the 1931 Westminster Statute, and so lacked independent foreign policy. Menzies recognised this by saying in 1939, that as Britian was at war with Germany, so ...
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320 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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When did the allies start evacuating from the Dunkirk mole during the Dunkirk evacuation?

I have two dates in mind, 22 May 1940 and and 27 May 1940. It makes more sense that they started evacuating from the mole the 22 of may but I've also heard the 27 from BBC. The 22 of May was the date ...
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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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900 views

How do functionalists explain the fact that Holocaust continued until the very end of the war?

While I haven't read Goldhagen or scholars with a similar viewpoint directly, I frequently encounter the following argument that seems very Goldhagenite to me: "The Germans tried to murder Jews up ...
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How was Munich Captured in WWII?

How was Munich captured in WWII and how much time did it take? For example was it on a scale of three days? This question is because in one of the war-time German films one character hypotizes that ...
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222 views

How besieged was Leningrad after Operation Iskra?

Wikipedia's timeline for the siege of Leningrad is a little puzzling. It has: 12–30 January 1943: Operation Iskra penetrates the siege by opening a land corridor along the coast of Lake Ladoga into ...
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444 views

How did the Nuremberg Trials decide whether a guilty defendant was to be sentence to death or life imprisonment?

This page contains a list of Nuremberg defendants, their verdict and sentence. While explanations for lighter sentence (e.g. Dönitz was only sentenced to 10 years) can be found quite easily, many Nazi ...
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511 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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Did Hitler have an end goal during the “appeasement” phase, or was he just picking a fight?

Do we have any indication what Hitler's plans would have been had the Allies continued to appease him? If the invasion of Poland had been allowed, do we know what he would have done next? Some ...
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260 views

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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802 views

What was the argument for the Japanese pursuing the Northern Expansion Doctrine during WWII?

The Northern Expansion Doctrine was the idea that Japan should pursue its imperialist objectives through Siberia, which was diametrically opposed by the Southern Expansion Doctrine which was the idea ...
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What rank is S. SGT in the Army Air Force during WW2?

I am looking over my Grandfather's DD214 (Military Discharge Paperwork) from WW2. His grade says "S. SGT" I am trying to figure out his rank conclusively. Nowhere on the DD214 does it display an E-5 ...
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229 views

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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396 views

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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What were Chiang Kai-shek's biggest strategic blunders during the Second Sino-Japanese war?

Just as it is often said that Operation Barbarossa is Hitler's biggest strategic blunder (either the whole thing, its timing or execution), what were Chiang Kai-shek's biggest strategic blunders in ...
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846 views

How many Axis troops fought on D-Day? [closed]

How many Axis troops fought in France, and specifically Normandy, on D-Day, I've tried many sources and they have focused primarily on the Allied Forces.
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230 views

What was the Nature of Resistance in 1938 Czechoslovakia?

I wonder if someone might help me. I'm writing a novel. My protagonist is a dual national (English born, German parents) bio chemist contracted to work for Freiburg University 1938. At the time ...
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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 ...
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245 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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Who deposited German fuel drums on a Japanese air base in the Kuriles in 1943?

The Imperial Japanese Navy operated two all-weather, heated, lit runways on Matsuwa Island in the Kurile island chain. This island is littered with German fuel drums manufactured in 1943. It also ...
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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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215 views

To what extent did the CPC avoid fighting with the Japanese?

There's general agreement that the Japanese invasion of China benefited the CPC by interrupting the civil war, forcing the KMT to fight the Japanese instead of continuing the CPC purge, which they ...
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Did Germany have treaties imposed upon it after WWII that mirrored the weight of the Treaty of Versailles?

After WWI, the treaty of Versailles became the rallying cry for more extreme political forces in Germany, as it's terms were blamed for the countries hardships, and as an insult to the country itself. ...
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Were the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary? [closed]

The United States bombed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Before the Japanese could surrender, they bombed Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The two bombs killed over 200,000 people, most of them civilians. ...
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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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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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What was the most important cause of the Second World War? [closed]

What was the most important cause of the Second World War? Obviously there was the Treaty of Versailles which played a significant part; the War Guilt Clause, Reparations, Disarmament and territorial ...
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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 ...
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448 views

Was Japan really part of the Axis?

I recall in history class learning that the Japanese could have attacked the USSR in the 1940s and potentially split Stalin's forces - which presumably would have been more useful for the Nazis than ...
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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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499 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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296 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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618 views

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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1answer
335 views

Was the battle of Stalingrad “unique” in the annals of history?

I'm referring to the fact that BOTH sides ordered their troops to fight for the city "to the last man and last round." (Hitler). The Soviet Union's General Vasili Chuikov echoed this by saying "We ...
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395 views

What was the standard pistol used in Yugoslavia during WWII?

I've looked into the firearms used during WWII, but I can't find what pistol was used by Yugoslavian infantry men at the time. What did they use?
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317 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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408 views

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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639 views

How did conditional POW exchanges work in WW2?

In Battleground Prussia Prit Buttar includes a chapter on the infamous sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff in 1945. The author notes that the ship's captain, a Friedrich Petersen, had been captured by the ...
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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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372 views

Did the Germans use a “Verdun”-like strategy at Stalingrad?

In February 1916, the Germans might have captured the fortress of Verdun (France), quickly through an all-out assault. Instead, the German General Falkenhayn initially elected to make an artillery ...
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What was the civil weapons legislation under Hitler?

Was possession of weapons prohibited, encouraged, allowed to members of some organizations, or what?