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180

...but if the Strait is guarded such that they can't get them without braving an enfilading strafe of torpedoes, then it wouldn't do much good even if they knew where they are. From this comment by the OP, and others like it, it seems they don't appreciate the tactical limitations and vulnerabilities of a WWII submarine. I'll address that. While WWII ...


46

Sweden was a vital source of iron ores to Germany, an important strategic resource for her war effort. Because the allies controlled the seas, Scandinavia was Germany's main source of good quality iron. Attacking Sweden would have disrupted the supply for no real gain. Production of high-grade steel suitable for armour plate and gun barrels depended ...


42

The funds for the Autobahn project came from the Reinhardt Program, a credit finance scheme originated by Kurt von Schleicher. The contractors who built the highways were paid not in Reichsmark, but with debentures issued by the Reich Finance Ministry which could be redeemed at a discount at certain banks that formed a work creation consortium. These banks, ...


40

The nature of Nazi and Japanese atrocities is quite different. The Japanese atrocities, when ordered from above, were "rational" in the sense that they were perpetrated to gain a perceived tangible benefit for the war effort (please do not misconstrue my words to mean that I condone these actions! I do not!) The most appalling crimes, such as the rape of ...


39

There was a mechanism called voting against Hitler. Unfortunately, Hitler's opponents failed to set aside their differences and unite against him. It is important to realise that Hitler did not gain dictatorial powers solely by virtue of winning a democratic election (though the Nazi electoral performance helped immensely). In fact, in the last generally ...


38

Perhaps this is a generational thing? As a Gen-X'er, I grew up hearing about things like the Bataan Death March, The Rape of Nanking, and how in general the Japanese didn't feel like adhering to the Geneva Conventions, (as dramatized in Bridge over the River Kwai, among other movies and books). When I was a kid we also had lots more Pacific Theater veterans ...


37

There was an 88-minute long speech made by Hitler to the Reichstag on December 11th, 1941, which was four days after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, where he officially declared that Germany would join Japan in the war against the USA. In this speech, he mentioned a few of his personal reasons for this decision. That decision to declare war had been ...


37

According to Arthur D. Jacobs, author of the autobiographic book "The Prison Called Hohenasperg: An American boy betrayed by his Government during World War II", by the end of the war, 11000 persons of German ancestry were interned, both immigrants and visitors. Also, under the pressure of US Government, Latin American countries arrested more than 4000 ...


37

The overall answer is that the Soviets were not rich in railways and destroyed much of it as they retreated. The Germans anticipated this, and had railway commandos rebuild much of the Soviet trunk lines and some feeders to standard gauge. They also maintained several of the wide gauge lines if captured intact and with enough rolling stock. Some efforts, ...


34

Gibraltar during the war had a quite formidable British naval presence (Force H), an airfield, and significant coastal gun emplacements easily capable of covering the entire strait. The primary batteries were a set of twin 9.2" naval guns guns at the southern end of the peninsula, which had sufficient range to interdict all surface naval traffic through ...


33

Neither side really saw enough of a strategic advantage. The UK was already spread thin trying to defend their own island, so going out and trying to take control of Ireland didn't make sense, even if it meant preventing Germany from doing so. Given the long history of turmoil between England and Ireland, I believe they were content that Ireland didn't side ...


31

I think the Great Depression was quite irrelevant for Germany in 1939 similarly to for other countries that took measures at state regulation. As for the income, Germany was a well-developed industrial country with advanced technology. It was a pioneering country at chemistry, electrical engineering, machine-tool construction, railroads and transportation, ...


31

I seriously doubt it. Japan was a traditional monarchy, philosophically and ideologically far closer to China than Germany. Of course both were mortal enemies and had been for centuries. Far more likely they were drawn together simply by the fact that both were shut out from the "international community" and felt slighted by the UK and US (and in case of ...


28

There is some controversy of what happened to Hitler's remains, owing to the general disarray of war, but there is no real controversy with regards to his death. Hitler did in his personal will and testament say that he had chosen death. I myself and my wife — in order to escape the disgrace of deposition or capitulation — choose death. It is our wish ...


27

1) It's much easier to hide the killings if they occur at a remote camp rather than executing people on the spot. The latter would probably have meant a much higher chance of rebellion amongst the Jews, Roma and other people who were killed. Most of the people who were deported to the camps did not know they would be killed. 2) The manpower required is much ...


25

Across the country, meaning only looking at victims in Germany and not the Nazi occupied territories, these were mainly Socialists, Jews, gypsies, certain religious groups, homosexuals, mentally handicapped people, pastors and priests who publicly voiced their resentment of the Nazis, German women who had a relationship with anyone deemed worthless by the ...


24

Because the death of Hitler was reported by the Soviets, this is generally the root cause of conspiracy theories. The general consensus among historians is that Hitler committed suicide in his Führerbunker in Berlin, by gunshot on 30 April 1945, however, controversy will remain. His body was found by a soviet counter-intelligence operations group called ...


24

Attacking targets in ports is the least productive way of using your ships for at least two reasons: 1) The damage you do can be easily repaired and 2) the chances of your own ships getting "caught" or sunk are the highest. The Japanese found this out at Pearl Harbor. All but one of the ships that they sunk were raised from the sea and recycled. (Only the ...


23

The skull and crossbones or "death's head" is not a purely German - still less a specifically Nazi - symbol, but has been, and still is, used by many military units, including the British, Australian and Swedish armies and the US Marine Corps. The British Queen's Royal Lancers use the skull and crossbones with the caption beneath "Or Glory" - the "Death or ...


22

I have to recommend the recent book Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying by a historian and social psychologist here, as there isn't are more objective source for understanding the mindset of those German soldiers during WWII as their own conversations: A trove of previously unpublished, transcribed conversations among German POWs—secretly recorded ...


21

Neither the Germans nor the British were even remotely interested in what Ireland had to offer at the time. It was a neutral country tucked away in the NW corner of Europe. Its military was not particularly strong by any means, although the Irish Republican Party and Eamon de Valera had gained independence from the British largely by military force in the ...


21

Churchill was not Prime Minister when the MRP was announced or when it went into effect. He wasn't even in the government at all. He was in Parliament, but mostly an exile due to his bellicose views. It was the war that forced the Conservative government to take him in, and he didn't become Prime Minister until after France was invaded, well after the carve-...


21

Hitler did not consider Indians to be Aryans at all. Instead, he believed them to be barbaric Asians who did not deserve to enjoy freedom as a country. He wanted India to remain subjugated under the British (he said this openly in his book) permanently. He pointedly refused Bose's request to withdraw this statement in his only meeting with Bose. As for ...


21

For the same reason he did not invade Switzerland, the cost-benefit ratio was not good. Also, you should realize that the Germans were not just a bunch of frenzied madmen attacking everybody. They were happy to co-exist with other countries that were friendly, such as Sweden. After the war started, many countries, including the United States (1941), Britain ...


20

The recent book Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State by Götz Aly offers a new and very important look at this question. It is the subject of an ongoing academic debate but many of the factual findings seem to be indisputable, if I understand correctly (haven't read it but read very detailed reviews). UPDT: Very brief ...


20

I am fortunate in being 75 years of age. I travelled extensively during my 22 years in the British Royal Navy and have spoken over the years, to many people of various nationalities. One should remember that each country writes it's own history and therefore it is bound to suffer from at least some bias. The best education about the WW2 subjects mentioned ...


20

The Japanese, Germans, and Italians primarily allied based on their late-bloomer status and desire for geopolitical revisionism. Whereas countries like Britain, France, Russia, and so forth had unified and developed empires in the centuries prior to industrialization, the Axis powers had not really unified and become politically and militarily centralized ...


20

No, Hitler had no plan for defeating the US outright. However, the Germans had been fighting against the US for quite some time in the Battle of the Atlantic, since US escorts would take convoys partway across and defend them against U-Boats. So the US neutrality was very strained already. And when the US entered the war, the Germans at once sent U-Boats ...


20

The deaths head (Totenkopf) is a symbol that had been in use by many German and Prussian military units in history, going back hundreds of years. It was mainly to signify their high levels of badassery. The SS picked up on this and used it themselves to co-opt that history to mold themselves as an elite force. Use of the symbol as a military insignia ...


19

The purpose of to industrialize the mass execution of Jews and other "undesirables". Prior to creating the execution camps, the Nazis had executed considerable numbers of people "on the spot". This was a time consuming process not only for the actual execution but the sanitary disposal of bodies afterward. Considering that the regime was planning on ...



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