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42

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 ...


30

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 ...


30

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 ...


29

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 ...


26

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 ...


26

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 ...


25

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 ...


22

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, ...


20

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 ...


20

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 ...


19

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 20s. To ...


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 ...


19

Joachim Fest, who wrote a major Hitler biography in German, cites four sources and concludes thus (in footnote 63 on p. 807 of the English paperback edition): Probably the exact nature of Hitler's illness can no longer be determined, since no examination with a specific investigatory aim was ever undertaken. Because of the extremely inadequate ...


19

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 ...


18

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 ...


18

Wunderwaffe (literally, wonder weapons) - absolutely, they had many, many designs under way. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wunderwaffe They were working on the A9/A10 (think of a V3 rocket), that would be a multi-stage ICBM that would be able to hit the US, although it wasn't likely to be very accurate. This was planned to be available from 1946. ...


18

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 ...


18

The Japanese, Germans, and Italians primarily allied based on their late-bloomer status and desire for geopolitical revisionism. Whereas countries like England, 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 ...


18

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 ...


17

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 ...


17

The encyclopaedia, following Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography. New York: W. W. Norton & Company p 782, claims Parkinsons. This is I believe the standard account.


17

Hitler opinions on mustard gas seem to be quite the opposite from what you describe, given this quote from Mein Kampf 1: At the beginning of the War, or even during the War, if twelve or fifteen thousand of these Jews who were corrupting the nation had been forced to submit to poison-gas, just as hundreds of thousands of our best German workers from ...


16

The term "propaganda" got its negative meaning only after World War II. Before that, even some democratic countries such as Ireland had ministry of propaganda, which was expected to present the government's side of the picture (the same work nowadays done by spokesperson)[2].


15

There was no consistent racial theory that the Nazis endorsed as somehow "official". All decisions were made on case-by-case basis depending on current situation and Hitler's personal preferences. The Hitler's personal preferences were that he hated Jews, Poles and Russians. He was quite neutral regarding some other nations, including Slavic. He regarded ...


15

The Enigma machines and the breaking of the Enigma code were not the main determinants of the outcome of World War II, but did contribute to the outcome. There were only a few types of Enigma machines, so they had to be capable of using different encryption keys. If machines used the same encryption key for message after message, the encryption would be ...


15

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 ...


15

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 ...


14

The government of the Third Reich evolved and subverted the institutions of the parliamentary Weimar Republic established in 1919. Before the ascension of the Nazi party in January 1933 the legislative branch of the government was comprised of the Reichsrat, representing the various Länder (German states) and the Reichstag, a parliament elected according to ...


14

Was Hitler elected by the democratic process? I suppose, but really only in the Tammany Hall (JFK?) sense of the word. In summation: The German Communists were one of his chief competitors: he successfully framed them for the Reichstag fire and made them (basically) illegal. The same act which allowed him to boot the communists gave him authority to ...


14

The secret protocol was known to the US government as early as 24 August 1939. It was passed to US diplomat Charles Bohlen by Hans von Herwath, a German diplomat. The US ambassador in Moscow Laurence Steinhardt passed that information to US secretary of state Cordell Hull on the same day. Hull immediately informed British minister of foreign affairs Edward ...



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