Questions tagged [world-war-two]

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, China, the USSR, and the USA. The conflict began with the German invasion of Poland and formally ended with the American victory over Japan.

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What did World War 1 Veterans think of the outbreak of World War 2? [closed]

Question what where the general opinion from soldiers who fought in World War 1, about the outbreak of World War 2. I have remember reading somewhere that the British soldiers felt quite jaded that ...
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Which prominent German nationals defected to Switzerland 1939-1945? [closed]

There are several artists and academics documented as having left Germany for the USA and other countries between 1933-1939, the period before WWII broke out. But what are some examples of Germans who ...
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Why weren’t the Dutch and Belgian borders fortified with wire, trenches, mines, etc., as it became clear Germany would invade during WW2?

Following standard military doctrine, a full mobilization of the opponent nation is the clearest indication of hostile intentions, short of an actual declaration of war. Considering that massive, ...
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What flag are the men in these photos flying?

The below pictures show US Army troops in 1945, having captured the city of Nuremberg. I was curious about the flags they are waving, though - they don't seem to match up with any of the recorded ...
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Where was Olitei?

In Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression (volume 3, page 215, the Red Series), document 200-PS has the following passage: The Command is further charged with the transferring of worthwhile Russian youth ...
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4answers
662 views

Why try to escape a POW camp?

I'm reading The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill, which recounts escape attempts from the Stalag Luft III POW camp in Poland during WWII. Brickhill describes a camp where he and his fellow RAF/AAC ...
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Why did Italian artillery perform so badly during WWII?

Italian artillery available during WW2 looks pretty numerous, speaking about the different cannons and howitzers available. They also looked efficient, considering range, caliber or accuracy. In the ...
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1answer
242 views

Why was Axis intelligence so poor in relation to Operation Uranus?

Given that the Axis knew the USSR would attack (at some point) in the Caucasus, that the bulk of the USSR's Caucasus forces not committed to Stalingrad had escaped the Fall Blau offensives, and that ...
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1answer
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Is there a daily dairy of WWII?

Can someone suggest a hardcover book that comprehensively chronicles the history of WW II on a day-by-day or week-by-week diary basis that spans 1939 - 1945? Comprehensively in terms of addressing the ...
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Did Stalin offer Hitler peace after Stalingrad?

While reading Winston's War (Max Hastings), I have been repeatedly impressed by the image of Hitler fighting against the Soviet Union, while the latter was supplied by the Allies. A collectivist ...
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1answer
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Why would the Gestapo help Jews to escape? [closed]

This history.com article says Passage was a terrifying ordeal. Jews congregated in fishing towns, then hid on small boats, usually 10 to 15 at a time. They gave their children sleeping pills and ...
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What were the capabilities of U-boats during the battle of the Atlantic?

I'm learning about the capabilities of German u-boats during the Battle of the Atlantic and their improvements during the war, in the most general sense. I researched three types of U-boat, the VIIA, ...
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What engineers chose the locations and oversaw runway construction for the airfields that the Flying Tigers used?

The section of NPR's The Flying Tigers: How a group of Americans ended up fighting for China in WW II includes the following: Burma was central to keeping China supplied The AVG's base was in Kunming ...
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Where could I find detailed data on WWII Eastern Front casualties and territorial changes?

I'm not sure this even exists, but I'd like to give it a shot - what I'm looking for is number of casualties on the Eastern Front between '41 and '45 by country by week (or at least by month), and ...
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What exactly was East Prussia between 1933 and 1945? Was it part of a larger government, and which one?

I've read some about WWII, but until I started reading the book "Inge's War" (Svenja O'Donnell) I had apparently misunderstood Germany. I had envisioned Germany as its own entity. Inge's ...
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What were the promises offered by the US to Romania at the end of WWII and why were they broken?

As a Romanian I know from interviews, articles, testimonies, that many Romanians expected at the end of World War II (starting with 1944 and the following years, when the character of the Soviet ...
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Where can I find more information about destruction of a castle in Merlas, France?

On approximately the 21st of June 1944, some German troops burned a "castle" (not an historical one, built just before 1900) in the commune of Merlas (Isère), in the south-east of France. ...
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Why was FDR so determined for the US to join WWII? [duplicate]

I have read an FDR biography and it goes into great details about FDR's difficulties in convincing a largely isolationist population, a reluctant military and an almost hostile Dept of State to ...
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1answer
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How common was it for USAAF aircrews to swap airplanes?

My (rather novice) understanding of U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) practices during WWII (and afterwards in the U.S. Air Force) is that aircrews were assigned specific airplanes, and that if an aircrew's ...
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Why was the Vichy French Navy in Toulon scuttled in 1942?

In the November 27 episode of the video series WW2 week-by-week I learned (around minute 18) that Admiral Jean de Laborde, Commander of the Vichy French fleet in Toulon, ordered it scuttled when he ...
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Could Japan have won WW2 without interservice rivalry? [closed]

Interservice Rivalry discusses the rivalry between the Japanese army and navy and I have listened to a video which says that a naval plane landing at a army air base would not be serviced, for example....
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Why was IJN apparently inactive mid-war?

If you look at the history of the WW2 Pacific theatre, you would notice an apparent lack of Imperial Japanese Navy activity between Guadalcanal and Philippine Sea. And even these two battles were ...
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Which kingdoms were using WWI weapons at the time of the second world war?

Which kingdoms, little dictatorships and all sorts of fiefdom had World War 1 armor (and nothing more modern) at the time of the second war? I bet there was a lot because after the First World War all ...
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1answer
235 views

Is there a basis for this tale of Eisenhower blessing & Patton's curse? [closed]

After discussion: The "magical" part here is beside the point, I just quoted the legend. I'm insterested with the factual things, some of which might have happened. For example, it's very ...
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Did Germany offer the Soviet Union an opportunity to join the Axis?

This article on Wikipedia claims that Germany and the Soviet Union conducted talks over the possibility for the Soviet Union to join the Axis. talks occurred in October and November 1940 concerning ...
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1answer
300 views

Did Japanese officers refuse to engage in kamikaze attacks?

The Kamikaze is a military tactic that appeared officially in Japan's forces in 1944. This was used first by some officers, and then became more and more widespread. My understanding of the Japanese ...
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How did economic composition change during the world wars?

I'm trying to understand how economic composition changed during the world wars in various countries. One route would be following the expenditure approach to gdp accounting, but in more detail. For ...
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Were the Germans in a position to capitalize on their military objectives at Stalingrad without capturing the whole city?

As I understand it, the military objective of capturing Stalingrad was to be able to cut off north-south river traffic on the Volga, and land traffic on the east bank of the river, using the city as a ...
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1answer
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Were there any potential areas around Smolensk that Army Group Center might have found as defensible as the Rzhev line?

During Operation Barbarossa the German Army Group Center met perhaps its first serious opposition around Smolensk. That suggests that the region had at least "some" defensive value. After a ...
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Did the Axis try to "bribe" Turkey into joining them during World War II?

Not far from the Russo-Turkish border are the oil fields of Baku, which might have been "capturable" by a lightening strike of Turkish, German or joint German-Turkish forces. This oil could ...
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200 views

How and why did the progress of Army Group A differ from what the terrain in the Caucasus might suggest?

A simplistic description of the southern wing of Fall Blau would be that the Germans advanced "easily" across the relatively flat land of the Kuban and North Caucasus, and stalled after they ...
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Where to find statistics about the WW2 German bombings of Britain, regarding German bomber sorties versus British civilian casulties?

I'm interested in a comparison of early versus later stages of attacks during the German bombing campaign against the UK. I've searched through many sources, but they usually give totals over the ...
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1answer
225 views

What did whistling bombs actually sound like?

Apparently some WWII-era bombs had whistles built into their design, so that they would whistle as they fell. Often, for example in Looney Tunes cartoons, this is depicted as a whistle that gradually ...
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Why were some German and Japanese cities bombed more than others during WW2? Is there a scientific consensus?

I'm trying to study the long-run effects the strategic bombing of German and Japanese cities had on urban and economic development. Reading some articles about it I get contradictory information about ...
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How and why was the boundary between West and East Berlin decided to be where it was?

I have been trying to find detailed explanations (and, if available, references in English or German about it) to the following about the division of Berlin into West and East sides after WW2: how ...
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What led Guderian as far south as Gomel, in August, 1941?

In June of 1941, Nazi Germany launched operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union with three Army Groups, North, Center, and South. According to the OKW plans, the main axis of advance was ...
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What was Michael Wittmann's "officer" chain of command like?

At Normandy, tank ace, Captain Michael Wittmann commanded a group of seven tanks. My understanding is that an officer of Wittmann's rank might command a unit of 9-15 tanks at full strength (before ...
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What were the ranks of say, the five crewmen of a Panzer in World War II? [duplicate]

At Normandy, tank ace, Major Michael Wittmann commanded a group of seven tanks. This was probably a unit that had been decimated by casualties. Even so, my understanding is that an officer of Wittmann'...
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584 views

Why did the French "surrender" all of its troops during the armistice in World War II?

After losing the Battle of France, in 1940, France concluded an "Armistice," basically a "cease fire in place," with Germany. (The borders were adjusted so the Germans were given ...
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1answer
417 views

Which superior officer did Princess Elizabeth II report to during her service as a junior officer in WW2?

Prior to her reign, Queen Elizabeth II served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service of the British Army during World War 2. She held the rank of a junior officer (with a promotion to a Junior Commander ...
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What was this bet that Montgomery lost?

I remember seeing a WWII documentary that described a bet between General Montgomery and an American general (I think maybe Patton) that Montgomery lost, but Montgomery signed the payoff check with ...
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Initial Japanese success in WWII? [closed]

We all know about Pearl Harbor. But I’m curious how Imperial Japan managed to take Guam, Wake, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and China. The only reason I can think of to explain these conquests were ...
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How has the slogan "Bis in den Tod, Rot-Weiss-Rot" been used before and after the Anschluss, and in modern times?

I am curious about Austrian slogan "Bis in den Tod! Rot-Weiss-Rot! Österreich!", usually rendered in English as "Red-White-Red until we are dead!", where "Red-White-Red" ...
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Does anyone know the history on this artillery shell I found in my grandfather’s shed?

The shell is 57 mm in diameter and 170mm long. There is a hole in the bottom of the shell 13 mm in diameter. Any information on this shell would be greatly appreciated. I would like to keep it in my ...
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Given the concern about Soviet oil in World War II, why is so little mention made of captured Soviet coal reserves?

Fall Blau, and a lot of the eastern campaign was centred around capturing Soviet oil reserves, particularly around Maikop, Grozny, and Baku in the Caucasus. But the Germans captured the majority of ...
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286 views

Is Bulgaria the only country in modern history to have gained territory after being on the losing side of a war?

According to the sources I could find, Bulgaria was given a piece of land called 'Southern Dobruja' at the end of WW2 even though they officially were part of the Axis powers from 1941 up until 1944, ...
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356 views

Did allied soldiers in the WWII Pacific Theater use the term 'flak' for anti-aircraft guns?

I just stumbled upon a clip from the movie 'Unbroken', where the crew of a bomber stationed in the Pacific refer to anti-aircraft fire as 'flak'. Flak, of course, is short for 'Flugabwehrkanone', the ...
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180 views

What is the source of this quote about hope and POWs?

I seem to recall someone who was a POW, possibly held by Japanese, saying something like that the people that survived were the ones that gave up hope of getting out and the people that died were the ...
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Why was the US so pro-China and so anti-Japan before WW2?

There is little doubt that the US embargoes on Japan pushed an already aggressive Japan towards Pearl Harbor. Japanese Navy doctrine had already been contemplating a conflict with the US and this ...
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Was it viable to continue the battle of France in the French colonies in 1940?

Was continuing the battle of France in the French colonies a viable option in 1940? This option was advocated by de Gaulle, Churchill, and many leading political figures in France at the time. De ...

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