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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Why was the end of WWII so unlike the end of WWI? [closed]

Can you explain why the results of the two wars were so different?
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Did any French generals or politicians argue for pressing the Saar offensive?

There is still considerable controversy on the question of whether Gamelin could have ordered a SERIOUS offensive in the Saar in early September, 1939 with the operation having a decent chance of ...
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How accurately did Victory Through Air Power portray the state of the war at the time?

I have just watched Disney's 1943 wartime propaganda film, Victory Through Air Power. The film (which was based on Alexander P. de Seversky's book by the same name) was intended to convince government ...
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Who destroyed the leading brigade of the 6th Guards Tank corps?

From Tony Le Tissier, Slaughter at Halbe: With Koniev’s exhortations urging it on, 3rd Guards Tank Army succeeded in covering sixty kilometres on 20 April [1945], taking Baruth during the course of ...
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What other ships were with USS Saratoga when it was hit by a torpedo on 1942 Jan 11?

USS Saratoga (CV-3) was a Lexington-class Carrier of the USN. On 1942 Jan 11 it was hit by a torpedo from the Japanese submarine I-6, and then went in for repairs. However, I would like to know what ...
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Were deportations committed by Stalin during WWII covered in Allies' press? [closed]

Was the deportation of the Chechen and Ingush populations (carried out in 1944) covered in the media of the Allied powers?
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What led Chiang Kai-shek to do a U-turn against the Japanese?

The Japanese feel that Western countries are unfair in imposing the status quo on Japan and calling it “peace.” Their whole conception of diplomatic machinery and collective security is that it is ...
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Which specific equipment did Italian submarines lack for Atlantic?

I read the book Kretschmer, in which the author Lawrence Patterson quoted one of Dönitz's report concerning the collaboration with the Italian submarine service. One element given for the bad ...
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Could the "Taffy" Groups have been reinforced by air during the battle of Leyte Gulf?

During the Battle for Leyte Gulf, most elements of the American fleet fought two "side" groups of the Japanese fleet to the south and north of the main action, which would take place off ...
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What German torpedo problem was discovered in 1942?

I am reading a book about Otto Kretschmer, and the author speaks about a problem of German torpedoes. The only thing said in the book is: Torpedoes needed to be ventilated during some time because ...
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What was the process to join the army in WW2 England?

I'm currently (at the beginning of) researching the process people would go through for joining the British army (including the RAF and navy) during WW2 in England for a story I'm writing. ...
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How did Hitler view Fr. Denis Fahey, Fr. Leonard Feeney, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis?

Fr. Denis Fahey, Fr. Leonard Feeney, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were pretty famous names in the Christian West in the 1930s and 1940s. Is there any information concerning Hitler having views on any ...
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What is the purpose of the iron structures seen on the sides of many WW2 flak towers?

I was researching World War 2 flak towers, and was unable to find the purpose of these iron(?) structures seen underneath the main walkway of many flak towers. My first thought was that it would ...
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Molotov-Ribbentrop pact - Where was Hitler?

Why didn't Hitler attend the negotiations of the pact in August 1939, but Stalin did? He was afraid of being assassinated by the Soviets or what?
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Is there anything to back up Mearsheimer's claims that Roosevelt pushed the Japanese to attack the United States and tried to get the US into WW2?

In this video at 1:20:05 (and a little bit of the part preceding it), Mearsheimer claims that Roosevelt "was deeply committed" to get the United States into the second world war and "...
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Were British infantry trained to shoot attacking aircraft with rifles?

In WWII the Allies were surrounded at Dunkirk as they waited for the Navy to ferry them back to England. In the movie "Dunkirk" there are entire Battalions of British troops standing in huge ...
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Did a British civilian row across the channel and shoot 6 Luftwaffe pilots?

As we were studying WWII, our history teacher told us a story that, to me at least, seemed apocryphal. But given that she didn't provide any citations, I was unable to confirm our falsify her story. ...
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Which part of Japanese air forces fought in Burma and how much was destroyed?

My current understanding of WW2 involving Japan is that US forces destroyed the brunt of Japanese air and naval forces in the Pacific. I know however that land battles occurred on large scale in Burma ...
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Can you recommend books on WW2 Allied conferences?

Are there recommended books that analyze and present a history of the Allied conferences of WW2? I looked at the references here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomatic_history_of_World_War_II and a ...
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Why didn't Germany bomb the crap out of Stalingrad to win the city? [closed]

Why didn't the Germans bomb Stalingrad to the ground and destroy everything in it? Did the Russians have underground bunkers to stay alive? How did the Russians survive the bombardment?
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Could Japan buy natural resources from European colonies before WW2?

Internationally, this was a time when "free trade" was in disrepute. The great powers not only jealously protected their special economic rights within their colonies and spheres of ...
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Do negotiations/concessions to dictatorial powers always bring them to wanting more? [closed]

Let's focus on European powers that existed from the 18th century until today. There's a common theory which basically says: giving concessions or not being firm enough towards dictators always ...
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During the Allied invasion of Sicily, when were 400 soldiers killed due to a sentry sleeping on the job?

In Patton's speech to the Third Army, he refers to an incident in Sicily where 400 men died because a sentry was caught sleeping on the job: There are four hundred neatly marked graves in Sicily, all ...
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How does a commander estimate enemy's losses? [closed]

"Overclaim" is a common military problem. My primary example is Stalin thought that Wehrmacht lost 4.5M people in 1941 (the actual losses ~1M) and expected to win the war in 1942. Did ...
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Why was the German Jewish population declining so much that some statisticians predicted its disappearance even before the 3rd Reich?

I was reading Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism where she claims that German Jewry was declining at such fast rates that for their raw numbers the Holocaust could be seen as statistically '...
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Why are there no statistics on how many ships were sunk by carriers in Ww2?

This is something that always puzzled me. There seems to be major gaps in historical data, in facts that should be easy to compile. If we know all the Japanese destroyer losses we should know how many ...
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Why did Italy wait 45 days to exit WWII after the fall of Mussolini?

Benito Mussolini was deposed on the 25 of July 1943. From reading the Wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_the_Fascist_regime_in_Italy), it seems that the main reason is that the ...
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Why were P-39/P-400 sent to Henderson Field?

According to wikipedia, P-400 (export version of P-39) were part of the Cactus Air Force early in the battle of Guadalcanal, as soon as August 1942. This airplane was heavily armed but, according to ...
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What was the "Group Movement'? (circa 1942)

In The Guy Liddell Diaries, vol. 1: 1939-1942, ed. Nigel West, London: 2005, Liddell refers to 'the Group Movement' on 8 January 1942: Nigel Reid has tumbled on an extraordinary story through the ...
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What was the relationship between the Imperial Rule Assistance Association and the Imperial General Headquarters?

I am trying to write an analysis of the bureaucracy in Japan that led to their decision to enter the War in 1941. I see both the Imperial Rule Assistance Association(IRAA) and Imperial General ...
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How significant was the literary loss due to WWII?

From the Wikipedia list of libraries damaged during World War II, I learnt that millions of books stored in libraries were lost from bombings and intentional destruction by the Nazis, especially in ...
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What were the cost of comparable aircraft?

When comparing military equipment, little attention is paid to cost, at least in the popular resources (obviously, military establishments pay close attention to how much they are paying!) E.g., there ...
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Why was the Red Army successful against the Japanese in 1939 but perform poorly against Finland 1939-40 and early part of WW2?

The Soviet Union's Red Army had great difficulty overcoming the vastly outnumbered Finns in the 1939-40 Winter War, and suffered disastrous defeats in the early stages of the German invasion in World ...
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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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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? [closed]

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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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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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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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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4 votes
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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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2 votes
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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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25 votes
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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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2 votes
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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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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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