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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1answer
125 views

Did the Soviet Union's successful northern campaign have an impact on Swedish iron ore shipments to Germany?

Late in World War II, the Soviet Union successfully invaded Finland and forced her to disassociate herself from Nazi Germany. This happened to the point where the Finns were forced to allow Soviet ...
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What was the treatment of Polish POW in British or Soviet uniform in WW2?

Suppose that Polish soldier, member of Polish Armed Forces in the West, becomes a German POW. How good or bad would have be treated ? Like UK/US POW (relatively mildly) or like Polish POWs from 1939 (...
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What was the capacity of Vemork power station?

The Vemork power station was once the largest power station in history and target of the famous Norwegian heavy water sabotage in WW2. Yet there seems to have very different data on its capacity. Some ...
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How were ship kills accounted in WWII?

In the movie Greyhound, at the end, the fleet requests an oral report of the incidents in which the captain says "My escort group sank three others...". But in the movie it is seen that ...
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How dangerous was it to be a coast watcher during the Pacific War?

The movie, South Pacific featured two "coast watchers" as heroes, the American, Lt. Joseph Cable, and the Frenchman, Emil de Becque, who observed, and reported on Japanese naval movements. ...
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Did the 1st Marine Division use the M3 carbine on Okinawa?

I wanted to know if the 1st Marine Division used the M3 infrared sniper carbine on Okinawa during World War II.
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What's the meaning of the title of Manstein's book, 'Lost victories' - missed victories or victories won in vain?

I recently shot through Manstein's Lost victories in its English translation and am curious as to what is the precise or intended meaning of its title. The original German title is Verlorene Siege, ...
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5answers
336 views

How did the Nazis of WWII identify and verify the Jewish population? [closed]

I've always had a layman/amateur interest in WWII and have always wondered one question that has just never been addressed in any of the literature I've read or documentaries that I've watched: how ...
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How did militaries dispose of their rubbish in WWII?

Just wondering about this recently - An army must create a lot of rubbish. Disposable food packaging, ammunition packaging and shell cases, etc. How did militaries dispose of rubbish during WWII? ...
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Why was there a fierce resistance to Axis occupation in Yugoslavia during World War II? [closed]

First of all the resistance against Germans and Italians erupts straight after the conquering of the country, whereas per example at nearby Greece the guerrilla groups become numerous only at 1943. ...
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Where were Allied soldiers in Switzerland typically kept?

I've been researching for a short story, but I've been having trouble working out the exact trajectory of POWs who escaped from German camps into Switzerland. I know many were put up in hotels for the ...
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What tanks/armored vehicles are in these pictures?

Need help in identifying the tanks/armored vehicles in the picture. Date - 11 Aug 2019 Location - Birmenstorf, Switzerland Event - “A Convoy to remember” commemorating 75 Anniversary of WW2 Normandy ...
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Why did the Irish Free State suppress news of the Holocaust in 1945? Reaction once it became known?

Paul Bew's book Churchill and Ireland mentions the following in connection with the Irish Free State (forerunner of the present Republic of Ireland)'s Prime Minister De Valera's visit to the German ...
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In the Battle of the Coral Sea, how could two Japanese scouts grossly mis-identify two American ships?

I've been reading the Wikipedia pages about the Pacific theatre in WW2; in the page describing the battle of the Coral Sea there is the following passage: [...] the scout [from Shōkaku] confirmed ...
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What were Helfrich's orders for Doorman in 1942 prior to the Battle of the Java Sea, and did he comment on these in later life?

I've been trying to understand what went in prior to the Japanese invasion of Java. From my understanding thus far, Vice-Admiraal (Vice Admiral) Conrad Helfrich took command of the ABDA naval forces ...
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Could the Soviet Union have supported Czechoslovakia primarily by air in 1938?

The Soviet Union was bound by treaty to support Czechoslovakia in 1938. One "sticking point" was that the Soviet Union would have to cross Polish and/or Romanian territory to do so. Was ...
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Please help with identifying this uniform, taken in Turkey 1940s

My Greek uncle worked in the American Embassy in Turkey and this picture I believe was taken in the embassy, circa 1940s - he was about 20+ then. I have researched epaulettes, uniforms of the Turkish ...
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Was the M4 Sherman used frequently in artillery capacity?

I've heard the M4 Sherman had instruments on it that allowed it to act as an artillery piece. Is there any evidence to suggest this was effective? I've heard that the Sherman had of course, its High ...
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Why couldn't the Allies clear out D-Day gun emplacements before landing troops? [closed]

It's common knowledge that the D-Day assaults on the beaches were a horrific "meat grinder" due to Allied troops having to face the suicidal conditions of charging gun emplacements on high ground ...
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Was the Volga really Russia's last line of defense before the Urals?

That was a claim made by General Vasily Chuikov in "The Battle For Stalingrad." He even went so far as to postulate a German column heading for Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan), toward the Chinese border. That ...
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Why was capturing the south of Okinawa necessary?

The Battle of Okinawa was one of the bloodiest and most difficult of WW2. But, if I understand correctly, most of the casualties were incurred during the fighting for the southern part of the island. ...
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Why did the film “The Longest Day” have the “cricket” training scene if the Allies received no intelligence about the hedgerows in Normandy?

I'm reading Stephen E. Ambrose's book "Citizen Soldiers" and he says that the allies had no intelligence about the high hedgerows in Normandy. This shocked me, because I remember clearly the scene in ...
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Up to what levels were World War II commanders known for fighting at the battle front? [closed]

I've heard someone saying: The general is at the front, the colonel is at the front, the captain is at the front. Our heroes in the second world war were at the front in the battlefield. Don't ...
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302 views

Were fighters used as a carrier group defense tactic? [closed]

Okay, i know this is probably a silly question, but were carrier based fighters ever used as a defense during an air attack combined with the use of ship based AA weapons. I mean, i know they probably ...
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Which names are correct? Mala vs Malka Zimetbaum and Edward vs Eduard Galinski?

I was deeply affected by the story of Mala Zimetbaum and Edward Galinski in Auschwitz. However, the telegram informing about the escape of Mala mentions her name as Malka Zimetbaum. The telegram ...
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How were soldiers positioned on a platoon-sized amphibious landing craft in WWII?

Did the military think through who might need to have the highest survival rate as they offloaded onto a defended beach? Were the men with different roles (radio, machine gun, medic, platoon leader, ...
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Why was the British army so short of rifles after Dunkirk?

After the battle of Dunkirk, the U.S. shipped something like 500,000 rifles to Britain. This compares to about 400,000 Allied troops at the port (counting captured French), 338,226 actually rescued, ...
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200 views

Did British WWII generals have a choice which uniform to wear?

Could the generals of the British army choose what kind of uniform to wear? I am mainly asking because Bernard Montgomery is very often photographed in a battle dress even in very official events like ...
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Why didn't Hitler decide to wait until after winning WW2 to implement the final solution? [closed]

My question is based on the following assumptions. Hitler believed he will eventually win WW2. Hitler wanted to implement the final solution as part of the Nazi ideology. Implementing the final ...
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Why has Witold Pilecki not been included in the Righteous Among the Nations? [closed]

Witold Pilecki was a Polish resistance fighter who volunteered to enter the Auschwitz I concentration camp. From there, he organised a resistance movement and gathered intelligence on the atrocities ...
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What were French collaborators specifically accused of after the Liberation of France in WWII?

I came across the title of a book, 'France: The Tragic Years, 1939-1947' by Sisley Huddleston, which struck me as odd, as I supposed France's tragedy to have ended with the retreat of the Germans in ...
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Was the danger of Germany bombing the US East Coast taken seriously and were measures taken to address it?

In this CNN article an old lady from Dillon, South Carolina, recalls her memories from World War II and mentions not just fearing bombs from airplanes, but actual measures being taken against aerial ...
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How did Italy and Germany get rubber in WWII?

Japan invaded Southeast Asia and Indonesia to obtain rubber in WWII. Germany and Italy clearly used large amounts of rubber in WWII to build vehicles and planes, but in the 1940s rubber was only ...
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Was Robert McNamara present at Los Alamos, 1945?

In this photo, a group of important people involved in the Manhattan Project can be seen at an award ceremony in 1945. The description says Presentation of Army-Navy E Award at Fuller Lodge, Los ...
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6answers
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Were the NKVD hated by the regular army like the SS was?

I remember reading about how the Wehrmacht and the SS soldiers never got along, and I was wondering if it was the same way in the Soviet Union, with the regular Red Army not liking the NKVD?
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Why couldn't Japan crack the Navajo Code in WW2, when they captured a Navajo native speaker?

All quotes come from r/askhistorians comment by User druidofdarrowdelf, but it doesn't answer my own questions. The Japanese captured a Navajo POW, Joe Kieyoomia, who wasn't part of the Code Talker ...
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How long did Jews in hiding take to reveal themselves at the end of WW2? What was their reception?

When Jews found out about news of Allied victory, were hiding Jews able to simply come out openly in safety? Why might that not be the case? How did they know that this, or other information, wasn’t ...
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What is this medal ribbon? WAAF

This is my mother in 1944 or 1945. I never knew she was entitled to wear a medal ribbon. Being black and white, I have to take a guess based on the layout, and I think it may be the Defence Medal but ...
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Could the Germans have “sealed off” the Sea of Azov in World War II?

After the fall of Sevastopol in June, 1942, the Soviet navy retreated to the east coast of the Black Sea. North of the Black Sea is the much smaller Sea of Azov, with a narrow access through the ...
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Why did Fall Blau start at Voronezh instead of further south?

The main objectives of Fall Blau, the German 1942 summer offensive, were the Volga River, to cut off Soviet oil supplies from further south, and the Caucasus oil fields themselves, for German use. ...
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Why did the Germans build battle cruisers with a different profile than the British?

Battle cruisers of the Scharnhorst class had a displacement of 32,000 tons and a speed of 31 knots, but carried only 11 inch guns. On the other hand, British) battle cruisers like the Renown had a ...
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1answer
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How many naval mines were cleared for D-Day?

I was interested to read in this question about the clearing of naval mines for D-Day in 1944. There are estimates of the frequency of the mines on the beach -- history.com says there were "4 million ...
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Was there a plan from the USSR to invade Germany before Barbarossa? [closed]

Were there any intentions from the USSR to invade Germany before Operation Barbarossa? Did the USSR intelligence services know that Hitler had intentions to invade them?
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Can the German success on the Eastern front be largely explained by superior air power?

My understanding is that the Russians were mostly superior on the ground to the Germans (except for armor, in the early stages of the war), and the main German advantage was in the air. The ...
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Did the leaflets from the US to Hiroshima/Nagasaki civilians on bombing cities reduce the civilian casualties of the two nuclear bombs in August 1945?

I read on Wikipedia Various leaflets were dropped on Japan, three versions showing the names of 11 or 12 Japanese cities targeted for destruction by firebombing. The other side contained text stating ...
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Is there any way to get a list of Germans who were interned in American camps during WWII?

I am trying to see if any ancestors that immigrated from Germany in the 1800's were sent to the American interment camps during WWII. Is there a list of names for the Germans who were considered “...
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1answer
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Where was Mao Zedong during the Japanese surrender in Zhijiang (芷江) at the end of WWII in 1945?

Timeline for context: 9 August, 1945: atomic bomb on Nagasaki. 15 August: the Japanese announced their acceptance of the unconditional surrender (Potsdam Proclamation). 21-23 August: the Japanese ...
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396 views

How much debt did Italy remit Germany in the London Debt Agreement?

Italy was one of the signatories of the London Debt Agreement in 1953, pardoning part of previous German debts. Is there an estimate of the amount owed by Germany to Italy? Various sources cite the ...
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What are the themes of post-WW2 Polish immigration to the United States? [closed]

What are the themes of post-WW2 Polish immigration to the United States? What was life like for this immigrant community?
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Did the Japenese consider the atomic bomb no worse than any other bomb? [duplicate]

I read another article asserting that the US needlessly dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, but this one had a different spin: the Soviets had already defeated the Japanese. It basically lays out the ...

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