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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 didn't the Japanese disbelieve (1) an unencrypted emergency and (2) a report in a captured code?

The Wikipedia page on Joseph Rochefort states: One of the Station HYPO staff, Jasper Holmes, had the idea of faking a failure of the water supply on Midway Island. He suggested using an ...
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How were the day-to-day activities of the French Resistance financed?

Fighting a war, even as loosely-organised or underground force, is expensive - you need places to stay and keep things; you need to feed and equip people; you need to obtain, maintain and fuel ...
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Why did the USSR stop in the Winter War against Finland in 1940?

To me, this is one of the biggest history mysteries. By the end of February 1940, the USSR breached the Mannerheim line, and the Finnish troops were exhausted and short of ammunition. I have little ...
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How did the HMAS Sydney know the real Straat Malakka's secret callsign, “IIKP”, but not HSK Kormoran?

It's outlandish that the Kormoran didn't know the secret callsign of the ship they were imitating. Please see the question in my title, and the emboldened sentence underneath. I quote Wikipedia. ...
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Where can I find data on the amount of fuel carried by WWII Warships and what their operational ranges were?

I am looking for a fairly comprehensive source where can I find data on the amount of fuel carried by WWII Warships and what their operational ranges were? I mean, I want to look up this information ...
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Which WW2 belligerents provided military brothels?

Did any of the other belligerents of WW2 besides Japan and Germany provide their troops with authorized military brothels?
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Why did the Germans forbid the possession of pet pigeons in Rostov-on-Don in 1941?

Photograph made by Max Alpert shows a dead boy holding a pigeon. It seems that the child has been tortured before he was killed. Source: Federal Archive Agency of Russia, Russian state archive of ...
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Who were the police of Vichy France?

I'm starting a small project with some friends, but before I got started, I wanted to make sure I had all my facts straight. My question is about France in 1940, during the Second World War. When ...
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How long did it take US fleet submarines during World War 2 to charge their batteries?

How long did it take a US fleet submarine running on the surface to recharge its battery fully for maximum duration submergence? I realize that the answer depends on how many engines were being used ...
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Where can I find documents from the Nuremberg trials about war crimes of the Wehrmacht in the Soviet Union?

I want to read documents that were used to prove German war crimes in the Soviet Union, incl. crimes against civilians and treatment of Soviet prisoners of war. So far I found the following: ...
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Was Japan really part of the Axis?

I recall in history class learning that the Japanese could have attacked the USSR in the 1940s and potentially split Stalin's forces - which presumably would have been more useful for the Nazis than ...
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What defined a Jew in the context of WW2? [closed]

What made a Jew? It's a complex question, primarily because borders in Central and Eastern Europe were moving back and forth in the 150 years preceding WW2, mostly because Poland was annexed for over ...
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Was Rommel anti-semitic?

I've heard that he was not. Later, I've heard that he would have joined the fray if not because of political consideration. I forgot the source.
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What did a WW2 fighter cost?

The second world war was among other things a war in resources and economy. So it got me wondering, what were the prices for fighter planes used? With some searching I count not find a satisfying ...
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Are these outfits of children of Nazis historically accurate, and if so, what is their meaning?

In the Spanish film the photographer of Mauthausen there is a scene of a party held to celebrate the birthday of the son of Mauthausen Concentration Camp commander (Franz Ziereis). In the party at ...
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Was a medical ship sunk during the evacuation from Dunkirk?

In the trailer for the upcoming movie Dunkirk, a scene implies the Axis forces struck and sunk a medical ship carrying the red cross. Can anyone tell me if this was considered unlawful engagement of ...
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In WW2, how long could a submarine stay submerged if it wasn't moving?

For a submarine in the WW2-era, how long could it stay submerged if it was not running its engine? This is a question of crew size, oxygen, food/water, and CO2 scrubbers, and maybe other stuff I'm not ...
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Did American policymakers seriously consider scaling down Lend Lease Aid to the Soviet Union after the battle of Kursk?

In 1941, Senator (and future President) Harry Truman famously said, "If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany." ...
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How did the forces required for invading Norway compare to those actually used for invading North Africa?

During World War II, Churchill envisioned a possible Allied invasion of northern Norway called Operation Jupiter. This idea was "tabled" (postponed) in 1941, because Britain felt that it lacked the ...
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Help to identify WW1 or WWII badge

Can someone identify this badge please. It has a number on the back that looks like 742299. What is the significance of the number and why is there a 60 in the crown on the front of the badge.
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In early WW2, how much of the merchant marine was American?

WW2, before the US entered, ran from 1939 Sep 01 to 1941 Dec 07. During this time, a lot of merchant vessels sailed in convoy to Britain. I am wondering, of all the people who crewed those vessels, ...
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During the 1930-40s - World War 2 - were children taught English in Nazi Germany?

Were children taught English as a language or any other languages? Or did they only learn German? To be specific, schoolchildren aged 12 or above.
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WWII - documents on turn around point in German Foreign strategy - “stop we are not going to pass Finland to USSR”

I want to find the turn around point in German Foreign strategy: ok we leave Finland to USSR - stop we would not do it. In documents. Some of them are there: https://archive.org/search.php?query=...
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What damage did anti-tank rifles hope to inflict on tanks in WW2?

Initially I was surprised to learn that such a thing as an anti-tank rifle even exists. It seems a ludicrous idea to try to shoot a tank with a rifle. But let's suppose that the bullet really hits a ...
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Aside from the Jews, did Hitler have a final solution plan for other ethnicities/races in the Third Reich?

We know that Nazi ideology explicitly singled out Jews as the main reason for all Germany's problems, and planned to exterminate all of them. Nazis also persecuted gypsies, Polish people, and POWs. ...
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Difference between acts of “merit” and acts of “valor” in military decorations? (e.g. V device)

I used to think valor is for combat and merit is non-combat. Then I realize Purple heart, a successor of Badge of Military Merit, is awarded for "being wounded or killed in any action against an enemy"...
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What is the equivalent buying power of one 1945 Reichsmark in 2016 Euros?

Inspired by this question How much is one 1945 German Mark to one 2016 Euro?, for example how many Reichsmark would I need to buy a loaf of bread and how many Euros compared to that?
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In WW2, why didn't Japan invade Macau?

Macau was a Portuguese Colony right next door to Hong Kong. Why didn't Japan invade it during WW2? Japan did invade Hong Kong, and they did invade Portuguese Timor too. Yet I am not even sure if ...
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What was the timetable for Germany's Invasion of the Low Countries (Fall Gelb) in WW2?

I was watching the 1969 classic movie 'Battle of Britain' the other day and noted numerous scenes where the British were very concerned about a German invasion; "what are they waiting for?" was a ...
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What was the postage from Japan to US in 1945?

I was wondering how many postage stamps it would require to send a letter from Japan to the US (and vice versa) around 1945, and during the occupation? And perhaps you might know what the stamps ...
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Was Japan known to be a potential threat to the USA in the 10 year period prior to 1941

In the years leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack, did non-military Americans see Japan as a potential threat to the USA?
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Why are military uniforms often flared or poofy above the knee?

I've often wondered why do various uniforms have those "poofs" on the outsides of the legs just above the knee? Was there a particular purpose to this, or a practical reason, or was it just the result ...
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Why were all Y-12 operators of Manhattan Project women?

I have searched a while and I have not found any evidence of why all operators at Y-12 had to be women. I am interested especially in in two aspects: Who was the person from inside of the project ...
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Number of foreigners in the Waffen-SS and Wehrmacht during WWII

During World War II, thousands of non-German men fought in the Waffen-SS and in the Wehrmacht. People from all Europe, volunteers from neutral and occupied countries and enemy prisoners. Even Russian ...
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Were railway guns ever critical in any battle during WWI and WWII?

Note: this is a question about railway - mounted artillery, NOT about armored trains (which were more akin to tanks-on-rails and had much smaller guns) The idea behind railway gun is quite sound: a ...
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Why didn't the USA move to the left after WWII? [closed]

After the second world war, and after the full impact of what the Nazis had done became clear, it seems like international politics moved to the left: in the east and far-east, support for communist ...
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Does the ≈400,000 figure for US soldiers killed in WW2 include the ≈80,000 MIA?

There is general consensus that there were roughly 400,000 U.S. deaths in WW2, and 80,000 MIA: Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. At ...
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What changes were made to address the Junkers 88 initial high accident losses?

There were three main German bombers in use during the Battle of Britain: the Dornier Do 17, the Heinkel He 111, Ju 87 Stuka and the Junkers Ju 88. The Dornier 17 was an old bomber, no longer in ...
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Why didn't Spain and Portugal become industrial powerhouses in the 20th century?

Although Spain experienced a gruesome civil war, neither Spain nor Portugal participated in either the first or the second world wars. Despite their losses of millions of people, widespread ...
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What “class” of soldiers were these soft targets?

In "The Battle for Stalingrad," Russia's Vasily Chuikov wrote that to the extent possible, Russian guerrillas and snipers tried to avoid "duels" with enemy fighting men, instead seeking out "soft" ...
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Which historians argue that WWII was caused by Fascism as a reaction to Communism?

It's been suggested that fascist movements of post-WW1 Europe emerged in reaction to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and against worker sympathies to similar internationalist socialist movements ...
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Did Japan have secret films about going into the US in the 40s?

This film (narrated by Ronald Regan) was produced in the 40s. It discusses detailed planning for an air mission into an area in Japan. Did Japan have similar fims in the time period to aid them in ...
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Were the events in Nemmersdorf a PR stunt of the Nazi propaganda?

Is there any hard, definitive, reliable evidence that it were the Soviets who committed the Massacre of Nemmersdorf (incl. crucifixions and nailing people on barn doors)? Several, primarily German ...
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Which RAF squadrons and aircraft types took part in the bombing of Berlin on the 25th of August 1940?

The first RAF raid of Berlin in WW2 took place on the 25th of August 1940 in retaliation for German bombing of London. The accounts I can find claim that there were 81 or 95 aircraft involved, (...
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Did the Axis engage in trade with other countries during the war?

In Europe, Germany had occupied several countries while actively being at war with the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States while Japan had been expanding through most the ...
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Were there any sanctions put on Germany after the war? [closed]

During and before the war, WW2, sanctions were put on Germany. After WW2, Germany was helped by the Allies to reconstruct its economy, but were any sanctions put on Germany post-war? If so, what kind ...
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Was there a pre-determined arrangement for the division of Germany in case it surrendered before any Soviet forces entered its territory?

Listening to the audiobook D-day through German eyes, I thought: what if Germany had surrendered before any Soviet force entered its territory? In the book, a German soldier says that his motivation ...
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Did Truman really believe that Hiroshima was a military base?

Harry Truman claimed, in his July 25, 1945 diary entry, that: I have told [Stimson] to use [the first nuclear bomb] so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women ...
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Hugh Dowding v. William Sholto Douglas? [closed]

Would Hugh Dowding have been a better tactician against the London Blitz (night bombing) as compared to William Sholto Douglas?
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What treatment did Allied Jewish POWs get when captured by the Germans?

According to Wikipedia, there were about 500,000 American Jews serving in the US forces during World War II, and another 500,000 Jews served other Allied nations. Some of these servicemen would have ...