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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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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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 did Yamamoto reprimand Nagumo after Pearl Harbor?

I am reading the book "Shattered Sword" and it states that Yamamoto "rebuked" Nagumo after Pearl Harbor. I thought Pearl Harbor was considered a great success? Anyone know why Yamamoto thought it ...
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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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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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What happened to Wilhelm Hoffman?

Wilhelm Hoffman was a Wehrmacht soldier trapped in Stalingrad, whose diary survived the war and provides a rare look at what it was like to be an average German soldier on the Eastern Front. My ...
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1answer
858 views

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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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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Did Churchill and Roosevelt know about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the following secret pacts between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prior to, and during WWII. It seems that the actions of the two countries after the invasion of Poland ...
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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 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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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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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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Which battles of WWII did the cracking of Enigma decisively influence?

Having just watched The Imitation Game, I am curious about the influence of the cracking of Enigma on the outcome of WWII. Which battles did the information decoded by Enigma influence? Which ...
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Was Churchill's "backwards" victory symbol a rude gesture to Hitler?

Churchill was sometimes photographed giving the V-for-victory symbol with the back of the hand to the photographer or crowd. Was this meant as a sly "up yours" gesture to Hitler, or just a less common ...
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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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1answer
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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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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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In WWII, what were the major differences in tank combat on the eastern and western fronts?

Nearly every nation deployed tanks in World War II. What are some differences in tactics between the eastern front in Russia and Eastern Europe, and the western front in France, the Low Countries, and ...
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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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Why did the Japanese attack the Aleutians at the same time as Midway?

Here's where I am starting from: Aleutians, Battle of Dutch Harbor - June 3–4, 1942. 2 smaller aircraft carriers. Main Midway battle. June 4-7. 4 big carriers, with 2 smaller that weren't right ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Were any of the major battle plans in WWII changed last minute by officers on the ground?

I haven't found any consistent reference to a particular battle wherein the battle plans were changed by a lower level officer on the ground at the last minute. Specifically, a major battle plan, not ...
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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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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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Were B-17s (rather than B-29s) ever used to bomb mainland Japanese territory during WW2 (at least before the capture of Okinawa)?

I am wondering if B17s ever flew bombing raids against the Japanese mainland, and if so, did they do it before the capture of Okinawa, which was much closer than the previously captured islands like ...
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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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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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Did any "tanks in front" tactic exist during WW2?

I am searching for a tactic that would be in service in the British and/or French army during WW2. It would consist in placing the tank on forward position of other elements, especially in front of ...
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Is there a WW2 European bomb damage atlas?

For London there is a comprehensive and accessible (and readily available) atlas of damage done during the Second World War by German aerial bombing. Are there similar atlases available for Europe, ...
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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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Did German soldiers receive pay after the Allied invasion?

The German war machine was well organized, the logistics were quite accurate, and I can only imagine that they also were quite on time with wages payment before the Allied invasion in France. My ...
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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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How well did American bombers fight enemy fighters in World War II?

Normally, fighters shoot down bombers. but sometimes bombers "turn the tables" and destroy enemy fighters. My understanding is that American bombers did this from time to time against weaker ...
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Did the US provide oil assistance to Germany during WW2?

Some Russian guy on BBC Radio 5 (Up all night) just now shouted down a Yank, claiming that the US had helped Germany maintain its oil supplies during WW2. At least that's what I recall of his rant. I ...
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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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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 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 is the most noteworthy defection of a member of the Nazi party to the Allies during WWII?

During WWII, before it became clear the Nazis were going to lose, is there any especially noteworthy examples of a member or members of the Nazi party defecting to the Allies? I'm aware noteworthy is ...

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