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 WWII fighter raid did my great-uncle misremember?

My great-uncle Kevin Riordan was an Australian WWII fighter pilot. Some time around the year 2000, not long before he died, he wrote up his war memoirs. According to his memoirs: Joined the RAAF on ...
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1answer
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How historically accurate is “Life is Beautiful” when it comes to Jewish extermination?

I want to ask about the movie Life is Beautiful It is portrayed, in the movie, how that protagonist Jew is sent to extermination camp in Italy. I thought Jews in Italy were not usually sent to ...
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1answer
386 views

Why were the Soviets better at replacing their lost men and material? [duplicate]

Battle of Kursk is considered a Soviet decisive victory, no doubt it was the last major German offensive at the Eastern front. But why so? Casualties indicate the Soviets suffered 1 million ...
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1answer
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How much did J. Robert Oppenheimer get paid while overseeing the Manhattan Project?

I am curious to determine how much J. Robert Oppenheimer got paid in today's dollars when he was the head of Los Alamos National Laboratory? Do we have any HR or accounting documents of the Los Alamos ...
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4answers
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Why did Churchill become the PM of Britain during WWII instead of Lord Halifax?

It looks as though both Churchill and Lord Halifax were considered for the top job in 1940, but Halifax turned it down and Churchill took it. History is not my area of specialization, so I cannot dig ...
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4answers
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Why didn't the Allies wait for the nuclear bomb before invading Normandy?

Congruent to the argument that dropping the bomb on Japan saved US and axis lives.
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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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1answer
529 views

Did the Soviets have an alternate source of oil in Iran during World War II?

Much has been made of the fact that the area around the Caspian Sea was oil rich. Specifically, west of the Caspian Sea, with Soviet oilfields at Maikop, Grozny, and Baku, which were threatened by the ...
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How many airplanes in WW2 usually flew in one attack group? [closed]

I wonder what was the usual amount of bombers/fighters in bombing or other missions? I've read that 36 B-17 formations were used, but how many airplanes in total in one attack were used during WW2? ...
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1answer
326 views

Did Nazi party members request exemption for their pre-war Jewish acquaintances?

So I heard this tale from a teacher many years ago, but cannot find much about it on the internet. The story as far as I remember is as follows: That Goebbels complained on many occasions about the ...
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5answers
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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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17answers
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Was Switzerland really impossible to invade during WW2?

My question is not about an alternative scenario, nor about the reasons that caused Switzerland to not get invaded (as could be seen here: Why was Switzerland not attacked during the two World Wars?). ...
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670 views

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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Why were Norwegian crews flying for Bomber Command paid more than other RAF crews?

In his book Bomber Command, Max Hastings mentions offhandedly that All the Norwegians were immensely rich by RAF standards because they received flying pay of eight shillings per hour operational in ...
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8answers
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Did Heisenberg undermine the German atomic bomb by deliberately hiding his expertise from the Nazis?

In his massive book Heisenberg's War: The Secret History of the German Bomb, Thomas Powers says that Heisenberg, who never became a Nazi and balked at the immorality of building a bomb for Hitler, did ...
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Which Nazi functionary is shown here?

Wikipedia says that the following image depicts the Chinese leader of a Japanese puppet state, Wang Jingwei, with Nazis. The full information on Wikipedia reads: Wang Jingwei having a toast with ...
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1answer
236 views

Why were there so many Japanese Prime Ministers before and during WW2?

I had been reading about Tojo's history and was surprised that he was not Prime minister at the start of the war (Looking at other European Authoritarians and how they saw things through from start to ...
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1answer
168 views

Would Stalin have dropped the nuclear bomb on Germany in 1945, if he had it then? [closed]

In an interview on RT Putin said, "I really doubt that Stalin, in the Spring of 1945, if he had a nuclear bomb, I doubt that he would have dropped it on Germany. In 1941 or 1942, when it was a ...
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8answers
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Why was Franklin D. Roosevelt pro-intervention?

In the lead-up to WW2, most Americans were in favor of neutrality and isolation. President Roosevelt, however, was privately in favor of intervention. One paragraph from Wikipedia summarizes it ...
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61 views

Why was FDR a strong proponent of Interventionism? [duplicate]

The various reasons for Interventionism (as well as Isolationism) are clear. But before 1941 Isolationism & Neutrality were a strong sentiment in the US public. I'm sure the four freedoms speech ...
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5answers
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What was Japan's grand strategy in WW2?

I am trying to understand the Japanese Grand Strategy in WW2 when it comes to handling the US. My current understand, based primarily on extensive Wikipedia reading is as follows: Motivation: The ...
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2answers
537 views

Did the Netherlands join the anti-Japanese oil embargo later than US? If so why?

From Wikipedia's Dutch East Indies Campaign: President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order on 26 July 1941 which froze all of Japan's U.S. assets and embargoed all oil exports to Japan. ...
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What was happening to bank deposits during WW2?

I'm curious what was happening with people's money in banks in countries involved in World War Two. Were they frozen, lost or banks were functioning no matter who was currently controlling territory?
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How did the KPD relate to the German state during the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact?

Between August 1939 and June 1941, Germany and the USSR had the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. During this time, many USSR-oriented communist parties in Europe and North America were (forced to be) rather ...
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2answers
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Why did the USA invade Okinawa instead of one of the many other islands in southern Japan

There are many other islands in southern Japan that seem large enough for B29 runways (the current runway is 2 miles). Why didn't the USA pick the island of least resistance? I'd assume Okinawa was ...
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1answer
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How was the Free Czech Army formed in World War 2?

I am researching my family's history in World War 2. I know that my grandfather joined the "Free Czech Army" and was evacuated from Sete France after France fell. I have found several online ...
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6answers
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Where did the so-called “Jap Skulls” end up?

I have read that there was a disturbingly common practice of American soldiers in the Pacific theater of WWII to take the skulls of dead Japanese soldiers as trophies to take home, give to girlfriends,...
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1answer
155 views

When did blackouts occur in Cairo during WW2?

In what date was Cairo blackout lifted in WW2? Was the date celebrated in the following years? And, not less important: what notable events were in December 21st 1944? A little background: Someone I ...
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11answers
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Why wasn't the Republic of Ireland invaded (by either side) in WW2?

Ireland was neutral in WW2, however it was never invaded (by either side). How come? Why wasn't Ireland invaded by the UK to prevent the Germans invading? Why didn't germany invade ireland? It would ...
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3answers
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Did the Allies try to “bribe” Franco to join them in World War II?

At a meeting in Hendaye, Spain, Franco presented a list of demands to Hitler that the latter would have to meet in order for Spain to formally join the Axis. This included the right to capture and ...
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3answers
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Did a German plane really land in Moscow in 1941 May?

I just read this small Wikipedia page about a 1941 Purge of the Red Army. There is something rather shocking: In May, a German Junkers Ju 52 landed in Moscow, undetected by the ADF beforehand, ...
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1answer
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How did a scientist who came from China in 1935, become US Army Colonel in 1945?

Qian Xuesen - Wikipedia In August 1935, Qian left China on a Boxer Indemnity Scholarship to study mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned a Master ...
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3answers
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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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5answers
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Did a kamikaze ever impact the hull of a ship, as opposed to the deck?

All kamikaze videos I've seen show the plane dive bombing into the deck of a ship. The photos I've seen also appear to always show a burning deck or tower. What I want to know is, did any kamikaze ...
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7answers
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Was it militarily possible to “island hop” the Philippines if not for MacArthur?

The battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines led to the destruction of half of what remained of the Japanese navy. It also "sucked in" all the troops that Japanese could spare from elsewhere, leading ...
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How did US defense spending split on weapons categories in ww2?

How much of production was devoted to tanks, planes, ships, ammunition etc.? Links to published papers are very welcome, as well as sources for the other powers in the war. I'm not interested in ...
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1answer
114 views

Were there high-ranking Japanese POW as witness at the Trinity Atomic Bomb Test? [closed]

One argument was that providing a demonstration on an unpopulated island ran the risk of failure in front of Japanese observers. But I have not read any suggestion of using a Japanese POW of high ...
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4answers
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Is this a Sherman, and if so what model?

A River Oaks, Houston, TX, attorney recently purchased and parked outside his home a fully functional World War Two tank. Note: The original newspaper article claimed the tank was "fully functional" ...
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1answer
602 views

Did Cossack cavalry defeat German tanks during WW2?

I came across a reference in a history book to the Soviet 4th Cossack Cavalry Corps attacking and defeating Axis tanks during the Battle of Kushchevskaya. In the book this is presented as an "...
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3answers
860 views

Why was the Deutschland so ineffective compared to the Admiral Graf Spee and the Admiral Scheer?

Before World War II, Germany created the Deutschland Class of heavily armored cruisers in order to comply with the regulations in the Treaty of Versailles. Three of these cruisers (called pocket-...
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3answers
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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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3answers
451 views

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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3answers
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Why were the Allies so much better cryptanalysts?

When I read about World War II, more specifically about the use of cryptography in that war, I get the impression that the Allies were much more successful in breaking the enemy codes than the Axis ...
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2answers
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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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2answers
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What pretext did Hitler use to justify Operation Barbarossa?

At the beginning of WW2, Nazi Germany orchestrated the infamous Gleiwitz Incident, which was used by Hitler to publicly declare, that since 5:45 we are returning fire. The invasion of Poland ...
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2answers
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Did Nazi leaders consider continuing guerrilla warfare after the collapse of Germany?

In July 1944, von Rundstedt was relieved of command in the Western front for expressing the opinion that the war was lost. This opinion must have been shared by the most of (the reasonable part of) ...
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4answers
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During the Normandy landings, were any German naval assets brought to bear against the Allies?

I know the allied fleet suffered heavy losses during the operation: Naval losses for June 1944 included 24 warships and 35 merchantmen or auxiliaries sunk, and a further 120 vessels damaged. ...
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1answer
184 views

Did German aircraft operate off Lebanon in 1941?

During the Syro-Lebanon War in 1941, French forces fought British forces both on the ground, in the air and at sea. French airplanes attacked the British fleet multiple times. But according to Roald ...
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1answer
1k views

How did Hitler get off so lightly after the Beer Hall Putsch?

The main square in Munich during the Beer Hall Putsch On November 8–9 1923 the Beer Hall Putsch or Munich Putsch was an attempted coup by the Nazi Party against the German Weimar Republic which ...
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3answers
828 views

Did more Jews live in Poland than any other country, prior to the Holocaust, because of how Polish laws and people regarded Jews?

Poland in 1900 and just before the Sho'ah ranks 1st in a list of nations by Jewish percentage of the population. [1] Now of course in such a ranking that country is Israel. Why did Jews migrate to and ...

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