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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22
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10answers
15k views

Why weren't aircraft carriers utilized during D-day?

Why were aircraft carriers not used during and following D-Day? They could have added a great deal of range to the air support operations.
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1answer
111 views

Have any spies ever managed to keep their identity secret from their handlers?

Having just started reading up on spies throughout history, I've just realized a new risk I hadn't thought of before, namely that once you've started spying you're at risk of being blackmailed into ...
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1answer
215 views

How was the Luftwaffe able to destroy nearly 4000 Soviet aircraft in 3 days of operation Barbarossa?

According to Wikipedia: a Soviet archival document recorded the loss of 3,922 Soviet aircraft in the first three days against an estimated loss of 78 German aircraft. How were german combat ...
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0answers
138 views

Could someone help me identify this button from a WW2 prison camp field?

I'm struggling to identify a button found in a field in Italy, where WW2's prison camps were built. Searching online I found a lot of American's Civil War buttons that could be related to it, based on ...
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3answers
291 views

Did some Nazi death camp guards use Lee Enfield rifles?

I was watching the Netflix series The Devil Next Door and there was was video footage of a Nazi death camp. What was strange was that one of the guards appeared to be wielding a Lee Enfield No4 rifle ...
56
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7answers
12k views

Why didn't battleship Bismarck have more support?

The primary objective of battleship Bismarck was to sink transporters coming from the U.S. and sailing to Europe transporting goods (oil, food). It encountered HMS Hood and sank it. German cruiser ...
14
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2answers
2k views

How did Allies secure southern flank during “Race to the Rhine”?

As I read about western front during the WW2 there is usually big topic about the "D-Day", then clearing Normandy (capturing Cherbourg), then liberating Paris and then authors quickly move to "Race to ...
2
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0answers
96 views

How extensive was the Allies use of inflatable decoy tanks during D-Day preparations?

I have seen in a couple WW2 documentaries, that inflatable decoy tanks were used during d-day preparations to fool the German military. How extensive was this use? How many inflatable tanks were ...
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2answers
198 views

What are some good sources on the everyday life of Soviet troops during WWII?

Imagine I wanted to get a basic understanding what the everyday life of a Soviet soldier (especially infantry, tank units, air force) during WWII was like. What books and other resources in English, ...
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3answers
729 views

Why did Japan never “apologize” enough for World War 2?

Although Japan kept "apologizing" for atrocities committed during World War 2 for more than 70 years, the apologies were deemed "not sincere enough" by the victims. This stands in huge contrast with ...
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1answer
154 views

How many RAF and USAAF/USAF airfields were built in the UK between the mid-1930s and 1960?

Whenever I fly over southern or eastern England I see a lot of runways, many of them disused. The majority were built during WW2 for the RAF and USAAF, others date back to the early cold war years. ...
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0answers
71 views

Is it possible to look at Churchill's speeches and get to know the British culture?

Basically, is it possible to look at Churchill's speeches and get to know the British culture just by looking at his speeches?
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1answer
3k views

Was Switzerland pressured either by Allies or Axis to take part in World War 2 at any time?

In the second world war, Switzerland mostly maintained it's neutrality and served as protecting power and mediated communications between the Axis and Allied powers. A Wikipedia article Switzerland ...
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6answers
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Did the Red Army and German Army clash in Poland in 1939?

I found a youtube lecture by Stephen Kotkin. He is a professor of history, wrote 2 books on Stalin with a 3rd on the way, and has access to certain Russian archives. That's all I know about him, ...
2
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2answers
654 views

Were the Nazis actually ever horrified of anything that the Imperial Japanese Army did or vice-versa?

While reading Rationalwiki page on the Rape of Nanjing part of the article really stood out to me: …such as hanging people by their tongues on iron hooks or burying people to their waists and ...
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0answers
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How could I estimate the total global environmental impact of WWII? [closed]

I've been long wondering, and pondering this question since I've been studying and researching WWII for the last 15 years. I know this is an impossible calculation to make, but I wonder if anyone has ...
27
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7answers
9k views

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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0answers
132 views

What was the monthly size of Axis and Allied armies?

There are sources in the size of the German army. But no overall month by month breakdown of the size of different armies.
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3answers
11k views

What was Hitler like in private?

The image of Hitler is very well-formed in the modern public imagination: stern, stoic, focused, commanding and intimidating, with a powerful oratory skill and a terrifying ability to stir up passion ...
8
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1answer
343 views

Was Operation Kugelblitz really a success for the partisans?

Every source that I have looked at says that the Germans practically accomplished nothing during this offensive. Yet at the same time it is claimed that the Partisans suffered a staggering 9,000-11,...
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11answers
4k views

How to rebut Holocaust denial argument?

I came across a Holocaust denier who claims that there is a plaque outside Auschwitz which says that the Nazis murdered 1.5 million people there (mostly Jewish). However, the plaque used to say 4 ...
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1answer
4k views

Did the Americans trade destroyers in the “destroyer deal” that they would later need themselves?

In the fall of 1940, the U.S. and Great Britain made the so-called "destroyer deal," of 50 old American destroyers in exchange for the use of British bases ranging from Newfoundland to the Caribbean. ...
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2answers
220 views

Are views in Thailand on axis powers influenced by colonization?

John Oliver talked on how nazi depictions are used commercially in Thailand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Nqa4XKkXp4 However, Thailand regained land from the British and the French during WW2, ...
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2answers
7k views

How were Kurds involved (or not) in the invasion of Normandy?

In defending his decision to withdraw from northern Syria and cease supporting Kurdish fighters in the face of the 2019 Turkish invasion, Donald Trump said: [The Kurds] didn’t help us in the second ...
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7answers
21k views

Why was the Japanese Army's fatalities inflicted:suffered ratio so low in the Pacific theatre?

Leaving aside the naval battles of the Pacific, why did the Japanese army do so poorly against allied forces (specifically United states and Australian forces) when on the defensive. While logistics ...
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4answers
2k views

Why didn't Soviet Jews flee east ahead of the advancing Nazis?

As the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, incorporated conquered territories into Reichskommisariat Ostland, Reichskommissariat Ukraine, and military administration, they went on to implement the ...
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4answers
5k views

Why did Allied invasion of France occur only in 1944 and not earlier?

Stalin (quite understandably) had demanded that the Allies open a Second Front as early as 1942, yet this did not happen till June 1944. Why did it have to wait till so late?
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2answers
380 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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2answers
7k views

Why did the French insist on reclaiming Indo-China after WWII?

After WWII France was in rebuilding mode, and yet they insisted on trying to reclaim Indo-China. It would seem that in the new world order this did not make much sense for a country that was trying to ...
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5answers
624 views

Were Allied high commanders that bad at the end of WW2?

I have heard by some friends, speaking of military history, that Allied commanders were well known for being, at best, mediocre in their performance of fight. They were not able to give precise ...
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3answers
2k views

How did Japan successfully conquer Vietnam (Southeast Asia) in WW2?

I've read the obvious wiki article (which is rather small), but did not really find an answer. At the end of the article, it says: To prepare for an invasion of the Dutch East Indies, some 140,000 ...
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1answer
103 views

Help for identifying a shell

After a few hours of search, I can't identify this shell. I know it's a 75 mm shell, from one of the WW (probably WWI, but can't guarantee it), found in France, but that's about it. Could be from any ...
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2answers
1k views

Why did the British “Indian” army come disproportionately from particular regions?

During World War II, the British field several armies that included Indians, but the most "Indian" of these, was the 14th Army, in which 8 of 13 divisions were predominantly "Indian." Of the ...
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5answers
2k views

Was “Death Traps” by Belton Y. Cooper historically accurate?

Was the WW2 memoir "Death Traps" by Belton Cooper historically accurate?
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8answers
13k views

Why did Chamberlain act to appease Hitler leading up to the outbreak of World War 2?

There are accounts that British Prime Minister Chamberlain sought to appease Hitler because he just didn't want Britain involved in a war at that time. Others also argue that Chamberlain was naive and ...
36
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2answers
10k views

Did the Soviet army intentionally send troops (e.g. penal battalions) running over minefields?

You can hear this story/claim stated in various way, from just regular troops doing it, to just penal battalions, to strenuous denial nobody ever did this in the Soviet army. (Just look at a Quora ...
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9answers
9k views

Has Britain's 1940 invasion of Iceland been downplayed by historians?

On the face of it Operation Fork (Britain's invasion of Iceland in 1940) wasn't so terribly different from Germany's territorial landgrabs in 1939 and 1940. Britain and her allies will have ...
23
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1answer
4k views

Why did the Soviet Union not “grant” Inner Mongolia to Mongolia after World War Two?

In the brief Soviet anti-Japanese campaign of 1945, Soviet and Mongol troops entered Inner Mongolia. Mongolia itself had been essentially a client state of the Soviet Union since 1921. Also the ...
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3answers
4k views

Do we know the situation in Britain before Sealion (summer 1940)?

Inspired by this other question, I had a look at the book (published in 1998/2003), and noticed this passage. When we captured Liège, we discovered a German map factory in full production. We ...
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3answers
5k views

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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3answers
5k views

Is Snyder's claim about Soviet-German friendship propaganda posters (1939‒41) supportible?

Upon reading Putin’s New Nostalgia article by Timothy Snyder, I was specifically intrigued by one particular historical point he mentioned. Given the charged nature of current events, and Snyder’s ...
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2answers
12k views

What happens to the corpses after the world wars?

I was reading my history book, and it stated that the Battle of Somme caused at least 20,000 casualties just to British troops, and another 25,000 to German troops. What happens to the dead bodies ...
3
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1answer
371 views

How long did men have to serve in the US army until they were promoted to sergeants during WW2?

During the Second World War men rose through ranks much quicker than they do today due to heavy losses and they went from private to corporal and corporal to sergeant after serving only a small amount ...
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3answers
1k views

Was the communication between Spitfire and other fighters' pilots encrypted?

If machines like SIGSALLY were occupying so much space like in the picture above, were the pilots' communication encrypted or somehow obscured in order to prevent the enemy from eavesdropping on the ...
5
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1answer
514 views

Which peace offer did Hitler give to Great Britain in 1940?

A few days ago, I finished reading John Lukacs' Five days in London: May 1940. I am puzzled by a passage of that book: When Hitler made his grand peace offer to England in his speech of 19 July, ...
6
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0answers
117 views

How many Me Bf 109 were produced in Czechoslovakia during WW2

It is known fact that Czechoslovak factories(or at least Avia) produced Messerschmitt Bf 109 during WW2. After the war ended, they for some time continued production, called Avia S-99 and when engines ...
2
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1answer
240 views

How many crew for the LT vz 38?

I have seen a claim in some English online encyclopedias claiming that LT vz. 38 was originally supposed to have a crew of 3 and only after it fell into hands of Nazis was it changed to 4. However, I ...
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0answers
151 views

Did the German ship SS Hansa (former Albert Ballin) continue her journey to the West after 30 January 1945?

Looking for refugees or families of refugees who were on board the Hansa on January 30th 1945 when she left Gotenhafen with the Wilhelm Gustloff. I am trying to find out what happened to the Hansa ...
3
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1answer
225 views

What was the name of the torpedo boat with mechanical problems accompanying the Wilhelm Gustloff?

The Wilhelm Gustloff was a German cruise ship that was used as part as a means of evacuating refugees from Gotenhafen (today Gdynia) in January 1945. The Wikipedia article reads: The ship left ...
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2answers
269 views

Did the Soviets have an official campaign to remove foreign nationals to Siberia? [closed]

Specifically, in the Ukraine. And more specifically, to remove foreign nationals out of the way of the impending German invasion during WW 2? The intent and impact always intersect. But the question ...