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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Was the 1939 Red Army more disciplined / better behaved than the 1943-1945 Red Army?

The Soviet Union Red Army had two westbound offensives into Central Europe (approximately the territory that is currently Belarus, Kaliningrad, Poland) as part of World War II: The Soviet invasion of ...
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Did the Allies ever seriously contemplate a “Northern Intervention” in Russia during World War II?

Late in World War I, Britain and America conducted a Northern Intervention around the Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel to try to prevent the occupation of northern Russia by either the Germans ...
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Why was there no “Atlantic Wall” equivalent on the Mediterranean coast of France?

During World War II, Germany built the Atlantic Wall, a series of fortifications covering the Atlantic coasts of France, the Low Countries, Norway, etc. But that effort didn't seem to extend to the ...
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165 views

What evidence is there of tank-vs-tank combat in Asia during the second world war?

It has been known that the Japanese army during the Second World War did not value tanks highly and as such they were not always used effectively and had significantly worse characteristics than ...
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1answer
163 views

How did British aircraft fare against Japanese aircraft during the Second World War? [closed]

It goes without saying that both the Supermarine Spitfire used by the UK and the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero are iconic fighter aircraft of the Second World War. But how did these aircraft fare when they ...
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Why were the drawings of Colossus burnt after WW2 and why was its very existence “of course” kept secret?

After VJ Day, suddenly it was all over. Eight of the ten Colossi were dismantled in Bletchley Park. Two went to Eastcote in North London and then to GCHQ at Cheltenham. These last two were dismantled ...
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5answers
615 views

What military power would ever pre-announce an attack to give the enemy time to work up a defense?

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on the morning of ...
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What was the purpose of each project site during the Manhattan Project?

I'm looking for an answer as to what the purpose of each project site was during the Manhattan Project. The following image illustrates (but only includes some of the sites) where each site was ...
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Why was America much better prepared earlier in World War II in the air than in other respects?

According to sources such as Paul Kennedy's "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, America's total armaments spending in 1941 was about half that of the Axis (Germany, Italy and Japan). It was also ...
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Did any Western consulates remain open or re-open after WWII in the same buildings in which they had resided in Wuhan, Hebei, China?

The recent CNN article From one-time Chinese capital to coronavirus epicenter, Wuhan has a long history that the West had forgotten Two generations ago, this city of 11 million people, on the ...
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In regards to Vichy vs Free France, what was the status of Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy?

The wikipedia article for Vichy France has a pretty good map, a low-res version of which I'll put here: The map shows which territories were originally Vichy, and when they changed to Free French ...
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German Army + IJN in the Middle East? [closed]

Let me try to set this up again. I read this article about how Germany and Japan might have won the war: Now think about it. It is roughly September 1940. Japan and Germany and Italy have signed ...
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Why did the Germans use the Enigma machine rather than the far superior “Lorenz” cipher machine?

Basically, the only good thing about the "Enigma" cipher machine was its name. Other than that, it was grossly inferior to the "Lorenz" one, apparently only used by some of the main, top-ranking ...
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What were French actions against Germany during September 1939?

In Poland "Phoney war" is treated as betrayal by UK and France, who only declared war against Germany and did not perform any other actions. This combined with Soviet attack on 17th September is said ...
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What are some sources about nursing in Devon in WW2?

I am working with a South Devon village group putting a display etc together for the celebration of VE Day. I am a nurse and keen to do something about district nursing/midwifery for those left at ...
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1answer
257 views

In what incident did a resistance press leak cause a concentration camp commander demotion?

I recall reading about an atrocity in a concentration camp in the Occupied Netherlands. The atrocity is notable (perhaps even unique) because news leaked out via the underground resistance press, and ...
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If the Lorenz cipher machine was so much more advanced than the Enigma, how was it broken without having a physical machine? [closed]

The Enigma was commercially available before the war, and even during the war, they got their hands on "live" such machines, heavily helping them in breaking the encryption used by the Germans. The ...
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448 views

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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356 views

Were there trains to anonymous concentration camps?

At the start of this year, my family visited Terezin Ghetto and camp - the middle daughter was writing a school report about children in WWII. There were many dreadful and surprising pieces of ...
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How many people died in the nazi concentration camps and death trains and marches?

My 11-y. daughter is making a year-schoolwork about children in WWII. And she wanted to know how many people were destroyed by the nazi camp system. At first I thought she is searching incorrectly and ...
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Did Stalin kill all Soviet officers involved in the Winter War?

Did Stalin kill all of the Soviet officers involved in the Winter War, when it ended? A documentary called "Warlords: Hitler vs Stalin" made this claim, but Wikipedia doesn't seem to mention this. ...
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Was the decrypting of communications in WW2 a one-sided effort, or did Germany also do it? [closed]

Lately, I've read a lot about how the "Allies" in WW2 (I always found that term strange since the others were also "allies", just not with the USA!) kept breaking all the German ciphers from both the ...
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Was the last Japanese surrender after WWII in the 1970s?

Wikipedia in its article on the Surrender of Japan, claims: Some Japanese holdouts, especially on small Pacific Islands, refused to surrender at all (believing the declaration to be propaganda or ...
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If the Allies had invaded Japan in 1945, would they have been fighting the “weakest” Japanese troops?

Sources such as Basil Collier's "The Second World War: A Military History" list the Japanese forces during the war as being 6 million. My understanding is that the background of these troops is ...
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What made Stalingrad a turning point in the second world war?

Operation "Barbarossa" the German plan to invade the Soviet Union was a colossal success until Stalingrad. Capturing one third of the European Soviet Union and having the Luftwaffe taking monopoly of ...
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Could Battle of Stalingrad be won by Germany if they haven't lost so many aircraft in Battle of Britain? [closed]

So I come up with a question, maybe an irrational or a dumb one, but what effect would the Luftwaffe have had on the Battle of Stalingrad if they had had the ~ 2000 aircraft (lost in Battle of Britain)...
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557 views

How low on ammunition were the Germans at Stalingrad when they surrendered?

Hitler ordered his forces in Stalingrad to fight to the “last man and last round.” A century and half earlier, a more respected German commander, Marshal Blücher claimed upon his surrender to the ...
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Was the battle of Stalingrad “unique” in the annals of history?

I'm referring to the fact that BOTH sides ordered their troops to fight for the city "to the last man and last round." (Hitler). The Soviet Union's General Vasili Chuikov echoed this by saying "We ...
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Did The Soviet Union need both prongs to succeed at the Battle of Stalingrad?

In November, 1942, three months after the battle of Stalingrad began, the Soviet Union, launched Operation Uranus, a counterencirclement of the German forces in and around the city, in two prongs. ...
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7answers
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Are the “bone fields” of the Stalingrad encircled battlefields real?

In this podcast by Dan Carlin's Hardcore history show, Dan mentions that there are areas inside of the Stalingrad pocket where human remains are openly visible above ground, exposed to the weather. ...
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Why did the Germans not encircle and besiege Stalingrad?

The Germans spent a large amount of manpower in adverse territory for this city, even after long exhausting continuous combat. After the war, Kliest wrote: The capture of Stalingrad was ...
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Did the Torch operation help doom the Germans at Stalingrad?

Amid calls for a "second front," the Anglo-Americans landed in North Africa Operation Torch, in early November, 1942. Some say that it was a "sideshow," others say that it was a "cross-ruffing" ...
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What was the German perspective on Stalingrad?

I'm quite interested in Stalingrad and have started reading a bit regarding the battle itself and have seen that weather had played quite a significant factor in halting the German advance. (Reading ...
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Was “Death Traps” by Belton Y. Cooper historically accurate?

Was the WW2 memoir "Death Traps" by Belton Cooper historically accurate?
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How were the British and French Mandates in the Levantine area involved in WWII?

We all know the role of Egypt as a British protectorate at the time in WWII and the many battles fought in there. My question is, what is the role of the other British and French possessions in the ...
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Could the U.S. have used “Lend Lease” to force Germany onto the horns of a dilemma?

During the fall of 1941 (but before December), the United States waged a "war short of war" against Nazi Germany's submarines using escort vessels, the Reuben James, the (James) Greer, and the Kearny ...
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656 views

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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1answer
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How do we know the tonnages U-boats sank?

In the videogame series, Silent Hunter, which simulates being a submarine captain in WW2, after a patrol you are told how much tonnage you sank. I always thought that was just a reward mechanism to ...
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How long did it take for Japanese high command to believe 1 bomb could destroy a city? [closed]

In 1776, had a man walked into the Continental Congress and told the Founding Fathers that the city of Boston seemed to be "gone". A few days prior, as he approached Boston, in the distance he'd seen ...
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How important was the Suez Canal to the Allies during WWII?

The Suez Canal allows one to travel from the Mediterranean or North Atlantic to the Indian Ocean without having to circumvent the continent of Africa. A ship traveling from the UK to India could ...
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Were there any successful attempts by the Allies to “turn” groups of Axis soldiers?

Toward the end of World War II, Germany had to utilize non-German soldiers, some of them from occupied countries like Poland and the Ukraine. At places like Omaha Beach, Normandy, individual Poles ...
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What is this smoke or steam coming from the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero Plane (WW2)? [closed]

What is this smoke/steam think behind the Japanese fighter planes like the Zero?
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What language did Nazi German occupying forces speak in France?

I am watching the TV series "Das Boot", playing in La Rochelle in occupied France during the second world war. Partially, the German occupying forces are speaking English when working together with ...
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What were the primary sources for interrogation of US soldiers in 1943 Tunisia?

Edwin Palmer Hoyt's Hitler's War contains this passage: In January General von Arnim's army in Tunisia had enjoyed considerable success in limited actions against the Americans. The Germans had ...
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Why did the Allies Invade French North Africa?

Question: Why did the allies invade Vichy French North Africa? Operation Torch was the name of the Anglo American Invasion of French North Africa. Both of the American most ...
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When did Soviet authorities first plan/conceive of migrating their industry if war broke out?

This comes from a related question. It seems Germany never conceived of the possibility that Russia might migrate its heavy industry to safe locations beyond the Urals. So now I want to know if Soviet ...
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Did the Germans consider an amphibious landing for Fall Blau?

In the operation Fall Blau (Case Blue) the German Wehrmacht advanced towards the Don river, and then sent Army Group A into the Caucasus region to take the oil fields in the region. They managed to ...
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What was the reason for Soviet troops to withdraw from Yugoslavia in World War II?

For all these countries that the Red Army entered (Poland, Romania, part of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary), the procedure was straightforward. Once the Soviets beat the Germans they become de facto ...
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Was Winston Churchill really responsible for the 1943 Bengal famine? [closed]

Indians think that he was the one responsible for famine. Is there any other fact that contradicts above ?
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What two direct orders did FDR issue to his commanders in all of WWII?

Operation Torch Anglo-American invasion of north-western Africa President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a direct order that Torch was to have precedence over other operations and was to take place at ...

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