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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1answer
203 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
651 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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2answers
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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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4answers
368 views

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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0answers
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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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2answers
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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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4answers
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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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2answers
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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
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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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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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1answer
358 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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1answer
501 views

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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1answer
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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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2answers
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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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5answers
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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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2answers
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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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1answer
573 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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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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7answers
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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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1answer
245 views

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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2answers
670 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
133 views

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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230 views

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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1answer
269 views

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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4answers
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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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1answer
266 views

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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0answers
216 views

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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5answers
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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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2answers
447 views

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 ...
7
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3answers
334 views

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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5answers
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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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1answer
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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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243 views

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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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, ...
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1answer
151 views

Where can I find information on American born WWII soldier locked up until they could prove they had an American birth certificate?

My American born father, who has German ancestry was in World War II. He was one of many men held until their birth certificates could be checked out. People with German heritage like him, along ...
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1answer
782 views

Did the USA have a plan to defeat Germany without Britain?

If Britain had surrendered during World War II (eg. during the May 1940 crisis), what was the American plan for defeating Germany? Without the British Islands as a staging area, an amphibious assault ...
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5answers
795 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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5answers
305 views

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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3answers
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How close did Germany come to interdicting Soviet oil shipments from the Caucasus in 1942?

In 1942, the Germans captured a relatively small oil complex at Maikop in the North Caucasus, and got within 25 miles of a larger one at Grozny. But the biggest prize was at Baku, on the "far" (...
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2answers
2k views

Did the German people actually know Joseph Goebbels as the “Minister of Propaganda”?

I've been trying to understand this for some time now. It seems to me that propaganda should only work if the audience doesn't know that it's propaganda. So if the Nazis' goal was to control its ...
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3answers
681 views

Was Germany's “Fall Blau” plan in the Soviet Union partly aimed at Mediterranean neutrals or Japan (a neutral vis-vis the Soviets)?

In 1942, Germany adopted Fall Blau, a plan for a southward push in the Soviet Union toward the Caucasus, and the borders of Turkey and Iran. (Stalingrad was added to the plan later.) Decrypts by "...
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9answers
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Could the Soviet Union have continued fighting World War II without Caucasus oil?

In 1942, Germany's Fall Blau was initially aimed at capturing or interdicting shipments of oil from the Caucasus to the rest of the Soviet Union. Even though armies were diverted to Stalingrad and ...

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