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
470 views

What prevented the Finns from building a “counter ice road” to disrupt the “Road of Life?”

During the siege of Leningrad, the Soviets built an ice road over Lake Ladoga called the Road of Life to supply Leningrad during the winter months. What prevented the Axis (the Finns and a few German ...
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Was it illegal to express sympathy for Nazi Germany during WW2 in Great Britain?

Was it illegal to express sympathy for Nazi Germany during WW2 in Great Britain? Say you are a citizen and you want your goverment to make peace with Hitler. You event want GB to become a puppet state ...
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Did the French violate the Washington Naval ConferenceTreaty limitations?

I was surprised to read in connection with Mers el Kebir that in 1940, France had the second largest navy in Europe, with seven battleships. The reason was France's participation in the 1922 ...
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Did the Germans try to “Pearl Harbor” Russia's Black Sea fleet?

Pearl Harbor of course, is a reference to the Japanese sneak attack that destroyed half the battleships of the U.S. Pacific fleet. Earlier in the war, the Germans managed to decimate the Russian ...
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1answer
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Where can I find more information on the Federated Malay States V.F.? [closed]

badge has a crown on top with a shield in the middle. slider on back on front reads Federated Malay States V.F. I was wondering if anyone knows much about the badge as I have not found out much about ...
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Why didn't Japan take Pearl Harbor when they had the chance?

Japan successfully wiped out America's defenses at Pearl Harbor, and they knew they were going to before they set out, so why didn't they take some paratroopers with them to seize the harbor from the ...
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Was Princess Elizabeth a van/ambulance driver/mechanic during WW2?

Wikipedia says of Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II), In February 1945, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service as an honorary second subaltern with the service number ...
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2answers
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Before WW2, how did Japan pay for imported US oil?

Related question that brings something up. Japan was importing most of its oil from the USA, until the oil embargo was imposed in summer 1941. Before this embargo, how did Japan pay for this oil? What ...
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Why were Japanese escort ships not numerous at the battle of Bismarck Sea?

During the battle of Bismarck sea, Allied units performed air attacks that resulted in the nearly destruction of Japanese fleet. I understand the reasons why the Allies obtain such a success, namely: ...
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1answer
651 views

What alternate north-south supply routes did the Soviet Union have when the Volga and Stalingrad were under attack?

During World War II, an important route for getting supplies to Russia was the Persian Corridor. After landing on the south coast of Iran, Lend Lease supplies could be transported north across the ...
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Were any German cities spared by the Allies for personal or idiosyncratic reasons?

Histories of the bombing campaign against German cities in WW2 often mention that German civilians towards the end of war were prey to fantastical rumours that such-and-such a city "is being ...
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At the end of WW2, multiple German leaders either committed suicide or made preparations to do so — was this unprecedented?

I have read nothing of German officers and/or political leaders committing suicide after WWI and it is my sense that WW2 might have been the first time that so many people planned or actually went ...
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Was Romania under German command during WWII?

At the beginning of WWII, Romania was independent, but then the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact came and parts of the country were invaded by Russians. This pact triggered Romania to join the war on the ...
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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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4answers
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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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When did soldiers begin wearing ballooned pants? [duplicate]

I was told by a veteran that it was not until the Korean war that American soldiers began to balloon their pants. Prior to that it was only paratroopers. Can this be validated?
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Why were so many Soviet films shot in 1938–39 about a future German invasion?

Why were so many Soviet films about an anticipated Nazi German invasion into the USSR shot in 1938–1939, both before the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and after it? Before the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact Nazi ...
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5answers
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Why did the Germans build battle cruisers with a different profile than the British?

Battle cruisers of the Scharnhorst class had a displacement of 32,000 tons and a speed of 31 knots, but carried only 11 inch guns. On the other hand, British) battle cruisers like the Renown had a ...
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3answers
405 views

How effective were the forces of the French Provisional Government compared to the other allies?

How effective were the French fighting forces after the creation of the Provisional Government of the Fourth French Republic on June 3rd 1944? Ways to answer this: How did the French officers and ...
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Did German submarines communicate with allied convoys during battle?

In the movie Greyhound a German submarine communicates with an allied convoy during battle by radio to intimidate the crew. Are there historical accounts of such behaviour or is this purely fictional?
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8answers
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How close was the Soviet Union to collapsing during WW2?

Are there any sources or reports which explain how close the country was to collapsing under the Nazi assault? By 'collapse' I mean 'completely lacking either the willpower (as seen by France in 1940 ...
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Why was the US army slow to adopt the use of radar prior to Pearl Harbour?

According to Wikipedia, the US radar station SCR-270 picked up the Japanese approach and reported it, but this report was ignored as the duty officer, who believed the sighting to be American bombers ...
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Why was capturing the south of Okinawa necessary?

The Battle of Okinawa was one of the bloodiest and most difficult of WW2. But, if I understand correctly, most of the casualties were incurred during the fighting for the southern part of the island. ...
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1answer
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How did the “weather conditions” for an invasion at Pas de Calais compare to those of Normandy?

During World War II, Normandy was chosen as the northern France invasion site over the Pas de Calais. This was in spite of the fact that "weather" made a landing at Normandy a very iffy ...
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What was G. K. Zipf's opinion of the Nazis?

Zipf was a professor of German at Harvard. he is credited with inventing the rank size rules that suggested that of we rank many different sets of objects from big to small, they follow a power law. ...
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Are there unsigned copies of the German instrument of surrender in existence? [closed]

My question is intended to solicit advice and guidance with regard to several documents that I purchased as part of a lot of historical documents at an auction. When I started to look through the ...
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Were there any “retaliation” anti-tank weapons widely used by infantry in World War II?

"Standard" anti-tank weapons used by infantry included bazookas and anti-tank rifles (the latter being heavier than infantry rifles, and requiring special shells). In a "pinch," infantry used "Molotov ...
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Why did Roosevelt and Churchill use voice-based telecommunication, instead of simpler text-based options which were easier to encrypt?

Roosevelt and Churchill used an extremely sophisticated telephone encryption system, SIGSALY, to communicate during WWII. In fact, they did not use it all the time because apparently it changed the ...
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487 views

Did the US really consider demonstrating the atomic bomb to the Japanese by “blowing the top” off of Mt. Fuji?

In reading this Washington Post article titled Five myths about the atomic bomb, it's mentioned: The decision to use nuclear weapons is usually presented as either/or: either drop the bomb or land on ...
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What prompted Yamaguchi to split his airgroup when attacking the Americans at Midway?

This is a followup to a previous question here Why did the Hiryu perform two small attacks rather than a single larger one at the battle of Midway? As noted in Shattered Sword (Ch 14), Nagumo ordered ...
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1answer
216 views

What were common crew ranks on US Navy flying boats and bombers?

historians! I asked this question over on the Aviation SE, but was also suggested to ask here. Below is a copy of my question from over there. I have been trying to figure this out for some time, but ...
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Did any of the Flying Tigers lead a US Navy squadron?

I came across a couple of passages on the Flying Tigers, mercenary armies and famous volunteers I saw how one pilot became an ace in Europe and another became a General in the 10th Air Force after ...
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Why did the US Navy and Marine Corps use satanic symbolism in WW2?

When you look at certain names and symbols used by the U.S. Navy (USN) and the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) during WW2, you could see they are heavily loaded with satanic symbols. You have the F6F Hellcat ...
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What acts of violence happened during the Nazi German annexation of Austria in 1938? [closed]

There is a memorial stone on Mexikoplatz in Vienna which looks like shown below. The text on the stone means the following (my emphasis): In March 1938 Mexico was the only country that officially ...
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1answer
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How strong was pacifism in interwar Germany?

During the rearmament of Germany operated by Hitler and especially during the remilitarization of the Rhineland, the French Republic stayed by and, in doing so, probably failed to seize the last ...
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What led to Japan committing war crimes in WWII? [closed]

Japan committed cruel war crimes during World War 2. According to this article WW2 Japanese war crimes - Japanese Invasion of China 1937-1944 (World war II two -Asian Holocaust) and this The Asian ...
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2answers
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What were the Japanese defenses for an allied invasion of Kyushu?

At Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and other island bases of the Japanese forces, the Japanese created a network of deep tunnels and bunkers that made US attempts to evict Japanese forces extremely difficult, time ...
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3answers
562 views

What intelligence successes did the Axis have in WW2?

Most of us are aware of multiple Allied intelligence victories in WW2. But no such things about the Axis? Were they that inefficient? I have read various theories how Abwehr members were themselves ...
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1answer
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Did the Axis use Vila Cisneros during WW2 for contact with South America?

I have read that a German U-boat refueling at Villa Cisneros was attacked and sunk. I have also read that After Germany Invaded Russia in 1941 a Japanese technical mission returning to Japan was flown ...
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2answers
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What caused this cratering pattern at Hiroshima?

I was reading this article here, which includes an interesting photo of Hiroshima: The caption on the photo indicates that it was taken three weeks after the atomic bomb was dropped. The photo seems ...
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Has anyone seen a bracelet like this one? (WW2 Cairo)

My mother-in-law has this bracelet. It was her father's who died in Egypt in WW2. We'd love to know more about it. Has anyone ever seen one of these?
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What was the average age of tank crews, in particular commanders, in WW2?

It's somewhat difficult to find reliable figures for this, but it's an interesting question. Michael Wittmann, the German tank ace, was 30 when he was killed on the western front in 1944. Would this ...
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To what extent is the flora and fauna on Guadalcanal edible?

At the battle of Guadalcanal,, the initial wave of 11,000 Americans were stranded with something like two weeks' worth of food (five days worth of "landed" rations, nine days worth of ...
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Why were the Marines so badly outnumbered at the critical point at Guadalcanal?

Prior to the battle of Guadalcanal,, the Americans had landed 11,000 men on the island in August, 1942. This compares to the 5,000 or so men that the Japanese had on the island by the first week of ...
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Why didn't the German population leave Dar es Salaam before the outbreak of WWII?

In the chapter 'The Beginning of the War' of his autobiography Going Solo, Roald Dahl recounts his role in stopping the German population of Dar es Salaam from fleeing to Portuguese East Africa (the ...
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Did the Soviet Union's successful northern campaign have an impact on Swedish iron ore shipments to Germany?

Late in World War II, the Soviet Union successfully invaded Finland and forced her to disassociate herself from Nazi Germany. This happened to the point where the Finns were forced to allow Soviet ...
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123 views

What was the treatment of Polish POW in British or Soviet uniform in WW2?

Suppose that Polish soldier, member of Polish Armed Forces in the West, becomes a German POW. How good or bad would have be treated ? Like UK/US POW (relatively mildly) or like Polish POWs from 1939 (...
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2answers
545 views

What was the capacity of Vemork power station?

The Vemork power station was once the largest power station in history and target of the famous Norwegian heavy water sabotage in WW2. Yet there seems to have very different data on its capacity. Some ...
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1answer
231 views

How were ship kills accounted in WWII?

In the movie Greyhound, at the end, the fleet requests an oral report of the incidents in which the captain says "My escort group sank three others...". But in the movie it is seen that ...
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1answer
307 views

How dangerous was it to be a coast watcher during the Pacific War?

The movie, South Pacific featured two "coast watchers" as heroes, the American, Lt. Joseph Cable, and the Frenchman, Emil de Becque, who observed, and reported on Japanese naval movements. ...

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