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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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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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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Why did Hitler not concentrate more on North Africa?

The Germans knew that oil would be crucial to the war and that they would likely need to capture new sources for the war effort. The main oil-producing regions at the time that might be captured were ...
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Why were there so few American deaths in the Bataan Death March?

There was estimated to be 500-650 American deaths during the Bataan death march while there was estimated to be 5,000 to 18,000 Filipino deaths, according to Wikipedia. I can't wrap my head around why ...
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When planning Barbarossa, did Germany conceive of the Soviet migration of heavy industry?

Wikipedia has a very tiny article on this. Basically, when Barbarossa was launched, the Soviet Union started evacuating the factories. They were migrated to places beyond the Ural Mountains. I'm ...
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How many troops died on D-day?

How many troops (allied and axis) died at Normandy beach on June 6th, 1944? I've searched all over the internet, but can't find an accurate number.
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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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Why did the US drop nuclear bombs on a weakened Japan? [closed]

Why did the United States drop two nuclear bombs on the Japanese mainland? It appeared that Japan was ready to surrender.
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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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How did the Axis intend to hold the Caucasus?

We all know how the Axis offensive in 1942 led to the "turning point" battle of Stalingrad and the eventual defeat of the Third Reich, and that this offensive had been launched in order to capture and ...
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How true is the statement “Soviet troops got into Berlin riding American trucks, walking in American boots and using American trains”?

In other words, how significant was American lend-lease in helping the Soviet front? Would the Soviets be suffering a lot more had lend-lease not happen, or was it not as significant as people make ...
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Why is Thailand considered an Axis power in WWII?

I read a Wikipedia article about military history of Thailand and it left me a taste of anti-Thai bias. It is known that Thailand in 1940 (after the fall of Paris and establishment of Vichy ...
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Which WW2 belligerents provided military brothels?

Did any of the other belligerents of WW2 besides Japan and Germany provide their troops with authorized military brothels?
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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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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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What happened to US's Lend-Lease machinery given to the Soviet Union?

Although most sources say that the Russians were supplied with great amounts of equipment and food as part of Lend-Lease program, I have not in all my years living in Russia seen US labeled machinery. ...
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What tactical situations made the use of traditional horse cavalry effective in World War II?

In another question When was the last cavalry charge?, answers discussed several occasions where horses were still used in combat, including in cavalry charges. I thought that the invention of the ...
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How many lives were estimated to have been saved by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs?

**President Truman in a August 9, 1945 radio address to the American people, outlined the reasons why we dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (and later Nagasaki) I realize the tragic significance of ...
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What were the Allies' plans if they caught Hitler alive?

Hitler committed suicide in 1945, but I'm curious as to what would have happened to him if he hadn't. Did the Allies have any formal plans as to what they would do with Hitler if they caught him alive?...
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What was the ratio of German to Soviet losses on Eastern front during different stages of the war?

I've read somewhere that the ratio of Soviet to German casualties on the Eastern front was 1.4 for the whole war. But what about data for different stages of the war? (this ratio wasn't constant after ...
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Aside from the Jews, did Hitler have a final solution plan for other ethnicities/races in the Third Reich?

We know that Nazi ideology explicitly singled out Jews as the main reason for all Germany's problems, and planned to exterminate all of them. Nazis also persecuted gypsies, Polish people, and POWs. ...
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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 Roosevelt the “biggest slave trader in recorded history”?

In the introduction to The Liberation of the Serfs, Jürgen Georg Backhaus writes: The largest transaction in unfree labour ever recorded occurred in Yalta; more than 6.5 million prisoners of war ...
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What were the EMP effects, if any, of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is generated from any atomic bomb, as far as I know. An EMP could destroy the electronics of many devices, including lighting, electric motors, radios, phones, etc. So why ...
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Why was there lack of food during WW2 in the UK?

Why was there lack of food during the WW2 in the UK? I understand the lack of food in the countries occupied by Germans, as they recruited a lot of agricultural products for their war machinery. But ...
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Did Hitler really support Subhash Chandra Bose's cause and did he do anything to help Bose?

Bose had come to realize that Gandhi's doctrine of non-violence was not doing much in forcing the British to retreat. He went to Germany to seek Hitler's assistance in India's struggle for freedom. ...
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What is this military patch with the silhouette of a pegasus on it?

I found this patch among my grandfather's things. I know it's a military patch of some sort because it was with his war memorabilia. He served in the European theater during WWII, if that helps at ...
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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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What were the post World War 2 effects on Germany?

What were the impacts of WW2 on Germany? Obviously the war meant that a lot of resources were spent and that the youth population was significantly reduced. How did this affect Germany's post war ...
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Who was the most successful German spy against Great Britain in WWII, from the contemporary German perspective?

Reading up on this it appears to me many of Germany's spy operations inside the UK were pretty quickly shutdown. I investigated a half dozen spies who were captured by the end of 1942. Dorthy O'...
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By mid-1945, was Japan capable of maintaining the war even in the absence of further direct American attacks? [closed]

The USA went to a great effort to defeat Japan, but do historians regard it as necessary? For example if the USA had just kept the naval action going to the extent of cutting of all shipping to ...
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Why did US Navy WW2 torpedoes detonate at the end of their run?

I'm listening to James Scott's "The War Below". In World War II, US Navy torpedoes detonated at the end of their range if they hadn't hit anything. So if a torpedo was fired and went its maximum ...
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Was Hiroshima targeted because its mountains would “rebound the explosion back into the city for more damage”?

In English class, while analyzing the anti-war themes of a book, my teacher brought up something that I had never heard before and honestly significantly doubt the accuracy of. She said that: ...
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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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What was the ratio women to men after World War 2 in the Soviet Union

I can imagine that after World War 2 the ratio of women versus men changed drastically. During World War 2, Soviet casualties amounted to over 20,000,000, and as military casualties were almost all ...
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“Destructive force” carried by a B-52?

In the 1957 film Bombers B-52 an instructor says of the then-new B-52 Stratofortress: “On a single mission one of these airplanes, just one, can carry greater destructive force than that of all ...
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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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Why didn't Henry A. Wallace become President in 1945?

Henry A. Wallace was Roosevelt's vice-president during WWII. Shortly before Roosevelt's death (82 days) following a slow decline in health, the Conservative wing of the Democratic Party started an ...
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Were there any attempts to assassinate Joseph Stalin?

Were there any attempts to assassinate Stalin? I haven't learned of any attempt to kill him, was he so brutal that no one tried to kill him?
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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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How did the Allies achieve air superiority on Sicily?

The Allies had freed all of Africa by the start of 1943. Afterwards, they landed in Sicily with a huge air force and fleet. How did they manage to land with the opposition of the Luftwaffe and Regia ...
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Rape perpetrated by American soldiers during WWII?

A while back I had a disturbing encounter with someone related to a Jewish survivor from the Auschwitz death camp. This survivor apparently claims that not only Red Army soldiers, but also G.I.'s ...
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Why didn't Germany attack Turkey during WW2?

Most of us might have heard something about the Geo-strategic position of Turkey. She connects two continents to each other and provides a bridge between the relatively advanced Europe and the ...
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What did Germany do after World War II to recover so successfully that it became more prosperous than its WW2 victors?

Germany lost in World War II. Being the loser, its economy started at a disadvantage compared to her World War II victors in the aftermath of WW2. However, Germany managed to recover more ...
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Why does the CIA report on the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich refer to it as “Operation Salmon” rather than “Operation Anthropoid”?

SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich. Source: National Archives I have been researching Operation Anthropoid (the assassination of SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich on 27 May 1942 in Prague, ...
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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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Did war bonds have better investment alternatives during WWII?

The American government put a lot of effort into convincing the American populace to purchase WWII bonds. But did American citizens have good alternatives for investment during the same years? For ...
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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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Did American policymakers seriously consider scaling down Lend Lease Aid to the Soviet Union after the battle of Kursk?

In 1941, Senator (and future President) Harry Truman famously said, "If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany." ...
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What effect did the Attack on Mers-el-Kébir have on Great Britain's international relations during WW2?

The Attack on Mers-el-Kébir/Battle of Mers-el-Kébir was an action that took part between the Royal Navy and the French Navy on July 3rd 1940 that was a result of Winston Churchill ordering that the ...

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