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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 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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“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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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 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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 Harry Truman chosen to be Vice President in 1944?

In 1944, FDR was running for his fourth and final election. He was starting to age rapidly, he would be dead in just 82 days from being sworn in to his fourth term. Henry Wallace had been FDR's VP ...
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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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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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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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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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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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Were any German cities spared by 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 spared" ...
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Why did the Germans forbid the possession of pet pigeons in Rostov-on-Don in 1941?

Photograph made by Max Alpert shows a dead boy holding a pigeon. It seems that the child has been tortured before he was killed. Source: Federal Archive Agency of Russia, Russian state archive of ...
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In WWII, what was behind the very early decision to accept nothing but unconditional surrender in 1941-42?

I'm not student of history so apologize for lack of correct year but I had heard this on a documentary. It was early as the early 40s that Roosevelt, Churchill, met to form the Atlantic Charter, and ...
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What was the liquor that was based on petrol which was produced in the USSR during the Second World War?

I have a 1971 Spanish edition of the book "Stuka Pilot" by Hans-Ulrich Rudel where he recounts his memories of war. In the second chapter, in which he talks about the first combats of "Operation ...
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What were the 52 kinds of victims persecuted by the Nazis?

Out of the surviving 6,808 arrest files of Duesseldorf, a small city of half a million population, 1,440 were those of Communists alone. They were, however, only one among the 52 types of ...
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Was there a pre-determined arrangement for the division of Germany in case it surrendered before any Soviet forces entered its territory?

Listening to the audiobook D-day through German eyes, I thought: what if Germany had surrendered before any Soviet force entered its territory? In the book, a German soldier says that his motivation ...
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How far were women able to advance in the Gestapo?

I'm trying to write a story happening during World War 2, and I'd like to include there a female Gestapo agent/interrogator as a main character. However, I've been searching and I can't find evidence ...
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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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How did Hitler behave towards all those whom he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power?

What do we know of Hitler's acts and attitudes towards those people he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power? For example, his World War One comrades? Did they receive and attention ...
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Was there a Japanese equivalent of the Gestapo during WW2

Colonial Japanese rule on occupied territories has been described as harsh as has been their treatment of prisoners of war. In some cases, this was not a fleeting occupation but one lasting years or ...
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What type of plane is this wreck?

I have found this picture on MSN, with the claim that it is a P-38 somewhere at the French Riviera. However the P-38 Lightning is a twin-engined fighter, while this wreck has most probably four. What ...
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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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How was the USA able to win naval battles in the Pacific?

I have been researching the battles in the Pacific and it seems like in every engagement the USA was outnumbered or outgunned. Especially with the loss of the Pearl Harbor fleet, what made naval ...
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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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Did the poor performance of the Red Army in the Winter War significantly contribute to German underestimation of the USSR's military capacity?

Wikipedia says in the article on the Winter War: Perhaps more importantly, the very poor performance of the Red Army encouraged Hitler to think that an attack on the Soviet Union would be ...
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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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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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How much materiel was shipped to Continental Europe per month, after D-Day?

Once D-Day landed (1944 Jun 06), how much materiel was shipped into Continental Europe by the Western Allies per month? Did this monthly figure change much by 1945 May? Materiel includes basically ...
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What were the Nazi racial views on Hungarians and the Japanese?

Hungary and Japan were Nazi Germany's allies during WWII, yet it could not possibly be argued that the Japanese belong to the "Aryan race", and Hungarians speak a non-Indo-European language, which ...
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What was the tactical benefit of using flamethrowers as weapons?

I often hear stories of flamethrower troops storming the beaches of Iwo Jima and burning bunkers full of troops. But isn't it more risky to carry a tank of flammable liquid with limited fuel and ...
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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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What goods did Germany trade during World War II, and with whom?

I have scoured the internet for numerical figures and an actual list of raw materials to no avail. Moreover, I am reasonably certain that many of you are very knowledgeable upon this subject matter, ...
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Was Col. John K. Waters (Gen. Patton's son-in-law) wounded in the buttocks or the stomach during Patton's raid on Oflag XIII-B near Hammelburg?

Background: I have researched Patton's raid on Oflag XIII-B near Hammelburg March 26-28, 1945 using the following four sources: Wiki Article on Task Force Baum War History Online's article: The Real ...
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How did the Soviets decide what to annex in WW2?

During and after World War II Soviet Union annexed some countries while others eventually became member states of the Warsaw Pact. What is known about how the Soviets made the decisions about which ...
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Why didn't the US produce stamped weapons like the Germans during WW2?

It is my understanding that the MP40 and STG44 were successful stamped weapons used and mass produced by the Germans in WW2 that gave them an advantage in some battles. Background: Stamping is ...