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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 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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At the end of WWII, were Nazis working on any other super weapon besides V-2?

At the end of WWII, were Nazis working on anything else besides the V-2? If so, what was it, how close was it to completion, and could it have potentially turn the events around for them?
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Is this a Sherman, and if so what model?

A River Oaks, Houston, TX, attorney recently purchased and parked outside his home a fully functional World War Two tank. Note: The original newspaper article claimed the tank was "fully functional" ...
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Why do land mines seem to be a more serious problem in the Balkans than the Alps?

The last war in the Balkans finished around 2000. Until today, land mines are a big problem, especially in Bosnia. There are huge regions where you shouldn't leave paved terrain. Since I love hiking, ...
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Do any historians consider superior German airpower as the most important factor in the Battle of France?

In the Battle of France, the Allies and Germans had roughly equal number of divisions and troops, and the Allies actually had more artillery and tanks. But the one area where the Germans had a clear ...
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Did the Germans lose the U-Boat war in World war II because of a shortage of quality, rather than quantity?

In the "Battle of the Atlantic" the Germans lost almost 800 of their 1200 submarines (nearly two-thirds) sinking 3,500 Allied merchant ships and 175 warships. Some 30% these "kills," were accounted ...
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Where did Japan get their oil during WWII?

To my understanding the United States was the largest exporter of oil to the Japanese prior to Pearl Harbor. The Japanese islands aren't known for their oil fields. It's also believed that the attacks ...
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Is this anecdote about Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill true?

The first time I heard the story about the plans for German officers once the surrender happened was that Stalin wanted to summarily execute 50 thousand of them, Churchill was very angry about this ...
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Were soldiers in the World Wars paid?

There have always been professional soldiers however during the world wards there were vast conscription to encourage young men to join up for "King and Country". Presumably there was some sort of ...
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Rommel's letter to his wife from November 16, 1942

I'm looking for the original German version of Erwin Rommel's letter to his wife Lucie Rommel from November 16, 1942. You can find the English translation on page 354 of "The Rommel Papers". The ...
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Why were the Germans and Russians so fixated on an unlikely “separate peace” in 1945?

Anyone familiar with the history of WW2 will know that the Germans hoped for and the Russians feared the British and Americans in 1944/45 might make a separate peace with Hitler and even join together ...
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Why was Washington State an attractive site for aluminum production during World War II?

Some months ago I read that many aluminum manufacturing plants were attracted to Washington State during the 1930's and 40's. What made Washington so different from other states that these companies ...
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Was there ever any doubt which side the USA would join?

From a British perspective in both WW1 and WW2 the USA have entered the war at a later stage and supported the allies. The decision for the US to enter the war has often been portrayed to be based on ...
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What defined a Jew in the context of WW2? [closed]

What made a Jew? It's a complex question, primarily because borders in Central and Eastern Europe were moving back and forth in the 150 years preceding WW2, mostly because Poland was annexed for over ...
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Why did Nazi soldiers do Hitler's bidding?

The atrocities committed by Nazi soldiers during World War II are well known. I'd like to know what motivated those soldiers to do Hitler's bidding. Were they brainwashed? Did they believe they were ...
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Was Russia the only country in WWII that succeeded in expansionist war aims?

Germany, Italy, Russia, and Japan all initiated combat against peaceful countries for the clear purpose of territorial expansion. Of these only Russia ended the war with more territory than it started ...
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Why was Stalin surprised by the German attack in June 1941?

Although he was warned by many, including Churchill, of the forthcoming German attack on 22 June, Stalin did not believe those warnings and was surprised when the attack started. I believe the ...
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Why was Franklin D. Roosevelt pro-intervention?

In the lead-up to WW2, most Americans were in favor of neutrality and isolation. President Roosevelt, however, was privately in favor of intervention. One paragraph from Wikipedia summarizes it ...
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Is there any research explicitly contradicting facts in Suvorov's “Icebreaker” book series claiming that Stalin intended to attack Hitler in 1941?

Viktor Suvorov is a somewhat famous ex-GRU spy who defected and wrote a series of books. The most (in)famous and sensational were a series of books on World War II, starting with "Icebreaker", which ...
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Why did Soviet soldiers who plundered occupied territories during WW2 prefer watches to other valuables?

EDIT: text in bold was added later to not suggest that this practice was common. I'd known from stories told by my Grandmother and other people of Her age, that after entering pre-war Polish ...
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Why did the Japanese attack the Aleutians at the same time as Midway?

Here's where I am starting from: Aleutians, Battle of Dutch Harbor - June 3–4, 1942. 2 smaller aircraft carriers. Main Midway battle. June 4-7. 4 big carriers, with 2 smaller that weren't right ...
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Pre-war comments on Hitler: Just figures of speech, he doesn't really mean it, just a way to whip up supporters?

I've got to this interview with a historian about the pre-war mood between the American reporters and one with that especially impressed me was the quote that some sources used as a this year's US ...
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Did the Germans use the V1 and V2 missile system on the Eastern Front in World War 2?

Did the Germans use the V1 and V2 missile system on the Eastern Front in World War 2? We have heard the legendary use of these missile systems on the Western Front, which in my opinion were counter-...
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How wide-spread was antisemitism in the USA during WWII?

Richard Feynman writes in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, chapter Who stole the door, that: At MIT the different fraternities all had "smokers" where they tried to get the new freshmen to be ...
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What is the name and meaning of a World War 2 CCC Medal with both the Polish Eagle and British Statant Gardant Lion?

While looking through a collection of World War 2 medals, I came across this one (picture attached) and have been unable to identify it. It is in the form of a shield, appears to have a Polish eagle ...
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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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How did the Allies communicate during World War II?

I was wondering how the allied (America and England, since France was occupied by the Nazis) communicated securely with each other in 1943. I know that the SIGSALY existed, but I am most interested in ...
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Did the Germans have a team equivalent to the one from Bletchey Park in the UK during WWII?

There is a lot of information about the British code breakers at Bletchey Park and the work they did for cryptography, computing and the war effort. Still, I haven't heard a lot about a German ...
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How was beer production affected by the war during WW2?

How did the war affect beer production during World War II? This is a follow-up question to this question at Seasoned Advice, which is gathering interesting food-science answers but which are are ...
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Are there any records that indicate a submarine vs submarine battle?

I am aware of only one which is the U-864 was sunk by the HMS Venturer but that was when both were being submerged -- according to wikipedia. Is that accurate? Which battles did happen between two (...
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Are photos of WWII US Navy damage reports available online?

I have located a PDF of the USS Marblehead's Bomb Damage Report from 4 Feb 1942. The report lists plates of photographs which are not included in the report I have found. Do copies of this report ...
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Can anyone identify this warship?

The picture is of a ship that my late father is believed to have served on, I can find no identification marks on the photograph, so even a type of vessel would be a great help, as I have no records ...
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Have Germany and Poland ever signed a peace treaty after WWII?

I met a shocking (for me) information, that Germany and Poland have not signed a peace treaty after the World War II. Because I could not believe this, I performed some research. In the Potsdam ...
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Is the USA a superpower today because of WW2?

I understand that the USA funded the war effort against the Axis, although the Allies in Europe had to pay for this help in one way or another. It's fascinating to see how not that long ago (...
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Did Joseph Stalin kill anyone personally?

I read "Stalin: Triumph and tragedy" by Dmitri Volkogonov and (I believe) it said that Stalin didn't kill anyone with his own hands. He signed a lot of "death lists", but those are just pieces of ...
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Why did Allied invasion of France occur only in 1944 and not earlier?

Stalin (quite understandably) had demanded that the Allies open a Second Front as early as 1942, yet this did not happen till June 1944. Why did it have to wait till so late?
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Why were so few Luftwaffe attacks flown against the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944?

Why were so few Luftwaffe attacks flown against the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944? I understand there were roughly 200 aircraft available in France/Belgium, and yet there were only 2 aircraft that ...
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Did Hitler not intend a major war while invading Poland?

A J P Taylor in his book "The Origins of the Second World War" writes, "Hitler never intended a major war and at most was prepared for only a limited war against Poland." "In 1938-39, the ...
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How did the Japanese treat captured “Flying Tigers” in World War II?

When the Japanese took eight POWs from the "Doolittle Raid," ("Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo"), they executed three and one died of maltreatment, a 50% death rate. The "Flying Tigers" were an even ...
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Did the Americans trade destroyers in the “destroyer deal” that they would later need themselves?

In the fall of 1940, the U.S. and Great Britain made the so-called "destroyer deal," of 50 old American destroyers in exchange for the use of British bases ranging from Newfoundland to the Caribbean. ...
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Why was Eisenhower chosen to be Supreme Allied Commander in Europe?

Dwight D. Eisenhower "Ike", graduated from West Point in 1915 ranked 61st in a class of 164 better known for his abilities on the football field than in the classroom. Upon graduation from West Point ...
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Did either of the World Wars involve South or Central America?

Were any South or Central American nations besides Brazil involved (not necessarily officially) in either of the World Wars? If any were, I'd appreciate information on their degree of involvement.
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Number of bullets used in WW2

I have wondered if there are any estimates on the number of bullets used in World War 2. I have thought about the question but cannot even get a plausible attack strategy.
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Was the act of servicemen exchanging their weapons for enemy weapons common during WWII?

I have often heard that soldiers (particularly Allied soldiers) would swap their weapons for enemy weapons during World War II. Allies would take German weapons, like the MP40, that were seen as a ...
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What role did the Ancient Samurai heritage play on Modern Japan during WW2?

Some of the policies adopted by the WW2 Japanese army , seem to be along the lines of the ancient samurai code of Bushido. Policies such as extreme loyalty to the emperor , honor unto death and ...
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Is Snyder's claim about Soviet-German friendship propaganda posters (1939‒41) supportible?

Upon reading Putin’s New Nostalgia article by Timothy Snyder, I was specifically intrigued by one particular historical point he mentioned. Given the charged nature of current events, and Snyder’s ...
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What was the meaning of the following Neville Chamberlain quote?

In 1938, during the Munich (Czech) Crisis, then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain expressed his distaste for making war preparations over "a quarrel in a faraway land between people of which ...
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Who liberated Denmark in WWII?

The obvious encyclopedic site surprisingly has nothing on this in its article about Denmark in WWII. It alludes to a British occupation force after the war, but is not clear who actually liberated ...
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Did a Japanese medieval castle withstand US battleship fire during the Pacific War?

I have overheard the story from an US soldier that during the Pacific War the Japanese mounted a defense in an old medieval castle. The Americans asked for support from a battleship. The battleship ...
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Did a capital ship ever hit anything with a torpedo?

It seems WWI and inter-war ship designers went a bit torpedo mad, both in their fear of them and in their use, finally coming to their senses in the harsh realities of WWII. I've seen many examples ...