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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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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 ...
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Did Truman really believe that Hiroshima was a military base?

Harry Truman claimed, in his July 25, 1945 diary entry, that: I have told [Stimson] to use [the first nuclear bomb] so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women ...
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Catholic vs Protestant Support for Nazism in Germany

The German population before WW2 was roughly half Catholic half Protestant. Before and during WW2, was there any significant disparity between the support for NSDAP across the religious line? In other ...
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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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German Government branches during World War 2

During World War 2, what government branches, if any, existed in Germany? I've always heard about the Third Reich and Hitler, but I never heard about the rest of the government.
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Why did the German air force lose experienced pilots faster than the Allies, even though they were defending their home airspace?

During the 1940 Battle of Britain, German and British planes shot down each other at roughly a one to one rate. This gave an advantage to the British because all of the surviving German pilots shot ...
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Why did the US insist on invading Japan instead of blockading it in WWII?

One of the reasons often used to justify the use of nuclear weapons is that the alternative strategy, firebombing and invasion of Japan, would have caused much more death and destruction for both ...
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How did the Germans get housing again after WWII?

After a large number of homes were destroyed in the war, how did the average German become a homeowner again? I know about the Marshall Plan, but this question does not refer to how the economy in ...
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Why was Johannes Blaskowitz indicted at the Nuremberg High Command Trial

Johannes Blaskowitz was a German General during WW2. He committed suicide in 1948 while being tried as a war criminal. His action during the Polish offensive seem rather counter to this, to quote ...
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How many people worked to build one Liberty ship?

A lot of Liberty Ships were built during WW2. These were fairly large transport ships with a capacity of about 11,000 t deadweight tonnage. Wikipedia says the average build time was 42 days, and that ...
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Did Hitler make the right decision for Germany when he called off Operation Zitadelle (during the Battle of Kursk)?

On the night of 9/10 July, the Western Allies mounted an amphibious invasion of Sicily. Three days later, Hitler summoned Günther von Kluge and Erich von Manstein to his Wolfsschanze headquarters ...
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What changed Japanese attitude to POWs in inter-war period?

I have read this excellent answer in which @Semaphore provides sources confirming that German defenders of Tsingtao were treated very well during World War I, which even lead to some tradition in ...
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What role did Lucky Luciano play in faciliting South Europe invasion?

On the night of July 9, 1943, 160,000 Allied troops landed on the extreme southwestern shore of Sicily. After securing a beachhead, Gen. George Patton's U.S. Seventh Army launched an offensive into ...
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How frequently were homing pigeons used in the World Wars?

It seems that the strategic weight of specially bred pigeons is much higher than I thought at first, based on the number of pigeons used and the effort to stop them. (In WW2 Germans even trained ...
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How popular was Mozart in France before WWII and after it?

Another intriguing statement by Robert Paxton: I was surprised myself to learn that Mozart had been little played in France before 1940, and that his prominence since 1945 in the French ...
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In WWII, why did people not run away from executions?

In several videos and photos you see people getting round up. In the photo below they're at the site of a mass grave and can clearly see they're going to die. Why does nobody try to run away? Same ...
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“More Frenchmen bore arms for the Axis than for the Allies during the Second World War”?

True or false? This is claimed by Andrew Roberts in The Storm of War. Quote: As more Frenchmen bore arms for the Axis than for the Allies during the Second World War, it is unsurprising that ...
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What happens to the corpses after the world wars?

I was reading my history book, and it stated that the Battle of Somme caused at least 20,000 casualties just to British troops, and another 25,000 to German troops. What happens to the dead bodies ...
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To what degree did women participate in the air war during WW2?

I read that Lydia Vladimirovna Litvyak and Katya Budanova, the latter is in the above picture, were fighter pilots in the Soviet Air Force during World War II. Since I cannot find other fighter ...
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When was France fully liberated?

Speaking of metropolitan France (the 'Hexagone' + Corsica), when was France fully liberated of German occupying forces at the end of World War II? We all know of the D-Day landings in Normandy in ...
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Did Japan ever pay Russia war reparations after WW2? Why or why not?

Russia had the largest number of casualties during WW2, and Russia had taken many Japanese prisoners. So, why didn't Russia receive a reparation from Japan to help boost Russia's economy after the war?...
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I'm reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. What should I watch out for?

I am currently reading William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I find it an interesting take on Nazi Germany, particularly with its emphasis on the viewpoints afforded by the Foreign ...
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What are those X in top of the flag?

Well, I was wondering. What are those crosses in the top of the flag when we visualize military battleplans? For instance, take a look in a map of the Battle for El Alamein: The Free French ...
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Why did the French insist on reclaiming Indo-China after WWII?

After WWII France was in rebuilding mode, and yet they insisted on trying to reclaim Indo-China. It would seem that in the new world order this did not make much sense for a country that was trying to ...
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How dependent were the Germans on horse transport in their invasion of the Soviet Union?

The Germans were very sophisticated in "combined" operations, that is, in using airpower and tanks to attack behind the Soviet lines. That's what gave them the advantage in the early part of the war. ...
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How much oil was spilled by the naval combatants during WW2?

The war at sea took a huge toll during WW2. Has there been an official estimate of how much oil was spilled into the oceans during the world wide conflict?
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Austria and Iron Curtain during Cold War

Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech from 1946 contains the following famous passage: From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. ...
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What were the original casualty projections for Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

I remember hearing several times that the bombs dropped on Japan were a lot deadlier than expected. What were the original projections for casualties for both and how much less than the actual ...
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What did the average German citizen know about the war?

How much did the average German citizen know about the advancements and losses of the German armed forces; more specifically, did the citizens know in 1943 to 1945 that German forces were being pushed ...
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Jurisdiction in German occupied territories after WW II

Who's seen Black Book? At the end, after the war, one of the German Generals requests that Hauptsturmführer Muntze be executed under Article 153 for treason. What is Article 153? Been trying to ...
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What did the Soviets know about the Hunger Plan during WWII?

The Hunger plan was a plan of the Nazis to feed their army and population at the expense of the population of the occupied territories in the east. From the minutes of a meeting in May '42: 1) The ...
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Why and how were east Brandenburg, Pomerania and Silesia taken away from Germany after WW2?

These areas have always been German, in fact Pomerania and Brandenburg were both part of Prussia since the 1700's. Why did the Soviet Union do this, and how did the victorious powers justify taking ...
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Why did the Germans fall behind the Americans in the development of the atomic bomb after an initial lead?

I actually know certain facts about this matter, but am seeking guidance in interpreting these facts into "theories." 1) Theory 1, Economic: The Americans spent something like $2 billion (in money of ...
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Were there reasons for Japan to go to war with the US aside from the US owning Philippines?

Right after the Spanish-American War in 1898, the US acquired the Philippines from Spain. At that time, local leaders desired Philippine independence. The Philippine - American War was fought around ...
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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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From 1936-45 what was the prescribed punishment in Nazi Germany for failing to join or participate in the Hitler Youth?

Hitler reviewing members of the Hitlerjugend Question I know all other youth programs were abolished in the early or mid 30's, and then membership in the Hitler Youth was mandatory for "aryans" by ...
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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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Which city was attacked by Nazi-German war flights in India during WW2?

Nazi-Germany ran a bombing raid over India, in WW2. Which city was bombed, and what effect did it have? i.e how many casualties were inflicted, was transport closed down, or was there other damage to ...
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Did The Soviet Union need both prongs to succeed at the Battle of Stalingrad?

In November, 1942, three months after the battle of Stalingrad began, the Soviet Union, launched Operation Uranus, a counterencirclement of the German forces in and around the city, in two prongs. ...
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Plans for More Nuclear Warfare in Japan during WW2

When reading about Operation DownFall I noticed that if Japan had not surrendered following the nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki there could have been at least 7 more Nuclear Bombs ready for ...
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Was the option of setting up a Jewish state in defeated Nazi Germany ever considered?

Since there were a lot of Jews pre WW2 in Germany, and Germany was responsible for the many deaths of Jews during the Holocaust, it seems logical to suggest, that a new Jewish state should maybe be ...
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Were there any pilots that declined to carry out the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Were there any pilots that refused (or politely declined) to take part in the operations of "Fat Man" and "Little Boy," knowing the destruction these would cause? Similarly, were there any scientists ...
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Why did Operation Market Garden go ahead when the allies knew German armor was in the area?

Montgomery's ill-fated operation to capture the Rhine crossing at Arnhem was ingenious but fatally flawed. Evidence suggests that the Allies knew there were German armoured units in the town a few ...
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Is this Hitler's account of seemingly counterproductive British radio war propaganda true?

In digging into German foreign policy documents written during WWII, I found a letter from Hitler to Mussolini, dated 3rd of May of 1940 (amid the Norwegian Campaign), with the following account: ...
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How did Allies secure southern flank during “Race to the Rhine”?

As I read about western front during the WW2 there is usually big topic about the "D-Day", then clearing Normandy (capturing Cherbourg), then liberating Paris and then authors quickly move to "Race to ...
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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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How did Hitler get off so lightly after the Beer Hall Putsch?

The Main Square in Munich during the Beer Hall Putsch On November 8-9 1923 the Beer Hall Putsch or Munich Putsch was an attempted coup by the Nazi Party against the German Weimar Republic which ...
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Did Hitler have an end goal during the “appeasement” phase, or was he just picking a fight?

Do we have any indication what Hitler's plans would have been had the Allies continued to appease him? If the invasion of Poland had been allowed, do we know what he would have done next? Some ...
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Who was the richest person in the world at the start and end of WW2?

Who was the richest person in the world when the World war II started and when it ended? Was it the same person? If so, how did the war years affect his wealth?
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What is the source for this Goering quote on radar?

On page 194 of Jonathan Trigg's The Defeat of the Luftwaffe, he claims Hermann Goering said: I have frequently taken a look inside such sets. It does not look all that imposing, just some wires ...