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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 role did Lucky Luciano play in facilitating the invasion of Sicily?

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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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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What happened to the Wehrmacht after the German surrender?

Wikipedia tells us, that: Following the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht, which went into effect on 8 May 1945, some Wehrmacht units remained active, either independently (e.g. in ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Why did few French and no Dutch pilots (but many Poles and Czechs) take part in the Battle of Britain?

Among the non-British pilots, at least 141 were Polish, 84 Czech and 28 Belgian, but only 13 were French and none were Dutch, Norwegian or Danish. The reasons why there were many Polish, Czech and ...
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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 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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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