102

The hexagram is not an exclusively Jewish symbol. For that matter, the Star of David as a symbol of Judaism (as opposed to a symbol used by Jews) is far newer than people realize, dating only to 1897 and the First Zionist Congress. Given that, seeing a six-pointed star on top of a Christmas tree in 1924 is no surprise. Also, Jesus was of the house of ...


89

Yes, I can tell you from personal experience that they certainly did whistle. When I was a boy I lived in Nottingham, and until May 1941 we were lucky in that, although we heard (and sometimes saw) German aircraft, they usually passed over on their way to less fortunate cities like Sheffield, Coventry or Birmingham. But on the night of Thursday 8 May 1941, ...


76

Seeing WWI as an ideological battle between liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes requires hindsight and taking the Western perspective and adjusting your lenses for what was considered "liberal democracy" at the time. While certainly empires fell and new republics rose, other empires gained, and people continued to be oppressed. When you start to ...


74

The nature of Nazi and Japanese atrocities is quite different. The Japanese atrocities, when ordered from above, were "rational" in the sense that they were perpetrated to gain a perceived tangible benefit for the war effort (please do not misconstrue my words to mean that I condone these actions! I do not!) The most appalling crimes, such as the rape of ...


72

Perhaps this is a generational thing? As a Gen-X'er, I grew up hearing about things like the Bataan Death March, The Rape of Nanking, and how in general the Japanese didn't feel like adhering to the Geneva Conventions, (as dramatized in Bridge over the River Kwai, among other movies and books). When I was a kid we also had lots more Pacific Theater veterans ...


69

In Moscow, under former mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, it was built a line (Butovo line) which is mostly elevated. I think the practice was not considered quite successful as a result. There are many drawbacks: The elevated line still consumes ground area. Even though one can lay highways and streets under it, one has to demolish buildings. Not much different from a ...


68

It is true that bombs in World War II would make a whistling sound as they fell. This could be heard by both the pilot and the target, however due to the Doppler effect, they heard different things. The pilot would hear a high pitched whistle and as the bomb accelerated it lowered in pitch. The target would initially hear a higher pitched whistle than what ...


65

The Phoney War (Sitzkrieg, Drôle de Guerre, etc.) seems destined to remain one of the great mysteries of history. It is difficult to comprehend now, after the fact, how such an astonishing combination of missed opportunities, wishful thinking, and indecisiveness on the part of not just one, but two great powers, could have carried on for more than half a ...


64

Khrushchev wanted to... test his political power to please the Ukrainian population to shift the rebuilding cost to the Ukrainian republic. Khrushchev wanted to test his political power If anyone would wanted to challenge Khrushchev, just rising to power, his controversial idea and hollow arguments would be a perfect occasion. The stake was very little at ...


60

Short answer: No. The only film footage of the RMS Titanic shows her being towed into the outfitting wharf at Belfast in February 1912, and moored at Belfast. A clip of Lusitania leaving port has often been shown as a substitute for Titanic's maiden voyage commencement (including in the 1958 film 'A Night to Remember*). No footage of Titanic leaving ...


58

This is mostly about urban planning, and how much change the local government can or will be able to make to the existing streets. In London, the central parts of the city (Westminster and the City) still have their street plan from medieval days, as the 1666 fire didn't burn the foundations. The streets there are far too narrow, and the buildings too ...


55

Sweden was a vital source of iron ores to Germany, an important strategic resource for her war effort. Because the allies controlled the seas, Scandinavia was Germany's main source of good quality iron. Attacking Sweden would have disrupted the supply for no real gain. Production of high-grade steel suitable for armour plate and gun barrels depended ...


53

Baden-Powell had been besieged in the town of Mafeking during the Second Boer War. He had formed the Mafeking Cadet Corps, which was a group of youths that supported the defending troops by carrying messages and similar tasks. This freed up men for military duties and kept the boys occupied during the prolonged siege. Back in the UK, the newspapers, had ...


51

The Chinese situation was fundamentally different from the Western European colonial empires. In fact it's rather more like Russia, who also managed to keep her Eurasian empire, or the United States, who acquire vast territories West of the Mississippi. In the case of China, those lands you refer to are mostly Sinkiang and Tibet. Most notably there is the ...


48

SHORT ANSWER TO THE MAIN QUESTIONS We can't be sure when FDR decided to stand for a third term but the evidence suggests it was not long before the Democratic National Convention (15th to 18th July 1940). Concerning breaking tradition by running for a 3rd term, reaction from his opponents was vociferous but from the country at large it was mostly fairly ...


46

The political reasons of both France and Britain are well explained in other answers, so I just stick to the legal matter. France was not legally obliged by any pact to attack Soviet Union or to send troops to Poland to help. The 1921 Franco-Polish treaty specified the extent of help, which amounted to keeping the communication lines free between France and ...


45

The Soviets were caught by surprise and suffered massive casualties as a result. See this Wikipedia article. Lots of aircraft were destroyed on the ground, not the air. The first attacks began at 03:00 on 22 June. The Soviets had been caught by surprise, their aircraft bunched together in neat rows which were vulnerable. The results were devastating ... ...


43

It appears to be a painting of Pavlo Shandruk (Ukrainian: Павло Шандрук, Polish: Pawło Szandruk). As Pieter noted it is a mid 20th century fascist German uniform in style. As Luiz noted the cockade and neck insignia are off, and appear Ukrainian National Army (UNA). I then researched UNA (Luiz) generals (based on my observation and Pieter's confirmation). ...


40

Yes we have at least one account of cannibalism. First source: A teenage orphan kills and eats her four-year-old brother. Guardian Second source: I didn't know that there were thousands of cases of cannibalism. . . . People ate corpses and fought for the bodies. In Gansu they killed outsiders; people told me strangers passed through and they killed ...


37

Japan had a small domestic oil production, a few million barrels, but not nearly enough to meet their peacetime needs let alone war. What they did have is enough oil refineries with a capacity of almost a year's peacetime consumption. If they could get the oil to Japan, they could refine it into fuel. They were also heavily invested in synthetic oil plants ...


36

During the early stages of the Turkish War of Independence, Kemal commanded two army corps: One in Ankara and one in Erzurum. At first Erzurum was Kemal's base of operations, but on 27 December, 1919 he moved his Representative Committee to Ankara to be closer to Istanbul. Ankara also had a railway and being roughly at the center of Turkey made more sense ...


34

Joachim Fest, who wrote a major Hitler biography in German, cites four sources and concludes thus (in footnote 63 on p. 807 of the English paperback edition): Probably the exact nature of Hitler's illness can no longer be determined, since no examination with a specific investigatory aim was ever undertaken. Because of the extremely inadequate ...


34

Some 22 surviving high-ranking Nazis were tried at Nuremburg after the end of the war, per agreement between the Allied powers. The highest ranking of them, Hermann Goering was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death (although he committed suicide before his execution). The same would certainly have been true of Hitler had he lived to ...


34

Jung Chang -author of bestseller Wild Swans (Harper Collins, London 1992) together with her husband, British sinologist, Jon Halliday, in their biography, Mao,The Unknown Story (Cape, London 2005) assert that it happened. During the famine, some resorted to cannibalism. One post-Mao study (promptly suppressed), of Fengyang county in Anhui province, ...


33

Piecing together various sources, it is clear that there was a no-passport agreement between the United Kingdom and France from 1961 until 1984 and that, even after the termination of this agreement, British citizens were able to use a British Visitor's Passport (in addition to the standard 'full' passport) until 1995. Between 1961 and 1995, the UK issued ...


32

I am fortunate in being 75 years of age. I travelled extensively during my 22 years in the British Royal Navy and have spoken over the years, to many people of various nationalities. One should remember that each country writes it's own history and therefore it is bound to suffer from at least some bias. The best education about the WW2 subjects mentioned ...


32

When a war starts, the diplomats lock down the embassy and leave through a neutral country. They are neither molested nor harassed, and their diplomatic immunity is not disputed. The embassy building and the property therein is taken care of by the neutral country representing the interests of the belligerent (or some other arrangements may be made). The ...


31

Good question with several answers. First a nod to Lennart for pointing out that Germany grew just like France and Britain and the USA, so a certain amount of "a rising tide floats all boats." However there were some factors that advantaged Germany more than the others: Highly educated, savings-minded workforce whose population losses were instantly ...


31

For New York, the answer is related to real estate value. In New York City, the construction of the metro was performed by real estate developers. The idea was to build homes, then connect them to the city with a subway. Sales of the new homes, in principle, then funded the metro system. Above ground trains were not conducive to high priced luxury ...


31

Operation Flipper, in November 1941 was a British special forces operation aimed at killing or capturing Erwin Rommel. The intention was to disrupt the German Command and Control infrastructure before the start of Operation Crusader, which was intended to relieve the siege of Tobruk. It was felt that Rommel was such a pivotal figure for the German army ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible