130

I'm not sure there is any direct evidence that it was strategically a bad idea. Strategically it made sense to attack the Soviet Union while they were weak and unprepared for war. Hitler knew that as he made progress on the Western front that Stalin grew more and more nervous every day about the growing power of Nazi Germany. What must be remembered is that ...


89

We have to delve into two spheres to address this question, the political and the military. Militarily, the Japanese fought a series of border skirmishes with the Soviet Union at Khalkhin Gol (located along the Manchurian - Mongolian border, Mongolia then being a "People's Republic" and puppet of the Soviet Union) through early summer to early autumn 1939, ...


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 ...


75

If you look only at the numbers, then Israel was bound to lose the war of course. The Arab countries had far more soldiers and they also had better/more equipment (the Soviet Union supplied them well). This view leaves out a number of important factors however: Surprise: By launching a preemptive attack Israel took the Arab countries by surprise which ...


73

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 ...


69

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 ...


67

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 ...


66

By this time, Germany controlled the entire European peninsula, and it was very hard to see the Allied forces coming back from that. Hitler told one of his generals in June 1940 that the victories in western Europe "finally freed his hands for his important real task: the showdown with Bolshevism" [from here]. Reasons to attack the Soviet Union include: ...


65

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 ...


64

Historians have ignored the invasion of Iceland as it played an insignificant role in the war and was a temporary tactical decision: Not a land-grab. Iceland was content to allow British occupation with the stated condition that Britain would withdraw their troops at the end of the war and not interfere with Icelandic government. Britain ended up ...


61

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 ...


59

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 ...


59

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 ...


54

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 ...


53

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

Italy's main issue was its enmity with Austria-Hungary, Germany's main ally. That made Italy the "odd man out" in the so-called Triple Alliance with the other two. Italy had joined (reluctantly) with Germany out of a fear of France. This occurred when France and Britain concluded an alliance that made Britain responsible for the mutual defense of the ...


50

Theoretically, wars are still supposed to be declared. To quote the Hague Convention III of 1907: The Contracting Powers recognize that hostilities between themselves must not commence without previous and explicit warning, in the form either of a reasoned declaration of war or of an ultimatum with conditional declaration of war. However, after searching ...


47

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 Egyptians, along with Syria and Jordan, had worked up a plan to attack Israel a couple of weeks prior to the actual war. Apparently some recently declassified documents confirm that the Egyptians had planned to launch bombers against Israel to take out their airfields and other strategic military positions. They had also deployed a number of tank units ...


43

Germany always wanted to attack and defeat Soviet Russia. There is an ideological battle between fascism and communism. Germany really thought that Russia was the enemy of the world. Some Germans believed, such was the evil of communism, that when they started the eastern front, the English would come over to their side to fight communism rather than ...


43

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 ...


42

There was an 88-minute long speech made by Hitler to the Reichstag on December 11th, 1941, which was four days after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, where he officially declared that Germany would join Japan in the war against the USA. In this speech, he mentioned a few of his personal reasons for this decision. That decision to declare war had been ...


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 ...


38

I would say it was a combination of a few reasons that made Chamberlain, and by extension, the British government during that time, willing to appease Hitler ambitions. First it had been less then two decades since WWI, which Britain was a major player in, and the memories of the horror of trench warfare, mustard gas and other supplementaries that that came ...


38

Bill Clinton was acquitted. The senate did not reach the 2/3's majority needed to fully process his impeachment. To further break it down. Clinton was impeached by the House on two charges. The first being perjury, and the second being obstruction of justice. Following this he was acquitted by the senate. Wiki does it again!


37

The "Winged Pegasus" patch is the insignia for British Airborne Forces and was specifically the divisional patch for the 6th and 1st Airborne Divisions during WW2. The 1st Airborne Division adopted the patch in May 1942, the sixth on the 14th of May 1943. The 44th Indian Airborne Division also adopted a similar patch with the word 'INDIAN' underneath the ...


36

Neither side really saw enough of a strategic advantage. The UK was already spread thin trying to defend their own island, so going out and trying to take control of Ireland didn't make sense, even if it meant preventing Germany from doing so. Given the long history of turmoil between England and Ireland, I believe they were content that Ireland didn't side ...


35

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 ...


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