226 votes
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Why didn't Germany blockade the Strait of Gibraltar during WW2?

...but if the Strait is guarded such that they can't get them without braving an enfilading strafe of torpedoes, then it wouldn't do much good even if they knew where they are. From this comment by ...
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132 votes

When did the allies find out about the killing of Jews during WW2

Information regarding mass murders of Jews began to reach the Allied leadership soon after the invasion of the Soviet Union in late June 1941. The volume of those reports increased with time. This was ...
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129 votes
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Why didn't Wehrmacht soldiers refuse to kill civilians?

Saying that no Wehrmacht soldier ever refused to kill civilians or PoWs is wrong, there are documented instances of this happening. It's just that this did not happen often enough to make a difference....
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90 votes
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Were Hitler's anti-Jewish sentiments known at all to those who voted him to power in 1933?

I think your question is best answered by addressing an underlying presumption. Namely: your 21st century eyes and your living in a society that considers hate speech to be antisocial are misleading ...
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85 votes

When did the allies find out about the killing of Jews during WW2

I want to offer a personal perspective: I am German. I learned about the Holocaust in school. I visited concentration camps. I have friends who lost family in concentration camps. I watched ...
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74 votes

Why didn't Wehrmacht soldiers refuse to kill civilians?

Concerning your questions, beyond the original "why didn't they refuse" one: the massacres definitely caused psychological problems for many soldiers, even the SS - to the point that Himmler ...
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69 votes
Accepted

Was Hitler exclaiming "Heil Hitler!" himself when saluting?

Short Answer Despite the claims of some sites, I can find no evidence that Hitler himself said 'Heil Hitler', and it would make no sense for him to do so as the words were more than a greeting: they ...
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61 votes
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Who was the most successful German spy against Great Britain in WWII, from the contemporary German perspective?

From the "contemporary German perspective", the answer is doubtless "Alaric", Juan Pujol García, known to the British as "Garbo". He was paid a total of US$340,000 and awarded the Iron Cross, second ...
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60 votes

Is it true that Germans in World War 2 did not suffer punishment for refusing genocidal orders?

This matter is entangled with one of the disputes within Holocaust studies, although it isn't the point of the dispute. That began with Christopher Browning's book Ordinary Men (1992), which is a ...
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57 votes
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Why did Hitler not invade Sweden?

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 ...
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54 votes

Was the Wehrmacht a mechanized army?

You are correct. Parts of the Wehrmacht were mechanized, but the vast majority was foot infantry with horse drawn logistics. Most soldiers walked towards Moscow, and back. World War II German ...
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  • 17.2k
54 votes

Was Switzerland really impossible to invade during WW2?

No country is impossible to invade. Andorra could invade the USA. The question you should have asked was "Was Switzerland Impossible to Conquer during World War II?". The answer is no ...
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  • 16.7k
52 votes
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Could a German insult Hitler without being arrested?

Well, not officially. Insulting the Führer or insulting Hitler, any laws for that? 'Insulting the Führer' was often interpreted as being a Lèse-majesté, codified from the beginning of the 2nd Reich in ...
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50 votes
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Did German submarines communicate with allied convoys during battle?

Purely fictional. I have never heard of such an incident and, as with the large, bright red insignia painted on the conning towers, it puts the submarine in unnecessary danger for no advantage. In ...
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50 votes
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Did Joseph Goebbels really say this about German opposition in 1933?

No, most probably not. On that day Goebbels was silent in public, and the entire text looks made up. Proving a negative is very difficult, and currently this 'funny propaganda meme' lacks an accurate ...
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  • 73.7k
48 votes
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What did Germany do in World War II about the different rail gauge in the Soviet Union?

The overall answer is that the Soviets were not rich in railways and destroyed much of it as they retreated. The Germans anticipated this, and had railway commandos rebuild much of the Soviet trunk ...
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47 votes
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In WW2, why did Germany sink allied supply convoys instead of capturing them?

The options that submarines had were, in practice, limited to sinking Allied shipping and leaving the area as quickly as possible to avoid detection. U-boats had a disadvantage compared to destroyers (...
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47 votes
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Did a unit of 40 men hold off Rommel's "ghost division" for 18 days?

This appears to be a distortion of the Battle of Bodange, May 10th, 1940. The 5th company of the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Regiment of Chasseurs Ardennais (about 120 men) delayed elements of the 1st ...
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46 votes
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Where did Hitler get the funds to invest in economic development programs such as the autobahn when the German economy was in a depression?

The funds for the Autobahn project came from the Reinhardt Program, a credit finance scheme originated by Kurt von Schleicher. The contractors who built the highways were paid not in Reichsmark, but ...
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46 votes
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Was Switzerland really impossible to invade during WW2?

Ok, since I think I finally got your real question (as I see it): I'm simply asking if the defense of Switzerland during WW2 was overrated. Many people claim that the country was impossible to occupy,...
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45 votes

How was the Luftwaffe able to destroy nearly 4000 Soviet aircraft in 3 days of operation Barbarossa?

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 ...
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  • 5,462
43 votes
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How did the Nazis plan to defeat America during World War II?

No, Hitler had no plan for defeating the US outright. However, the Germans had been fighting against the US for quite some time in the Battle of the Atlantic, since US escorts would take convoys ...
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  • 11.8k
40 votes

Was there a constitutional mechanism to overturn the election of Adolf Hitler?

There was a mechanism called voting against Hitler. Unfortunately, Hitler's opponents failed to set aside their differences and unite against him. It is important to realise that Hitler did not gain ...
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  • 95.8k
40 votes

Why didn't Germany blockade the Strait of Gibraltar during WW2?

Gibraltar during the war had a quite formidable British naval presence (Force H), an airfield, and significant coastal gun emplacements easily capable of covering the entire strait. The primary ...
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  • 11.4k
40 votes
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What pretext did Hitler use to justify Operation Barbarossa?

Radio broadcast to the German people Hitler gave his reasons to the German people via a radio broadcast on the morning of June 22nd, 1941. At 0500 GMT, an hour after the invasion began, the Nazi ...
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39 votes
Accepted

What does the skull and crossbones on the Nazi uniform represent?

The skull and crossbones or "death's head" is not a purely German - still less a specifically Nazi - symbol, but has been, and still is, used by many military units, including the British, ...
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  • 7,691
39 votes

When did the allies find out about the killing of Jews during WW2

Like this Swedish front page from December 18, 1942 it was known. The headline says "Planer på att utrota judarna förverkligas" (Plans to exterminate the Jews put into action). It speaks of hundreds ...
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  • 2,018
39 votes
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Why did other German political parties disband so fast when Hitler was appointed chancellor?

Three steps to observe: Hitler was given the chancellory Election in 1933 Reichstag fire & Enabling decree First the really unwanted elements were beaten up, imprisoned or just killed. Then a ...
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