24 Unknown Facts About Second World War

24 Unknown Facts About Second World War

  1. Captured Nazis were better off as prisoners in the US, than as soldiers in Europe. They gained weight as food and beer was more plentiful, were entertained, paid for their work, and can even enter restaurants where black-American soldiers cannot.
  2. Georg Gärtner was one such POW and didn’t want to leave the US after the war since the his hometown became part of Poland, which was then communist. After the war, he hid from the FBI for 40 years, until 1985. But since he came to the US against his will, he was not considered an illegal immigrant and eventually became a US citizen.
  3. William Hitler, Adolf Hitler’s nephew, served in the US Navy during the war.
  4. The French invented scuba, which stands for “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus”. This refers to a combat frogman’s oxygen rebreather made during the war by an American.
  5. The British invented radar, which stands for “radio detection and ranging” or “radio direction and ranging”.
  6. Winston Churchill only had one bodyguard.
  7. It was the Western media who used the term “blitzkrieg” to describe how rapidly Germany invaded. The Wehrmacht themselves didn’t use that term during the war, except for propaganda.
  8. Hitler survived over 40 assassination attempts. He never knew about almost all of them.
  9. In 1997, the “Melli Affair” exposed that Swiss banks were still using their nation’s bank secrecy laws to hide assets of Holocaust victims. Christoph Meili, the whistleblower, is currently the only Swiss to get asylum in the US.
  10. During negotiations with the West, Stalin often got what he wanted in Europe because the Soviets suffered so much casualties. But on matters concerning Asia-Pacific, Stalin had little negotiating power since the Soviets barely lost anyone against Japan.
  11. The Soviets lost more people in Stalingrad than the US and UK did combined throughout the entire war, and even more than the population of Russia’s military today.
  12. The PPS-43 was made more easily, quickly, and cheaply than the far more common PPSh-41, and performed better. However, the Soviets already invested too much into the PPSh-41′s production to completely replace it until the war ended.
  13. The Soviet AKS-47′s downward folding stock was based on the German MP-40′s.
  14. In the USSR, religion was temporarily permitted and even grew to boost morale and support against the Nazis.
  15. Admiral Yamamoto of Japan didn’t want to invade China due to its vast land and population. Like with invading the US, almost every Japanese ignored him.
  16. During the Kyujo Incident, some Japanese hardliners tried to overthrow their government for agreeing to surrender to the Allies.
  17. Jacob Beser participated in the dropping of both atomic bombs. Meanwhile, Tsutomu Yamaguchi survived both atomic bomb droppings.
  18. 13 American POWs died from the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
  19. Japan launched thousands of hot-air balloons equipped with bombs called “fire balloons” against the US, but it only killed six people.
  20. Japan’s Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night was a kamikaze mission that attempted to use biological warfare against the state of California in the US via submarines and seaplanes. However, Japan surrendered before it can be carried out.
  21. Only 56 Chinese POWs were released by Japan after the war. The rest were brutally killed.
  22. The famous US military phrase “Gung Ho” ironically originated from guerrillas in the Chinese Communist Party. “Gung Ho” (工合) (somewhat awkwardly) translates to “work together” in Mandarin. See here: Gung Ho! The Communist Origins of the Marine Corps’ Famous Slogan
  23. Chiang Kai-shek even proposed that Japan delay its surrender so he would have more time to prepare against the Chinese Communists.
  24. Chiang Kai-shek’s son, Chiang Wei-kuo, was in the Wehrmacht. He commanded a tank unit during the Anschluss. Before he can invade Poland, he was recalled back to China. Meanwhile, Chiang Ching-kuo, the other son, studied with the Soviets.

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