Thursday, December 31, 2015

10 Interesting Facts You Probably Didn’t Know about the Second World War

World War II was the most destructive conflict in history. It cost more money, damaged more property, killed more people, and caused more far-reaching changes than any other war in history. Check out these 10 interesting facts about World War II that you might not know...

1. President Roosevelt used Al Capone’s Limousine

On the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Secret Service realized they did not have a have a bulletproof car to transport President Roosevelt safely to Congress to deliver his Infamy Speech. A quick thinking Secret Service agent realized that the U.S. Treasury had seized the bulletproof limo of Al Capone in 1931.

The car was still in working condition and safely transported the president to Congress. President Roosevelt reportedly quipped, “I hope Mr. Capone won’t mind.”

2. Youngest serviceman in World War II

Calvin Graham was the youngest U.S. serviceman, he lied about his age and enlisted in the Navy at age 12 in 1942, it wasn’t until after he was wounded that his real age was discovered.

3. American radio DJs were prohibited during World War II

In 1942, American radio DJs were prohibited from taking listener requests. The government feared that enemy spies would embed secret messages.

4. The term Third Reich was first used by German author Arthur Moeller van den Bruck in 1923

The term Third Reich was first used by German author Arthur Moeller van den Bruck in his 1923 book Das Dritte Reich (“The Third Reich”). His book heavily influenced the Nazi party.

Moeller van den Bruck wrote that there were two previous Reichs:
- The First Reich was the Holy Roman Empire (962-1806)
- The Second Reich was the German Empire of 1871-1918

5. The SS ran a brothel named “The Kitty Salon”

The SS ran a brothel named “The Kitty Salon,” that was frequented by foreign diplomats. They gathered intelligence by wiretapping it and training the prostitutes on how to get information from clients.

6. Russia and Japan have never signed an official peace treaty with each other to end World War II

Both countries are still disputing over the rightful ownership of the Kuril Islands.

7. Almost 80% of the males born in the Soviet Union in 1923 did not survive World War II

8. Russia was also the country with the largest number of casualties, with an estimated 23 million

Through the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, the World War II began when Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1931 and followed by the Soviet Union on September 17, 1939.

In June 1941, under the code name “Operations Barbarossa”, Nazi Germany attacked Soviet Union. This sudden invasion caused the Soviets to unite with the Allies to combat the Nazis. Josef Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, met President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill to plan war against Germany. During the Soviet Union’s battles against the Nazis, numerous lives were taken. The Battle of Stalingrad which stopped the Germans was one of the bloodiest battles in history killed nearly 2 million people. In 1945, Berlin, the capital city of Germany was finally defeated but Stalin was never satisfied of Hitler’s suicide.

9. Niju hibakusha is the Japanese term for survivors of both atomic bombings

Hibakusha is the Japanese word for the surviving victims of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The word literally translates as “explosion-affected people” and is used to refer to people who were exposed to radiation from the bombings.

10. “Monopoly” board games helped thousands of Allied POWs escape German camps

Germany allowed the Red Cross to send care packages to POWs and among the items that could to be sent were board games. Special Monopoly boxes were created that contained items to help the prisoners escape:
- German, French, and Italian money currency was hidden within the Monopoly money.
- A metal file, hidden within the board.
- A small compass hidden in a play piece
- Silk maps of the prison and it’s location hidden inside the hotel pieces.

(via BuzzFeed)

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