World War II is one of the most devastating and yet fascinating wars to study. While many of us know about the general facts surrounding the war, there is still a ton of information that has been kept hidden. A lot of the rarest and weirdest facts have been omitted from your high school history lessons. Here we’ve managed to compile some of the most surprising and weird facts that will blow your mind!
20. Toilet Paper
Since supplies and food were in shortage, many men in the war had to ration their goods. However, there was a good contrast between what the British could afford and the Americans. While the British soldiers got a ration of three sheets of toilet paper a day, Americans were given 22. It seems that life during the war wasn’t always fair.
19. Third Bomb
When America dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was obvious that the war was over. Japan immediately surrendered after the bombs devastated their cities filled with civilians. However, if they hadn’t surrendered the U.S. had plans of dropping a third bomb on the Japanese capital of Tokyo.
Next, would you believe it if we told you that an American captain of industry kept a photo of Hitler on his desk?
18. Henry Ford
Henry Ford is revered as an American captain of industry and a business magnate that founded the Ford Motor Company. However, did you know that Ford actually kept a framed photo of Adolf Hitler on his work desk? Ford continued to do business with Nazi Germany throughout the war, including building war materials for the regime. Hitler in turn also admired Ford and kept a portrait of him on his desk as well. Take about a weird friendship.
Did you know that Hitler had a nephew that lived in the United States? Well, if not, then you’ll be shocked by the next fact!
17. Adolf Hitler’s Nephew
William Patrick “Willy” Stuart-Houston was the Irish-German nephew of Adolf Hitler. He was born to Adolf’s half-brother, Alois Hitler, Jr. and his original name was William Hitler. William eventually moved to the United States where he served as a US sailor in the United States Navy. Once the war was over, he changed his last name as he didn’t want to be associated with his uncle. Seems like that was a pretty good choice!
16. The Youngest Serviceman
In World War II, a young man at the age of 12 lied about his age to serve in the war. Calvin Graham lied about his age and was enlisted in the US Navy. The truth about his age was only discovered when he got wounded. He was discharged once the truth was revealed.
During World War II, there was a lot of anti-German sentiment in the United States. Due to such high anti-German sentiment, many people began to refer to hamburgers as Liberty Steaks. However, it seems that the name wasn’t as catchy since we still refer to them as hamburgers.
14. Air Corps Casualties
When you think of casualties that occurred throughout World War II, you would imagine that the Marines Corps would have the highest numbers. However, that actually isn’t the case at all. Although the Marines did fight boldly and brazenly for the U.S., the Army Air Corp had the most casualties of them all. There were many flight crews that flew off and sadly never returned home.
13. Allied Bomber Crews
Being an air pilot during World War II was actually one of the most dangerous positions. Over 100,000 Allied Bomber Crewmen were killed, and this included flight crews from Britain, Canada, and the United States. Many men lost their lives due to planes being shot down or due to technical difficulties that caused the planes to crash.
12. First Death
While many people might be under the impression that the first American casualty was at the hands of a German or Japanese, but it was actually the Russians that killed the first American soldier. Captain Robert Losey was serving at the United States Embassy in Helsinki when a Russian bomb raid killed him.
Next, do you know what the word NAZI is actually derived from? The answer may surprise you…
Many people know that the term Nazi now have a negative connotation thanks to the horrific ways that the Nazi’s treated people. However, did you know that the acronym NAZI comes from a Bavarian word? The word we’re referring to is Nasos and when translated it means simple mindedness. Seems to be quite fitting considering how narrow-minded the Nazi’s were.
10. Nazi March Song
The Nazi March Song was used during the Nazi marches. But, did you know that the tune was crafted from the Harvard fight song? Ernst Hanfstaengl was a Harvard Alumnus and was incredibly fond of Hitler. So, he decided to copy the Harvard song and now it has become synonymous with a horrible ideology.
Be prepared, because our next fact is extremely heartbreaking. During the first bomb dropped on Berlin, the only casualties that were the wonderful elephants at the Berlin Zoo. They were all killed after one of the bombs missed its target. Only one elephant ended up surviving the blast.
8. Car Production Ceased
During 1941, there were over 3 million cars manufactured in America. However, when the war finally broke out, car production pretty much ceased. In fact, during the war only 139 cars were produced until the end of the war.
7. Delivering Babies
Polish Catholic Stanisława Leszczyńska served as a midwife in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. While she was at the camp, she helped deliver over 3,000 babies. Unfortunately, only 30 babies ended up surviving the war due to the horrible conditions.
6. Soviet Union Males
If you were looking for a statistic that will make your jaw drop then we’ve got one right here for you. Only 20% of the males born in the Soviet Union in 1923 were alive after the war. That’s quite a staggering number when you realize how many casualties that accounts for.
Next, you won’t believe where a majority of the war casualties actually came from…
5. Total Casualties
World War II was a grueling fight that caused many to lose their lives. However, did you know that 80% of the casualties came from only 4 countries? Of the nearly 70 million total war casualties, 80 % of them came from Russia, China, Germany, and Poland.
4. Russian POW Camps
Out of everything that the Germans feared during the war, the Soviet army was their biggest fear. A German Nazi soldier knew that if he was captured by the Soviets that his chances of survival were slim to none. In fact, the death rate in Russian POW camps was 85%. It makes sense why so many soldiers didn’t want to serve on the eastern front.
3. Eastern Front
After hearing about the Russian POW camp statistics, it would make sense as to why so many Nazi soldiers didn’t want to serve in the east. In fact, 4/5 German soldiers who served on the Eastern Front never returned back home. Soldiers serving in the east could die from a variety of things including natural elements, Soviet soldiers in the field, or as prisoners of war camps.
Next, can you guess where Japan’s largest spy ring was?
2. Japanese Spy Ring
Believe it or not, but Japan’s largest spy ring during World War II wasn’t in the United States. Japan actually held their spy ring in Mexico. The reason for this is because many Japanese Foreign Intelligence officers were posted in South America as diplomats.
1. U-Boat Sailors
U-Boats were highly utilized military submarines used by the Germans. Being a sailor on one of these submarines, however, was basically asking for death. Only 25% of U-Boat sailors ever survived which is only slightly better than being on the eastern front.