24 Shocking Facts About World War Two That Put Everything In Perspective

1. World War II cost more money, damaged more property, and killed more people than any other war ever.

 

2. For every five German soldiers who died in WWII, four of them died on the Eastern Front.

 

3. 80% of Russian men born in 1923 didn’t survive the war

4. Max Heiliger was the fictitious name used by the SS to establish a bank account for the money, gold, and jewels taken from European Jews.

 

5. The original abbreviation of the National Socialist Party was Nasos. “Nazi” derives from a Bavarian word that means “simple minded” and was first used as a term of derision by journalist Konrad Heiden.

 

6. In 1935, British engineer Robert Watson-Watt was trying to create a ‘death ray’ that would destroy enemy aircraft using radio waves. Instead of being a ‘death ray’ it evolved into radar.

7. 40,000 men served on U-boats during WWII, and only 10,000 returned alive.

 

8. More Russians (military and civilians combined) lost their lives during the Siege of Leningrad than did American and British soldiers combined in all of WWII.

 

9. During WWII the American defense budget skyrocketed – from $1.9 billion to $59.8 billion.

10. In 1941, a private earned $21 a month, but they got a pay rise in 1942, jumping to $50 a month.

 

11. American factories produced 650,000 Jeeps; 300,000 military aircraft; 89,000 tanks; 3 million machine guns; and 7 million rifles during WWII.

 

12. The hamburger was renamed “liberty steak” during WWII in order to sound less German.

13. The Nazis ripped off the Harvard “fight song” to compose their Sieg Heil march.

 

14. William Hitler, a nephew of Adolf Hitler, was in the U.S. Navy during WWII. Understandably, he changed his name after the war.

 

15. The Nazis killed millions of Poles, but also kidnapped about 50,000 “German-looking” Polish children to be adopted by German parents.

16. The greatest tank battle in history occurred between the Germans and Russians at the Kursk salient in Russia in 1943. More than 3,600 tanks were involved.

 

17. The largest Japanese spy ring during WWII was in Mexico, spying on the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

 

18. The majority of German war criminals gained freedom by passing themselves off as refugees at displaced persons camps when the war ended.

19. Before Hitler decided to eliminate the Jews by gassing them, he had considered sending them all to the island of Madagascar.

 

20. If it became necessary to drop another bomb on Japan, the target would have been Tokyo.

 

21. Calvin Graham was only 12 years old when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He won a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart before the Navy found out his age.

22. There’s debate about the actual start of WWII – most historians say it start when German invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939.

 

But some say it started when Japan invaded Manchuria on September 18th, 1931.

 

Others say WWII was just a continuation of WWI, after a long break.