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World War II – Part 2

There are 99 points that cover the most important events in World War II. This is well done historical material. This is the second installment, items 26-50:

26. In addition to Jews and gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses were also persecuted and murdered in German concentration camps.

27. The decision to implement the “Final Solution” or Die Endlosung was made at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin on January 20, 1942. Heinrich Himmler was its chief architect. The earliest use of the phrase “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem” was actually used in an 1899 memo to Russian Tzar Nicholas about Zionism.

28. WWII ended on September 2, 1945, when Japan signed a surrender agreement on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay .

29. Anne Frank and her sister died at Bergen-Belsen in March 1945, one month before the camp was liberated in April 1945. During its existence, nearly 50,000 people died. After evacuating the camp, British soldiers burned it to the ground to prevent the spread of typhus.

30. In his book The Abandonment of the Jews, David Wyman (1929- ) argued that the failure to bomb concentration camps was a result of the Allies’ indifference to the fate of the Jews rather than the practical impossibility of the operation.

31.Despite the risks, thousands of people helped save the Jews. For example, the country of Denmark saved its entire community. And individuals such as Raoul Wallenberg (1912-1947), Oscar Schindler (1908-1974), and Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986) saved thousands of lives.

32. From 1940-1945, the US defense budget increased from $1.9 billion to $59.8 billion.

33. At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, there were 96 ships anchored. During the attack, 18 were sunk or seriously damaged, including 8 battleships. There were 2,402 American men killed and 1,280 injured. 350 aircraft were destroyed or damaged.

34. The Air Force was part of the Army in WWII and didn’t become a separate branch of the military until after the war.

35. In 1941, a private earned $21 a month. In 1942, a private earned $50 a month.

36. German U-boats sunk 2,000 Allied ships at a cost of 781 U-boats destroyed.

37. More than 650,000 Jeeps were built during WWII. American factories also produced 300,000 military aircraft; 89,000 tanks; 3 million machine guns; and 7 million rifles.

38. The Germans used the first jet fighters in WWII, among them the Messerschmitt ME-262. However, they were developed too late to change the course of the war.

39. The most powerful artillery gun created by any nation and used in WWII was named Karl by its designer General Karl Becker. Used mostly against the Russians, the huge gun could shoot a 2.5 ton shell over 3 miles. The shells were 24 inches wide and could go through 8-9 feet of concrete.

40. During WWII, the acronym BAM stood for “Broad-Assed Marines,” or women in the US Marine Corp. The women, however, called the men HAMs, for “Hairy-Assed Marines”

41.The SS ran a brothel named “The Kitty Salon” for foreign diplomats and other VIPs in Berlin . It was wiretapped, and 20 prostitutes underwent several weeks of intense indoctrination and training. They were specifically trained to glean information from clients through seemingly innocuous conversations.

42. WWII resulted in the downfall of Europe as a center of world power and led to the rise of the US and Soviet Union as super powers. This set up conditions for both the US-USSR cold war and the nuclear age.

43. Most historians agree that WWII began when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Others say it started when Japan invaded Manchuria on September 18, 1931. And some scholars suggest WWII is actually a continuation of WWI, with only a break in between.

44. During WWII, hamburgers in the US were dubbed “Liberty Steaks” to avoid the German-sounding name.

45. The Nazis pirated the Harvard “fight song” to compose their Sieg Heil march.

46. Joseph Kramer (1906-1945), a commander of Bergen-Belsen , was known as the “Beast of Belsen” When asked if he ‘felt anything’ as he watched and participated in the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children, Kramer said he didn’t feel anything because he was following orders. He was later executed for crimes against humanity.

47. The ace of all fighter aces of all nations is German fighter pilot Erich Hartmann (the Blond Knight) with 352 kills

48. Members of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle allegedly called Rudolf Hess “Fraulein Anna” because he was reportedly a homosexual. He was also known as the “Brown Mouse.”

49. William Hitler, a nephew of Adolf Hitler, was in the US Navy during WWII. He changed his name after the war.

50. Italian Fascists took as their symbol the “fasces,” a bundle of bound rods that symbolized the power of ancient Rome.

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