World War II was a global war that persisted from 1939 to 1945. It included the huge majority of the world’s countries, including all of the great powers and ultimately forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis.
It was the most widespread war in history and directly affected more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. Identified by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust where approximately 11 million people were killed and the strategic bombing of industrial and population hubs where approximately one million were killed, which included the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It produced an estimated 50 million to 85 million fatalities. These grim facts made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history.
But there are still other unknown facts about the world war II that will shock you and open your eyes. Read on to find out the truth.
12. Schwerer Gustav
The Schwerer Gustav or Heavy Gustaf in English was the name of a German 80 cm (31.5 in.) railway gun. It was developed in the late 1930s by Krupp as siege artillery for the explicit purpose of destroying the main forts of the French Maginot Line, the strongest fortifications then in existence. The fully assembled gun weighed nearly 1,350 tons and could fire shells weighing seven tons to a range of 47 kilometers (29 mi).
It was the largest-calibre rifled weapon ever used in combat, the heaviest mobile artillery piece ever built in terms of overall weight, and fired the heaviest shells of any artillery piece.
11. Man of the Year, 1938
In 1938, Hitler was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year because he had not only re-armed Germany but had stolen Austria. The whole world was watching and waiting for what Hitler would do next and what the world would do in response.
Time has a thing for dictators. Hitler was named Man of the Year in 1938, on the eve of World War II. Hitler was the dictator of Nazi Germany when he won. In November 1938, Nazi’s destroyed Jewish-owned buildings on Kristallnacht and sent at least 30,000 Jewish Germans to concentration camps, foreshadowing the horrors of the Holocaust to come.
10. Women in Factories
With men off on the battlefield, women left their domestic jobs to take the factory jobs left by the men. They did so not only out of a patriotic duty but also for the fact that factory work paid 40% more than the domestic jobs most women could get at the time.
Women then were badly needed to fill many traditionally male jobs and roles during the war and several advertisements were used to encourage women to take on these jobs and roles. Aside from factory jobs, women commonly joined the nurse corps and the armed forces so that more men could be sent into combat.
9. Hermann Wilhelm Göring Hoard
Hermann Wilhelm Göring was a German politician, military leader, and leading member of the Nazi Party. After helping Adolf Hitler take power in 1933, he became the second-most powerful man in Germany and he founded the Gestapo the same year.
During the war, Hermann Göring looted, seized and took a large amount of art and treasures from Europe. Some 15,000 treasures were found in his collection which was valued at $200 million.
When informed about Hitler’s intended to commit suicide, Göring sent a telegram to Hitler requesting permission to assume control of the Reich. Considering it an act of treason, Hitler removed Göring from all his positions, expelled him from the party, and ordered his arrest.
After World War II, Göring was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials. He was sentenced to death by hanging but committed suicide by drinking cyanide the night before his sentence.