13 Fascinating But Lesser Known Facts About WWII

13 Fascinating But Lesser Known Facts About WWII

According to great historian John Keegan, World War II was "the largest single event in human history," a conflict that "fought across six of the seven continents of the world and all its oceans. It killed 50 million people, left hundreds of millions of others wounded in mind or body, and materially devastated much of the heartland of civilisation.

Here's a list of World War II facts you probably didn't know about:-

1. Nasos was the original abbreviation of the National Socialist Party. The word "Nazi" derives from a Bavarian word meaning "simple minded," and was first used by journalist Konrad Heiden (1901-1966) as a term of derision.

2. Approximately 600,000 Jews served in the armed forces of the United States during the Second World War. More than 35,000 people were killed, injured, captured or missing. Approximately 8,000 people died in combat. However, only two Jewish soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor in the Second World War.

3. During the Second World War, the Japanese launched 9,000 "wind ship weapons" of paper and rubberized silk balloons carrying incendiary and anti-personnel bombs to the U.S. More than 1,000 balloons hit their targets, reaching as far east as Michigan. The only deaths from a balloon bomb were six Americans (including five children and a pregnant woman) on a picnic in Oregon.

4. In 1935, British engineer Robert Watson-Watt worked on a "death ray" that would destroy enemy aircraft by using radio waves. Instead, his "death ray" evolved into radar or "radio detection and ranging."

5. The Enola Gay became well known for dropping Hiroshima's first atomic bomb but few people know the name of the B-29 that bombed Nagasaki. It was Bock 's Car, named for Frederick Bock, the usual commander of the plane.

6. The most powerful artillery weapon produced by any nation and used in the Second World War was named Karl by its designer, General Karl Becker. Used most of the time against the Russians, the huge gun could shoot a 2.5 ton shell over three miles. The shells were 24 inches wide and could pass through 8 to 9 feet of concrete.

7. At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, 96 ships were anchored. 18 were sunk or seriously damaged during the attack, including eight battleships. 2,402 American men were killed and 1,280 wounded. Three hundred and fifty aircraft had been destroyed or damaged.

8. Millions of Poles were killed by the Nazis. But they thought some Polish babies and kids looked German and kidnapped about 50,000 of them for German parents to adopt to become "Germanized."

9. Survivors of both nuclear bombings in Japan are called niju hibakusha, which literally means "explosion-affected people."

10. Between 50 and 70 million people were killed in the Second World War. More than 80% of this total came from four countries: Russia , China, Germany and Poland. More than half of these casualties were civilians, most of them women and children.

11. William Hitler, the nephew of Adolf Hitler, was in the United States  Navy during the Second World War. After the war, he changed his name.

12. During the Second World War, hamburgers in the U.S. were dubbed "Liberty Steaks" to avoid the German-sounding name.

13. Russia, with over 21 million, was the country with the largest number of causalities from the WWII.