Category: world war II

Warsaw’s minute is at 5pm every August 1st. That is when the Warsaw Uprising began in 1944, Poland’s biggest uprising against German occupation. It lasted 63 days before complete Nazi victory, ending with up to 200,000 civilians killed, and about 700,000 were expelled from Warsaw.

From 1914 to 2005. Or, from World War I through the Invasion of Iraq

The land ceded was relatively small. Still, it was a big change for the people living there! They woke up one day and were suddenly French citizens

Since 1219, Estonia was ruled at various times by Danish, Swedish, German, and Russian governments. It declared independence after World War I, but that only lasted until 1940 when it was occupied by the Soviet Union. Estonia has only been an independent nation since 1991.

That means that since 1219, Estonia has been independent for exactly 50 years out of 800!

Duct tape was initially used during World War II for a very specific military purpose: keeping ammunition boxes sealed. It quickly became clear that it was useful for many other things, as well. And its incredibly adhesive qualities as well as inherent waterproofing led to soldiers calling it “duck tape,” referring to a duck’s wicking feathers.

After the war, former American soldiers who went to work in construction spread the word about the amazing new tape. It ended up being used for all sorts of HVAC applications, but mostly for holding ductwork together, so “duck tape” became “duct tape.“

During Word War II, the Imperial Japanese Navy used Kaiten submarines, which were the torpedo equivalent to kamikaze pilots. Kaiten subarines were manned torpedoes that would engage in suicide attacks on enemy ships.

They were relatively ineffective and there are only three confirmed successful kaiten attacks in the Pacific theater.

Couple in Penn Station sharing farewell kiss before he ships off to war during WWII, 1943. Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt-LIFE.

Wartime Terminus, Paddington Station, London, 1942. Photographed by Bert Hardy.

Soldier consoling his weeping wife as he says goodbye at Pennsylvania Station before returning to duty after brief furlough during WWII, 1944. Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt-LIFE.

Did you know that Mao Zedong had a son? (Mao actually had 10 children, and 4 wives, but that’s another post.) The important son was Mao Anying. He had the vital qualities of being a man, surviving to adulthood, and not having mental health problems. Mao Anying was quietly being groomed, having been sent to the Soviet Union in 1936 for university. But then World War II broke out, and what does every good dictator’s heir need? Military experience!

Mao Anying joined the Soviet Red Army during World War II, serving as an artillery officer in Poland. As an added bonus, he got communist credentials, because China’s communist party was still friendly with the USSR at the time. When World War II ended he joined the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army, as a Russian translator and secretary, and was promptly sent to the new war in Korea. And in 1950 he was killed by an American napalm bomb.

With Mao Anying’s death, any chance of a Mao dynasty also died. China was forced to have a non-hereditary leadership, with the top job being given to who could politic the best.

Mao Anying’s chance death prevented China from becoming like North Korea, which does have a hereditary dynasty. Unfortunately for North Korea, the Kim family’s children were too young to fight in World War II or the Korean War, and all survived to inherit the dynasty.