Category: ww2

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.

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.

Michael I of Romania

King of Romania (1927-1930, 1940-1947).

Quite handsome, right ?

Evelyn Bross and Catherine Barscz, a couple, photographed after their arrest for cross-dressing and public indecency. Bross, who was 19 years old at the time, worked as a machinist at a WWII defense plant. But her men’s haircut and trousers clearly meant she was a danger to the public!

Racine Avenue Police Station, Chicago, USA, on June 5th, 1943.

Germany developed the V-2 rocket to bomb England during World War II. After the war ended, the US seized unused V-2s and transported them to New Mexico. On October 24, 1946, scientists there place a 35-millimeter motion picture camera on the nose of a V-2, and launched the rocket vertically into space. The camera automatically captured a new image every few seconds while the rocket climbed to an altitude of 65 miles. Conventionally, space begins at 62 miles (100 km) from sea level.

Once it ran out of fuel the V2 fell back to earth. When the wreckage was found, the camera itself had been destroyed, but the film, in a steel cassette, survived unharmed. Range scientists apparently “were jumping up and down like kids” according to enlisted soldier Fred Rulli, 19, who was on the wreckage recovery team. “The scientists just went nuts.”

On the 19th of August, 1944, German tanks roared down the Champs-Elysees and the first clashes began between the occupying German forces and French Resistance fighters. In the two months since D-Day, the combined British and American forces had slowly but steadily advanced. Everything had fallen before them, and now, it was time to take Paris. Hitler’s orders were clear: if the enemy attacked Paris, it “must not fall into the enemy’s hand except lying in complete debris.” In other words, the Germans were ordered to hold Paris or destroy it.

We all know Paris was not destroyed. At 3:30 pm on August 25th, the German governor Dietrich von Choltitz surrendered. von Choltitz later wrote that he thought Hitler was insane and so he deliberately disobeyed Hitler’s orders. It now appears more likely that he was persuaded by the municipal council chairman Pierre Taittinger, but whatever the reason, Paris was liberated with no further bloodshed or destruction.