World War II was considered the most violent event in human history, as it resulted in the death of many civilians and soldiers in the different countries that participated in it. According to many historians, about 50 million lives were lost during the said war, with more than 100 million left wounded, injured, and traumatized. While World War II has been covered and depicted in many documentaries, movies, TV shows, stage plays, novels, poems, and many other pieces of entertainment and literature, there are still some facts about the war that are still unknown to most of us. Here are some of the interesting facts about World War II.
The Nazi Party, led by Adolf Hitler, became the governing group for Germany from 1920 to 1945. Adolf Hitler wanted to bring Germany back to its former glory after its defeat during the First World War, and to do that, he must first get more land by invading neighboring countries in Europe. The first invasion happened in Poland on September 1, 1939, which resulted in both France and Britain declaring war against Germany and its allies, the Soviet Union and the Slovak Republic. The Invasion of Poland would be the catalyst for World War II.
The Perfect German
During the course of the war, Adolf Hitler influenced many of his subordinates to follow his ideals for “the perfect German.” Hitler believed that the German race is the best and the strongest in the world, and to make the race as pure as possible, Hitler ordered his troops to separate other races living in Germany, as well as the countries they have invaded, and place them in concentration camps. Most of the prisoners that were sent into these concentration camps were Jews. It is reported that more than six million Jews were killed during World War II.
Japan became one of Nazi Germany’s allies through the Tripartite Pact, an agreement that was initially signed by Japan, Germany, and Italy in Berlin on September 27, 1940. The agreement was signed by Adolf Hitler, Galeazzo Ciano (the Foreign Minister for Italy who is also the son-in-law of then-Prime Minister Benito Mussolini), and Saburo Kurusu (representative of Japan under Emperor Hirohito).
The pact would later grow bigger, as Hungary, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia would later agree to be allies as well. Yugoslavia would only be part of the pact for only two days before they executed a coup d’état on March 27, 1941. In response, Italy, Hungary, and Germany invaded Yugoslavia and became successful in capturing the country. Yugoslavia would later be renamed the Independent State of Croatia and would join the pact on June 15, 1941.
The United States and the Allied Powers
Some people don’t know this, but the United States of America didn’t actually participate during the early months of the war. It was only when Japan attacked the US naval base Pearl Harbor in a surprising fashion that the United States officially declared war against Japan and its allies, particularly Germany. While the United States did join late with the Allied Powers, the country’s governing people were debating if the US should join the war.
Saburo Kurusu, who was earlier mentioned in this article as one of the three that signed the Tripartite Pact, was also an envoy for Japan that tried to dissuade the United States from joining the war and make peace negotiations with his home country. While one of their meetings was being held, Hideki Tojo, the general of the Imperial Japanese Army, executed a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Because of the attack, negotiations between Kurusu and the US government were canceled. Until his death in 1954, Kurusu maintained that he did not know that Japan was going to attack the US while he was negotiating for peace.
Germany and Japan’s Surrender
Germany officially surrendered to the Allied Powers on May 7, 1945, and with the surrender, the Nazi Party was dissolved. Adolf Hitler did not see the day that Germany surrenders to the Allied forces, as he committed suicide on April 30, 1945. Before his death, Hitler designated Karl Dönitz to be his successor, although Dönitz already knew that he wouldn’t rule the country for long since he was only there to manage the dissolution of Nazi Germany.
Japan then followed suit, as Emperor Hirohito officially declared Japan’s defeat to the Allied Powers on August 15, but he only officially signed the surrender on September 2, 1945. Japan’s defeat came after the United States launched two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9) a few days before Emperor Hirohito declared his country’s surrender.
These interesting facts about World War II hopefully provided you with significant information about the war that should never be forgotten. We hope that a war that is of the same magnitude as World War II would never happen again, as the cost of war would be the deaths of more innocent lives in the world.