73 Brutal Facts From World War 2 That’ll Leave You Shocked

1Booby traps

Booby traps

During World War 2, Nazis rigged skewed-hanging-pictures with explosives in buildings that would be prime candidates for Allies to set up a command post from. When Ally officers would set up a command post, they tended to straighten the pictures, triggering these “anti-officer crooked picture bombs.”

2. Kyoto was originally at the top of the atomic bomb target list during WW2 but was personally removed by U.S. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson. He had previously been to Kyoto on his honeymoon.

3. After World War 2, cuttings from Washington DC’s cherry trees (which were originally a gift from Japan) were sent back to Japan to restore the cherry trees in Tokyo which decimated by the US bombings during the war.

4. During World War 2, allied forces sunk three ships carrying concentration camp survivors by accident, killing around 10,000 survivors.

5. Around 20% of Poland’s population died in World War 2, the highest percentage of any nation.

6Thierville town

Thierville town

The township of Thierville, France suffered no losses in country’s last five wars: WW1, the Franco-Prussian War, WW2, the First Indochina War, and the Algerian War. All the soldiers who took part in these wars returned home.

7. Stanisława Leszczyńska was a polish midwife who was incarcerated at Auschwitz during World War 2. Leszczyńska was advised to euthanize the newborns she delivered. She did not comply, did not kill a single child, and delivered over 3,000 children.

8. Germans accidentally bombed themselves during the onset of World War 2 and then used propaganda to blame the French and British while threatening five-fold retaliation.

9. In 1943, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles merged into one team known as the “Steagles” because of depleted rosters during World War 2.

10. By the end of World War 2, 1.6 million Canadians (total population 11 million) had served in the military. Canada also had the fourth-largest air force and fifth-largest naval surface fleet in the world.

11Soviet PoW

Soviet PoW

Nazis exterminated approximately 3,500,000 Soviet Prisoners of War during World War 2, classifying them as ‘sub-humans.’

12. On 11 November 1918 after the World War 1, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, French marshal Ferdinand Foch said “This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.” Twenty years and 65 days later, World War 2 broke out.

13. In 2013, The Wall Street Journal discovered a cache of files that revealed that the U.S. government lobotomized over 2000 veterans against their will after WW2. The veterans were lobotomized for reasons such as PTSD, depression, schizophrenia, and occasionally homosexuality.

14. Singer Tony Bennet is a World War 2 Veteran who narrowly escaped death several times and took part in the liberation of a concentration camp. He eventually was demoted for dining with a black friend.

15. The Grand Mosque in Paris, under cleric Si Kaddour Benghabrit, saved hundreds of Jews during World War 2 by granting them fake papers and allowing them to hide in the catacombs beneath the mosque.

16German headquarters

German headquarters

When the Russians soldiers retreated on German assault, they usually destroyed most buildings suitable for command posts. However, they would often leave some large buildings intact, but only after lining them with time bombs set to explode weeks later, to destroy entire German headquarters at once.

17. During World War 2, two polish doctors saved the lives of 8,000 Jews in the town of Rozwadow by faking a typhus epidemic that stopped the Nazis from entering their town.

18. Several indigenous islanders of the Melanesia (islands in Pacific) believed that the cargo dropped for the American soldiers during World War 2 were gifts from the gods. After the American soldiers left at the end of World War 2, these islanders built ceremonial airstrips and ports for God to send them cargo, and practiced military marches in religious ceremonies. They are known as cargo cults.

19. In World War 2, Finnish sniper Simo Häyhä, (nicknamed “White Death”) killed over 542 Soviet Soldiers in 100 days, all the while using only his rifle's iron sights and no scope. When asked what he felt when killing an enemy soldier, he responded, “The recoil.”

20. After the fall of Berlin in World War 2, millions of German women were raped by Soviet soldiers. Over 100,000 births in the city were believed to be the result of rape.

21Werner Goldberg

Werner Goldberg

A German soldier during WW2 called Werner Goldberg became the German poster boy for recruitment, being branded “The Ideal German Soldier” because of his physical appearance. Ironically, he was half Jewish.

22. During World War 2, US Army designated 603rd unit as Camouflage Engineers. Most of them were artists, architects, actors, set designers, and engineers. Their objective was not only to teach camouflage but to deceive the enemy. They became known as the Ghost Army.

23. British prisoners of war during World War 2 were a huge source of morale drain on the German people. Often they would get their captors arrested by filing fallacious complaints about their treatment in the camps.

24. After the end of World War 2, Allies sold captured Enigma machines, still widely considered secure, to developing countries. These countries did not know that the Enigma code had been broken. Their supposedly secure communications were then being read regularly by the major Western intelligence agencies.

25. Joseph Medicine Crow became the last Plains Indian war chief ever after completing all four required tasks while fighting in Europe during World War II. These included touching an enemy soldier, stealing his weapon, leading a successful war party, and stealing an enemy’s horse.