World War II was one of the most haunting wars ever fought. Over 60 million people died in the war which is estimated to be 3% of the world population in 1940, and more than 70 countries of the world were involved in the war either directly or indirectly.
What started as one man’s obsession to prove superiority ended up as a calamity not only for himself but also for the rest of the world.
While we must have all grown up reading about the Great War and Adolf Hitler in our school textbooks, here are 15 facts about that probably did not find space in those textbooks.
1. There was a ‘battle of birds’ going on in WWII.
During WWII, Nazi Germany trained homing pigeons to convey information and spy on allies which had become a headache for them. Thus the allies, as a counter measure, trained peregrine falcons to feed on the pigeons and capture them. At least two pigeons thus became prisoners of war.
2. Hitler wanted to build a museum of Jews after killing them all.
The Jewish town of Prague was left entirely untouched during the WWII just because Hitler had the intention of setting up an exotic museum of an extinct race there. (No prizes for guessing the name of the race.) He was confident that Jews would be wiped out from Europe in case of another war.
3. Only seven American civilians died in WWII on American soil.
Though USA was directly involved in the Second World War, only seven mainland Americans were ever recorded to be killed during the war. They were from a single family and killed by a drifted balloon bomb from Japan.
4. The British created the myth of carrot improving vision to keep secret a new technology.
The British had developed a new radar technology with the help of which they were able to pinpoint Nazi planes in the dark and shoot them down. To keep this a secret, the British intelligence invented a propaganda that eating carrots were improving the eyesight of British soldiers and thus a myth was born.
5. Hitler ran a state sponsored program to breed master race of Aryans.
The Nazis aspired to take over the world and ran a state sponsored program to breed master race to inherit the world. Under the Lebensborn program, unmarried girls were encouraged to give birth to racially superior children by having sex with racially pure Aryans and bear blonde, blue-eyed children. About 20,000 children were born under the program. The surviving children today have no clue who their parents were.
6. The last WWII soldier to surrender did so almost 30 years after the war ended.
Hiroo Onoda, a WWII Japanese intelligence officer, remained in hiding in the jungles of Philippines for about 30 years after the end of the war, unaware that Japan had surrendered and war had ended. Onoda killed everyone who tried to pursue him out of the jungle thinking it was a US propaganda. He was finally convinced to emerge out of the jungle by a former Imperial Japanese soldier in 1972.
7. Hitler had a nephew who served in the US Navy during the WWII.
Hitler had a nephew, William Hitler, who actually fought on behalf of the allies against Hitler in the WWII. William Hitler was in the US Navy. His father Alois Hitler was the half brother of the Fuhrer. In a 1939 article titled ‘Why I hate my uncle’ William gave a curious insight about the life of Hitler and exposed that it was a general knowledge that Hitler and his own niece were having an intimate relationship, and she was expecting a child before her suicide.