The Big Mistakes of World War II (2023)

One of the most important things Churchill said during the war was when, in 1941, he sent a memorandum to Charles Portal, Chief of Air Staff, who had asked for 4,000 heavy bombers so that the RAF could win the war alone. Churchill replied, close enough: "I am sorry to have unreserved faith in any means of winning war... All things are always in motion at the same time." I first read this quote while working on my book Bomber Command in 1978 and thought at the time that it was a very, very important statement about what wars are all about.

One of the most common mistakes some readers and many Hollywood producers and World War II historians make is looking for unique reasons why things happened the way they did. All sorts of things played a role, and if we are to understand war we need to look at the whole spectrum, whether it be the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, the Red Army on the Eastern Front or the incredible contribution of American industry. .

Although Harry Hinsley was an excellent historian, I'm sure he exaggerated when he said that the Bletchley Park codebreakers shortened the war by as much as four years. You just can't say something like that. You can argue that they made a wonderful contribution, but you can't oversimplify things. Likewise, we can say with certainty that it is much more difficult to imagine what the war would have been like if the Japanese had not attacked the Americans at Pearl Harbor, but again, this cannot be overestimated. It cannot be said that Great Britain would have lost the war if not for Pearl Harbor.

We all like quick fixes to things. We would like to think that, for example, the Allied landings in Sicily would not have worked if Operation Mincemeat had not dumped a body on the coast of Spain to fool the Germans. Ground beef helped a little, but probably only contributed 3 to 4 percent to successful landing. But of course Hollywood and the tabloids would have loved that stunt, that big romantic story that would have changed the course of things.

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In the end, it's important to understand that almost all major events have multiple causes and multiple consequences, so it's very childish to look for single causes to explain why things happened the way they did.

Sir Max Hastings is the author ofAll Hell Unleashed: The World at War 1939-1945(Harper Press, 2011)


Germany had a highly mechanized military force.

Tempo, role James Holland

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There is a general belief that Germany was a heavily mechanized force in the war, but this was simply not the case. It was one of the countries with the least automotive development: in 1939, Germany had 48 people per motor vehicle, compared to four people in the United States.

Yes, they had highways, but for a highly mechanized army you need an advanced automobile industry: factories, skilled labor and enough people who know how to drive. Without them, the mechanization the Germans envisioned and needed was little more than a fantasy. In fact, the last newly commissioned German troop transport came in 1941 and was a horse-drawn carriage with pneumatic tires. I drop my case.

The Germans were a little proud of having captured large numbers of enemy vehicles and invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, using everything from Citroen vans to Morris commercials. All was well until they started to break down and the troops found they didn't have the spare parts or knowledge to fix them. More than half of the vehicles lost by the Germans in the war were due to mechanical failures.

So where does this misconception come from? First, the incredible Blitzkrieg of 1940, conducted with a dazzling combination of air and ground forces. Of the 135 divisions used, only 16 were mechanized; the rest depended on feet and horses. As brilliant as the Blitzkrieg was, the notable French failures exaggerated German genius.

The second factor is the Nazi propaganda that misled most of the world at the start of the war. The Nazis invested heavily in radio and film, making sure all footage showed columns of tanks, trucks and Stuka bombing. Even Hitler began to believe in his own German military genius.

Not only were the Germans poorly equipped, but the equipment they had was often hopelessly over-engineered. German inefficiency rather than efficiency characterized much of the way Germany waged war, from the gas-guzzling three-speed Tiger tank to the simple gas mask cartridge.

James Holland is the author ofDam Breakers: The Race to Break the Dams, 1943(Corgi, 2013)


D-Day was destined to succeed

Times, roll Antony Beevor

Hindsight is a bane of history and this is an excellent example of that. It is assumed that, due to overwhelming Allied air and material superiority in June 1944, the invasion across the English Channel was doomed to success. But this is totally wrong. You need to put yourself in the shoes of the people back then and understand why they were worried. Eisenhower prepared a statement in advance, which he put in his wallet, in which he took full responsibility for the failure of D-Day, and only after the critical moment did he hand it over to his naval assistant. D-Day was well thought out and prepared for, but it remains one of the most ambitious operations in history. It was a massive invasion across a large body of water, and they had no idea how far the subs had made it into the channel.
The Germans did not count on a change in the climate at the time. This meant that no Kriegsmarine patrols had been sent to the channel. It also meant that Rommel had gone home to visit his wife and that several generals were in Rennes on a mapping exercise. The weather forecast wasn't right, however, and Eisenhower made the bold decision to forge ahead. Had he waited a few weeks, however, the landing craft would have arrived in the midst of one of the worst storms the English Channel has seen in over 40 years. You can imagine what the effect would have been.
the alliesto beThey have enormous air superiority, but that doesn't mean the Germans can't defend themselves. In fact, the Luftwaffe played very little part in D-Day, as the bombing failed to suppress coastal batteries and coastal defenses. For this reason, especially on Omaha Beach, the German defenses were left more or less intact. One thing that helped the Allies tremendously was the deception of Operation Fortress, which had the German 15th Army pinned down in the Pas de Calais at this critical time. If these armored divisions had advanced more quickly into Normandy, the Allies might have been repulsed.
All of this further emphasizes that those who argue that D-Day could have been released in 1943 are dead wrong. It was not until the end of that year that the submarine threat was more or less contained and, more importantly, the Luftwaffe had still not been mortally wounded. From that perspective, a 1943 invasion didn't stand a chance.

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Antony Beevor is the author ofThe Second World War(Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2012)


The Axis could have won the war

Times, says Joe Maiolo

I cannot construct a scenario in which the Axis could have won the Second World War. In fact, the "Axis" itself is a misnomer because it contained a failed Italian fascist state that had become auxiliary to the German and Japanese fighting their own war and uninterested in coordinating a grand strategy. So we're really talking about Germany, and Germany just didn't have the industrial depth to fight a protracted war against the coalition that was likely to go against it.
Those who think that Germany could have been successful often argue about how it invented blitzkrieg, had better tanks and planes, and had better ideas about warfare. Even if all of that were true, these are short-term operational benefits, not strategic benefits. True, Germany won an easy victory over France, but this did not change the overall picture.
There is a myth that Germany was on the verge of defeating the Soviet Union, but any attempt to tighten the war in the East is implausible. In major weapons systems such as tanks, artillery, and general munitions, the Soviets outnumbered Germany during the war, despite huge losses in the early stages. German generals knew that if the Soviet Union could not be defeated quickly, it could not be defeated at all, and even in the third week of August 1941, General Halder wrote: "Oh, oh, they are yet to come. " .”
War is not just about battles. Both world wars were decided by the balance between industrial resources and manpower; therefore, victory went to the Entente powers in 1918 and to the Allies in 1945. Debates about World War II should focus not on how the Allies managed to win, but on how they managed to win so quickly.

Joe Maiolo is the author ofCry Havoc: The Arms Race and World War II, 1931-1941(John Murray, 2010)


they were all together

Tempo, role Juliet Gardiner

When we look to the home front during World War II, we often do so with the realization that shared experiences and the need to present a united front against Hitler trumped class differences and that the war was indeed a tremendous one. egalitarianism. .
While I am not suggesting that Britain was bitterly divided during the Second World War, tensions persisted and class antagonisms did not disappear as propaganda would have us believe. wealth remained uneven; there was the legacy of high unemployment in the prewar years; and industrial relations in certain key industries were dire.
One of the most popular stories is that Londoners, rich and poor, flocked to London Underground stations, forgetting class distinctions under the threat of air raids. Is not true. Only around 70,000 people sought refuge on the London Underground network during the blitz, and these were generally working-class people who did not have the same protections as the wealthy.
Docks were attacked, as were factories, often surrounded by workers' living quarters, which suffered devastating 'collateral damage' from air strikes. The East End of London was under constant attack, as were Merseyside, Glasgow, Hull, Belfast, Bristol, Plymouth and elsewhere. Of course, wealthy areas were bombed too, but if you had the money and resources, you were more likely to get your children to safety and stay with friends or family back home or abroad. Rationing, supposedly the great equalizer, ensured everyone a fair basic supply, but here, too, the richest managed to avoid it. Those who had the means could buy expensive, non-rationed groceries or eat in fancy restaurants. Some workers could not buy all the rations they were entitled to under the program.
Crime also increased during the war and it is fair to say that although the volunteer guards of the ARP and other civil defense services showed incredible courage, not all of them united in an air attack: bombed houses were often looted. while cheating, cheating and falsifying ration books were rampant.
I am not suggesting that there was a revolutionary spirit among the working classes of Britain. It was more of an irritating spirit, a feeling that not everyone always did the same thing. Labor strikes in the engineering and coal mining industries were particularly common, and many retained the feeling that Britain was an unequal society.
However, the British government was aware that the war could be lost both on the home front and on the battlefield, and that morale would be a crucial component of victory. The narrative had to be that everyone was united in their struggles, sacrifices and sufferings: that Britain was a nation united in its efforts to defeat Germany, which it obviously was.

Juliet Gardiner is the author ofWar period: Great Britain 1939-1945(headline, 2004) andThe Blitz: The British Are Under Attack(Harper Press, 2010)

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The word "Russia" can be used as an abbreviation for "Soviet Union".

Wrong, says Roger Moorhouse

One of the most common and misleading misconceptions I encounter when reading about World War II is the constant use of the word "Russia" to describe the Soviet Union. The two were never the same. Originally made up of four separate republics, the Soviet Union was formed in 1922, with Russia making up the majority, but dissolving into 15 post-Soviet states in 1991.
Misunderstanding is more than just pedantry. Referring to the Soviet Union as Russia is misleading and effectively eliminates the two Soviet republics that fought the hardest on the Eastern Front in World War II: Ukraine and Belarus. About 25 percent of Belarus's population died in World War II, yet many historians still speak of Russia in this conflict as if Ukraine and Belarus did not exist.
The error is also not modern. Even Churchill was wrong. In his famous October 1, 1939 speech, he declared: "I cannot predict what Russia will do to you. It is an enigma wrapped in a mystery within an enigma." However, Churchill was growing up in the era of Imperial Russia, so he would have become accustomed to calling that entity Russia. Today's historians have no such excuse.

Roger Moorhouse is a British historian and author ofberlin at war(Bodley Head, 2010)


The British economy during the war was extremely efficient.

Wrong, says Norman Stone

One of the most interesting things about Britain during the Second World War is the idea that the wartime economy was extremely efficient and should therefore serve as a model for what followed after the war ended. There was a general air of "friendship" of unions and governments working together, although in some ways the country was less efficient than it had been in the First World War.
The reality was that there were far, far more labor problems during World War II than people usually realize. For example, there were more workers' strikes in 1942 than in 1917. Part of this problem occurred in the mines, which I think can be seen as a reaction to the recruitment of young people to work there. Judging by their pre-war experiences, at this point in history British miners had become quite bloodthirsty. Ernest Bevin, who turned out to be a trade unionist (and a very good one at that), had a sense of what was going on. , and knew how to deal with the "savages" of the unions. As a result, the unions were tasked with a whole new set of things in hopes of persuading them to become more involved in the war effort.
To some extent this was the case, as evidenced by the huge flow of labor into the aircraft factories, particularly the large number of women who worked there. In general, working-class wages and living standards rose, but taxes also caused the rest of the country to fall to a similar level, as AJP Taylor put it, "skilled craftsman."
After the war there was a kind of quiet triumphalism: almost a sense that we had beaten the Germans as a national sport and that the 'Man in Whitehall' had done so by introducing rationing. This, in turn, led to the consideration that a similar type of government control with compulsory planning would be an opportunity for the future.

Norman Stone is the author ofWorld War II: A Brief History(Allen Lane, 2013)


Churchill never went for appeasement

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Wrong, says Laurence Rees

Winston Churchill is known for opposing the appeasement of dictators, saying, "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile in the hope that it will be the last to eat him." of the Nazi regime, I would argue that he consciously appeased another dictator: Joseph Stalin.
The German-Soviet Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, which stipulated a 10-year non-aggression period between the two countries, also provided for an agreement between Stalin and Hitler that meant that the former could essentially take over half of Poland. The Soviet Red Army invaded Poland from the east on September 17, 1939, just over two weeks after the Nazis, and the two nations formed an alliance in all but name.
But it was only after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, when Stalin became Britain's ally against Nazi Germany, that Churchill's staunch anti-pacification beliefs were challenged and, indeed, reversed. In December 1941, at a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary in Moscow, Stalin made it clear that he had no intention of relinquishing his claim to eastern Poland after the war was over. Horrified to hear this, Churchill wrote in a confidential memorandum that Stalin had only acquired this territory "by acts of aggression in disgraceful collusion with Hitler" and that the British government must adhere to "the principles of liberty and democracy". . .
But less than two years later, at the Tehran Conference in late 1943, Churchill reversed his policy and resolved to placate Stalin. He agreed that the Soviet dictator could keep eastern Poland and suggested moving the borders from Poland to Germany to compensate the Poles. Poland, said Churchill, would move westwards, as "soldiers two paces closer".
Churchill proposed one of the biggest demographic changes in European history without the people involved, the Poles, even being present at the meeting. And all to appease Stalin, one of the worst criminals of the century. Churchill clearly felt compelled by political necessity to placate Stalin. About 27 million Soviet citizens would die during the conflict and Stalin was about to occupy Poland with his Red Army. All of this is true. But it is also true that the notion that Churchill "never" appeased dictators is one of the great war myths.
And if you look at the map of Europe today, Poland's borders are essentially those that Churchill agreed with Stalin to allow the Soviet dictator to keep the country he first conquered "by acts of aggression in nefarious collusion with Hitler". ".

Laurence Rees is an acclaimed historian and filmmaker. His latest BBC TV series and book areAdolf Hitler's Dark Charisma(Ebury Press, 2012)


Britain was alone in 1940

Wrong, says Andrew Roberts

The idea that Britain was alone in World War II in 1940 is wrong. It is essential to highlight the contributions and losses suffered by other countries that were part of the British Empire. While the terms "Great Britain" and "British Empire" have been used interchangeably to mean the same thing, in hindsight they obviously have very different connotations.
As David Dilks reports in his excellent bookChurchill and Company: Allies and Rivals in War and Peace(IB Taurus, 2012) the total population of the dominions of the British Empire at the time of the conflict was just over 30 million people: 7 million in Australia, for example, 11.5 million in Canada and 1.5 million in New Zealand . However, the contribution of each of these nations was enormous: Canada's armed forces numbered around 10,000 men in 1939, while by 1945 over 1 million men had served. India's contribution, as Dilks points out, was more or less in line with that of the rest of the overseas empire and the Commonwealth together.

To perceive

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Given that King George VI's Indian army remains the largest volunteer force in human history, we clearly have to abandon the concept of Britain in 1940.
Andrew Roberts is the author ofThe Storm of War: A New History of World War II(Penguin, 2010)


What was the biggest mistake in ww2? ›

Operation Barbarossa: why Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union was his greatest mistake. Launched on 22 June 1941 and named after the 12th-century Holy Roman emperor Frederick Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union represented a decisive breaking of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact.

What mistakes were made during ww2? ›

​The 8 Worst Mistakes Made by the Allies During World War II
  • Above photo: Alfred Palmer/OWI/LOC. ...
  • The Failure to Attack Germany After It Invaded Poland. ...
  • The Failure to Anticipate a German Blitz Through the Ardennes. ...
  • America's Failure to Immediately Adopt the Convoy System. ...
  • Underestimating the Japanese.
Nov 27, 2013

Which event is considered Hitler's biggest mistake in World War 2? ›

On June 22, 1941, Hitler took his greatest gamble, unleashing Operation Barbarossa, a three million-man invasion of the Soviet Union. The invasion was spectacularly effective in its early stages. By September, the Red Army had sustained some 2.5 million casualties. But it turned out to be a fatal mistake.

What were the worst events of World War 2? ›

The Holocaust, the German attack on the Soviet Union and the German occupation of much of Europe, the Japanese invasion and occupation of Manchuria, the Japanese invasion of China and the Japanese occupation of the Philippines all contributed to well over half of all of the civilian deaths in World War II as well as ...

What is to blame for WWII? ›

Virtually all historians of the Second World War agree that Hitler's rise to power was the proximate cause of the cataclysmic war that gripped the globe between 1939 and 1945.

Did Japanese soldiers apologize for ww2? ›

July 6, 1992. Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Kato said: "The Government again would like to express its sincere apology and remorse to all those who have suffered indescribable hardship as so-called 'wartime comfort women,' irrespective of their nationality or place of birth.

What was a negative effect of ww2? ›

Combat and bombing had flattened cities and towns, destroyed bridges and railroads, and scorched the countryside. The war had also taken a staggering toll in both military and civilian lives. Shortages of food, fuel, and all kinds of consumer products persisted and in many cases worsened after peace was declared.

What was the biggest loss of life in ww2? ›

The Soviet Union and China are believed to have suffered the most total casualties, while an estimated 5,800,000 Poles died, which represents about 20 percent of Poland's prewar population. About 4,200,000 Germans died, and about 1,972,000 Japanese died.

What did the US do wrong in ww2? ›

Throughout the United States' campaign in the Pacific theater, American soldiers indeed mutilated Japanese corpses and took trophies — not just skulls, but also teeth, ears, noses, even arms — so often that the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet himself had to issue an official directive against it in September ...

How many German soldiers froze to death in Russia? ›

In the winter of 1942/43, Hitler sacrificed twenty-two divisions through his command to hold out at Stalingrad. More than 100,000 German soldiers fell, froze, or starved to death even before the surrender of the Sixth Army. Over 90,000 men ended up in Soviet prisoner-of-war camps—only around 6,000 of them survived.

Has Russia ever lost a war? ›

Russia has been defeated in war on several occasions in the modern era.

Who were the losers in ww2? ›

Britain and France lost most of their empires due to World War II. Germany, Italy, and Japan were conquered and occupied. The Soviet Union lost its most productive citizens—more than twenty million died in the war.

What was the scariest Battle in ww2? ›

The Battle of Stalingrad caused about two million casualties from Soviet and Axis forces and stands as one of the century's worst military disaster. It was one of the bloodiest battles in history and is considered as one of the major battles in the World War II.

Which country was hit the hardest by ww2? ›

With 3 million military deaths, the most affected country in our data was Germany.

What country was the most brutal in ww2? ›

Who suffered the most damage in ww2? The Soviet Union lost around 27 million people during the war, including 8.7 million military and 19 million civilians. This represents the most military deaths of any nation by a large margin.

What was Hitler's reason for causing Ww2? ›

Obsessed with the idea of the superiority of the “pure” German race, which he called “Aryan,” Hitler believed that war was the only way to gain the necessary “Lebensraum,” or living space, for the German race to expand.

Was Ww2 just or unjust? ›

Although it took the lives of more than 50 million people, World War II is viewed as a moral war. Although it killed more civilians than combatants, World War II is viewed as a noble war. Although it wounded hundreds of millions, World War II is viewed as a just war.

Why did Japan bomb Pearl Harbor? ›

Japan intended the attack as a preventive action. Its aim was to prevent the United States Pacific Fleet from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and those of the United States.

Has the US ever apologized for Hiroshima? ›

While there won't be an apology for the devastation the bombs caused in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in recent decades the U.S. has taken steps to apologize for some significant actions it took part in over the centuries.

How badly did the Japanese treat prisoners of war? ›

The POWs suffered frequent beatings and mistreatment from their Japanese guards, food was the barest minimum, and disease and injuries went untreated. Although the POWs finally received Red Cross packages in January 1944, the Japanese had removed all the drugs and medical supplies.

What did Japan fear in ww2? ›

Japan's fear of being colonized and the government's expansionist policies led to its own imperialism in Asia and the Pacific to join the great powers, all of which were Western nations. The Japanese government saw the need to be a colonial power to be modern and therefore Western.

What are 3 Consequences of WW2? ›

At the end of the war, millions of people were dead and millions more homeless, the European economy had collapsed, and much of the European industrial infrastructure had been destroyed.

What are three consequences of WWII? ›

Consequences of Second World War

End of colonialism and imperialism. End of dictatorship in Germany and Italy. Germany was divided into West Germany and East Germany. West Germany was controlled by Britain, France and USA.

How did WW2 affect people's lives? ›

Over a million were evacuated from towns and cities and had to adjust to separation from family and friends. Many of those who stayed, endured bombing raids and were injured or made homeless. All had to deal with the threat of gas attack, air raid precautions (ARP), rationing, changes at school and in their daily life.

Who lost the most soldiers in WWII? ›

The Soviet Union lost around 27 million people during the war, including 8.7 million military and 19 million civilians. This represents the most military deaths of any nation by a large margin.

What soldier saved the most lives in WW2? ›

Desmond Doss is credited with saving 75 soldiers during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II in the Pacific — and he did it without ever carrying a weapon.

What was the deadliest operation in history? ›

The Most Deadly Battle In History: Stalingrad

Running from August 23, 1942 to February 2, 1943, Stalingrad led to 633,000 battle deaths.

Did the US commit any war crimes in ww2? ›

Secret wartime files made public only in 2006 reveal that American GIs committed more than 400 sexual offenses in Europe, including 126 rapes in England, between 1942 and 1945.

What war crimes did the US commit? ›

  • 2.5.1 My Lai Massacre.
  • 2.5.2 Operation Speedy Express.
  • 2.5.3 Phoenix Program.
  • 2.5.4 Tiger Force.
  • 2.5.5 Other incidents.

Why did the US want to avoid ww2? ›

Isolationists believed that World War II was ultimately a dispute between foreign nations and that the United States had no good reason to get involved. The best policy, they claimed, was for the United States to build up its own defenses and avoid antagonizing either side.

How many German soldiers were executed for desertion? ›

At least 15,000 German soldiers were executed for desertion alone, and up to 50,000 were killed for often minor acts of insubordination. An unknown number were summarily executed, often in the moment, by their officers or comrades when they refused to follow commands.

How cold was it in Russia during ww2? ›

Even by Russian standards, it was brutal. temperatures plunged to -40 degrees in places, freezing German tanks and equipment, shutting down diesel engines and freezing German soldiers who were not equipped with coats, hats, proper boots, gloves, or anything necessary to fight a winter campaign.

How many German POWs came back from Russia? ›

All in all, 2 million POWs returned from the Soviet Union. Biess argues that, in the immediate postwar period, there were indications that the Germans would be prepared to confront guilt, including Wehrmacht guilt.

Has America ever lost a war? ›

However, the US was unable to get any significant victory in its wars abroad. America fought five major wars after 1945 including Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan in addition to some minor wars in Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. Except for the Gulf War in 1991, America lost all other wars.

How many wars has USA lost? ›

The US lost the War of 1812, Powder River Indian War, Red Cloud's War, Formosa Expedition (Paiwan War), Second Samoan War, Russian Civil War, Korean War, Bay of Pigs Invasion, and the Vietnam War.

How many wars has USA won? ›

The United States has fought five major wars — Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan — and only the Gulf War in 1991 can really be classified as a clear success.

What was the best kept secret of ww2? ›

Bletchley Park was once the world's best kept secret and a key part of the country's war effort against Germany. Every detail about the sprawling Buckinghamshire estate was shrouded in mystery as German Enigma codes were cracked using the Bombe machine.

Who technically won ww2? ›

While Westerners tend to see the war through the lens of events such as D-Day or the Battle of Britain, it was a conflict largely won by the Soviet Union. An incredible eight out of 10 German war casualties occurred on the Eastern Front.

Who benefited the most from ww2? ›

The United States benefited the most from WWII as it had a large population, technological prowess, and the capital necessary to change WWII machinations into business and industry that benefited the civilian. Europe saw great growth post-WWII; it just happened slower than it did in the United States and Japan.

What was the deadliest job in ww2? ›

One in four. That's how many SOE agents in France were either executed, killed in action, or died during captivity. Had not many agents escaped their prisons or concentration camps, the number would be closer to one in three.

What was the most brutal war in history? ›

By far the most costly war in terms of human life was World War II (1939–45), in which the total number of fatalities, including battle deaths and civilians of all countries, is estimated to have been 56.4 million, assuming 26.6 million Soviet fatalities and 7.8 million Chinese civilians were killed.

What was the strongest army in ww2? ›

In September 1939 the Allies, namely Great Britain, France, and Poland, were together superior in industrial resources, population, and military manpower, but the German Army, or Wehrmacht, because of its armament, training, doctrine, discipline, and fighting spirit, was the most efficient and effective fighting force ...

What was the most destroyed city in World War 2? ›

But the amount of damage that Britain as a whole suffered during humanity's most destructive war never reached anything like that which happened across Europe and a number of Asian cities. Hiroshima lost more than 60,000 of its 90,000 buildings, all destroyed or severely damaged by one bomb.

Was there a country not affected by ww2? ›

Countries That Claimed Neutrality Throughout the War

They included Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Turkey, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan as well as the microstates of Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, San Marino and Vatican City.

What was Japan biggest mistake in ww2? ›

One of the biggest mistakes the Japanese made was not destroying the smallest American ships in Pearl: our submarines. They survived and put to sea to destroy more Japanese tonnage during the war than the Americans lost at Pearl Harbor. And the biggest mistake of all? Underestimating the American public.

What was US biggest mistake in ww2? ›

The biggest mistake America made in WWII may well have been the intelligence failure that allowed the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor.

Did Japan regret Pearl Harbor? ›

Abe's Pearl Harbor speech has been well received in Japan, where most people expressed the opinion that it struck the right balance of regret that the Pacific war occurred, but offered no apologies. Julian Ryall reports.

Did Japan think they could beat the US? ›

And although the Japanese government never believed it could defeat the United States, it did intend to negotiate an end to the war on favorable terms. It hoped that by attacking the fleet at Pearl Harbor it could delay American intervention, gaining time to solidify its Asian empire.

Why was Japan so cruel during WWII? ›

As a highly conformist society, the Japanese military virtually controlled Japan's destiny. Their belief in a master-race convinced many of their divine right to rule and enabled them to carry out massacres without remorse. Regret was a word seldom mentioned within the transcripts of the Japanese war crime tribunals.

Which country suffered the most in WW2? ›

Officially, roughly 8.6 million Soviet soldiers died in the course of the war, including millions of POWs.

What is the most brutal Battle in history? ›

The Most Deadly Battle In History: Stalingrad

Running from August 23, 1942 to February 2, 1943, Stalingrad led to 633,000 battle deaths. Furthermore, Clodfelter points out that this does not even include deaths sustained by Italian, Romanian and Hungarian troops on the flanks of the battlefront.


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