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Inside World War II Facts

Seamen at Kanoehe Naval Air Station decorate the graves of their fellow sailors killed at Pearl Harbor

Seamen at Kanoehe Naval Air Station decorate the graves of their fellow sailors killed at Pearl Harbor. (View larger version)

Photograph by National Geographic Channels

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  • The Wehrmacht, the German Armed Forces, were under Hitler’s command by oath.

  • During Hitler’s rise, the Wehrmacht neither trusted him nor regarded his skills with any degree of respect. Hitler, in return, felt his army was filled with traitors.

  • After Japan attacked the United States, the Allies decided to concentrate on defeating Hitler before dealing with the Japanese.

  • There were two flag raisings on Iwo Jima. The first flag was too small to be seen so a second, larger flag was raised.

  • Although the American M4 Sherman Tank had a faster rate of firing and a faster speed, the German Panther and Tiger tanks could fire with better accuracy and at longer distances.

  • 3,000 French civilians died on D-Day.

  • Less than 2,500 Americans died on D-Day.

  • The highest ranking American officer to die from enemy fire was General Simon Boliver Buckner, Jr. His father was a Confederate general in the Civil War.

  • The United States Air Force was actually part of the US Army until after the war and was composed of three branches called the United States Army Air Force, Air Services, and Air Corps.

  • The National Security Act of 1947 made the U.S. Air Force independent from the U.S. Army.

  • The atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki was more powerful that the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

  • The death toll of the atomic bomb nicknamed “fat man,” was reduced significantly because it exploded in the Nagasaki valley, which is surrounded by mountainous terrain.

  • The last Japanese soldier to lay down his arms did so in the Philippines in 1974.

  • George Patton participated in a number of events in the 1912 Summer Olympics.

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