10 Fascinating Unknown Facts in World War II
1. The death match
One of the very interesting unknown facts of World War II was the so called ‘Death Match’. This is the nickname for a soccer match that took place on August 9th 1942, between FC Start and Flakelf. FC Start was a team composed by former players of Dynamo Kyiv, a great Ukrainian team, while Flakelf was the name of a German Luftwaffe team. Eager to demonstrate the superiority of the Aryan race, Nazis forced the Ukrainian team to play against their Flakelf, threatening them with losing their lives, if they don’t agree. The match was very unfair and the players of FC Start knew the consequences of winning a game against the Nazis. Nevertheless, they did not accept losing voluntarily and hence, the game ended 5-3 for FC Start .Subsequently, many of the Ukrainian players were arrested, tortured and killed.
2. The first Shot
The very first shot of the World War II belonged to Schleswig Holstein, a German training battleship which was in an official visit in Poland, in order to honour the German sailors who had died on a cruiser called ‘Magdeburg’, in 1914. The battleship was berthed in Danzig harbour, in Poland. On September 1, 1939, early in the morning, the ship quietly took position opposite to the Westerplatte, which was composed of Polish troop barracks and munition storage. The order ‚Fire’ was given and the World War II started. Despite being a very important moment in history, this is one of the unknown facts of World War II.
3. Horst Wessel Song
Horst Wessel was a 19 years old member of the Nazi party, one of the first to join this organization. He is famous for having composed the song ‘Fly the Flag high’, which was later changed into ‘the Horst Wessel song’. It became the national hymn of the Nazi Germany and its importance was so great that a citizen was executed for keeping its hands in the pockets while the band was playing this song. The young Nazi died at the age of 23 by the hands of a jealous man, an ex-lover and pimp of his wife, a former prostitute.
4. Japanese Fire Balloons
In the fall of 1944, Japan launched its first ‘Fire Balloons’, from the Island of Honshu. Made out of paper and filled up with explosives, they were supposed to fly to North America and detonate. This was an awful plan and the result was not the expected one. A total of 9000 balloons were launched until April 1945, but only 1000 reached their destination, most of these falling in unpopulated areas. They caused a total number of 6 casualties. This was an unknown event of the World War II which is worth remembering as one of its few funny stories.
5. Stalag Luft III
Stalag Lust was a POW (Prisoner of war, for those of you who might not know it) camp of the Nazi army where pilots who had been shot down were usually taken. From the moment of their arrival, these skilled men began planning their escape. An escape Committee counting 600 persons dedicated to digging tunnels. On March 24th 1944, the prisoners completed the tunnels, after having made huge efforts and endured great dangers. However, they did not think of everything since their plan was discovered in the middle of its execution and merely 77 people succeeded to run away, only to be caught hours or days later. 3 men only got away with it while 50 were executed. This incident does not belong to the unknown facts category actually, especially if you like classics, since it was made into a movie, called ‘The great escape’, in 1963.
6. What ‘The third Reich’ Means
If this is an unknown fact for you, than here you have it: It is called ‘The Third Reich’, because, logically, there were two others before it. The first Reich (Reich= Empire) began when Otto the Great became the Emperor of the Holly Roman Empire, in 962 A.D. The Second Reich was created by Otto Von Bismarck in 1871 after having defeated France in the Franco-Prussian war. This second Reich ended in 1918, when the emperor William II abdicated. Hitler’s third Reich began in 1933, when he was appointed Chancellor of Germany and lasted 12 years and four months.
7. Lebensborn Society
This is a very interesting piece of information and hence, it would be a shame to remain among the unknown facts. During the World War II, Heinrich Himmler had the idea of creating a race of super pure Germans. They were supposed to have ‘perfect features’ as perceived by the Nazis: tall, blond hair and blue eyes were a must, and no physical defects were admitted for ‘the candidates’. The result was the creation of several so called ‘nursing homes’ which were supposed to shelter the pregnant women. One of these homes, the first to be opened (1935), was Steinhoring, near Munich, and a total number of 2000 births were recorded therein. Other facilities with the same purpose were established later on, but no records as regards the number of births were found
8. The Nurses
The important role of women in World War II is one of the many unknown facts which deserve our attention. Working mostly as nurses, they found themselves many times under enemy fire. Ordinary ladies, most of them former cheerful housewives, voluntarily joined the war and learned not to feel disgusted by the horrible wounds they had to deal with. For their courage and devotion, nurses received a total of 1,619 medals, as well as other types of recognitions. Numerous women died or were taken as war prisoners while accomplishing their missions.
9. The Vision of a Franco-British Union
This proposal came from two great men, Churchill and De Gaulle and though it sounds strange, it was a reasonable decision in those desperate moments, when France was about to capitulate. The official ‘Declaration of Union’ sounded as follows: ‘France and Great Britain shall no longer be two nations, but one Franco-British Union. The constitution of the Union will provide for joint organs of defence, foreign, financial and economic policies. Every citizen of France will enjoy immediately citizenship of Great Britain, every British subject will become a citizen of France.’ Unfortunately, even though it had full support of the Prime Minister Paul Reynaud, the proposal was rejected by the French Cabinet, becoming one of the unknown events listed here.
10. The Ni’ihau Incident
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, in December 7th 1941, some Japanese pilots were unable to redraw and crashed on the Island of Oahu. However, they were instructed to reach Ni’ihau Island which was supposedly uninhabited. This was wrong information, as pilot Shigenori Nishikaichi soon discovered. He crash-landed on Ni’hau, as instructed but he was welcomed by 136 indigenous Hawaiians who were living on the island. They treated him as a guest and even threw a party in his honour. However, after hearing on radio about the attack on Pearl Harbour, they became hostile and detained him. Nishikaichi then tried to escape, helped by Harada, a Japanese man born on the island. They were eventually killed by one of the locals, with the help of his wife, whom the two Japanese had taken as a hostage and the incident became one of the unknown facts about the World War II.