World War II is one of, is not the most devastating conflicts ever to happen in the history of humanity. People from across the globe were affected by the events that occured between the years of 1939 – 1945, and we can only hope that something like this will never happen again. The war also shaped the modern world as we know it, allowing us our security, prosperity and, most importantly, our freedom. It’s important that we remember the importance of the conflict and those who served for their countries. We’ve looked back into our history books and put together a list of facts, that you may not already know, from those six years; perhaps as a starting point for you to explore the conflict in more detail and to fully understand its world-altering ramifications.
World War II was the deadliest military conflict to have happened throughout the history of humanity, with more than 60 million people losing their lives. This makes up roughly 3% of the entire global population of 1940. To put this in context, the UK’s population as of 2017 was 66 million.
The war affected the world over, with very few countries not having a role to play. During the war, neutral powers were countries that took no official side with the hope of avoiding an attack. That said, voluntary brigades came from many of those countries, including Portugal, Sweden, Columbia and Switzerland to help the Allied powers. There were a very small number of countries that remained ‘completely’ neutral throughout the conflict, such as Afghanistan and Yemen.
While they began the war without rationing, Britain and France both implemented the system in 1940, in January and June respectively. Compare this to Germany who had to introduce the system before the war had even started, which would mean the country would struggle to feed the military and the general population throughout the duration of the conflict.
Known as cherry blossom, the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka was a rocket-powered and human-guided kamikaze attack aircraft. The weapon was used by Japan towards the end of the war against Allied ships; however, they only managed to actually sink three. The Ohka was capable of travelling at more than 600mph and had to be carried to the target by a ‘mother’ plane to ensure the weapon was within range; they would then be deployed and guided by the pilot to hit the target.
In 1940, German Commanders starting distributing Pervitin - a Nazi-made pill version of crystal meth - to the soldiers to help them stay awake. They were instructed to take the pill once a day, twice at night and then more when required. The pill allowed them to stay awake for up to three days straight. Additionally, Adolf Hitler himself is said to have received daily injections of oxycodone and cocaine as the war continued. His supply was eventually cut off when the Allied forces bombed the pharmaceutical plants that manufactured the products.
Winston Churchill’s career was something of a roller coaster. Unparalleled energy and determination, coupled with eloquence and optimism. One thing that is not often talked about though is his habit of taking daily naps; which he himself regarded as vital to maintaining his mental balance, reviving his spirits and renewing his energy during the war. Even during the blitz, Churchill would head back to his private room after lunch and have a nap for an hour or two.
In 1939, ski troops played an essential role in the Finnish war effort against the Soviet Union during the Winer War. As a tactical advantage, the soldiers tended to use forested and rural terrain so that the highly mechanised Soviet troops could not follow attack plans. The Battle of Suomussalmi saw three Finnish regiments (11,000 men) annihilate two Soviet mechanised divisions (45,000 men). Ski warfare was even used in the Middle East where Australian Ski Corps were deployed to the Lebanese mountains and fought against French forces.
Many people believe that Winston Churchill’s famous wartime speech was broadcast during the war from his own recording of it; this is in fact not correct. He gave the speech in the House of Commons on the afternoon of 18th June and did not repeat it over the airwaves that evening. Instead, a BBC announcer read certain parts on the nightly news. Weirder still, Churchill did not record the speech until four years after the war had ended, in 1949, when he was persuaded to make the copy for posterity.
During the war, Soviet Sharp-Shooter Vasily Zaytsev claimed 225 kills and is revered as a war hero. You too can become your own team’s battlefield hero with our range of airsoft rifles. Let us know how you get on too, connect on Facebook and Twitter and tell us about your best airsoft eliminations.