World War II has fascinated enthusiasts for years. Most schoolchildren are taught about it as part of their school curriculum and it is the war that led to the creation of the United Nations. Here I would like to share with you 5 things that you perhaps weren’t taught in school about World War II.
5. Russia and Japan have never signed an official Peace Treaty!
Yes, you read that correctly. It seems that the Russians and Japanese are still, technically, at war with each other. After the end of the Second World War, they did not sign an official peace treaty due to a dispute between them regarding the Kuril Islands.
Towards the end of the war, it seems that the Russians managed to claim the islands for their own during the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation. Naturally Japan wants them back. There have been rumours, however, that both sides are finally seeking to lay this issue to rest, 68 years later!
4. Monopoly helped POWs to escape from the camps.
During the war, the British Government and the manufacturer of Monopoly, John Waddington’s, hatched a plan to help Allied POWs escape from behind enemy lines. They managed to hide maps and messages within the board game itself, which was then passed to the prisoners via fake charities, pretending to offer aid. Many captives managed to escape using this brilliant system.
How’s that for clever?!
3. A village in Germany grew a forest swastika!
Believed by some to be a birthday gift to Adolf Hitler, the forest swastika remains a mystery to the experts. It is thought that there have been a number of such symbols, planted in trees, in various places around Germany. In 1992, a pilot was flying over an area near Zernikow, when he noticed what appeared to be the notorious Nazi symbol.
It seems that for most of the year, the symbol cannot even be seen, but when the autumn comes around and the larch trees change colour, they provide a fantastic display of colour. This in turn makes the swastika stand out and it is thought that it can even be seen from space!
2. Japanese soldier continues World War II for 29 years…
Hiroo Onoda is a dedicated soldier to say the least! In 1944 he and a number of soldiers were sent to Lubang Island to embark on guerrilla warfare. He was forbidden to take his own life and assured that his commanders would come back for him when the time was right, until then he was to lead his soldiers into battle for as long as he had soldiers to do so. Therefore, he and his soldiers carried on with the task at hand.
They survived on local fruits and spent their time evading what they believed to be enemy scouts. It wasn’t until a college dropout named Suzuki decided to go in search of Onoda, that anyone realised the soldier was still alive. He was discovered in 1974.
1. Papua New Guinea was hiding a dark secret.
Whilst on a trek in Papua New Guinea, Capt. Brian Freeman discovered what is now believed to be a lost battlefield from the Second World War. It seems that this was the place where the Australians and Japanese fought over rights to Papua New Guinea and the evidence is startling to say the least.
Apparently at the site, called Eora Creek, there were dead soldiers, exactly where they fell, ammunition rounds on the ground where they landed and various other items that suggest that it was a field hospital, tending to the wounded. It is certainly a unique find.
So, after reading this article, do you have any interesting facts about World War II you fancy sharing? If so, pop them in the comments box and share them with me! I look forward to reading them.