It takes twenty years or more of peace to make a man; it takes only twenty seconds of war to destroy him. - Baudouin I, King of Belgium
World War II Facts
Little Known Facts
- After 1942, civilian car production ceased until 1945. Every civilian trip was subject to scrutiny by fellow passengers, and sometimes the authorities. Many cars were put in storage for the duration. - Office of War Information, 1941
- The Office of War Information, created to manage the propaganda component of the war effort, produced millions of copies of posters throughout the war.
- American industry produced 5 million small arms, 100,000 planes, 5,000 tanks, 40,000 trucks, and 20,000 ships of all types.
- Women pilots served in many dangerous roles. Whether flying war-weary aircraft unfit for further combat, or training anti-aircraft gunners by "attacking" them, or ferrying from factories to be shipped to the front, women served and died as pilots. One was murdered by jealous male pilots; others were killed in crashes or accidents.
- Security was a primary concern at home and overseas for the Allies. While Germany sent espionage missions to the East Coast, there is no record of Japanese landings in California or elsewhere. The Office of War Information (OWI ) drew upon the experienced propagandists in Hollywood. Disney designed unit logos for the submarine service, and many directors, including William Wyler, Frank Capra and John Ford, made films for the war effort. Wyler flew combat missions over Europe and Ford was wounded during the Battle of Midway.
- Over 700,000 Blacks served in the United States Army - over 250,000 in the European Theater. Only 9% saw combat; most were support units. Those combat units, however, served very well and were highly regarded by the Germans.
- The Zoot Suit was banned in 1942 as clothing shortages and rationing was implemented. This led to a riot in Los Angeles in 1943. As many Zoot Suit wearers were Hispanic, the riot had racial overtones that are rarely discussed.
- When the draft started in 1940, there were some questions about whether women could handle machine tools as well as men. A major factor of Allied victory was the use of women in the workforce. Germany and Japan did not fully mobilize their female population until 1944. On the other hand, the United States and Great Britain began employing women in the 1930's, and large numbers signed up for high pay and technical training during the war. At war's end, they were expected to simply return to homemaking.
Death Tolls by Country
Source: Matthew White's listing of comprehensive death tolls he compiled from many sources. The numbers listed here are specifically from Britannica whenever possible.
- China: 2,050,000 m / 7,750,000 c
- Germany: 3,500,000 m / 1,600,000 c
- Japan: 1,600,000 m / 672,000 c
- Poland: 123,178 m / 5,675,000 c
- USSR: 11,000,000 m / 7,000,000 c
- Yugoslavia: 305,000 m / 1,200,000 c
- Czechoslovakia: 10,000 m / 215,000 c
- Finland: 82,000 m / 2,000 c
- France: 213,324 m / 350,000 c
- Greece: 88,300 m / 325,000 c
- Hungary: 300,000 m / 290,000 c
- Italy: 242,232 m / 152,941 c
- Netherlands: 7,900 m / 200,000 c
- Philippines: 27,000 m / 91,000 c
- Romania: 300,000 m / 200,000 c
- Great Britain: 264,443 m / 92,673 c
- USA: 292,131 m / 6,000 c
- Australia: 23,365 m
- Belgium: 12,000 m / 76,000 c
- Bulgaria: 10,000 m / 10,000 c
- Canada: 37,476 m
- New Zealand: 10,033 m
- Brazil: 943 m
- Denmark: 1,800 m / 2,000 c
- Norway: 3,000 m / 7,000 c
- South Africa: 6,840 m
How It Was, How It Is (1945 versus 1991)
|3 Bedroom Home
|Gas per gallon
|Bread, 1 lb.
|Milk, 1 gal.
|Bacon, 1 lb.
Awards and Recognition
- Tupperware invented, sold at home parties
- Fluoridation of water introduced
- Brightening agents in soap
- Folic Acid vitamin synthesized
- Commercial flight from North America to Europe began
- Streptomycin marketed
- Hilton Hotel opened
- Ballpoint pen marketed
- Lt. Audie Murphy most-decorated soldier
- "Something the Axis tanks don't have" Quaker State Motor Oil ad
- 5,000 homes had TV sets
Source: 8th Reunion of the U.S.S. Little booklet titled "Reunion Memories" (1992 Addendum) by Melvin Fenoglio, X/Y3C