Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp created by the Nazis, was the site of extermination of about 1.1 million prisoners during the war. While most people think American soldiers were the ones to liberate the prisoners in 1945, it was actually the the work of the Soviet Army. They were also the first ones to liberate a concentration camp the year before.
Dr. Josef Mengele is seen as this evil head doctor of Auschwitz. While he was a man that performed monstrous things to the prisoners there, the level of power was not at the level as people imagine. He was just one of several doctors working for the SS.
3. The French Are Not Cheese-Eating, Surrender Monkeys
France has a really bad reputation for what people see as their complete and swift surrender during WWII. The reality is, it was a mix of German luck and the fact they were fighting against a new strategy that made it a hard battle. That still doesn't take away that they made a hard sacrifice (200,000 dead, 400,000 wounded) and that they were instrumental in the evacuation of Dunkirk.
Everywhere and everyone will tell you that without the United States entering the war, it would be over and we would all be having Oktoberfest monthly. But it is worth noting that the Nazis put most of their military attention on the Eastern Front. The level of destruction and retaliation made by the Soviets in return was far worse than what happened in the west.
Winston Churchill is known for his speeches and leadership during the trying times Britain endured during the war. While he was respected at the time, however, many believed he was just the right man for the job at this particular time. They were right; a few months after the war ended, he lost an election and was no long Prime Minister in 1945.
Blitz attacks done by the Luftwaffe have captured the memory of the brutal destruction of cities like London. However, for as much carnage Germany caused it was the US and UK that dropped more bombs on Axis-controlled territory — around ten times more. London lost 20,000 people, but the Allied bombing campaigns like the one on Hamburg killed double the number.
Millions died on both side of the war, both civilian and military, and the numbers and photos prove it. So many other places are overlooked in the history of the war. One example was the Great Vietnamese Famine of 1945, where up to 2 million people died under Japanese occupation
The Holocaust caused by the Nazi regime is without a doubt one of the darkest memories of World War 2. The number of 11 million deaths is not something that can be forgotten. What is rarely mentioned is the death toll of the Japanese occupation of China — an estimated 20 million or more — that include mass rapes and torturing.
The eugenics movement started in the mid-1910s from the opinions and support of doctors throughout the US. As the science grew it reached Germany and gained many fans, with one in particular...Adolf Hitler. Much of Mein Kampf, along with his plans of sterilization and extermination of "defectives" in order to create the master race, are inspired American laws and books regarding eugenics.
13. The Blitzkrieg Was An Unified, Unstoppable Force
The Germans did steamroll through France and Poland with a new strategy that threw the others off their game. But this mechanized forced moving at top speed was playing fast and loose. Many military documents show that it was improvisational and disorganized at times.
14. The Russians Beat The Germans Because They Had More Troops
Many say one of the reasons Germany lost their campaign against the Soviet Union was because they were outnumbered ten to one. The truth is the ratio of forces were pretty close to even at the beginning of their battle. The Soviet Union also did not have as large a population to refill their ranks as people believed.
This is not entirely related to the war but has ties to it. The myth that eating carrots give you better vision came from Allied propaganda. They needed a cover story to hide the fact that planes had radar, so they told the public the pilots were getting better night vision from eating carrots instead.