This summer, I will be doing research on Centre's campus with Dr. Egge and four other Centre students. Our job will be to interview World War II Veterans to learn about their lives before, during, and after the war. In anticipation of this research and exciting opportunity, I did quite a bit of research on World War II to brush up on my knowledge.
Here are 11 interesting facts about World War II:
1. From 1940-1945, the U.S. defense budget increased form $1.9 billion to $59.8 billion.
That is a massive increase in budget allocation. Today, statistics show that the United States' defense budget sits at $598.5 billion.
2. During WWII, hamburgers in the U.S. were dubbed “Liberty Steaks” to avoid the German-sounding name.
3. Josef Mengele, known as the "Angel of Death," was one of many concentration camp doctors who performed painful experiments on Jewish and Gypsy children.
Experiments included injecting dye into eyes to observe whether or not they would change color or sewing together twins in an attempt to make them conjoined. Few children who were experimented on survived.
4. In addition to Jews and Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses were also murdered, tortured, and persecuted in German concentration camps.
5. The United States Air Force was not created until after World War II.
Prior to the creation of the Air Force in 1947, military aviation was divided between the Navy and the Army.
6. William Hitler, a nephew of Adolf Hitler, was in the U.S. Navy during WWII.
He changed his name after the war, understandably.
7. Norvell Gillespie, the garden editor of Better Homes and Gardens, designed the camouflage print for U.S. service uniforms in WWII.
8. Calvin Graham was the youngest serviceman to enlist and serve in World War II.
He was only twelve. Once the U.S. learned that he lied about his age, Graham was discharged.
9. On July 14, 1941, the Soviets introduced a new weapon, the Katyusha, which could fire 320 rockets in 25 seconds.
More than 50 years later, the Katyusha remains an effective weapon.
10. In the 1928 elections, less than 3% of Germans voted for the Nazi party.
11. Japan and Russia never formally ended hostilities after WWII.
In 2000, Japan and Russia had plans to sign a peace treaty officially. This treaty failed after Russia refused to return offshore islands it had taken after the war from Japan.