6 Unforgettable Facts about WWII

6 Unforgettable Facts about WWII

As we edge closer to 2024, I thought it was time for something a bit fun and educational. So, here's the latest round-up of my 6 favourite, unforgettable facts from WWII.

From Hitler’s deputy parachuting into Scotland to negotiate a peace agreement to a Nazi-run brothal used to seduce secrets out of foreigners and catch disloyal Germans, check out my favourite facts below.
Pictured above: The location of the new Salon Kitty (the wartime Nazi-run brothel) rebuilt after the original was bombed, as seen after WWII.
Source: ullstein bild via Getty Images
1. In 1935, British engineer Robert Watson-Watt was investigating reports of a German radio-based “death ray” that could destroy enemy aircraft using radio waves. This turned out to be impossible. However, further investigation led to the evolution of radar and eventually resulted in the design and installation of aircraft detection and tracking stations along the East and South coasts of England in time for the outbreak of WWII in 1939. This system provided the vital advance information that helped the RAF win the Battle of Britain.
2. In WWII, the Japanese deployed over 9,000 "wind ship weapons" know as Fu-Go. They consisting of hydrogen-filled paper and rubberised silk balloons designed to transport incendiary and anti-personnel bombs to the US and cause large-scale forrest fires and spread panic. The bombs proved ineffective as fire starters due to damp seasonal conditions. However, the balloons did kill six civilians, who became the war's only fatalities in the continental U.S. The Fu-Go balloon bomb was the first weapon system with intercontinental range, predating the intercontinental ballistic missile.
Pictured left: A Japanese 10-meter diameter Mulberry paper balloon re-inflated at NAS Moffett Field, CA following its downing by a Navy aircraft about 30 miles west of Alturas, CA on January 10, 1945 (US Army photo A 37180C). This balloon now belongs to the National Air and Space Museum.
3. In 1939, the Nazi's took over the running of a high-class brothel in Berlin. 'Operation Kitty' was designed to seduce secrets out of foreign diplomats and other VIPs as well as identify traitors. It was wiretapped, and 20 specially selected prostitutes underwent extensive training and indoctrination, in order to extract information from clients through seemingly innocuous conversations. According to one source, the son-in-law and foreign minister of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini visited the brothel and was caught on tape joking about how he and Mussolini privately joked about Hitler and called him a “ridiculous little clown.”
4. William Patrick Hitler, a half nephew of Adolf Hitler, was in the U.S. Navy during WWII. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, to Adolf Hitler's half-brother Alois Hitler Jr and his Irish wife Bridget Dowling, William later relocated to Germany to work under his half-uncle before emigrating the the U.S. He ended up serving in the U.S. Navy fighting against his uncle in WWII. He changed his surname to Stuart-Houston after the war.
5. In a bizarre move, Hitler’s deputy and confidant Rudolf Hess parachuted into
Scotland on May 10, 1941, to negotiate a peace agreement. The British concluded
he was mentally unstable. He was kept as a POW and given a life sentence at the
Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. He served a life sentence in Spandau Prison in West Berlin. In 1987 as the only prisoner in Spandau, he hanged himself at the age of 93. After his death, the prison was demolished and turned into a shopping centre to prevent it from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.
Pictured right: Spandau Prison in 1951
6. Author Ian Fleming based his character “007” on the Serbian double agent Duško Popov (1912-1981), who provided the Germans with misleading and inaccurate information for much of WWII. Popov was famous for his playboy lifestyle, while carrying out perilous wartime missions for the British. His most noteable deception was convincing the Germans that the D-Day landings would be in Calais instead of Normandy, and was able to report back to MI6 that they fell for this deception. He also obtained information that the Japanese were planning an air strike on Pearl Harbour, but the FBI did not act on the information. He wrote about his wartime activities in his novel Spy/Counterspy "a racy account of his adventures that read like a James Bond novel." Popov's wife and children were apparently unaware of his past until the book's publication in 1974.
Pictured left: Duško Popov OBE
There's probably a few more than 6 facts in there but the more I dug, the more fascinating it got! Let me know which fact was your favourite, or share your favourite WWII fact in the comments. Unfortunately, the website won't allow me to reply to comments below, but I do read them all and will email you personally to answer any questions if necessary :)

Happy nearly New Year!

Warmest wishes,


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