13. The allies also committed war crimes
It is a fact that the Allies did not want to talk about. And in the shadow of the many war crimes committed by the Nazis, people tend to overlook it. The media prefer the image of a perfect villain and a valiant savior, makes a better story. But as mentioned previously, war brings out both the best and worst in men. The allies carried out numerous war crimes, but as winners, there were no war trials for them.
One of the more popular such events is the bombing of Dresden. More than 2000 allied aircraft have dropped their payload over Dresden destroying almost the whole city and leaving the rest in flames. The bombing took the life of over 25 000 civilians.
The worst part of this is that Dresden was not bombed for any strategic reason. No important facilities or armies were located nearby. The idea behind the attack was to spread panic among the population. An interesting fact is that this was the first bombing of a target with no military importance in the war and it was carried out by the Allies.
Prior to this attack Germany’s bombing raids over Britain targeted exclusively airfields, power plants and production facilities, strictly avoiding cities. However after hearing the report of the Dresden bombing, Hitler ordered an immediate retaliation airstrike targeting London.
There were numerous other war crimes committed by the Allies. Bombing of cities in countries that are allied with Germany. Torturing prisoners of war, murdering them, and even keeping body parts as trophies.
14. What started the war
It was well evident that Germany is preparing for war, but many people believed that politics can prevent a major war. When Hitler annexed Austria, it actually seemed pretty natural. Then he occupied Czechoslovakia, but still this did not start a war. After some negotiations it was “all good” and France and England really believed that they avoided the war.
However Hitler did not want to stop there. He had his eyes set on Poland. However just a few short months ago he agreed to stop conquering other nations, so he had to find an excuse. And that is how Gleiwitz incident happened. A group of German soldiers dressed up in Polish military uniforms stormed a German radio station and took it over. Then they broadcasted a short anti German message.
The goal of the operation was to both give Germany an excuse for invading Poland, and also to motivate the people to enlist in the army and conquer Poland.
However this time Great Britain and France had enough of it, and being allies with Poland they had no other choice but to declare war on Germany.
15. Project Paperclip
That is the name of the US hunt for talents within the Nazi ranks. It is no secret that both the USA and the USSR were looking to capture as many engineering plans, production processes and scientists and engineers as they could. The scientists and engineers themselves largely preferred to surrender to the Americans as they really feared the Soviets.
Operation Paperclip brought to the US over 1500 scientists and engineers which were immediately employed. The best known of them is Verner Fon Braun, the father of the rocket. While under the Nazi he constructed the deadly V1 and V2 rocket. But being considered an important asset he never underwent a war trial. While in the USA he created their space program and eventually designed the SATURN V rocket, the one that made the flight to the moon possible.