Japanese Emperor Hirohito, in his radio announcement declaring the country’s capitulation to the Allies in WWII, never used the word “surrender” or “defeat” but instead stated that the “war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage.” The Emperor spoke an ancient version of Japanese that the common folk were not familiar with. Immediately following the broadcast local government employees explained what was just said to the attendance.
Christoper Robin, the kid whose teddy bear inspired the Winnie the Pooh stories, was credited with killing 28 Wehrmacht soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge.
Vaclav Bozdech, a soldier in WWII, found a puppy while on the run and planned to kill it so its barking would not alert the Germans. Unable to bring himself to do so, he took it with him, and the dog later helped find survivors of an air raid and saved Bozdech’s life during the Cold War.
The WWII era B-29 bomber didn’t require fighter escorts because it had a computer aided gunnery systems that allowed incredible firing accuracy against attackers. One B-29 was attacked by 79 fighters at once, but was able to fight them off and down 7 of them in the process.
Among the thousands of men on the Normandy beaches on D-Day there was one single woman. Martha Gellhorn, a rogue war correspondent who stowed away in the toilet of a hospital ship and also happened to be the third wife of Ernest Hemingway.
The F-82 “Twin Mustang” fighter plane, designed to escort bombers thousands of miles to Tokyo, was literally two P-51 Mustangs joined at the wing. Both cockpits were fully functional, so one pilot could sleep while the other flew the plane on missions that could last up to 12 hours.
BMW used prisoners from concentration camps like Dachau to build their cars and plane engines during the second world war. By the end of the war, almost 50% of the 50,000-person workforce at BMW consisted of prisoners from concentration camps.
In 1944 Dutch Resistance members dressed as German SD (intelligence agents) went into Leeuwarden prison, and walked out with 39 prisoners, and all vanished into the city. No shots were fired, and the Germans never caught anyone.
During WW2, the winner of the Tour de France, Gino Bartali, put his fame to a good cause. He hid counterfeit document in his bicycle and smuggled them through Nazi checkpoints. These documents saved over 800 Jews lives.
A Hungarian chemist during WWII hid his Nobel Prize by dissolving it in acid and leaving it on a shelf due to the Nazi ban on its citizens from accepting the Nobel Prize. After the war, he reconstituted the gold from the acid, returned it to Sweden, and got the medal cast again.