Desmond Doss, a WWII medic, was teased for his choice to not harm the enemy or wield a weapon. He would go on to win the Medal of Honor for saving more than 50 men after a mortar attack, and the heroics were made into the award winning movie “Hacksaw Ridge”.
The BBC created a Radio Soap Opera during WWII specifically for the American market. It was propaganda designed to get the USA to end its neutrality. One of the aims of the show was to appeal to those with a ‘limited mentality’. It ended up being a popular radio show in the US.
Chase Bank and J.P. Morgan & Co helped Germany in WWII by allowing Nazi sympathizers to purchase Marks (known as Rückwanderer) with dollars to fund the war effort. The banks also turned over their client lists to the Nazis who in turn used it to recruit spies in the US.
During WWII, the US government recalled all paper currency circulating in Hawaii and replaced it with notes stamped with “HAWAII”. In the event of a Japanese invasion of Hawaii, all currency captured would be easily identifiable and would be rendered worthless.
The Vatican is accused by Serbs, Jews and Roma of laundering millions of dollars of stolen gold and jewelry, plundered from concentration camp prisoners in Croatia, immediately after WW2. It is also alleged that they helped several notorious Nazi leaders hide and escape.
150 meters below Naples, Italy, there is a vast multi-level underground stretching over a half kilometer, containing WWII cars, beds, conveniences, and other war relics.
In WWII, weather reports were censored to prevent enemy submarines from learning about conditions. A football game in Chicago was so covered in fog that the radio announcer couldn’t see the field, but afterwards he was officially thanked for never using the word “fog” or mentioning the weather.
Hershey’s designed a customized chocolate bar for the troops during WW2 called “D ration bar”. It was so thick that soldiers had to shave slices off with a knife before chewing on it. By the end of the war, more than 3 billion ration bars had been produced. Also, M&Ms were originally made with Hershey’s chocolate, who had control of the rationed chocolate at the time, and were sold exclusively to the US military. They were designed based on a British made candy which was observed by the Mars Company founders son in the 1930s during the Spanish civil war. Regular chocolate was susceptible to heat and the candy coating helped to allow it to “melt in your mouth, not your hand”.
The Austrian town of Salzberg initally refused Nazi flags to be hung off buildings for the filming of The Sound of Music. When the director threatened to use real archival footage of the city enthusiastically greeting Hitler, they quickly changed their mind and allowed it.
A German soldier, Artur Fischer, survived Stalingrad on the last plane out. After the war, he went on to invent many ubiquitous items such as the synchronized camera flash and the plastic wall anchor, and held over 1100 patents before dying at age 96.