War is hell and during the world's darkest moment, nearly every country on the planet was dragged into global conflict barely three decades after a similar situation had done the same. Thankfully, nothing like that has happened again but it certainly shaped the world we live in today.
However, due to the nature of state secrets and different methods of education across the globe, there are some stories you may not have heard of so here we let you know about some of the fascinating facts of the war alongside stunning photographs.
1. Cunning Cards
One American playing card company issued a pack of cards to be sent to POWs being held in Germany.
These cards could then be soaked and had escape routes printed on them that would be revealed by the water.
2. The Former Prefectural Industrial Promotional Hall - Hiroshima, Japan
Designed by Czech architect Jan Letzel and constructed in 1915, the former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, now often referred to as the A-bomb Dome, was supposed to echo European architecture and was used to hold events and exhibitions. When America dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the building was only 160 meters away from the center of the blast meaning that all inside died.
Due to the nature of the nuclear weapon, the air around the building was burned up and so it did not collapse despite being so close to the explosion. Now it has become an even more important monument as it sits inside Japan's peace park and represents a desire for world peace, preserved in its current state as a reminder of the destruction humanity can bring upon itself.
3. Body Standards
The Hitler Youth prized athleticism and conformity and members were often subject to inspections. The female wing of this was called the League of German Girls and included a Faith and Beauty Society, which welcomed young women aged 17 to 21.
Here, several young women appear to be trying to impress their inspector.
4. The Six Faces of Death
In the Bloody Sunday massacre of 1939, German officials in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz decided to kill over 14% of the entire city's population in response to a fight that broke out between German sabotages and members of the Polish army.
And as this haunting photo illustrates, the last moments of a life before death are ones that encompass a range of human emotions.
5. Christchurch Greyfriars - London, UK
Built in 1687 to replace another church that had burned down in the Great Fire of London 21 years prior, Christchurch Greyfriars was designed by legendary architect Sir Christopher Wren. When the Second World War rolled around, German Luftwaffe planes relentlessly bombarded the British capital with bombs during their Blitzkrieg raids and one of the victims of these bombings was Christchurch Greyfriars.
Post-war it was decided that the structure would not be re-built but it did become a Grade 1 listed building in 1950 meaning it must remain untouched by development. Now a beautiful rose garden that mimics the church’s former layout, it has become a place of calm serenity within the bustling crowds of the metropolis.
6. Flying Tigers
Known as the 'Flying Tigers', American forces enlisted the help of many trained Chinese pilots during the war effort.
Pictured flying over China in 1942 by pilot Robert T. Smith, the stunning photograph captures the iconic nose work that came to characterize the American manufactured Curtiss P-40 Warhawk planes.
7. Never Giving Up
Franz Von Werra was a German POW who was desperate to get back to the action. The fighter pilot's attempts to escape were so often that he was eventually transferred from Britain to Canada to stop him getting back to the war but this didn't help.
Getting away from his Canadian prison, he went through South America to Spain and then Germany to once again get back to combat. He was the only Western held POW to return to action during the conflict.
8. Away From The Glamours of Hollywood
Even movie stars weren't immune from helping out in the war effort and in this picture, Ida Lupino works as a lieutenant in the Women's Ambulance and Defense Corps as a telephone switchboard is put in her home in Brentwood, California, on January 3, 1942.
The glamorous Hollywood actress Veronica Lake demonstrates the dangers of wearing your hair long whilst working in factories for the war effort, in a picture taken on November 9, 1943.
9. St Michael's Old Cathedral - Coventry, UK
Coventry was at the heart of Britain's industry during WWII and so the Luftwaffe targeted it heavily with bombings and attacks. One of the tragic losses of the city was St Michael's Cathedral which was left gutted after the vicious attacks.
Now, just a husk of its former self, the Gothic cathedral from the 15th century stands next to its far more recent counterpart linking the modern city to its troubled past.
10. Code of Honor
Some German prisoners who were kept at American internment camps were quite often let out on an honor system.
When some of them did get back to their native land and told of the decent treatment they had received, the Nazi forces started to treat their POWs a little better as well.
11. Shipping Out
These members of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) pose for a photograph at Camp Shanks in New York just before shipping out on February 2, 1945. These women were the first contingent of Black American WACs to go overseas during WWII and from left to right are; kneeling: Pvt. Rose Stone; Pvt. Virginia Blake; and Pfc. Marie B. Gillespie. Second row: Pvt. Genevieve Marshall; T/5 Fanny L. Talbert; and Cpl. Callie K. Smith. Third row: Pvt. Gladys Schuster Carter; T/4 Evelyn C. Martin; and Pfc. Theodora Palmer.
It's believed over 125,000 African-American soldiers fought for their country during the War effort.