We’ve all watched famous films and television shows, but here’s a list of WW II facts you probably didn’t even know or even thought could happen during a war.
1. During World War II, Americans used the name ‘Liberty Steak’ to avoid using the German-sounding word ‘hamburger.’
During World War I, there was a rise in anti-German feeling in the United States, and German-sounding products and foods were renamed. “Liberty steak” was the name of a hamburger.
On April 10, 1918, The Bee (Omaha, NE) published – ”Notice to the Public—From now on and after Hamburger steak will be known as Liberty Steak; Berlin Ham as Washington Ham. Washington Market”. After the war, the previous name was resurrected.
Other “liberty” renamings followed. A hamburger was referred to as a “liberty sandwich,” and sauerkraut was referred to as “liberty cabbage.” [Source: 1, 2]
2. The Japanese killed the first German soldier in the WW2.
The first German killed in World War II was in China in 1937, when German forces were stationed to assist the national Chinese army, as well as some generals, to defend Nanking (The capital of China at that time).
The Japanese invaded China, and the Germans were there defending Chinese cities under Japanese attack. German soldiers stationed in China were killed by Japanese troops. It’s named the first since it occurred before to Germany’s invasion of Europe. [Source: businessinsider.com]
3. Hitler was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. Mussolini was also nominated for the award by German professors at the University of Glessen, in 1935. Joseph Stalin was nominated for the award in 1945 too.
E.G.C. Brandt, a member of the Swedish parliament, nominated Adolf Hitler for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939. Brandt, on the other hand, was a strong anti-fascist who made the nomination as a satirical response to the political discourse in Sweden at the time.
In 1945 and 1948, Joseph Stalin, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was nominated for the prize for his efforts to end WWII.
Benito Mussolini was nominated for the award by German professors from the University of Glessen and another professor from Paris in 1935, possibly because they thought Mussolini’s Italy in the 1930s was successful and he had reached a reconciliation agreement with the Pope to get the Italian economy back on track. [Sources: 1, 2]
4. During the Holocaust in the occupied Poland, Polish Catholic midwife Stanisawa Leszczyska delivered over 3,000 babies at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
It’s strange to think of the camp as a life living space. But thanks to a woman named Stanislawa Leszczyska, it was.
During her two-year incarceration at Auschwitz, the Polish midwife gave birth to 3,000 babies in appalling conditions. Her tale is barely known outside of Poland, but it is a monument to a small group of women who were committed to help their fellow inmates.
Leszczyska and her family, including her four children, were horrified by the conditions in the ghetto and wanted to help.
As part of a growing Polish resistance, they transported fraudulent documents and food to Jews inside the ghetto. The family’s activity was discovered in 1943, and the Gestapo interrogated them.
Leszczyska’s husband and oldest son were able to escape, but her younger children and mother were caught. Leszczyska was transferred to Auschwitz with her daughter, a medical student, after her sons were separated and sent to different camps to conduct forced work.
Her spouse continued to fight the Nazis, but was killed in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. He was never seen by her again. [Sources: 1, 2]