A battle as destructive and wide-ranging as World War II naturally brings many myths that are assumed to be authentic, even if they aren’t. Most of these myths have been disproved many times, but some of them still exist as fringe conspiracies or rumors held by outsider scholars. This war was a very complicated global struggle. Many lives were taken, and that’s why it’s very easy to speculate about the legends and what happened. Let’s look at some of the WWII myths and their facts.
All these WWII myths would have altered the course of history. And war should have never occurred in the first place, conflict should always be dealt with in a constructive manner. We should always use our boots for work, not war! But thanks to researchers, the facts that should have been known in the first place are now in the open. Let’s look at our compiled list of World War II myths debunked:
15. France Surrendered to Germany Without a Fight
The fact that Germans did in World War II what they could not do in a 4-year period in World War I in one and a half months, is totally oversimplified. Even though it’s true that the French men surrendered to the Germans quickly, but they fought hard during the Battle of France. They destroyed over 800 German tanks and inflicted over 150,000 casualties.
The French army’s failure was caused by their poor tactics, indecisive leadership, inadequate logistics and commanders fighting a defensive war to avoid the repeat of World War I high casualties.
14. A Ukrainian Soccer Team Was Shot After They Beat a Nazi Team
The ‘death match’ between the German team Flakelf and the Ukrainian team Start FC took place. However, the players didn’t get executed afterward. No research has proved that a German official instructed the Ukrainians to lose or else they will die, as claimed by many historical accounts.
However, there is a probability that some players would have been shot as retaliation for an act of resistance. These players are immortalized outside the Dynamo Kiev stadium, the famous soccer team in Ukraine, in a statue.
13. US Soldiers Abandoned Thousands of Cars They Had Plundered From Nazi to Rot in a Forest in Belgium
The images of the Belgian car graveyard are indeed haunting. The cars have been abandoned for over 70 years, but no one knows who left those cars there and the reasons behind it; it’s a mystery.
Many believe that US soldiers dumped the vehicles but locals say that it’s a car boneyard like any other. If you look at the pictures, you’ll note that some cars were manufactured after the war, between the 60s-70s. The car graveyard was permanently cleared in 2010.
12. Adolf Hitler Let 330,000 British Troops Flee at Dunkirk
The “halt order” at Dunkirk would prove to be the most controversial military action to be employed during a war. German tanks stopped to regroup for two days, and at the same time, the British troops were evacuated from France. Many have said that Hitler did this on purpose.
However, there isn’t a military reason that would have made Hitler allow the British army to escape just because his army needed to rest and rearm. Hitler was also sure that his air force would destroy the British army on the beaches.
11. Adolf Hitler Was Unquestionably in Control of the Germany Soldiers
Even though Hitler was a military genius, at the end of the day he was the Fuhrer and a very captivating leader. Most of the soldiers stayed at Hitler’s hidden military base. Shockingly, the German Navy was extremely loyal to the state, but they didn’t trust the politicians and their shenanigans.
Erich Raeder actively resisted all the attempts that were made to Nazify the Navy. After his inevitable resignation, his successor let the Nazi mentality seep in, but kept the party at bay. The Navy even had a rule that those who joined and were members of the Nazi Party had to leave before they could take part in any mission.
10. German Troops Attacked the Soviet Union Because the Soviets Wanted to Invade Germany
These WWII myths are more of a conspiracy theory held by some fringe war scholars. It started with Viktor Suvorov, a Soviet intelligence officer, who defected in the late 80’s to the United Kingdom.
He claimed that Joseph Stalin introduced conscription and reduced the Red Army’s minimum age to gain manpower while instructing Germany maps to be issued to the soldiers in the field.
Many historians have dismissed this theory although they agree that Stalin may have ordered the invasion of Germany. But, this must have happened after some years because the Red Army was re-organizing and modernizing.
9. Hitler Became the Nazi Party Leader After Winning by One Vote
This urban legend is very far from the truth. Adolf Hitler won the Nazi party leadership by a big margin (553-1) during the party elections in 1923. It’s true that the party did not win many seats during the 1933 elections in Germany. This was the final election that was held before the country became a one one-party state. However, this didn’t have any impact on the power Nazi had.
8. A Japanese General Yamashita Concealed Tons of Gold in Underground Tunnels and Caves in the Philippines
Although it hasn’t yet been proven that Yamashita ordered the burying of gold worth billions of dollars in massive underground tunnels and caves, there is little evidence to show that he didn’t.
There was a court case which was highly publicized between Ferdinand Marcos, the deposed Filipino president, and a Filipino treasure hunter over gold that was purportedly stolen from Yamashita treasure. However, it has never been conclusively proven where the stolen gold came from.