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Any WW2 geeks, or preferrably wonks out there?

by Ziks511 / May 3, 2009 9:43 PM PDT

I have just found a page of random facts about the war that I found most enjoyable.

I particularly liked the statistic that the first German killed in World War 2 was killed by the Japanese, in China, in 1937. I assume the German assistance to Fascist Spain hadn't started by then.

Then there's the first American killed in WW2, killed during the Winter War between Finland and Russia in 1940.

Hope you enjoy this diversion.


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by MarkFlax Forum moderator / May 3, 2009 10:02 PM PDT

That Spanish Civil War;

"The Spanish Civil War was a major conflict that devastated Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939"

But then, that wasn't WW2, even though Germany supported the nationalist Franco with their air force and other aid. I think Franco was a very wily person. Just moths later when Britain and France declared war on Germany, Spain announced its neutrality. Or more properly, was officially "non-belligerent" during WW2.

I'm not sure they can count a German killed in China in 1937 either. It is generally accepted in the West that WW2 didn't start until Sept 1939, so western nations would have considered that Japanese/Chinese conflict differently until Pearl Harbor in 1941.


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I am aware of all that, but some historians are now
by Ziks511 / May 4, 2009 9:40 AM PDT
In reply to: WW2?

discussing WW2 as WW1 phase two, and there is significant evidence for that opinion. I know that Britain's declaration of war was at 11 AM on Sunday, September 3rd, 1939. But both Japan and Germany used other conflicts as a sort of warm up to the later conflict. If this were a more serious article then I'd hew closely to the standard dates. I just enjoyed the idea of saying that the first German was killed by the Japanese. It's just a "fun fact" that bends the rules mildly in my opinion, and I entered into the spirit by introducing the Spanish Civil War. Most certainly the Nazis used the Civil War as a proving ground for weapons and tactics, and were quite reassured by it since they were only opposed by some Soviet supplied technology. Regrettably Democracies declined to support the democratically elected government of Spain. Spain didn't become socialistically inclined (an ugly phrase, sorry) until the Fascists and Franco were flown in from Spanish Morocco by Luftwaffe Ju 52's and troops were supplied by them as well, that was the invitation for the Soviets to get involved, and to send Commissars and try to take over the conflict and the government

The Spanish Civil War is an extraordinary conflict with Trades Unionists and Anarchists opposing the Catholic church and large landowners and business men, and substantial assistance from Germany, and the Soviet Union and smaller contingents from France, Britain, the US, and Canada.

Probably the best memoir is Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. There's an enormous history published by Pelican which untangles many of the threads. It's so complex that I needed to re-read half a dozen chapters to make sure I'd gotten it right.

Rob (sorry, I'm a history junkie and "incomplete" academic [no dissertation] though of an earlier period)

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