Facts About World War II We Just Learned Today That Made Us Say 'Whoa'

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Vote up the most incredible facts from WWII you just learned here and now.

World War II spanned multiple continents and altered the course of global events for generations. It remains fertile ground for cinematic adaptations, and an ever-popular subject for history students. You'd think, with all that exposure, there would be no more surprising facts about WW2 - yet history buffs are always keen to share forgotten and little known stories about the conflict.

Here are some of the most interesting facts about World War II, as shared by Reddit's community of amateur historians. 


  • 1
    1,877 VOTES

    In 1944, An Australian Soldier Removed His Own Appendix In The Middle Of A Philippine Jungle

    From Redditor u/Tokyono:

    TIL that in WWII, an Australian soldier removed his own appendix in the middle of a Philippine jungle in 1944, without any anaesthetic and with only the use of a mirror and an ordinary knife. The operation took 4 and a half hours and he stitched himself up with jungle fibre.

    Source

  • 2
    1,285 VOTES

    The Leaning Tower Of Pisa Was Spared An Artillery Strike Because Of Its Beauty

    From Redditor u/Lpjay:

    TIL that during WW2 the Allies discovered that the Germans were using the Leaning Tower of Pisa as an observation post. A U.S Army Sergeant that was sent to the tower to confirm the presence of German troops was impressed by its beauty and decided to not order an artillery strike on it.

    Source

  • 3
    1,413 VOTES

    To Prepare For An Axis Takeover Of Gibraltar, The British Created A Secret Observation Chamber Overlooking The Harbor

    From Redditor u/sober_disposition:

    TIL that if the Axis ever captured Gibraltar during WWII, the British planned to seal 6 men in a secret cave overlooking the harbour to secretly monitor and radio back enemy movements. The cave had enough provisions for the men to stay for up to 7 years.

    Source

  • 4
    1,922 VOTES

    British Citizens Defended Black US Soldiers From Their Racist Comrades

    From Redditor u/PurestVideos:

    TIL: During WW2 Black U.S soldiers stationed in England were drinking in a pub with local people when U.S Military police arrived to stop them getting served and arrest them for not segregating. The white local people in the pub defended the Black men, which eventually led to a riot and gunshots.