10 Astounding World War 2 Facts You Didn't Know

You can't learn everything about WWII from Call of Duty and Band of Brothers.

Wikimedia Commons

The second World War was waged from 1939 to 1945 and had long-lasting ramifications that the world is still feeling today. It is one of the oldest wars to still have living veterans who fought in it.

Numerous video games, films, TV shows, and even board games have been produced detailing the exploits of the soldiers on both sides of the conflict. Not to mention the atrocities committed during that timespan, of which the Doolittle Raid, Nanjing Massacre, and of course the Holocaust are only a few one could name. War is a pretty rough thing to be involved in, after all.

Most people who have even glanced at a history book in the last half a century know at least the basics about this time period. Perhaps they've spoken to someone who was alive back then? But in a war that lasted over six years and involved over a hundred different nations and over 300 million soldiers worldwide, there's no shortage of information that you may have missed in your studies.

So here's ten little-known facts you might find interesting about the second 'war to end all wars'.

10. Britain Could Have Prevented Italy's Invasion Of Ethiopia

Foto luce – ediz. d’arte v.e. Boeri – v. f. Corridoni, 7 Roma / Public domain

In 1935 as a precursor to the war in Europe, Italy invaded Ethiopia. Through a campaign of violations of the Geneva convention including using aerial bombardments and mustard gas on Ethiopian civilians to dissuade from them resisting, Italy eventually managed to conquer the country. Keep in mind this was their second attempt, having failed in 1896 to conquer the African nation.

After being ousted from his capital, Addis Ababa, the ruler of Ethiopia Emperor Haile Selassie went to the League of Nations to seek aid. This would really only go on to prove how useless the League was. As ineffective as one might view the current United Nations, the original League - founded after the first World War, was little more than a group with the power to wag fingers at each other.

Britain, one of the founding members of the league, could have aided Ethiopia by simply closing the Suez canal to Italy which the Italian military had to pass through to supply their invading army. But in the end, the UK was more interested in courting Italy as a potential ally for the upcoming war they were expecting, agreeing only to trade sanctions against the aggressor.

In this post: 
World War 2
First Posted On: 

Author of Escort (Eternal Press, 2015), co-founder of Nic3Ntertainment, and developer behind The Sickle Upon Sekigahara (2020). Currently freelancing as a game developer and history consultant. Also tends to travel the eastern U.S. doing courses on History, Writing, and Japanese Poetry. You can find his portfolio at www.richardcshaffer.com.