- Russia and Japan have still not signed a peace treaty to end the war. Believe it or not, a dispute over four islands have kept them from finishing “the war to end all wars”. To this day, they both lay claim to them.
- During WWII, airplane factories were made to look like small towns to avoid becoming a bombing target. One of the best examples was the Lockheed Burbank Aircraft Plant- with netting and some extra props, it was virtually impossible to tell it from the surrounding small towns.
- Can’t do combat? No problem, you can still join the Civilian Public Service. This was for folks who couldn’t bring themselves to fight for religious reasons, but still wanted to help. They received no wages and very little federal help. Even so, they accomplished a lot.They did everything from forest conservation to medical experiments…that’s right, they let themselves be used as human test subjects and even jumped into raging fires to attempt to fight the flames. They were forced to volunteer in psychiatric hospitals and revolutionized the way mentally ill people were treated. Planting seedlings, building forest trails, and taking care of nursery stock were just a few of their other jobs. Who knew?!?
- A cat survived the sinking of not one, not two, but three ships! He was then called Unsinkable Sam. He started on a German boat and transferred to a British boat, both of which sank. He went on another British vessel which was also sunk by torpedo and they finally retired him. He lived for another 14 years on a farm just outside of Belfast.
- Who’s a spy? People like Roald Dahl, Ian Flemings, Noel Coward, and Leslie Howard to name a few, that’s who. They were charged with spying on the United States and convincing us to join the war! Their little group was called “The Baker Street Irregulars” and were chosen because they had the ability to charm, seduce and win over people. Roald Dahl was given the assignment to seduce the wife of Henry Luce, owner of Time, Life and Fortune magazine. This was because the very rich and influential Mr. Luce was thought to be an anti-British isolationist. He was quite successful! So much so, Roald complained, “I am all fucked out! That goddamn woman screwed me from one end of the room to the other. ” An interesting side note was when he later visited Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR told Roald he was quite aware of his methods.
- We thought about bombing Japanese volcanoes to set them off. Never happened.
- We made enough Purple Hearts during WWII to last from then until now. 1, 506,000 were made because they anticipated tremendous losses that never occurred. (Mostly because of the devastating success of the two big bombs.) Purple Hearts made for our great grandfathers are still being pinned on soldiers today.
- The youngest soldier of WWII was only 12 years old! His name was Calvin Graham and he enlisted right after Pearl Harbor. During his time on the USS Dakota, he earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his work in fire control aboard the ship. When his mom told how old he was, they put her in the brig for 3 months until his sister threatened to take the story to the newspapers. He was released, dishonorably discharged and stripped of his medals.
This isn’t the end of the story-
He joined the Marines when he was 17. Unfortunately, he broke his back and spent the rest of his life trying to get medical benefits. In 1988, he wrote to Congress and told his story. They gave him a clean record, medical benefits and returned his Bronze Star. They wouldn’t give him back the Purple Heart. (Another mystery of Congress.)