10 Odd Facts About World War II
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2009 4:35 PM CDT
Polish men are seen in front of a photograph at a recently opened exhibit of photographs taken by the Luftwaffe of Warsaw during World War II, in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, April 7, 2009.   (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

(Newser) – With Memorial Day and the 65th anniversary of Normandy coming up, it's time for a World War II history review. The Chicago Tribune has dug up ten strange facts:

  • Elsie Mitchell and five children died in Gearhart Mountain, Ore., in May 1945, by touching a Japanese "balloon bomb" that had drifted into America. They are the only US mainland war deaths on record.

  • Before fighting in Sicily, Gen. George Patton told his men to kill enemies who kept fighting within 200 yards, even if they surrendered—regardless of international law.
  • The French held fashion queen Coco Chanel over her affair with a young Nazi official. "Really, sir, a woman of my age cannot be expected to look at his passport if she has a chance of a lover," said Chanel, in her 60s. They let her go.
  • Starving outside of Stalingrad, the German army received airlifted supplies including right shoes, 4 tons of spices, and millions of condoms.
  • Shot down in January 1943, American turret gunner Alan Magee ejected without a parachute and plunged 20,000 feet through a train station skylight. He lived and enjoyed backpacking until he died at age 84.
Click the link below for more World War II trivia.

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Showing 3 of 4 comments
May 24, 2009 6:57 AM CDT
You want trivia? When I enlisted in the USN in '77, WWII had been over 32 years earlier. Today, it's been 32 years since I joined. Told you.... Trivia!
May 24, 2009 4:25 AM CDT
oops... I guess I hit the mouse button. OK-- here's one of the fun things I found:"THIS IS THE ARMY" is a 1943 American motion picture produced by Hal B. Wallis and Jack L. Warner, and directed by Michael Curtiz, and a wartime musical designed to boost morale in the U.S. during World War II, directed by Sgt. Ezra Stone. The screenplay by Casey Robinson and Claude Binyon was based on the 1942 Broadway musical by Irving Berlin, who also composed the film's 19 songs. The movie features a large ensemble cast, including George Murphy, Joan Leslie, Alan Hale, and Lt. Ronald Reagan, while both the stage play and film included soldiers of the U.S. Army that were actors and performers in civilian life.
May 24, 2009 4:22 AM CDT
OK-- a Wikipedia search for "WWII Trivia"