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Latest hand-picked World War II news and articles

Two Polish treasure seekers find rare wine in Nazi bunker
Two Polish treasure hunters have unearthed two bottles of wine hidden by the Nazis more than 70 years ago. The two, who prefer not to be named, were exploring a network of Third Reich of tunnels near Swinoujscie, a city in Poland when they found a narrow corridor which dodn`t appear to have been explored before. Inside, they found a helmet, some uniform buttons and a wooden box of ammunition - which also tuned out to hold two bottles of 1930s Bordeaux wine. The red 1938 Chateaux Grand Barrail Lamarzelle and white 1939 Chateau Latour-Matillac were intact, although the label of one was decayed. It`s not known whether the wine will be drinkable - although the low temeratures in the bunker may have made it a wine cellar.

French TV ‘proves` Coco Chanel spied for the Nazis
A French historian produced `documentary evidence` that celebrity dress designer Gabrielle `Coco` Chanel worked as a Nazi spy. In a documentary titled `L`Ombre d`un Doute` (The Shadow of a Doubt) historian Franck Ferrand said documents locked away in France`s Ministry of Defence archives since the war proved that the glamorous socialite worked directly for German military intelligence. Chanel`s love affairs with high-ranking Nazis, including senior Gestapo officer of Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage, have been widely known for years. But this is the first time a French state broadcaster has admitted that she went so far as to spy for the occupiers. Chanel operated under the codename `Westminster` and had the Abwehr (German military intelligence) number F-7124.

Despite Backlash, Polish Company Will Continue to Make Nazi Toys Because They`re `Fun`
Amid a backlash from angry parents and customers, a Swedish toy store that was selling a line of Nazi toy soldiers complete with uniform brandishing a swastika and eagle confirmed that they`d be removing all these toys from their shelves. The toys were manufactured by a Polish company, Cobi Toys, which also became under fire for promoting Nazism for kids. CEO of Cobi Toys, Robert Podles, said despite the offensive nature of these toys, that `We believe that through good fun we can teach history and we will continue this line in the future. We cannot separate this from history. Our history, our whole European history, unfortunately has imbibed this Nazism from the Second World War and we cannot escape from that."

Croatia Returns $4 Million Property to Jewish community as Holocaust Restitution
Croatia has announced that it will give land and an office building, in capital city Zagreb, valued at about $4 million, to the city`s Jewish community as restitution for property expropriated from the community during World War II. Zagreb`s Jewish community will receive a six-story building and a surrounding parcel of land. The building will replace a building once owned by the city`s Jewish burial society. The Zagreb Jewish Community has been fighting for years for the return of the original building, which was built in 1927 by the burial society. They first filed a claim back in 1997. Croatia, part of Yugoslavia from 1918 until an ugly civil war in 1991, was occupied by Germany and Italy in 1941. The Nazi-allied government incorporated several parts of Yugoslavia into the Independent State of Croatia - a Nazi-backed puppet state.

10 bizarre war machines from the second world war
(1) Ice Aircraft Carriers `Bergships`. Project Habakkuk was a British plan by Geoffrey Pyke to build aircraft carriers out of pykrete, a mixture of wood pulp and ice. The carriers, nicknamed `bergships` were to operate as landing platforms for aircraft in the war against the German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic. ---- (2) Goliath tracked mine. The Goliath tracked mine `beetle tank` was a remote controlled demolition vehicle used by the Germans in world war two. ---- (3) Bat Bombs. The Bat bomb was an experimental weapon developed in the United States. The bomb was a shell shaped container that held scores of Mexican Free-tailed bats. The bats were attached to small timed incendiary bombs and released from a bomber at dawn.

Check Out The Incredible Armoured Trains Of World War I And World War II
Trains may seem pretty mundane in the 21st century. Things are a bit flashier in Europe and Asia, where they`re used for high-speed, comfortable travel. This contrasts vividly with the last century, when not just trains but armoured trains were a vital piece of machinery in the two great military conflicts of the era. The armoured train was first seen in the American Civil War, according to The Jamestown Foundation. But the battle-ready form of transportation came to prominence in World War I, when Russia used it as a means of defence during cross-country travel. The trains were used by most of the European nations fighting in World War II: Poland took advantage of them extensively, Nazi Germany reacted and began using them, the Russians kept their fleet up. Even Canada patrolled its west coast with one for a time in case of an invasion.

42 maps that explain World War II
42 maps that explain World War II

UD researchers help locate downed World War II plane in Palau
During World War II, the western Pacific islands of Palau were a hotbed for combat. The Japanese wanted to use the islands for battle preparation and refueling grounds — and so did the Allies. Numerous aircraft were lost in the waters of Palau, submerged for decades with little closure for the families of fallen airmen. Mark Moline, director of the School of Marine Science and Policy within UD`s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, and a colleague at Scripps Institution of Oceanography began working with the non-profit BentProp Project in 2013 to apply underwater robotics technologies in search of lost U.S. airmen. The collaboration led to the discovery of two long-lost planes.

Switzerland`s Bern Art Museum to accept Gurlitt `Nazi art`
Switzerland`s Bern Art Museum has agreed to accept hundreds of artworks bequeathed by German Nazi-era art hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt. But a museum spokesman said pieces looted by the Nazis in World War Two would not be permitted in the museum. Mr Gurlitt, the son of Adolf Hitler`s art dealer, had for years hidden works by artists including Picasso and Monet. Around 500 works are expected to remain in Germany until their rightful owners can be identified. Three pieces - by Max Liebermann, Henri Matisse and Carl Spitzweg - will be returned immediately.

British soldier reveals how Nazi general Rommel spared him from the firing squad
A WWII soldier has revealed how a Nazi general spared him from the firing squad. Roy Wooldridge, 95, from Hendy, Carmarthenshire, was seized while on a mission in France just before D-Day and taken to Erwin Rommel. The Royal Engineer was brought before Rommel and asked if he needed anything. He replied "a pint of beer, cigarettes and a good meal". Now, that empty cigarette packet will feature on the BBC`s Antiques Roadshow. Wooldridge, who was twice awarded the Military Cross, was sent to the French beaches with a colleague to ensure there were no mines which could blow up the boats during the D-Day landings. Due to the secretive nature of the mission, he was not wearing a uniform or carrying id.

Watercolour painted by Hitler fetches $161,000 at Nuremberg auction
A watercolour thought to be painted by Hitler has sold at an auction in Germany for 130,000 euros (£103,000; $161,000). The 1914 painting of Munich`s city hall was put up for sale by two elderly sisters. Their grandfather had bought the painting in 1916. A private buyer from the Middle East, who wished to remain anonymous, bought the work, auction house Weidler said. The auction was held in the central German town of Nuremberg. The auction house said bidders from four continents had expressed an interest in the work.

Were Kamikaze pilots all just volunteers or how exactly did they get selected?
During WWII, thousands of Japanese pilots made the ultimate sacrifice for their country by becoming flying suicide bombers. But what was it that made these men so willing to lay down their lives in such a way? Were they really bright eyed volunteers eager to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, as the war time propaganda stated, or were they forced into it? The Japanese military brass were desperate: The enemy had them outgunned, out-manned, and possessed certain critical technologies that Japan didn`t have. To showcase how dire things were, going back to 1942, in a single day in June of that year Japan lost more airmen than they had managed to train in an entire year just before the war.

A Soldier`s Vivid, Candid Diary of What It Was Like to Fight in WWII
Keeping the telephone lines intact and the radios working is not the hardest part of Communications. The greatest difficulty is saying the right thing. Two or three days after the landing the Division Commander ordered that there would be no reports of disasters or extraordinary successes. An example accompanied the edict; in case the enemy should throw some of its weight against us, the news would be transmitted not as a `counter-attack,` but as `enemy enthusiasm.` By the same token, if one of our regiments should succeed in breaking through the German defenses and advance 4-5 miles, the achievement would be termed something like `good progress.` Nothing extreme, no matter what.

World War II Veteran Retells The Story When He Discovered He Was A European Legend
World War II veteran Vince Speranza retells the intriguing story when he served in Bastogne, Belgium fighting the Nazis. While helping tend to the wounded, he was asked by a hurt soldier for a drink. Incredibly, he found a broken down tavern nearby that had beer on the tap still. With no glasses or bottles around, he used his helmet to carry the beer to his friends. He never imagined that his beer serving technique would become a European legend later in life.

Invasion of Poland - a strategy game for Android - now available on Google Play
Invasion of Poland 1939 - a turn based strategy game for Android from highly rated Conflict Series - is not available on Google Play.
(Google Play)

Inside Hitler`s German beach resort that has never had a single guest after being abandoned 75 years ago
This is the 10,000-room hotel that has never had a guest. Situated on the island of Rügen in Germany, the Prora beach resort was built by Adolf Hitler between 1936 and 1939 as a striking show of Third Reich architecture. Yet the project was halted, with eight separate buildings having been erected, when the Nazi leader decided to focus on building more planes and war infrastructure. Prora was constructed on the Baltic island of Ruegen by the Nazi `Strength Through Joy` leisure organisation over a six-year period and occupies 3 miles of beachfront. It was meant to provide holiday entertainment for 20,000 of Hitler`s hordes at any one time.

Second world war British propaganda posters – in pictures
A huge collection of British propaganda posters, featuring everything from Spitfires to Hitler, is to be sold at auction. They illustrate just how the war touched the lives of everyone, both on the home front and in the armed forces. They come from the collection of commercial artist, E Bendell-Bayly, a partner at the Bayly-Souter Studio, where the posters were produced, and include some original artworks. The collection will be auctioned by David Lay on 6 November

How U.S. intelligence agencies used 1,000 Nazis as Cold War spies - then covered it up
Historians have revealed that J. Edgar Hoover`s FBI and Allen Dulles`s CIA hired at least 1,000 Nazis - if not more. Bits of the story have been reported in the past, but the full scope of the operation has now been reported in Eric Lichtblau`s new book, The Nazis Next Door. "U.S. agencies directly or indirectly hired numerous ex-Nazi police officials and East European collaborators who were manifestly guilty of war crimes. Information was readily available that these were compromised men," University of Florida professor Norman Goda explained.

Photos: Exploring Mussolini`s Secret Bunkers - Villa Torlonia now offer tours inside the dictator`s hideouts
A typical visit to the Villa Torlonia in Rome involves a picnic and a stroll along pine and palm tree-dotted grounds. Now tourists can also explore the secret hiding grounds beneath their feet that Il Duce built for himself. Built in the early 20th century, the Villa Torlonia housed Benito Mussolini and his wife and children from 1925 to 1943. In 1940, one year into World War II, the Italian dictator had an old wine cellar at his Neo-Classical estate turned into an air-raid shelter. Since a trip from the mansion to the former wine cellar involved a brief sprint outside, Mussolini also ordered construction of a separate bunker, connecting to an underground kitchen that sealed itself off with anti-gas, double-steel doors. A third bunker, 20 feet underground, was still being built at the time of the dictator`s removal from office.

Hitler`s personal copy of Mein Kampf sells for almost £19k at auction
Adolf Hitler personal copy of his autobiography – Mein Kampf – has fetched almost £19,000 at auction. The evil Fuhrer`s 1932 version of the book sold for nearly $30,000 (£18,800), but fell short of the £62,000 estimate. The book was discovered in the cruel dictator`s Munich apartment in 1945.

Nicholas Winton honoured by Czechs for saving 669 children from Nazis
A British man who saved 669 children, most of them Jews, from the Nazis has been awarded the Czech Republic`s highest state honour. Sir Nicholas Winton was 29 when he arranged trains to take the children out of occupied Czechoslovakia and for foster families to meet them in London. The 105-year-old was given the Order of the White Lion by the Czech president during a ceremony at Prague Castle. In a speech, he thanked the British people who gave the children homes: "I want to thank you all for this enormous expression of thanks for something which happened to me nearly 100 years ago - and a 100 years is a heck of a long time. I am delighted that so many of the children are still about and are here to thank me."

Mmemorial to deserters from Wehrmacht has been unveiled in Vienna, Austria
A memorial to deserters from the Wehrmacht has been unveiled in the centre of the Austrian capital, Vienna. It follows a decision by Austria`s parliament in 2009 to rehabilitate thousands of soldiers criminalised by the Nazis for desertion. Historian and campaigner Thomas Geldmacher says around 20,000 Austrians are believed to have deserted from the Wehrmacht, many in the last chaotic days of World War Two. It is thought that around 1,500 Austrian deserters faced the firing squad. Those who survived were regarded as traitors until 2009, when the Austrian parliament agreed to rehabilitate soldiers criminalised by the Nazis.

Latvian musical celebrates life of Nazi commander Herbert Cukurs
A musical which celebrates the life of an alleged Nazi war criminal has been condemned by the Israeli government. Cukurs, Herbert Cukurs, which premiered in Latvia in 2014, is about a Nazi pilot who was deputy commander of Arajs Kommando, a unit which killed around 26,000 Jews. Many Latvians see Cukurs, who was assassinated in 1965 by a Mossad agent in Uruguay, as a hero for resisting the Russian invasion and occupation during the Second World War. Israel`s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying: `Israel strongly condemns the production in Latvia of a musical that honours the memory of Latvian Nazi war criminal Herberts Cukurs.`

Sunken World War II German U-boat U-576 and freighter found off coast of Cape Hatteras
The U-boat skipper, Hans-Dieter Heinicke, had a crippled submarine and was headed home when he spotted the allied convoy off the coast of North Carolina. Heinicke saw the 19 merchant vessels of convoy KS-520 plodding south at 8 knots as a chance to redeem himself. About 4 p.m. on July 15, 1942, 30 miles off Cape Hatteras, U-576 attacked. In the ensuing free-for-all, the sub sank one ship and damaged two others but was assailed by aircraft and escorts, and sank with all hands. Recently researchers discovered the wreck of U-576, as well as the wreck of the sunken merchant ship, and hailed the find as a rare snapshot of a little known chapter of World War II.

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