Weirder War Two: More Strange Facts, Unsolved Mysteries and Tall Tales from the Second World War is a continuation from the first book with 101 new facts and tales. ‘Weirder’ is a useful term for the follow-on book, but the truth is, the stories are less weird, but still very interesting. The snippets are more informational as they feed into what we already know of many of the situations. The same coding with exclamation marks ranging from ! to !!!, is used, which is an indication of how weird the fact is – !!! being the weirdest.
One of the most iconic events of Nazi Germany prior to the outbreak of WWII was the Berlin Olympics. The games were a political football, especially between the US and Germany. It’s a Games that is famous for Jesse Owens winning 4 gold medals. The apparent slight from Hitler didn’t happen and in fact, the German people applauded Owens’ achievements and Hitler was noted for waving at him in applause. The Owens family compared the accolades the German people bestowed on Jesse to the discrimination back in the US where President Roosevelt received the white athletes from the games but did not invite Jesse to the White House. Owens also had to enter his own celebration through the hotel back door as blacks weren’t allowed to enter from the front.
Hitler believed he was guided by divine providence and many events reinforced that belief including the 30+ attempts on his life. In the end, it was only by his own hand that he died – allegedly. Maybe he’s still alive, living with Elvis.
Animals, particularly dogs, have always played an important place alongside their human companions in times of need. Their loyalty in war is monumental and many stories exist as to their bravery and selflessness. Several exist in this book. Judy and Chips both dogs and G.I. Joe the pigeon, all received the Dickin Medal for courage and endurance. They saved thousands of lives.
In the heat of battle, we see heroism, gallantry and valour that shines like a beacon reminding mankind that humanity hasn’t disappeared. One of my favourite stories is when a German Luftwaffe pilot, Franz Stigler came across a badly damaged B-17 Bomber after a bombing raid on Dresden, with no navigation and flown by pilot Charlie Brown, Stigler escorted it back towards England. Neither crew spoke about it again for fear of it becoming known by the respective authorities. By chance, they came across each other 40 years later and remained great friends until they both died in 2008.
I would recommend reading this collection of stories as it gives us insights into some of the weird, mysterious and intriguing moments during a world at war, especially if you enjoy compelling titbits of rare insights. There are some fascinating tales of unbelievable and almost impossible things.
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll