Can You Score 27/35 On This Difficult WWII Quiz?


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: inhauscreative/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

War is hell.

That is for sure!

And World War II was simply mindblowing when you look at the numbers. Estimates put the number of dead at the end of the war at between 50 and 70 million.

And many of these were women and children. It's so sad when the innocent die as a result of world leaders flexing their muscles.

After the punitive measures of the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, it's obvious that someone like Hitler would rise up and stir up the German nation. Hitler's rebuilding of the Germany army, navy and air force was left unchecked. The League of Nations did nothing. Harold MacMillan declared after visiting Hitler that there would still be "peace in our time".

A few years later, and Britain and Germany were at war.

Pearl Harbor and the Japanese attack on it brought the United States into the war in 1941.

And from there on, it was a case of someone needing to win. The Allies consisting of the USSR, Britain and the Commonwealth and the United States against the Axis, mainly consisting of German, Japan and Italy.

And we all know how it turned out. But at what cost!

This is the ultimate in World War II quizzes covering a wide range of subjects from that conflict.

If you know World War II, you should be OK! Let's see how you fare!

Good luck!

Name the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

The Enola Gay was the first aircraft to deliver an atomic payload. It was named after the mother of the aircraft's commander, Colonel Paul Tibbets. Today, the Enola Gay is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


Emperor ___________ was the Japanese supreme leader during World War II.

By the time World War II had started, Hirohito had been Emperor of Japan since 1926. He reigned until 1989. Debate raged as to whether he should be tried for war crimes and what part he played in some of the decisions and atrocities that took place during the war by Japanese forces.


The leader of the Soviet Union during World War II was?

Joseph Stalin came to power in the U.S.S.R. in 1922. During World War II, he led the defense of the Soviet Union, eventually repelling the German attack and then forcing them to retreat. The Soviet Army chased them all the way to Berlin.


The United States only entered the war in 1941. What event changed their isolationist policy?

Japan's unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor was the catalyst for the United States to enter the war. Japan hoped to destroy the US Pacific fleet, and although they caused damage, no carriers were sunk as they were not in the harbor at the time.


Future US President John F. Kennedy served with which branch of the armed forces during World War II?

John F. Kennedy served with the United States Navy during World War II. He was on PT boat 109 that was struck by a Japanese destroyer. Kennedy survived and stayed on an island until he was rescued.


If the forces opposing German and Japan were known as the Allies, what were the alliance of those two countries and their supporters called?

Germany, Japan, Italy and any other country siding with them formed the Axis powers. Other countries to join the Axis included Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia. The Axis powers were known as the Achsenmächte in Germany.


Toward the end of the Second World War, Japanese suicide attacks on Allied shipping were known as?

Toward the end of the war, the desperate Japanese turned to suicide attacks. This entailed filling aircraft with explosives and using them as a guided missile. Untold damage was caused to Allied shipping in this way, but it was a case of too little too late for the Japanese.


The German field marshal, Erwin Rommel, was known by what nickname?

Erwin Rommel was one of the finest German commanders of the war. He had massive success, especially in Africa with his Afrika Korps, pushing the Allies back with victory after victory. Eventually, the tides turned and the Germans were pushed out of Africa and back into Italy. Rommel eventually was forced to take his own life as he was part of the plot to kill Hitler.


Name the leader of the Italian government during World War II.

A fascist, Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy in when he was appointed Prime Minister in 1922. Slowly, he turned the country into a Fascist state, declaring himself the supreme leader or "Il Duce". Mussolini was eventually overthrown and shot in 1945.


Germans were called this slang word by British troops.

Slang is a part of war. In World War I, German troops were called "Fritz". In World War II, that changed to "Jerries" and sometimes "Krauts".


To invade the United Kingdom, Germany had to defeat the Royal Air Force. Name the conflict that took place in the air above the United Kingdom in the summer of 1940.

The Battle of Britain, Germany's air offensive over the United Kingdom, lasted from July 10, 1940 to October 31, 1940. It was a close run thing, with the Royal Air Force on its knees at times. But then, Germany changed their tactics and decided to bomb London.


Hitler and the Nazis were responsible for the 'Final Solution' against the Jewish people. How many people lost their lives as a result?

Nazi concentration camps and the treatment of Jews led to the killing of over 6 million people. Jews were rounded up from all over Europe and transported to these camps to work. Those who could not were killed.


Name the American fighter plane that was the first to be able to escort bombers all the way to Berlin.

The North American P-51 Mustang was initially built with an Allison engine. It is when they tried one with a Rolls-Royce Merlin that the aircraft really came into its own. With drop tanks, the Mustang could escort American bombers all the way to Berlin.


Who uttered these famous words after the Battle of Britain? "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

These were the words of Winston Churchill. He spoke them after the Battle of Britain where the Royal Air Force had just managed to see of the German Luftwaffe forcing them to turn their attention to a bombing campaign on London at night and allowing the British to rebuild their air force.


Can you name the American paratroop regiment made famous by the book and TV series, "Band of Brothers".

The 101st Airborne division were some of the first troops in occupied France during the D-Day invasions. They were tasked with taking out certain key targets to help Allied troops land on the beaches of Normandy the next morning. The book and TV series, "Band of Brothers" tells the story of Easy Company, part of 101st Airborne.


In destroying Poland, France and other countries in Europe, Germany used a military tactic they termed "Blitzkrieg". What is the English term for this?

"Blitzkrieg" or Lightning War saw motorized divisions forge ahead into enemy territory, supported by close air support. This disrupted and disorganized the enemy to such an extent, they could not fight back. It proved very successful.


Often called the "Angel of Death" which Nazi doctor escaped to South America to live out his years after the war?

Jose Mengele was the physician who helped oversee the Auschwitz concentration camp. Known as the "Angel of Death," Mengele would perform experiments on inmates of the camp. Somehow Mengele evaded capture and after the war worked as a farmhand before sailing for Argentina in 1949 on false papers received from the Red Cross.


The Allied invasion of France in 1944 was known as _______?

In order to defeat Hitler, the Allies needed to open a second front against him. This could only be in France. The operation to do this was known as Operation Overlord, and it put troops on the beaches of Normandy.


George Bush, a future US president, served with which branch of the armed forces during World War II?

That's right. George Bush was a pilot in the US Navy air force. And a good one, too. On one mission, despite taking damage from anti-aircraft fire, Bush bombed his target before ditching his plane in the ocean. He spent the next four hours waiting to be rescued.


In 1940, the British Expeditionary force in France retreated to where to be evacuated back to Britain?

The British forces were beaten and in retreat. Upon reaching Dunkirk, they waited for a fleet of British ships to come and rescue them. This included trawlers, fishing boats and many other kinds of civilian vessels. Even though they were defeated, getting 300,000 men back to the United Kingdom was a victory.


True or false: Spain remained neutral during World War II.

Yes, Spain was neutral during the war, although they definitely sided with Germany. Germany had helped General Franco during the Spanish Civil War and it is thought that following the collapse of the third Reich, Spain helped Nazis flee to South America.


True or false: The Battle of Midway was the first loss incurred by Imperial Japanese navy during World War II

After Pearl Harbor, the American Pacific fleet sailed to search for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Their first major battle came at Midway Island and it was a conclusive victory for the US. During the battle, four Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk.


What did the Allied forces commonly call German submarines?

The Allied forces called German submarines U-boats. Why? Well, Germans called them "unterseeboot", or under sea boat. So this was shortened into U-boat by the Allies.


What was the name of the German campaign to invade the Soviet Union?

Originally called Operation Fritz, Barbarossa was unleashed on June 22, 1941. This was despite Germany having a non-aggression pact with Russia. Ultimately, it was a massive mistake and eventually saw Germany fighting on two fronts.


Which army made use of the famous T-34 tank?

The T-34 Tank was the major battle tank in service with the Soviet army. A medium tank, it was introduced in 1940 right until 1958. Over 84,000 were made.


The planned invasion of Great Britain by German was known as Operation Snowball. True or false.

Yes, there was an invasion plan, no it wasn't called Operation Snowball. It was known as Operation Seelowe or, in English, Operation Sea Lion. German troops would be taken across the channel by barges once the Royal Air Force had been defeated. That never happened.


William Hitler, a relative of Adolf Hitler, served during the war for which country?

William Hitler was the son of Adolf Hitler's half-brother, Alois. His mother was Irish and he was born in Liverpool. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1944 and saw out the war, remaining in service until 1947.


Who was the British prime minister at the start of World War II?

Neville Chamberlain was the British Prime Minister at the outbreak of World War II. Just a few short years earlier, he had visited Hitler and returned from Munich promising "peace in our time".


The Battle of Kursk during the German invasion of the Soviet Union is noted for what?

The Battle of Kursk took place from July 5, 1943 to August 23, 1943. It began with a German offensive and led to a massive Soviet counter-attack. At the time, both the Germans (over 3,000) and the Soviets (over 5,000) made heavy use of tanks during the battle.


The Royal Air Force counted among their numbers a pilot with no legs. What was his name?

Douglas Bader had lost his legs in the early '30s in a flying accident. With war looming, he proved his worth and returned to active service. Bader shot down over 20 German planes before he collided with a German plane over France in 1941 and spent the rest of the war in captivity.


World War II ended with the surrender of Japan. This became known as V-J day. What date was it?

After the United States dropped two atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August, Japan's surrender followed soon after on August 14, 1945. The surrender terms were only signed in September, however.


On what day did Hitler commit suicide in 1945?

Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun, committed suicide on April 30, 1945 with Russian forces within a kilometer of his bunker. Braun took a cyanide pill while Hitler shot himself. It is often disputed whether he took a cyanide pill as well. Their bodies were taken outside and burned as was his instruction.


Can you name the French leader at the time France declared war on Germany?

Albert François Lebrun was the president of France from 1932 to 1940. After the fall of France in 1940 to the Germans, he spent time in captivity. At the liberation of France, he thought he would be made president again, as he had never resigned. This never happened and he died in 1950.


How many people died in total during World War II, military and civilian alike?

Unbelievably when you add military as well as civilian deaths during World War II, the tally reaches 64 million people. That is more than the amount of people who live in the United Kingdom today. Certainly very scary figures.


The official start date for World War II is?

World War did start in 1939. On September 3 to be exact. This is the date that both France and England declared war on Germany for their invasion of Poland, an act they always said was likely to lead to war. And they stayed true to their word.


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