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Top 10 Mysteries Surrounding World War II

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World War II was a global conflict that involved all of the world’s super powers.  During a time of
war human rights and societal laws become lost, towns are massacred, art houses are looted, and
military figures are assassinated.  The conflicting countries operations and certain war time events
become classified and highly secretive.  This is why many historical gaps and mysteries surround
wars.  Many influential events that occurred during World War II are still shrouded in mystery,
including an outbreak of reported unidentified flying objects.  Bright lights and unexplained
UFO’s became such a regular occurrence during WWII that they were given the name “Foo
Fighters” or “Kraut Fireballs.”  Here is information surrounding 10 of the most widely
documented mysteries of WWII.
   

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10. Centaur CS IV Tanks Discovered

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In 2008, the remains of two rusting tanks were discovered 8 miles off East Wittering, West
Sussex.  After initial photos were taken of the wreckage, World War II and artillery experts
identified the machines as Centaur CS IV tanks.  Centaur CS IV tanks were premiere fighting
machines that were armed with a 95mm howitzer (51 rounds of ammunition).  The CS IV is the
only version of the Centaur known to have seen combat, in service with the Royal Marines
Armoured Support Group.  The vehicles were fitted with wading gear to get them ashore.  They
had waterproofed engine inlets and their covers were fitted to the guns.  In total there were 114
Centaur CS IV tanks produced.
  Historians believe the discovered tanks were part of an 80-strong
contingent that was bound for France on D-Day, but the pair sank in mysterious circumstances.
The discovery of the tanks has puzzled war investigators and increased the number of surviving
Centaur CS IV tanks to four.

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9. Malbork Mass Graves

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Malbork is a town in northern Poland.  During World War II this area of the world was part of
Germany West Prussia.  In recent decades numerous mass graves have been unearthed in the
area.  In January of 2009 a discovery of over 1800 bodies and human remains were discovered in
Malbork.  The first skeletons were found by construction workers.  It was a mystery, but clear
that the victims were subject to a massacre.  They were buried with no clothes and many had
gunshot wounds to the head.  The bodies had been completed raided.  The majority of the
archeologists, scientists, and historians that have studied the site agree that the bodies are
probably German citizens of the town of Malbork that were massacred during the Russian
advance in 1945.  Many of these battles were violent, as the Russian’s murdered and raped any
German citizen in their way.

8. Adolf Hitler’s Art Collections

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Stolen Art

Many international museum displays claim to have Adolf Hitler’s original globe, including
Deutsches Historisches Museum, Märkisches Museum, and the Berlin History Museum, but
German historians claim it is nowhere to be found.  Hitler’s original globe was one of two
special editions manufactured in Berlin during the 1930’s.  It was the size of a Volkswagen,
and more expensive.  It had a wood base that was designed to support it, but custom
furniture stands were made for Hitler.

Another mystery surrounding World War II is Hitler’s art collection. 
Hitler intended on
creating a National Socialist museum of art in the Austrian city of Linz, but towards the
end of the war the Germans destroyed hundreds of sacred pieces of art.  They also
stashed works, and many of these paintings were sold on the black market.  Art
was auctioned off to wealthy buyers and many famous works are still missing to this day.
 

7. Rommel’s Treasure

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Erwin Rommel was perhaps the most famous German Field Marshal of World War II.
In 1944, Allied troops were closing in on Rommel’s Corps and he ordered four SS
divers to bury a German treasure within six steel ammunition boxes.  The treasure is
said to consist of precious stones, gold and silver bullion.  It is apparently located in an
underwater cavern off the eastern coast of the Mediterranean island of Corsica.  In
2007, historians and treasure hunters were focusing on a photo of a German soldier that
contains a written code to the location of Rommel’s treasure.  The investigators are
confident that they are very close to discovering the precise location of the treasure.  To
date there are no records on the recovery of the Rommel treasure.
 

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A Different Nazi Stolen Treasure

6. Velzer Affair

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Hannie Schaft

Earlier this year, the province of North Holland agreed to fund another investigation into the Velzer
Affair, a murky World War II case involving the betrayal of communist resistance fighters and
collaboration with the Nazi occupiers.  Many questions are still swirling around this mysterious
event when many communist resistance activists and advisors were handed over to the Germans
and executed.  The most well known individual case was that of Dutch communist resistance
fighter Hannie Schaft, who was murdered three weeks before the Netherlands was liberated.
Many feel that Velzen's chief of police and several officers collaborated with the Nazis and some
of them were members of the Dutch National Socialist Party (NSB), but nothing has ever been
proven.  People claim that high ranking officials rounded up several left-wing and Communist
resistance fighters and handed them over to the Nazis, in order to ensure that the Dutch society
would run the same as it had before the war.  The Velzer Affair remains an influential and
mysterious war time event. 

5. Battle of Los Angeles

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On February 24 and 25, 1942 unknown and unidentified flying object appeared in the
skies over Los Angeles, California.  It was less than three months after Pearl Harbor and
the U.S. entry into World War II.  The United States military could not identify the
enemy aircrafts, so they opened up with a massive anti-aircraft artillery barrage.  Prior to
the event,
a Japanese submarine I-17 surfaced and fired on an oil production facility
near Santa Barbara
.  This created the repositioning of many military and naval troops on
the western coast of the U.S.  When unidentified objects were reported in the skies
above Los Angles a total blackout was ordered and air raid sirens were set off.
  
 

The 37th Coast Artillery Brigade began firing 12.8-pound anti-aircraft shells at the
objects.  Three civilians died from friendly fire and many buildings were damaged, a
battle was fought in Los Angeles.  
Initially the target of the aerial barrage was thought to
be an attacking force from Japan, but it was later suggested to be imaginary and a case
of war nerves, a lost weather balloon, a blimp, a Japanese fire balloon or a
psychological warfare technique, staged for the benefit of coastal industrial sites,
another common claim in an extraterrestrial craft.  The incident remains a complete
mystery.
 

4. The Death of Subhas Chandra Bose

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Subhas Chandra Bose was a leader in the Indian independence movement.  Bose believed
that tactics of non-violence would never be sufficient to secure India's independence,
and advocated violent resistance.  His stance did not change with the outbreak of World
War II, which he saw as an opportunity to take advantage of British weakness.  With
Japanese assistance he formed many military operations against the British in India.  His
actions during the war have been the cause of many arguments among historians and
politicians.  Some feel he was a Nazi supporter and others claim he was an important
and influential force in India’s move toward independence.  Officially, Bose died in a
plane crash over Taiwan, while flying to Tokyo on August 18, 1945.
  
 

However, his body was never recovered and numerous theories have surfaced
surrounding his survival or execution.  One such claim is that Bose actually died in
Siberia, while in Soviet captivity.  Other people believe that the Hindu sanyasi named
Bhagwanji, who lived in Faizabad, near Ayodhya and died in 1985, was Subhas Chandra
Bose in exile.  However,
the mystery surrounding Bose's death may be solved by 2020
when the British government will release classified documents.
 
  

3. The Amber Room

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One of the biggest mysteries of World War II is the missing treasures of The Amber Room.  The
Amber Room is an 11-foot-square hall consisting of large wall panels inlaid with several tons of
superbly designed amber, large gold-leaf-edged mirrors, and four magnificent Florentine mosaics.
It was arranged in three tiers, the amber contained precious jewels, and glass display cases
housed one of the most valuable collections of Prussian and Russian artwork ever assembled.
Created for Prussia's King Friedrich I and given to Russian czar Peter the Great in 1716, it was
located at Catherine Palace, near St. Petersburg.  In 1941, the Nazis stormed Leningrad and stole
the artifact.  They put it on display in Königsberg Castle during the remainder of the war.
However, in April of 1945, after the German’s surrendered, the treasure was nowhere to be
found.  It has not been seen since.  Although, recent evidence has surfaced that suggests the
underground site of the treasure might have been discovered. 

2. The Flight of Rudolf Hess

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One of the most mysteries incidents of World War II is the flight of Rudolf Hess to
Scotland in 1941.  The event has given birth too many conspiracy theories in England.
Hess
was a prominent figure in Nazi Germany, acting as Adolf Hitler's Deputy to the
Nazi Party.  On the eve of Germany’s declaration of war with the Soviet Union, he flew
solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom, but instead
was arrested.  He was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to life in prison at Spandau
Prison, Berlin, where he died in 1987.  The question quickly arose, why would Rudolf
Hess intentionally fly to Scotland to be arrested?
  
 

It was clear that Hess was attempting to score a diplomatic victory by sealing a peace
between the Third Reich and Britain, but no documental evidence exists that any
member of the British Government gave him any impression that an agreement could be
reached.  There is also no documental evidence that British officials planned on tricking
Hess into making the flight.  The incident could also have been Rudolf Hess’s last effort
to gain the following of England, as he realized that war with Russia would eventually
lead to the end of the Third Reich.  The event remains one of the most documented and
influential mysteries of WWII.
 

1. Foo Fighters or Kraut Fireballs

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The term foo fighter was used by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II to describe
various mysterious aerial phenomena seen in the skies over both the European and
Pacific Theater of Operations.  The first sightings occurred in November 1944, when
pilots flying over Germany reported seeing fast-moving round glowing objects
following their aircraft.  The objects were described as fiery and glowing red, white, or
orange.  Some pilots described them as resembling Christmas tree lights and fireballs, as
big as 300 feet and as small as 1 foot. 
The foo fighters could not be outmaneuvered or
shot down.
  
 

The military took the sightings seriously, suspecting that the mysterious sightings might
be secret German weapons, but further investigation revealed that German and Japanese
pilots had reported similar sightings.  During war time the term foo fighters became
commonly used to mean any UFO sighting.  Many people have speculated
extraterrestrial involvement.  During WWII, these experiences were taken very
seriously.  Accounts of these cases were presented to heavyweight scientists, such as
David Griggs, Luis Alvarez and H.P. Robertson.  The phenomenon was never
explained.  Most of the information about the issue has never been released by military
intelligence.

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Honorable Mention:
Amelia Earhart died on Nikumaroro Island or Saipan?

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While not directly related to the war, Earhart’s disappearance was an international story
during the WWII era.  Nikumaroro
, formerly Gardner Island, is part of the Phoenix
Islands, Kiribati, in the western Pacific Ocean.  It is a remote area with a large central
marine lagoon.  Amelia Earhart was a noted American aviation pioneer who set many
international flying records. 
During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of
the globe in 1937, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean.  The cause of her
death and location of her plane’s crash has always been a mystery.
  
 

In 2007, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery did a study and
archeological dig on Nikumaroro.  Many artifacts were discovered, but the most
interesting was a brass zipper.  Discoverers claim that Amelia Earhart crashed on or
close to Nikumaroro and spent her last days there.  They claim that the zipper dates from
1930’s America and is fitted for woman’s clothing, other artifacts that speak of an
American woman in her 30s were discovered.  Other claims have been made that
Earhart was taken prisoner by the Japanese and taken to the Island of Saipan where
she was executed.  During the battle of Saipan, American soldiers reportedly
found evidence of Earhart's existence on the island. 
 

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Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted September 17, 2009