On July 31st, 1940, the chief of general staff, general Franz Halder wrote in his diary:
With Russia smashed, Britain’s last hope would be shattered. Germany then will be master of Europe and the Balkans.
The sooner Russia is crushed, the better. Attack achieves its purpose only if Russian state can be shattered to its roots with one blow. Holding part of country alone will not do. Standing still for the following winter would be perilous. So it is better to wait a little longer, but with the resolute determination to eliminate Russia. This is necessary also because of contiguity on the Baltic. It would be awkward to have another major power there. If we start in May 41, we would have five months to finish the job in. Tackling it this year still would have been the best, but unified action would be impossible at this time.
Object is destruction of Russian manpower. Operation will be divided into three actions:
First thrust: Kiev and securing flank protection on Dniepr. Air Force will destroy river crossings. Odessa.
Second thrust: Baltic States and drive on Moscow.
Finally: Link-up of northern and southern prongs.
Successively: Limited drive on Baku oil fields.
It will be seen later to what extent Finland and Turkey should be brought in.
Ultimately: Ukraine, White Russia, Baltic States to us. Finland extended to the White Sea.
I’m currently writing a fiction book on World War II and needed background for various characters, including a specialist in stealth operations. I asked for help in the /r/worldbuilding (PDF) subreddit. So far, nobody answered, but based on 6 likes I assume that people are interested in this question. Below you can find what I found so far.
One British observer recalled the first six OSS operatives in London in early 1943, “arriving like jeune filles en fleur straight from finishing school, all fresh and innocent, to start work in our frowsty old intelligence brothel.”
David W. Hogan, Jr., “US Army Special Operations in World War II”
Another peculiarity that the higher army officials notice is this: The GIs rape German women not only more frequently, but often more violently than they did earlier with the women of their allies in England and France. According to the highest military prosecutor, German victims
* are more often injured,
* beaten to the unconsciousness with fists or weapons,
* more often abused in presence of their husbands and relatives, and
* more often penetrated orally or anally.
You can find more information about the violence of American troops against civilians in Europe here.
When one reads a lot of materials on WWII, you often find the idea that one or more good states (the Allies with exception of the Soviet Union) heroically fought evil Nazis. This idea is wrong, and here is why.
What a man! I have lost my heart! […] If I were Italian, I am sure I would have been with you entirely from the beginning of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passion of Leninism. […]
Your movement has rendered a service to the whole world. The greatest fear that ever tormented every Democratic or Socialist leader was that of being outbid or surpassed by some other leader more extreme than himself. It has been said that a continual movement to the Left, a kind of fatal landslide toward the abyss, has been the character of all revolutions. Italy has shown that there is a way to combat subversive forces.
Winston Churchill on Benito Mussolini and Italian fascism, press statement from Rome (January 20th, 1927)