When people discuss WWII, they stick to the basics (Pearl harbor, USA vs Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan) but they leave out the details. Most kids think that whatever they see in Call of Duty is what WWII was really like. People forget about some notable figures.
I'm writing this Take because high schools don't have enough time to teach students too much trivia about WWII. So students only know the basics. Here are some people only history buffs might know about. Please note that any mention of the Third Eeich is not meant to glorify the Nazis; I'm not praising the Nazis. I'm only sharing facts for educational purposes. I kindly ask that people refrain from praising the Third Reich in the comments, and not everything in this Take has to do with the Nazis. All of this info is from reliable websites.
1.) Simo Häyhä
Nicknamed "White Death," he was a Finnish sniper in WWII. He was short, only 5'3", but don't let his small size fool you because he was very dangerous. He killed 505 Soviet (Russian) soldiers with his rifle during the winter war (the most confirmed sniper kills anyone has had so far in a major war). No the picture is not distorted, Simo suffered a facial injury from a explosive bullet. He was known for keeping snow in his mouth to avoid having his position given away by his breath. He ended up surviving WWII and he lived to the age of 96; he passed away in 2002.
2.) Daniel Inouye
A Japanese-American soldier that fought during WWII. He was short, 5'5," but again don't let his small size fool you because he was a great soldier. He was part of the 442nd RCT https://www.the442.org , a regiment made of Japanese-American soldiers during WWII. This regiment is known for being the most decorated unit in U.S. Army history; some people believe that the 442nd RCT would have won even more medals if there was no bigotry against Japanese-Americans during WWII. Thankfully, nowadays Japanese-Americans and minorities don't suffer bigotry anymore. Daniel participated in the rescue of the lost battalion, a group of White U.S. Soldiers that were trapped behind enemy lines. The rescue was successful.
At one point, while leading a attack, he was struck by a bullet in his chest above his heart but the bullet was stopped by two silver dollars he had. On a separate occasion, he got shot in the stomach but ignored his injury and went on to clear a German machine gun nest with his submachine gun and grenades after that he went on to clear a second machine gun gun nest. He collapsed of blood loss. He crawled to to clear the final bunker, he was about to throw a grenade but his right arm got shot which almost severed it. He used his left hand to get the grenade from his maimed right arm and threw into the bunker, destroying it.
He kept going and took out more German resistance with his submachine gun and he got wounded (shot) in the leg and lost consciousness as he tumbled down a ridge. His platoon picked him up and took him to a military hospital were his injured right arm had to be cut off. He remained a soldier until 1947, after the war he became involved in politics, he remained U.S. Senator of Hawaii from 1963 until his death in 2012 at the age of 88. He won some medals during his service and he got awarded the Medal of Honor in 2000.
3.) Otto Skorzeny
This man was called "the most dangerous man in Europe." He was an Austrian lieutenant in the Waffen SS and his physical appearance made him look like a James Bond villain. He was a big man, 6'4," and had a scar on his face. He wanted to join the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) but couldn't join because he was too tall and not young enough; he was 31 years old. He fought battles in the Eastern front, the Netherlands, France and the Balkans. He did have involvement in some German military operations. He is famous for rescuing Benito Mussolini who was overthrown and imprisoned.
After the war, he surrendered to the allies. He was imprisoned and was acquitted for war crimes during Operation Greif. Since his release was delayed, he decided to escape. He moved to Spain and then to Egypt. In Egypt he recruited former Wehrmacht and Waffen SS officers to train the Egyptian army. After his time in Egypt, he was recruited by Mossad (Israeli intelligence agency) and he also traveled to Latin America. He founded the anti-communist "paladin group". Otto ended up passing away in 1975 from lung cancer. I'm not glorifying Otto. I'm just sharing trivia.
4.) Chiang Wei-Kuo
A Chinese man that went to Germany and joined the Wehrmacht (German army). He learned German tactics and strategies, and he got alpine warfare training and performed well which got him a Gebirgsjäger (German mountain troops) Edelweiss sleeve insignia. He commanded a Panzer unit during the annexation of Austria. He was a good marksman since pictures of him show him wearing a badge of marksmanship.
He was going to participate in the invasion of Poland but was recalled to China. Due to what he learned in Germany, he did well in the Chinese civil war as he scored some victories against Mao Zedong's troops. After WWII he continued his military career and became involved in politics. He got married to a half Chinese, half German woman and had a son. Chiang Wei Kuo died in 1997 of kidney failure at the age of 80.
5.) Gert Fröbe
To most people, he might be recognized as the guy that played Goldfinger in the James Bond film Goldfinger. What most people may not know is that he joined the Nazi party in 1929 when he was 16 years old but left the Nazi party in 1937. He helped two German Jews by hiding them from the Gestapo. In 1944 he was drafted into the German army until the war ended and after the war, he gained fame by being a actor; the movie Goldfinger was banned for a while in Israel until a Jewish family thanked Gert for saving their lives.
6.) Eric Pleasants
This man is interesting because he was an Englishman that defected to Germany during the war after missing his boat off Jersey. He was a boxer, wrestler and a showman weightlifter. He joined the Waffen SS, he boxed exibition bouts against Max Schmeling. In 1945, he deserted the Waffen SS and hid for a while. He ended up killing two Russian soldiers with his bare hands. Eventually he was captured by the Russians in 1946 and was repatriated to England in 1952. The British didn't take action against him because "he was thought to have suffered enough," so they let him have his freedom. Eric passed away in 1998.
7.) Max Schmeling
A German boxer that had a successful career. He had 70 fights and won 56 of them, had 4 draws and only 10 losses. He is known for boxing an African American boxer known as Joe Lewis twice; he beat Joe once but Joe beat him the second time. Max Schmeling saved the lives of two Jewish Children in 1938, and he had a friendship with a Jewish fight promoter named Joe Jacobs. Hitler was displeased with this relationship and asked Max to terminate this friendship with Jacobs. Schmeling refused and was punished by being drafted into the German army as a paratrooper.
He participated in the battle of the Crete but was wounded from mortar fire shrapnel in his right knee and was considered unfit for service. After the war, he worked for the Coca Cola offices in Germany. He then owned his own bottling plant and managed to acquire a executives position with the company. He became friends with his former rival Joe Lewis. In 1989 one of the two Jewish children thanked Max for saving the lives of him and his brother. Max passed away in 2005 at the age of 99.
8.) Hans J. Massaqoui
This man was half black and half German, he lived in Germany during the Third Reich and faced bigotry during that period. He had a German girlfriend but had to keep the relationship secret due to the cruel Nuremberg laws that sadly banned interracial relationships. After the war he came to the United States, served in the U.S. Army for two years and then became a journalist. He passed away in 2013. He is survived by his two sons.
9.) Werner Goldberg
A half Jewish half German Wehrmacht soldier who took part in the invasion of Poland. After WWII started, Werner's picture appeared on a newspaper that had the caption "The ideal German soldier". In 1940, Werner was expelled from the army under Hitler's orders that forbade "mischlinge" (mixed blood) from being in the German army (the Nazis used the term Mischlinge to classify half Jewish, half German people). Werner ended up surviving the war and passed away in 2004 at the age of 84.
10.) Emil Maurice
A half German, half Jewish man who was a member of the SS and one of Hitler's chauffeurs. Before Emil became part of the SS, Heinrich Himmler did not want him in the SS because Emil was part Jewish. Hitler asked Himmler to make a exception for Emil. Hitler had been friends with Emil since 1919, so Emil was classified as an "honorary Aryan" and allowed to stay in the SS. Some sources say that he was one of the founders of the SS. Emil managed to survive the war and passed away in 1972 at the age of 75 in Munich.
11.) Nobou Fujita
Most people think that Pearl Harbor was the only part of the U.S. that got attacked. What most people don't know is that Oregon got attacked and the islands of Kiska and Attu which are part of Alaska got occupied by the Japanese from June 6 1942 through July 28 1943. The man that bombed Oregon was a Japanese pilot named Nobou Fujita, though the bombings caused only minor damage. The submarine that launched Fujita's plane sank two U.S. Ships and one Soviet ship during retreat.
After the war, Fujita opened a hardware store in Ibaraki. In 1962 he was invited to Brookings, he was planning on committing seppuku (ritualistic suicide) if Oregon gave him a hostile reception, but Oregon gave him a hospitable reception; that town in Oregon treated him with respect. He gave his family's 400 year old sword to the city of Brookings as a sign of friendship and because he felt sorry for bombing Oregon. Since he was thankful for the welcome he received, he invited three female students to Japan 1985. He continued to visit Oregon in the 1990s and and planted a tree at the bomb site as a sign of peace, and he became a honorary citizen of Brookings. Fujita died in 1997 at the age of 85, and in 1998 his daughter buried some of Fujita's ashes at the bomb site in Oregon.
12.) Minorities in the Wehrmacht
Hitler started getting desperate when he was losing the war, so he allowed foreign volunteers from other European countries, Middle East, Asia. It's rumored that there were some blacks in the German army as well.
Now you know more figures of WWII. There are many more but there isn't enough room on this Take to mention them all.