Here is the final part of my Takes that talk about famous WWII soldiers. This Take will feature 3 Soviet figures. I'm not praising the Soviet Union; the Soviet Union was a cruel regime that oppressed many people. The Soviet Red Army is known to have committed a lot of atrocities in WWII, they committed rapes, murdered civilians and mistreated prisoners of war. They were just as bad as the Nazis and Unit 731. I'm not praising the Nazis, Soviets or any war crimes of any country during the war. This take is just for educational purposes. Most of the figures in this take are heroes though.
1.) Vasily Zaytzev
Famous Soviet sniper in WWII; he killed more than two hundred enemy soldiers including 11 enemy snipers. The movie "Enemy at the Aates" is loosely based on this man's experiences in the war. It's not known if he committed any war crimes. He survived the war and passed away in the same year the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. He was 76 years old.
2.) Konstantin Rokossovsky
A Soviet marshal of Polish ancestry that commanded some soviet soldiers during WWII. He also participated in WWI and the Russian civil war. He was arrested by the NKVD (infamous Soviet secret police) in the late 1930s because he was accused of having connections to foreign intelligence and sabotage. He suffered torture; he had his fingernails pulled off, his fingers broken, he was beaten, he had his ribs cracked and he experienced mock executions from his NKVD captors. He was eventually released for unknown reasons. In WWII he won a lot medals and participated in major battles. He survived the war and lived to the age of 71. He passed away in 1968.
3.) Georgy Zhukov
A Soviet Marshal that participated in WWI, the Russian civil war and WWII. He participated in the major battles of the Eastern front. Unlike the majority of the Soviets, he had respect for the Germans; he knew that not all Germans were Nazis. He helped improve the living conditions of Germans in Berlin and told his subordinates to "Hate nazism but respect the German people". He was a Christian Orthodox and he lived to the age of 77. He passed away in 1974.
4.) Andrey Vlasov
There were many Russians that opposed the Soviet Union, specifically some of the Cossacks. There were Russians that defected to Germany to join the Wehrmacht and these Russians were known as the Russian liberation army. They were lead by a Russian named Andrey Vlasov; Andrey was a former Red army General. Towards the end of the war he along with the Russian Wehrmacht betrayed the Germans and tried to help the Soviets.
The Soviets arrested Andrey and executed him along with most of the Russian Wehrmacht soldiers since they were considered traitors. Some of those Russian Wehrmacht soldiers managed to escape into American occupation zones. Andrey was 44 years old when he was executed in 1946. As for the Cossacks, the British repatriated them to the Soviet Union in an event known as the "Betrayal of the Cossacks". Those Cossacks were either imprisoned or executed by the Soviets.
5.) Sessue Hayakawa
A Japanese-American actor that played a small role in WWII. Before WWII he was an actor, and he faced a lot of bigotry because bigotry was rampant in his days. When he was young, he had some family issues and he nearly committed suicide by stabbing himself in the stomach more than 30 time(he attempted seppuku). His father saved his life, though.
As a quarterback he was penalized for using Jujutsu to bring down a opponent. One day for fun he challenged three bigger men to a fight and he single-handedly subdued all three of the bigger men with his bare hands. The three men were surprised that a smaller man subdued three big "cowboys". He was one of the first male sex symbols in Hollywood. During WWII while in France, he joined the French resistance against the German occupation, and after WWII he continued that be a actor, and he passed away in 1973 at the age of 84.
6.) Agustin Muños Grandes
You already know that the Wehrmacht had many foreign volunteers, The Wehrmacht had a division called the blue division and this division in the Wehrmacht was made of Spanish volunteers. Francisco Franco permitted Spanish men to Join the Wehrmacht. Franco did give a condition, though: He only permitted the Spanish men to fight the Soviets on the Eastern front. He did not allow them to fight the Western allies.
Francisco wanted to repay Hitler for his assistance in the Spanish Civil war. Eventually some of the blue division soldiers were recalled to Spain while the rest were absorbed into other Wehrmacht and Waffen SS divisions. Agustin was the commander of the Blue division and he won the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He was recalled to Spain where was promoted to Lieutenant General. He lived to the age of 74 and passed away in 1970.
7.) Viollete Szabo
A French Woman that first worked in the women's land army and then the British special operations executive. Her last last name is her married last name; she married a Hungarian man named Étienne Szabo who served in the French foreign legion. Her husband Éttiene got killed in action, he never got to see his daughter that he had with Viollete. Viollete accepted a offer to become a Special Operations executive operative because she wanted to avenge her husband's death. She went on some secret operations, on her last mission she was captured by the Germans. It's not known how she was captured but one of the stories is that she didn't give up without a fight; she suffered injuries during her skirmish and she killed some enemy soldiers with her Sten submachine gun.
Eventually she ran out of bullets and two Wehrmacht soldiers restrained her and took her to be interrogated. She was interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo (infamous German secret police). She remained in German captivity until 1945 when she was executed by the SS, she received a gunshot to the back of her head while she knelt. She got killed at 23 years old. While she remained captive, there is no evidence that she was tortured or sexually assaulted but she did suffer mistreatment, though. Sources say that she was only tortured during her interrogation. Viollete's daughter did survive the war. The 2009 stealth video game "Velvet assassin" is loosely based on Viollete Szabo.
8.) Japanese holdouts/Hiroo Onoda
After WWII there were Imperial Japanese soldiers that either didn't know the war ended or refused to surrender because they didn't believe the war ended. These Japanese soldiers are known as holdouts. From 1945-1974 various Imperial Japanese holdouts were discovered. Once they knew the war was over or were convinced that the war over they surrendered, they went on to live normal lives in Japan.
Hiroo Onoda was one of these men. He hid from 1945-1974. After he surrendered in 1975, he returned to Japan and received popularity. He didn't like the popularity. He wrote a autobiography and he moved to Brazil in 1975, in Brazil he raised cattle. He got married in 1976. He died in 2014 at the age of 91 of heart failure. He is the man on the right in the picture, the other guy is a Japanese explorer.
9.) Aaron Bank
An officer in the U.S. army. He worked for the Office of Strategic services. He was in charge of "Operation Iron Cross," which involved a plan to capture Adolf Hitler but the Operation was cancelled. Aaron sent to to the Pacific where he helped Ho Chi Minh fight off the Imperial Japanese army from Indochina. After the war he founded the Green Berets (U.S. Special Forces). Aaron lived to the age of 101, he passed away in 2004.
10.) Benjamin O. Davis Jr.
An African-American Air Force general who commanded the Tuskegee airmen. He saw combat in Tunisia and Italy. His airmen did well against the Luftwaffe. He won various medals and served from 1936-1970 and he also served in the Korean War. Davis lived to be 89 years old; he passed away in 2002. The movie "Red Tails" tells the story of the Tuskegee airmen.
11.) Guy Galbadon
A Mexican-American USMC soldier. When he was 12 years old, he moved out of his home to live with the Japanese-American Nakano family; he learned Japanese and learned about Japanese customs and culture. The Nakanos had a son named Lane Nakano who would enlist in the U.S. Army and be part of the 442nd RCT. Galbadon would battle in the pacific. During the war he would convince Imperial Japanese soldiers to surrender. He won some medals and survived the war. After the war he married a woman of Japanese ancestry; he had children and he lived to be 80 years old. He passed away in 2006.
12.) A Japanese-American man that was part of the U.S. Army.
He was in the 442nd RCT. Not much is known about his military career but he did become a actor after WWII and starred in the movie 1951 "Go for Broke" which is a movie about the 442nd RCT; he played a 442nd RCT soldier in that movie. Many 442nd RCT veterans starred in that movie as well. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 80. His adopted brother was Guy Galbadon.
13.) Wilhelm Spindler
A Wehrmacht soldier that served on the Eastern front, he participated in Operation Barbarossa, invasion of Poland and Yugoslavia. He was a highly decorated soldier. He survived the war and lived to be 83 years old. He passed away in 1997.
14.) George Patton
A U.S. Army General, he served in the Mexican civil war, WWI and WWII. It's rumored that he was racist because he is quoted with having used racial slurs against minorities. He participated in many battles in WWII and he was highly decorated, It's said that he had a lot of respect for the German people. He is also quoted with having said how much he despised the Russians; some people believe that he wanted to go to war with the Soviets after WWII. He suffered a vehicular accident on December 8 1945 in Germany which seriously injured him. He would die of congestive heart failure on December 21st 1945 at the age of 60.
There were many minorities in the U.S. Army during WWII such as Asians (442nd RCT, made of Japanese-American men, the most decorated unit for it's size and length of service in American warfare history) Hispanics (141st regiment of the 36th Texas infantry) and Blacks (Tuskegee airmen, 761st tank Battalion, 452nd anti-aircraft artillery battalion), but they served in segregated units. It wasn't till after WWII that the U.S. Army was desegregated. There were also women who served in the Women's army corps but the women didn't fight battles though, the women's jobs were auxiliary. Japanese-American women that served in the women's army corps, had to translate Japanese military documents.
I hope you enjoyed reading this Take.