People Share The Most Interesting WWII War Stories Their Family Members Told Them
Do you have a relative who fought in the deadliest conflict in human history?
World War II raged for close to 6 years, with over 30 years of political turmoil in central and western Europe leading up to a massive war that destroyed so much history throughout the earth. The eastern front in Asia, led by Japan, and the western front in Europe, led by Nazi Germany, ravaged humankind to their very core.
Family members who fought in this difficult piece of history no doubt have seen far too much for one lifetime.
Redditors whose father, grandfather or great grandfather fought in WWII, what is their most interesting war story they've told you?
Here were some of those stories.
The Terrors Of The South PacificGiphy
What's more interesting is what they DIDN'T say.
On the 4th of July, we were never allowed to have fireworks at my cousin's farm. We'd hang out all day and we didn't go into town for anything - my cousins had never even been to a parade. This was in a place and time where EVERYONE had firecrackers.
Because my uncle, who had served in the South Pacific, couldn't be around fireworks. If he heard a bang, including a car backfiring, he hit the deck before he even knew he'd heard a noise.
It wasn't slow like a tree falling - it was more like he was instantly down flat, almost pressed down to get UNDER the dirt. He also came back with his hair pure white and an understanding of basic Japanese. My dad, all my uncles, everyone had served in WWII, but he was the one left with this reflex. I asked my mom about it.
Me, about age 9: Wow. I guess that's how he stayed alive.
My mom: Oh, no, he was never anywhere near combat. They teach them that in basic training.
Me: Um, how do you know he never was in combat?
My mom: He told us in his letters. He was never in danger.
She is now 90 and she still believes her brother was never in combat.
Well, not a typical war story, but here it is. My Dad was reported MIA in the Battle of the Bulge. My Grandfather had a "nervous breakdown" and went to Canada for a rest cure. Came back with a mistress, moved her into the family home, with my Grandmother & Aunt. My Dad was found relatively unharmed. The mistress stayed. NO ONE talked about it. She became an unofficial "aunt" while I was growing up. I didn't figure it out until I was much older. Good times, eh?
The Truest Terrors Of War
Context: The Netherlands (neighbor of Germany)
My grandmother worked as a nurse, during the war. She was engaged to a man who was drafted. At some point during the war, everyone lost contact with her fiance and presumed him dead. A year after the war, my grandma was engaged to another man, when her first fiance suddenly came knocking on her door. She decided to stay with her current fiance, who became my grandfather.
She never actually told me this, I had to hear it from aunts and uncles after she passed away. The war was very traumatising for her. She had to flee north with patients as the Germans invaded from the south.
Before that, her youngest brother was one of the first in the country to be sent in front of a shooting squad for rebellious acts (the youngest of the eighteen dead), after telling his father all would be fine because he was too young and to not cover for him. He knew he'd be murdered while writing that letter and my great grandfather never forgave himself for that. They stole fireworks from the Germans.
Her other brother died due to pneumonia, after being put in the halls of the hospital because there weren't enough rooms to hold all the patients.
My grandma lost a lot in the war.
A Reason To Fight
Maybe not war story, but happened in WWII regardless.
TLDR: Grandfather was deployed in Europe and met my grandmother. The two sent letters back and forth and the guys in the mail room edited them to look like they both liked each other. My grandfather proposed after a year into this. She said yes.
Long story: So my grandparents are both very old. They were young but of age at the time of WWII. My grandfather is an American man and could've been the poster child for the typical all-American. He joined the army in WWII and was deployed in Europe. My grandmother was born and raised in Southwestern Germany. Lived in a beaten up town from bombings but still had a house standing.
My grandfather was off on a motorcycle trip through the country side and stopped in my grandmother's town. He came to like her and continued to stop by. Later on, the war ended and he was sent back to America. My grandmother remained in Germany. The two mutually agreed to send letters back and forth. While my grandfather still remained in the army, all mail went through the mailroom. Well they sent love letters for a while and his buddies in the mailroom saw them. After a long time of this, my grandmother had enough of my grandfather and sent him the "go away" letter. The buddies in the mailroom started editing the letters between the two.
Once again, a long time passed and this continued to go on and my grandfather went back to Southwestern Germany to propose to my grandmother. He had a round trip ticket for himself and a one way to the US. Needless to say, my grandmother was very surprised when he showed up. Things slowly unfolded and she said yes. She packed up her belongings (which weren't much because of the war) and flew back to the US. The two married, had the buddies in the mailroom become groomsmen, and settled in a city. They have been married for over sixty years and still live in America today.
The Most Infamous Battle Of The WarGiphy
My step grandfather spent some time in North Africa and was in Normandy. He was part of a crew on a half track. They saw a lot of action. They used molotov cocktails against tanks because they didn't have much firepower to knock them out. They would throw the molotov cocktail on the tank and catch it on fire, then shoot the crew when they tried to escape.
They caught a bunch of Germans in a staff car and took them out. Another time a sniper was shooting from a brick building. Their bullets weren't having much effect and so they just rammed the building to eliminate him.
His tour came to an end when they were engaged by a 88 cannon in France during the breakout from Normandy. They had seen them in North Africa and knew that they were very accurate. They would first fire 2 shots. One to get the range, another to get the angle ( left/right ). The third shot would be dead on.
So they saw the first two shots and knew that they would not make cover before the 3rd. So they stopped the halftrack. 4 of the guys took cover under the halftrack, he dove into the ditch. The 4 guys under the halftrack died. He woke up a week later, naked, in a hospital in England.
Precursor To Pearl Harbor
My grandfather was in the Navy and was stationed on the U.S.S. Indianapolis. He was part of the group of soldiers that got off in Guam 2 days before the ship was sunk by the Japanese. He never really talked about it, as pretty much all of his friends in the Navy died on that day.
A Slice Of Life In The Darkness
He didn't fight, but my grandpa was a child in Germany at the time. One of my favorite stories from his is at the end of the war, US troops were heading past his family's farm. Some of the group broke off and came to the house. They didn't speak German, and none of his family spoke English. Eventually they figured out the troops wanted milk. They handed over a decent amount. And the troops took it back to the rest of the group.
They kind of stood around with it for a bit, and eventually brought whatever it was in back to the house, and started passing drinks out. They took the milk to make chocolate milk for all the kids on the farm.
Mismanaged Pain Medicine
Not a relative of mine, but I met a man who stormed Omaha Beach and was a main advisor to Spielberg for Saving Private Ryan. He got shot in the face and several other places on his body by an ambushing machine gun.
Interestingly, the little morphine shots they had irl were slightly less than a lethal dose, so two of them would kill you. In the film, when they give the medic a second shot of morphine, it's the morphine that kills him.
Begone Ye Pestilents
My grandfather was in the Eight Air Division in WWII. He flew close to 30 missions in B-17s. His most notable mission was in 1944 when he and his crew were shot down over north-eastern France. According to a current map it was somewhere between Metz, FR and Luxembourg City, LX.
He said they crash landed in a field and one of his crew members was killed by a German farmer with a pitch fork. They spent a few days avoiding capture by Nazi soldiers by hiding in the woods. At some point they came across a skirmish between Americans and Nazis. They hid in the forest and only came out in the morning after all the fighting had stopped for awhile.
He told me that they figured out who was fighting the night before by inspecting the bodies. There were numerous dead Nazis but no dead Americans. He told me that at this point in the war, Nazis were not diligent about taking home their dead, but the Americans were.
People from a nearby village apparently came out and found my grandpa with his crew in a field full of dead Nazis. They asked if they had killed all those Nazis by themselves and my grandpa said "of course we did".
I think it took them about a week after crashing to come across Allied soldiers and get rescued.
I wish I could remember more details but the last time he told me that story was over ten years ago, shortly before he died.
The Memory Does Live OnGiphy
My grandfather was an officer in the US 103rd Infantry Division - known at that time as the Timberwolves. They fought in Normandy, and went on to help liberate Belgium and the Netherlands.
Forty years later, in the 1980s, my grandfather was riding around the Netherlands with my uncle (who lived there at the time). At one point, south of Utrecht, my grandfather started giving my uncle directions on where to go:
Turn right here...
I think we take the third left, yes....
Keep on this road until we get to a village...
OK. Stop by the building on this corner.
They got out of the car, and my grandfather explained. "Nobody remembers this. My troops came in and retook this village under heavy fire from the Nazis. It was the worst combat we had seen since the invasion. I lost my First Officer to enemy fire. Nobody remembers this. Nobody cares anymore."
My uncle's girlfriend looked up, and pointed out the name of the street that they had stopped on: "Timberwolfstraacht." The sign even noted that it was dedicated to the battle, and noted the date of the liberation.
History is made on a daily basis.
Indeed, there is little more exciting than having witnessed the accomplishments of people like Barack Obama, Stacey Abrams, and Greta Thunberg knowing that they have firmly reserved a space for themselves in history books.
Of course, most of the people who paved the way to make the world what it is today have long since passed away.
Not all of them, though!
It may surprise you to learn that there are people who made an indelible impression on history who are still much alive today.
Some of whom even continue to make a difference to this very day
Redditor enginearz was eager to hear about historical figures people were surprised to learn were still alive, leading them to ask:
"What famous person from history is still alive?"
Forever Leaving His Name In Science
"He's the only currently living man with an element on the periodic table named after him."- snowflake247
Quite The Story To Tell
"Last human to hold the title of Tsar, as leader of the Kingdom of Bulgaria."
"He was exiled along with his family when the Soviets invaded Bulgaria in 1944."
"In 1990, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Simeon returned from exile to Bulgaria and July 2001, was democratically elected prime minister."
"The private citizen is now 85."- DirectionNew5328
Making Nature Cool For Decades
"David Attenborough."- random_username_96You Can Do It Uoftartsci GIF by U of T Faculty of Arts & ScienceGiphy
The Fought For Freedom And Justice
"The last surviving airman of the battle of Britain."
"He is 103 years old."
"He helped with the liberation of Auschwitz."
"He is 99 years old."
"He was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials."
"He is 102 years old."- Ashtar-the-Squid
"The last living member of the german anti-nazi resistance group 'White Rose".
"Most well-known members were the sibling Sophie and Hans Scholl, who were executed by the Nazis when they were identified."- ChrisTinnef
The One Who Made One Giant Leap For Mankind
"Buzz Aldrin, and I’m not even American."- mukaltinState Of The Union Salute GIF by MSNBCGiphy
Opening Doors For So Many Others
"She was one of the first black kids to go to an all-white school."
"There is a famous picture of that first day."- mumwifealcoholic
He Continues To Surprise Us
"Ozzy Osbourne."- CaptinDerpI
Admirably Defying So Many Odds
"98 years old."- Back2BachJimmy Carter Drilling GIF by GIPHY NewsGiphy
We've Still Got Two Out Of Four
"Paul and Ringo"- HMKingHenryIX
Inching Close To The Big One Double Oh...
And Still Practically Perfect In Every Way
"Julie Andrews."- aslrulesjulie andrews snap GIFGiphy
Who Could Forget About Dick Van Dyke ?!?!?!?!
"Everyone just forgetting about Dick Van Dyke, he's like 97 and still going."
"If you've never heard of him, he played in Marry Poppins, along with a bunch more movies"- Longjumping_Drag2752
And Still Stunning
"Sophia Loren is still kicking."- The_REAL_McWeasel
Continuing To Go Where No Man Has Gone Before
"William Shatner doesn't look it but that dude is in his 90s wtf."- flubberF*ckWilliam Shatner Fun GIF by Shark WeekGiphy
Perhaps what's most admirable, is that even when these astonishing people do eventually pass, they will continue to live on and change the world with the remarkable work they did.
We all indulge in fast food from time to time.
Even if we know what we're eating isn't exactly healthy, sometimes the salty, fatty mass-produced food is the only thing we want.
Resulting in our making weekly, if not daily, visits to a nearby chain.
Then, of course, there are the chains that we make every effort to avoid.
We've likely tried places at least once simply because everyone is always talking about them.
But after having one bite, we have trouble seeing exactly what all the fuss was about and vow to never return.
Even if it might be the only option at a rest stop or even the only available food for miles, we instead opt to wait and be hungry.
Redditor BungOnMimosas was curious to hear what people considered to be the most overhyped fast food chains around, leading them to ask:
"What do you think are the most overrated fast-food chains? Why?"
"Food As It Should Be"... Or Not...
"I know it's not technically 'fast food', but Panera Bread pisses me off."
"Insanely expensive for extremely average food." - Reddit
"Their quality has decreased so much in the past few years and they’ve added weird sh*t to their menu like pizza and chicken sandwiches."
"Massive identity crisis and crap food."- asm233
Things Ain't What They Used To Be...
"All of them, now that they charge real restaurant prices."- P00pf4rt5
"As much as I hate to say it, McDonald's is the only place that I can think of that the quality hasn't changed much."
"I mean, that's a pretty low bar, but it is what it is."- gnatman66happy ronald mcdonald GIF by McDonald's CZ/SKGiphy
"The majority of them, especially the really big ones (McDonald's, Wendy's, BK, Pizza Hut, etc)."
"The prices are no longer fast food prices and the quality is not there like it used to be."
"Far better local options that cost roughly the same at the end of the day."- senorita_diablo
Consistency Is Key...
"You can go to the same location three separate times, have the food made by the same staff, and receive 3 wildly different results."- AndrewLampart
Not So Popular Anywhere, It seems...
"KFC in France became so bad."- SterBout
"KFC."- calm4ufried chicken animation GIF by octavioterolGiphy
Likely Won't Go National...
"Idk how wide spread they are, but in the Buffalo NY area there is a chain called Mighty Taco."
"They were even voted best tacos a few years ago."
"It is absolutely terrible food."
"I’ve tried to like it and given them 3 chances."
"Each time I couldn’t eat more than a couple bites."
"Absolutely terrible and I’m disgusted even thinking about their sour vomit in a tortilla."- aa-2020
"I think I’ve answered this question before but definitely for me, it’s Subway."
"Nothing but a giant hunk of bread."
"I’m editing this to add that part of my anger about Subway is how good it used to be."
"I can remember the days of nearly a whole can of tuna salad delicious sub."
"And a Veggie sub with Swiss cheese and piles of yummy veggies and the sweet Vidalia onion sauce."
"It’s all gone to sh*t."
"I would’ve been perfectly OK with increasing price but the big drop in quality pissed me off."
"Oh woe is me with my first world problems."- Mysterious-Region640football ok GIF by Subway ColombiaGiphy
Quantity Doesn't Guarantee Quality...
"Starbucks is a scam."- cmkeller62
Tasty, But Not Worth It...
"I’m going to say Five Guys."
"Not because the food isn’t good, but because I’m not paying $20 for a burger meal."- 2PacTookMyLunchMoney
"Dairy queen grill and Chill for sure."
"I worked at one for a lil' while and 1 burger combo is $14.56 CAD."- lolidk13Ice Cream Miracle Treat Day GIF by Children's Miracle Network HospitalsGiphy
And Not In A Good Way...
Big Kahuna Burger, it kills you."-Darklock2022
No two people have the same taste in food.
Some people know to avoid crappy food, while others eat literally nothing else.
There are several movies I've watched so many times I think the viewings outnumber the days I've lived.
And much like a favorite tv series or movie, who wouldn't love to start again anew?
Experiencing that first time but with that feeling of... "I'm gonna love this forever."
We never appreciate the first time enough.
But that's life.
Warning: there are spoilers below.
Redditor Jacale1 wanted to discuss all the movies we wish we could experience new all over again, so they asked:
"What is one movie that you wish you could watch again for the first time?"
There are a lot of mystery movies I'd love to redo, just to figure out the killer sooner.
Gasps!Raining The Shawshank Redemption GIFGiphy
"The Shawshank Redemption."
"A great nominee. Will never forget gasping when that rock went through the poster, and again when the warden pushed his arm through and ripped it down.... wow."
Over and Over
"Edge of Tomorrow."
"Is it bad that I got enjoyment knowing Tom Cruise died a lot in that movie. Never on screen, but it happened. Over and over. I hate that guy. How the hell was he the same height as Nichole Kidman in the movies they acted in together. Rhetorical question."
"Honestly the whole reason I watched the movie to begin with is that he kept dying over and over."
“'Stardust'- if you don’t know you’ll never know."
"I’m surprised that a fantasy romcom can be so enjoyable, for a straight guy. It’s just the right balance between fantasy, comedy, drama, and romance. Most of the female cast are very easy on the eyes too."
"I swooned when Yvaine glows while dancing on the ship, and when she talks emphatically to the mouse in the caravan. This movie has a lot of A listers, and they deliver. I’m not gonna lie, I have probably watched it half a dozen times."
"The book has so much more in it, even having seen the movie you'll feel like a child again."
"I watched this with my wife, who has never seen it, and that's about as close as you can get to watching it for the first time. It really displayed just how good the movie is. Also I love Aliens just as much for different reasons."
"Came here looking for this! I watched it for the first time with my dad when I was 11, and it’s one of my favorite childhood memories. Amazing movie."
Hey Arnoldsci-fi GIFGiphy
"I first watched this as a kid when I knew Arnold was the good guy in movies, and I had not seen T1. I wish I watched T2 for the first time after having watched T1. The mall scene would have been even more mind blowing."
T2 was definitely bada**!! I'd redo that.
"Bro, I'll go further. If I could watch the Nicholson covered in blood scene or the final scene between Damon and Wahlberg, I would be so freaking happy. The sheer acting clout on display for the first is near a masterclass while the last scene was just so business like, I'd love to relive that scene with fresh eyes. I love this freaking movie."
"The original Star Wars. Man, that blew our minds! It totally changed movies from then on. We'd never seen such incredible special effects. The story was so fun and the experience was amazing."
"Even though I’m not a franchise fan, I can get behind this answer. Because when I saw it first run, I was fourteen, and nothing like it had ever been done. I think it was the first movie where the special effects were the movie? Now that’s standard. It’s a reason people see many films now."
"So, for sheer originality, I’d watch it again, but only for the first time. I barely recall the second movie."
"The 6th Sense. I audibly gasped in the theater. All the clues are obvious on rewatch but that first time, before anyone knew M. Knight Shyamalan was a twist guy... wow."
"I never got to see it the first time. My girlfriend at the time (now wife) inadvertently let slip the ending thinking I had already seen it. I have never seen the point in watching it knowing the ending. But I did enjoy The Village."
"I watched it again and it was more of a sad film than a thriller."
"Spirited Away. I was blown away by how beautiful and bonkers it is."
"Saaaaame! Every single Studio Ghibli film, but Spirited Away especially! I’ve still watched it a million times though, and it’s always special. If I’m in a bad mood that film always cheers me up!"
"Also, Avatar-the last air bender. I know it’s not a movie, but I felt like it deserved a mention. I’ve watched the whole thing several times, and it’s always great, but I do wish I could forget it and rewatch it. I’m 35 btw... lol."
Great Scott!Doc Brown Shock GIF by Back to the Future TrilogyGiphy
"Back to the Future."
"I'd love to watch that in the cinemas... Now from the future."
Now I want to go to the movies.
There is no one way to anybody's heart or libido.
Sexy doesn't always have to equal raunchy.
I've known people turned on by music, books, nature, and even funerals (don't ask).
What starts someone's engine is a mystery.
Redditor asexyjohn18 wanted to hear about all the things that get people in the mood, so they asked:
"What is a non sexual trait that turns you on?"
I love a walk. A little strut. Nothing like getting the heart racing.
Tingleshair GIF by SB NationGiphy
"Getting my head scratched or having someone run their fingers through my hair."
"Same. It’s so pleasant when the tingles run down your spine... ;-) "
"When a girl genuinely laughs at jokes I make."
"I remember being on a first date with a beautiful woman and I made a bit of corny joke/comment and she laughed at it. I remember thinking, damn, wait till I get to my good stuff. I did get to my good material apparently as we were married. She gives me as many laughs as I give her."
"Kindness. When I see someone going out of their way to help others for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do… that is some truly attractive vibes."
"Apparently it's vanishing from this world really fast. People who show kindness often end up in losses (of course not everytime but most of the time yes). It really breaks my heart."
"Probably the sexiest thing out there. Someone can be smoking hot, funny, talented, etc. But if they're not kind, they're unattractive."
"Smiling right at me, and men stretching. LAWD HAVE MERCY!!"
"I have trouble smiling at women. Is this a turnoff for them? And ones I like are really hard to smile at. Because I know it's always going to be some really weird big smile if I am crushing which makes me feel like a super duper creep."
SimplicityHappy I Love You GIF by Warner Bros. DeutschlandGiphy
"Sorry if this is too kinky but i like it when they care about me."
"Too far man. You need to rethink your choices."
Sometimes it's all about the heart.
Eye 2 Eyei see you GIF by VH1Giphy
"When a guy explains something to you in a calm and understanding voice. Bonus points for gentle eye contact."
"Being crazily intelligent. Screw dirty talk, I want you to explain some unexplainable s**t in my ear."
"Heck yes. My best connections have been with a philosophy/history professor turned chancellor, an environmental engineer, and a neurosurgeon, all 3 Summa cum laude grads and conference speakers in their fields. The downside to genius though is complete absorption in their fields leaving little time for in person connection."
"Everyone should know how to cook. Hunger knows no gender. I like to eat good food so I learned how to cook. I asked my mom one day and she reacted surprised. She was more than grateful to have an opportunity to teach me the ‘finer’ aspects of cooking, as she called it. Lol. I love food."
"My girlfriend, now wife, likes to jokingly say I got her into bed with a well seasoned steak and homemade fries. I mean we did sleep together almost immediately after we finished dinner so maybe she’s right. That old saying comes to mind. 'The quickest way to the heart is though the stomach.'"
"When I ask my husband for help when I repot my plants and he delicately cleans and moves the leaves. He is a mechanical engineer and he works with huge pieces of industrial equipment, seeing him so tenderly caring for my plants just makes me melt."
Limbs A LotExcited Thomas Lennon GIF by ABC NetworkGiphy
"Men doing intricate work with their hands."
"I second this, also someone who can play guitar/bass real real well... just watching their hands, whoa mama."
Well, it seems that just about anything can get someone in the mood, especially if you're kind, courteous, and especially a good cook.
Anything to add? Let us know in the comments below!