How much do you know about WWII?

Credit: Robert F Sargent/National Archives and Records Administration/Wikipedia

A new survey by YouGov has shown worrying gaps in our knowledge of WWII despite the anniversaries throughout 2014 commemorating wartime history

D-day Normandy

This year has been a year of wartime anniversaries where the newspapers have been filled with war stories and commemorative events as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Second World War and other landmark anniversaries across Europe such as the centenary of the First World War. Yet a new survey has shown that there are worrying gaps in our knowledge of the war.

Over a quarter of the UK population doesn’t know when the Second World War ended or who was in charge of the Soviet Union during the war.

The survey showed those aged 55 and over are the best informed but those in the age group 25-34 know even less than those in the 18-24 bracket.

The survey was carried out online in association with Antony Beevor, the international bestselling author who has recently written a book on the Second World War, and the Orion Publishing Group to find out just how much we know about the war in a year of anniversaries. It took in 2,074 UK adults aged 18 and over.

Commenting on these findings, Antony Beevor said: ‘There is a popular belief, especially in Germany, that just about the only history taught in British schools is based on the Second World War. The results of this survey hardly bear that out!  Almost half the sample did not know that Neville Chamberlain was prime minister on the outbreak of war in 1939. Over a third of those aged 35 and under thought that the D-Day landings took place in Germany, or couldn’t answer the question, and that comes soon after all the television coverage of the 70th anniversary commemorations in Normandy.”

Check what you know against the full list of questions that were asked in the survey here. Make a note of whether you think each of the statements is true or false and the answers will be revealed afterwards:

1. The D-Day landings of 1944 took place in Germany

2. Adolf Hitler was shot dead by the Allies at the end of the Second World War

3. Italy changed sides during the Second World War

4. Germany’s invasion of France sparked the outbreak of the Second World War

5. The attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 took America into the Second World War

6. Japan was on the side of the Allies in the Second World War

7. Vladimir Lenin was the leader of the USSR (ie the Soviet Union) during the Second World War

8. General Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander of the D-Day landings

9. The Russians seized Berlin in 1945 

Click here to find out the answers. 

We have got some great content on our website to help you brush up your knowledge on the war here:

Find out what happened on D-Day. 

Watch the trailer of the upcoming Benedict Cumberbatch film about the codebreakers at Bletchley Park in the war. 

Read about one of our readers who wrote in to tell us about his experience in the SBS during WWII.

Refresh your knowledge with this timeline of 20th century Britain. 

Related articles

Britain commemorates the 70th anniversary of D-Day
Last WW2 codebreaker from Bletchley Park dies
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