A WWII question.

Vladd

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
5,561
England
I recently saw a post on Facebook of WWII facts, it claimed the first American casualty was caused by the Russians and that the first German casualty was caused by the Japanese. Now no details were given and I wondered if anyone here could explain the background to these claims.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,872
Portugal
I recently saw a post on Facebook of WWII facts, it claimed the first American casualty was caused by the Russians and that the first German casualty was caused by the Japanese. Now no details were given and I wondered if anyone here could explain the background to these claims.
That seems more one of those Facebook Face news. And WWII is out of my usual field of readings.

Anyway if true it would be more a curiosity than a relevant issue.

That a USA citizen could fight as a volunteer in Finland and get killed by the Soviets, it is a possibility, if we forget the ones that were in China since 1937, but don’t know if there were casualties there so early.

A German getting killed by a Japanese is something more difficult. The first German casualties were in Poland on the 1st September, 1939. Don’t see how a Japanese would be fighting there.
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,000
Italy, Lago Maggiore
I recently saw a post on Facebook of WWII facts, it claimed the first American casualty was caused by the Russians and that the first German casualty was caused by the Japanese. Now no details were given and I wondered if anyone here could explain the background to these claims.
Don't trust Facebook sources. This is a general rule.

Then, it's probable that Russians caused American casualties [but a few, not that much], but it's really not probable that Japanese caused German casualties.
 

Vladd

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
5,561
England
Well as a rule I don’t trust Facebook but it was an odd claim so I just thought I’d ask.
 
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redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,803
Stockport Cheshire UK
The first American casualties I know of were the American civilians killed when a German U-boat sank the British liner Athenia on the 3rd September 1939.
There were also a number of Americans killed in Japanese bombing attacks in China during 1937 so it is possible that some German civilians were also killed in these attacks, though whether these can be included as WW2 casualties is debatable.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2011
1,304
It's actually quite likely that the Japanese caused the first German casualty as the War in Asia began on July 7th 1937 with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, i.e. more than two years prior to Germany's attack on Poland. The Germans had a significant presence in Nanking, the capital of the Nationalists whom they cooperated with. As the Japanese attack on Nanking saw extremely brutal fighting and one of the heaviest air raids in history to that date, the liklihood that the first German victim of WWII was due to a Japanese attack is quite high.
 
Feb 2019
25
Denmark
It's actually quite likely that the Japanese caused the first German casualty as the War in Asia began on July 7th 1937 with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, i.e. more than two years prior to Germany's attack on Poland. The Germans had a significant presence in Nanking, the capital of the Nationalists whom they cooperated with. As the Japanese attack on Nanking saw extremely brutal fighting and one of the heaviest air raids in history to that date, the liklihood that the first German victim of WWII was due to a Japanese attack is quite high.

Yes, Germany had a lot of military advisers among the Nationalists Chinese then, before their allegiance switched to Japan.

Of course, that all depends on when you set the starting date of World War II: 1939 or 1937.