Discussion:
World War Two at the National Air and Space Museum
(too old to reply)
c***@gmail.com
2013-09-28 16:35:15 UTC
Permalink
Hello all,

I volunteer at a museum in Washington DC (if anyone's travels take them there,
please drop me a email and I would love to meet up with you). As part of that
I frequently have two minutes or so of undivided attention from someone aged
10-25 or so. Most of them don't really understand World War Two (I have
gotten questions like 'who were we fighting?', 'who won?', and 'why?' from
visitors.) What should I be emphasizing to them? Right now I try to focus
on the scale of the war, as I think that that is hardest for people today to
understand, but what does the group feel?

One of my favorite ways to try and explain the scale of World War Two to
teenage/20's visitors goes like this: Between September 11th, the war in Iraq,
and the war in Afghanistan the US had a total of around 10,000 people killed
over the past twelve years. That was about the average MONTHLY losses for the
US over their FOUR YEARS in the war. And the US made out the best of any major
country in the war: the Soviet Union's average MONTHLY dead over their four
years in the war was greater than the US's TOTAL dead over the war. The
Soviets dead was something like if the entire current population of Texas
was killed in four years of war.

Many of our visitors now were born after the Cold War- I myself barely
remember it (I was 7 when the Berlin Wall came down)- for whom deaths on the
scale of World War Two are, fortunately for the world, simply
incomprehensible. Something that I thought would be interesting for the group
to discuss is how the popular understanding of WW2 is going to change as a
generation who knows WW2 mostly from terrible Hitler analogies on cable news
and Godwin's Law increasingly takes control. What needs to be remembered
about the war? What lessons should we all hold in our hearts? What should
people who do public history (like me) be emphasizing?

Chris Manteuffel
Mario
2013-09-28 19:43:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
What needs to be remembered
about the war? What lessons should we all hold in our hearts?
What should people who do public history (like me) be
emphasizing?
How easy that a civilized nation can become barbarian.
--
_____
/ o o \
\o_o_o/
Michael Emrys
2013-09-28 20:24:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mario
How easy that a civilized nation can become barbarian.
I am frequently reminded of a line delivered by one of the characters in
the tv series _Northern Exposure_: "We're just monkeys with car keys."
We have developed this extraordinary technology, but often it seems
doubtful that we have evolved the mental and emotional capacities to
cope with it. Thankfully we did not blow up the world during the Cold
War, but it still remains a possibility, one we should not forget.

Michael
Dave Anderer
2013-09-29 20:57:05 UTC
Permalink
First, thanks for you volunteer efforts here. It is an important service.

Young folks today have grown up with Iraq and Afghanistan. I'd
contrast this experience to WWII in the following ways:

* WWII wasn't just being fought over in some foreign country. It was
being fought all over the world - every ocean and every continent (save
one) - at the same time. The entire world was the battlefield.

* If you lived in the US, WWII touched your life every day. It wasn't
just a story on the news. You knew someone who was going into the
military or someone who wasn't coming home. You couldn't buy a new car
- they stopped making them. If you had a car you couldn't buy gas or
tires without a ration. Even if you had money you couldn't buy
foodstuffs like sugar or meat or butter without a ration.

* Almost 1 out of 10 of *all* US citizens were in the military. If
you were 18-35 that didn't mean you were a prime demographic for
marketeers - it meant you were likely going to be drafted.

* It was the last hot war where many US citizens believed that if we
lost the war, we lost the USA. Either we would eventually be invaded,
or at best a lone armed island against the rest of the world.
Michael Emrys
2013-09-29 23:10:32 UTC
Permalink
Almost 1 out of 10 of *all* US citizens were in the military. If you
were 18-35 that didn't mean you were a prime demographic for
marketeers - it meant you were likely going to be drafted.
And yet, the US of all the major belligerents allowed a higher draftable
men in their civilian jobs. The projected number of divisions that the
Army would raise was cut drastically and more than once. But this
allowed the US to serve as the Arsenal of Democracy. Men with the
necessary skills were kept producing enough arms for not only the US
services, but for most of our allies as well. Contrast this with
Germany, which had an enormous army for their national population, but
had severe shortages of many items, especially automotive vehicles. And
in the later years of the war, much of the production was done by slave
labor and was substandard.

BTW, I thought yours was an excellent post that made several salient points.

Michael
Phil McGregor
2013-09-29 23:42:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Emrys
Almost 1 out of 10 of *all* US citizens were in the military. If you
were 18-35 that didn't mean you were a prime demographic for
marketeers - it meant you were likely going to be drafted.
And yet, the US of all the major belligerents allowed a higher draftable
men in their civilian jobs. The projected number of divisions that the
Army would raise was cut drastically and more than once. But this
allowed the US to serve as the Arsenal of Democracy. Men with the
necessary skills were kept producing enough arms for not only the US
services, but for most of our allies as well. Contrast this with
Germany, which had an enormous army for their national population, but
had severe shortages of many items, especially automotive vehicles. And
in the later years of the war, much of the production was done by slave
labor and was substandard.
BTW, I thought yours was an excellent post that made several salient points.
Interestingly enough, the several nations actually demobilized
significant numbers of servicemen during the war when they found that
even their residual, Lend-Lease supported, economies needed more
workers than they had and that the Lend-Lease percentage of their
economic/wartime needs was enough to allow this.

The Russians did (yes, the Russians!), as did the Australians for
certain, and I have a recollection (possibly faulty) that the Brits
did, to a lesser extent than the Russians and us Aussies.

Phil
j***@cix.compulink.co.uk
2013-10-02 21:29:11 UTC
Permalink
I have a recollection (possibly faulty) that the Brits did [demobilise
troops for industry], to a lesser extent than the Russians and us
Aussies.
I've not heard of that, although I'd expect that a few individuals who
turned out to be particularly badly needed back in the factory were
clawed back from the military.

What we did do is (a) conscript a lot of women into industry and (b) put
some male conscriptees into civilian coal mining, rather than the armed
forces. They did not like it at all, but we really needed that coal.
--
John Dallman, ***@cix.co.uk, HTML mail is treated as probable spam.
Phil McGregor
2013-10-03 14:08:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by j***@cix.compulink.co.uk
I have a recollection (possibly faulty) that the Brits did [demobilise
troops for industry], to a lesser extent than the Russians and us
Aussies.
I've not heard of that, although I'd expect that a few individuals who
turned out to be particularly badly needed back in the factory were
clawed back from the military.
What we did do is (a) conscript a lot of women into industry and (b) put
some male conscriptees into civilian coal mining, rather than the armed
forces. They did not like it at all, but we really needed that coal.
The latter may well be what I misremembered!

Phil
Michael Emrys
2013-10-03 21:57:19 UTC
Permalink
...I'd expect that a few individuals who turned out to be particularly
badly needed back in the factory were clawed back from the military.
ISTR reading of a very small number of such cases. I can't remember what
precisely it was that justified their recall, but I think it was
something held to be particularly vital that couldn't be done while they
were in uniform.

Michael
j***@cix.compulink.co.uk
2013-10-06 18:15:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Emrys
ISTR reading of a very small number of such cases. I can't remember
what precisely it was that justified their recall, but I think it was
something held to be particularly vital that couldn't be done while
they were in uniform.
I'd expect that to have happened a few times, just because bureaucracy
is not perfect, and the British way would be to let people go if they
really were very badly needed, after making sure that it wasn't just an
employer trying to avoid inconvenience.
--
John Dallman, ***@cix.co.uk, HTML mail is treated as probable spam.
Don Phillipson
2013-10-07 14:43:15 UTC
Permalink
. . . the several nations actually demobilized
significant numbers of servicemen during the war when they found that
even their residual, Lend-Lease supported, economies needed more
workers than they had . . . . I have a recollection (possibly faulty) that
the Brits
did, to a lesser extent than the Russians and us Aussies.
Documented at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bevin_boys,
about UK conscripts sent to work at coal mines 1943-48 instead of
into the fighting forces. This is really an adjunct to the history of
national conscription (enacted in Britain in 1940, normal in the
USSR since approx. 1930, never in Australia, different again
in the USA as "Selective Service" etc.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Bill Shatzer
2013-10-07 17:57:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Phillipson
Documented at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bevin_boys,
about UK conscripts sent to work at coal mines 1943-48 instead of
into the fighting forces. This is really an adjunct to the history of
national conscription (enacted in Britain in 1940, normal in the
USSR since approx. 1930, never in Australia, different again
in the USA as "Selective Service" etc.)
Australia certainly had conscription during WW2 (the so-called Citizens
Military Forces) although there were teritorial limits on where CMF
conscripts could serve. Those limits were expanded during the course of
the conflict.
Phil McGregor
2013-10-07 23:29:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by Don Phillipson
Documented at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bevin_boys,
about UK conscripts sent to work at coal mines 1943-48 instead of
into the fighting forces. This is really an adjunct to the history of
national conscription (enacted in Britain in 1940, normal in the
USSR since approx. 1930, never in Australia, different again
in the USA as "Selective Service" etc.)
Australia certainly had conscription during WW2 (the so-called Citizens
Military Forces) although there were teritorial limits on where CMF
conscripts could serve. Those limits were expanded during the course of
the conflict.
Indeed, we had had Conscription and/or Compulsory Military Training
since before WW1, since at least 1911, if not earlier.

In 1939 my Dad was briefly conscripted into a Militia (it wasn't CMF
then ... or wasn't called that by most people then ... CMF was in
certainly in use, still, when I was in it at Uni, 1974-75 ... now its
the Army Reserve) in 1939, illegally as it turned out, as, as a small
business owner (sole trader, basically) he was supposed to be exempt
... but it took several (3+ IIRC) months to sort out.

There were, IIRC, around 14 Militia Divisions (not including
independent Brigades, I think) at the height of Australia's WW2
strength, including 2 (IIRC) Armoured Divisions (without tanks, with
improvised armoured cars ... probably more correctly Motorised),
though how well equipped they were I am not sure (given that the
Armoured Divisions didn't have Tanks, and there were shortages of
heavy weapons of all sorts).

I do know that there was at least one 'comb out' in, I think, 1943,
when conscripted militiamen were returned to the war economy because
it was found that labour shortages for internal industrial
requirements couldn't be filled otherwise. There was at least one
other comb out later in the war as well.

I believe the Russians also did comb outs as they found similar
industrial manpower problems ... Lend Lease simply couldn't replace
*everything* they needed.

Phil
Alan Meyer
2013-09-30 02:22:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Anderer
First, thanks for you volunteer efforts here. It is an important service.
Young folks today have grown up with Iraq and Afghanistan. I'd contrast
* WWII wasn't just being fought over in some foreign country. It was
being fought all over the world - every ocean and every continent (save
one) - at the same time. The entire world was the battlefield.
* If you lived in the US, WWII touched your life every day. It wasn't
just a story on the news. You knew someone who was going into the
military or someone who wasn't coming home. You couldn't buy a new car
- they stopped making them. If you had a car you couldn't buy gas or
tires without a ration. Even if you had money you couldn't buy
foodstuffs like sugar or meat or butter without a ration.
* Almost 1 out of 10 of *all* US citizens were in the military. If you
were 18-35 that didn't mean you were a prime demographic for marketeers
- it meant you were likely going to be drafted.
* It was the last hot war where many US citizens believed that if we
lost the war, we lost the USA. Either we would eventually be invaded,
or at best a lone armed island against the rest of the world.
I think those are great answers to a great question. I'll try to add
another answer that may, hopefully, contribute to a larger perspective
on the war for those too young to know much about it.

In 1937 Japan launched a large scale invasion of China. In 1939,
Germany and the Soviet Union had signed a non-aggression pact and
Germany went to war against first one and then another and another and
another European country. By early 1941, fascist governments had been
installed everywhere in Europe except a few small countries. The
greatest land mass on earth, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific
Ocean and beyond, and a high percentage of the people of the earth, were
living under totalitarian regimes that ruthlessly suppressed all human
rights.

I can't think of any war where so much was at stake for so many people
in so many places in the world.

The result was not an unmitigated victory. Totalitarianism survived in
the USSR and was imposed on all of the small countries of Eastern Europe
that the USSR occupied. But the worst regimes were defeated and
destroyed and the threat of foreign conquest was turned back for many
countries.

The world would be a very different place today if the Allies had not
won the war.

Alan
Roman W
2013-10-06 13:59:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Anderer
Young folks today have grown up with Iraq and Afghanistan. I'd
Most importantly: WW2 was morally justified to almost everyone in the
USA. Iraq and Afghanistan wars aren't.

RW
m***@netMAPSONscape.net
2013-10-06 19:43:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roman W
Post by Dave Anderer
Young folks today have grown up with Iraq and Afghanistan. I'd
Most importantly: WW2 was morally justified to almost everyone in the
USA. Iraq and Afghanistan wars aren't.
Perhaps another major difference; there were very clear goals in WWII, perhaps one
of the few major wars with such clearl defined goals. That makes it easier to
fight. And having such goals makes the post-war cleanup much easier to deal with,
another major difference between that war and the other wars since.

Mike
Chris Morton
2013-10-07 16:04:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roman W
Most importantly: WW2 was morally justified to almost everyone in the
USA. Iraq and Afghanistan wars aren't.
That having been said, one must truthfully concede that there is a very small
minority which DOESN'T think that WWII was morally justified, if not that the
wrong side won.

Pat Buchanan and some left wing academics stand out in this regard.

This opinion sector bifurcates into "We were mean to the Japanese" and
"FDR/Churchill was the devil" factions. Pro-Japanese revisionism is FAR more
acceptable than pro-German revisionism. Both are generally framed without
reference to the behavior of the Germans and Japanese, implemented or planned.
Of course there's no shortage of either in usenet and on the web...
--
Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with
210lb. rapists.
Bill
2013-10-07 18:48:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Morton
This opinion sector bifurcates into "We were mean to the Japanese" and
"FDR/Churchill was the devil" factions. Pro-Japanese revisionism is FAR more
acceptable than pro-German revisionism.
That is a very US-centric view.

There's very little Pro-Japanese revisionism in the UK, possibly
because the war in Burma and the Far East is remembered with such
bitterness.
Phil McGregor
2013-10-07 23:33:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill
Post by Chris Morton
This opinion sector bifurcates into "We were mean to the Japanese" and
"FDR/Churchill was the devil" factions. Pro-Japanese revisionism is FAR more
acceptable than pro-German revisionism.
That is a very US-centric view.
There's very little Pro-Japanese revisionism in the UK, possibly
because the war in Burma and the Far East is remembered with such
bitterness.
I wonder. I would have, at one stage, said the same of Australia ...
until Paul Ham's "Hiroshima & Nagasaki" came out in 2011 ... which is,
IMO, surprisingly revisionist leaning (which was somewhat surprising
considering his other books on WW2, which are much more evenly
balanced and certainly not revisionist).

Since we don't really teach WW2 in Years 9/10 at High School either at
all or in bugger all detail (at least in NSW ... I don't think the new
National Curriculum will really change anything in practical terms)
because it all occurs after the now defunct School Certificate testing
period we haven't done more than pay lip service to Australian
involvement for probably 20 years, probably more ... though we always
tried to cover treatment of POWs and the Kokoda/New Guinea campaign,
and there was some limited coverage of Japanese bastardry in those
topics.

Its sorta rather like I understand the coverage of the 1850's through
1880s is in most US Schools ... close to nonexistent ... glossed over
... so I'd say that most younger Australians would probably think that
the poor Japs were badly done by ... certainly, on the rare occassions
that it's come up in class, that seems to have been the opinion
expressed by those *with* an opinon.

Phil
m***@netMAPSONscape.net
2013-10-08 04:21:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Morton
Post by Roman W
Most importantly: WW2 was morally justified to almost everyone in the
USA. Iraq and Afghanistan wars aren't.
That having been said, one must truthfully concede that there is a very small
minority which DOESN'T think that WWII was morally justified, if not that the
wrong side won.
I don't think it's so much that "the wrong side won", as that they claim some
sort of moral equivalence. Since the US/UK/Australia/etc., weren't as pure as
the driven snow, there is essentially no difference between the sides.
Post by Chris Morton
Pat Buchanan and some left wing academics stand out in this regard.
This opinion sector bifurcates into "We were mean to the Japanese" and
"FDR/Churchill was the devil" factions. Pro-Japanese revisionism is FAR more
acceptable than pro-German revisionism. Both are generally framed without
reference to the behavior of the Germans and Japanese, implemented or planned.
Right; since the US was racist, the UK imperialist, etc., the Japanese/Germans
weren't really any worse (so long as you don't talk about ongoing and planned
genocides.)
Post by Chris Morton
Of course there's no shortage of either in usenet and on the web...
And prior to the Internet, the criticism was that "Roosevelt knew" about the planned
attack on PH.

Mike
WJHopwood
2013-10-09 03:06:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Morton
Post by Roman W
Most importantly: WW2 was morally justified to almost everyone in the
USA. Iraq and Afghanistan wars aren't.
That having been said, one must truthfully concede that there is a very small
minority which DOESN'T think that WWII was morally justified, if not that the
wrong side won.
Pat Buchanan and some left wing academics stand out in this regard.
Post by Roman W
Most importantly: WW2 was morally justified to almost
everyone in the.USA....
....there is a very small minority which DOESN'T think
that WWII was morally justified, if not that the wrong side
won....Pat Buchanan and some left wing academics....
That doesn't seem to jibe with Pat Buchanan's view in 2003
when he wrote: "Was America's war on Japan a just war?
Assuredly."
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-tojo-doctrine/

Although I don't completely agree with the following scenario,
I don't believe the thrust of Buchanan's argument to be that the
war with Japan was unjustified because FDR had goaded Japan
into it. Instead, as far as I am aware, and despite the fact that he
has quoted from the writings of others who have made such
claims, Buchanan himself has not directly done so.
As I understand it, the essence of Buchanan's argument
is that at the risk of the U.S. becoming directly involved in the
war in Europe, FDR's principal concern was that Germany not
defeat the UK and that Japan was only a side-show until, with the
concurrence of the German-controlled Vichy government, it
occupied resource-rich French Indochina.
Then, in seeing this as a potential detriment to Britain,
FDR applied strong economic sanctions against Japan in what
Buchanan refers to as a "back-door" effort to further assist the
British war effort.
I don't agree that Buchanan is one of the conspiracy
theorists who believe that FDR knew about Pearl Habor before it
happened. Or that FDR hoped that Japan would react as it did
against the economic pressures he imposed against them. It
makes a good story and helps to sell books but seems far fetched
to me.

WJH
m***@netMAPSONscape.net
2013-10-10 05:12:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by WJHopwood
Post by Chris Morton
Post by Roman W
Most importantly: WW2 was morally justified to almost everyone in the
USA. Iraq and Afghanistan wars aren't.
That having been said, one must truthfully concede that there is a very small
minority which DOESN'T think that WWII was morally justified, if not that the
wrong side won.
Pat Buchanan and some left wing academics stand out in this regard.
Post by Roman W
Most importantly: WW2 was morally justified to almost
everyone in the.USA....
....there is a very small minority which DOESN'T think
that WWII was morally justified, if not that the wrong side
won....Pat Buchanan and some left wing academics....
That doesn't seem to jibe with Pat Buchanan's view in 2003
when he wrote: "Was America's war on Japan a just war?
Mr Morton's statement was regarding WWII, not specifically Buchanan's view on Japan.

Indeed, Pat wrote a whole book entitled _Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War_.

Whatever he felt about Japan, he clearly believes WWII was unnecessary.

Or does he not understand the word "unnecessary"?

Mike
WJHopwood
2013-10-11 17:09:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by m***@netMAPSONscape.net
Post by WJHopwood
...there is a very small minority which DOESN'T think that WWII was
morally justified...Pat Buchanan and some left wing academics....
That doesn't seem to jibe with Pat Buchanan's view in 2003
when he wrote: "Was America's war on Japan a just war?
Mr Morton's statement was regarding WWII, not specifically Buchanan's view on Japan.
Well, he says "WWII" without qualification. Unless I missed
something,the war with Japan was a part of WWII. And since
Mr. Morton hits Buchanan with a broad brush I think it only
fair to point out that he did favor the war with Japan part of
WWII. Although in your above quote of my quote of Buchanan's
quote you omitted the word that makes that clear and specific,
here is the Buchanan quote again, its entirety: "Was America's
war on Japan a just war? Assuredly."
Post by m***@netMAPSONscape.net
.... Pat wrote a whole book entitled _Churchill, Hitler and the
Unnecessary War_.
So he did. But as the title revealed, that book was about the
conflict in Europe. That part of WWII he considered to be
"unnecessary," not the war with Japan which, as he said was
justified. For those who are confused, WWII was an umbrella
term which included both the war in Europe and the war in the
Pacific.
Post by m***@netMAPSONscape.net
Whatever he felt about Japan, he clearly believes WWII was
unnecessary.
Again, not WWII as a whole. Just that part of the war fought in
Europe. If you can provide a site where Buchanan said the part
of WWII fought against Japan was "unnecessary," let's see it.
Post by m***@netMAPSONscape.net
Or does he not understand the word "unnecessary"?
Unlike some of his critics, I believe he understands that the word
"unnecessary" is not synonymous with "justified."

WJH

WJHopwood
2013-09-30 21:15:16 UTC
Permalink
I volunteer at a museum in Washington DC ...As part of that
I frequently have two minutes...of undivided attention from
someone aged 10-25 or so. Most...don't...understand World
War Two...I try to focus on the scale of the war..I think that
that is hardest for people today to understand.. One of my
favorite ways to try and explain the scale of World War Two
to teenage/20's visitors goes like this: Between September
11th, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan the US had
a total of around 10,000 people killed over the past twelve
years. That was about the average MONTHLY losses for the
US over their FOUR YEARS in the war. ......
(I was 7 when the Berlin Wall came down).....
Thanks for such a thoughtful post. Apparently you, yourself
are not too far removed in age from those you reference
above, so perhaps you could ask yourself why you became
interested in WWII and why they did not? Being a WWII
veteran myself I have often been disgusted by the lack
of interest and knowledge our younger generations have
in that episode in our history, so my hat is off to you for
your efforts to do something significant about the problem.
I believe your focus on scale is a good approach and one
you might elaborate on. Here are a few facts you could
use:
There were just over 16,000,000 Americans who
served in WWII. There were 405,399 deaths, 291,557
from combat, 113,842 from other causes (injury, illness,
training accidents, etc.)
According to my calculations, and assuming that
your figure of 10,000 total deaths to date in the 144
months so far of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts is
correct, the average death rate there would be 70 per
month.
But In the 44 months of hostilities in WWII, the
monthly average death rate was 9,200, more than 100
times that of Iraq/Afghanistan.
That should get their attention.

Why is there such an ignorance of history among
our younger generartions? In my view the reason
can be traced back to adverse changes in our
educational system over the past few decades.
Perhaps, on he one hand we shouldn't be
surprised that youngsters in the age bracket you
refer to (average about 18) would not be interested
in the history of WWII. After all, Pearl Harbor was
72 years ago and that must seem in the stone age
to them.
On the other hand, it wasn't always such.
When I graduated from high school in 1936 at age
18, if one looked back 72 years it would have been
1864, the Civil War was still raging, and we had
already learned a great deal about what had
happened then and why. So did the public. In
Hollywood the making of the classic blockbuster
"Gone with the Wind," was being filmed and when
it was released people lined up for blocks to
buy tickets. What happened to history between
then and now?

WJH
Merlin Dorfman
2013-09-30 23:00:00 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:15:16 -0400, WJHopwood wrote:

..
Perhaps, on the one hand we shouldn't be
surprised that youngsters in the age bracket you refer to (average about
18) would not be interested in the history of WWII. After all, Pearl
Harbor was 72 years ago and that must seem in the stone age to them.
On the other hand, it wasn't always such.
When I graduated from high school in 1936 at age 18, if one looked back
72 years it would have been 1864, the Civil War was still raging, and we
had already learned a great deal about what had happened then and why.
So did the public. In Hollywood the making of the classic blockbuster
"Gone with the Wind," was being filmed and when it was released people
lined up for blocks to buy tickets. What happened to history between
then and now?
If movies are the measure to be used, I think WW II is way ahead. I
don't remember 1939 :-) but were there other popular Civil War movies
(besides Gone With the Wind) at that time? In recent years, many WW II
movies have been produced and have been big hits. Saving Private Ryan
comes to mind first, but there are many more--Operation Valkyrie,
Downfall, Inglorious Basterds, Atonement, Letters from Iwo Jima/Flags of
our Fathers, The Great Raid, Windtalkers, The Pianist, Hart's War, Pearl
Harbor, Hyde Park on the Hudson, Red Tails, Enemy at the Gates, The Good
German, ... TV shows like Band of Brothers, Foyle's War, The Bletchley
Circle, The Pacific, ...
WJHopwood
2013-10-01 03:59:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Merlin Dorfman
Perhaps, on the one hand we shouldn't be surprised that youngsters
in the age bracket you refer to (average about 18) would not be
interested in the history of WWII....When I graduated from high
school in 1936 at age 18, if one looked back 72 years it would have
been 1864, the Civil War was still raging....In Hollywood the making
of the classic blockbuster "Gone with the Wind," was being filmed
What happened to history between then and now?
If movies are the measure to be used, I think WW II is way ahead. I
don't remember 1939 :-) but were there other popular Civil War
movies (besides Gone With the Wind) at that time?
Other than Gone with the Wnd, I don't believe there were any
other memorable films made about the Civil War in the 1930s
Perhaps, D.W.Griffith's "Abraham Lincoln, might be considered
one but it was a biographical film made in 1930 which I believe
was more about the early life of Lincoln than about the Civil War.
It was the first of only two "talkies" made by Griffith. .
During that 30s there were quite a few movies made
with a the first World War as background. Dawn Patrol and All
Quiet on the Western Front were two of the best that I saw and
well-remember. During the late 20s and early 30s the motion picture
industry was in the process of making basic changes from silent
films to films with sound and later with in color. The first talky
was The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson released in 1927. The early
talkies were quite primitive. The sound and picture were often
out of sync.

WJH
m***@netMAPSONscape.net
2013-10-01 05:01:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by WJHopwood
Why is there such an ignorance of history among
our younger generartions? In my view the reason
can be traced back to adverse changes in our
educational system over the past few decades.
Nope. Always has been a form of "generational myopia", for lack of a better
term. The people of the WWI era "forgot" that the US Civil War cost far more
lives than "The War to End all Wars". The people of the WWII era "forget"
that the US Revolutionary War cost us a larger %age of the US population (and
I believe larger %age than the Civil War).

Simply, each generation deals with its own problems first, as it must. And one
can see documentaries on WWII almost every day on TV; it's not WWII that is
the US' "Forgotten War".

Mike
WJHopwood
2013-10-01 22:28:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by m***@netMAPSONscape.net
The people of the WWI era "forgot" that the US Civil War cost far more
lives than "The War to End all Wars". The people of the WWII era "forget"
that the US Revolutionary War cost us a larger %age of the US population (and
I believe larger %age than the Civil War).
The further back one goes It's difficult to get precise
figures on the total of people who served in the
military during wartime, how many were killed, and
the percentage of such deaths to the general
population and/or to those then serving in the military.
My figures come to these:
According to a Washington Post database on
the subject www.statisticbrain./u-s-war-death-statisitics/
and general wartime military and poulation totals which
can also be found elsewhere on the web, there were only
4,435 combat deaths but 20,500 deaths from other causes
during the Revolution. With an estimated population of
250,000 White and 100,000 Black americans at the time,
the ratio of deaths to population would have been 7%.
As for the Civil War, according to the Census of 1860,
the population by the time of the Civil War had reached
31,443,000 and the war dead totalled 625,000 (Union
and Confederate). That ration of deaths to population
would thus have been 19.8%.
As for WWII, out of the U.S. population of 123.202,624
(1940 Census) with 405,399 deaths, the ratio of deaths to
population in was .03%.

WJH
Rich Rostrom
2013-10-02 03:42:36 UTC
Permalink
there were only 4,435 combat deaths but 20,500 deaths from
other causes during the Revolution. With an estimated
population of 250,000 White and 100,000 Black americans at the
time, the ratio of deaths to population would have been 7%.
The U.S. population at the time of the
Revolution was well over 3M - maybe 3.2.
(It was 4M by 1790.)

25,000/3,200,000 ~= 0.8%
--
The real Velvet Revolution - and the would-be hijacker.

http://originalvelvetrevolution.com
WJHopwood
2013-10-02 05:47:31 UTC
Permalink
there were only 4,435 combat deaths but 20,500 deaths from
other causes during the Revolution. With an estimated
population of 250,000 White and 100,000 Black americans at the
time, the ratio of deaths to population would have been 7%.
The U.S. population at the time of the Revolution was well over 3M - '
maybe 3.2.
25,000/3,200,000 ~= 0.8%
You are right. My error. Somewhere else I saw that 250,000
had served in the Continental Army. I got the two mixed up.
But your figure of over 3 Million seems too high according to
this source.
http://www.shmoop.com/american-revolution/statistics.html

Here is what it says:
"White population of the British colonies in North America in
1770: 1,696,254.
Black population of the British colonies in North America in
1770: 468,82263. (Total 2,165,076.)
Elsewhere the above source says that of the total 2,165,076
above, about 20% (433,015) were loyal to the English Crown.
So, bottom line, according to this source, the population
on the Americsn side was only 1,732,061 That's only about
half the number you show..

WJH
Rich Rostrom
2013-10-02 18:22:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by WJHopwood
But your figure of over 3 Million seems too high according to
this source.
http://www.shmoop.com/american-revolution/statistics.html
http://populstat.info/

gives 2.06M for 1750 and 2.93M for 1790.

Interpolating, and allowing for a slowdown
during the war years, I get just over 3M for
1775.

But this is far OT. The Revolution, being fought
in the U.S., was far more costly in proportion
than WW II.
--
The real Velvet Revolution - and the would-be hijacker.

http://originalvelvetrevolution.com
m***@netMAPSONscape.net
2013-10-02 04:29:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by WJHopwood
Post by m***@netMAPSONscape.net
The people of the WWI era "forgot" that the US Civil War cost far more
lives than "The War to End all Wars". The people of the WWII era "forget"
that the US Revolutionary War cost us a larger %age of the US population (and
I believe larger %age than the Civil War).
The further back one goes It's difficult to get precise
figures on the total of people who served in the
military during wartime, how many were killed, and
the percentage of such deaths to the general
population and/or to those then serving in the military.
According to a Washington Post database on
the subject www.statisticbrain./u-s-war-death-statisitics/
and general wartime military and poulation totals which
can also be found elsewhere on the web, there were only
4,435 combat deaths but 20,500 deaths from other causes
during the Revolution. With an estimated population of
250,000 White and 100,000 Black americans at the time,
the ratio of deaths to population would have been 7%.
As for the Civil War, according to the Census of 1860,
the population by the time of the Civil War had reached
31,443,000 and the war dead totalled 625,000 (Union
and Confederate). That ration of deaths to population
would thus have been 19.8%.
As for WWII, out of the U.S. population of 123.202,624
(1940 Census) with 405,399 deaths, the ratio of deaths to
population in was .03%.
Couple slight corrections on the decimal points; the Civil casualties would then
have been 1.98% of the US population, and the WWII casualties would have been
.3%. Advances in medicine undoubtedly kept the WWII "other" casualties lower
than they would have been prior; WWII was the first major war for the US
where battlefield casualties outnumbered deaths by diseases, etc.

Mike
Alan Meyer
2013-10-01 22:33:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by m***@netMAPSONscape.net
Post by WJHopwood
Why is there such an ignorance of history among
our younger generartions? In my view the reason
can be traced back to adverse changes in our
educational system over the past few decades.
Nope. Always has been a form of "generational myopia", for lack of a better
term. The people of the WWI era "forgot" that the US Civil War cost far more
lives than "The War to End all Wars". The people of the WWII era "forget"
that the US Revolutionary War cost us a larger %age of the US population (and
I believe larger %age than the Civil War).
Simply, each generation deals with its own problems first, as it must. And one
can see documentaries on WWII almost every day on TV; it's not WWII that is
the US' "Forgotten War".
Mike
I agree with Mike that the problem is not a new one.

I think that lack of interest in history is part and parcel of a kind of
egocentrism that affects most people, and not just Americans, although
it may be worse in the United States as compared to most other countries
with comparable levels of income and education.

Huge numbers of people only concern themselves with things that DIRECTLY
affect their daily lives. History, government, current events,
geography, languages, literature, physics, chemistry, biology,
mathematics - these are very hazy concepts for very large numbers of
people. Most of the members of groups like our would wonder how and why
they live like that, but they wonder what's wrong with us that we are
interested in dead people and bygone times.

About 25 years ago I was manning a phone bank in a political campaign,
calling people to get them to come out to vote. I called one woman who
said she would never register to vote. She said if she registered to
vote she'd be eligible for jury duty, and if she were called for jury
duty she'd miss a day of work, and she didn't have time for that.

I wanted to ask her if she had any idea how many people have sacrificed
their lives to protect the right to vote and the right to a trial by
jury, and how many people live today in countries where they lack these
rights and would risk their lives to get them. But it was obvious that
such a question would only antagonize her. I wished her a good evening
and went on to the next call.

Alan
Rich Rostrom
2013-10-02 03:32:30 UTC
Permalink
In Hollywood the making of the classic blockbuster
"Gone with the Wind," was being filmed and when
it was released people lined up for blocks to
buy tickets. What happened to history between
then and now?
In the last twenty years, there have been at least 15
films about or set in WW II which got at least one Oscar
nomination (out of 821 nominated films). A few were
obscure documentaries, but the list includes "blockbusters"
such as _Downfall_, _Saving Private Ryan_, _Schindler's List_,
and _The English Patient_.

Additional nominated WW II films were _Inglourious Basterds_,
_Flags of Our Fathers_,_Letters from Iwo Jima_, _Life Is Beautiful_,
_Pearl Harbor_, _The Thin Red Line_, and _U-571_.

So it's not as though Hollywood has forgotten about WW II,
or audiences either.
--
The real Velvet Revolution - and the would-be hijacker.

http://originalvelvetrevolution.com
Michael Emrys
2013-10-02 14:15:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
So it's not as though Hollywood has forgotten about WW II,
or audiences either.
Yes, they haven't forgotten. It's just that their ideas on the subject
are so hazy and inaccurate, and that the majority do not expend any
effort to learn more. But it isn't just the war or even history in
general that gets that treatment. That pretty well sums up their
attitude towards just about anything. I doubt that that is anything new,
or that we can't somehow survive it. I was talking with a friend
recently and the conversation turned to the literary lives of the
Founding Fathers of the Republic. These men wrote constantly on a wide
variety of learned subjects to correspondents in not only this country,
but widely abroad as well. But they surely also only constituted a small
minority of the entire population in all those countries.

My point is that we might be able to do very well with only a minority
of our population seriously trying to inform themselves as long as they
are able to act on their knowledge, as long as they are able to lead.
The thing that worries me is how often the leadership positions are
filled by fools and scoundrels.

Michael
WJHopwood
2013-10-02 14:44:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
In Hollywood the making of the classic blockbuster
"Gone with the Wind," was being filmed and when
it was released people lined up for blocks to
buy tickets. What happened to history between
then and now?
In the last twenty years, there have been at least 15
films about or set in WW II which got at least one Oscar
nomination (out of 821 nominated films)......
So it's not as though Hollywood has forgotten about WW II,
or audiences either.
Yes, I agree. Merlin Dorfman posted a similar message.
But the point I was trying to make was that despite all
the WWII films made since the war, and some quite
recently, that the teenage crowd remains quite ignorant
about WWII. That was made clear in Chris Manteuffel's
post (the first post in this thread).
In the 30's adults and teenagers, had been
taught in school, knew a lot about the Civil War,
and went nuts over "Gone with the Wind."
That's why I asked "what's happened to history
between then and now? It just seems to me that
people then took more of an interest in the past.
Maybe we can blame it on pot, sex, and video
games.

WJH
Don Phillipson
2013-10-01 15:05:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
Many of our visitors now were born after the Cold War- I myself barely
remember it (I was 7 when the Berlin Wall came down)- for whom deaths on the
scale of World War Two are, fortunately for the world, simply
incomprehensible.
Is this simply hyperbole or derived from practical experience talking
to museum visitors? Big numbers (as of world war casualties or costs
or the distances between galaxies) are unfamiliar and difficult to
appreciate in relation to our prior experience -- but by no means
"incomprehensible."
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
S***@argo.rhein-neckar.de
2013-10-05 02:19:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
Hello all,
I volunteer at a museum in Washington DC (if anyone's travels take them
there, please drop me a email and I would love to meet up with you). As part
of that I frequently have two minutes or so of undivided attention from
someone aged 10-25 or so. Most of them don't really understand World War Two
(I have gotten questions like 'who were we fighting?', 'who won?', and
'why?' from visitors.) What should I be emphasizing to them? Right now I try
to focus on the scale of the war, as I think that that is hardest for people
today to understand, but what does the group feel?
One of my favorite ways to try and explain the scale of World War Two to
teenage/20's visitors goes like this: Between September 11th, the war in
Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan the US had a total of around 10,000 people
killed over the past twelve years. That was about the average MONTHLY losses
for the US over their FOUR YEARS in the war. And the US made out the best of
any major country in the war: the Soviet Union's average MONTHLY dead over
their four years in the war was greater than the US's TOTAL dead over the
war. The Soviets dead was something like if the entire current population of
Texas was killed in four years of war.
Many of our visitors now were born after the Cold War- I myself barely
remember it (I was 7 when the Berlin Wall came down)- for whom deaths on the
scale of World War Two are, fortunately for the world, simply
incomprehensible. Something that I thought would be interesting for the
group to discuss is how the popular understanding of WW2 is going to change
as a generation who knows WW2 mostly from terrible Hitler analogies on cable
news and Godwin's Law increasingly takes control. What needs to be
remembered about the war? What lessons should we all hold in our hearts?
What should people who do public history (like me) be emphasizing?
Chris Manteuffel
To such an audience you have to distill WW II to a few points. Points
they can understand, see in context and have a chance to benefit from.
The last is only the case if a point helps to understand the present
world. Usually that is done by the explanation of state borders, power
blocks and state people attitudes to others. Leave all this stuff to
history teachers. Better you go on a level not in most history books.
I think you should follow the way you already suggested.

Present a graph "Total Deaths" per state, in % of population and
in % Civilians

Put that in context with

US Civil War, WWI, Korea, Indochina, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan

I expect you will see a rise in % civil deaths with WW II as main jump.
That is a main result and lesson of WW II. It was the first large war
were the killing of civilian population was an objective before and
during the war. The nazis planned to kill about 30 Millions in the
east and got close to that number.

They killed people who initially were friendly (Ukraine, White Russia)
or people who did not know why they were killed at all (Jews, Gypsies).
It was only possible because Germany was the most modern organized state
in the world then. Mass media, extensive security services, well trained
military, police, bureaucracy and industry made it possible. Today in
the west all this elements are even more effective than then.

In the west was no intention for mass killings of civilians. But beginning
with the nazi bombings of Warsaw and Rotterdam the air war brought a
continuous escalation on civilians deaths. At the end moral standards
shifted enough to see Hiroshima as an accepted way of war. Before WW II
it would be considered an unthinkable crime. After it and still today
it is felt a necessary application of military technology. And it is
not the only one that focuses on civilians. Thats a cultural heritage
of WW II too.

Another WW II heritage is a large military spending in peace time. It
may best be visible at the USA federal budget since 1800. It gave rise
to the "Military Industrial Complex" of what President Eisenhower warned
in his last speech. Born in WW II this complex shaped the culture of
the West afterwards and still today to keep itself alive. During the
Cold War it came close to wipe out most of mankind in a single day.
Post by c***@gmail.com
From a point of economic development weapons are a zero value product.
They hamper the productivity of a state. Used in a war they even
destroy productivity of past generations. Nevertheless be assaulted by
a nazi like state weapons are the only chance to survive. To gave
mankind a chance out of that the US government under FDR created the UN.
Its a heritage of WW II and not much appreciated in the USA today.

The most unwanted truth about WW II was how easy it was to foresee it.
Hitler wrote a book on his intentions and was mostly quite open about
it. Around 1930 in Germany people had voting posters with the slogan
"Who votes for Hitler votes for the second world war!" That the West
allowed Nazi Germany the break the Versailles treaty and rearm was
the certain way to WW II. Unlike WW I, WW II can not be called an
accident. It was open malice. Some think the western public (incl.
Germany) then was more educated than today. Maybe. Let them imagine
what that could mean for this century.


## CrossPoint v3.12d R ##
Continue reading on narkive:
Loading...