Why are people so obsessed with WW2?

  1. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Physics is Phutile, Fiziks is Fundamental

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    The US was not as directly affected by the war as England but I think the psychological impact may have been as great. The weird effect was that the war pulled the US out of The Depression. So although I doubt that many people were consciously aware of it I suspect many people at the time "felt better" because of the war than during the 1930s.

    The there were the technological effects, RADAR saved Britain, Germans made jet and long range rockets, the US made the atomic bomb because they were afraid the Germans might do it first. Not so well known, bu important, was the proximity fuse. Invented by a Brit and then developed in the US. It vastly increased the effectiveness of anti-aircraft fire against the Japanese.

    How much of post-war history is the result of atom bombs on rockets and spying with satellites put up with rockets? WWII largely triggered what people are calling "The Great Acceleration" be it good or bad. Authorities in the US feared the Depression would come back after the war. So Jeeps used in the war were dumped into the ocean so they would not depress the automobile market.





    WWII delayed the implementation of television in the US, but by 1960 90% of American homes had TVs. What did that do to consumerism? So how much has American television affected The World?

    It is all Arthur C. Clarke's fault with that Clarke Orbit. :LOL:

    Never trust Brits with technology. It is all their fault.

    psik
     
    Dec 3, 2017
  2. LordOfWizards

    LordOfWizards Well Known Rememberer

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    I must say that I don't know many here in the US who are "obsessed" with WWII. But I, like Einstein, have always been more or less a pacifist. Any time I've come across those who attempted to somehow glorify the war(s) we've been in, I shy away and tend to avoid them. Like many children of the late twentieth century, I was abhorred by the use of the Atomic bombs used on Japan.

    What has been brought out by this discussion is the coming together of a kind of "League of Nations" against what appeared to be a moral/common evil. I will admit to being somewhat naive in my younger days about things like the balance of power that keeps the world in a fragile kind of lesser peace. Even Oppenheimer himself (according to some cursory research I did) appeared to be remorseful after the fact given his role in the "Manhattan Project".

    It is only my recollection of a report I heard where Einstein reluctantly signed the letter (requested by Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard) to president Roosevelt asking permission to persue the bomb because the Nazi party had been trying to develop it themselves.

    The irony is that Germany had surrendered three months prior to August 6, 1945.
    Here are 2 links that I am sourcing to verify what I believe to be the facts:
    As Hiroshima Smouldered, Our Atom Bomb Scientists Suffered Remorse
    J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb: Triumph and Tragedy

    This quote (from the second link) appears to explain what I heard about Einstein. "In August of 1939, alarmed by the recent news from Germany, Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard asked his colleague, Albert Einstein, to affix his signature to a letter addressed to President Roosevelt. The letter warned of recent German scientific advances and Germany’s sudden interest in uranium deposits in the Belgian Congo of Africa. Einstein, a German Jew who fled his homeland in 1932 for fear of Hitler’s growing influence, dutifully but reluctantly signed his name to the letter. Einstein’s imprimatur on the letter was Szilard’s best hope of affixing Roosevelt’s attention on the growing feasibility of an atomic bomb. Einstein and many other European scientists were, from personal experience, justifiably terrified at the prospect of Hitler’s Germany acquiring such a weapon, and the Germans had first-class scientific talent available to tackle such a challenge."

    In my opinion, no human being could possibly shoulder such a grave responsibility such as the choice to use such a weapon. And now, I cannot discuss the similar current day threat that appears in world news since we are not allowed.

    Edit: I apologize for my use of the term "League of Nations". I was unaware that there was such a thing after World War I that aspired to resolve world conflicts, and yet was unable to do so.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
    Dec 3, 2017
  3. Caledfwlch

    Caledfwlch I am not a Geek, I am a Level 22 Warrior!

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    It's astonishing that whoever made the declaration did so, without bursting into giggles!!
    Seriously though, the largest Empire the World has ever seen, declaring War on a tiny insignificant Nation like Finland, just smacks of bullying more than anything! Be like the Federal German Republic declaring War against the Isle of Man!

    We Welsh, like our Scots and Irish Brethren firmly believe that the reason the Sun never set on the British Empire, is because the Gods didnt trust the English in the Dark :lol:
     
    Dec 4, 2017
  4. The Ace

    The Ace Scottish Roman.

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    Aye. Have a dream !

    Nobody does.

    I think it was more for form's sake than anything else, since they'd attacked our ally, the SU. Personally, I wouldn't blame the Finns for attacking the Russians (and I don't think Churchill did either), but the declaration was almost certainly a bone thrown to Stalin.
     
    Dec 5, 2017
  5. Foxbat

    Foxbat None The Wiser

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    There was a point in late 1939 when Britain considered coming to Finland's aid during the Winter War. There was a large slice of self-interest involved but if that war had not finished when it did, we could have been at war with Russia when Barbarossa began. Now that would have been a bit of a conundrumo_O
    Franco-British plans for intervention in the Winter War - Wikipedia
     
    Dec 5, 2017
  6. Caledfwlch

    Caledfwlch I am not a Geek, I am a Level 22 Warrior!

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    It is astonishing that during WW2, a British/Allied invasion of Sweden was put under serious consideration, in order to deny Germany the Iron etc it was receiving.

    It's quite an interesting take on Neutrality that Sweden was operating back then - "we won't actually get involved in fighting, however we will trade vital materials with the bad guys, and hand over any of their men stupid enough to defect to us"

    I can understand them being somewhat nervy, not wanting to find Wehrmacht Panzer Divisions suddenly pouring into Stockholm, but did they really think they would be left alone, forever?
     
    Dec 5, 2017
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  7. HareBrain

    HareBrain Bunny of Wonder Staff Member

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    Casting one side as the "bad guys" would certainly have been an interesting take on neutrality. ;)
     
    Dec 6, 2017
  8. Caledfwlch

    Caledfwlch I am not a Geek, I am a Level 22 Warrior!

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    Viewing that particular side as anything but bad guys would be an interesting take on "humanity" ;)

    The Irish Free State kept totally out of it. (IIRC the Irish Republic did not come into being until 1949, so during WW2, it was still technically one of the British Crowns Po sessions/Dominions)

    Mine you, it's an interesting thought experiment, as to where the Free State may well have cast its dice - Churchill never one to use such awkward things as "Tact" and "Diplomacy" at the best of times, was utterly clear in his 1, and possibly only communication with the Free State, and specifically its President Eamon Da' Valera.
    "if we ever hear even the slightest hint of officially sanctioned Irish assistance to Germany, even if its turning a blind eye to something, then Sir, I shall send the Royal Air Force, and I shall level your Nation back to the dark ages"

    Da Valera wasn't stupid, he knew the ilk of Churchill, and Churchill would have ordered the carpet bombing, maybe even with gas weapons of every Irish population centre with more than 20 people, and gone and enjoyed a good nights sleep, and never thought on the matter again.

    But certainly, it would appear many Veterans of the Irish Civil War, who were in the Free State Army were fascist to a degree, going to Spain to fight for Franco for example, iirc, they were known as the "Blueshirts"

    So there's an interesting AH scenario to explore, where Eire has a second Civil War, 1939-1945, perhaps between the IRA and a Free State that had become overtly Fascist. (Presumably Da Valera would need to be removed, perhaps terminally for this to happen)

    I thought I had better check in case my memory was playing tricks - and yes, the Blueshirts were a real organisation, (Army Comrades Association) Pro Free State & the Treaty which created it in 1922, Anti IRA. They still exist in a form, as the Irish Political Party Fine Gael - and celtic memories being long (as a Celt I should know ;) ) Fine Gael supporters and members are still reffered to as "blueshirts" in a derogatory manner - though I know of no other manner than derogatory with which to hold discourse with a Party founded as a Far Right Organisation! :)

    Blueshirts - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
    Dec 6, 2017
  9. BigBadBob141

    BigBadBob141 Well-Known Member

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    I heard on a radio documentary that we publish more books about WW2 then any other country.
    Just look up the figures for biography on Churchill & Hitler.
    I should know as I have a fair few books myself on this subject.
    Why are we so obsessed?
    Possibly because it truly was our finest hour!!!
     
    Dec 7, 2017
  10. Vladd67

    Vladd67 Stake Holder

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    I suppose because some people feel it was the last just war we were involved in, also our last hurrah as a major power.
     
    Dec 7, 2017
  11. Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    You certainly have a big part of the reason there. You do know that even as Churchill said that during the Blitz, and went out to tell London eastenders how we were 'all in this together' (to turn another phrase) quite a few of them told him exactly where he could go. However, if you mean everyone working together towards a common goal, making sure Britain didn't also fall to the Nazis, rather than lining their own pockets, or thinking only of themselves, and if you mean a competent government, of outstanding talent, working smoothly and seamlessly, well then yes, they were different times indeed.
     
    Dec 7, 2017
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  12. Montero

    Montero Senior Member

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    The other thing regarding books on WW2 - publishers like publishing books that will sell well - so you may well have a bit of a feedback loop in terms of what is published and what is read.
    Also, we are at the point when a lot of formerly secret documents are being released due to the lapse of however many decades it is - so all sorts of fun tidbits and odd organisations are popping out. I think that has fuelled the fire a bit at the moment. Other countries may well have different systems regarding the release, or non-release, of secret documents from the war period.
     
    Dec 7, 2017
  13. Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    A good point. I also asked earlier, why there wasn't a similar "obsession" with the Great War 1914-18. There are people who are interested in that today - trips to explore the trenches and people searching family history - but at exactly the time people would have been expected to get retrospective about the Great War, and to ask what their fathers and uncles had done, they were themselves heavily involved in the Second World War, or the rebuilding afterwards, and they just didn't have the time. I think it was simply eclipsed by those more wide-ranging world events.
     
    Dec 7, 2017
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  14. Danny Creasy

    Danny Creasy Well-Known Member

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    Personally, it caused my creation; Dad was a poor North Alabama farm boy joining the U. S. Army in 1939 for "three hots and a cot" and Mom was an English 18-year-old that fell for him. Mom passed in 2008 and Dad in 2010. I have deep family connections on both sides of the Atlantic. The war is intwined in my history. I've never considered letting go of the obsession.
     
    Dec 9, 2017
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  15. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Physics is Phutile, Fiziks is Fundamental

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    We need more WWII science fiction:

    The Proteus Operation - Wikipedia

    LOL

    Actually I put off reading that because I mostly avoid time travel stories but I mostly like James P. Hogan so I finally read it. It was way better than I expected and may be his best book for character development in my opinion.
     
    Dec 12, 2017
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  16. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Physics is Phutile, Fiziks is Fundamental

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    Another thing about WWII is the Vietnam War.

    I saw a documentary that said originally FDR was opposed to the French going back into Vietnam after WWII. When I was in high school and the Vietnam War was going strong I don't recall any mention of this. All of the government propaganda was about stopping Communism.

    Were the Vietnamese supposed to welcome the French back after years of fighting the Japanese?

    So it is like shots from WWII just ricochet off the walls of history forever.

    psik
     
    Dec 12, 2017
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  17. Danny Creasy

    Danny Creasy Well-Known Member

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    Good points.
     
    Dec 14, 2017
  18. Venusian Broon

    Venusian Broon Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity

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    Well, WW2 was really just a continuation of WW1, and that was a result of years of the toxifying 'European Balance of Power' which had developed through numerous wars between nations and dynasties in the centuries beforehand.

    Personally I'd put the real origin for all this with the formation of Charlemagne's Empire at about 800.

    So I'd say it's really just been a very old arrow ricocheting off the walls of history since that point!
     
    Dec 14, 2017
  19. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Physics is Phutile, Fiziks is Fundamental

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    The trouble with going back that far is discoveries like the structure of the atom and nuclear fission cannot even be suspected much less predicted. H. G. Wells did come up with the tern "Atomic Bomb" before World War I and inspired Leo Szilard in the 1930s. Even though WWII was over before I was born I was very aware of it because of all of the TV shows about it. Hogan's Heroes made the war such fun.

    Since then technology has been pushing historical events regardless of the usual historical stuff that could occur before 1800.
     
    Dec 14, 2017
  20. Venusian Broon

    Venusian Broon Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity

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    Technology is one of the factors that have always pushed and shaped historical events, by being utilised by people for their own needs and ends. Even pre-1800.

    But it is not the only factor.

    WW2 would have occurred with or without any nuclear weapons, as the roots of the conflict (and the reason the French wanted to claim Vietnam in 1945) all go back hundreds of years, well before 1800, I would contend.
     
    Dec 14, 2017
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