Will age ever weary the subject?

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by von Poop, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    How long will WW2 remain such a massive worldwide interest?

    There've been countless other wars in every generation, Peninsular, Boer, ECW, ACW, trojan, etc. etc. But all can perhaps now be described as relatively minor interests when compared to the massive & deeply ingrained coverage of WW2. From the Universities & serious amateurs, all the way down to the trashier mass-market documentaries, with a hundred points in between.

    Will it ever pass into a minority interest?
    Does there have to be another World war for this one to have a chance of being eclipsed, or finally fading into obscurity?
    Is the exceptionally wide interest in it here forever?

    ~A
     
  2. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Adam , I think or rather am sure that interest will continue for at least my generation , if 14-18 was not bas enough - 39-45 really did leave a legacy which is still with us today.

    Apart from the military aspect the political , racial and nationalistic mix , before during marked it out to be a war like no other one in which many basic human values went to the wall.
    When Carl Jaspers said that the Nazis were "A warning from History" he was not far wrong - and the Japanese in their most extreme form were little better - China became their "Killing Fields" and they were the equal of the Nazis in terms of barbaric and inhuman behaviours.

    WW2 also brought the civilian directly into the front line and warfare moved from the battlefield to the homelands of the combatant nations and a nuclear age emerged into a cold war enviroment - the unfinish buisness of WW2 carried on in Korea , what was French Indo China , Central Europe , ( Russia asserting her control by force) , the Balkan civil war , until the "wall came down" - I don't really think we are quite clear of WW2's legacy as we speak.

    In terms of causation , cost , outcome enduring effect WW2 was the defining moment of the 20th Century.
     
  3. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    Well, I think the past depends on the future.

    Is there ever likely to be another war on the same scale?., affecting so many over such a large area. I think not, and if there is there will probably be noone left to research it.

    There have also been many conflicts in between, but they are far more easier to research through the likes of the internet so dont create the same type of 'society' as such.

    The problem with WW2 is that it will be a long time after the time that all information becomes freely available and even longer before it is all available electronically, so me thinks in years to come we will see a lot of people reseaching great grand parents rather than parents and grand parents.

    P
     
    James S likes this.
  4. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    I think you are right Phil - a lot of papers are still closed to the public and as a result history is still being written , it is 9 and perhaps always will be ) in a state of continual review.
    As with all history a lot will be lost - historians will always be there working and reevaluating , the general public interest may wane a little as generations become more remote from the conflict and those directly involved and their children pass away.
     
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Looking at how HUGE the interest in the Great War has become, especially for family historians I think the interest in WW2 will only get bigger in the coming years.

    WW2 was the biggest war ever in history so I think it will never be forgotten .
    Two thousand years on the Roman Empire still has 'mass interest'.
    People still dress up as Roman soldiers today, can you imagine people in
    AD 3945 dressing up , I wonder what they'll look like?
    Maybe Hitler's Reich will last a Thousand Years or more, just not the way he thought.
     
  6. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    I guess one day, it will fade, once its out of living momory, the technolgogical and political legacies are already fading. One day when the cemeteries are forgotten and overgrown it wil just another old war.

    Kev
     
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Will age ever weary the subject?

    Yes, for most.
    No, for some.
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Same as any other War Diane, I suspect that's the inevitable way of it - though the scale will likely make the progress slower.
    One day when the cemeteries are forgotten and overgrown it wil just another old war.
    It's partly visiting assorted English Civil War grave-mounds over the years, and the Towton ones from the earlier 'civil' conflict, that make me wonder Kev.
    Maybe once visceral & personal reminders of bloodshed, but now, to most, just bumps in a field.
     
  9. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Heck, I'm still embroiled in the intrincacies of the Later Roman Empire administration and that was a heck of a long time ago, even later than Lenin's trip from Switzerland to Finland :)
     
  10. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    The problem with WW2 is that it will be a long time after the time that all information becomes freely available and even longer before it is all available electronically, so me thinks in years to come we will see a lot of people reseaching great grand parents rather than parents and grand parents.
    P

    The 1931 census won't help much, for those who are still here...

    The 1931 Census
     
  11. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Makes me wonder what we would be talking about if it never happened...:)
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Probably some other dreadful cataclysm Peter - I think we're probably all 'that type' :unsure:.

    That's just us Za, we're the Internerds ;).
    It's still fair to say WW2 has a MUCH wider dilettante following than any other conflict. Large enough still to see an overall dwindling as quite remote, though I still wonder when/if it will fade to a truly minority interest.
     
  13. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    One of the biggest events to take place in world history.
    One hopes that it will remain remembered indefinitely.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  14. Elven6

    Elven6 Discharged

    This is a unique scenario especially in the 21st century where we have technology. Movies, video games, etc with subject matter relating to the World Wars have become popular and will surely peak the interests of people.

    Not to mention the learning experience has gotten more "hands on" with footage filmed during the war, color photographs, etc. With the internet many Veterans have taken their stories online, assuming the database remains up it could become a viable source for people to come across.

    It also depends on the school system, right now both World Wars gain some good "air time" (in NA at least), if people are taught the basics at a young age perhaps it could peak their interests down the line.

    In other words, technology has advanced a lot and it has brought with it everything from the 20th century and to a certain extent even the 19th century. It's hard to determine what effect it will have per say but I believe it will be a good one that only fosters research.

    Edit: Now the problem is in my opinion, how much information will be truthful information and how much will be false? We are seeing now groups that want to discredit people from all sides of the war, we may not think much about it now but what if they win? What if their word is largely taken as fact? I'm more worried about how much factual information would be transfered over to future generations.
     
  15. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I was just now thinking of the changed technological aspect, films, audio etc. and stuff like the Internet coming along while interest is still generally high.
    Could be the thing that really raises it above other fields in terms of scale, the Internet alone is a significant boost for several other quite obscure Military history periods.

    When does a period become obscure? Is living memory the key factor?
     
  16. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    Same as any other War Diane, I suspect that's the inevitable way of it - though the scale will likely make the progress slower.

    It's partly visiting assorted English Civil War grave-mounds over the years, and the Towton ones from the earlier 'civil' conflict, that make me wonder Kev.
    Maybe once visceral & personal reminders of bloodshed, but now, to most, just bumps in a field.


    Good comparision, how many people know about the massive battle that was Towton. How it effected this country. How many more care?

    You can say its not a like for like comparision, that ww2 is a lot more documented in a far more exicting (for want of a better word) way, but who knows whats gonna happen in the next few hundred years, people may look back at the grainy footage of ww2 like Joe public would treat a mediaval manuscript today.

    Kev
     
  17. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Just two things that happened to me recently to add to this. The first was my wife's visit to a local small toy shop to by some plastic soldiers for my granson aged 6 who is into army stuff etc as many kids are and have always in my eyes been. The owner of the shop looked horrified when asked if they had any. He says we don't stock (that kind of thing) anymore in toy shops it's not right nowdays, needless to say my wife was a bit stuned when she told me!!
    The second was when we were visiting a War Collection place on holiday in Devon, we were followed around by a school group of very young children with there teachers and were understood to believe that they were there as WW2 is now on the curriculum. I don't know if this is correct by I know there are some teachers on the forum, so perhaps they could advise us if this is right.
    Rob
     
  18. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    There's a difference to old graves like Towton & the graves from WW 1 & 2.
    It's called the CWGC, the Commonwealth Governments have to pay for them.


    Though I do wonder what will happen one day when the Thiepval Memorial starts to decay, will they fork out millions to keep it standing.
    Vimy Memorial had a facelift a couple of years ago I can imagine structures like that being kept in good order.
     
  19. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    There's a difference to old graves like Towton & the graves from WW 1 & 2.
    It's called the CWGC, the Commonwealth Governments have to pay for them.


    Though I do wonder what will happen one day when the Thiepval Memorial starts to decay, will they fork out millions to keep it standing.
    Vimy Memorial had a facelift a couple of years ago I can imagine structures like that being kept in good order.

    THe question is will there be the political will to do so...
     
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    There was a time it might be thought unthinkable that any of the Napoleonic period graves I've seen in English Churchyards (usually officers) might lie untended, but most do now.
    The staggering amount of memorials to far off battles are still there along Southsea seafront, but they're little more than curiosities to most passers-by.

    And bean-counters do as bean-counters are; no line of funding was ever 100% secure in the face of other modern pressures on resources. No matter how strongly 'In perpetuity' was meant by those that established these things.

    I think the yearly Remembrance ceremonies are at the forefront of keeping WW2 'alive', can't see them stopping as they include more recent conflicts, and will likely roll on forever. But even then, the minds of those in the crowd will possibly lose their focus on WW1 & 2 as the decades go by.
     

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