Will age ever weary the subject?

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

  1. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    The grandchildren of the vets are having their own children now. My children were fortunate to know and remember their veteran grandfather. I believe the honour they had for him will be passed down through the generations. I will talk to them about their grandad.

    Those whose grandfathers were killed in action or passed early have grandmothers to tell their grandchildren stories.

    It's up to each family to pass this legacy and history along. What is taught in schools is secondary.

    The crowd is growing at the Rememberance Day ceremony and parade each year and definitely is growing in momentum in my home town in Canada.

    The poppy is worn by every adult in Canada the full month of November , sold on the streets and shopping areas. We Canadians receive 2 poppies per household every year in the mail.

    peaceful
    Chrissie
     
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Adam poses the question:

    Will age ever weary the subject?
    How long will WW2 remain such a massive worldwide interest?

    At least until ww2talk decides to call it a day !

    Ron
     
  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    From our forum viewpoint it is very much growing based on the number of new members and continued new threads;Also the media continues to put out WW2 related programmes/articles on a regular basis.
     
  4. Efamily

    Efamily Junior Member

    Well I think it interest will change, and wax & wane at least while there are veterans around or in living memory. WWI seems to have a greater popular attraction, Birdsong, War-Horse, My Son Jack recently making the screens. greater open access to WWI archives has also helped by comparison to WWII.

    There seems now to be a rather narrow nostalgia surrounding WWI, perhaps because of distance in time. Common themes are repeatedly explored; war poets, the lost generation (usually the middle & upper classes forming the officer class), trench warfare (going "over the top"). What seems to drive a lot of popular interest are novels, or rather interpretations of them for screen. Writing about WWII is maybe more factually based, eg histories etc, so less fodder for the wider public.

    Interpretation of history particularily WWI underwent a massive change in the 1970 with marxist interpretations being pushed in the university and education systems. Hence it gets to the point of polemical writings such as "Oh what a lovely war", "All Quiet on the Western Front" even "Blackadder Goes Forth". At the time these struck a cord with the public, however more recently historians have begun to revise WWI putting more reliance on source material rather than dogma.

    Will WWII then continue to be of interest? Well it will be down to the skills of the writers of history to interperate source materials newly released as old soldiers fade away.

    Maybe WW2talk can make a contribution to the process.

    Nick
     
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  5. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

    I would say that the ship has already sailed on interest in WWII, at least in the US.

    I doubt if you stopped people under 30 at random on any given street, not one in ten would even recognize the words. And the one out of ten would say something like, "Was that where the guy got his arm blown off on the beach and then picked it up?"

    They don't read and they won't even look at anything in black and white on TV, yet alone a history presentation.

    Animal House: Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor - YouTube

    Sad but true,

    I forgot, some boys might play a WWII related video game.
     
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I forgot, some boys might play a WWII related video game.
    Mighty oaks can grow from strange acorns though.
    My 10-year-old (admittedly already somewhat indoctrinated) installed a 'Commandos' game on his new computer... suddenly, unbidden, the action men are out of the box again, and the Lego bionicles have been having some very strange battles against 'The Nazi Robots'...

    Commando comics probably had quite a bit to do with my own indoctrination, and inspiration can come from odd sources.
    The very fact WW2 computer games are still massive sellers might give some indirect power to the ongoing interest.
     
  7. Alan Allport

    Alan Allport Senior Member

    The idea that today's young people are uniquely ignorant about history is itself a Golden Age myth born of collective amnesia. In fact, as far back as 1917 American high schoolers were performing dismally on standardized exams to test basic historical knowledge. During WWII, the New York Times Magazine was fretting that GIs were going into battle with no understanding of their country's history and traditions. One constant emerges from this: every generation has been convinced that the generation below them (even the Greatest Generation) is uniquely awful.

    Best, Alan
     
  8. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

    The idea that today's young people are uniquely ignorant about history is itself a Golden Age myth born of collective amnesia. In fact, as far back as 1917 American high schoolers were performing dismally on standardized exams to test basic historical knowledge. During WWII, the New York Times Magazine was fretting that GIs were going into battle with no understanding of their country's history and traditions. One constant emerges from this: every generation has been convinced that the generation below them (even the Greatest Generation) is uniquely awful.

    Best, Alan

    Believe what you like.

    In 1988 a coworker in a highrise office building in New York told me that nobody stopped at random in the hallways would be able to name the three major Axis powers in WWII. I laughed at him. We asked ten people, "What were the three countries we were fighting against in WWII?" A couple named Japan and Germany. Two or three more named Germany or Japan. None said Italy.

    These were all engineers with one or more PhDs or MSs

    I suggest that forum members conduct the same experiment today and judge for themselves.

    Dave
     
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    But Dave - you and your colleague knew. :)

    We've covered this aspect on a few other threads dealing with education and remembrance, haven't we? - not everyone has to have an interest in history, and even if they do, other conflicts/eras may hold the interest more. At least your co-workers knew there was a 2nd World War.

    I like Ron's response
    At least until ww2talk decides to call it a day !
    Ron

    It makes me wonder who in 20 years time might join the forum and find this thread in the archives. I hope they'll be reading it with a wry smile on their face ... and bump it up for further discussion. ;)
     
  10. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

    It makes me wonder who in 20 years time might join the forum and find this thread in the archives. I hope they'll be reading it with a wry smile on their face ... and bump it up for further discussion. ;)

    Well said. Me too!
     
  11. kiwigeordie

    kiwigeordie Senior Member

    I would think the majority of this and other forum members are too young to have experienced WW2 first hand - yet here we all are!
    When you also count in the modellers, militaria collectors, wargamers etc. as well as the pure historians, I think the interest will be around for a long time yet.
    Pete
     
  12. Jon Horley

    Jon Horley Member

    I think it's answered to a degree by the 'Hitlerite Obsession' thread, no? WWII involved so many countries, such disparate peoples - think of Norway and India, African troops and Malayan, Gurkhas and Nordic forces, the Polish cavalry and American warships - the differences in the sophistication in armoury, the old guard versus the latest gadgetry, assorted nations thrown together, people pulled into this conflict not because their own country had been affected directly (think of the African countries who contributed their young men - Hitler had no designs on Nigeria, for example), and those who were very much affected once the Japanese jumped on the bandwagon of conflict.

    It's the range of WWII which is astounding. It goes far beyond the narrower racial confines of WWI, although that war saw dreadful casualties in shocking conditions. However many millions Pol Pot and Mao Tze-Tung, in his crazed 'Great Leap Forward' days, caused to die in their own countries, they cannot rival WWII for its international scale and involvement - even if they accounted for tens of millions of their own peoples' deaths between them.

    It can hardly be surprising if the fascination with this subject lives on - none of us was around during Ancient Rome (although on some days I feel like it), yet books on the rulers still get written today and tours to its historic ruins are almost too popular. Who would imagine that viewing the lava-encrusted remains of the dead at Pompei would be a draw? But they are and presumably until the Sun's decaying orbit finally shrivels this little blue planet to the size of a walnut, always will be.

    We - the human species - will always be fascinated by the best and the worst of ourselves. We visit galleries and attend concerts to experience the best we can produce, and we visit war graves and battle sites to remind ourselves of the worst we can do. Yet even as we stand dismayed by our foolishness and mourning the losses we inflict on each other, we acknowledge that other human traits like bravery, compassion, and humour so often shone through the fear and suffering. As long as we remain entranced by the best and worst of the 'human condition', I'm sure the interest in this conflict will reach far into the future.
     
  13. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    CL1 likes this.
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I believe that it was Einstein who claimed that WW3 will be horrific... and that WW4 will be fought with sticks and stones..that won't be too interesting...

    Cheers
     
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    If I've learned nothing else in life, it is that nothing is forever.

    If you are a regular reader or contributor to this forum you might remember me harping on about a theory of mine that no-one is truly dead until his name is never mentioned anymore ?

    With that in mind I've written an obscene amount of articles about my WW2 activities and posted a similar amount of images from various military aspects of my life, all in the same hope that when I am no longer around to bore or irk my reader someone as yet unknown to me will light on my offering and say "Is that what it was really like in WW2 ?"

    At the moment, sites such as GOOGLE will easily find my offerings, but for how long ?

    I believe I have spread myself fairly widely and some sites are being archived as I write, but, again, for how long ?

    As my old friend Bill Shakespeare use to say " Aye..... there's the rub !"

    Ron
     
  16. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Now and again you can be pleasantly surprised.

    I'm in San Francisco this week and over dinner last night the subject of WW2 came up. Everyone at the table was exceptionally well versed and we had a very enjoyable conversation. All were over 40 and consisted of Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and Canucks.The common thread seemed to be early exposure to family members who had served being the catalyst for a life long interest.
     
  17. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    thank you vP


    Ron your quote.

    If you are a regular reader or contributor to this forum you might remember me harping on about a theory of mine that no-one is truly dead until his name is never mentioned anymore ?

    I remember the above every time I visit a UK churchyard.Along with myself and other forum members (and the wider public) we regularly inform CWGC of any issues regarding commemorations and headstones which require fixing or updating.

    I would imagine as long as CWGC and like minded individuals are alive and responsive ,then Remembrance will continue.


    regards
    Clive
     
  18. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    From my personal experience, I believe "interest" in WW2 (and WW1 for that matter) has been increasing for many years. For example, the largest single reason why visitors visit Normandy is related to D-Day and the Battle of Normandy (according to tourist surveys).

    There are still some visitors, particularly from Britain rather than the New World, whose primary reason for visiting Normandy is to follow in the footsteps of "1066 and all that" (i.e. William the Conquerer, Queen Matilda, the Bayeux Tapestry, etc.). But this interest tends to be far less than for topics related to WW2 (e.g. the D-Day Landing Beaches, Pegasus Bridge, Merville Battery, Omaha Beach Cemetery, etc.).

    Then again, it is not a bad idea to visit Calvados in particular for a reason other than WW2 or William the Conquerer. There are some people who have a gastronomic journey through the department to sample the seafood, cheeses and the different types of cider!
     
  19. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Yes age does weary the subject , my kids are not at the age where they're fed up of being dragged around old battlefields.
    I got away with it when they were really small but we haven't done it for awhile now. ;)
     
  20. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I tried to read that piece and failed. I have an idea that I know what he intended to say but the gibberish and jargon rather got in the way. What on earth is a "Vulcan Approach" ? ....Nose high and belching unburned kerosene was what came to mind....
     

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