The disparity of attention given to the 2 world wars?

Discussion in 'History' started by continuousbeing, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. Why is it that ww2 is one of the most widely known about periods in history and ww1 is never talked about (on a popular consciousness level)

    ww2 has a vast array of movies, tv shows, books, etc. about it, while there is a real dearth of ww1 stuff.

    Anybody here have any thoughts as to the reason(s) for this?
  2. fistermister

    fistermister Member

    I think ww2 gets more attention by the masses for a few reasons:

    1) Hitler and the Genocide are disgusting yet strangely interesting topics, 2) It spelled the end of European colonialism, 3) The war in the Pacific was ended by the first nukes, 4) It occurred more recently, 5) Because it occurred more recently there were better technologies to record the battles such as video cameras etc... 6) It led to the whole division of Europe thing and determined the battle ground for the Cold War, and 7) I think American's pay more attention to ww2 because the United States actually felt threatened by the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour.
  3. zeppelin kid

    zeppelin kid Member

    Well the reason world war 1 and 2 are so interesting is mainly because those were the last true wars in which each side was evenly matched on all aspects of warfare. That being guns, bombs, planes, ships, technology. You will never again see a true war in this world, those days are over.
  4. bamboo

    bamboo Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Because the USA was in WWI for just a brief time, and because the total mass of death and destruction during WWII has been unequaled in all of history. Also, WWI was fought mostly in Europe and a bit of the middle east. WWI was truly a WORLD WAR with fighting taking place everywhere except South America and Antartica.
  5. brownxfoot

    brownxfoot Member

    Just and ehoe of bamboo but In america we tend to care about wars we were in, maybe in europe ww1 is a bigger deal, anyone know?
  6. Occam

    Occam Old bag of dreams


    WW1 was basically stagnant as described by school text.
    [but much actually moved in russia and mideast.]

    A meat grinder has little interest.
    But Guderian or Patton sweeping forward with tank divisions
    and massive air support is 'dynamic'

    The great war movies like 'battle of the bulge' has desperate advance
    and heroic defence over great swaths of luxembourg/belgium with a
    plan to cut the other guy off at the knees.

    It's about drama, not, being one of 10 thousand morons charging machine guns
    [though 'sgt york' was a nice movie to break that image. And 'Lawrence' even better]

  7. kar33m

    kar33m Member

    I think it's simply cause it is more recent...
  8. Occam

    Occam Old bag of dreams


    Nah...How many teens twenties play 'call of duty' and 'brothers in arms'
    and 'day of defeat'
    How many know 'saving private ryan'.

    Compare that with how much those same people know about the 1991
    war in iraq. No such history can be presented cause that war was so
    TOTALLY ONE SIDED it was a joke. The US led alliance NEVER had to worry about losing. It could not.
    It only worried about the allied casualties. Which were in total less than the US loses in the first 5 minutes of D day 1944
    [which any who play cod2 will understand]

    Peaple CARE NOT for when it happened..Only the drama maters.
    The young of today know more about Troy and achillies than
    'desert storm'

    Games and movies have become the way the young learn of history
    And this is not such a bad thing. Cause learning there WAS a history
    took a BIG slump from 1950 to 2000
    [occam believes in education by whatever means]

    WWI was a grey war with stupid sacrifice to no end.
    A total waste of time and lives.

  9. MikeE

    MikeE Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    WW I was called the "war to end all wars". AND people beleived it, immediatly after the war, pacifism and isolationism were commonly held opinions. People has little interest to study, glorify, or pay attention to war in general and the last one (WW I) in particular.

    WWII was followed by a perception of the Soviet threat. A large (realtive to previous times of peace) standing army was needed for the occupation of Germany and Japan. There was more interest in things military.

    The advance in movie technology meant there were more and better quality newsreals of WWII than WWI. The pro-war movies made during the war were written, produced and distributed by proffessional movie people. They were not only propaganda but also good quality movies. (I'm not sure, were WWI era movies silent or talkies?)

    WWII tranformed the entire US into a war footing. Rationing, etc were more extreme than during WWI. The war was an immediate part of everyone's life.

    Someone else mentioned that WWII changed the world more than WWI. Not only did the map change more, but the A-bomb changed the world.

    Just a few thoughts.
  10. Flight From Ashiya

    Flight From Ashiya Senior Member

    Not so in the 1960s:
    'The Great War' BBC-TV series narrated by Sir Michael Redgrave.
    'Oh What A Lovely War!'-1969 film by Sir Richard Attenborough.

    The 'Great War' was the boiling point between competing European 'Empires'.
    World War Two was the inevitable clash between the 'expasive Fascist states' & the old -order Capitalist/Communist states.

    There is definitely disparity given to World War Two which forms the nucleus for our present 'world order'.
    The Americans came out of WWII stronger than any other nation.It signalled their 'Super-Power' status.
  11. Occam

    Occam Old bag of dreams


    More inclined to think WW2 was how america MADE ITSELF a superpower.
    [The destruction of the axis was the forge that made modern america]
    And it has not given up the steering wheel yet.

  12. dawn_sky

    dawn_sky Senior Member

    I'd assume part of the disparity in the US is the rationale behind the war.

    As I learned it: WWI began because of the assassination of some European Duke, and it was basically a power struggle between European nations. We wanted to stay out of it, but got drawn in when one of our major passenger ships was sunk. (As a disclaimer, some of the details are fuzzy -- I went to public high school in the US, and graduated over 10 years ago.)

    On the other hand, we learn that WWII was an epic war of right vs. wrong, as the US fought alongside other nations to defeat fascism and genocide. Every year, I see people performing public rememberances for victims of the Holocaust, which keeps that aspect of WWII in the public eye. Unfortunately, we seem to have forgotten the chain of events that led up to public support of a facist regime, but we at least remember the outcome.

    Americans (people in general?) love the epic battles with a clear right vs. obvious wrong. When there is more grey area, as in WWI, it takes more thought to choose which side to root for, to understand why we're fighting, etc.

    As for the Gulf War, the trigger for that was to defend a small nation from an agressive neighbor, which seems easily the right thing to do, but as has been mentioned, there was no epic battle because the power was so heavily one-sided. Also, more recent events have coloured all of our fairly recent (past 10-15 years) involvement in the region, as it seems more like neo-imperialism to control oil supplies rather than genuine concern for right vs. wrong.
  13. MikeE

    MikeE Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    The Holocaust had nothing to do with our entry into WWII. Even during the war, the evidence of the Holocaust was not widely beleived. It was so horrific and the Germany had a (deserved) historic reputation of civilization that, until the camps were discovered, the stories that leaked out were widely held to be exagerations.
  14. dawn_sky

    dawn_sky Senior Member

    I realize that, but I'm amazed at how many people DON'T realize that the holocaust was not a reason for our entry. I'm sorry I wasn't clear on that point. My comment was about the popular perception of the wars, rather than the actual chain of events. I think that one of the biggest differences causing the disparity of attention lies in the aspects that popular media can latch onto and romaticise -- thus the epic battle of good vs. evil, even if that only came out after we were already involved.

    And, unfortunately, nobody (in high schools or other means of educating masses) seems to want to talk about the most important aspects, such as how someone like Hitler could come to power, how the German people could go along with such atrocities -- issues that I feel are particularly relevant in today's American climate of fear mongering directed toward Arabs (they're all terrorists anyway, who cares if we trample their rights, right?).
  15. HonorSeed

    HonorSeed Senior Member

    Addressing the disparity of attention given world wars and a lot of conflicts in world history, this is so. The history of the world is very much focused in books on conflicts since the ancient times. It is something I care not one wit to make comment on lately, except to say today I just pretend conflict doesn't exist.


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