Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jeremy Illingworth, Sep 16, 2001.
My uncle was wondering and now I am too.
The 1914-1918 war was originally called The Great War or The World War. It only got the "I" tacked on after the outbreak of the 1939-1945 war, which Churchill and others immediately referred to as World War II. See among other papers Churchill's war memoirs.
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With respect, Dennis, not quite. Although it was most commonly called 'The Great War' by the general public it was also known as the First World War almost as soon as hostilities ceased. To quote the relevant section from Nigel Ree's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:
"FIRST WORLD WAR Known first as the 'European War', it became known quite rapidly as the Great War. By 10 September 1918, Lt-Col C. a Court Repington was referring to it in his diary as the 'First World War', thus: 'I saw Major Johnstone, the Harvard Professor who is here to lay the bases of an American History. We discusssed the right name for the war. I said that we called it now 'The War', but that this could not last. To call it 'The German War' was too much flattery for the Boche [contemporary slang for the Germans]. I suggested 'The World War' in order to prevent the millennium folk from forgetting that the history of the world was the history of the war.' Repington's book entitled 'First World War 1914-1918' was published in 1920. Presumably this helped popularize the name for the war, ominously suggesting that it was the first in a series."
Ah, yes, but 'First World War' and 'World War One' are different. The former can allude to the fact that great war, which involved the whole world was *A* first, the first time a war had been fought on such a scale. The latter name implies an ordering.
Yes, the exact terms 'World War I' and World War II' came into being after 1945. 'Second World War' was used as a phrase whilst the combat was still taking place, implying that 'First World War' had already gained currency. Indeed, people were already talking about a second world war in the 1930s, since the mess made of the Versailles Treaty practically guaranteed a further conflict. My point (sorry, I should have expressed this more clearly) is that the idea of a labelling a world conlict as a first, second, or whatever, had been thought of before 1945.
Correct me if im wrong, but wasen't World War I also regraded as "The War to end all Wars" after the armistise was signed and all the way up to the begining of WW2.
So are we going to be in World War 3 now? I think it was always assumed that WW3 would be nuclear, I don't think that necessarily is true.
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WWI was regarded as the 'war to end all wars'. At first, after the sheer carnage, people imagined that the sheer horror would make future wars impossible - politicians and military leaders would be deterred by the human cost for ordinary civilians and troops (yeh, right). As the 1930s progressed, people began to see that another conflict was almost inevitable, with either Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union as the cause (most people in the UK and USA suspected the latter), and the term 'war to end all wars' began to be used with increasing irony.
Actually it's becoming vogue to refer to the so-called Cold War as "WWIII". After all, over 100,000 US troops died in combat in the so-called Cold War, counting Korea and Vietnam and others.
I guess what we're in now is WWIV. Einstein was wrong. We aren't using sticks and rocks.
I once read a collection of detective/puzzle stories, where a sword allegedly presented to a Confederate general was considered fake, because it was for valour in "The First Battle of Bull Run" and dated shortly after said battle; rationale being that at that time, no one knew there would be a second battle (and also because the Confederates referred to the battle as Manassas, Bull Run being the Union term).
Logically, it seems odd to refer to World War One as such prior to the outbreak of WW2. Perhaps it's just a sad reflection of the times, that even in 1920 they fully expected a second world war to break out in the future?
I have a history book from 1925, entitled "History of the World War".
I didn't notice when I first read and posted in this thread, but now I see that it was started in September 2001! Before I even joined, which is why I didn't read/post the first go-around. Dennis, how on earth did you spot this thread and revive it?
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Here are some interesting comments sent to the NRO's "the corner" today.