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Sad Survey.....

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by JJWilson, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. JJWilson

    JJWilson Active Member

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    Hello everyone! The last few days I have been asking questions regarding WW2 to people my age in my high school. Most of the questions are very basic and well.......important to know. I asked 20 people, the students I asked were between the ages of 14-18, male and female, popular, and nerdy. Here are the results.....prepare yourselves.

    What year did WW2 officially Begin? Answer: 1939
    7 out of 20 answered correctly..........most common answer, 1941.......weirdest answer, 1984

    Who was Italy's leader during WW2? Answer; Benito Mussolini

    5 out of 20 answered correctly..........most common answer, I have no clue..........weirdest answer Donald Trump

    What is the significance of December 7th in American History? Answer: Attack on Pearl Harbor
    9 out of 20 answered correctly...............most common answer, I don't know................weirdest answer, it's the first week of December

    Which Axis country attacked Pearl Harbor? Answer: Japan
    14 out of 20 answered correctly.............most common answer, Japan.............weirdest answer, Vietnam

    True or False, Germany invaded Great Britain? Answer: False
    10 out of 20 answered correctly.............most common answer, False...............weirdest answer, True

    Which country declared war on the U.S? Answer: Germany
    6 out of 20 answered correctly..............most common answer, Japan...............weirdest answer, Russia

    Who was President during the Attack on Pearl Harbor? Answer: FDR
    8 out of 20 answered correctly..............most common asnwer, Harry Truman, or Teddy Roosevelt.....weirdest, Ronald Reagan

    How many Americans died During WW2? Answer: about 300,000
    3 out of 20 answered correctly, or close............most common answer, 1,000,000.............weirdest answer, 10,000

    Name the two cities in Japan hit by the Atomic Bomb. Answer Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    4 out of 20 answered both correctly..............most common answer, Hiroshima and Tokyo........weirdest Answer, Beijing

    What year did WW2 end? Answer: 1945
    11 out of 20 answered correctly............most common answer, 1944.................weirdest answer, 2001

    Did Nazi's kill Millions of Jews in the Holocaust? Answer:........Seriously?
    19 out of 20 answered correctly..............the girl simply said, I kid you not, "I don't know......did they?"
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The answer to the first question is very debatable depending on how you want to define what exactly constitutes "WW2" . For instance the firs two major combatants went to war in 1937. On the other hand it was focused mostly in Western Europe (and if you want to consider it seperate the North Atlantic) and China until 1941 when it became much more global. So a case can be made for 41.

    For the 5th question. I seam to recall hearing of a very minor landing in GB during the war and the Germans certainly invaded British territory so I'm not sure I'd consider "true" all that weird.

    6th question Italy and Japan also declared war on the US. The Japanese declaration was after the attack on PH but before the US declared war in return.

    10th question. Again there's a bit of ambiguity in the answer. The fighting stopped for the most part in 45 but the official end wasn't until the peace treaties were signed. Thus the official end of the war between the US and Germany was Oct 24 1951! See:
    Truman declares war with Germany officially over - Oct 24, 1951 - HISTORY.com
    And if you want to include other powers India and Japan didn't have a signed treaty until 52 and I think some of the Indian nations didn't sign peace treaties until the last couple of decades.

    The last may have been a rhetorical question/answer (I hope).
     
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  3. JJWilson

    JJWilson Active Member

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    Yes as far as the first question I agree that it is debatable, but our history books say 1939 so I go with what the students should know. As for question 5 I mean a full scale crossing the channel invasion, not a small raiding party. As for the 6th I realize my mistake, apologies for that! For the 10th once again, I'm going off of textbooks, and I had no clue about the length of those declarations, thanks for sharing lwd!
     
  4. Owen

    Owen O Patron  

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    For question #1 how many said 1941 ?
    As you're in USA I can understand why you'd get that for your most popular answer, I hope it was more than half.
     
  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Im surprised how many got the answers right to be honest...not sure Australian 14 year olds would do so well...
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

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    Question 1: August 1939? I think September is generally accepted as the start of WWII, at least in Europe. Even so only 4 European countries went to war and in many previous European conflicts 4 nations at war were common without being labeled a 'World War'. Further in debates on this subject there are arguments for a wide variety of start dates. The Chinese and some Japanese see the early or late 1930's a start date. Some think because of the politics the Spanish Civil War was the point. Russians in the Soviet era see June 22nd as the start. Some Americans see December 7th, 1941. Each have some truth in them, but most agree the first week of September 1939 is a acceptable compromise.

    Question 2. This does not surprise me, nor can I fault them overmuch. Mussolini was the ultimate mouse who roared, he entered late, earned no triumphs and exited early. His greatest success was convincing so many that he actually mattered. I can't name most of Hitler's European ally leaders, nor can I name most minor Allied leaders. To be fair in the latter case many exited the stage rather quickly.

    Question 3. Well at least the weird answer is actually correct. Within the US the correct answer should have been higher since there are news reports on every anniversary.

    Question 4. Actually a good number got it right.

    Question 5. If you count the Channel Islands, then yes Great Britain was invaded and occupied till the end of the war.

    Question 6. You can't really blame people for this one. Germany's DoW was largely overshadowed by Japan's attack on the US and the American DoW on Japan. Many think Americas DoW included Germany as well. Japan did Declare on the US after a fashion. It was convoluted and delayed, but there was no doubt that the multi-part message was a effective DoW.

    Question 7. This one is disappointing.

    Question 8. That would be a difficult one for most people and people often confuse 'killed' with total casualties.

    Question 9. Much like the German DoW, Nagasaki seems to get lost in the flurry of events and films of Tokyo look like it got Nuked.

    Question 10. Your group did well considering most got it right or were within 6 months.

    Question 11. About equal to the ratios of Holocaust deniers, so a great response.

    Most people must rely upon what they learned in High School History classes and what is offered in most movies and TV shows. Sad but true. As I recall my own school history lessons I could sum it up with Britain was plucky, America saved the world, Russia helped a bit. Germany was evil and Japan was sneaky. On a couple of occasions I corrected My teachers and was told that I could answer what I wanted, but if mine didn't agree with his answer key, I was wrong.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  7. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    You also have to factor in the perverse glee some people have of giving obviously false answers.
     
  8. JJWilson

    JJWilson Active Member

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    About 7 or 8 said 1941, which like you said is understandable considering that is when the U.S got involved
    It helps that many of them were or had a history class not to long ago, without that, I think it would be much worse.
    And yes, the Donald Trump answer and a few others were definitely that way, but I asked them in all seriousness, and those who made weird answers actually got it right the second time. Question #8 was really more to see how drastic people were going to be in both directions I was surprised that even 3 were close to be honest.

    My apologies about making a few of these questions not very straightforward, and in question #6 being wrong, sort of! For the most part I think these questions were legit and valid for the age group. I like many of you am concerned and disappointed in the results shown here, unfortunately though there isn't a whole lot it seems we can do. It really comes down to this.......People of my generation simply don't care about history all that much. It isn't just WW2 though where this is happening, very few people I know of can tell me what year the Constitution was ratified (1788) or when the Civil War occurred, or even all 50 states names. My generation will be responsible one day for running this country and influencing the world, and to be honest, I'm worried.
     
  9. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Mate not learning from history is a global practice...they don't learn because they don't know it. Which astounds me...History (or herstory) is the foundation of knowing where one is and where one is going...for an intelligent person its compulsory learning, for others? Well we can only contemplate the masses' intelligence...or lack thereof.
    Its the difference between planning your life and just existing, reacting to very predictable outcomes.
     
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  10. JJWilson

    JJWilson Active Member

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    I absolutely see what your saying CAC. I don't think it's a lack of intelligence, to me it seems more like arrogance. People think, "yeah well I won't make the same mistakes they did." or "We are far beyond that type of ideology, it's obsolete thinking." There also isn't any interest, too many it's a waste of time, and when at school, history is turned into an assignment or requirement, it is no longer enjoyable or worthwhile to many. I had teachers who made learning history fun and relevant to people of all ages, with the kind of curriculum's we have now, there isn't time for that anymore.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  11. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I do think its a sort of arrogance...but a contemplative mind would see the relevance and importance of learning what has happened before...not just thousands or hundreds of years ago, but from 20-30 or 40 years ago! So many ideas for this and that muted to solve problems, you feel like yelling at the screen or page "that has been tried and it failed!" and if they delved deeper they would know WHY it failed and be in a better place to see the right solution.
    If you were about to join the army and your big brother had been a soldier you would ask your brother what its like and what to expect...learning from history! If a government wants to try a strategy to increase population, economic conditions or (in Nth Korea's case) deal with a rogue country...its ALL happened before...the lessons of what works and doesn't are there to learn from before you even get off your backside or spend a cent...So few governments learn from history...I can only surmise its because they don't know it and haven't the intelligence to realise they need to.
    I agree part of the problem is how its presented to people...very dry and largely irrelevant - Dates aren't important the lesson learnt is. I had a history teacher (who had 4 degrees) who would speak of history as though it happened yesterday and he was there...he would get very animated and emotional and draw us all in. Made us think this was important to know...
    It surprises how many know learning lessons is important and yet don't do any research to back it up...
     
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  12. JJWilson

    JJWilson Active Member

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    Well said CAC.........I try my best to do my part for society and be better than my generation of screen-loving, socially awkward, and apathetic people. I don't think by the way that because I know more history I am a better person or superior to others my age, I learn about history, and learn in general to better understand my world, my life, my feelings, my future, my past, my hopes, my dreams, and so on. The lessons I've learned, the experiences I've had, and the people I've met (You guys!) are because of my want to learn!
     
  13. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    And well said to you too...
    The dragon (lizard) outside my office looks the same and does the same thing its ancestor did a thousand years ago...exactly the same life despite a thousand years in between...the dragon doesn't learn from its past and is doomed to the same mistakes and life of its predecessors...theres no growth...people can be exactly the same as the dragon outside my window...just reacting to the same situations the same way.
    No one is superior...we are all scumbag animals we call humans...some fool themselves into thinking they are other...you certainly can have a better life however, and that can be quantified in many ways.
    Its only through learning history that we can confidently move forward toward that better life.
     
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  14. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    I never felt anyone was obliged to share my interests, though it might please me if they do.
    Part of why sacrifices were made was to protect people's rights to do as they please.
    Doubtless if Nazism had won then everyone would know details of the conflict, learnt by rote.

    The level of decent answers from your little sample seem alright. (Assuming High School is mostly teenagers. Not a term we use here.)
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    IMO it's not a matter of "acceptable compromise" it's a matter of defining the question more precisely. Once that's done the answer should be clear. If it's not then multiple answers may be correct.
    That was one of my first thoughts and why I mentioned that the Germans had invaded British territitory but I believe "Great Britain" is the largest of the British Isles i.e. the island on which the majority of England, Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall reside. So the Channel Islands wouldn't be part of Great Britain.
    The Japanese did issue a declaration of war after the PH attack. The attack itself was much more of a declaration of war than the message announcing the termination of negotiations.
     
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  16. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

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    Your three points could be seen as a classic example of the adage that History is written by the victors. All of history is a subjective experience determined by the perspective of those who view and endure it. More to the point we constantly re-evaluate history as we learn new facts or as our values evolve. Take the American march across North America called Manifest Destiny. Long considered a epic, even noble act by most Americans opposed by ignorant and primitive savages, was to the Native populations seen as a relentless and remorseless near genocidal event.

    Personally I consider September 1,1939 as the start of WWII, but that is in some ways a arbitrary consensus agreed to by the victorious Western Allies. Being dominate economically and culturally at the wars end it became the long accepted answer. For the Jewish communities of Europe WWII started when Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. To the Czechs, WWII began at Munich, For some Austrians it began at the Anschluss. China, Ethiopia , Spain, The Baltic States, Russia and even the US can point to differing start lines. Most comprehensive histories on the war include most if not all these events I refer to as a part of the conflict under the generalized header, "The March to War".

    The debate of who-what-is Britain, Great Britain, United Kingdom is part of the problem. Most outside observers see them as of a whole. Its well known Scot's bristle when you call them 'British', but as Brexit shows people in the whole country have flexible views on the subject. While in a technical sense you are correct in the common usage they are one and the same. Its not my fault Those Bloody Limey's are confused.

    The whole point of the '14 Part Message' and its intended delivery prior to bombs falling on Pearl Harbor was a attempt by Japan to deflect any impression that this attack unlike that on Port Arthur in 1905 was not a sneak attack. There was no doubt in senior American councils who saw it a defacto Declaration of War by Japan on the US. Much of the problem is in the circuitous use of language common in senior Japanese leadership. This problem would come back to bite them in the ass big time at the end of the war in the matter of their response to the Potsdam Proclamation. A clearer request for the retention of the Emperor might have prevented the dropping of the Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Tokyo.....er...Nagasaki. :)

    I'm not trying to beat you up on this, just pointing out that History is not always a inflexible record of events, nor can we expect the guy or girl on the street to know anything but the most basic points of it. The further away we get from the actual event the more it gets defined by the popular culture of the time.
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I certainly don't see it that way.
    It would seem to be difficult to make that case. Indeed Hitler's anti campaign doesn't meet most of the defintions of a war and certainly not a world war. The Czechs and Austrians may have been invaded in some senses of the word but the lack of fighting again doesn't fit my understanding of what constitutes a war. So on for a most of the rest of the cases you mention.
    It's not a debate!!! Some people are sloppy with their definitions and/or usage of the terms but that's not a debate. These terms all have very clear definitions. As for Scot's "bristling" at being called "British" not that I'm familiar with ... now call them "English" and be prepared to defend yourself.
    That's a bit of conjecture on your part. It was clearly not a declaration of war nor was it intended as such it simply declared that they were breaking off negotiations. Now that may have seemed important to them (the difference between a surprise attack while negotiating vs not) but that's a different matter.
    Did they or did they see the attack on PH as a defacto declaration of war and the 14 part message for what it was. Certainly there was nothing in the message to indicate that Japan and the US were at war. If it had been presented before the attack or the attack had not happened would it have been considered a declaration of war? I think not.
    Again I disagree. The request was quite clear as was the response. The status of the Emperor would be determined by the occupational authorities.
    Since I don't agree with a lot of what you said I hardly view it as an attempt to "beat me up". My point was that it was a bit more complex than the questions may have indicated and that with some additional knowledge some of the "wrong" answers may have been right. For instance someone who says the war started in 1937 and mentions the Marco Polo Bridge incident has a valid point. Some one who says it started in 1937 with the invasion of Poland is just wrong. How much to expect someone on the street or in school for that matter to know is another topic all together.
    ???? I'm not even sure what this means. In some cases as time progresses we actually gain knowledge of what really happened and can put it into proper context for the time. In other cases not so much. Some do obviously try to use the pop culture of their time to define history but the validity of that is questionable.
     
  18. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

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    You don't seem to be reading my post's very well. We both agree on the start date of WWII, September 1939. We both agree that the conflict and its politics are a complex issue. Finally you are even willing to agree that some people can interpret the beginning date of the war at a differing date if they qualify it (1937-Marco Polo Bridge).

    What was Hitler's intent when he took over? To expand Germany's borders by force of Arms, does not Munich qualify. Comply or be destroyed. To eliminate Jewish culture and racial genetics from Europe, Does not Kristalnacht, Nuremberg Laws and Concentration Camps count? In reality WWII was not a single war but a collection separate wars that eventually merged into a single grand conflict. Even so many countries entered and left the war for various reasons and being a German ally did not automatically mean you were at war with the US.

    There is a small, but growing interpretation that The Great War and WWII is a single conflict separated by a 19 year truce. Alliances shifted, goals evolved, but could WWII happen as we understand it absent the Great War? There was a time where WWI was labeled "the War to End All Wars", it was anything but.

    The 14 Part message makes no sense unless it was intended to deflect the appearance of a sneak attack, especially since Japanese leadership went to such lengths to have it delivered just before the attack. US officials who read the 14 Parts, along with other indications Burning of codes, military movements etc. concluded war was about to break out and sent out warnings. Japanese carriers were already turning into the wind when the diplomats were supposed to deliver it. Was it a conventional DoW, no, but both sides saw as such, at least privately.

    You are correct that we often use language imprecisely, but who's fault is that when our cousin's across the pond are one of the most flagrant abusers. In any event the OP's questions were hardly graduate level, nor were they directed at History majors I gather.
     
  19. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    1923-1932; Italian "pacification" of Libya.
    1st of August, 1927, Chinese Civil War starts with the Chinese Communist party uprising in Nanchang.
    22nd July, 1929, Sino-Soviet conflict over the Chinese Eastern Railway
    18th of September, 1931, Japan invades Manchuria
    3rd of October, 1935, Second Italo-Abyssinian War starts
    17th July, 1936, Spanish Civil War starts
    7th of July, 1937, Marco Polo Bridge incident, triggering the start of the second Sino-Japanese War.
    12th of March, 1938, Germany annexes Austria.
    29th of September, 1938, the Munich Diktat.
    15th of March, 1939, Germany invades Czechoslovakia.
    7th of April, 1939, Italy invades Albania
    11th of May, 1939, Japanese-Soviet border incidents known as Kholkin Gol or Nomonhan start (ending in September)
    23rd of August, 1939, Molotov-Ribbentrop German-Soviet Pact of Non-Aggression is signed
    1st of September, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland.
    3rd of September, 1939, France, UK, Australia, and New Zealand declare war on Germany
    4th of September, 1939, Nepal declares war on Germany
    6th of September, 1939, South Africa declares war on Germany
    10th of September, 1939, Canada, Bahrain, and Oman declares war on Germany
    17th of September, 1939, the Soviet Union invades Poland
    30th of November, 1939, Soviet Union attacks Finland
    9th of April, 1940, Germany invades Denmark and Norway.
    12th of April, 1940, UK invades Faroe Islands
    10th of May, 1940 Germany invades Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands
    10th of May, 1940 UK invades Iceland
    10th of June, 1940, Italy declares war on France and the UK
    10th of June, 1940, Canada declares war on Italy
    11th of June, 1940, Australia, France, New Zealand, and South Africa declare war on Italy
    15th of June, 1940, Lithuania capitulates to Soviet demands.
    16th of June, 1940, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia invaded by the Soviet Union
    28th of October, 1940 Italy attacks Greece
    6th of April, 1941, Germany attacks Yugoslavia, and declares war on Greece
    6th of April, 1941, Bulgaria, Hungary and Italy attack Yugoslavia
    2nd of May, 1941, UK attacks Iraq.
    22nd of June, 1941, Germany, Romania invades the Soviet Union
    25th of June, 1941, Finland recognizes a state of war with the Soviet Union
    27th of June, 1941, Hungary declares war on the Soviet Union
    25th of August, 1941, UK, Soviet Union, and Australia invade Iran.
    6th of December, 1941, the UK declares war on Finland
    7th of December, 1941, UK declares war on Hungary and Romania. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand declared war on Finland, Hungary, and Romania. Japan attacks Pearl Harbour.
    8th of December, 1941, Japan attacks Hong Kong, Malaya, Thailand, Shanghai, Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies.


    Up until 3rd of September, 1939, the many conflicts were local. Yes, they were resulting from the upheaval in the international system following the wake of the Great War, and the collapse and of the Empires of Germany, Russia, Austro-Hungary, and the Ottomans, and even the dismemberment/subjugation of the Chinese empire already prior to WW1. So although we can see that these all fed into the conflagration that was about to be a global war, it wasn't really global until the British and French Empires declared war. The immediate trigger for their declarations was the invasion of Poland, 1st of September. Before they declared war, the conflicts were local. After they declared war, there was no doubt that other countries would be dragged in sooner or later.
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I think the shoe is on the other foot.
    No we don't. What the start date is depends on exactly how you define WWII. Absent any further clarification I'm inclined to go for 1937.
    If they aren't fighting it's not a war so no those don't count IMO.
    Indeed there is such but I'm far from convinced. Could the war of 1812 have happened without the American Revolution? I think not but that doesn't make them the same war.
    There are "sneak attacks" and "sneak attacks" they may have considered attacking while negotiations were on going to be dishonorable and thus the need to break them off before the attack. Note however that if this was a serious concern they wouldn't have waited until the last minute to send it much less deliver it. I view it as something of a last minute attempt on the par tof some to "save face".
    \
    The war warnings were sent well before they read the 14 part message. Indeed it there appears to have been a fairly general consensus that once the oil embargo went into effect war was inevitable.
    After the fact some make that claim but then Japan did issue a real declaration of war and did it on a monthly basis after the attack.
    I agree. I actually thing they were vey good questions it's just that the answers are not as clear cut as it might seem at first glance.[/quote]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017

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