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World War II ending year?

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dan-wafc
574381.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:26 am Reply with quote

I don't know if this has ever been flagged up, but a quick search through the forums and past episodes of QI have so far come up negative so here goes:

Q: When did World War 2 officially end?

Klaxon: 1945

A: Legally in Britain, it was at 4pm, 9th July 1951. That was when the Queen decided the state of war was officially over, as stated in Halsbury's Laws of England. It was 1945 when Germany surrendered to the Allies, however Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland didn't surrender until much later, on 15th September 1947. Austria surrendered the day after, while Japan kept going until 8th September 1951. Therefore, the state of war was only rescinded six years after most people think the war ended.

Unfortuantely, I can't provide a link to this information as the only way of accessing the Halsburys is via the online editions, which requires registration. I don't know how to register for this service, on LexisNexis.com, but I can only assume it is reserved for legal companies. I managed to get a look at them while on work experience last year at Addleshaw Goddard solicitors in Manchester, thought this might be interesting and wrote it down. Sorry for the lack of information, but unless we have any high-flying lawyers reading this then you're going to have to trust me on this!

 
Moosh
574386.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:56 am Reply with quote

I have a vague recollection that it was later still. Something to do with being officially at war with "Germany" but after WW2 there only being East Germany and West Germany, so the peace treaties and such were with them, not with "Germany". And as such the war only ended when they recombined. But I may be horribly confused.

 
Efros
574387.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:00 am Reply with quote

That is certainly my recollection of the QI ep Moosh. WWII only ended upon the reunification of Germany.

 
dan-wafc
574388.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:03 am Reply with quote

You could well be right, that does ring a bell somewhere....I find it ridiculous how whole countries can just be left off peace treaties, such as Berwick in the Crimean War and the Scilly Isles in the 335 Year's "War" with the Netherlands, you'd think that someone would check those sort of things!

Anyway, this is simply when the War ended legally, why they have to write this sort of thing into the Laws of England I really do not know, no other war was mentioned at all as having such a specific end date.

 
costean
574397.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:10 am Reply with quote

Welcome to the boards dan-wafc. Well spotted indeed if you picked that up on work experience trawling through Halsbury's Laws. I have visions of them saying, "Just sit here and read this. When you've finished you'll find the other fifty-one volumes over there on the bookshelf."

post 15167 would seem to confirm that you are correct.

 
dan-wafc
574399.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:15 am Reply with quote

Cheers costdean. I did indeed trawl through those Halsburys, searching for some random loophole or bit of information that might be vaguely interesting. I have to admit though that it was the online versions, so there were nice easy tabs summarising each section!

Other things I picked up:

The week legally starts at 12pm midnight on Saturday, making Sunday the first day of the week.

And the first year as we know it was in 1753 (although I'm certain this has been covered on the telly show).

As you may have gathered, it wasn't the most entertaining week!

 
dr.bob
574400.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:20 am Reply with quote

dan-wafc wrote:
I find it ridiculous how whole countries can just be left off peace treaties, such as Berwick in the Crimean War and the Scilly Isles in the 335 Year's "War" with the Netherlands, you'd think that someone would check those sort of things!


Just for the sake of completeness, the old myth about Berwick has been debunked on these forums many a time. Here's one of them.

 
dan-wafc
574402.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:25 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Just for the sake of completeness, the old myth about Berwick has been debunked on these forums many a time. Here's one of them.


Good story though! I always wondered how things like these get into the national consciousness, who decides to make something like this up? And then who picks it up and runs with it without checking its authenticity?

 
costean
574403.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:30 am Reply with quote

dan-wafc wrote:
And the first year as we know it was in 1753 (although I'm certain this has been covered on the telly show).


Oh yes. We have covered this one before. If memory serves (and it is not renowned for its infallibility) this was just after the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar and the first year which was thus deemed to have started on 1st Jan. The 1751 Calendar Act sets it out.

Edit - actually this was 1752. I remember we all got in a fearful muddle trying to work it out.

 
dan-wafc
574404.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:36 am Reply with quote

Aye, that's the one. I knew I'd heard it on the show before, it's the one where everybody basically 'lost' about two weeks isn't it?

 
suze
574409.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:00 am Reply with quote

That's right - eleven days were omitted in the year 1752, and Britain moved directly from 2 September to 14 September. (Incidentally, the notion that there was civil commotion and people chanting "Give us back our eleven days" seems to be a myth.)

Accordingly, the year 1752 had but 355 days - it was a leap year, but with eleven days omitted. 1751 had but 282 days in England and Wales, because it was the last year to begin on 25 March; as of 1752, the year began on 1 January. (Different in Scotland - the start of the year there was moved to 1 January as from 1600.)

 
mckeonj
574438.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:24 pm Reply with quote

If an ancient document tells us that:
"This occurred at the third hour of the first day of the month Squid in the thirteenth year of the reign of the Great King Wampus of Eternal Fame'" (it's fiction, I just made it up):
how can we work out when this thing actually happened?
And in what calendar should this ancient date be set?

 
Sadurian Mike
574463.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:04 pm Reply with quote

'ello dan-wafc, good topic.

The problem with setting a date for the end of the war is the same as setting it for the beginning; exactly what do you define as the beginning and the end?

In WWII, hostilities involving China and Japan had been going on for many years before 1939, and continued throughout the war until Japan's surrender. There was also the Italian North African expedition and the Spanish Civil War, but as these had ended by the time we normally say WWII started we can probably discount them in this case.

Another way to define the start might be to say it was when all the participants had declared war, something that the American like to use because they then start the war in 1941. However, many countries did not declare war until the last few days, mainly to get into the new UN (being at war with the Axis powers was a fast-track/requirement).

However, a war really needs to be between two people to be valid, having a war on your own is seen as a bit silly. As all the Axis powers had surrendered and ceased hostilities by 1945, they had de facto declared that a state of war no longer existed between them and the Allies. In this sense, therefore, the war was over.

Britain's legal status, however, is a very QI point.

 
Curious Danny
574483.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:40 pm Reply with quote

I assume World War II is decided to have ended in 1990 not because the country didn't exist (all wars end if there is nobody left to fight you) but because there was no legally recognised representive to cover all of Germany and go "We surrender"

 
Sadurian Mike
574568.  Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:08 pm Reply with quote

Well they did, because Britain declared war on Nazi Germany and her representatives surrendered in 1945.

 

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