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Sadurian Mike
750490.  Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:47 am Reply with quote

You are missing the point that the League of Nations was not the UN and vice-versa.

Merely having the same aims and similar methods does not make it the same. Manchester United uses footballers with footballing skills to try to win trophies. Chelsea does the same thing. Manchester United is not, however, Chelsea.

WWII led to the creation of the United Nations because the war showed that the League of Nations was inadequate. We are not talking here about Royal Mail becoming Consignia, we are talking about an entirely new organisation.

 
Moosh
750491.  Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:51 am Reply with quote

I wonder how many people employed by the League of Nations subsequently found jobs at the UN.

 
Sadurian Mike
750493.  Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:00 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
I'm not really convinced that any of those are particularly clear-cut examples - after all, what right do we really have to a clutch of islands off the tip of South America.

That is your priviledge, but it is certainly as much right for us to go to war to defend our own sovereign territory or that of a protectorate as it was to go to war to defend countries on the other side of Europe.

Neotenic wrote:
I'm most impressed, I must say, with your unflinching certainty that your interpretation of history is absolutely right.

I'm not so impressed by your squirming about and altering your arguments to attempt to defend your position about it being wrong that we should be so "obsessed" by WWII.

I am not interpreting history here, by the way, I am stating facts. The only possible interpretation comes in the morality of various conflicts, and the morality of our declaring war in 1939 is at least as "right" as the reasons for war in several later conflicts. If we were wrong to go to war for the Falklands or the first Gulf War, then we were equally wrong to do so in 1939 and your argument falls down.

Neotenic wrote:
Quote:
The League of Nations was not the United Nations and vice versa. Just because they were intended for a similar purpose does not mean that you can successfully claim that they were the same animal.


No? How were they so vastly different?

I don't recall saying "vastly". I am saying that they are not simply a rebranding, they are different organisations.

Quote:
The League is dead. Long live the United Nations

"The King is dead, long live the King". So therefore one king is the same person as the next and all we have been doing is changing the names?

Neotenic wrote:
No it isn't. I certainly think that it plays a significant part in the British psyche, but I haven't said that is the case to the exclusion of all others. It's not unreasonable to suggest it also does the same thing in the States.

Also for Russia and anyone who remembers the War as being significant?
http://www.life.com/image/ugc1103531/in-gallery/42372/russians-remember-wwii
Do you think that the US look back on 1941-1945 as being the last time they were great? If the USA, who have emerged from the end of war and grown to be the world's most powerful nation and the self-appointed bastion against Communism, are equally as "obsessed" by WWII as the UK then remembering past and faded greatness and moral correctness is unlikely to be the reason it is remembered.

It is surely far more likely that they recognise that the War was a historical watershed.

 
Spud McLaren
750497.  Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:11 am Reply with quote

Moosh wrote:
I wonder how many people employed by the League of Nations subsequently found jobs at the UN.
Since the LoN was based in Geneva and the UN is in USA, at first sight I would guess not all that many.

 
mckeonj
750498.  Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:31 am Reply with quote

It might be interesting to list the achievements of the League of Nations against the achievements of the United Nations.

 
Sadurian Mike
750523.  Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:07 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
I'm most impressed, I must say, with your unflinching certainty that your interpretation of history is absolutely right.

Incidentally, can we assume that this means that you believe your own position to be wrong?

Surely we all argue one side of a debate believing ourselves to be right (playing Devil's Advocate aside), and it is the strength of the argument, backed up by the relevant facts and supporting arguments, that should be judged by others.

 
Neotenic
750644.  Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:09 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Merely having the same aims and similar methods does not make it the same.


Why not?

What do you say about the rather pertinent quote that exnihilo provided?

Quote:
I'm not so impressed by your squirming about and altering your arguments to attempt to defend your position about it being wrong that we should be so "obsessed" by WWII.


Lucky I'm not out to impress you, really.

You interpret it as squirming, but it's just introducing new aspects and broadening the scope. It's also interesting that you're now accusing me of changing my arguments when just a little while ago you were accusing me of 'fixating' on China.

I don't think you can have it both ways.

I'm doing nothing more than stating my opinion. You're free to disagree in the most patronising tones you can muster.

Quote:
Incidentally, can we assume that this means that you believe your own position to be wrong?

Surely we all argue one side of a debate believing ourselves to be right (playing Devil's Advocate aside), and it is the strength of the argument, backed up by the relevant facts and supporting arguments, that should be judged by others.


....Like this.

I really don't know where you got the idea that I consider myself to be wrong though. That's the second time that you've managed to draw a bizarre conclusion from what I've written in this conversation.

What this does prove, however, is that you have a fundamentally different approach to debating to me. I'm not out to 'win'. I'm here to discuss and explore ideas, learn things and maybe provoke a bit of thought in whoever happens to read what I write.

Academic historical debate, I would have thought, is rather more about mutual furtherance than 'beating' the other into submission. This is probably something you should consider.

I'm not saying that it is a fact that there is a part of the British psyche that is obsessed with WWII - but it is a hypothesis based on observations. Observing things like David Cameron making a speech with some rousing passages in it being referred to as 'Churchillian', flicking through the EPG on my TV, and the belief that there is still such a thing as a 'sovereign' right to islands several thousand miles away from our damp little rock.

You're free to disagree - but you thinking I am wrong is not the same thing as me being wrong.

 
exnihilo
750700.  Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:38 am Reply with quote

Mike, I'm missing nothing, but it seems you are. Your analogies are hopelessly flawed. Chelsea did not come into being when Manchester United ceased, didn't incorporate it's functions, it's aims, it's constituent parts or it's personnel and buildings. It's in no way like the relationship between the League and the UN.


Spud, some certainly would - bear in mind that although those are the cities where the HQs are the organisations, by their nature, drew employees from all over the globe and had other offices all over the globe too.

 
Sadurian Mike
750715.  Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:42 am Reply with quote

My analogy stands. The UN and LoN are not, were not, and never have been the same organisation despite having similar aims and methods.

 
Sadurian Mike
750718.  Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:00 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
Quote:
Merely having the same aims and similar methods does not make it the same.


Why not?

Do you really need someone to explain that? Honestly? I am going to assume not and that the question is rhetorical.

Neotenic wrote:
What do you say about the rather pertinent quote that exnihilo provided?

The one which says that "A significant number of the old League's aims and methods were transmitted into the new organisation in 1945"? I say that it shows that the UN was a new organisation and therefore not the same as the League of Nations.

Quote:
You interpret it as squirming, but it's just introducing new aspects and broadening the scope. It's also interesting that you're now accusing me of changing my arguments when just a little while ago you were accusing me of 'fixating' on China.

Your argument appeared to be that China was as significant as WWII. You also gave other examples which you didn't elaborate on, instead choosing to use China. After looking at the effects of China I showed how WWII was still more significant. "Fixating", as you put it, "focussing" as I actually said, on a single country is missing the point of the significance of WWII as a global event and that is why I mentioned it.

I dare say that there are isolated people in Brazil or Borneo for whom the most signifant event in the last couple of generations has been the increasing rarity of some bird required for ceremonial purposes. That does not mean that a bird's extinction is more important than WWII in world terms. Therefore it is wrong to focus on that group of people when discussing global events, something that you were doing with China.

You also made the rather ridiculous statement that most of what we hear about WWII was about "'death or glory' type propaganda about battleground bravery. And tanks, bombs, square-jawed heroes and pantomime villains.". That completely unqualified statement also seems to have now been dropped, presumably after realising that it was wrong.

In addition, you alluded to our "obsession" with WWII as trying to grasp the last vestiges of world glory and morality, throwing in a comment about the fall of the British Empire. I countered this with the points that other countries, those that became greater after WWII, are equally (if not more) "obsessed" with WWII and that your suggestion must therefore be wrong.

Latterly you are struggling to prove that the LoN and UN are actually the same organisation.

Now you seem to be trying to turn it into an attack on me personally. I imagine that means that you have run out of arguments.

 
Spud McLaren
750728.  Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:53 am Reply with quote

exnihilo wrote:
Spud, some certainly would - bear in mind that although those are the cities where the HQs are the organisations, by their nature, drew employees from all over the globe and had other offices all over the globe too.
Oh, yes, especially the higher-ranking ones who would consider it worthwhile to move to another country. However, I was including all the typists, lower-grade secretaries, and general dogsbodies (in other words, folks like me).

 
Neotenic
750920.  Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:09 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
The one which says that "A significant number of the old League's aims and methods were transmitted into the new organisation in 1945"? I say that it shows that the UN was a new organisation and therefore not the same as the League of Nations.


That line of argument only works on the most literal of interpretations of the situation.

The difference we are talking about is like the difference between a Ford Escort mk1 and a Ford Escort mk2 - it set out to do the same things, in much the same way, using many of the same constituent parts, but with some improvements in the design that make it more effective.

I don't think that's a particularly radical suggestion.

Oh, the chap who said 'long live the United Nations' was Robert Cecil, the UK representative to the LoN, who spent the remainder of his days as honorary life president of the United Nations Association.

Quote:
After looking at the effects of China I showed how WWII was still more significant.


I think you showed why you disagree, and why you think WWII is more significant, yes - but that's not quite the same thing.

And - as I say - I'm not going to get into another nit-picking loop on that.

Quote:
You also made the rather ridiculous statement that most of what we hear about WWII was about "'death or glory' type propaganda about battleground bravery. And tanks, bombs, square-jawed heroes and pantomime villains.". That completely unqualified statement also seems to have now been dropped, presumably after realising that it was wrong.


No - I absolutely stand by that. That's what I see in mainstream media, popular culture and the British mindset. And, as we have seen - it only takes a football match or a German pope of a certain age for it to bubble up to the surface.

Quote:
In addition, you alluded to our "obsession" with WWII as trying to grasp the last vestiges of world glory and morality, throwing in a comment about the fall of the British Empire. I countered this with the points that other countries, those that became greater after WWII, are equally (if not more) "obsessed" with WWII and that your suggestion must therefore be wrong.


What happens in other countries is immaterial to my point about what we think here, so I don't see how referring to other countries proves or disproves anything at all in what I'm saying.

Quote:
Now you seem to be trying to turn it into an attack on me personally..


There's no attack - but there was a comment on differing approaches. One that you have provided yet more evidence of, so thanks for that.

Quote:
I imagine that means that you have run out of arguments


I suppose sooner or later you'll actually draw a reasonable interpretation from what I've written. We live in hope.

 
Jenny
750949.  Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:03 pm Reply with quote

Please assume, everybody, that a disagreement - even a vehement disagreement - over an issue is not necessarily a personal attack.

 
Sadurian Mike
751192.  Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:47 pm Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
]The difference we are talking about is like the difference between a Ford Escort mk1 and a Ford Escort mk2 - it set out to do the same things, in much the same way, using many of the same constituent parts, but with some improvements in the design that make it more effective.

I don't think that's a particularly radical suggestion.

You still have trouble accepting that the United Nations is not the same organisation as the League of Nations.

Okay. Apart from the most obvious point, which is that the League of Nations was disbanded in 1946 and cannot therefore be around today, and nor could it have been the UN which was created in 1945, the LoN was inadequate for its stated aims. It was because the League was incapable of preventing the events that led up to WWII that it was disbanded and a new organisation, the UN, set up instead. The League was closed by its own decree. It was not "rebranded", it was closed.

The United Nations was set up using the lessons learned by the League of Nations and therefore with a different charter and powers.

Neotenic wrote:
I suppose sooner or later you'll actually draw a reasonable interpretation from what I've written. We live in hope.

Right then. You don't want to get caught in a "nit-picking loop". So then, let's forget China, the LoN/UN and making snide remarks. Let's cut to the core of your argument.

As I see it, your point is that WWII features so heavily in British culture because it is harking back to the days of glory and Empire. You allude to jingoism and hero-worship.

In support of this argument you have put forward the fact that you have seen frequent references to WWII in modern Britain.

My point is that WWII was such an important historical event that we are bound to be still feeling its effects. Its wide-ranging and fundamental significance to our contemporary world is what keeps the memory alive and in popular culture.

In support of this I have mentioned (but not listed) changes and advances brought about by WWII and the fact that the culture of other countries also features the War.

You have also mentioned a few other significant events around the world and asked why none of them is remembered as widely, to which I have questioned their significance when assayed against WWII.

Do feel free to correct any observed problems with my interpretation of the essential argument so far.

 
Neotenic
751236.  Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:16 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
You still have trouble accepting that the United Nations is not the same organisation as the League of Nations.


No I'm not.

That's why that quoted paragraph starts with the words 'The Difference....' - I know they're not the same organisation, just that one begat the other.

I'm not saying they're the same - just that the UN was set up to do exactly what the LoN tried to do and failed. A second draft.

Quote:
You allude to jingoism and hero-worship.


I don't think you can deny the fact that these things exist in our culture.

Quote:
In support of this I have mentioned (but not listed) changes and advances brought about by WWII and the fact that the culture of other countries also features the War.


I don't think it was the memory of Alan Turing you were honouring when you put that picture of Pope Ben up. We don't pin little nuclei to our lapels every year in memory of Oppenheimer. It's not the development of viable radar that gets memorialised in the remembrance of the Battle of Britain.

What gets remembered is combat. And triumph over adversity. We talk about 'Dunkirk spirit' as though it's a virtue - even though we were running away.

For the reasons I have mentioned - and already conceded - then, yes, WWII is a very significant event. From our perspective. But not for someone living in the Ukraine, Kazakhstan or even Leipzig. Then, the collapse of the USSR presents a much more immediate and significant event in the formation of their modern world.

For the people of South Africa, I'd suggest that 1994 was a more significant year. Even for black Americans, then 1964 probably had more effect on their lives. Which in itself is pretty remarkable, when you think about it, and the things that the war was supposed to have taught us.

Fundamentally, I'm not denying that WWII is significant - just that the things that we generally remember it for are not the reasons it is so significant. And I'm not convinced that the things that we do remember it for are as helpful and relevant any more.

 

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