View previous topic | View next topic

The Queen

Page 6 of 6
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Spud McLaren
751241.  Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:33 pm Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
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....
I don't think you picked the best of examples there, Neo.

 
Neotenic
751316.  Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:09 am Reply with quote

Remember, there's more to significant events than body count.

 
Sadurian Mike
751318.  Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:15 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
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.

Right. So then you need to ask why the "second draft" was required. Why was the League of Nations seen to be inadequate? Why did the United Nations come into being?

The answer is, of course, the Second World War and the events building up to it.

Neotenic wrote:
Quote:
You allude to jingoism and hero-worship.


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

Not in the way you assert. Yes, they exist, but not specifically linked to WWII. If I mention the most recent popular TV series that featured those elements they would Sharpe and Hornblower. "Waterloo" and "Agincourt" are brought up in clashes with the French. It is not, therefore, that such phenomena are the reason we remember WWII so strongly, rather that WWII is strongly remembered and therefore included in our culture.

Neotenic wrote:
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.


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.

Again you are missing the point here. WWII is remembered and featured in our culture because it was the most important global event in living memory. Terms like "Dunkirk Spirit" and so on are obviously going to enter our culture. More social and less militaristic cultural words and phrases have also entered the language as well, though. If you mention "rationing" to most people they will immediately link it to WWII, the same for "spiv", "black market", and so on. Acronyms such as SNAFU, cartoons like Chad ("Kilroy" in the USA), even to the use of the term "Spam" (the meat was first introduced to the UK in the War) to designate unwanted e-advertising etc. came from WWII (via Monty Python).

This is not limited to Britain, of course. In Germany, for example, they have banned the swastika image, and WWII and the Holocaust is pivotal to Israel.

We are not remembering WWII because we are glorying in fighting, past status or whatever. We remember it because it was an historical watershed and it has subsequently entered our popular culture. As the years roll on it will become less contemporary and no doubt fall to the same status as WWI; mainly of interest to historians.

Neotenic wrote:
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.

I think you'll find that the countries of the old USSR are still very much interested in remembering WWII. Yes, the collapse of the USSR is very significant for them, but that does not replace remembering the War. It is perfectly possible to view both as significant.

Neotenic wrote:
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.

Again; we do not remember WWII because there were tank battles - there have been subsequent tank battles. We do not remember it because there was fighting - there has been subsequent fighting. We remember it because it is globally more significant than any other single event within living memory.

You can certainly cherry-pick examples of people for whom other events might be equally or more significant (I did the same thing a while back by referring to an isolated people). That is entirely missing the point of global signifance, something you claimed to be more interested in some time back on the thread. WWII was more significant for more countries in the world than any other single event.

People in Iceland, Greenland, Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, the entire northern American continent (including Mexico), the majority of the southern American continent. Australasia, Asia, Europe, the Arctic, and so on. Every continent except Antarctica was involved, and most of the countries on those continents.

Even the neutrals were involved (the Swiss, for example, shot down both Axis and Allied aircraft violating their airspace, traded extensively in essential war materials, and were diplomatically active to prevent German invasion).

Yes, you can pick out individuals and small groups that were unaffected or affected to a lesser extent, but that would be terrible sourcing for facts. By choosing a lone eskimo village that somehow remained untouched, and extrapolating their experiences you could "prove" that WWII caused no casualties and no damage, and didn't affected anyone, which is obvious nonsense. You need to take the global view that you claimed to prefer, and judge the significance of WWII using that.

 
exnihilo
751470.  Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:53 pm Reply with quote

The League was inadequate because of WWII? I think you've got your cause and your effect hopelessly mixed up there.

 
Sadurian Mike
751500.  Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:22 pm Reply with quote

Not so. The fact that WWII and its causes showed the glaring faults in the basic premises of the League of Nations is a commonly agreed historical principle.

The League was set up hastily at the Paris Peace Conference at the vague and rather idealistic suggestions of Woodrow Wilson. Its basic principle was that of the so-called "New" diplomacy, essentially diplomacy by conference and committee, more open and accountable than the "Old" diplomacy of the C19th which relied on diplomats meeting in pairs and doing secret deals.

The League of Nations wanted to maintain peace through the collective security - any attack on a LoN member was an attack on the LoN as a whole, and members therefore did not need large armies to defend themselves. Thus, a major source of international tension was to be eliminated.

However, when "rogue" states such as Germany, Italy and Japan started ignoring the premise of "peace is best" the LoN had no way to enforce their values beyond writing a stiff letter. It had no military presence (no UN-style military contingent) and no effective way to bring those states into line, especially if they left the LoN altogether (as did Germany, for example).

Thus, the weaknesses of the LoN began to be made plain in the early 1930s, and the outbreak of WWII was the final nail in its coffin. It had been set up to prevent international war, but had failed thanks to its inadequate remit.

 
Spud McLaren
751551.  Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:26 pm Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
Remember, there's more to significant events than body count.
Granted; but where you have a situation in which you can't find a significant proportion of the bodies to count, and therefore aren't certain whether they're dead or just displaced, it tends to make quite a dent in the national psyche. Certainly the small number of Ukrainians I know count WW2 as a highly significant event, not least because there are family members that they ought to have known but who have been unaccounted for since 1945 or earlier.

 
Neotenic
751649.  Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:56 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Right. So then you need to ask why the "second draft" was required. Why was the League of Nations seen to be inadequate? Why did the United Nations come into being?

The answer is, of course, the Second World War and the events building up to it.


Hang on, wasn't this my point all along?

Quote:
Again you are missing the point here. WWII is remembered and featured in our culture because it was the most important global event in living memory.


I don't think it matters one iota how important an event was globally when it come to the effect on our domestic culture.

The death of Princess Diana arguably had an effect on our culture - not least our public attitude to grief in this country - but it's hard to argue that it caused much more than a ripple on a global scale.

Quote:
even to the use of the term "Spam" (the meat was first introduced to the UK in the War) to designate unwanted e-advertising etc. came from WWII (via Monty Python).


I think you may be slightly over-stating the case there. The etymology of the use of Spam to mean what it does to us today is fuzzy at best - but I think you have to really want to see it in order for there to be a link to WWII.

If you're going to go down that route you may as well argue that one of the things WWII gave us is Fanta, but I don't think any of us are particularly richer or poorer for that (other than Coca-Cola shareholders)

Quote:
We are not remembering WWII because we are glorying in fighting, past status or whatever.


Three simple words - 'Our Glorious Dead'.

Quote:
That is entirely missing the point of global signifance, something you claimed to be more interested in some time back on the thread.


Global perspective and your rather literal interpretation of global significance are two different things.

Quote:
WWII was more significant for more countries in the world than any other single event.


I would say, again, that WWII is really a collection of simultaneous events rather than one single event.

If we're looking for a single, world-changing event, then I think American Airlines Flight 11 striking the North Tower is a pretty strong contender.

 
Sadurian Mike
751660.  Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:00 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
Quote:
Right. So then you need to ask why the "second draft" was required. Why was the League of Nations seen to be inadequate? Why did the United Nations come into being?

The answer is, of course, the Second World War and the events building up to it.


Hang on, wasn't this my point all along?

Not that I saw. I read it that you were questioning that WWII gave rise to the United Nations.

Neotenic wrote:
I don't think it matters one iota how important an event was globally when it come to the effect on our domestic culture.

I cannot see your logic here at all. A globally significant event is inevitably going to have repercussions in the cultures of all the countries affected by it. Your example of Diana is turning the argument backwards -I am not arguing that a local event significant in one country affects the cultures of other countries, which is what you seem to be suggesting.

Neotenic wrote:
I think you may be slightly over-stating the case there. The etymology of the use of Spam to mean what it does to us today is fuzzy at best - but I think you have to really want to see it in order for there to be a link to WWII.

Spam was introduced into Britain as part of Lend-Lease in the 1940s. I don't see how much more connection to WWII you need there. Its popularity and availability led to it being used in the Monty Python sketch, which is alledged to be the source of its name being used for unwanted internet adverts. Again, it is part of British culture thanks to WWII, and obviously was so at the time of the Monty Python team writing the sketch.

Neotenic wrote:
Three simple words - 'Our Glorious Dead'.

Now you are confusing remembering sacrifice and the dead with cultural significance. Do you really think that that phrase is in the minds of football supporters teasing a German team?

There is a vast gulf between cultural references and Remembrance.

Neotenic wrote:
Global perspective and your rather literal interpretation of global significance are two different things.

I have no idea what you mean here. My definition of "global significance" is "something significant globally". Viewing something with a "global perspective" is seeing things on a global scale rather than focussing on individual states. How do you interpret them?

Neotenic wrote:
[I would say, again, that WWII is really a collection of simultaneous events rather than one single event.

It was a war. A war is a singular event. Would you really refer to a sports day as a collection of different sporting events rather than as a single entity?

Neotenic wrote:
[If we're looking for a single, world-changing event, then I think American Airlines Flight 11 striking the North Tower is a pretty strong contender.

Yes it was, assuming we don't use your logic above and break it down into seperate smaller events (because an aircraft striking the tower was only as significant as it was thanks to the background behind it and the response of the US). The fact that it was so does not, however, make all other past and future significant events disappear. I'm happy to agree that the Sept 11th attack was an event of wide-ranging and global significance, but I still believe that WWII was the cause of far more change and was more of an historical watershed.

 
Neotenic
751678.  Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:15 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Not that I saw. I read it that you were questioning that WWII gave rise to the United Nations.


No - my point was that the UN was not a revolutionary new idea, just a development of an existing one.

Quote:
I am not arguing that a local event significant in one country affects the cultures of other countries, which is what you seem to be suggesting.


Again, no.

Seriously dude - you have said elsewhere that you think these discussions are 'good training' for your studies. If this is the case, then you really need to work on how you interpret what other people are saying.

My point there is simply that an event does not have to be globally significant to be locally significant, and it's global significance does not necessarily influence how locally significant it is.

Quote:
Spam was introduced into Britain as part of Lend-Lease in the 1940s. I don't see how much more connection to WWII you need there


Sure - I'll give you that the word was introduced to the language as a brand name at that time - but it doesn't follow that it is a root cause for it's subsequent use to describe adverts for willy enhancements.

Quote:
It was a war. A war is a singular event. Would you really refer to a sports day as a collection of different sporting events rather than as a single entity?


I think it's not unreasonable to suggest that there were at least two wars happening simultaneously and largely seperately, for starters. There wasn't the same relationship between Germany and Japan as there was between the UK and the US, was there? And there is the matter of two seperate 'V' dates, too.

And not only that, but there were other concurrent events that manifested themselves in the way the chips fell post-1945 - not least in the USSR, but also the Indian independence movement.

Quote:
Yes it was, assuming we don't use your logic above and break it down into seperate smaller events (because an aircraft striking the tower was only as significant as it was thanks to the background behind it and the response of the US).


Yeah - but remember that could be applied to WWII as well.

It's obvious that you are an enthusiast for military matters, so I suppose it makes sense that you do give prominence to wars. I, on the other hand, am more into economics - so it interests me that our demands over the manner in which WWI reparations were to be paid were a primary cause of the rapid depreciation of the value of the Mark. This in turn caused the hyperinflation and the desperate economic situation in the mid-war years in Germany. And this in turn created the social conditions that allowed the ideology of an extremist to capture the imagination of an increasing proportion of the population.

So I guess precisely where one draws the line in terms of where 'significant' events begin or end is really a matter of personal preference - and therefore not really a clear-cut case of being right or wrong.

 
Zebra57
751919.  Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:23 am Reply with quote

News that the Queen has banned Christmas this year makes me wonder what other economies she could make.

 
Bondee
751954.  Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:33 pm Reply with quote

If she banned it for the whole country I might start liking her!

 

Page 6 of 6
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group