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AIBU to question the impact of WW1 and 2 on society today?

(97 Posts)
westridingpauperlunaticasylum Sun 21-Jan-18 21:59:05

My great grandparents were directly impacted by WW1. The men fought in France, the women tried to keep families alive. We lost relatives in the conflict but those that returned turned to drink. WW2 I had a grandfather who was a Japanese POW. His experiences influenced a whole family on his return and I think the effects reverberate now. Did the 20th century wars create the society we have now? People talk about 'these days' negatively with a sense of nostalgia which pisses me right off. Today is influenced by the past and we have no control over that.

thenettyprofessor Sun 21-Jan-18 22:07:47

WW1 Iraq and Syria were created without Arab knowledge

CinderellaRockefeller Sun 21-Jan-18 22:19:38

Eh? They were two huge global events in which millions of people died. Of course they brought about massive changes to society and influenced today.

Is anyone saying differently?

IcingSausage Sun 21-Jan-18 22:24:12

Did the 20th century wars create the society we have now?

Absolutely. Of course they did. Welfare reform, the NHS, the emancipation of women...

NewYearNewMe18 Sun 21-Jan-18 22:30:42

The repercussions of WWI are still felt - the redrawing of boundaries, creation of countries, which have all since fallen apart with more wars (ie the Balkans). The fall of the Ottoman Empire, fall of the Romanovs. Actually a lot of Europe toppled its monarchy and went communist, and then communism gets toppled. WWI had a large social impact, WWII had an economic impact.

westridingpauperlunaticasylum Sun 21-Jan-18 22:51:21

Great point about the welfare state and NHS! I don't think without ww2 they would have happened. I guess I'm saying that it's easy to think of these historical events as just that, history but they have influenced our here and now and may continue to do so for some time. I do wonder about post ww1 with a traumatised and brutalised generation of men trying to come back to society, how that has impacted. I also wonder about the many, many women who couldn't marry due to the population shift not in their favour.

westridingpauperlunaticasylum Sun 21-Jan-18 22:53:21

Cinderella - I'm not saying anyone isn't acknowledging them. I'm just discussing do we really appreciate the impact a hundred years later and should we more mindful of the influence. Learn from history and all that

Calvinlookingforhobbs Sun 21-Jan-18 22:53:53

Go and read a book. Kershaw or Evans.

Whenyouseeit Sun 21-Jan-18 23:03:12

I think I see your point. My grandfather was also a Japanese POW and I sometimes wonder how many generations it will be before the effect of that goes away. I hope it wont affect my dc much. I have family friends in the forces and I wish we'd learned from history in terms of the mental health support we give veterans.

numbereightyone Sun 21-Jan-18 23:05:19

I think about this quite a lot. We won the war but the Germans won the peace.

crunchymint Sun 21-Jan-18 23:06:04

My grans' whole immediate family were killed by flu during the second world war. She was orphaned at 10 years old, and the impact of that on her affected how my mum was brought up and how I was brought up.

Ilovesliz Sun 21-Jan-18 23:10:32

That's very sad crunchymint. My grandfather's family were wiped out by the Nazis and concentration camps in WW2. My grandparents & father escaped but my father is very bitter about it and still hates Germans even though he was a baby / toddler at the time. If he sees a German tourist he starts to shout at them in German which is very embarrassing.

westridingpauperlunaticasylum Sun 21-Jan-18 23:11:16

Calvin, are you suggesting I'm a bit lacking in the reading department? Maybe read primo Levi and then we can chat!

filga Sun 21-Jan-18 23:12:20

My great grandfather was at the Somme. My gran was born in 1918, she remembered him as a violent, abusive drunk. It was said by her siblings that the happiest day of their early lives was when he died in the late 1920s. We will never know if that was his true character or if he was traumatised by war.

westridingpauperlunaticasylum Sun 21-Jan-18 23:15:50

Theres some really interesting responses here. My GP's all died before I was 18 with 2 dying before I was born and another when I was 6. I never got chance to explore their experiences really so it's mainly through my parents perception that I have any sense of impact or history. I do remember my MGM giving me renditions of Rita Hayworth'd Gilda and how to cook belly pork, bread and butter pudding and make do and mend attitudes that I try and still implement now

westridingpauperlunaticasylum Sun 21-Jan-18 23:18:35

Filga - gosh I'm sorry to hear that from your history. My MGF was an alcoholic and if it was because of his POW experience I get that. However I have alcoholic and dysfunctional relatives and wonder if it's nature or nurture

Vanillaradio Sun 21-Jan-18 23:20:05

Well, dh's grandfather was killed by a German bomb and his grandmother was disabled. His father was a small boy who lost his dad and grew up to be a pretty terrible father himself in a lot of ways. This has had a definite effect on dh which he still feels.
For me I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the second world war. My dad's parents met because of it, they were both stationed away from home. And my mum's mum lost her airman fiance in the war and met my grandad later.
So dh and I still feel the effects and knew people who lived through it. For our 4 year old that'll be very different, dh's parents are dead and my dad was born in the dying days of the war so I guess he will perceive it very differently.

westridingpauperlunaticasylum Sun 21-Jan-18 23:20:44

Crunchy mint - that's tough for your family and I think you are right it still influences today. It's like a pebble in a lake effect x

PickingOakum Sun 21-Jan-18 23:21:53

I wouldn't be alive if it were not for WWII. My mother would never have been born.

It's a weird thought that if it were not for Hitler (one man alone), I may very well not be typing this... because I would not exist.

And when you consider things further, well, there wouldn't have been large scale commonwealth immigration to the UK if not for WWII. Would there have ever been the partition of India? Would the US have ever overcome the depression (there's a theory that US soldiers' savings jumped started the US economy in the late 40s and 50s).

It's a really interesting thing to think about. If it hadn't been for WWI, for example, it's doubtful we would have any kind of welfare state whatsoever.

westridingpauperlunaticasylum Sun 21-Jan-18 23:22:13

Vanilla Radio - perfect juxtaposition of the impact on two sides of your family both positive and negative

CTC6664 Sun 21-Jan-18 23:26:23

WW2 is a reminder of how powerful the atomic bomb is and how any nuclear confkict now would be hideous.

Family wise, my grandad came back from WW1 shell shocked and became an alcoholic. This now runs in the faniky

westridingpauperlunaticasylum Sun 21-Jan-18 23:27:27

Picking - interesting point about India's partition and other world events. The knock on effects are impossible to predict in the main and interesting to review through the retrospectorscope!

crunchymint Sun 21-Jan-18 23:28:20

Ilovesliz Sorry to hear about your family.
Spanish Flu in 1918 is supposed to have spread so widely partly because of the war.
Both her parents and her brother died, all within a week of each other. She was brought up by another relative, but as an adult was anxious and never could really cope with anything out of the ordinary. Given this all happened in 1918, I doubt as a 10 year old she really had any help to come to terms with what had happened to her.

But then I suspect all of us are influenced by what happened to our grandparents as children, whether we know it or not.

westridingpauperlunaticasylum Sun 21-Jan-18 23:28:32

CTC - I always say I come from a long line of eccentrics but in reality it's a long line of alcoholics

user1497863568 Sun 21-Jan-18 23:31:57

They crushed us, impoverished us, broke our spirits and now blame us for not breeding like we used to.

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