Modern issues based on Crash Course history

Alix23Alix23 Posts: 38

For me, Crash Course has brought up a lot of issues that relate to us right now. Globalisation is an obvious one, but I'm also interested in some aspects of WWI (actually I'm very interested in all of it, but particularly in discussing it with other nerdfighters). This seems like the best place for it, but I guess these issues might not be related enough to warrant a place here.

Discussion points:

1. The ways the centenary of WWI will be commemorated/celebrated/remembered. Firstly, which should it be? Should we celebrate their sacrifice, or mourn their loss?

2. Is it right that most of us are descended from the mongols because of their rampant raping? If so, is it good that we have such awesome people's blood, or bad because they were, well rapists.

3. Should the West, in particular the US be interfering? Is it interfering or protecting other peoples? Obviously a big political debate, but interesting still

I hope this works :)

I'm the motherfucking fox


  • AJ91AJ91 Posts: 283 ✭✭✭
    Remembered. I do not believe that it is a subject for celebration, no matter how long ago it was, and we can hardly be expected to mourn people we did not know. All we can do is remember that these people existed, and that they died.

    When looking to the future we need to think about stopping wars. The USA (and the UK to a lesser extent) needs to learn that they are not seen as liberators, that they are not welcome, and that as a rule people prefer to fight their own battles (we need to work out how to stop these as well, but escalation is definitely not the answer). The main issue (as a British-American [I didn't vote for lack of a passport]) in the recent presidential election to me was foreign policy, and while Obama is bad, Romney was significantly worse- he spoke of US intervention in Syria, and I cannot begin to imagine what damage Romney could have done to the world had he won. 

    What did the fatalities of WWI die for? To me, they died to tell us that war is a bad thing. Let us remember this, if nothing else. 

    When you go home,
    Tell them of us and say:
    For your tomorrow,
    We gave our today.
    Sede Sapientiae Ora Pro Nobis
  • mayorqwmayorqw LisbonPosts: 37
    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
          Between the crosses, row on row,
       That mark our place; and in the sky
       The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
       Loved and were loved, and now we lie
             In Flanders fields

    The last bit of the poem misses my point by a bit, so I kept in out. 
    Anyway, WWI should be remembered as a representative of the carnage and insanity of petty war. We should remember the dead of all nations, many of which died for no reason.
  • Alix23Alix23 Posts: 38

    "The old lie that is 'Dulce et Decorum est pro patria moir'" Yet many are still pro-conflict, and from what I can tell, the US in particular see its soldiers as heroes.


    I'm the motherfucking fox

  • AJ91AJ91 Posts: 283 ✭✭✭
    @mayorqw ;

    Take up our quarrel with the foe,
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high;
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not rest, though poppies grow
           In Flanders fields

    It depends how you read "Our quarrel with the foe". A plain reading says 'keep on fighting, or our death was in vain". But if you think of WWI as the war to end all wars (as it should be remembered, even if it so far hasn't succeeded), then the foe is war itself. Think about it: if wars continue, then we shall continue to be haunted by war dead. When we have peace, then they shall finally rest. Now re-read the poem.

    This is my favourite of all war poems (unless High Flight counts as a war poem, but I don't think it does), followed by Dulce et Decorum est. 

    @alix23 I'm always uncomfortable quoting Dulce et Decorum est in small parts- I really only want it in whole, or at least from "If in some smothering dreams..." to the end.
    Sede Sapientiae Ora Pro Nobis
  • CombustibleLemonsCombustibleLemons Posts: 68 ✭✭
    I just like to say that i've learned more from listening to John talk about history then i have in all my school career and i'm so sad it's ended because it made history so much cooler 
  • ElroElro Posts: 100 ✭✭
    I don't think that WW1 should be remembered for anything other than it was, a completed pointless loss of millions of lives. Glorifying war is never a good thing.
  • Alix23Alix23 Posts: 38
    Elro said:
    I don't think that WW1 should be remembered for anything other than it was, a completed pointless loss of millions of lives. Glorifying war is never a good thing.
    I, and many others, would not agree that WWI was completely pointles at all. That doesn't mean it was a good thing.

    I'm the motherfucking fox

  • ElroElro Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Alix23 said:
    Elro said:
    I don't think that WW1 should be remembered for anything other than it was, a completed pointless loss of millions of lives. Glorifying war is never a good thing.
    I, and many others, would not agree that WWI was completely pointles at all. That doesn't mean it was a good thing.
    Please explain to me how it was not a pointless war?
  • AJ91AJ91 Posts: 283 ✭✭✭
    @elro as John Green is so fond of pointing out, all meaning is contrived, so you could argue that simply by advancing the course of human history it had a point.
    I know, of course, that you won't buy that.

    How's this instead- if we lump the two world wars into one entity (WWII was effectively a continuation of WWI after a 20 year half time break) then we can argue about the forward progress that was made due to the world wars together. Obviously there were scientific advances, some good and some bad. But there was also a change in the attitude of many people toward war. What was previously seen as a necessity has come to be seen as an evil. To some people it remains a necessary evil, but so many more people see war as evil than did before only because the world wars happened. If that attitude can stop wars, then in average over a long time lives have been saved by the world wars. If that attitude can't stop wars then it has merely served to change attitudes to no avail.
    Sede Sapientiae Ora Pro Nobis
  • ElroElro Posts: 100 ✭✭
    I don't really think you can lump the 2 world wars together because many of the factors that caused WW2 were brought about due to the peace treaty signed at the end of the first world war. And possibly it might not have occurred at all had the Treaty of Versailles been better thought through. Although that is probably somewhat of a hindsight bias. 

    Maybe pointless was a bad choice of words for the idea I was trying to get across. What I meant was that, unlike WW2 where you had what was essentially good versus evil or at least it's easy to view that way in hindsight, WW1 only really came about because as it was put so eloquently in Blackadder "it was too much effort not to have a war." Although to be fair you could probably say that of almost all war. 

  • Alix23Alix23 Posts: 38

    WWII could much more easily be seen as 'good vs evil' but does that mean all the axis soldiers were evil, their contribution to the war completely bad?

    I agree that there was much point in the war itself, but soldiers from all sides protected their countries from invasion or fought for what they saw as rightfully theirs.

    I don't necessarily agree with this view, but they phrase it a lot better than I could. It's from The Great War Forum, who's closed unless you have an account, so I couldn't just link:

    "Whilst the commemoration of the dead is quite rightly an area deserving of significance, it does tend to be taken to an extreme which excludes recognition of the hard-won achievement of those many more men and women, who fought and served in various capacities to bring about victory over what was a real and malign threat, and survived. For make no mistake, had Wilhelmine Germany succeeded in gaining hegemony over Europe and access for its High Seas Fleet to the sealanes of the world, then its aim would have been to reduce Great Britain to a second-class power as they had done to France in 1871. The Allied victory in 1918 stopped that, and contemporaries saw that achievement for what it was."

    I'm the motherfucking fox

  • AJ91AJ91 Posts: 283 ✭✭✭
    @elro it is precisely because the treaty of versaille ensured that another war would take place that I consider the 2 world wars 2 sides of the same coin. 

    I disagree that WWII was good versus evil. I would rather put it as evil versus evil, although possibly the victor was a lesser evil:
    Hitler's evil is well documented, as you would expect- the wish to expand his countries influence over all of Europe; his anti-semitism and massacre of the Jews. Oddly the Blitz is also considered somewhat evil. 
    Japan was in on this war as well- I haven't forgotten Kamikazes...

    I shall now list the evil of the Allies:
    Carpet bombing simply as something to do (effectively propaganda). The reason I said it was odd that the Blitz is considered wrong is that Britain is 10x more guilty than Germany- causing 600000 deaths by raids against 60000 deaths in the Blitz.
    The wish to expand influence.
    They massacred people too. Actually many more than Hitler killed were killed in the purges.
    We've established that bombing cities is a bad thing I think, so where do nuclear bombs fall? (I honestly did not intend that pun). Their willingness to speed up the war with civilian lives just to stop the USSR getting a foothold in Japan is despicable. 

    Don't get me wrong, I think the better side won. I also don't think that Hitler is the epitome of evil: Stalin was far worse. If Hitler had won the war, would we all be speaking German? No- his empire would have fallen eventually as so many had before. 
    Sede Sapientiae Ora Pro Nobis
  • Alix23Alix23 Posts: 38

    Stalin may have been worse overall (although he had a lot more time than Hitler to kill people, so he is likely to look worse) but his plans in WWII were not so badly. And we may not still be under the influence of Nazi powers, but I'm sure millions more people would have been massacred.

    It's easy to say the British were worse because the killed more people with bombs, but these weren't because they had nothing to do, they were to further the war effort, even if only by increasing morale (although I don't believe this is true). To sum up, the allies were also bad, but they were not trying to take over Europe to provide more living space for their people, and they weren't tryign to wipe out a number of races. You could say everything they did was in defence.

    Just realised I come off as rather pro-British, probably the first time ever! (normally I hate my country, and its past)

    I'm the motherfucking fox

  • ElroElro Posts: 100 ✭✭
    I disagree that both sides can be considered evil, while certainly the indiscriminate bombing of civilians is a bad thing, it could be argued that the Allies acted very much in defense in order to prevent further casualties on their side and none of the offensive actions taken by the Allies during the war were unprovoked. 

    Also the 600,000 figure is very much a top end estimate and it's more likely the figure was closer to 450,000. (Yes, I know that's still a lot of people)

    As for the two nuclear bombs while the use of them is appalling and hopefully is something that will never happen again, it can be argued that the use of them saved far more lives than they cost.
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