Your First Taste of History

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Ferdinand Foch, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Ferdinand Foch

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    Hey everyone. I've been thinking for awhile. Many of us here like history, of war, aviation, world, etc. What I was interested in is when did people first have a taste of history? I guess I'll start with my own story.

    When I was five or six, I was at the next door neighbor's, who were babysitting me. I was watching "Reading Rainbow" when they talked about a book called the "Titanic," which was this twenty page booklet with simple information on the ship. This eventually led to me learning more about the Titanic. I also started learning about other great liners, especially the shipwrecks: Empress of Ireland, Lusitania, Britannic, Andrea Doria, etc. Then I started learning about warships like the Hood, the Bismarck, U-boats (like the U-110), and the carriers at the Battle of Midway after watching a National Geographic special on it (when Ballard located the Yorktown, CV-5).
    My family would also take Vassili and I down to South Carolina, where my ma's parents went to during the winter. We got to see Charleston, and learned about the Hunley, Fort. Sumter, Fort Pulaski, and other battlefields related to the Civil War.
    Hehe, well that's how I started learning and loving history. Can't wait to hear other responses. :)
     
  2. Florence

    Florence Member

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    Interesting topic. I suppose it was after watching all those glorious old war movies when I was younger ie The Longest Day, Midway, 12 O'clock High, Battle of the Bulge...the list is endless. My dad taped them on the old VHS when they came on TV and I would watch my favourites over and over again. As I grew older I wanted to know the real story behind all these movies and therein lies the beginning of my fascination with military history. I am still a sucker for a good war movie.

    David.
     
  3. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    You should check out the book "Shadow Divers", if you haven't already. I think you'd really like it.

    I grew up in the Air Force, so airplanes (mainly B-52's and F-4's that I can remember) and military were always a part of my life growing up. They're cool, but planes never really seemed to grab my imagination like they did with some guys. But the P-38....now, THAT was an airplane! It was odd looking, kinda like the ugly duckling, and didn't get much attention, so maybe that's why I always loved that bird. After getting out of the Navy, I got married, divorced, blah blah blah...one of the only positive things to come out of it was that she challenged me to look up P38s. So I did. I found a book online, "The Last Great Ace", and went to Barnes-n-Nobel to find it. Didn't find it. I did, however, find "Baa Baa Blacksheep" (Boyington's autobiography), and bought it instead, since I remembered watching that show with Dad as a kid. I was hooked. Ordered "Last Great Ace" from Amazon, and my Amazon wishlist/shopping cart has not been empty since. I love the personal stories that the guys tell of their time in the trenches/air, or the biographies of those (like Major Thomas McGuire, "Last Great Ace") who never made it back. This is History like we were never taught in school....I would've done MUCH better in that subject if it was taught differently!
     
  4. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    I'm a child of the fifties who grew up emersed in the WW2 generation. My Dad was in the 1st Marines at Guadalcanal, my mother had 5 brothers in the war, and lost 2, one in the Navy coming home on leave, the other in the Marines at Saipan. And my dad lost a brother in Italy, as a B24 navigator. A lot of my friend's Dads were veterans, the majority of the adult males of the church I attended were WW2 veterans, and teachers too. So I was completely surrounded by history, it fasinated me then, but even as a child I could see the toll history can take on the people who live it.
     
  5. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I have been interested in history for as long as I can remember. When i was a kid I loved ancient history. As I progressed to adolesence i got interested in wargaming, and then wargame design. went to officer training school and started serious study in strategic studies and military planning. From military college received my bachelors degree, and then masters degree in tactcal warfare concepts, whilst hobby wise moved into the simulations design area. Gave lectures at the RMC for a number of years. So history, and military history was a bread an butter issue for me, although of late i have not had to rely on its for an income....not enough money in it for that.
     
  6. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    Started school in 1945, and, during the 1950s was taken to the (fairly) local Battle of Britain day, at Benson airfield. One year we were treated to a "dogfight" between a Spitfire and Hurricane, which landed afterwards, and we were allowed to get up close to them after they'd been refuelled (crowds tended to be better-behaved in those days.) We were shooed away, to allow them to take off, and were then treated to the Spitfire looping, straight from take off. I was told, years later, that this was Jeffrey Quill's signature departure, and the Hurricane was probably flown by Beamont. It left me with a love of the Spitfire, which has never diminished.
    Edgar
     
  7. BikerBabe

    BikerBabe Active Member

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    Hey, good idea FF, it's interesting to read how you guys got interested in history. :thumbleft: :thumbright:

    As for me, I guess I've been interested ever since I started in school.
    Some of my favourite lessons were the history lessons, and later learning that my own grandfather was a chief radio operator aboard one of the Royal Danish Navy's inspection ships during the german occupation of Denmark in WW2, has only made me more interested, together with meeting my then-to-be colleague, Poul Fjeldgård, who was one of the approx. 2000 danish police officers, who were sent off to the concentration camp of Buchenwald in WW2, and hearing his story was a wonderful, fascinating and horrifying way of learning more about KZ camp life - or lack of same.
    Poul was an excellent storyteller, and he loved to talk about what he and others had experienced, so I'm grateful for having worked with and gotten to know him.

    to.jpg

    Poul and me at the museum, Oct. 13th, 2005.

    Apart from that, I started getting interested in WW2 aviation, shortly before I went to my first airshow in 2002.
    Watching one of the Hannas fly their Spitfire just plain hit home, and I've been interested ever since. ;)
    But I can't remember how I got interested in the german WW2 pilots.
    Damn, I'm getting old. :D
     
  8. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    History in general has been a love of mine since I was a little child. I honesty can not remember a single thing that gave me a taste for it, I just always loved it. WW2 history obviously left a mark on me as I grew up in Europe. I believe the fact that it was during the Cold War helped fuel my desire to learn more about WW2 as I believe it was a direct result of the conflict.

    If I did have to pick a single piece of history that I am most fond of witnessing it would be being in Berlin for the fall of the wall.
     
  9. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I liked watching the war films with my dad when I was little, but the thing that lit the spark in me watching "Baa Baa Black Sheep". From that time on, I've been hooked.
     
  10. javlin

    javlin Well-Known Member

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    Military family started it I guess.My father was a radio operator on a B-17 in the first group to actually arrive in England.He use to tell me about the fun stuff that happened not much about the horrors.I use to love reading about Egypt,dinosaurs and then military history(civil war still an interest).I actually wanted to be an archelogists till about 17 or so.Things waned after that for some years till I went back to school and had to pick a subject to right a paper on in English"The Titanic" it started all over again.When you look at that event and who died how did that change the world?Many rich,powerful and important people perished that night?At this time I started building again after a 15 year lapse.I still like reading about the Civil War and older battles they can teach good tactics or lets say tactics that are easier to see.When I read of big conflicts(WWII) its hard to keep the whole map in one's mind.A good read of the Civil War goes Fredricksburg,Chancellorville(both by Sears) then Gettysburg.Stonewall's in and around in Chancellorville on the Union is a hoot and then thier was a classic pincher movement at Fredricksburg developing at night with a Union retreat that would of smashed Meades(?) army.
     
  11. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Some very intersting stories here guys...keep it coming
     
  12. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Hm, I want to say in 2003 or 2004 my dad decided to take us down to World War II weekend in Reading, Pennsylvania and I was just fascinated by the planes, especially the Lancaster and B-17.
     
  13. javlin

    javlin Well-Known Member

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    #13 javlin, Aug 27, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
    Well one battle I would love to have a good read on just it is "The Battle of Cold Harbor" an excerpt from Wikpedia....

    The Battle of Cold Harbor was fought from May 31 to June 12, 1864 (with the most significant fighting occurring on June 3). It was one of the final battles of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign during the American Civil War, and is remembered as one of American history's bloodiest, most lopsided battles. Thousands of Union soldiers were killed or wounded in a hopeless frontal assault against the fortified positions of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's army.

    I do not remember which battle it was wether Fredricksburg or Chancelorville but Jeb Stuart was quite the comedian.JB was the eyes and ears for Lee with his calvary and the Southern Calvary early in the war were much much better than the Unions.Well he was out doing recon up around the Potomac and requisitioned some Union supplies at a communication site w/telegraph.Now all these guys have served together in West Point and Mexico and now are on opposite sides of course but still treat each other with formalities,integrity and honor.Will JB gets a wild hair and after the requisition sends a telegragh back to Washington to have more supplies on hand next time and some better looking horses.Needless to say Lincoln was pissed along with his staff. :)
     
  14. brucejscott

    brucejscott Active Member

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    My dad was Army ROTC and an advisor in Vietnam so every night it was news from SEA ( even took precidence over Star Trek ) and color commentary from dad. Most of the books I learned to read on were historical texts, so to me, it seemed to be the way kids just grew up. After dad went to work for the government we never stayed in any one town for more than two years so I never had friends long enough to learn that most kids read comic books and not history. No complaints though, I kick ass at Jeopardy.
     
  15. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

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    I've always enjoyed history. I remember my Grampa telling about when he serviced ships during WWII. He was one of the ones who worked on the Queen Mary. He told us once how he found a message written in a rope locker about a major accident that happened but was never mentioned because of the war. The message recounted how a Canadian Distroyer was cut in half by the Queen Mary when she cut across the Queen Mary's bow. The Captain of the distroyer didn't realize how fast the Queen Mary was. Everyone was under orders not to ever talk about the accident but someone couldn't keep it to themselves so they wrote the whole story about it in the rope locker when she was in for repairs. Interesting.
     
  16. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Good thread.
    I am a child of the mid 1950's and the 'wars' were always a part of my formative years.
    My love of history started with my Grandad's WW1 stories, although I now know that they were somewhat abridged, my grandparents and parents recollection of the inter-war years and how they saw the threat Nazi Germany posed.
    After the slaughter of WW1 I believe that the average Brit in 1938 just wanted Hitler to go away.
    My childhood walks with my Dad always turned to his time in the 8th army in North Africa Italy, his capture and subsequent treatment by the German army. My Mother would reminisce about RAF fighter command, Manston and the multi national force the RAF became in WW2.
    My Dad was always able to find humour in his experiences...even Mount Casino. It was only at the end of his life in 1992 that the real bitterness emerged.
    My toys consisted of weapons, my reading material was albums like Eagle and Biggles. I believed all I was told and read and that to be English was the best thing since sliced bread.
    My wife's parents were children in WW2 and are a fount of knowledge about evacuation, the blitz, the sheer terror and bitterness about their Plymouth getting bombed flat.
    Then there is the Jewish family connection, but that is not up for discussion on this forum as its too political.
    My children's school are big on modern history and my son is immensely proud of his family history, pictures and medals to hold and to believe in.
    I have kept my real thoughts to myself and delivered the pc view of WW2 that is appropriate in 2011 and for the new generation.
    Be proud, know the facts, enjoy your freedom but... trust has to be earned.
    Cheers
    John
     
  17. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    It is only political if you make it...

    As for the PC view, that is your choice as well.
     
  18. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Yes Chris it is.
     
  19. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    john

    A agree with Adler, share it if you think it appropriate. Your post reminded me of my family connections as well.

    My grandad on my fathers side was a gallipoli vet. He talked only a little about his wartime experiences, and suffered post event stress disorder ( or whatever its called). But he used to talk pretty honestly about the horrors of that place, for example one man lasting all of five minutes in the trenches. Wanted to see a turk, was told, keep your head down, said he just wanted to have a quick look over the top...hed be okay. Was told again, keep your head down, ducked up, and came back seconds later with a bullet between his eyes.

    Talked about the Gurkhas. Were originally employed as carriers and runners because their size, were not thought adequate material by the british HC. Begged the Australians to let them fight, so were given their Kukris and allowed to spearhead a night attack. Anyone who knows the Gurkhas knows that they are dangerous with the Kukris....there were dead and screaming turks everywhere that night, and the Gurkhas werent used as porters after that

    My stepfather was a German who served in the wehrmacht and was decorated three times, including the Iron Cross. He was a machine gunner serving at first in the 373 Infantry Division, but moved around. Wore out a pair of boots just getting to the front. His no2 was a big Ukrainain Hiwi that supposedly were forbidden to fight. In reality perhaps a third of the german frontline troops on the eastern Front by 1942 were Hiwis, and they fought alongside the Germans like regular soldiers. big fights used to break out with the SS every time they tried to round up these Russians. not all Germans were russian haters. My dad was the number 2 on the gun until 6 november 1942. On that day the no1 was shot and killed by a sniper. from that day my father became the gunner, but three days later he was hit too. The big Ukraininan hiwi, stood up, Mg42 under his arm, shot the sniper (how, i dont know), picked up my Dad, machine gun, and ammo, in one go and walked out of that Maelstrom. He dropped Max at the forward dressing station, and just kept walking. He was never seen again, didnt say a word.

    My stepfather is the only german I know of that era who openly admits german war guilt, and how wrong they and Hitler were. He is the only german i know that doesnt try to get out of gaol by blaming it all on Hitler. He is the only German i know that admits the german populace knew what was really happening to the Jews, rather than try this lame arsed excuse "we didnt know". He says, "of course we knew...my mother sheltered an entire family, gave them food and protection for the entire war....". He doesnt try to say he didnt support hitler. He admits it, then admits he was wrong to do so....a refreshing change from the usual claptrap we hear.

    My second wife is Russian, and before he died, i met her grandfather. A siberian cavalryman that served under Zhukov against the japanese in 1939, and again under Zhukov in front of moscow. He would not talk much about the war. Too painful for him. If we watched docos on the war he would cry, but i never doubted the mans courage or resolve or his ability as a soldier. He had eyes that were like lasers, they would stare coldly right through you. You knew you were dealing with a real man, right till the end

    I was trained and served under men who had experience in Malaya and Vietnam. They taught me the value of mateship, never leave a comrade behind, alive or dead. Thankfully i never had to test that theory, but I was taught by the best in my opinion.

    Just a few thoughts to show you John you are not alone.
     
  20. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    #20 DerAdlerIstGelandet, Aug 31, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
    I have actually met a fair share of them believe it or not. Not as many as their should be, but quite a few of them. Especially during my discussions with Afrika Korps veterans back in the mid/late 90s.

    My Grandfather for instance was very open about it. He always stated he was not shameful of being a German or serving in the Wehrmacht (he was a military surgeon who served on the front), but he was shameful of what his country did during that time. I recall his diary saying something of the likes about going to hell. He was very open about the fact that Hitler was a mistake and wrong. He was however not shameful of what post war Germany had become. I feel that the post war Germans (or even those that were children during those terrible times) can be proud of that as well. They can hold their heads up high, and I have told that to John as well.

    John discussing your Jewish family or herritage is not political and can be discussed whenever you feel like it. Did you know that Eric is Jewish? He never has a problem discussing it, and never has problems from other members for it. Nor do you have to be PC about it. If you read through enough threads you will see that being PC about any topic is a quick way to get a smack down by the forum membership.
     
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