Why was World War I called The Great War?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
I'm reading a book about World War I, and most commentators of the time refer to it as "The Great War" instead of the more logical "First World War". Were they deliberately trying to confuse people?

Tuomas (Tuomas), Monday, 13 November 2006 12:01 (twelve years ago) Permalink

At least the people of the Middle Ages had the good sense to give a lasting name to their era.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Monday, 13 November 2006 12:02 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Why on earth would CONTEMPORARY commentators say 'first world war'? Were they clairvoyant?

Archel (Archel), Monday, 13 November 2006 12:04 (twelve years ago) Permalink

once you pop

RJG (RJG), Monday, 13 November 2006 12:06 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I Love Observational Comedy

dommy p is alright WHICH IS A LOT MORE THAN I CAN SAY ABOUT A LOT OF PEOPLE (Dom, Monday, 13 November 2006 12:08 (twelve years ago) Permalink

'Not my favourite war. They called it the Great War. It was GOOD. It wasn't GREAT.'

Ricky Gervais (Archel), Monday, 13 November 2006 12:08 (twelve years ago) Permalink

For the Irish:

"It was a good war, not a great war."

Dunphy, suitable for any occasion.

Kv_nol (Kv_nol), Monday, 13 November 2006 12:09 (twelve years ago) Permalink

see also The War To End All Wars. bit of false optimism there.

m coleman (lovebug starski), Monday, 13 November 2006 12:09 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Also, why on earth would Ivan the Terrible's mom and dad give him such a name? Sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy, don't it?

Tuomas (Tuomas), Monday, 13 November 2006 12:12 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Fake Tuomas has been fucking the Lexbot and their progency has found Fake Tuomas' account details, obviously.

aldo_cowpat (aldo_cowpat), Monday, 13 November 2006 12:35 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I believe it was due to Tony The Tiger's involvement.

Pete (Pete), Monday, 13 November 2006 12:36 (twelve years ago) Permalink

At least he got a proper name.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Monday, 13 November 2006 14:20 (twelve years ago) Permalink

becuase it was RAD!

Mr Jones (Mr Jones), Monday, 13 November 2006 14:26 (twelve years ago) Permalink

this is a poor question, mate

-- (688), Monday, 13 November 2006 14:37 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'm reading a book about World War I, and most commentators of the time refer to it as "The Great War" instead of the more logical "First World War".

the name was coined shortly after (or perhaps even during) the war, to distinguish it from the various pissy wars that had been fought in the fifty to a hundred years before it.

DV (dirtyvicar), Monday, 13 November 2006 15:23 (twelve years ago) Permalink

And why was the Hundred Years War so called? What's the deal with that? *Seinfeld slap-bass*

2 american 4 u (blueski), Monday, 13 November 2006 15:25 (twelve years ago) Permalink

What, like the Battle of Umboto Gorge?

xpost - even funnier, it actually lasted 116 years!

chap who would dare to welcome our new stingray masters (chap), Monday, 13 November 2006 15:26 (twelve years ago) Permalink

now i'm definitely convinced this is a troll.

hstencil (hstencil), Monday, 13 November 2006 15:30 (twelve years ago) Permalink

bit of an esoteric troll, tho

kingfish prætor (kingfish 2.0), Monday, 13 November 2006 15:32 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'm reminded of an Encyclopedia Brown story in which he discovers a bogus Civil War document that refers to the "First Battle Of Bull Run."

Elvis Telecom (Chris Barrus), Monday, 13 November 2006 16:24 (twelve years ago) Permalink

And how dare they call the War Of 1812 the "War Of 1812" - it lasted until 1815!

Elvis Telecom (Chris Barrus), Monday, 13 November 2006 16:26 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'm reminded of an Encyclopedia Brown story in which he discovers a bogus Civil War document that refers to the "First Battle Of Bull Run."

I thought the same thing, Chris.

M. White (Miguelito), Monday, 13 November 2006 16:32 (twelve years ago) Permalink

In French before WWII, it was also known as la Grande Guerre.

M. White (Miguelito), Monday, 13 November 2006 16:33 (twelve years ago) Permalink

And how dare they call the War Of 1812 the "War Of 1812" - it lasted until 1815!

-- Elvis Telecom (quartzcit...), November 13th, 2006 4:26 PM. (Chris Barrus) (later)

hahahaha yeah and the most famous battle in it happened after the war was over.

hstencil (hstencil), Monday, 13 November 2006 16:33 (twelve years ago) Permalink

That's like the Encyclopedia Brown solution I most remember!

Others that pop up in my head from time to time:

- the guy who claims to have just driven over from the next city, but there's a baby on the hood of his car, which should be really hot

- this weird one where Encyclopedia can tell this woman at a restaurant is actually a man in disguise, based on some batshit rule about how women always get the seat facing the room, and men sit across from them???

- "if the window were broken from the outside, the glass would be in the room"

- "it's impossible for a person to use his left hand to stick his mumblety-peg knife in his right jeans pocket while running"

nabisco (nabisco), Monday, 13 November 2006 18:46 (twelve years ago) Permalink

(I have tested that last one at various points in life, and it's obviously true, though it seems more generally true that you can't stick anything in either of your front pockets while running -- I mean, WTF?)

nabisco (nabisco), Monday, 13 November 2006 18:48 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Why on earth would CONTEMPORARY commentators say 'first world war'? Were they clairvoyant?

The term First World War was first used in the 1920s. So-called not because people knew there was going to be a second one, but because it was the first time a war had taken place on a global scale.

Brian Emo (noodle vague), Monday, 13 November 2006 18:49 (twelve years ago) Permalink

As for the "Great" thing:

"Great" meaning "large" or "immense"/
We use it in the pejorative sense"

Brian Emo (noodle vague), Monday, 13 November 2006 18:51 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I seem to remember Encyclopedia Brown debunking a Wild West story, a guide's reenactment of a stagecoach holdup (if not a holdup from the movie Stagecoach), because the Ringo Kid wouldn't have needed to squint at noon, because the sunlight was coming from the other direction.

The Redd 47 Ronin (Ken L), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 02:09 (twelve years ago) Permalink

if not directly overhead

The Redd 47 Ronin (Ken L), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 02:48 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Back when Ricki Lake first came to Chicago with her talk show--she was very much on the big side at this point--the whole ad blitz for the launch went something like: "Chicago already has one Great Lake. It's about to get another!!" I wondered at the time if Ricki realized this was how her press push was being phrased. Because, you know, I don't think they call them "great" lakes because they're so terrific and fun ...

literalisp (literalisp), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 03:44 (twelve years ago) Permalink

more EB:

- suspect claims he kept some document between page 97 and 98 of his favorite book - but books don't have odd-even facing pages, apparently ever...busted!

- something about "an arrow flight away"/"a narrow flight away"...ends with EB bootin it up the stairs, i think.

A Giant Mechanical Ant (The Giant Mechanical Ant), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 04:37 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"it's impossible for a person to use his left hand to stick his mumblety-peg knife in his right jeans pocket while running"

i recall this one weekly. because i am always late and sort of running while finishing dressing etc. it is so not impossible, unless you are running very fast and/or have extremely short arms. i do it all the time.

literalisp (literalisp), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 04:46 (twelve years ago) Permalink

oh yeah! another dubiously definitive statement from EB, I think:

-"All block lettering looks the same" or something like that ... in the context of shredding some graphological defense, maybe?

literalisp (literalisp), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 04:50 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Why was World War III called the "Cold War?" Huh? Huh?

Also, "civil war" - what's so civil about it?

timmy tannin (pompous), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 04:56 (twelve years ago) Permalink

did any ilxors fight in the War of OU812?

gabbneb (gabbneb), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 04:59 (twelve years ago) Permalink

spam

a name means a lot just by itself (lfam), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 05:04 (twelve years ago) Permalink

This is the thread where I recommend "Brown Harvest"

...Please turn to the next thread to see the answer.

Elvis Telecom (Chris Barrus), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 09:05 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"but there's a baby on the hood of his car, which should be really hot"

What does it say about me that, when I first read this, I thought it meant he'd hit a baby on the way over and it was wedged the front of his car and would be really hot if he's actually driven all that way?

Hello Sunshine (Hello Sunshine), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 09:45 (twelve years ago) Permalink

What the hell is Encyclopedia Brown?

Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 10:15 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Oh, and this thread wasn't supposed to be trolling, just a bit of bad academic humour.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 10:16 (twelve years ago) Permalink

OK here's a poser. What did they call World War 2 before such a moniker came in?

I know this because I read it in one of Campbell's old Pears Cyclopedias. I didn't know it beforehand. In fact, it had never occured to me. I would be rubbish at being an ace attorney with the wildest cross-examining skills in town if I couldn't even wonder about THAT contradiction...

Bhumibol Adulyadej (Lucretia My Reflection), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 10:19 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Oh, and this thread wasn't supposed to be trolling, just a bit of bad academic humour.

I see.

a friend claims to have once been in a history tutorial where someone in all seriousness asked from where Kings and Queens got the numbers after their names.

DV (dirtyvicar), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 11:14 (twelve years ago) Permalink

OK here's a poser. What did they call World War 2 before such a moniker came in?
I know this because I read it in one of Campbell's old Pears Cyclopedias. I didn't know it beforehand. In fact, it had never occured to me. I would be rubbish at being an ace attorney with the wildest cross-examining skills in town if I couldn't even wonder about THAT contradiction...

-- Bhumibol Adulyadej (starrysdarkmaterial...), November 14th, 2006.

i'm being thick, i don't get you here. i don't know when that name came in, though it's possible it came in before the war started, given that everyone knew it was going to. but they could have got by calling it just 'the war'; as they did with the first one quite often.

benrique (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 11:21 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Well, Enrique, when hostilities started, it wasn't a "world war", was it? And I guess they hoped it wouldn't be the second one quite strongly! What were they calling it in the run up to Sep 1939 and just after the UK declaration at least?

Hint: it wasn't WWII, and it was more than just 'the war'!

I am surprised not more people know this - I felt really thick when I realised I didn't know.

Bhumibol Adulyadej (Lucretia My Reflection), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 12:23 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"The OED reports the first use of "Second World War" was by novelist H.G. Wells in 1930, although it may well have been used earlier.[17] The term was immediately used when war was declared; for example, the September 3, 1939, issue of the Canadian newspaper, The Calgary Herald."

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 12:34 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Well, Enrique, when hostilities started, it wasn't a "world war", was it?

yeahbut isn't it only later convention that says 01/09/39 is when 'it' started anyway? japan had been getting into it with china (and therefore teh brits) way before then; and even as of that date the ussr was involved.

and who can forget the battle of the river plate?

it only needed US involvement to make it as worldly as ww1.

benrique (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 12:37 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Well, Enrique, when hostilities started, it wasn't a "world war", was it?

given that the initial combatants included the British and French empires, it would seem not inappropriate to call it a world conflict.

DV (dirtyvicar), Tuesday, 14 November 2006 12:39 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Everyone should read The Guns of August.

El Tomboto, Tuesday, 25 September 2018 03:20 (two months ago) Permalink

all time.

in terms of descriptive place-setting, Carlin's blueprint for armageddon podcast is very good. insanity made into an international imperative, and almost a death sentence for that generation.

Hunt3r, Tuesday, 25 September 2018 03:56 (two months ago) Permalink

derp I just scrolled up and saw prev recommendation. yup.

Hunt3r, Tuesday, 25 September 2018 03:58 (two months ago) Permalink

Margaret MacMillan picked The Guns of August as "the book that changed me" and was waxing lyrical about its novelistic qualities and colourful character sketches, sounds pretty good.

calzino, Tuesday, 25 September 2018 07:36 (two months ago) Permalink

Guns of August is an all-time classic of narrative history and can withstand comparison with any history ever written.

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 25 September 2018 19:49 (two months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

*impeccably-observed silence*

imago, Sunday, 11 November 2018 11:01 (one month ago) Permalink

also lest we forget: fake tuomas

mark s, Sunday, 11 November 2018 11:05 (one month ago) Permalink

haha wait yeah how is THIS the ww1 thread

imago, Sunday, 11 November 2018 11:15 (one month ago) Permalink

anyway i'm paying respects the proper way

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDmhP6YiN6s

imago, Sunday, 11 November 2018 11:15 (one month ago) Permalink

xps

Guns of August is indeed an excellent narrative history. not got to the RIP Scandinavian sock-puppet fusiliers chapter yet.

calzino, Sunday, 11 November 2018 11:17 (one month ago) Permalink

I was listening to someone quite bad on R4 making the observation that back in the 60's a common response was to tell WW1 veterans to stfu when the ones that weren't too shook to talk about it went into reminiscence mode.

calzino, Sunday, 11 November 2018 11:37 (one month ago) Permalink

Kevin Coyne wrote a song about that once...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1E_H9dBwws

ROCK MUSIC (Tom D.), Sunday, 11 November 2018 11:43 (one month ago) Permalink

I’m pretty lucky that I don’t live/work somewhere where I’m likely to be challenged for not adequately celebrating the awesomeness of war and pinning a shitty piece of prison slave labour-produced tat to my clothes

As a happy consequence of this I have completely forgotten World War I

coetzee.cx (wins), Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:01 (one month ago) Permalink

I don't know where that actually happens though, if it happens at all. I saw my first ever white poppy yesterday.

ROCK MUSIC (Tom D.), Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:02 (one month ago) Permalink

ban either tuomas

unproven (darraghmac), Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:08 (one month ago) Permalink

BREAKING: World leaders have missed the exact moment to commemorate the armistice that ended World War I.

— The Associated Press (@AP) November 11, 2018

mark s, Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:12 (one month ago) Permalink

i mean come on

mark s, Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:12 (one month ago) Permalink

at least putin can say "pre-gregorian calender mate, no one understands that bollox"

mark s, Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:14 (one month ago) Permalink

You've got one thing to do and you can't even do that.

ROCK MUSIC (Tom D.), Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:14 (one month ago) Permalink

you had 11 11/11 job

unproven (darraghmac), Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:17 (one month ago) Permalink

lol

imago, Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:22 (one month ago) Permalink

Putin can piss off those weirdo Romanov cultists as much as he likes. though I'm not sure they gaf either tbh!

calzino, Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:22 (one month ago) Permalink

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DruEouKXgAIIfpj.jpg

Otto Dix otm

calzino, Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:59 (one month ago) Permalink

otm indeed.

pomenitul, Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:59 (one month ago) Permalink

Wonder if that etching was an influence on the editors who created the opening credits of the BBCs 1964 The Great War series.
I watched it all during a week of deep depression in 2014, it didn't help.

They Bunged Him in My Growler (Sanpaku), Sunday, 11 November 2018 14:32 (one month ago) Permalink

So why is Theresa May in London today?

pomenitul, Sunday, 11 November 2018 15:46 (one month ago) Permalink

brexit

mark s, Sunday, 11 November 2018 15:49 (one month ago) Permalink

World War I, hence not all leaders in attendance are European. But I'm probably putting too much thought into this.

pomenitul, Sunday, 11 November 2018 15:53 (one month ago) Permalink

i thought this was one correct lesson to the very high % of usa that don't understand it this way

1. It can't be underlined enough how important the First World War is to France's national self-conception. Trump's failure to attend the memorial is a huge diplomatic insult.

— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) November 10, 2018

Hunt3r, Sunday, 11 November 2018 15:58 (one month ago) Permalink

well, i didn't mean the "insult" part, i meant the scale of ww1 relative to ww2 in popular perceptions

Hunt3r, Sunday, 11 November 2018 15:59 (one month ago) Permalink

I was somewhat astonished to read casualty numbers in WWI vs those in WWII: overall the total number killed in the latter dwarfs the former but France was fully engaged in battle for all of WWI vs their swift surrender in WWII. Once people also understand what France went through the first time it becomes easier to understand why there was not as much drive to fight Germany to the death again (a nation that remained in the throes of a violent nationalistic sickness that one defeat wasn’t enough to cast away.)

omar little, Sunday, 11 November 2018 16:09 (one month ago) Permalink

I doubt trump knows a single thing about that war

omar little, Sunday, 11 November 2018 16:10 (one month ago) Permalink

i remember my dad at a memorial day parade in the 70s trying to explain to 5 or 6 y/o me why the (very few) wwi veterans were so important and notable because of the immensity of the great war in world history.

Hunt3r, Sunday, 11 November 2018 16:15 (one month ago) Permalink

His wife is Slovenian yet he still blamed the Baltic states for the crimes they committed in Yugoslavia. 'Cause it sounds just like the Balkans, duh!

xp

pomenitul, Sunday, 11 November 2018 16:17 (one month ago) Permalink

I've heard it said before that the failure of The Maginot Line and surrender of France was much more down to a widespread fatalistic malaise amongst the French military than any stroke of genius from Manstein. It might not tell the full story, but I think there is some substance to that.

calzino, Sunday, 11 November 2018 16:19 (one month ago) Permalink

And in France they still have 1200 square kilometres of land that is still a century later, an uninhabitable toxic wasteland. Tho I'd have let it slide if they had invaded England and done the same to Middlesbrough.

calzino, Sunday, 11 November 2018 16:38 (one month ago) Permalink

And in France they still have 1200 square kilometres of land that is still a century later, an uninhabitable toxic wasteland.

Remember learning about this some years back. Like a pre-nuclear Chernobyl.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 11 November 2018 16:48 (one month ago) Permalink

the only difference is that Chernobyl has become quite a nature reserve in some parts and you read stories of people moving back there recently. Zone Rouge is still lifeless and deadly, it's quite mindblowing really!

calzino, Sunday, 11 November 2018 16:54 (one month ago) Permalink

"According to the Sécurité Civile agency in charge, at the current rate no fewer than 700 more years will be needed to clean the area completely."

calzino, Sunday, 11 November 2018 16:58 (one month ago) Permalink

So why is Theresa May in London today?

Putin RSVP'd first is my punt tbh

nashwan, Sunday, 11 November 2018 17:04 (one month ago) Permalink

"Remembrance Day: In pictures"

meh, no decent Up The Arse Corner contenders this year.

calzino, Sunday, 11 November 2018 17:17 (one month ago) Permalink

I'd have let it slide if they had invaded England and done the same to Middlesbrough

how would we tell?

two Barongs don't make a Wight (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 11 November 2018 17:22 (one month ago) Permalink

no such thing as "uninhabitable toxic wasteland" in Real England!

calzino, Sunday, 11 November 2018 17:27 (one month ago) Permalink

so this Peter Jackson doc is on bbc2 tonight and its just mindblowing seeing all this footage in high-ish def colour.

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Sunday, 11 November 2018 22:31 (one month ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

how is that P-Jax doc? I saw a trailer and it is really something else seeing the film transformed in this manner, hoping it's worth a view and isn't just a gimmick on which to hinge a thinly sketched statement.

omar little, Wednesday, 5 December 2018 01:36 (one week ago) Permalink

I thought it was very bland + heavily sentimentalised Our Boys type claptrap, and aside from the old movie stock tarted up by CGI - with absolutely nothing interesting to say and with no coherent narrative. Although I'm sure it made Tommy Robinson cry into his beer. Just basically the type of shite you'd see playing on one of the screens at the imperial war museum.

calzino, Wednesday, 5 December 2018 10:06 (one week ago) Permalink

Saw most of The Long Shadow repeated on BBC4 the last few weeks. That was interesting and challenging even when I was sceptical of some of the interpretations he made.

biliares now living will never buey (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 5 December 2018 12:36 (one week ago) Permalink

I want a full book about this story.

I want a movie too. I want the whole damn thing.

a gay love story of the 1st world war’s year.

[thread by @guillemclua im just a translator]. pic.twitter.com/I3CkgKd1EO

— maaayyy. (@brendonsexual) December 7, 2018

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 00:56 (two days ago) Permalink

Well, the chances are probably quite high..

https://guillemclua.com/comunicado-sobre-el-hilo-de-twitter-emilyxaver/

Andrew Farrell, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 01:37 (two days ago) Permalink

Rather!

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 01:50 (two days ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.