What got you interested?

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by Gage, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Growing up as a kid in the 70's. The war was all around you. Neighbours and relatives who served. A Primary School Headmaster who was a Spitfire Pilot during the war and regaled us with stories during wet playtime of shooting down Jerries. Battle Action and Commando comics. The World at War on the telly. Big budget movies etc etc

    I dabble with other history stuff but in the end I always come back to WW2. It's in the blood.
  2. Blastmaster1972

    Blastmaster1972 Junior Member

    Childhood hollydays in the Ardennes got me ineterested in WWII!


    Kind regards,

  3. rosstcorbett

    rosstcorbett Member

    I remember when I was very young, in the 80s, I use to sit with my late father and watch a War documentary that always seemed to be on in which the music was very memorable indeed. That planted a seed but it was not until I watched Band of Brothers that my interest in WW2 really started to take hold.

    Then a few years later, I heard that wonderful documentary music again, it was the theme music to 'The World at War' and I was hooked!
  4. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    Airfix Models and War Films.... do I need to say any more! :rolleyes:
    canuck likes this.
  5. AppleBlossom

    AppleBlossom Member

    I've always had an interest in history ever since I was small, for some reason WWII and life in the 1940's was always a particular fascination of mine and even when I was only 6 I would want to know more about this era. When I got a little older (probably about 9) I used to go to the library and get books out on WWII and local history. I discovered that many bombs were dropped on my old local area which I have always wanted to find out more about.

    I eased off the history when I was a teenager as I got into horses but since I got into my 20's my interest was piqued again, and in the last couple of years I have started reading books and doing research as much as I can. It hasn't been until the last 6 months that I have really delved into it and started my own projects. I don't work at the moment and am job hunting so having something to concentrate on really helps me to stop going mad with boredom!

    I have a few eras I have an interest in during our history but WWII and the 1940's will always be top of the list and my very favourite subject of all.
  6. Hesmond

    Hesmond Well-Known Member

    Being of an age when as a young lad in the 1960s growing up in East London ,you wer surrounded by the war , from old bomb sites , a scrap yard with the odd bit laying around , and those wonderfull old school army surplus shops , of course then the non stop diet of war films on TV the comics the Victor was almost a history lesson? then the Airfix kits and toy soliders ,and of course listining to neibours and relatives talk of the old days ,not suprising it got in your blood .
    It still seems odd now to have worked with lads who served in the desert , Far East ,at Arnhem ,involved in D Day and Dunkirk and Bomber Command .
    Going around Sunday markets in East London back in the 1960s seeing all that wondderfull WW2 kit around , i still have the first item i bought a 1943 dated British paratroopers helmet ,complete with leather chin strap superb orginal paint ,all for 11/6!
  7. Smallhausen

    Smallhausen Member

    My interest was fired by my dad,although he only told me lighthearted snippets I wanted to know more.
  8. arnhem44

    arnhem44 Member

    During my early youth in the 70's (7 year old?) I got to see on belgian TV on Saturdays a lot of old exciting black-n-white 1950-1960 british gung-ho movies about the outstanding small groups of british commandos or what not that took on vast amounts of menacing looking german soldiers. 5 commandos killing 300 germans and getting away with it. Hurrah!

    Then I started reading about these heroes and the "heroic" british successes in WW2 and found out to my amazement that, they "sucked" most of the time and that the Germans (and Japanese) in time space and size pulled off an enormous conquering feat !!? and that it took the heroic british like david niven and the likes 5-6 YEARS to conquer back what the germans took in less than 2 months ..
    Furher on with Airfix/Revell models I learned that the Germans actually made very cool pieces of machinery (from the design perspective alone). From Aircraft to tanks and U-boats and battleships.And even the helmets. EVERYTHING simply looked cooler and smarter. (btw notice many elements of it in Spielbergs' Starwars saga?).

    This difference between what is thrown at us with images (face it: british cinema in 50-60's is kind of propaganda.. if not for own public at least to show the SU communists what british characters are really made of..) and what can be found in proper history books (albeit lateron many corrections followed..nothing is definitive) made me intrigued by this part of history.
    Besides it was the only/nearest time of history there is a sense of the fight between pure evil and good.
    (surely the kelts under the romans, the bavarians/spanish under Napoleon, the flemish under Kaiser wilhelm, and the boers under Carnarvon must have felt overwhelmed by experiences of evil ..but not like WW2)

    Later, of course follows more in depth knowledge not only about military history, but also political/NSDAP history ...but for a long time (not even at school at age 17-18 ; 1985) nobody (including our history teacher) could explain to me how it was possible that an obviously evil man like Hitler and his party the NSDAP could come "so" easily to power and pull the world into destruction.
    That was the second point of intrigue/interest.
    Until then the schoolbooks, many of commercial books, and TV programmes (including from BBC aired in Holland) simply accounted the facts "it just happened ", but not why or how.
    Germans hated jews. "It just happened".
    The japanese hated all westerners . "it just was like that".
    Germans "invented" blitzkrieg and France/britain fell for it. "it just happened".
    Germans fought on till the very end, prioritising the destruction of their camp prisonores (jews, socialists, resistance people) rather than to save their civilians with any extra earlier day of survival by ending the war. "it just happened".
    That was not satisfying.
    Only recently , last 10 years, I found on TV, programmes that explained this insight better than in the 80's (which you could of course have found in books, ok..but not clear to the broad public and certainly not 17 y.o school kids ).

    Along with all this I was interested in the many wartime stories of our family; I have relatives in Holland that endured the war as civilians (one picked up 3 times AND escaped...EASILY with smartness !) and a branch of relatives in Germany that endured the war (wine farmers in rural area, no one in the army as young kids, but enough ugly experiences) and a married to this one sister uncle who "fought" (as radiooperator) in russia.

    exciting, sometimes harrowing stories from both sides.
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Bloody hell , that makes you the same age as me.
    I always thought you were in your 20s.
  10. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    1/72 scale Airfix, pretty much all I could afford, were the source of many happy hours for me too. Also the first lesson in the effects of model glue when you were in an enclosed space.
  11. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    My interest in WW1 got me interested in the sequel
  12. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    I thought he was even younger

  13. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    My own interest in WW2 started just after leaving school and finding that there were NO grants to assist my studies at St.Andrews - thus it was war work at Coventry - permanent nightshift of 12

    hours by six days per week rather nine hours work and three in the air raid shelters - then on to Birmingham to make Crusader Tanks and horrified later to learn that too many hulls were badly drilled

    and plugged with alum sticks which caused some concern on being asked to crew a Crusader….then the invitation to wear the king's uniform - which was way too big - but they managed to cut one

    down for me - this was then followed by a tour of the Mediterranean for nearly four fun filled years - my interest was lessened by some six months in various hospitals - but overcome for some real

    fun in Austria…all in all - FUN

    Owen likes this.
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Now he says this on his profile.
    Someone telling pork-pies.

  15. bofors

    bofors Senior Member


    Simple, my Dad served. After he died I wanted to know more about his service. Already interested through reading comics and books and
    watching movies (those good ones from the 60's and 70's!)


    Our bill likes this.
  16. Hesmond

    Hesmond Well-Known Member

    Growing up in 1960s East London WW2 seemed like yesterday with bomb sites and listining to tales of the Blitz and serving in forign climes also the comics back then from the Victor to the Hotspur always full of WW2 items and getting my hands on my first Airfix kit .
  17. belasar

    belasar Junior Member

    As a young'un I watched far too many John Wayne movies where he was winning the war almost all by himself! My parental units deduced from that I had a interest in history and therefore enrolled me in the Military Book Club at 10 years old! I was allowed to choose one new book every month (so long as I could prove I read the previous one :)), and since most of their selection dealt with WWII......
  18. zahonado

    zahonado Well-Known Member

    Although " The War" was always in the background and I can remember being told people didn't really want to talk about it, most of the discussions in the house were polarised about pacifist or not, was the atom bomb justified etc etc ie dealt with in a neutral way somehow. It seemed a million miles from our family, even though both my parents were in India and Burma. I was not really interested then.
    When I discovered a letter from my godfather to my mother after her engagement to his friend, my father, saying that he was one of the coolest men under fire he had known, I was already reading letters implying more than I ever knew, and I was hooked. Not so much about the technicalities of war but the effects on the people who suffered so much. Family history is an emotional experience and the discovery of fascinating snippets of information completely absorbing.
  19. Our bill

    Our bill Well-Known Member

    What an interesting thread enjoyed reading through it, thanks guys Elsie
  20. hutchie

    hutchie Dont tell him Pike!!

    a question the wife has asked me more times than i can remember with regards to ww2 lol

    simply put i used to play with the £1 bag of plastic soldiers, tanks & god only knows what else, i remember my old man had area of raised patio that wasnt finished out in the garden, 14ft long & 7ft wide, i made more than my fair share of what i thought to be at the time reenactments haha

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