MSN is offering a short quiz on the "basics" of World War II. I've posted a link below, and if you don't make a perfect score, shame on you. Better yet, offer this quiz to your school-age kids or grandchildren. From my own experience, I've discovered that "government" schools do a lousy job teaching military history--or any kind of history, for that matter. If your youngster aces this quiz, it's probably because they go to private school or do a lot of reading on their own. I'd be surprised if a "typical" government school student could score 100%, based solely on what they've learned in the classroom.
Take the Quiz.
Scored 9 out of 10, missing the number of casualties question. But then I've never been much of a "stats" guy.
We'll forgive you (this time). But the casualties question is interesting; by my calculations, we lost an average of 9200 men a month between Dec 41 and Aug 45; meanwhile, we're wringing our hands over 3400 combat casualties since 9-11. That doesn't mitigate the sacrifice of our fallen heroes--or the pain felt by those left behind, but it does put the current numbers in a useful context.
It is interesting to put those numbers into perspective, and I'd actually like to see those stacked up against both the U.S. population estimates and the total military personnel numbers for the respective years.
But I really think the bigger issue is that the mindset of the average American was much different back then. Unfortunately, the values and beliefs this country was founded on have decayed over the years.
p.s. I'd like to see your analysis of NSPD-51/HSPD-20. (You may delete this comment if you'd like)
I was 10/10, but I'd cut people who missed only the casualties question some slack. Every other question is what you might call cultural as much as historical - things everyone born before 1960 or so would be aware of and know almost without knowing why they know it.
A similar quiz on WWI or the Civil War would be interesting, and the results would appall anyone who thinks a knowledge of history is important.
10/10, but I was whiffing on the casualty count.
Fall down simple for me....
But history is a passion for me.
Well... shame on me, I got only 9 of the 10. I missed the casualty question, too.
Ditto on the casualty question, 9/10 on the overall. That was a very misleading question, since the 295K number was closer to the KIA as opposed to total deaths.
On the casualties issue, have a look sometime at Richard Frank's Downfall about the end of the Pacific War. In the footnotes, Frank discusses the casualties question in some detail, including talking about strange anomolies in the stats such as the decision to account for all the prisoners who died in captivity in one month.
Incidentally, this is the best book out there on the end of the Pacific War, the question of a US invasion of Japan, and the decision to use the bomb. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Frank's other book on the Guadalcanal campaign is if anything better -- and will long be the standard work on the subject. I'll buy anything he writes.
And I was a 10/10... ;-)
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