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My Grandma (who lived through WW2) used to make me wash my hands alot. Whenever I complained about it, she would say I had to do it to fight the "Germans." For a long time I thought "germs" and "Germans" were synonymous and that the people of Germany were trying to make me sick.
I'm an American. When I first learned about the U.S. Civil War in school, I seized upon the alternate name "War Between The States" and took it too literally. I got into my head that the war unfolded as every single state going to war against every other state that bordered it. So the entire United States was a big nest of shooting border wars!
Fortunately I held this belief only briefly, but the lasting effect is that I still have a distaste for the name War Between The States.
I was a child in the sixties. Since my grandfather had been in WWI, My father was in WWII, and my brother (who was eleven years older than me) was going to be in the Vietnam war; I just assumed that when I came of age, there would be a war for me too - that society was somehow structured this way. By the time I was a teenager, I knew better of course, but I still couldn't shake the feeling that some war was destined for me. Fortunately, as it turned out, there was no US war in the late seventies, breaking the generational cycle. I hope the same goes for my son.
When i heard about Irish Bombers on the news during the 70s i used to think that planes were dropping bombs.
I used to think that the word Great was added to Britain because they won the Second World War.
When I was very young, I used to think that wars were what happened when you got your brother angry at you and he threw a chair at you. I considered myself very lucky to be an only child.
when i was in elementary school, my father would always listen to movies or videos about war. from that, i used to believe that the civil war was really "the silver war"
I though John Wayne was the bravest man in the world as he won the Second World War and still had time to kill all those Indians.
When the BBC news reported the murder of yet another Roman Catholic man in Northern Ireland, I used to catch on to the ROMAN bit more than the Catholic bit and had an image of a Roman Centurion sprawled out dead on a street in Belfast
Wen I was 4 or 5, I kept on hearing on the radio about World War III, so I assumed for some time thereafter that there had been three world wars, and the third one ended a few years before I was born.
My dad told me that in the Battle of Hastings when King Harold was shot in the eye with an arrow, the archer who fired it said he didn't know his bow was loaded.
Up until the age of seven or thereabouts, I believed that world war two was still on, but I had no idea who Germans were or what the war had been about. I did think though, when playing war games in the playground, that they did have better uniforms than we (the British) had.
When I was about 9 or 10 years old I read a fiction novel about a little Jewish girl growing up in the US in the years after WW2. In the book, she would play act with her friends about the war, and specifically, about concentration camps. I had no idea what they were talking about it. But, I assumed that it was something that the author of the story had just made up, and had nothing to do with real events.
As a four-year-old with a very large vocabulary, I decided the "Civil War" was the one war where everybody pretended they were nice to everyone else. For example, a soldier would offer the enemy a cigarette, shoot him when he least expected it, and then pretend to be sad about it.
I used to believe that concentration camps were camps where you went to improve your concentration.
That world war 1 and 2 were actually called WOOL war 1 and 2. i thought sheep and wool were very important if there were two wars about them.
I once got in a lot of trouble in school, when I was in Grade 5. I was obsessed with battleships, and tanks, and aircraft and all that, which isn't really all that unusual. I was obsessed with World War II at the time, but no one had ever told me about the Nazis and the Jews. One time at lunch hour I was running around with some friends of mine, and I decided to pretend that we were planes from the war. We all got to be British planes, and when I ran into some other people I knew, they became the Nazis, which at that point I think I believed was synonymous with 'German'. Because one of these 'Nazis' was Jewish, my teacher yanked me into the classroom and gave me a stern lecture about how what I did was wrong, and then made me go out and apologize to this child, who (I think) was about as oblivious as I was. The teacher then called my parents at home, and I hid in the closet, because I was afraid they would be mad at me.
I'm not sure exactly why the teacher made such a big deal out of it, when a basic clarification of terminology would have fixed the situation... I'm still obsessed with the Second World War, but I know the difference between Germans and Nazis now. :)
When I was small
My father told me about his aunt
Who foretold the event of the Great War
(It was World War I)
She said that one night,
She saw soldiers marching across the
That story never failed to give me the shivers.
When I was around 7 years old (1961 or 62), we used to have 'air aid rills' at school, where we lined up in the hallway, in alphabetical order, with cardboard signs hanging by strings around our necks. We had to squat down and fold over our legs, with the sign protected by our bodies. Some of the kids told me that we were going to be bombed and the signs were so they could identify our bodies. I was really upset until my mother explained that this is America and it is against the law to bomb America.
I used to believe that a war was when men in colonial outfits would tell their enemies to meet them at an area with green grass and a metal fence surrounding the area like in many playgrounds. They would then all meet there. There, the good guys and their enemies would sword fight and the winners of the war were the ones that won the sword fight.