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When I was a child, I thought wars lasted a couple of days.
When people would say "Remember Waterloo" I thought they were talking about an Indian fight in Walterloo, Iowa. I was in college when I learned that it was about Napoleon and France.
When I was younger I used to think the "Civil War" was called the "Silver War", and was actually a war over jewelrey and table utensiles.
I grew up in the U.S. in the 80s. I remember my dad telling me that it would be very easy for us or the USSR to destroy each other - all they would have to do is press a button and missiles would fly over and blow up the country. For some reason I imagined that in both countries' main government offices, there was a big gray box with nothing on it but a red button for this purpose.
I used to believe a "shotgun" was any kind of gun, whether it was a Colt or Webley . To me all guns where shotguns. I was 7 when learned the gory truth.
when i was 8 and my brother 6 we watched a world war 2 movie with our dad. shortly after i wanted to be named german and my brother helmet. and that all germans were Nazi's...
I used to think that the word "Nazi" rhymed with the word "Navy" and they rhymed because the Nazis had invented the concept of a navy.
When the cold war got hot, in the '50s and threat of a nuclear war was like an invisible cloud everywhere, well, one summer when it was exceptionally hot I really thought that the school playground would melt under our feet and that that was what a nuclear castastrophe was all about.
As a small child in the early 80s, I decided the Cold War was so called because of the harsh climate in Russia.
For years I used to have the fear that Russia was going to wipe this country out with a nuclear bomb. I had that thought always in my head until I was around 16 years old. I'm now 37.
During World War II we lived in Sydney's harbour suburb Balmain, and government warnings included taking shelter under a staircase or strong piece of furniture in a confined space during air raids. When japanese submarines raided Sydney Harbour in 1942 all sirens went off and our terrified Mum put my sister and me under a heavy table she had dragged to the hallway. At age 7 I thought the japanese must be very exciting people because I was never allowed to play under the table at other times. My belief was strengthened when the Royal Australian Navy buried the recovered japanese bodies with full military honours - which surprised even the japanese, who had not suspected that "barbarians" could behave with such honour!
Like many others, as a child in World War II Australia, I thought wars were fought in some kind of huge arena fitted out with hills, trenches and towns, with huge scoreboards at each end. The side with the highest score won, and you could probably buy tickets to watch from the sides, like Sydney Cricket Ground. Then the news that our Cruiser HMAS Sydney had sunk the Italian Cruiser Bartolemeo Colleoni ruined my theory. I had seen the great "Sydney" in Sydney harbour, and nothing that size, let alone two of them with miles of water between them could fit into my imaginary arena, and still leave room for all the other things going on.
When i was little i always used to hear about the holocaust and the concentration camps. Well i thought that they pinnted your head to these bars and stood you on a metal plat form and then attach wires in to the metal on your head and forcing information you didnt want to hear into your brain until it blew up.
I used to think a war was when about there was about six guys (three on each side) with swords, hitting the opposites sword simultaneously, and whichever side got tired the quickest lost. That really got me into trouble with my grandpa..he was a World War 2 veteran....then again he was also an alcoholic...
When I was four, I had an auntie who liked to scare me by telling me all about world war 1 and 2. She always ended her stories with a "world war 3's just around the corner".
So I used to keep a small suitcase full of my favourite clothes and a bottle of water underneath my bed that in case the war came, i'd be ready.
Who knew that many years later, I'd find my favourite clothes and remember what I did with them. I'd thought I lost them.
I used to believe that Hitler's first name was Harry.
When I was small, the war was on and there was a bridge near me tha had a large red sign saying DANGER TROOPS. For years I was convinced that there was a weapon called a 'dang-er' that was used by troops who 'danged' people.
As I grew up, my father would tell me stories of his time in Viet Nam and would preface these stories with "Charlie...". I grew up thinking that one man named "Charlie" gave our US military hell!!!
I used to believe that all wars lasted only 4 years. I mean, think about it! The civil war was 4 yrs long, WWII, 4 yrs for americans... I guess thats pretty much it. I also thought that America had won every war it had ever fought in, and always would.
When I heard stories about the Civil War I always thought it was the Silver War. Based on having attended my parents' twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and knowing that they had been married twenty-five years, I figured that the Silver War was twenty-five years after the preceding war.