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When I was little and asked my mom what Vietnam was (this was during the war), she gave me the emotional (but unhelpful) answer, "I hope they remove that country from the face of the earth!" So for years I went around with the mental image of a Vietnam-shaped piece cut out of the planet. That's what I thought she meant should be done with it!
Until about the NINTH grade, I believed that the Gulf War happened in the Gulf of Mexico, because until then, I hadn't learned about any other gulfs, and hadn't actually thought it out to see my error...
Being young and naively honest, I didn't realize that war was based on deception: The suprise attack-the deception that there is no plan to attack. I thought that the war chiefs would call each other and arrange a meeting time for their soldiers to fight each other. Along with this was the belief that they had to use a vacant field as a battleground. This was how my mind made sense of the question, "How do they know when and where to fight?"
When I first heard of World War II, stupid enough, I didn't realise World War I existed before it, so I always say World War instead of pointing out which one. Then I got questioned in a history lesson "which one?" I answered grumpily, "world war II, DUH!!"
I used to think that the world could end at any second from a nuclear attack and I would even lie awake at night, worrying and crying about it. When I asked my Dad if we could at least get some prior notice, and he said yes, that really reassured me, and the thought never bothered me again. Wierd--as long as we would get some prior notice, it didn't scare me as much.
I used to believe that Hitler's first name was Harry.
When I was younger and somehow the subject of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima came up, my father explained that the bombs "vaporized" the residents of the cities they were dropped on. It took some years for it to sink in that "vaporized" meant "killed." Somehow I had made these folks out to be living clouds of vapor somewhere in Japan...
I used to believe that the Gulf War actually took place in the Gulf of Mexico, and I imagined that the land all along the Gulf Coast was desert and you would be able to find all the wrecked vehicles and ruins from the war.
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 was very young during the first gulf war and I thought that it was fought in the gulf of mexico.
In 4th grade we had to read "Number the Stars" (for those who don't know, that's a children's book about how the people of Denmark helped Jews escape the Nazis). Awesome book, except that I became convinced that the Nazis were going to come and get me. This is a bit strange because there is a section in the book where a Jewish little girl is staying with her Christian friends and the family has to convince some Nazi soldiers that she's thier daughter, using the name and baby picture of one of thier real daughters who had died years ago. The dead daughter happened to have dark hair when she was born (and which later turned blonde). The dark-haired baby picture made the soldiers accept that the dark-haired Jewish girl could have been born to the blonde parents. Given that I am a natural blonde myself, and so much was made of blonde hair meaning "not Jewish", I have no idea how I could have believed the Nazis were after me, too.
I used to think wars started when a sergeant from one country socked a sergeant from another country.
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 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.
I used to believe whenever I heard 'Germ Warfare' on the news it was something the Germans were doing to us. I always remember thinking that it wasn't very nice and wished they'd stop!
I used to think the world wars were called gold wars and that the civil was was the silver war. this was until i was about 7
I always saw the Army recruiting booths at the mall and other places, and they confused me to no end. After all, why join the Army if there's no war? Then I thought, "Wait, why join the Army at all? You're probably just gonna be killed!" And so I came up with my own reasons for this...
The Army is a small room, with about 100 people total, all sitting around a tiny table. On the table was a light, and the soldiers would sit there for years, waiting for the "War light" to come on. And when it did, that meant there was a war. At that point, you'd pull a lever on the wall, and the floor would colapse, dropping you into a series of tunnels that somehow lead you right to the war.
I was quite happy with this explanation, until I remembered my original question, "Why do people bother joining the Army?" Well, I assumed that while waiting for years for the War light, you didn't need to sleep, eat, drink, pee, OR poop!
I used to think that world wars's were called war wars. So then World War II became War War II.
I thought a "fallen soldier" was one who'd tripped and fallen during a battle.
As a child I believed that a gas war was when attendants lined up with the hoses and shot gas across the street to another station.