When did the phrase “World War II” first become applied to that war? Was it shortly after Poland was invaded that people realized we were in the midst of a world-wide conflict? Or did the phrase come into being later? Thanks.
From the OED
So then when did World War I acquire that name? Around the same time, I assume?
Yep. Same year. I should have given the rest of the info
Time magazine coined many a word.
WWI was often called the Great War before WWII.
That I knew. It would be terrible to know they had called it WWI before the late 30s.
Ad from 1917: “Introducing World War I, the first of a series!” :eek:
Just a side note, not even a hijack: something I was reading just today referred to the American Civil War as the “first modern war” because of the techniques, weapons and tactics. But it was obviously not a World war. However, the 50-year gap between it and WWI did little to advance the sciences of war, so The Great War was great only in that more nations were involved.
Or “The War to end all War”…huh?
An argument has been made that the true WWI was a bit earlier than 1917. The Seven Years War of the 18th century was a world-wide conflict between the European colonial powers. If less than a generation later France and England had re-fought the same conflict then some London wag may have started the “World War” designation then, and we would have spent the Cold War worrying about WWV.
The Seven Years’ War was fought between European powers, with the fighting going on in Europe and North America. That means it asn’t as global at the war fought between 1914 and 1919, which included fighting in the Middle East and participation by a fairly widespread number of countries. One outcome was the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, another was the two 1917 revolutions in Russia, and a third was the redistribution of Germany’s colonies in Africa and Oceania. So it was considerably more global than the Seven Years’ War.
Winston Churchill, in his History of the English-Speaking Peoples, refers to the Seven Years’ War as “the First World War” – and one could hardly find a better authority on what constitutes a “world war”! In support of this he goes into a great deal of background on English vs. French in India and navally, as well as the two main theatres in Europe and North America.
The victims of the machine gun, poison gas, and Quick Firing Artillery would disagree.
Well, that seems obvious, since the actual WWI started in July of 1914.
And it was at least occasionally called the World War, as well. A monument in my hometown from 1920 or thereabouts states that it was erected in memory of the local men who were killed in “the World War”.
The other memorials I’ve seen, though, tend to refer to “the Great War”.
Please pardon me and my ethnocentrism/complete lack of knowldge in this area of history since my history teachers all spent so much time on the Civil War we always ran out fo semester before the 20th century.
I’ll give you the gas and artillery part, but the Gatling gun was in use in the Civil War.
Apparently, this phrase was coined by H.G. Wells. The idea was that Prussia was the last autocratic state left in Europe, and after they were replaced with a democratic government the need for militarism would disappear.
A documentary feature on the European war of 1914-1918, released by Fox in November 1934, was titled The First World War. This followed a photographic history of the war, also entitled The First World War, which was published in 1933 by Simon & Schuster.
And it had very little impact other than as a novelty. In fact repeating rifles had far more impact than the Gatling Gun.
Not in the manner it was used in WWI. Hypno-Toad is correct. In fact, the Prussian-Austrian war that occured in 1866, a year after the Civil War, was markedly different. Prussian tactics involved skirmish lines and massed artillery, whereas the Civil War used mass infantry and even bayonet charges. Even the weapons were a great deal different. The Prussian army used the Needlepoint rifle, which was a breach loading cartridge rifle. Infantry could fire much faster than the barrel loaded rifles used in the Civil War.