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#34110 06/29/01 12:23 PM
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We've recently learned the difference between the Canadian and American perspectives on the War of 1812. But we both call it The War of 1812. Since each war has two sides vehemently opposed, certainly there exists semantic warfare in discourse about the wars themselves.

The best example that comes to mind relates to the American Civil War. Many (or most) American educators call this, simply, the Civil War. But while visiting Atlanta, Georgia, I was shocked to find the teachers and textbooks refer to this as The War of Northern Aggression.

What we call a battle, others may call a massacre. Any other interesting examples of semantic warfare in the naming of wars or events?


#34111 06/29/01 12:30 PM
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I was shocked to find the teachers and textbooks refer to this as The War of Northern Aggression.
I've heard that several times, and I'm suprised to learn that you hadn't. I use the term Civil war, though, and only see War of Northern Aggression in books and on tv, like with a Rocky and Bullwinkle show where they use Civil War battle plans for a football game, and this southern guy insists on his usage.
I'll ask my aunt about this, sometime.



#34112 06/29/01 12:49 PM
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I know a couple, she of Atlanta, he of NYS. She refers to the War of Northern Aggression; he, in retaliation refers to it as the War of Southern Submission.

But, to the point, what we called World War Two, the Russians, not our enemy at the time, called The Great Patriotic War. They were fighting against an alliance gone sour.


#34113 06/29/01 12:55 PM
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Then there's "The War For Southern Independence," pronounced "Wuh Fuh Suthrin Induhpendunce." Just come on up on the veranda, y'all, and have a glass of sweet tea and we'll discuss it.


#34114 06/29/01 01:09 PM
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Brandon was shocked to find the teachers and textbooks refer to this as The War of Northern Aggression, and jimthedog was suprised to learn that you hadn't heard it before.

I've heard this before, but similar to your Rocky and Bullwinkle comment, thought it was of more historical usage than in currently published elementary school textbooks. I should have inserted the word" still" into the sentence so it read that I was shocked the teachers and books still used that term.

Im just finished Carl Sandburg's voluminous biography of Abe Lincoln. It's quite apparent that Lincoln played the semantic card by emphasizing the "civil" (not peaceable, but brotherly) nature of the war to quelch the argument that the states had actually seceeded. In fact, in all his letters and discourse, he was careful to keep them "states in rebellion" and not a confederacy. He wouldn't even negotiate with them following typical foreign affiars procedures because it might lend credence to their philosophical stand if the President sat at a bargaining table like he would with another nation.


#34115 06/29/01 01:16 PM
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there is some of this in past theads-(Fall of 2000? or so)

When Shanks was a regular (wouldn't it be nice to have him back!) he gave some of the history of India--episodes that the English refer to as Mutiny(s) the Indians now call First (or other number) War of Independence

since it it still raw point -- some subjects should be avoided (no blame attached here, but the subject can raise passions) the English vs. the Irish view of history in Ireland is somewhat different. as is the Israeli vs. the palestinian view.


#34116 06/29/01 04:23 PM
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I can't believe I've come to this thread so late, and no one has brought up the British vs. US'n takes on the American Revolutionary War ~ I've heard it doesn't have much bearing on the historical education of British students, but whoo! - how we go on about it here!


#34117 06/29/01 10:01 PM
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We could never have won the Revolutionary War if the French had not helped us, and the British had not been compelled to keep almost all their forces at home to counter the threat of the French and others. So in English history the battles in America were trivial skirmishes.


#34118 06/29/01 10:51 PM
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I don't believe that the British have ever admitted having lost the stoush in 1776 or the American War of 1812 either. They were never "wars" as such, they were what would be termed by a Reagan White House (and probably a Bush one as well) as "police actions".

When you look at it objectively, the War of Independence was a rather internecine little dustup, of little consequence to the British Crown, which was soon improving is revenues in areas which gave them a lot less grief. And in fact it had its good points, too, because the British actually learned a thing or too which they put to good use during, in particular, the Peninsular War a few years later. Shame they forgot how to learn after that!



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#34119 06/30/01 12:00 AM
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>the Russians, not our enemy at the time, called The Great Patriotic War.

One might argue that, since 40% of the total number who died in WWII were from Russia, or at least from the USSR, Russians earned the right to call it whatever they like.


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