Friday, February 6, 2015

distorting WWII with SOME of the facts ...

Why lie, as a historian, when you need simply instead to select a large number of widely agreed upon WWII facts from the infinitely broad and deep ocean of agreed upon facts about that war ?

To demonstrate the growth of Big Science, gentle historian, simply compare the 5 tonne Panzer I tank of 1939, with its half inch of armour and its low tech magazine loaded machine gun as its only armament with the 70 tonne Tiger II tank of 1945 with its 10 inches of armour and its ultra long barrelled ultra high velocity 88mm tank-killing gun.

Or a 1939 Fairey Battle 'bomber' to a war ending 1945 B-29 bomber.

A 1939 small and crudely adapted merchant vessel cum aircraft carrier to a huge 1945 purpose built Midway class aircraft carrier.

And so on and on.

We need some balance

But we need remember than 1939's extremely small and lightly built Japanese Zero fighters could still bring down massive 1945 B-29 bombers.

Or that 1890s technology torpedoes from WWI technology small coastal subs or E-boats could still sink the biggest 1945 era aircraft carrier or battleship.

A more balanced take on WWII and science-made warfare is to create a chart with 1939 at the left and 1945 at the right, but divided horizontally in the middle.

So that a steady climb left to right from 1939 to 1945 , on the top horizontal half of the chart would show the steadily increasing size of German Tanks --- but from 1939 to 1945 a line on the bottom horizontal half would also show an even steeper decline in the size of lethal anti-tank weapons, from the giant 7000 kg 88mm anti tank artillery piece of 1939 to the tiny 3 kg antitank bazooka called the Faust Patrone in 1945.

1945 and the war's end was both a triumph for BIG SCIENCE (A-Bomb, V-2 rocket etc) and small science (naturally grown penicillin, the Faust Patrone etc).

Hence postwar kids like me grew up in a totally confusing, conflicted Transitional Era , stuck midway between Modernity's Big Science and post-Modernity's small science ....

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