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Is this common knowledge?

  • Had a guy proclaim a few weeks ago that he loves World War Two. Today we started talking, I wanted to lead the conversation into the War. I asked the gentleman, what is your favorite theater of conflict in WW2? His reply was are talking about movie theaters or WW2?

    Is this fairly elementary WW2 language?

  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    Does seem strange. Was he being serious, do you think?

  • 2019 2018

    Sometimes people just drop the “theater” bit I guess. Ex. “North Africa”, “Russian Front”, “The Pacific War”, etc.

    I was also under the impression that “theater” was common knowledge, though.

  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I think it’s quite possible to watch a ton of WWII-related movies – both dramas and documentaries – without ever running into the term “theatre” (in its specialized military sense).  Another word in the same category would be “operational” (again, in its specialized military sense).  Both terms are, I would guess, used routinely staff officers and by military historians, but not very much by front-line soldiers and sailors (the folks on which many WWII films focus) because the terms deal with technical concepts that aren’t directly relevant to front-line personnel.  They’re in a different category from the words “strategy”, “tactics” and “logistics”; although those three words are specialized military jargon too, they’re “transferable concepts” which can be easily applied in various civilian contexts and thus are terms which the general public will commonly have heard.  As an example, when General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. said “As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist: He is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the operational art, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier. Other than that, he’s a great military man,” I’m pretty sure that most people understood most of the points in that list without any difficulty, but probably had no idea of what “the operational art” referred to.

  • 2019 2018

    I suspect ABWorsham was talking to the same guy with whom I had the following conversation:

    Him: My favorite actor is Tom Hanks.
    Me: He’s been in a lot of great movies. Which is your favorite?
    Him: That Thing You Do.
    Me: Interesting choice. Have you ever seen Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, Apollo 13, Captain Phillips, Sully or The Green Mile?
    Him: I’ve seen parts of Forrest Gump. Haven’t seen the others.
    Me: None of them?
    Him: I don’t watch many movies.
    Me: …

  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I guess one way to tie all of this together would be to see a revival showing of Saving Private Ryan at a Cineplex on the west coast, since that would amount to watching a Tom Hanks WWII European theatre movie in a Pacific theatre.

  • 2018 2017 2016

    You will only confuse people.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    If you have EVER so much as picked up and read ONE book about WW2 or even one wikipedia article -  you should be familiar with the term “theatre” as it relates to the war.

    He may find WW2 interesting, but my guess is he doesn’t know JACK **** about it.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Imagine someone saying “I LOVE NFL”

    And then having no idea that there are two “Conferences” that the teams belong to (AFC/NFC); ; and then they start talking about a football coaches conference they heard people attending in person.

  • 2018 2017 2016

    Well explained Gargantua, well explained.

  • @aequitas:

    Well explained Gargantua, well explained.

    I agree, I believe this gentleman likes the idea of studying WW2, but has a slightly above normal general knowledge of the topic. The average person off the street believes the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

  • 2019 2018


    The average person off the street believes the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

    It’s all John Belushi’s fault.


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