54% 18 to 25-year-olds clueless about VE Day

By : Administrator
Published 7th May 2015 |
Read latest comment - 13th June 2015

A sad fact (I thought) from the Daily Mail.

Even worse, 7% thought Maggie was in charge during the war and 4% Tony Blair!

So is it wrong that something so devastating, impacted just about every family across Europe, as well as happened in living memory for some, is already fading from the majority of the modern generation?

Or is it right and it's time to move on, with enough current crisis without dwelling on the past? Over 25's may know Churchill was the PM during the Second World War, but how many know was in charge during WW1? How about the Boer war, 40 years before?

I'm fascinated by history and will ensure my kids will have a good grounding, whether they find it interesting will remain to be seen  But I want them to appreciate how lucky they are having a living great granny who worked in a bomber factory, then joined the WRAF during the war who can talk them first hand, rather than read about it.

Maybe it's the sheer destruction, loss of life, economic cost and the fact it signalled the end of the UK as a true world power, as well as the end of the Empire that makes it such an interesting subject for so many. You can argue modern Britain was directly shaped from the aftermath, from the NHS to changing values and politics.

It's because of this I think it should be such an important subject for kids to absorb and understand at school.

Can't beat a good cliche  "You don't know where your going until you know where you've been"

So is it time to move on and consign WWII to history, accepting the modern youth will have little comprehension of the horror that swept Europe. Or should a bigger effort be made to educate the youngsters to this relatively modern, and for some still living memory?

Source: Mail online

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

I went wild in a meeting last year when it was suggested that there was no longer a point to Remembrance Day as the First World War was a long time ago.

As a disabled ex serviceman, who has lost a lot of friends, it's quite valid to me as an event. likewise, VE day symbolises at lot more than VE day (Ditto VJ day, which less people will know about)

Im sure if you ask the same people who the Kardashians are (I really have no idea, I've just heard that on the radio) they would know.

I think this statistic may be a bit skewiff though... this is part of the curriculum in secondary education. Without reading the article (Apologies) perhaps the statistic is not balanced. If it is true, it's worrying.

I can well recommend anyone who wants more information contact the research part of my company to find out more about their ancestors who gave so much  for our freedoms (Unashamed link to company website: www.centricuk.com top right hand corner, click on genealogy), and ditto, people invest on a battlefield tour to get a better picture of the war. (Unashamed link to partner company delivering tours: www.inthefootsteps.com )

The First Choice for First Aid
From Cardiff to Calcutta...

I think it's quite a leap to say not remembering what VE day was all about means knowing very little about the causes and consequences of WW2. 

My careers counselling activities mean I've spoken to many teenagers over the years about their studies - the ones who've studied History at "A" Level seem to have covered the interwar, WW2 and post WW2 years in more depth than other equally significant periods (eg the Civil War and its aftermath, the Industrial Revolution and the changes in Victorian society when we were adapting from localism to an organised state).


sorry but remembrance day, VE day or any day that is associated with either WW1 or WW2 should never ever be forgotten in any country ... Have you seen the video where every car stopped in Israel in remembrance to all the Jews that died in the holocaust.. 

My father was 14 when he joined to fight in WW2 for D Day and got badly wounded about a week later .. So as a child I was always dragged along to all the Moth meeting and at the time never understood why there were so many people in wheel chairs crutches ,but as I grew older I did ,if there was 1 thing my Dad taught me was that this war should never be forgotten

Andy-C | Pewter World

I think this statistic may be a bit skewiff though... this is part of the curriculum in secondary education. Without reading the article (Apologies) perhaps the statistic is not balanced. If it is true, it's worrying.”

The headline is classic Daily Mail, but the poll was conducted by SSAFA, who will be a familiar name to any ex forces bods, albeit a the target sample was quite small.

The Onepoll survey, commissioned by SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association), the Armed Forces charity, questioned 1,000 young people about VE Day and the Second World War.

Asked which country's invasion by Germany led Britain to declare war in 1939, 55 per cent were unable to identify Poland – and 4.5 per cent said it was the invasion of England.

David Murray, chief executive of SSAFA, said: 'It is a real shame that so many of our young people do not have a basic level of knowledge of the Second World War.

'Many of them probably have not-too-distant relatives who fought in what was by far the biggest world war we have seen, in terms of lives lost.'

More than a third believed the first moon landing, Britain's entry into the European Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall had all happened before VE Day. And nearly three-quarters drastically underestimated the death toll, unaware that 60 million died.

If the sample is representative of youngsters, then it looks like the curriculum either isn't thorough enough or it's a topic that's not being absorbed for whatever reason.

I don't think it's specific to the UK though, I remember staying with a friend in the States a few years ago and sat in a bar with his local mates. For whatever reason the topic of the war came up, and I was amazed at the lack of knowledge these Americans had of their own national history. None of them knew when the USA joined the war, or when it ended. They didn't think they took part in the first world war, and had little comprehension of world history.

Be fascinating to get a German perspective, and see if history is embraced there, or if it is a case of looking forward.

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

I can't give a German perspective, sorry. I do completely concur that it is vitally important that we continue to remember those that fought for us and those that died.  

My grandparents were both involved in WWII and my grandad never really spoke about it all that much, I am sad I didn't ask him more really, but perhaps that was how he wanted it. My parents have a ship in a bottle somewhere that a PoW made for my great grandad, it used to fascinate me as a child.

I fondly remember learning all about the World Wars at school and we visited the battlefields in Belgium and France, which was amazing. I still remember many parts of that trip vividly and I think everyone should be made to go on it!

I do hate the Daily Fail though!

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