Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today's Trivia - War

Because it’s remembrance day, this week’s trivia is all about war...

- Until the Vietnam War, the number of U.S. soldiers killed in the Civil War (approximately 620,000 casualties) surpassed all other wars combined.

- When World War II began, the U.S. government declared platinum as a strategic metal and its use in non-military applications, including jewelry was disallowed. To appease consumers who preferred platinum's white luster, gold was substituted in platinum's absence.

- In a poll taken during World War II, Americans rated Jews four times less favorably than Germans or Japanese (both whom they were fighting the war against).

- The British Royal family are 100% German in origin; their original name was the House of Saxe-Coberg-Gothe. At the outbreak of World War II, they had to 'de-Germanize' themselves for fear of losing the throne. The name 'Windsor' was substituted, and was taken from one of the monarch's castles. Queen Elizabeth II even had a cousin tried, and found guilty, at Nuremburg for war crimes.

- Before World War II Blacks were not allowed to enlist in the U.S. Navy.

The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin during World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.

- The Soviet Red Army once trained dogs to destroy enemy tanks. The dogs were trained to associate the underside of tanks with food and were fitted with a 26lb explosive device strapped to their backs. Once the dogs crawled under the tanks, the device was triggered and exploded destroying the tank (and of course the dog). Unfortunately this didn't always work as planned as the dogs were trained using Soviet tanks so were more likely to run under these than the German tanks. As many as 25 German tanks were put out of action this way during the battles for Stalingrad and Kursk.

- The French and Indian War lasted the longest. It was a nine-year conflict between the British and French colonies in North America with Native Americans fighting for both sides, but primarily for the French. The war resulted with the French losing all of their North American possessions except for a few small island colonies.

- The shortest war on record took place in 1896 when Zanzibar surrendered to Britain after 38 minutes.

- The longest war was the so-called 100-years war between Britain and France. It actually lasted 116 years, ending in 1453.

- It was during the 100-years war that direct taxation on income was introduced, a British invention designed to finance the war with France.

- Since 1495, no 25-year period has been without war.

- Chevy Chase was a battle that took place on the English-Scottish border in 1388.

- The first recorded revolution took place at around 2800 BC when people from the Sumerian city of Lagash overthrew bureaucrats who were lining their own pockets but kept raising taxes.

- The NATO attack on Serbia in 1999 during the Kosovo war killed more animals than people.

- There are 92 known cases of nuclear bombs lost at sea.

- Approximately 1,100 U boats were sunk or lost during World War II.

- When killed in battle, Japanese officers were promoted to the next highest rank.

- During the 1991 Gulf War, the Allies dropped more than 17,000 smart bombs and 210,000 dumb (unguided) bombs on Iraqi troops.

- Land mines cause 24,000 deaths a year.

- In 1997, the US maintained 13,750 nuclear warheads, 5,546 of them on ballistic missiles.

- About 50% of arms exports go to non-democratic regimes.

- Annual global spending on military is $1.3 trillion (45% by USA).

- Iceland has no military and no military expenditure.

- Although the two-finger V for Victory sign is synonymous with Winston Churchill, it actually was the idea of a Belgian refugee in London, Victor De Laveleye.

- Chemical and biological warfare have been used long before World War 1. During the Peloponnesian War in the 5th century BC, Spartans used sulfur and pitch to overcome the enemy.

- One out of every two casualties of war is a civilian caught in the crossfire.

- The Soviet Union declared war on Japan five days before its surrender in 1945.

- The Nuremberg war crimes trials, beginning in 1945, spawned the phrase "I was only following orders".

- The English king, Henry VIII, introduced death by boiling and legalized the killing of gypsies.

- The Korean War was the first war in which one jet plane shot down another.

- The Cold War spawned the dueling slogans "Better Dead Than Red" and "Better Red Than Dead" in the 1950s.


  1. Martha, there's a bumper sticker here in the states that says, "It will be a fine day in America when schools get all the funding they need and the military needs to hold a bake sale to raise money." Or something like that.

    For the record, I'm already against the next war.

  2. Liza, that's a great bumper sticker! I'm against war as well, but sometimes even the most opposed are pulled into it without wanting to be. World War II is an example of that; I don't think anyone truly wanted to be a part of that, but there was a lunatic on the loose and he had to be stopped.