Daniel Halliday
Jul 23 · Last update 17 days ago.
What can we learn from the Second World War?
With a resurgence of nationalism being seen world wide, are there still lessons to be learned from World War Two?
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The importance of media freedom
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Nationalism has resurfaced recently, fuelled by a long-standing miseducation of the Second World War
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The devastating power of the atomic bomb, disarmament is more important now than ever
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We need to remember what nationalism leads to when taken to an extreme
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The importance of media freedom

The freedom of the press was suppressed in Nazi Germany via Goebbels’ Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda agency. This guaranteed that every news story, book, play, piece of music or even film would have to be approved directly by the Nazi government, this reduced the media to nothing more than a propaganda machine, and solidified Hitler's cult of personality. German citizens were therefore kept ignorant of reality, while the Nazi party carried out some of the worst crimes against humanity ever committed.

Such a valuable lesson that could have been gleamed from the Nazi regime did not fully surface straight after the war however, as America went on to suppress information about the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. Although the US has since made some changes is it ranked behind Western Europe and Canada for press freedom until present, due to antiquated defamation laws and a lack of whistle-blower protection. The press has come under attack increasingly in recent years here also, with politicians such as Donald Trump attacking the media as “fake news” in an attempt to undermine them and derail difficult conversation.

Looking at the worldwide Press Freedom Index or the Freedom of the Press report, shows us there are real problems with this worldwide, with large swathes of the world ranking very low on press freedom. With freedom of press being protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights we still risk living in a world where much of the world’s population are controlled, apathetic or kept in the dark regarding the society they live in. According to groups like Reporters Without Borders more than a third of the world's populations still live in such areas with no press freedom today, and in a time when fake news is rampant and faith in the media is low, a truly free media is of the utmost importance.

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 26
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DH edited this paragraph
Looking at the worldwide Press Freedom Index or the Freedom of the Press report, shows us there are real problems with this worldwide, with large swathes of the world ranking very low on press freedom. With freedom of press being protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights we still risk living in a world where much of the world’s population are controlled, apathetic or kept in the dark regarding the society they live in. According to groups like Reporters Without Borders more than a third of the world's populations still live in such areas with no press freedom today, and in a time when fake news is rampant and faith in the media is low, a truly free media is of the utmost importance.
Nationalism has resurfaced recently, fuelled by a long-standing miseducation of the Second World War

Concentrating on the subject of “victory” when teaching children about the Second World War, while neglecting some of the harsher details of the war has lead to a new generation of nationalistic adults. The real message of war should be the horrible loss of life that was happening before the war and the horrible loss of life that happened as a process of fighting that. These are the only two messages and areas that should be taught in schools, and this is the message children should acquire from studying war.

Teaching it as a victory or as a loss will just feed a nationalistic narrative, which can grow as children enter adulthood and forget some of the finer, horrific details of the war. Naturally over time they will just take the overall message as simply a victory, or a loss. Thoughts of revenge, superiority or inferiority are all that are reinforced, and the failure of coming to grips with the fact that diplomacy often fails on multiple sides in the run up to a war could be missed entirely. The reality of war is actually far more horrifying, there is a generation of people that are completely removed from it, and that gap is widening. Many may talk about death in war casually, as they have been mis-educated on the subject.

Likewise the level of violent media people are exposed to is on the rise. The ubiquitous nature of mobile internet results in large numbers of people being constantly exposed to death in foreign areas in the mass media, while death is also cheapened further by horror movies and violent video games. This could depreciate the idea of human life in the minds of such individuals, and when that is reinforced with nationalistic ideas of historical victories or loses, it could go some way to explain the resurgence of nationalism, especially the resurgence of violent nationalism.

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 26
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DH edited this paragraph
Likewise the level of violent media people are exposed to is on the rise. The ubiquitous nature of mobile internet results in large numbers of people being constantly exposed to death in foreign areas in the mass media, while death is also cheapened further by horror movies and violent video games. This could depreciate the idea of human life in the minds of such individuals, and when that is reinforced with nationalistic ideas of historical victories or loses, it could go some way to explain the resurgence of nationalism, especially the resurgence of violent nationalism.
The devastating power of the atomic bomb, disarmament is more important now than ever

When looking back at the Second World War we should not get too lost in details or try to draw too many comparisons to the modern day. The real destructive force that was unleashed during the World War Two was that of weapons of mass destruction. The atomic bomb was first tested during this catastrophic war, but nuclear weapons now number in there thousands internationally.

Currently, nine countries are thought to have nuclear weapons around the world, possessing around 15,000 atomic bombs in total. Russia and the US have about 1,800 of these nuclear bombs kept in high-alert status, ready to be launched at any given moment. Furthermore, nuclear weapon technology has progressed far beyond the two weapons used in the Second World War, with some modern nuclear weapons being several times more powerful, able to unleash an unimaginably devastating force.

Nuclear weapons remain in a legal grey area, despite numerous other so called ‘weapons of mass destruction’ being made illegal internationally by near unanimous treaties. Weapons such as chemical and biological weapons are heavily restricted despite them arguably being less destructive that a nuclear explosion, and having less of a long lasting and devastating environmental impact. UN treaties and the ICC need global ratification on this matter, such devastating capabilities should require some say from the global community, as the consequences of using one are fair to wide and too great.

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 23
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DH edited this paragraph
Nuclear weapons remain in a legal grey area, despite numerous other so called ‘weapons of mass destruction’ being made illegal internationally by near unanimous treaties. Weapons such as chemical and biological weapons are heavily restricted despite them arguably being less destructive that a nuclear explosion, and having less of a long lasting and devastating environmental impact. UN treaties and the ICC need global ratification on this matter, such devastating capabilities should require some say from the global community, as the consequences of using one are fair to wide and too great.
We need to remember what nationalism leads to when taken to an extreme

Despite all that happened around the time of the Second World War, the monumental level of benevolent violence and depravity that occurred remain some of the most shocking acts of history. Most of these atrocities happened under the guise of extreme nationalist or communist political ideology and rhetoric. The extremes of any political doctrine have lead humanity down one route, time and time again, and that is corruption, violence and the abuse of human rights.

There are currently 49 dictatorships and/or authoritarian regimes in the world and many of them are responsible for either violence or corruption in their own country or internationally. All on-going conflicts and most ongoing cases of human rights abuse around the world occur under the protection of an authoritarian regime. Nationalism in freer countries is also exacerbating a migrant crisis internationally, by slowing or halting the preservation of humane conditions for many refugees fleeing war, conflict or persecution.

Many authoritarian regimes have used a nationalist narrative to assume or solidify political power. Although forms of nationalism have a long history there are various ways to approach nationalism and what protecting a nation’s sovereignty means. However the modern history of nationalism is thought to begin with the French revolution and especially the emergence of German nationalism as a reaction to Napoleon’s subsequent conquest of this region. Although nationalism may have positive some connotations of identity and togetherness, types of nationalism are often conflated and nationalist though often runs into aggressive narratives.

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 23
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DH edited this paragraph
Despite all that happened around the time of the Second World War, the monumental level of benevolent violence and depravity that occurred remain some of the most shocking acts of history. Most of these atrocities happened under the guise of extreme nationalist or communist political ideology and rhetoric. The extremes of any political doctrine have lead humanity down one route, time and time again, and that is corruption, violence and the abuse of human rights.
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