Thursday, June 18, 2015

Site of the Month

I am not a war historian, though I do like knowing about history.

I am a self-professed numbers geek. While not a CPA or actuary, I know enough about numbers, spreadsheets and statistics to make heads and / or tails of a P & L or any client reporting tools.

As I was told early on in my career: a good accountant will ask you - what do you want the number to be?

You can slice data any which way to skew numbers just enough to tell the story you want. And even with just being presented with raw data doesn't mean the numbers are telling you what they or you think.

While numbers don't lie - how we interpret them, or what we do with them, does....or can.

Still, a friend of mine  - Sal, from Philly - posted a video of World War II and the number of people killed (military and civilian) in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.

The video is extremely well done - graphically, aurally, and even possibly, mathematically.

That last part has a caveat. There are no specific records of how many people truly died in WWII. And as the narrator will tell you, some groups people might not be considered causalities of war.

At some point, they talk about the total number dead, "give or take". My only problem with the video is the lack of follow-up on that line. There is no quantifier. "Give or take........" what?  What's the number?

I get why they did that. It's impossible to say - and unlike so many other historians, they don't claim to know.

Still, we know (or should) a lot about the U.S. and WWII.  I didn't study Russian history, so my eyes were just amazed at the numbers they rack up. It's quite unbelievable.

And for all the conflict we think we've seen in our lifetimes (well, most of my readers, I should say), it's fair to say we are still living in the most peaceful time in history.  Though, again, it's how you do the numbers.

Yes, the video is over 18 minutes long - and worth every second it takes to watch. I highly suggest you take the time.

I was fascinated. I think you will be too.



Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Most people don’t realize it was Russia that beat the Nazis. The US just helped at the end. We tell the story of postponing D-Day because of weather. The truth was we waited for the outcome of the battle of Stalingrad. It was the Gettysburg of WW2. It decided the outcome.

Our initial estimates for D-Day before Stalingrad were that we would suffer a 74% casualty rate during the invasion. In the end we suffered an 11% casualty rate. Germany had no land or sea support during the D-Day invasion. All Germany had was a relatively small, well entrenched force of replacements (not even regulars – the feared 4th, 5th and 6th armies were all in Russia).

The truth was Germany was defeated before we invaded on D-Day.
We just went in to clean of the tattered German western front and to race Russia to Berlin for the land grab both countries were in negotiations for. Russia beat Hitler – we helped at the end.

In modern American fashion the wealthy mislead the public (and has for generations) about who “beat Germany”. They do this because patriotism is good for future conflicts – which they were already reviewing the globe to enact. The lie served us even better as they made Russia a pretend threat.

The video is inaccurate regarding the civilian deaths. Many of the Russian deaths were actually Ukrainians. Our “boys” went into Germany with a brutality that would make conquistadors blush. They estimate we murdered a hundred German civilians a day and raped every girl over the age of ten we could get our hands on. The command did nothing to stop this for over three months and Germany was terrorized. I have talked to Germans that we kids during that time who are still traumatized to this day over our initial occupation.

The reason we keep having wars is because those that make a living from them lie about what really happened and what would happen without war. And make them seem like glorious path for the poor.

Anonymous said...

err - "Germany had no air or sea support."