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Treetop64
02-05-2008, 03:08 PM
...I learned from video games.

Seriously.

Well, at least initial "spark" came from the interest generated from eastern front themed games and, more significantly, certain sims.

Let me explain:

See, I'm a happy-go-lucky Westerner (***coughAmericancough***). I was born in Germany in 1970, but now live in the United States. All my school years were spent here in the States. When it came time to read the history books, particularly those that chronicle the period of WWII, virtually all of the reading and lectures was about the action over the pacific, western Europe, and maybe a little bit about north Africa. If anything at all, there was ever little more than a minor footnote about what was going on between Berlin and Moscow. In fact, I didn't even know (and was never taught) that, during world war 2, there was a full scale, all-out, fight-to-end-all-fights between the Soviet Union and Germny - until AFTER high school! For example, the division of Germany and Berlin between the allies after the war was detailed without clearly explaining how Stalin got to Germany in the first place! He just conveniently happened to be there, I guess.

Now some of that has to do with the relatively poor quality of public education in most inner-city, urban environments within the U.S. However, the almost total lack of information regarding the eastern front in the western world during the '80s was largely influenced by the global politics of the era; namely, the cold war between the United States/NATO, and the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact. There was simply no freakin' way the "board of censors" - so to speak - within the U.S. was going to tell the tale of another nation's heroic struggle against it's foe, especially when that struggling hero is your current enemy! And I'm sure that until the wall came crashing down, the CCCP wasn't terribly enthusiastic about releasing accurate figures about the horrible, nearly incomprehensible losses territory, people, and stuff it absorbed during this conflict, either.

But enough of politics. On to my point...

My first real exposure to the Great Patriotic War occured, incredibly, and not "brown-nosingly", when I bought my copy of Forgotten Battles way back in, what, 2003 or something? (I bought the original IL-2 Sturmovik after I bought FB, just to complete the physical collection). Anyway, while looking sideways and crosseyed at all the featured maps, trying hard to figure out how to pronounce all these brymnooptyma-skoyes dotting the landcape, I was curious and wondered, "Who the hell came up with the bright idea to do a game on this part of the world?!?! Except the people who actually live there, who could even find these regions on a globe? Sheesh nothing happened there!"

"Idiots" I thought, as I led my schwarm south to Sevastopol on a sweep at 4000 meters...

Well, four years and a huge, huge stack of books and BBC DVDs later, suffice it to say that I had a feast of dining on my own left foot upon realizing who the real idiot was, albeit born out of honest ignorance.

The war in the east was faught with more bitterness and hatred, and was arguably the most destructive in history. It certainly killed the most people...

Just wanted to send a shout-out to Oleg and his crew for furthering the promise of higher edumacation.

VW-IceFire
02-05-2008, 04:18 PM
I'll second that...you'd think the Canadian education system would have a more balanced view of history but I think we often get caught up so much with the American worldview that our history teachers react by teaching only Canadian history and forget to talk about other things sometimes. WWI and WWII are always about Canadian contributions...which are important since everyone else forgets about them and significant because of their impact on the war...but I would have liked to know about everyone else too.

So my knowledge and understanding of WWII and the Eastern Front has largely come about because of this game. All I knew before that were some vague details and several pages in one aviation book about the IL-2. So I knew the plane but very little about what it actually meant. As far as significant aircraft go...I didn't really understand that the IL-2 was likely to the Russians as the Spitfire is to Commonwealth nations (Britain in particular but also Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and others).

FPSOLKOR
02-05-2008, 04:35 PM
The education system of Canada must have been the reason for Suprun (if that rings the bell) family to flee to USSR http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

JG51_Rudel
02-05-2008, 05:10 PM
I know first hand what you guys are talking about when you say the educational system sucks because i am a junior in high school and i happen to have a history class called "world war 2".(its a required history class to graduate).


The book's suck because they fail to mention all that happened and only teach on whats the Americans did. It has nice details but only for the English or American contribution's to the war.

The chapters one the Eastern Front were written by a monkey(i swear), Because no average historian would make this many mistakes and fail to mention all the important stuff, including the siege of Leningrad or the battle of Kursk to mention a few.

The teacher who teaches the class doesn't really care, he only teaches what he was told, weather he is right or wrong.

When i asked him why there is almost nothing on the eastern front, he almost had no clue on what i was talking about.

I think a frikin ape could do a better job than he does. Even the substitute teacher we had today knew more about the war that he does.

berg417448
02-05-2008, 05:11 PM
At least your history classes got to WWII! The semester ended before my classes got to that period of time.

I learned about the war in the east from my own reading and interest in the air war during WWII.

Badsight-
02-05-2008, 05:13 PM
before 2001 / IL2:Sturmovik . . . .



. . . . . i knew nothing about the airwar of the ETO

Skycat_2
02-05-2008, 06:00 PM
I agree with the original post. I was born in 1969 so we probably were taking the same level US History class at about the same time.
Looking back there was very little 'world view' mixed with our American history lectures until discussions of Cold War politics made the Marshall Plan and Berlin Airlift important. (Boo, hiss, Communism!) I'm sure my flat-topped history teacher (a Viet Nam veteran and a Lt.Colonel in the Army Reserves) felt it was in our nation's best interest to minimize any discussions about Russia that didn't end with the words "Evil Empire." Besides, he seemed more interested in the Pacific War.

I recently student-taught at a high school that combines their World History and US History courses so kids study them in tandem. We started with the 1870s and we were on the eve of WWII when I left. For the first time in my life I actually understood Imperialism, the total warfare that was WWI, and the foundations of Socialism and Communism throughout the world. If nothing else, studying world geography had more relevance.

SeaFireLIV
02-05-2008, 06:04 PM
It`s the same with me. IL2 was an education for the 36 year old when I first came across it. Sure, everyone knew something about British aircraft, American aircraft and German, but what of the Russians?

I`m ashamed to say that my western-washed view was simply that the Ruskies had lots of men and overwhelmed the Germans, what aircraft they had were biplanes, nothing more. When I saw the Zwilling He111, HS 129 and the HE162 , I had to rush to a book in the library cos I thought they were made up!

This Sim has EDUCATED me because it got me interested, I then started reading books on the Russian war with the German- books like Stalingrad by Anthony Beavor. Not only did I discover the massive array of aircraft that went up in WWII, but also the incredible cost the Russians suffered in their fight against the Germans and the fact that 80% of German losses were on this front!

It`s really quite shocking when you realise that the Russians get almost no recognition for taking the full brunt of German aggresive resources.

I`ll be always thankful to IL2 for starting it all off.

Skycat_2
02-05-2008, 06:15 PM
ETO defined (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Theater_of_Operations).

brewens
02-05-2008, 08:25 PM
I went through high school in the 70's not knowing much about the eastern front. It was just a place Colonel Klink was afraid of being sent to!
I saw the movie "Cross Of Iron" in the late 70's and that got me interested.
I then read "Enemy At The Gates" a year or two later. Since then I've read a lot about the eastern front.
I'm pretty new to this sim but am really glad someone made the effort to feature this part of the war.

csThor
02-06-2008, 12:17 AM
Il-2 was not so much the kick-off point for my interest in history or the Eastern Front itself - that had been there before. Instead it taught me to dig deeper, to go beneath the layer of of superficial stuff formed by mostly preconceptions and false beliefs. Since Il-2 came out I have spent literally thousands of Euros on books and have educated myself on a number of topics.

On the matter of military history in schools. I am not really convinced that true military history is a topic for schools as they have to teach "society and political history" first foremost. It's not as in the 19th Century when students were taught all the "sordid details" of certain battles, those dates forming a lot of what was taught as "history". There are, however, times when military actions reflect on society and vice versa and those times would be the highly instructive even for civilian/society matters.
An example: My own school career almost completely omitted "modern" wars and totally concentrated on politics and society. We went over Bismarck's politics in the 1840s, 50s and 60s, the duality between Prussia and Austria and the forming of liberal and social-democratic movements in great detail. The wars of 1866 and 1870/71 were mentioned but there was no attempt to incorporate them into the timeframe, to point out how much of a turn of an era they were (still "Cabinet Wars" but already showing the face ofa modern "People's War"). It was, in my opinion, almost as if the teachers were trying to delete military force from history - because of Hitler's 12 years of rule. Oh well ...

Friendly_flyer
02-06-2008, 12:38 AM
Back when I was taught 2nd WW history in the early 80'ies, the Norwegian curriculum was mainly about the effects of German occupation of Norway, and a bit about the merchant fleet (the Norwegian MF was the world largest during the war). Norway being a small country, we had the benefit of learning a bit about what the others did. While actions on the Western front dominated, we did actually get told about Leningrad, and a fair bit about the atrocities inflicted on the Russian civil population.

The actual war was never given much description (except Leningrad). I remember having a vision of two enormous, but somehow grayish and vague armies fighting in the dusty distance. I never gave a mind to what planes where involved, despite having a ceiling full of Airfix models. While BoB stood before me in glorious details, I would be hard pressed to name a Sovjet design. This sim certainly has told me a lot, not only about the Eastern front, but about PTO and ETO too, two fronts that where only mentioned in passim in my school days.

WTE_Ibis
02-06-2008, 12:42 AM
So the ETO was real, sheesh thank goodness for IL2, I thought Oleg and his merry men won that battle.
Must admit I had not even heard of an IL2 untill I tried this game a hundred years ago.
What a revelation, School students should have so much fun learning WW2 history. As has been said by others we were only taught the western version, ie. the Spit and the Mustang won WW2.
Cheers, Ibis.

HotelBushranger
02-06-2008, 12:42 AM
+ 1 to the original post, the only detail being changed would be the birthday http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

K_Freddie
02-06-2008, 01:22 AM
Our 70's schooling was much the same.. remembering the western allies of WW2 was brainwashing stuff, and it worked when said enough times. Our boiling pot was Apartheid mixed with WW2 rememberance and the 'evil commies' of Vietnam/Angola/Cuba/Zimbabwe....etc. We were on the right side UNTIL we started asking the wrong questions.
We (they) were completely nuts on anti-commie security, and the cherry on the top was when our own Admiral (and wife) were arrested as Russain spies. I had a field day on this.. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

The World At War (1976) series opened my eyes to the Eastern front, but not so much on the aviation side compared to the ground forces. A slow but steady self education, until one day in 2001 in a computer store, I saw an obscure little CD-box with a wierd Russian a/c on the front cover.

The moral of this story... Never completely believe those who want you to believe them - it's only half the story.
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

SaQSoN
02-06-2008, 02:06 AM
Originally posted by Treetop64:
And I'm sure that until the wall came crashing down, the CCCP wasn't terribly enthusiastic about releasing accurate figures about the horrible, nearly incomprehensible losses territory, people, and stuff it absorbed during this conflict, either.

Well, it is not quite correct. They, actually, somewhat exhagerrated (SP?) the losses, making this the point of further statement: the whole world owes the USSR for the destruction of nazism.
Our history teacher would only become hasitant when we would ask her: "if we fought that well, as history school books suggest, why our losses were more then 10 times bigger, then Germany's, particulary taking in account, that they fought on 2 fronts?" (yes, we were told about the Germany and other involved countries losses and the numbers were more or less correct)

Then she would go on talking about German atrocities to POWs and civilians, saying, that military losses were much smaller and wouldn't be more then 2-3 times larger, then the German army losses, etc...

Also few notes in general on school eduction in the USSR (and my own).

My school years were 1980-1990. I've spent there 10 years, entering being 7years old. During all that time we had to visit school 6 days a week, the lessons started at 8:30 and ended at 13:00, or, sometimes in the higher grades, at 15:00.
First 3 years we were mostly tought how to write and read (though many of us already could do that by the time), had Ukrainian and Russian reading, simple math and calligraphy lessons (we had to write with an ink automatic pens up until 7th, or 8th grade, when ball pens were allowed http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif). During this years we also had painting and sculpture, musics and English lessons once a week.

Since the 4th grade we started to have separate lessons for Algebra, Geometry, Physics, Biology, World's History, Ukrainain language, Russian language, Ukrainian literature, Russian literature, English language & literature lessons. Plus arts, musics, hand labour once a week and sports lessosn twice a week. I also attented an additional sports lessons 3 times a week in my free time.

Later on, we also got added Chemisty, Technical drawing, Political Economy and something else, less important, which I hardly remember...

And everything was for free.

One of my favorite lessons was History. Speaking on military part of it, we have studied a lots about ancient campaigns of Alexander, Roman empire and medieval, but the closer we got to nowdays, the less detailed were description of the campaigns and battles.
I was eager to get ot the WWII, but how I was dissapointed, when we got there!
It was VERY brief, yet it mentioned Pacific, Africa and Western Europe theaters, as well, as Land-lease. However, it was said, all this wasn't very important and most of the war was fought on Eastern front.
But still, they didn't pay enough attention even to the GPW part of the WWII in the school programme.
So, most of my interest to it went from plastic and RC modelling. However, the computer gaming also did a big role in this. For exhample, my interest to the Pacific war grew a lot after playing the Aces over Pacific. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
By the time IL-2 came out, I already had a big interest in WWII history, though it hugely enforced that. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

PS Hope, I wasn't too boring with my memories. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Heliopause
02-06-2008, 02:26 AM
Maybe the Cold War had some influence as to not know all that happened on the eastern front. For westerners the sovjet archives became available for study mainly after the fall of communism (90's).

SeaFireLIV
02-06-2008, 04:40 AM
Originally posted by Heliopause:
Maybe the Cold War had some influence as to not know all that happened on the eastern front. For westerners the sovjet archives became available for study mainly after the fall of communism (90's).

I know we`re trying to avoid being political, but this is a very tough subject to avoid a little politics on.

In my view, the reason most of society know so little about the Russian effort in WWII in contrasts to other nations with lower war losses/ efforts is of course the fault of the Cold War.

If the Cold War had not existed we would`ve known far more about this WWII`s ally`s effect to the war.

The Cold War does many things and one of them is not to advertise the good things that your enemy did in previous wars were they were once Allies. A bitlike the irony of the UK/US involvement in Afghanistan, the Mujahadin and others, who were once, believe it or not, our best buddies in the fight against an enemy - now they`re one of our worst enemies. Again.

SaQSoN
02-06-2008, 06:40 AM
A bitlike the irony of the UK/US involvement in Afghanistan, the Mujahadin and others, who were once, believe it or not, our best buddies in the fight against an enemy - now they`re one of our worst enemies. Again.

They never were the West's buddies, or friends, or allies. They were a mere tools of international politics of the Cold War.

Should the "West" be concerned about their fate, it would never supply them with weapons, military instructors, or steer anger in them with the help of Muslim fanatics, or do any other war-mongering and war-supporting efforts.

Now this "tools" have turned against their former masters, but it is what always happen, when people being treated as tools...

Friendly_flyer
02-06-2008, 06:42 AM
Originally posted by SaQSoN:
So, most of my interest to it went from plastic and RC modelling. However, the computer gaming also did a big role in this. For exhample, my interest to the Pacific war grew a lot after playing the Aces over Pacific.

It's very interesting to see that things where exactly the same, only opposite ion the other side of the fence. Olegs sim (and this community) has educated me enormously. I hope that even if there's some old fashion cold war resurge going on these days, internet will make it less easy to dupe the masses into thinking the other side are all evil.

sokil
02-06-2008, 06:54 AM
Currently I am reading "Ivans War: Life and Death in the Red Army 1939-1945" by Catherine Merridale. Interesting book that offers a peek at how a Red Army soldier lived through the war, talks about things that I wished I asked my grandparents when they were alive but never did.

CzechTexan
02-06-2008, 08:39 AM
Since I was a child I was always interested in wars and history. Having an Eastern European heritage always made me more aware of that part of the world and I've always tried to learn as much about it as I could.

This viewpoint made me appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of the Russian people. I used to claw for every little scrap of information I could about the little-known Eastern Front in the era of the Soviet Union.

The urge to learn was there, however, the information was not readily available. Texas (at least when I was in school) puts good emphasis on history classes in public schools. The problem is that 20th century history is barely touched on. The 20th century is the most important and relevant history of the modern world but it is not taught. People/students need to be educated about these important things like WW2, communism, cold war, dictators, etc.

One excuse for us westerners not to know about the Eastern Front is that there was no information coming out of the old USSR. How could we learn if there was nothing to learn? Fortunately for historians (and us), a flood of information was made available after the collapse of USSR. This sim, thanks to the brilliant mind of Oleg, has given much honor to the subject.

On a lighter note about me...Since I'm always so interested and obsessed with Russia, my family and friends fear that people might think I'm a communist! HAHA! Far from it! It's all about learning and making myself aware of what happened in the past, and what could happen in the future... Beware, Big Brother is on the horizon.

SeaFireLIV
02-06-2008, 08:46 AM
Originally posted by CzechTexan:


On a lighter note about me...Since I'm always so interested and obsessed with Russia, my family and friends fear that people might think I'm a communist! HAHA! Far from it! It's all about learning and making myself aware of what happened in the past, and what could happen in the future... Beware, Big Brother is on the horizon.

Don`t worry about it. I got so into drawing Soviet planes cos they were new and interesting (and I learn faster that way) that I was called a commie a few times online for it.

Ignore it.

Ratsack
02-06-2008, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by Badsight-:
before 2001 / IL2:Sturmovik . . . .



. . . . . i knew nothing about the airwar of the ETO

And this has changed how, exactly? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Ratsack

CzechTexan
02-06-2008, 09:23 AM
Originally posted by SeaFireLIV:
Don`t worry about it. I got so into drawing Soviet planes cos they were new and interesting (and I learn faster that way) that I was called a commie a few times online for it.

Ignore it.
I just laugh it off at how narrow-minded people can be. As you know, I mostly make missions for the Red side. I once got an email from a pro-German guy asking me why I made Russian missions and not German, etc. I replied with a long email about my reasons and I guess he was satisfied because I never heard from him again. Basically, USSR was on the Allied side and Germany was on the other.

My advice to simmers here: Don't let the politics get to you. Yes USSR was communist but most Russians were not card-carrying communists--they were fighting for the motherland. Same for the German soldiers.
Just to show you I'm fair, I plan on making a Stuka campaign for the German side.

huggy87
02-06-2008, 09:28 AM
I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but the Military history in general, even our own, has been an unpopular subject matter in academia in the United States. Victor Davis Hansen wrote an interesting article about this, I'll see if I can find it.

Treetop64
02-07-2008, 02:05 PM
Originally posted by sokil:
Currently I am reading "Ivans War: Life and Death in the Red Army 1939-1945" by Catherine Merridale. Interesting book that offers a peek at how a Red Army soldier lived through the war, talks about things that I wished I asked my grandparents when they were alive but never did.

One of the better books I read on the subject. I went through it in a week. I was happy to see that she went into some good detail in writing about the cival war, and the general mindset it created within the population as a result.

Von_Rat
02-07-2008, 02:40 PM
anybody here old enough to remember stratergy and tactics games and magazine. every couple of months a new magazine would come with a wargame included.

many of the games and articals dealt with the eastern front. thats what got me started on my many years of reading about it.

btw thats where i first read about the sturmovik, which was more than 20 years before il2.

Korolov1986
02-07-2008, 06:38 PM
My experience with the east front had started fairly early on in my life, when I had a little aviation "guide" with aircraft from the USA, USSR, and Japan all detailed in it. It wasn't a very accurate book, but it had just about every plane that had been used in the war by those three countries. At the time, I had no idea what the "Soviet Union" was (because this was after the fall of the USSR), but I made the effort to read the little guide front to back. More than anything, it was an exposure to Russian aircraft. Occasionally along with this, my dad would tell me now-inaccurate pieces of info about the east front (such as the Airacobra ground attack plane myth), but it was more than what the average kid got. Quite simply, when it came to my public education, history was something flatly ignored. I was fortunate in only having been exposed to public school for a limited time, so I was able to find out more about the subject on my own.

IL2 essentially fueled a need to better understand what had caused the west so many nightmares and backaches; I wanted to know more about this vast nation's history and rise - and fall - to power. IL2 was a key to a large doorway: the causes and results of WW2 were a critical factor to how the USSR developed. This developed into a fascination on how lives were affected and lived under the Iron Curtain, it became almost like stepping onto an alien world. I took less and less of my own life for granted, and began to appreciate more of the opportunities I've had. In turn, I gained a great deal of respect for our 'adversaries' - not the Soviet government, but rather for all the peoples of the Soviet Union itself. These were the kind of guys who could be sent out on a suicide mission and still go out with a big-*** grin on their face about it. It put a face on a blank character that was seemingly forgotten by everyone else.

In regards to learning about the East Front, from my experience with any kind of mass schooling system, historical subjects on the 20th century would likely just be a quarter of a page in length, barely covering anything but mere mentions of any significant events. I believe history is a subject that most people would prefer to rewrite; there's simply no way to paint the world with pure black and white strokes. I think this is a good explanation why you'll always find biased accounts of history regardless of who you ask.

mortoma
02-07-2008, 07:44 PM
Why the heck did they put this in the new off-topic forum?? It seems on topic to me!! Seems a few other threads that are on topic got thrown over here to boot.

CzechTexan
02-08-2008, 07:32 AM
Originally posted by mortoma:
Why the heck did they put this in the new off-topic forum?? It seems on topic to me!! Seems a few other threads that are on topic got thrown over here to boot.
Maybe because I made a comment about Big Brother-and he didn't like it http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/mockface.gif
HAAHA! just kidding! please don't delete my post http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/touche.gif