WW2 or WWII?

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Capt Fortier
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WW2 or WWII?

Post by Capt Fortier »

My wife is an historical lexicographer and is doing some research on shifting usage around references to the two World Wars, so I thought I'd help her out by doing a straw poll here on what fellow wargamers tend to use and see?

So:

- First World War, World War I, World War 1,WWI or WW1?
- Second World War, World War II, World War 2, WWII or WW2?

What if any any perceived differences between countries, generations &c? And any other variants or other observations.

To get the ball rolling, I tend to use First and Second World Wars when spelling out, and WWI and WWII in shorthand - although I suspect I've increasingly started to use WW2 too - but never WW1.

What are your preferences and observations? No prizes, but if we get a good community response, the TFL forum might get a citation in an article or two!!
Capt Fortier

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JimLeCat
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Re: WW2 or WWII?

Post by JimLeCat »

You missed The Great War, which is mostly out of favour these days, World War One and World War Two.

Also, 1WW, IWW, 2WW and IIWW. I've never used any of those myself, but I've seen them in forums and the like. I *think* they tend to be used by people whose first language isn't English, but I couldn't swear to it.

I mostly use WW1/2 interchangeably with WWI/II, depending on which is in use in a discussion. If neither is, then I tend to go for WW1/2.

I would use any of the full expressions in a verbal discussion, in preference to any of the abbreviations above.

Hope that helps!

Cheers,
Jim
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john de terre neuve
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Re: WW2 or WWII?

Post by john de terre neuve »

Well that has always interested me.

I believe I would never use the numeral 2, but would use WWII or 2nd World War and possibly World War II. I am not really sure about WWI but I suspect I would follow the same style as WWII.

I am 67 and was educated in Newfoundland in a more British oriented system than a North American one, if indeed you are trying to find context to usage.

John

ps in conversation I would say "Second World War".
DaveC
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Re: WW2 or WWII?

Post by DaveC »

john de terre neuve wrote: Wed Aug 23, 2023 12:45 pm Well that has always interested me.

I believe I would never use the numeral 2, but would use WWII or 2nd World War and possibly World War II. I am not really sure about WWI but I suspect I would follow the same style as WWII.

I am 67 and was educated in Newfoundland in a more British oriented system than a North American one, if indeed you are trying to find context to usage.

John

ps in conversation I would say "Second World War".
Agreed,
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Capt Fortier
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Re: WW2 or WWII?

Post by Capt Fortier »

JimLeCat wrote: Wed Aug 23, 2023 12:43 pm You missed The Great War, which is mostly out of favour these days, World War One and World War Two.

Also, 1WW, IWW, 2WW and IIWW. I've never used any of those myself, but I've seen them in forums and the like.
Thanks Jim - and good call outs. I'm rather a fan of "the Great War" myself, but as you say, not much in favour these days. It also reminded me of Flanders and Swann's song "The War of 14-18", which I'm not sure was ever much used other than in song!

I was interested in your referencing World War One and World War Two - I was skeptical of this myself, but my wife tells me its a thing.

I've not myself seen 1WW, IWW, 2WW and IIWW, but did wonder about it, given forums do commonly use SYW/7YW, TYW/30YW. So saying it still seems somewhat awkward to me

But thanks for the input
Capt Fortier

“Frapper l'ennemi, c'est bien. Frapper l'imagination, c'est mieux.” - Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
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Capt Fortier
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Re: WW2 or WWII?

Post by Capt Fortier »

john de terre neuve wrote: Wed Aug 23, 2023 12:45 pm I am 67 and was educated in Newfoundland in a more British oriented system than a North American one, if indeed you are trying to find context to usage.
Thanks John (and Dave). This is one of the questions my wife is looking to test. It is a view commonly expressed that WW2 was more American-English and WWII more British-English - a view I held myself - but my wife isn't so sure. But we are keen to see what this query might throw up.
Capt Fortier

“Frapper l'ennemi, c'est bien. Frapper l'imagination, c'est mieux.” - Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
DaveC
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Re: WW2 or WWII?

Post by DaveC »

For clarity I'm British and a little younger. I probably should have said. :roll:

I tend to agree that The Great War has pretty much fallen out of use even amongst the wargamers of the conflict.

Between 1918 and 1939/40 why would anyone want to call it the War to end wars 'World War One'until it had became clear that there was another...

Besides the 7 years War has a pretty good claim to have been a World War with fighting in Europe, India and North America. :ugeek:
Peter
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Re: WW2 or WWII?

Post by Peter »

As an older Brit, it's First and Second World Wars for me - usually.
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Vanth
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Re: WW2 or WWII?

Post by Vanth »

Capt Fortier wrote: Wed Aug 23, 2023 12:22 pmTo get the ball rolling, I tend to use First and Second World Wars when spelling out, and WWI and WWII in shorthand
That's what I do. I am Italian, BTW.
Vanth
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BaronVonWreckedoften
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Re: WW2 or WWII?

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften »

My impression is that, since wargamers tend to be of above-average intelligence* (hard to believe sometimes, but stay with me.....), they are more likely - in the UK, at least - to have been educated at either grammar schools, or former grammars-turned-comprehensives (my own experience) which attracted better teachers. Until very recent times, the influence of the Classics in such schools was still strong. On that basis, I would say that the use of Roman numerals would be the norm, much as with the numbering of monarchs - the late Queen was always referred to as Elizabeth II, never Elizabeth 2. (And cue jokes about Americans asking why George III couldn't have been as nice to their ancestors as the previous IIO Georges..... )

* Above-average hygiene would be another debate entirely!
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