Talk:World War II/Archive Start date

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Topical Archive: This archive contains discussions of the starting date of World War II.


Sino-Japanese war

This is bordering on a joke, every single historian will tell you world war 2 started in September, 1939. Japan only entered WW2 when they declared war on The United States. Until Operation Barbarossa no Asian country was a officially involved in WW2. Many people laugh at this page when I tell them that Wikipedia is a good source of information. Please stop pushing some pro-chinese POV and exclude the second Sino-japanese war from the article. China was not major power and it did not have an effective military, resistance nor armament industry. 66.24.119.247 (talk) 19:49, 26 May 2008 (UTC) American dood

Speaking of jokes, that's funny, because Oberiko provided over a half dozen reliable sources that state just the opposite as far as the start date is concerned, right on this very page. As for their military being ineffective, that was primarily due to lack of supplies; once they were properly equipped, they were actually quite effective, if you look at the last few months of WWII in the Pacific, they drove the Japanese out of northern Burma (the Brits finished up in the south), and retook much of southwestern China from Japan. Parsecboy (talk) 20:06, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that despite references the basic proposal by the IP66.24.119.247 is true. The commencement of hostilities between China and Japan did not spur ANY of the future WWII Allies to enter the war on its side, and it continued for years without their participation. So, in effect China only became an Ally when the final alliance was formed with the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbour. Therefore the Sino-Japanese war cannot be seen as integral to the Second World War as a whole, but only a conflict that may have reflected general Japanese expansionist strategy which later came to include the war with the United States and the British Commonwealth.--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 02:59, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
You seem to be forgetting the reason Japan attacked the US, Britain, and the Netherlands in 1941; because all three countries were enforcing an embargo in an attempt to stop Japan's aggressive war in China; I'd say that's a direct link right there. Had the SSJW not occurred, there would've been no Pacific theater of WWII, because Japan would have had no motive to strike the European/American holdings in the Pacific. Parsecboy (talk) 03:08, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Not forgetting that at all. The problem is - how do you define Second World War? If we say that economic warfare, which is what what an embargo is, also forms an integral part of the conflict, then Sweden who was trading with Germany is no longer neutral--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 05:06, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Parsecboy, one could find several dozen reliable sources stating the opposite. In the end I have to maintain my logic approach that WWII could only have started when the war went global, that means when forces from all continents except Antarctica became involved. The date for that is September 3 1939 (out of respect for Poland I tend to say September 1, but for actual globalisation it's obviously September 3), on that day France (which brought combattants from Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas into the conflict) entered the war. So even if one considers the delayed entry into the war of some Commonwealth countries, the global requisite for WWII is already met on September 3. But note, it's not Pearl Harbour that made the Pacific conflict global, it's the attack on Singapour as the US and Japan alone did not have globe spanning forces. Obvipously the annon was incorrect about asian countries, if no Asian country or territory had been participating in the war before December 1941 then it would not have been a world war. But we have at least India and Indochina as active participants and a number of other territories at least as nominal participants. I also disagree with the annon about China not being a major power as it alone occupied the largest share of Japanese land forces as well as important air assets and of other resources. Also, even if the Sino-Japanese War does not constitute the start of WWII it's neverless a part of said war and therefore belongs in the article. Even if it were a war entirely separate from WWII it would still merit at least mention here.--Caranorn (talk) 10:51, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I generally agree with you about the start date, Caranorn, although I somewhat prefer 1 Sept. Regardless, there are a number of reliable sources that disagree, and they do need to be represented, hence my preference for "Late 1930s" in the infobox. In regards to what made the Pacific war global, one could make the argument that since Germany declared war on the US after PH, that could be used as well. But it all happened in the span of a few days, so in the end, does it really matter? As for China, FDR included it along with the UK and USSR as the "Four Policemen" in the Declaration by United Nations, which would seem to indicate to me that it was a major power. Parsecboy (talk) 13:01, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I also think the start date should be given as Sept 1939 (not to say we don't talk about the Sino-Jap war) for a very simple reason - some poor bastard of a high school kid is going to use Wikipedia's 1937 start date in their essay on WWII, and get a failing grade. At least we should say in the intro something like "most Western historians count September 1939 as the start date of World War II". DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:33, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I think the first two lines of the article sum it up well: "World War II or the Second World War was a global military conflict, the joining of what had initially been two separate conflicts. The first began in Asia in 1937 as the Second Sino-Japanese War; the other began in Europe in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland." I'm not really sure what we're even arguing about anyway, other than perhaps the infobox start date. Parsecboy (talk) 21:21, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Hopefully, the "poor bastard" will put up a bit of a fight and show their sources to the teacher. The teacher may be exposed to a different version with backing references as a result. If the teacher adjusts, it's a win; if not, perhaps the kid's experience will serve as a wake up call about trusting standard textbooks. Correcting misleading information in textbooks can't begin any too soon. Binksternet (talk) 20:42, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
It's not Wikipedia's job to be an agent for change (that's one of the common misunderstandings about Wikipedia). And a much more likely scenario is that the teacher says "Wikipedia was wrong" and shows the kid the hundreds of sources that back up her view. Then the kid vows never to use Wikipedia as a source again.
Majority view among English language historians is clearly that WW2 started 1939. DJ Clayworth (talk) 20:47, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Let's remember that Wikipedia isn't supposed to do anything except report facts. All this interpretation is completely missing the point. Most historians (English language or not), would give the invasion of the Poland as the start date, thus that's what should be reported here. 64.30.3.122 (talk) 20:55, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is a passive agent of change whether it wants to be or not. I didn't find the common misunderstanding quoted by DJ Clayworth at the WP:NOT page. Readers who search wiki to find answers may come away with a different viewpoint than before. For instance, the article about the Invasion of Poland (1939) concludes with the busting of four Myths that were standard fare back when I was putting pencil to ruled paper. Readers who received a similar education to mine would be very interested to see the myths busted. I think it's our job to provide an ideal balance of views and to offer new information as it appears. If that balance disrupts a standard text for students then too bad.
Like Parsecboy, I favor a 1 September 1939 date for the conflict going global. The German attack on that date was expected to trigger violent reactions from Britain and France, bringing in fighting forces from around the globe. It remains a very great question, though, whether the USA would have taken a frontline role in the conflict if there had been no Second Sino-Japanese War to lay the groundwork for Pearl Harbor. Both China and Poland added fuel to the fire. I'm okay with "late '30s" and yet I wouldn't be upset at 1 September 1939 in the infobox. The supporting text will elucidate. Binksternet (talk) 22:08, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Being an agent for change implies an active role - that's what agent means. I have no problem with Wikipedia reflecting a changing view - what was called above a 'passive agent for change' - and no problem with people changing their viewpoint on reading WIkipedia if their previous viewpoint was wrong; it's only a problem when people try to use Wikipedia to effect change, which was what I meant above.
We seem to be actually pretty much agreed that the start date for WW2 should be given as Septermber 1939. Is that currently the consensus? DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:47, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

(Outdent) Exactly, the issue should be best explained in the text of the article, which I think it does pretty well already. That doesn't mean wording can't or shouldn't be changed, but I don't really see anything wrong with it as is. Parsecboy (talk) 03:44, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I personally see no problem with the current wording which means that the war, having begun in Asia, became a "world war" after the invasion of Poland. However, I would see no problem, as suggested by User:DJ Clayworth, for the addition of a sentence in the first paragraph of the intro like "Therefore, most Western historians count September 1939 as the official start date of World War II". I do not support more rewording. --Flying tiger (talk) 18:29, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

How dare you people contradict Oberiko. Shame on you all. Don't you know how much work he's put into this article? Duck of Luke (talk) 03:40, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I think I can safely say that most if not all of the editors here are grateful for the tremendous work Oberiko has done for this article, much of it singlehandedly. However, no one owns this article, and people are free to express their opinions. That's how Wikipedia works; there are disagreements, and usually discussions that lead to consensus. Parsecboy (talk) 03:53, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Parsec, putting in some effort in no means gives me, or anyone, a stronger opinion.
With that said, using 1937 as a start date is hardly fringe. It is not just some pro-Chinese propoganda, it is used in many books, including those listed above, the best-selling The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II and even Britannica categorizes the SSJW as part of World War II. Also, keep in mind that the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, which was set up to try Japanese war crimes during World War II, include actions pre-1941 such as Nanking and the occupation of Manchuria.
Perhaps most importantly the Senshi Sosho (official Japanese military history of World War II) includes actions from pre-1941; the first volume actually focuses on operations in China up to 1938 while the last volume (Riku-kaigun nenpyō fuheigo, yōgo no kaisetsu) is a complete chronology starting with the 1937 outbreak of war in China up to the end of the war.
To say that it's 1939, no ifs-ands-or-buts is, to me, untenable. It completely discounts historians (acting in offical capacity or not) from two of the great powers of World War II and over-simplifies a complicated issue. It is popular here because most our histographical material from the war is either British, American or German; naturally it's going to focus on when the war started for them. I see no need to change a date range that is almost inargueablely accurate (a few written works use 1931 or 1936) for a specific date that uses only opinions that we find familiar. Oberiko (talk) 11:07, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) Though it's not really a point I should be refuting here, I'd like to state that Chinese inefficiency is quite debateable. Chiang's policy is known as trading space for time, he conserved his troops by avoiding direct combat with superior (in terms of training and equipment) Japanese forces, preferring to let them get bogged down in the quagmire of Northern China, which was basically exactly what happened. Oberiko (talk) 11:48, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Actually, in the first six months Chiang lost most of his own central troops in fighting needlessly stubborn battles with the Japanese. He tried again in the 1939 winter counteroffensive, but this time the formerly warlord armies didn't fight as hard because they wanted to conserve their own strength. Blueshirts (talk) 04:27, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

It's very simple. The Sino-Japanese war began in in Asia in 1937. The Second World War began Europe in 1939. The Sino-Japanese war merged into the Second World war in 1941. Both conflicts ended in 1945. Throughout history there are multiple cases of wars overlapping and merging into one another. Just look at the whole mishmash of the French Revolutionary Wars. Another example is the War of Jenkins' Ear which began in 1739. From 1742 it merged into the War of the Austrian Succession which had begun in 1740. Jooler (talk) 22:55, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

May I also point out that some historians consider WW2 to start when Japan invaded Manchuria and some consider both World Wars to be part of the same conflict. Emperor001 (talk) 01:15, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Anyone can be an historian. Some historians (the late Stephen Ambrose for example considered that the World War began in 1914, there was a truce of sorts from 1918 to 1939 and that it only concluded with the collapse of the Soviet Union. See European Civil War. This is not the consensus view. Jooler (talk) 15:39, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

As an historian - and I mean a REAL historian with a PhD - , I feel that its very important to take into account that the Japanese invasion of China, aka Manchuria as it was a province of China, indirectly led to Japanese hostilities towards the United States as the US embargo of Japan was implimented. Please, I beg you, as a Professor of History, do not seperate this so-called "Sino-Japanese War" with that of the Second World War. If anyone desires a better understanding as to why, please read the book "Retribution" by Max Hastings. 207.191.184.194 (talk)Dr. Owenby —Preceding comment was added at 23:32, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Doctor Owenby, I'm Colin Robinson, a New Zealander with an MA in War Studies from King's College London, who has been trying to assist bringing this article more toward academic standards. Would you mind contacting me through the 'e-mail user' link on the left side of my user page, and/or consider making some comments at WT:MHSP, where we need an academic structural framework for the revision of this article? Kind regards, Buckshot06(prof) 20:59, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
According to most authors World War Two started in September 1939. See for example 'A World in Flames' (1990) by Martin Kitchen, 'World War II' (1970) by C.L. Sulzberger, 'The Times Atlas of the Second World War' (1989) and 'A World at Arms' (1994) by Gerhard L. Weinberg. The Sino-Japanese conflict was a separate war which merged with the global conflict in 1941. Colin4C (talk) 18:35, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
With all due respect to Doctor Owenby, the start of the Second World War as a military conflict has to begin after the commencement of the Sino-Japanese conflict. All military conflicts are preceded by the economic and diplomatic, not to mention social conflicts that give them cause in their lack of reconciliation. If the economic conflict with the United States and Japan is used to define the Second World War, then it is true as some historians have argued that the First World War in Europe had never really ended, and that the roots of the Second can be traced all the way back to the first Great War of Europe with Napoleon. After all the Great Depression and the rise of the Nazi Party in German can also be traced to the economic relationship between German and United States.
It is indisputable that the cause of the conflict between Japan and the USA was economic, but that was evident even in the 19th century, and Japanese participation on the side of the Allies during the First World War was more opportunistic then idealistic given the was no question of fighting for the democratic ideals of the Western Allies. The social differences between the USA and Japan before the Second World War would probably have been enough to start it if the economic and diplomatic conflicts were not. I would support Oberiko's treatment of the start of the Second World War in Asia-Pacific from the actual start of combat actions between Japan and what almost immediately became the Allied cause. Maybe the next big special project will be the accompanying article on the Causes of World War II (although it seems fairly comprehensive
I'm sure all those contributing to the article are aware of the high chance of it being used by history students World-wide, and the reputation of Wikipedia as a reliable source for them, and that is what the extensive process of discussion and referencing being undertaken is for--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 21:47, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
The Second World War only began in earnest on December 7th 1941. Prior to that it was only opening skirmishes and posturing. When did the major fighting begin and who was doing it? The answers are 1942 and the US! The Russians didn't really get into it until lend lease saved them. The French, Dutch, Norwegians, Danes, Poles, Greeks and Yugis all rolled over immediately. The True war started when the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor, not before. You don't consider the skirmishes between the Communist North Koreans and US/ROK along the boarder before 1950 to be part of the Korean War, why tie in all of that fluff to the Second World War. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 61.161.67.2 (talk) 13:34, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
The Second-Sino Japanese War was the start of World War 2 in Asia. Why?? It's because when the Second-Sino Japanese War happened, it continues until the end of Second World War, so that means, the Second-Sino Japanese War was linked in Second World War. It's like this, when Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, there was still Second Sino-Japanese war until the US bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki which led to the end of Second World War. In terms of Invasion of Manchuria as the starting date, it's quite far, because when the Japanese invaded Manchuria, they have Manchuria and the conflict ended before the Second World War happen. We could only say that the Invasion of Manchuria or being aggressive of the Japanese at that time is one of the causes of Second World War —Preceding unsigned comment added by 125.60.241.45 (talk) 13:06, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
You know, war in itself can be said to have been continuing all since the beginning of consciousness. Many people would say, however, that this would be taking it a bit far, so you can say that semantically, since the name of the War is the SECOND WORLD WAR, the only way to determine the ultimate starting date was when the total war went global. Not only the US, not oly the Japanese, the whole world. 1937 the Sino-Japanese war started- 1939 the Western war started. The two major conflicts can then be said to have truly merged and produced the World War in 1941. It is wrong, however, not to consider previous conflicts, as mentioned in above comment(s). However, since the starting of the Sino-Japanese war technically put the real thing into motion, it can also be said that 1937 was the WWII start date. Everything leads to something else, and history does not unwind, but weaves. If World War One had not taken place, might the Second one have? We may not know.—Preceding Unsigned comment added by Special:Contributions/Can't remember IP (talk) 13:28, 20 June 2008 (UTC) <aNON>
WWII basically went global in early September 1939. That's when it really started. It's as simple as that. Every single continent was involved at that point, therefore this is the true start date for the second world war. CadenS (talk) 10:57, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

References

Ridiculous

It is totally ridiculous and beyond a joke to draw the Sino-Japanese conflict before 1941 into WWII. Until then it was a regional conflict. You might as well also drag in the Winter War, the Spanish Civil War, the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, the Second_Italo-Abyssinian_War and Slovak-Hungarian War. WWII began in 1939 as pretty much every other article on the subject on Wikipedia states, leaving it ambiguous or stating otherwise is utterly ridiculous. Jooler (talk) 11:04, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

So, which do you disagree with? That there are significant sources which use 1937, or that we should follow WP:NPOV? Oberiko (talk) 11:47, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Please provide one authoritative book which covers the entire war and which states 1937 please, an Amazon link would suffice. Note that NPOV does not mean that articles should pander to views that go against a broad consensus. Jooler (talk) 13:25, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Please see this discussion, this discussion, andthis discussion. Oberiko has on several occasions provided many reliable sources that use the 1937 start date. Also, see the section directly above this one, with the quote from WP:NPOV that states "significant published viewpoints are made accessible to the reader, not just the most popular one". Parsecboy (talk) 13:33, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Jooler, the war became a "world war" in 1939 because it was already raging in Asia. Even if there is one major interpretation in Occident, there are many different interpretation in the world as emphasized above.--Flying tiger (talk) 13:38, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Flying Dagger -please see above regarding the War of Jenkins' Ear etc. Or look at Napoleonic Wars for wars that crossed over. The key word there is SIGNIFICANT. I said a single source covering the entire conflict. I.e. specifically about WWII and not some other subject like ("Asia in Western and World History: A Guide for Teaching", or "A Companion to the Vietnam War", or "Roscoe Pound and Karl Llewellyn: Searching for an American Jurisprudence" - The view that the war began in 1937 is a niche view. I hate to use Google for comparisons, but just FYI
Jooler (talk) 13:48, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Am I to assume that you are distinguishing between which sources are useable or not? If you do not think the sources I've provided are appropriate, please bring that up at the reliability noticeboard. Oberiko (talk) 13:54, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I am not into bureaucracy. Just please provide a single reliable source as per the remit above. Jooler (talk) 13:56, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
And I'm not really into fufilling somebody's very specific demands; either a source is reliable or it isn't. If you feel very strongly about it, then you're going to have to take the initiative and go through the steps as outlined per Wikipedia's policy. Oberiko (talk) 14:10, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Google searches aren't really suitable to prove anything one way or the other. On the otherhand, if you can provide me a comprehensive work on WWII that wasn't written by a middle-aged, well-off white male (you know, the people who write the vast majority of Western histories, and are prone to Eurocentrism and Amerocentrism) that states WWII began in 1939, well, it still won't matter, because we don't get to rank sources based on someone's personal criteria. Parsecboy (talk) 13:58, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree 100% with regard to Google searches. As I said above I hate using them. Infact you get more hits for "the world is flat" than for "the world is round". But at least you get some hits for "the world is round". Only 6 hits for WWII starting in 1937. Ohh so you're saying that the vast majority of the history community is systemically biassed. Well that sound like a POV to me. The bald fact is that as ColinC stated above "none of your cited books is a global history of World War Two'" - so niche and crank POVs should not be promoted above their due, re :NPOV Jooler (talk) 14:01, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

(Outdent) Systemic bias is a very real thing. Whether it's a global history of WWII or not is irrelevant; they are reliable sources; you don't get to discount them because they don't fit a template. Parsecboy (talk) 14:11, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Nonsense. Lets say I want a recipe for Apple Pie. There are thousands of cookery books in the library with reliable apple pie recipes. I go to the library and look at cookery books not mechanical engineering. I wouldn't expect to get reliable recipes from a book about motorcycle maintenance, and why should I think that the apple pie recipe in the motorcycle book that disagrees with all the cookery books is correct So, why should I expect to get reliable military history from a book about Jurisprudence? Jooler (talk) 14:21, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Additionally, it is not within the scope of any editor to make conditions on what determines reliability. We follow WP:RELIABLE guidelines, which I believe the sources I provide (especially official Japanese histories) quite certainly make the cut. If you disagree, again, take it up at the the reliability noticeboard. Oberiko (talk) 14:19, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Again I am not in to bureaucracy. Please provide ONE SINGLE BOOK as a courtesy, as per the remit above. Jooler (talk) 14:24, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Fine, as a courtesy, here are a few other sources:
  • The National Archives uses 1937 as its start date for its voices of World War II section
  • Critical Perspectives on World War II - World War II started in Europe in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. But World War II had been raging in Asia since 1937 when Japan invaded China.
  • A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937-1945 - In 1937, when World War II started in the Pacific theater...
  • The Library of Congress World War II Companion, pg. 632 - Throughout the total war that engulfed the world between 1937 and 1945...
  • War and Empire in the Twentieth Century - The second Sino-Japanese war started in 1937, and it was really the beginning of World War II...
Those broad enough for you? Oberiko (talk) 14:50, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Nationa Archives (US) - Firstly this does not state as per the remit above that the war started in 1937, it merely has content from 1937 that relates to WWII. the content being - the Quarantine Speech The full-text of the speech from 1937 can be found here. It has nothing to so with the Sino-Japanese conflict. It is about American Isolationism.
  • "Critical Perspectives on World War II" - the book is a collection of polemic essays ("critical perspectives") The quote you have pulled from is comes from an essay called "Letters from the Manchurian Border" by Nora Waln. - it does not fulfil the remit.
  • "A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937-1945" - - it seems that all we have to go on here is the title of the book. Hmm.. well that doesn't really give us much to go on, it certainly doesn't fulfil the remit. As an aside if I Google ""world at war 1937-1945" "world at war 1937-1945" - I get only 4 hits, while if I Google ""world at war 1938-1945" "world at war 1938-1945" I get 154 hits and the book "The World at War 1938-1945 by Steve Waugh" - which covers 1938 as the lead up to the war in a chapter entitled "Appeasement". How can we say with any reliability that it isn't the same in "A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937-1945" - it may well be the political lead-up and the Sino-Japanese conflict that is covered as a lead-up to global war.
    • More on this I've found a review for this book which gives more clues as to the content - "The far greater role of Japan and, to a lesser extent, China in World War Two than in World War One, in causes, course and consequences, helped ensure that the later struggle was more truly global in character. This is signified by the choice of 1937 rather than 1939 as the starting point for the study. Nevertheless, as Gerhard Weinberg makes clear in "Total War: The Global Dimensions of Conflict", it was the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 that really started the global character of World War Two. He points out that the participation of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa guaranteed this, and that the wide-ranging nature of German commerce raiding underlined this global character. "
  • The Library of Congress World War II Companion - The introduction to this book clearly states that 1937 date is a minority view, as much as 1931. It clearly states that it was a regional conflict.
  • War and Empire in the Twentieth Century - this is not a book specifically about WWII - it does not fulfil the remit. Jooler (talk) 16:10, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Are you going to, seriously, attempt to devalidate every source provided which is against your personal opinion? That's well out of the capacity of any individual editor. Oberiko (talk) 15:09, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Is it my personal opinion or your personal opinion that we are talking about here? Jooler (talk) 15:14, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Mine is to adhere to the NPOV policy above, in that way, I suppose we're doing both. In any case, you have no authority to debunk anything, that's original research. Oberiko (talk) 15:27, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
NPOV has no room for crank or niche viewpoints. '"If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts; If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents; If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it does not belong in Wikipedia (except perhaps in some ancillary article) regardless of whether it is true or not; and regardless of whether you can prove it or not"' - where are the prominent adherents? Jooler (talk) 15:40, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I think it is hard to demarcate very accurately. You can easily argue that the 1937 2nd Sino-Japanese war is part of the conflict. On the other hand, I have once heard a statement that there has only been one World War in the 20th century, although this war lasted from 1914-1990 and had several ceasefires; in other words there are also argument to join WWI, WWII and the cold war into one single long lasting conflict.
Coming back to the issue. If you read the World War article and the given definitions, you will find the following.

  • The definition for World War itself is a very Western POV coloured one that asks for multiple military superpowers with global colonies to be involved. Obviously for the early / mid 20th century this requires at least two European powers to be involved as they were the only ones with this type of colonies (Italy, Germany, France, UK). So following this (very westernly coloured) definition the starting date can only be 1939 when France-UK declared war to Germany (in the aftermath of the Poland invasion). Of course another definition for World War could deliver another outcome there.
  • The term was first used by the Western media, indeed referring to the 1939 start of the War. Again, if we want to reinterpret historical primary sources fine, but we will need very good arguments.

In brief, we need to be clear how to define World War as a concept before we can solve this. Arnoutf (talk) 15:23, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

We don't demarcate. Doing so would be a violation of NPOV and choosing one group of historians POV as being "true" and another groups as being "false". We simply present the facts of what the various sources say (the start of WWII, as shown, is not a fact but opinion) and let the reader decide for themselves. Oberiko (talk) 15:27, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
NONE of the sources Oberiko has cited is a global history of World War Two with the dates 1937-45. Can you cite any global history of World War Two which gives the dates 1937-45? All the histories of World War Two that I have read and know about give the dates 1939-45. The article should be changed to reflect this overwhelming consensus. Colin4C (talk) 15:29, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
You're saying the Library of Congress' World War II Companion isn't a reliable source? Again, you do not get to rank sources because they agree or disagree with your positions. They are either reliable, or not. Parsecboy (talk) 15:41, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Library of congres does not use the word World War but "the total war that engulfed the world between 1937 and 1945" Total war is not the same as world war. Arnoutf (talk) 15:44, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I believe you're confusing writing style as meaning something other than it does. A "total war that engulfed the world" is just a more dramatic way of stating "world war." —PētersV (talk) 03:54, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
To Oberike: But we do demarcate as the 1914-1990; 1941-1945; the 1938-145 World War are not mentioned; so we make a choice in the sources and hence demarcate (or perhaps even do original research). You say it is an opinion not a fact. But the opening line reads as fact, not opinion World War II or the Second World War was a global military conflict, the joining of what had initially been two separate conflicts. The first began in Asia in 1937 as the Second Sino-Japanese War; the other began in Europe in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland. If you are serious you need to rephrase that to something like World War II or the Second World War was a global military conflict, some historians consider this as the joining of what had initially been two separate conflicts; with the first beginning in Asia in 1937 as the Second Sino-Japanese War. Other historians use the date the second conflict erupted in Europe, either in 1938 with the Anschluss of Austria or in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland as the starting date of the War. It can even be argued that the war only erupted on a global scale in 1941 when the USSR and the USA became combatants. There are even historians who argue that WWII cannot be seen differently from a second act of WWI with the interbellum merely being a ceasefire. Unwieldy, but phrased as an opinion not a fact. Arnoutf (talk) 15:37, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break

We are about neck deep in WP:ICANTHEARYOU territory. Oberiko has provided about a dozen reliable sources, and Jooler is still asking for "prominent adherents". The US Library of Congress isn't "prominent" enough for you? The German Historical Institute isn't either? There is a substantial number of sources that justify including the start date of the SSJW in WWII as a whole. Stop disrupting this article. Parsecboy (talk) 15:47, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Please name just one global history of World War Two which gives the dates 1937-45. Here are four which give the dates 1939-45: 'A World in Flames' (1990) by Martin Kitchen, 'World War II' (1970) by C.L. Sulzberger, 'The Times Atlas of the Second World War' (1989) and 'A World at Arms' (1994) by Gerhard L. Weinberg. Colin4C (talk) 15:49, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
(EC) Did you actually read what I just said? Stop pretending as if Oberiko hasn't already provided several. The Library of Congress' "World War II Companion" isn't good enough? "A World at Total War isn't global enough? Parsecboy (talk) 15:55, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
From the above I gather there are basically 2 views. (1) Start at 1937; (2) Start at 1939. Can't we come to a compromise and say something like: Several historians consider the war started in 1937 with the Sino Japanese war, although others consider that the World War only started in 1939 with the start of the war in Europe after German invasion..... Etc. etc.
Both are apparently common enough views in the literature, so to prevent NPOV is would suggest naming both. Arnoutf (talk) 15:52, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
If global histories of World War Two with the dates 1937-45 are so common, mention one here. Just one. Colin4C (talk) 15:54, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
How about Causes and Consequences of the Second World War: the Second World War - In contrast, the Second World War was much more complicated. Starting in the Far East in 1937, different conflicts started in different regions at different times. These gradually became absorbed into the global struggle.? Oberiko (talk) 16:03, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Specifically addressing NPOV - where are the prominent adherents? Jooler (talk) 15:57, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Jooler, you are being exceedingly disruptive. Your refusal to get the point is disappointing. Please make good faith arguments, or stop participating in this discussion. Parsecboy (talk) 16:05, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
What exactly are you accusing me of? I'm asking for a reliable source fulfilling a not unreasonable remit and none has arisen yet. Jooler (talk) 16:16, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
The book from the German Historical Institute is surely an example of prominent adherents that use the 1937 date. Parsecboy (talk) 16:26, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
What you've singularly failed to realise about this book is that it is NOT about WWII, it is about Total War. Yet again it does not fulfil the remit, and even if it did the review indicated below states that it makes it quite clear that the global conflict did not begin in 1937. The quoted text above is not a proper cite. What is the page number? what is the context? Jooler (talk) 20:54, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
The only thing I fail to understand is this policy or guideline, tucked away somewhere in WP:V, WP:RS, or WP:CITE that apparently says sources have to be 100% directly about a topic in order to be relevant. Also, how are you possibly saying the book isn't about WWII? The full title is A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937-1945. Explain to me how you get "not about WWII" from that. Was there some other total war going on at the same time? Parsecboy (talk) 21:06, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Just to show how the introductory line would read taking up my suggestion: "World War II or the Second World War was a global military conflict. It consisted out of two main theaters, the Pacific and the European theater. The Pacific theater began in Asia in 1937 as the Second Sino-Japanese War and is be some historians considered the beginning of the war. The European conflict began in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland, and the Anglo-French response to this. The start of the European conflict has more tradtionally been considered the start of the war." Do you think a compromise along these lines is worth pursuing? I leave providing the refs up to others as I had not heard of 1937 before either (but am willing to reconsider) Arnoutf (talk) 15:59, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that's much different then we have now, but I think you have a valid point. I don't want to clutter the intro with undue weight on the start date though, perhaps in the form of footnotes? Oberiko (talk) 16:07, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Footnotes would probably be the best way to address this issue. As Oberiko states, it's not all that different from the current version. Parsecboy (talk) 16:11, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
It makes (IMHO) much clearer there are different opinions than the current one. Small changes are sometimes best ;-) Arnoutf (talk) 16:19, 9 June 2008 (UTC)


From the introduction to The Library of Congress World War II Companion - "Some historians date the beginning of World War II to the Japanese incursion in Manchuria in 1931; others cite the full-scale Japanese invasion of the Chinese heartland in 1937 as the war's moment of origin. But Japan's military adventurism had as yet only regional implications. Arguably, Japan might have been appeased, and its provocations confined to one corner of Asia, by some recognition of its stake in China -- noxious as that might have been to recognized norms of international behavior, not to mention to the Chinese.But world war came only when Europe, too, plunged into the maelstrom with Germany's invasion of Poland in September 1939. In the context of Europe's disruption, Japanese cupidity expanded to include Southeast Asia, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, and India. The conflicts in Asia and Europe now fatefully merged, leading in 1940 to a formal alliance among Japan, Germany, and Italy -- thereafter known as the "Axis powers" -- and eventually to Japan's attempt to shield its imperial project in Asia from American interference with a daring attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. With that act, and America's immediately subsequent entry into the war, virtually the entire planet was wreathed in violence." Jooler (talk) 16:03, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Which also proves our point: Some historians date the beginning of World War II to the Japanese incursion in Manchuria in 1931; others cite the full-scale Japanese invasion of the Chinese heartland in 1937 as the war's moment of origin.. We're not arguing that it did start in 1937, we're arguing that several historians believe it did. WP:NPOV has a clear policy for dealing with such a situation, which is outlined above. Oberiko (talk) 16:12, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
But it's a niche view - as much as the European Civil War is a niche view. It is not shared by the vast majority of historians. You are giving it undue weight and you have yet to come up with a prominent adherent which would allow it into the article as per the NPOV policy. Kennedy passes over the 1931 date and the 1937 date with equal dismissiveness in the introduction the LoC book. If your using that intro as an argument for the inclusion of 1937, what about also including 1931? Jooler (talk) 16:18, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Hardly fringe (check our page on WP:FRINGE), instead it is, at the least, a view point held by a significant minority (which is why we're treating it as such, due to the policy of WP:NPOV on such matters).
Your using the word fringe - not me. Still you have not provided any prominent adherents as per the NPOV policy page which comes from Jimbo Wales himself. Jooler (talk) 16:33, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Alright, if not fringe, you don't think the sources provided (including your own) qualify it as the viewpoint of a significant minority? If not, why? Oberiko (talk) 16:53, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I've yet to see a single prominent historian cited. Jooler (talk)

I think there definitely is a ICANTHEARYOU problem here, because Oberiko has provided numerous sources. Whether a source is reliable or not is partly subjective and open to debate, and consensus changes. The general consensus about heat energy back before the discovery of the Laws of Thermodynamics were that heat was a substance called [caloric] and it flowed in and out and around substace which were then heated up. Back then, would you have told him to follow the general consensus if he proposed the Laws of Thermodynamics to you? Would you have said the same today? An open mind is indefinitely important in areas such as these where whole POVs are involved; of different societies and communities. Semantically, "Total War" would be the same as "Global War" when used in such a context mentioned above. What is the argument? What is the argument? Can we reach a compromise and save this page? The Sino-Japanese war was a build-up to the WWII. Is it unreasonable to include it in the topics of discussion? And if, as some people say, "You might as well lump the whole of history into one great war", I say- Why not? Conflicts are ungoing and endless, and it can be said that it is no more wrong to say that there was one whole war with temporary ceasefires in between lulls than it is to say that there were two wars. <aNON> —Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.6.216.174 (talk) 14:40, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Footnote solution

If we go with the footnote solution, then how about this for our intro paragraph?

World War II was a global military conflict which involved all of the Worlds great powers.[1] Full warfare in Asia began in 1937 with the Japanese invasion of China, while in Europe it started in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland; in 1941 the two seperate conflicts were amalgamated into a single war that ended in 1945.[2]

  1. ^ Hartmann, Frederick H. The relations of nations, pg. 312
  2. ^ Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the 1931 Japanese occupation of Manchuria (Gruhl, Werner. (2007). Imperial Japan's World War Two, 1931-1945, pg. 2; Fiscus, James W. (2005). Critical Perspectives on World War II, pg. 176) and the 1935 Italian invasion of Abyssinia (Ben-Horin, Eliahu. (1943). The Middle East: Crossroads of History, pg. 169; Taylor, Alan. (1979). How Wars Begin, pg. 124; Yisreelit, Hevrah Mizrahit. (1965). Asian and African Studies, pg. 191)

Thoughts? Oberiko (talk) 16:30, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Something like that, although the amalgation is perhaps a bit over the top as the theaters remained separated (e.g. difference in victory in Europe, vs victory in the Pacific). Early on there were perhaps even 3 theaters Western Front, Eastern Front and Pacific. War in Europe became one though when it converged on Berlin in 1945. The footnote sounds ok though, I would suggest that the footnote is heavily referenced. Arnoutf (talk) 16:36, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
While I agree the theatres were quite segregated, they were inarguably part of the same war after 1941. Oberiko (talk) 16:42, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm taking out the European Civil War link. Even if it were considered part of a single over-arching war, that wouldn't change its individual start date (much like the Vietnam War, being part of the Cold War, has its own start date). Plus, it's difficult to argue that the United States, Japan and China were such major participants in a European civil war. If anything, this view point can go on the European Theatre of World War II. Oberiko (talk) 16:49, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

This is pretty much AJP Taylor's viewpoint isn't it? The larger war ramped up as several regional wars coalesced. DMorpheus (talk) 17:03, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with Taylor's work, but his article here leads me to believe that he thought it was Germany which started the Second World War; so it seems like he's arguing something different. Oberiko (talk) 17:18, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
He has written that the various 'regional' wars (Japan vs. China, etc) each broke out separately, and coalesced into a genuinely global world war in 1941 when the US and USSR became involved. Yet he acknowledges the point we're arguing here, which is that different viewpoints would tend to date the war's beginning to different times. This isn't covered in his wikipedia article but it is in his history of WW2.
It seems to me that the NPOV policy would guide us to pretty much exactly what the article says now. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 17:22, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
AJP Taylor is probably THE most famous British historian (partly because of the numerous TV series). Re: becoming a World War in 1941. This neglects the fact that The "European" war was taking place in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and in the oceans of the World and involving troops from Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and India and the Caribbean, and affecting the economies of a much greater part of the world before direct US involvement. Jooler (talk) 17:44, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I think this now covers all our bases. Any reasonable objections to my replacing the intro paragraph with the above? Oberiko (talk) 18:22, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

No objection here. Jooler, you're right that Taylor is known for writing that 1941 is the most reasonable date for the start of World War 2. But he also neatly summarizes why others might consider other dates as early as 1937, and explicitly rejects the Eurocentric argument that 1939, and only 1939, makes sense as a start date. regards, DMorpheus (talk) 19:29, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Of course very few of his contemporaries agreed with Taylor with regard to his analysis of the origins of WWII, and there's no citation from him here about this 1937 issue to argue over. Jooler (talk) 20:22, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
It's pretty straight forward: Most wars begin raggedly. In the minds of Englishmen 4 August 1914 is unshakably fixed as the date when the first World war began; yet by then France and Germany had been at war for twenty-four hours, Russia and Germany for three days, Serbia and Austria-Hungary for almost a week. The second World war is vaguer still in its opening; the Russians date it from 22 June 1941, the Chinese from November 1937, the Abyssinians [or Ethiopians, as we now would say], I suppose, from October 1935, and the Americans from 7 December 1941. The American date is the most sensible. The war truly became world-wide — much more so than the first World war — only after Pearl Harbor. (The Origins of the Second World War - Page vii). Oberiko (talk) 21:58, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that but it still doesn't support 1937 in favour of 1939. It only gives 1937 as much weight as 1935 and 1939 and June 1941. Jooler (talk) 22:27, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

New intro draft 2

World War II, or the Second World War,[1] was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the Worlds nations, including all of the great powers,[2] organized into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis powers. Full warfare in Asia began in 1937 with the Japanese invasion of China, while in Europe it started in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland; in 1941 the two separate conflicts were unified into a single war that lasted until 1945.[3]

World War II involved the mobilization of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history, and placed the participants in a state of "total war", erasing the distinction between civil and military resources. This resulted in the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort. Over 70 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.[4] The financial cost of the war is estimated at about a trillion 1944 U.S. dollars worldwide,[5][6] making it the most costly war in capital as well as lives.[7]

  1. ^ Official military histories in Commonwealth nations refer to the conflict as the Second World War, while the United States' official histories refer to the conflict as World War II. English translations of the official histories of other nations tend to resolve into English as Second World War also, for example Zweiter Weltkrieg in German. See C.P. Stacey Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, for example. "Official" usage of these terms is giving way to popular usage and the two terms are becoming interchangeable even in formal military history.
  2. ^ Hartmann, Frederick H. The relations of nations, pg. 312
  3. ^ Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the 1931 Japanese occupation of Manchuria (Gruhl, Werner. (2007). Imperial Japan's World War Two, 1931-1945, pg. 2; Fiscus, James W. (2005). Critical Perspectives on World War II, pg. 176) and the 1935 Italian invasion of Abyssinia (Ben-Horin, Eliahu. (1943). The Middle East: Crossroads of History, pg. 169; Taylor, Alan. (1979). How Wars Begin, pg. 124; Yisreelit, Hevrah Mizrahit. (1965). Asian and African Studies, pg. 191)
  4. ^ Dunnigan, James. Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You About the Greatest, Most Terrible War in History, William Morrow & Company, 1994. ISBN 0-688-12235-3
  5. ^ Mayer, E. (2000) "World War II" course lecture notes on Emayzine.com (Victorville, California: Victor Valley College)
  6. ^ Coleman, P. (1999) "Cost of the War," World War II Resource Guide (Gardena, California: The American War Library)
  7. ^ Keegan, John (1989), The Second World War, Glenfield, Auckland 10, New Zealand: Hutchinson .

Alright, slight modification to the second paragraph as I put some of its text in the first. Any objections to replacing the first two in the article with this? Oberiko (talk) 21:33, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

There is no need to include the Sino-Japanese war. There needs to be a clear distinction between regional conflicts and the global one. After all, the Fins even call the conflict with USSR from 1941 as the Continuation war, but in fact although it may have been a continuation in political terms, militarily it was quite distinct. Nope, when the conflict expanded out of a single region, Poland (Eastern Europe) into Western Europe, the Atlantic, the Med, North Africa, it became globalised--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 22:41, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Couldn't agree more. Jooler (talk) 22:44, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I have to strenuously disagree with mrg's point about the SSJW. Were it not for Japan's investiture of China in 1937, and the resulting economic sanctions imposed by the Western nations with Pacific holdings, there wouldn't have been a Pacific theatre of WWII at all. Not including the SSJW would be like starting the European theatre in 1941 with the German invasion of the USSR, as if it happened out of the blue.
As to the proposed re-wording, I think it sounds pretty good, and the footnotes work great. Maybe add at the end that the war resulted in an Axis defeat? Sure, most will know this, but we can't assume, can we? Parsecboy (talk) 02:13, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
No objections Oberiko; as you've repeatedly said, there is a large part of the world for which WW II began in 1937. For my part, go ahead. (With one minor thing- World's instead of Worlds.)Buckshot06(prof) 23:08, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
My 2 pesos? First, I've got a gripe with "amalgamated into a single war", for it's inelegance, if no other reason. Second, it was a world war before the U.S. came in: far & away the greater percentage of the world's major powers were already involved directly or by alliance, & most of the globe was occupied or girdled (convoys, for instance). (Of course, by this definition, there have been as many as 9 world wars....) Still think it isn't? I'd say Arnoutf got it closest: "'There are even historians who argue that WWII cannot be seen differently from a second act of WWI with the interbellum merely being a ceasefire.' Unwieldy, but phrased as an opinion not a fact." Price, I think, for one, treats them so. It will probably be a generation before historiography really becomes clear on it. Meanwhile, can we agree we probably won't settle it here? And even if we do, no professionally trained historiographer will give a damn? Trekphiler (talk) 02:35 & 02:55, 10 June 2008 (UTC) (BTW, that definition of "world war" isn't mine.)
I've changed amalgamated into unified. I don't follow the World War point, we don't actually state at which point it "became" a world war (beyond the multiple alternate start dates in the footnotes), as there are sources with differing opinions. We're just presenting the facts. Oberiko (talk) 02:53, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
This is silly. The article is a part of military history of a conflict. Extrapolating starting dates from non-military activities such as diplomatic interactions and economic sanctions will take the article back to the early 18th century!--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 04:00, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
No, take a look here. These are authors directly saying it started sometime other then 1939. We're not engaging in any original research and are, in fact, adhering to NPOV.

<--"we don't actually state at which point it "became" a world war" That's not my reading from the "unified into WW2", which implies it wasn't a world war yet. And the start date is far from clear, as noted. Trekphiler (talk) 14:29, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

We don't say it was unified into "WW2", just that it was unified into a single war. No where do we state that it was or wasn't a world war. Oberiko (talk)
The first paragraph tells us that the joining of two conflicts, namely, the second Sino-Japanese war and the war in Europe resulted in the second world war, not those exact words, but that's how it reads. Therefore, it tells us that the global war began in 1939. Why give this information then omit the facts from the infobox? Joe Deagan (talk) 14:59, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Because that's an interpretation, not a fact. Check here for sources which use other interpretations. Oberiko (talk) 15:51, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
No, I'm sorry, on reading the paragraph it's the only interpretation! Tell me, if France and Britain had not declared war on Germany, and Japan had not declared war on the US, would history books be telling us there was a world war in 1937?
Who knows? It might be known predominantly as the contemperous "Sino-Japanese War" and "European War". It might have been called "World War II". It might have been called the "Dark Time of Badness". It's not in our scope to say what "might" have been, that's original research. Oberiko (talk) 19:37, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm curious, when was the term world war first used and by whom or which country first used the term? I ask the question because it would be interesting to know when the world at the time first considered it a world war. Joe Deagan (talk) 20:03, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
You mean when some people considered it a world war? The first use doesn't mean wide acceptance. For example, President Nixon himself wrote that World War III had started even before World War II ended. (Why the Cold War Ended: A Range of Interpretations, pg. 124) while some people have written of the Napoleonic Wars as actually being World War I. (Dreams of Empire: Napoleon and the First World War, 1792-1815). Having one person call it something doesn't mean it's instantly a global view. Oberiko (talk) 21:10, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Regardless, checking the World War page shows (with citation) that the first reference is in 1928. Oberiko (talk) 21:16, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I came to this article thinking the the discussion could easily be resolved (not by me) and found a discussion that could go on for some time.:) What I will say, at the risk of boring people, is that the infobox does not seem right in reference to wars beginning. If there is a consensus for giving two or three start dates for the war do you not think it should be reflected in the infobox, after all, the first paragraph and the infobox are the first two things people will read. Well, thats my humble opinion! Thanks! Joe Deagan (talk) 10:42, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

I have been watching this with interest over the last few days , I believe the clue is in the title WORLD WAR II - the Sino - Japanese war was just that - the conflict became Global when Germany invaded Poland and Great Britain and France declared war on Germany the British Commonwealth and Dominions declared war alongside Great Britain meaning that all the WORLDS continents were involved for the first time making this a WORLD WAR Jim Sweeney (talk) 11:51, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Global Histories of World War Two

Feel free to add more global histories of World War Two or other dates. By 'global' I mean histories which cover the global conflict, neither Eurocentric or Asianocentric or Americanocentric but global.

I think this is an inane proposal. Who are you to say what can and can not qualify as a source? Why can't a book on the Asian theatre of World War II be used? Asides, there are thousands of books on World War II, I don't think anyone's going to go through enough of them to present a reasonable view, especially when an editor has a obvious bias (you yourself only provide sources for one side, all written by Americans or Europeans, ignoring other sources as mentioned above). I'm not participating and I would encourage others not to as well. Oberiko (talk) 17:46, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
This is not about what can and cannot be used as a source it's about demonstrating the validity and extent of the viewpoint which you are espousing amongst prominent historians. Jooler (talk) 17:53, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
This is clearly what this is about; Oberiko provided about a dozen sources that support the fact that a significant minority of historians consider the war to have started in 1937, and you have discounted every single one by complaining that they're not "global histories" or some other such nonsense. Please show me somewhere, in WP:V, WP:CITE, WP:RS, or some other policy or guideline that states certain sources, along the lines you suggest, are more preferable to the ones Oberiko has provided. Parsecboy (talk) 18:53, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
We don't have a "significant minority of historians" - we have an insignificant minority of source texts about other subjects and not directly about the global conflict that offhandedly mention 1937 that have been found by trawling through Google Books. What we certainly don't have is a single reference from a single notable, internationally recognised historian. I.e. as per WP:NPOV we do not have a "prominent adherent" that can be directly cited. So there's your guideline. We don't have a scholarly work covering the entire conflict which gives 1937 in Asia as the start date for WWII as opposed to the regional Sino-Japanese war, or if we do we have it only with equal weight given to 1931. Jooler (talk) 20:13, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I still don't see a reference to any kind of policy or guideline that states sources have to be 100% directly about a topic to be valid. Also from NPOV, we have this, which Oberiko has already cited, but may have been missed:
"The policy requires that where multiple or conflicting perspectives exist within a topic each should be presented fairly. None of the views should be given undue weight or asserted as being judged as "the truth", in order that the various significant published viewpoints are made accessible to the reader, not just the most popular one."
As for prominence, surely the official Japanese histories are prominent? Parsecboy (talk) 21:01, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
There are no citations from official Japanese sources given, so how do I know what "official Japanese history" says? What is "official" here anyway? Parsecboy you are digging out those apple pie recipes from the motorcycle maintenance book again. Jooler (talk) 22:03, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Try this WP:NPOV "We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by a small minority deserved as much attention as a majority view. Views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views.'To give undue weight to a significant-minority view, or to include a tiny-minority view, might be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. Wikipedia aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties. This applies not only to article text, but to images, external links, categories, and all other material as well."
In this context "experts on the subject" lends itself to historians who have written extensively about World War II as a global conflict. Scholarly works about the global conflict as listed below would seem to be a good guide here, and not books about Jurisprudence. Without such citations from "experts on the subject" you have no case for inclusion of the 1937 date. Jooler (talk) 22:16, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Oberiko, to increase people's knowledge of history please list all and any books on World War Two which date the conflict 1937-45. As I guess there are a quite a lot, just four will do for a start. I want to read these books and as I know you are an expert on the subject I would appreciate you pointing out to me the four best global histories of World War Two which date it 1937-45. Thanks! Colin4C (talk) 17:51, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Please do not be snide, Colin; it doesn't help anything. Parsecboy (talk) 18:53, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I am not being snide - I am genuinly interested in the possibly scores of books which represent the view that World War Two happened between 1937-45. What are your top four recommendations? I looked on Amazon but couldn't find any, so I'd be grateful to you for your recommendations of scholarly work by historians on the 1937-45 war. Please list them below. Colin4C (talk) 20:37, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I've just paid my first visit to this article and what do I see in the info box? The war started in the late 1930's. Mmmm, yes, that's me well informed then! If you tell me in the article that it started in 1937 then place it in the infobox (dubious to say the least). Either way, late 1930's is not exactly encyclopedic. Joe Deagan (talk) 22:41, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Much as I dislike the snide tone being taken by several editors in this discussion, I must admit that the infobox date is rather inprecise. I'm not sure what could be done about it, but something more precise could be nice. I do lean myself towards the more traditional 1 September 1939, but then that's just me. Skinny87 (talk) 23:10, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Sorry to bring this up again, but it seems to me there is so much bickering going on here that people are neglecting the article. As I said previously the infobox has the war beginning in the late 1930's. This article is one of the most important and probably one of the most visited on wikipedia, and I have to say that any young people visiting here would have a quick look and think it would hardly be worthwhile looking at other articles on wikipedia. I don't mean to be over critical but this argument over when the war started has to be sorted out soon. Joe Deagan (talk) 09:56, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Basically the idea that the war started in 1937 is what is technically known as a fringe theory. Fringe theories have their place but should not be presented, as in this article, as normative and the overwhelming consensus that the war started in 1939 ignored. If the overwhelming consensus of opinion says that George Bush is President of the USA opposed by a small minority who see him as Emperor of Greenland, which view should prevail in the wikipedia? It is the same with World War Two - the overwhelming conscensus of historians dates it to 1939-45 and a small fringe of people, not all historians, it seems, have made off-the-cuff remarks mostly in books and articles about other subjects that the war was 1937-45. Which view should we adopt for this article, the overwhelming concensus of historians or the fringe theory? Colin4C (talk) 15:58, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Histories which date the conflict 1939-45

Histories which date the conflict 1937-45

  • Which only demonstrates a widespread monumental ignorance of the Chinese theatre or Sino-Japanese conflict by English-speaking (mainly American) historiographers. I'd accept the 1937 date, from Toland (Eagle and the Rising Sun?) & Kogun. To name just 2. Trekphiler (talk) 02:22, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Are these both global histories of World War Two? Colin4C (talk) 16:18, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
As far as I can see, the full title is The Eagle and the Rising Sun: The Japanese-American War 1941-1943: Pearl Harbor through ...; I think what is meant is The Rising Sun, 1936-1945 (1971) but that only claims to document the rise and fall of the Japanese empire, and the war in the Pacific. Kbthompson (talk) 17:36, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Wasted discussion

This discussion is about the article, not its bibliography. If someone wants to start an article List of general works about the Second World War, they are more then welcome. The first sentence of the article defines the subject area as

Second World War, was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the Worlds nations

Other conflicts that were neither global, nor involving more then two belligerents were not a part of the Second World War--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 23:02, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

This conflict was not global in the strict sense of the word. Southern America and much of Africa were not involved. Arnoutf (talk) 17:24, 10 June 2008 (UTC)


Many of those conflicts became part of the Second World War; the above is not a strict definition, but attempts by us to describe the event, which may need tweaking. Buckshot06(prof) 23:15, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
For example?--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 04:02, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
So, I just got "There is no consensus for this and WP:NPOV does not allow us to present one version as "truth".)"
I'm officially pronouncing this silly. How can anyone get a consensus on something that we know hour and minute timing for? We know exactly when the Japanese begun their attacks on Hong Kong and Pearl Harbour, the first bullets and bombs started flying. We know exactly when the invasion of Poland begun, and when Britain and France declared war on Germany. Do I need to produce the times here? Why are we looking for something that is not there? The Sino-Japnaese war was part of the Japanese larger strategy, but that strategy became possible only after the defeat of France and Britain in 1940. There is no way that Japan would have attacked Britain, France and America in 1937, however, the history is self-evident, there as no global war in 1937! Japan didn't even manage to conquer China by 1941. It could not even go to war with USSR in 1942...there is a word for this, but I don't want to be accuse of anything again--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 10:38, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
That's the whole point. All we should be doing is dating specific, factual, actions, not interpretations. WP:NPOV specifically states: The neutral point of view is a means of dealing with conflicting verifiable perspectives on a topic as evidenced by reliable sources. The policy requires that where multiple or conflicting perspectives exist within a topic each should be presented fairly. None of the views should be given undue weight or asserted as being judged as "the truth", in order that the various significant published viewpoints are made accessible to the reader, not just the most popular one. It should also not be asserted that the most popular view, or some sort of intermediate view among the different views, is the correct one to the extent that other views are mentioned only pejoratively. Readers should be allowed to form their own opinions.. You're stating that it started in 1939 is almost certainly the predominant point of view in Western sources, but I have many sources listed which use other dates. To pick one is a violation of NPOV. Oberiko (talk) 11:02, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Oberiko, have mercy! One can not be neutral about the time of day!--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 11:45, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
No ones talking about time of day. I'm referring to your edit which stated "The war first began in Europe in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland, and later in Asia in 1941". Check here for a list of some sources I've found which state otherwise. Oberiko (talk) 12:05, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
As much as I don't want to sound like a hippie, it's pretty "Eurocentric" to consider the Asian war began in 1941 when more than two-thirds of all Japanese divisions had been fighting in China by then. Blueshirts (talk) 17:04, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Basically the idea that the war started in 1937 is what is technically known as a fringe theory. Fringe theories have their place but should not be presented, as in this article, as normative and the overwhelming consensus that the war started in 1939 ignored. If the overwhelming consensus of opinion says that George Bush is President of the USA opposed by a small minority who see him as Emperor of Greenland, which view should prevail in the wikipedia? It is the same with World War Two - the overwhelming conscensus of historians dates it to 1939-45 and a small fringe of people, not all historians, it seems, have made off-the-cuff remarks mostly in books and articles about other subjects that the war was 1937-45. Which view should we adopt for this article, the overwhelming concensus of historians or the fringe theory? Colin4C (talk) 16:00, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Technically a fringe theory? I don't think you really understand what Fringe means if you believe that. There is a considerable difference between opposing views and something demonstratably false; especially when we're dealing with something that's an opinion to begin with.
In any case, posting here about doesn't accomplish anything; in my opinion, all your posts so far are original research as to what's valid or not. Since I'm convinced you will not accept another viewpoint as even being potentially valid regardless of what is presented, I won't continue with attempts to do so. I will, however, continue at the NPOV noticeboard. If you are serious about wanting an earnest discussion about the sources, that's the place to do it. Oberiko (talk) 16:46, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
No, it's not a fringe theory, there are dozens of works provided by reputable historians that support other start dates, it is clearly held by a significant minority. Not everyone uses the Eurocentric date, so we should reflect this. Get over it. Parsecboy (talk) 16:23, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
It is not my original research that the war occured 1939-45 but one held by the overwhelming consencensus of historians on the subject. Here are just a few:
So far nobody here has been able to produce a global history of the conflict dating 1937-45.Colin4C (talk) 09:30, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Reliability

As a heads-up, I've posted over at the reliability noticeboard a listing of the sources that seem to be under debate for reliability. Oberiko (talk) 00:33, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

And I've started a second one pertaining to whether the opinion counts as a significant minority (at least) or not here. Oberiko (talk) 10:56, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Well done, that was a lot of work. Thank you. DMorpheus (talk) 14:29, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Ditto. You deserve an award for that. And those sources are worthwhile to anybody doing other research on the period (myself included). Trekphiler (talk) 14:53, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I'd ask that editors here leave a comment on the noticeboard as to whether they can be considered significant or not. The more feedback, for either case, the better. Oberiko (talk) 17:18, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

compromise proposal (start date)

Why not remove the start date entirely from the infobox and add a section to the article instead to which the infobox links. That section would then (as briefly as possible) explain the differing start dates offered by our sources. That way we could explain how 1) some (few) consider 1931 as start date, 2) some cosndier 1937 as start date, 3) some consider September 1 1939 as start date, 4) some consider September 3 1939 as start date, 5) some cosndier May 10 1940 as start date (while that is indeed the start date for my country I do disagree with that notion...), 6) some consider June 1941 as start date (sorry don't recall exact date, but you know what I mean), 7) some consider December 1941 as start date, 8) some consider WWII as just a continuation of WWI, 9) some think this wa really WWIX.V and 10) WWII was started in the year 1917 when the Marsians sent their supreme leader in the form of a dark haired Austrian maniac down to earth to foment discord and make way for their invasion of Earth in the year 2009. Though I guess we could leave out the less serious theories, of course assuming they cannot be reliably sourced.--Caranorn (talk) 12:03, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm thinking along the same lines (somewhat, I'd rather leave the Martians out of it, due to both fringe and fear of laser-filled reprisal). What I'm thinking that we need an article on the Start of World War II which we would put in the intro and would have the various opinions and sources related to it. 1939 is easy and I think I've got enough to make serious cases for 1931, 1937 and 1941 as well a few for 1935. Oberiko (talk) 16:04, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Oberiko, is the starting date of World War Two in 1939, the consensus view of historians or just a fringe theory? Colin4C (talk) 16:08, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I think Oberiko has been arguing that 1939 is an important but not THE consensus view. A significant minority is not a fringe theory, but is sufficient to counter consensus.
Also consider that early histories of the war were highly Europe-centric; however history is as fluid as its recorders (historians). Therefore, I would suggest to use post 1995 publications about the global (ie not focussing on only one theater) conflict as the body of evidence to determine whether one of the views is fringe or both are significant. Arnoutf (talk) 16:42, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I rather like this one, among Oberiko's sources: "Americans think of World War II as beginning on December 7, 1941... Europeans date it from September 1, 1939, and the blitzkrieg assault on Poland... Africans see an even earlier beginning, the invasion of Abyssinia by Mussolini in 1935. Yet Asians must trace the war's beginnings all the way back to Japan's first steps toward the military domination of East Asia — the occupation of Manchuria in 1931." (Chang, 1997) —PētersV (talk) 21:54, 10 June 2008 (UTC)


Suggested:

World War II or the Second World War was a global military conflict, the joining of escalating ultra-nationalistic expansions—encouraged by pacifist responses on the part of the international community—in two separate parts of the world.
In Asia, Japan had already attacked Manchuria and installed a puppet government in 1931, with little consequence to Japan other than its expulsion from the League of Nations. Japan escalated that initial foray into full-scale war with China, launching the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937.
In Europe, early successes similarly emboldened the fascist powers of Germany and Italy. By the time that Hitler—allied with Stalin in Eastern Europe—initiated full-scale war with the invasion of Poland in 1939, Germany had already annexed Austria and taken Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland—an act of French and British appeasement—in 1938, while Mussolini had invaded Ethiopia even earlier, in 1935.
The points at which full-scale war broke out in Asia and Europe, 1937 and 1939 respectively, are generally held to be the start of World War II in those two theatres of war, which were ultimately unified into a single global conflict with the U.S. declarations of war on Japan, Germany, and Italy in December, 1941.

To Flying tiger, personalities are equally important. Yes, Tojo was not prime minister in 1937, but he played a central role in the escalation of the Sino-Japanese conflict into all-out war and was later the one who pressed for war against the U.S. (I had that originally too, but it was getting a bit long.) He was as instrumental a force of personality in Japan's escalating war as were Hitler and Mussolini for Germany and Italy. But, leaving Tojo out for now... —PētersV (talk) 17:45, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Hi PētersV, I will surely analyse your proposal, but I just wanted to answer to you on that : You can not compare Tōjō with Hitler and Stalin. Tōjō was part of the Tōseiha and an "instrumental a force" in the holy war against China and the Greater East Asia War but no more than leaders like Hajime Sugiyama, Prince Kan'in and Osami Nagano. The Imperial General Headquarters which counseled Hirohito was not lead by one man. The proof is that the war continued for a year well after Tōjō was demoted by Hirohito who was looking for a tennōzan...--Flying tiger (talk) 18:23, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
agree with flying tiger. Konoe was the one who pushed the China war past the point of no return, when in 1938 he single handedly "refused to deal" with Chiang Kai-shek's government and broke off the German mediation. Tojo was responsible for other things. And since we're putting off a "commander" list in the infobox, I think it's okay to leave all that aside for now. Blueshirts (talk) 18:38, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Also agree, many historians consider Hirohito himself to be the primary decision maker for Japan in WWII, as oppossed to the figure-head he was portrayed as after the war. Oberiko (talk) 19:51, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but I think that's way to much detail for the intro. Plus, we should avoid motives or reasons, that's drawing the reader to a conclusion instead of letting them decide for themselves. I think this kind of text would be better of in it's own article, the intro is already fairly large. Oberiko (talk) 19:46, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I think I rather stayed away from specifics of motives. I do think that it's important to capture key elements of the escalation to global conflict in a coherent narrative:
  1. growing ultra-nationalism and militarism (all of Europe pretty much descended into nationalism and autocracy--seen as strength, even Roosevelt was offered U.S. dictatorship)
  2. the pursuit of pacifism as a course to avoid war, so little if any consequences to Japan, Germany and Italy as they expanded; this only confirmed perceptions of weakness and lack of resolve on the part of the international community, which acted as an accelerant
  3. the fact that on all fronts there were "seed" hostilities (some significantly before 1939) which escalated into all-out war
There's the whole angle that the conclusion of WWI and the punishment of Germany in particular set the stage for WWII, but that's another conversation.
   I don't believe 1, 2, and 3 are drawing readers into a conclusion, they are factual context.
   The other issue I was attempting to address was to bring all the key dates together into one stream so we can stop arguing about whether WWII started with the Japanese invading Manchuria, etc. etc. —PētersV (talk) 20:24, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
In the body of the article Sept 1939 is not given the smallest sub-heading - despite the fact that ALL global histories of the conflict date if from then. I repeat there is NO global history of the conflict which dates it 1937-45. Look on Amazon or elsewhere and you will find NO global histories of World War Two with the dates 1937-45. All we have a quotes from specialist studies and books about other subjects entirely. Colin4C (talk) 10:10, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

September 1939 is not marked in the Text

I notice that the 1939 date of the start of World War Two has been glossed over in the text, with no mention that the majority of historians date the conflict from 1939. Anyone reading this would imagine that Hitler's War was of no importance. This is positively misleading:

Japanese forces during the Battle of WuhanIn mid-1937, following the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Japan began a full invasion of China. The Soviets quickly lent support to China, effectively ending China's prior cooperation with Germany. Starting at Shanghai, the Japanese pushed Chinese forces back, capturing the capital Nanjing in December. In June of 1938 Chinese forces stalled the Japanese advance by flooding the Yellow River. Though this bought time to prepare their defenses at Wuhan, the city was still taken by October.[19] During this time, Japanese and Soviet forces engaged in a minor skirmish at Lake Khasan; in May of 1939, they became involved in a more serious border war.[20]
In Europe, Germany and Italy were becoming bolder. In March 1938, Germany annexed Austria, again provoking little response from other European powers.[21] Encouraged, Hitler began making claims on the Sudetenland; France and Britain conceded these for a promise of no further territorial demands.[22] Germany soon reneged, and in March 1939 fully occupied Czechoslovakia.
Soviet and German officers in PolandAlarmed, and with Hitler making further demands on Danzig, France and Britain guaranteed their support for Polish independence; when Italy conquered Albania in April, the same guarantee was extended to Romania and Greece.[23] The Soviet Union also attempted to ally with France and Britain, but was rebuffed due to western suspicions about Soviet motives and capability.[24] Shortly after the Franco-British pledges to Poland, Germany and Italy formalized their own alliance with the Pact of Steel; following this, in a move that shocked all other major powers, Germany and the Soviet Union concluded a non-aggression pact, including a secret agreement to split Poland and eastern Europe between them.[25]
By the start of September 1939, the Soviets had routed Japanese forces and the Germans invaded Poland. France, Britain, and the countries of the Commonwealth declared war on Germany but lent little support other than a small French attack into the Saarland.[26] In mid-September, after signing an armistice with Japan, the Soviets launched their own invasion of Poland.[27] By early October, Poland had been divided between Germany and the Soviet Union. During the battle in Poland, Japan launched its first attack against Changsha, a strategically important Chinese city, but was repulsed by early October.[28]

All these historians see September 1939 as the start of the conflict. Why are their views being ignored?:

Colin4C (talk) 09:39, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm no historian but it seems to me you're partly right. The events before September 1939 clearly have some importance to many historians but September 1939 was also clearly important enough to denote the start of WWII as in your above sources. I see no reason to unquestioningly trivialise the war as a perfect bubble with a start date and a finish date if it isn't that simple—this is clearly the current stance as the infobox doesn't specify an exact start year/date. I think this is right but when describing the events of September '39 it should be stated something along the lines of "many historians consider this to mark the beginning of World War II". Perhaps this needs to be qualified as "many Western historians", but I don't know enough about any of this to say for sure. BigBlueFish (talk) 11:19, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
The Sino-Japanese war was described by both parties as an 'incident' - war not being formally declared until the US entered the war. The importance of this conflict certainly needs to be made clear in the 'causes' section. The date of September 1939 is important as this is the date the various European empires declared war on each other. I agree, it is not possible to cement WWII as a 'bubble' - indeed the war also doesn't just stop - it peters out in a series of colonial conflicts and independence wars - lasting in the case of Vietnam into the 70s. Perhaps the infobox can be clarified by listing the start of the Sino-Japanese conflict and 1939 as 'War in Europe'. Different nationalities are going to have a different perspective on the history of World War II - they shouldn't be disappointed in their expectations of seeing key dates, but expansions in the article should make clear the complexity of determining any absolute start (or end date) for the war. Kbthompson (talk) 11:47, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
No one's ignoring them. Between 1937-1939 is when full warfare broke-out in both Asia and Europe, hence why they're both in that section, making it a NPOV. Segregating the two (which isn't really possible due to chronological treaties and the heavy influence that the Japanese-Soviet conflicts played with the Soviet invasion of Poland) isn't really possible.
The SSJW being called an incident was due to political reasons, for both parties, to maintain relations with the U.S.. Consider also that the only power Germany formally declared war on was the United States, and there was never a formal declaration by either Germany or Poland on each other. Oberiko (talk) 11:57, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
September 1939 saw a global conflict erupt between The British Empire, The French Empire and Poland on the one side and Germany on the other. The participants occupied territory in every continent of the globe and the Oceanic War was global. Hitler's aims in this war were global: see especially Weinberg's scary account of the Corporal's unlovely strategic plans of world domination and mass murder in A World At Arms: A Global History of World War Two (1994). After World War One, Adolf wanted a re-match and got his wish. These facts are of some significance and should be marked with a sub-heading. (1994). And as has mentioned above the 1937 Sino-Japanese conflict was described as an "incident" rather than a war. Because of this weapons and supplies could be sold to the participants without breaking international neutrality laws. In 1939, by contrast the world was strictly divided up, by international law, between combatants and neutrals. In Sept 1939 the global Empires of Britain and France both officially declared war on Germany and vice versa. These facts are of some significance and should be indicated in the text. Colin4C (talk) 13:31, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Strictly divided up? You're joking, right? What about the US providing military support for the UK and France? I'm no legal expert, but I'm fairly certain providing arms and war materiél to a belligerent is a pretty unambiguous violation of any declaration of neutrality. Parsecboy (talk) 14:26, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
If I recall correctly, the Roosevelt Administration declared a state of non-belligerency rather than neutrality. This concept parses the status of a state that is not involved in combat with belligerents. The United States favored Britain and France and opposed Germany and Italy, but did not intend to fight either Germany or Italy. GABaker (talk) 14:56, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Colin4C, you can continue to post if you like, but you have not demonstrated in any way, according to WP:NPOV or WP:RELIABLE guidelines (not your ambigious "It's not global" arguement) that the sources used do not conform to Wikipedia guidelines or constitute, at the least, a significant minority. You can't use the terming "incident" (on a conflict called a war by the vast majority of historians no less) as some kind of basis; consider that the United States has never formally declared war since WWII (the Vietnam War, Korean War etc. are also termed "incidents", again for policital reasons). In terms of declarations, you are also aware that the Soviet Union and Germany never issued formal declarations of war on each other either, yes? In 1939 the world was divided up by international law? Powerful words; can you tell me what the law was and who passed it? And even if such a thing did exist (which would be odd, considering that Germany, Italy and Japan had all withdrawn from the League of Nations prior to 1939) all it would do is further prove that 1939 is considered a valid start date for World War II, something no one here is arguing against. Also, I believe Germany never formally declared war on France or the United Kingdom; again, only on the United States. Oberiko (talk) 17:21, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
In September 1939 Great Britain, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Canada, France and the French Empire all formally declared war on Germany. If you look at your map you will see that the territories involved covered every continent of the globe. The Oceanic war which followed happened on every Ocean. You think that all this is so insignificant that it shouldn't get a sub-heading in the text? The United States was in law a neutral and maintained diplomatic relations with Germany until December 1941. The Sino-Japanese incident was thought of by nobody at the time as the beginning of World War Two, just a continuation of a series of spats between those two countries which had been going on since the 19th century. By contrast September 1939 WAS thought to be momentous at the time and since. All your sources which say that World War Two started in 1937 are not stating the consensus view but are explicitly reacting against it. These obvious facts should not be concealed from the readers of the wikipedia. To pretend that the 1937 minority view is the historical conscensus is misleading and POV. Colin4C (talk) 17:42, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I think this is the core of the issue. Colin4C states above: "The Sino-Japanese incident was thought of by nobody at the time as the beginning of World War Two" (bolding added). However Oberiko argues that right NOW, there are several historians who consider the Sino-Japanese war the beginning of the war. Should we adopt the 1950's consensus, or should we include modern views. (I would go for the latter). Arnoutf (talk) 17:51, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Of course we should include all reliably-sourced, non-fringe views. The article as it stands does a good job of that, providing several perspectives on when the war could be said to have become a world war. BTW, arguing that eveyr continent was involved by Sep 1939 is both incorrect and silly. Antartica is a continent; African and Asian colonies had no choice in the matter and thus are simply another way of saying that France and the UK were at war. It is highly eurocentric to claim Sep 1939 as the only possible start date. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 17:59, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
The self governing Dominions of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa (none of which are in Europe) all had a choice and a debate (a very heated one in South Africa - where a minority supported Germany) and all declared war on Germany. And here's a modern view (1989) about the beginning of World War Two from the renowned military historian John Keegan from the Times Atlas of the Second World War:
"The Polish Campaign was the shortest and most decisive of all German aggressions of the Second World War, of which it marked the opening stage" (Times Atlas of World War Two: page 38). The Polish campaign was in September 1939. If you think that this is an unrepresentative view I can give you a hundred more quotes from modern historians stating the same thing. Colin4C (talk) 18:08, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
The problem I see here is that there are innumerable numbers of books relating to the second world war, so you are obviously going to find a number of authors and historians who believe the war started in a year other than 1939. As a percentage though it must be a very small amount indeed, so finding a handful of references to back up this claim is not as impressive as it appears. I would go as far as saying that if the percentage is that small then it could very well be considered a fringe theory. Joe Deagan (talk) 18:46, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
There seems to be some significant miscommunication here:
  • No one's saying that 1937 is the majority view, we are stating that it is demonstratably a view held, at least, by a significant minority.
  • NPOV states that we can't play favorites and say one thing is "true" or not when differing opinions held by significant proponents exist.
  • The start of war in Asia and Europe are in the same section because that section is about war breaking out. Asia is listed first only because it happened first.
  • We can't have sections for everything, we agreed to abide by the rule of seven since there is a great deal of things which are very significant (Japan attacking China, Germany entering war against the Western Allies, Soviet annexation of Baltic States, German conquering of France, Italy joining the war, formalization of the Axis powers, Germany invading the Soviet Union, Japan attacking the Western Allies, Japan entering war against the United States, Germany and Italy declaring war on the United States (thus merging both conflicts), formalization of the Allies (UN), Italy changing sides, Germany surrendering, Soviet Union going to war against Japan, Japan surrendering etc.). Giving a special section for small period of the war would be thus be WP:UNDUE.
  • In sources I provide, William G. Fletcher (instructor in international relations at Yale) wrote in 1942 that "the second World War broke out in Asia in 1931". Minority view at the time, but it was there.
  • WP:Fringe really isn't all that applicable. Fringe is (for the most part) about having a very little-held view on something factual (moon landings were faked etc.). Something like this is a matter of interpretation and opinion. Oberiko (talk) 19:18, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Every book on World War Two, even the tiny minority which state that it began with the 1937 incident in China mark out Sept 1939 as important, with good reason. Germany had restarted a conflict which everyone was thinking had finished in 1918 and the war went global - with two global empires participating plus Germany and Poland. Thus ensued global naval etc warfare. A question: when assessing the global total of casualties is 1937-45 more commonly used for the conflict than 1939-45? Assesing the overall number of those killed in the conflict would vary according to when it started. Colin4C (talk) 19:34, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Every book I've read marks every event I've put up there (as well as others, such as Stalingrad, Midway, Torch, El Alamein, Overlord, Kursk, the atomic bombs etc.) as important; doesn't change the fact that we can't give special headings for everything, that's what daughter articles are for. As for casualties, what does that matter (though for the Chinese and Japanese, I usually see the rough estimates dating back to 1937)? That's grasping at straws at best. Oberiko (talk) 19:46, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound negative, but it all get's a bit silly when the opinions of a small amount of historians are given the same space in the article as the predominant view! By all means mention the alternative opinions, but please don't give it equal weight as quite frankly it does not deserve it. Joe Deagan (talk) 20:00, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
WP:NPOV specifically states
And what space are you talking about? The one paragraph covering both the Japanese invasion of China and their border conflicts with the Soviets? Do you believe that it's taking up to much space compared to the three paragraphes detailing the outbreak of the war in Europe? Oberiko (talk) 20:13, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I must agree with Joe Deagan. The present presentation is not neutral; most seriously, it does not even mention either September 1 (or even the possibly less important September 3). Those may be what the reader is looking for; if I were a confused reader, I would not find them, nor where they might be in a subarticle. A section on the historiography of the war would resolve some of these issues, but folding the outbreak of the war in Europe (and consequently much of Asia) into the middle of a paragraph is disingenuous. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:20, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't mention the multitude of specific dates either, which also could be what the reader is looking for. They might also be looking for the size of the invading forces. They might also be looking for casualties of the various battles. We can't have all of them without abondoning our summary style.
  • (Are you seriously contending that the change of state in September is no more important to the course of the war as a whole than the total causalties of any given battle?
  • And if so, does anyone else agree with him?
  • There is a clear path to the casualties of a given battle; the names are visible to the reader. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:49, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Considering several operations involved millions of casualties or changed the tide of the entire war, then quite possibly, especially since nothing actually happened in Europe for several months afterwards. But, it's rather WP:OR to say that one is more important then the other, no? Are you saying that the path to casualties is less clear, considering they would go to the same link (except the dates have more ways to get there)? Oberiko (talk)
No. First of all, claiming that "nothing actually happened" is special pleading; the existence of a formal state of war in the early twentieth century is a great deal; ask all those who were planning to leave Germany in October 1939. You would also be unwise to tell our Polish and Lithuanian editors that nothing happened in those months; they might actually agree on something for once. ;->
But from our point of view, it is not OR; it is what the overwhelming majority of sources tell us; repeating our sources is nor OR. (Find one that says that September 1939 is less important than an average battle, and I will reconsider.) This includes A. J. P. Taylor; he wouldn't have written a book on September 1, 1939, if he didn't think it important; but this deserves more space. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:43, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
No one's arguing 1939 is less important. I think we all agree it's the dominant viewpoint in Western histories. What we're stating is that other view points are held by, at least, a significant minority. And what more space do you need? There are three paragraphs for the outbreak of war in Europe and one for conflict in Asia. What do you think, exactly, is missing? Oberiko (talk) 21:54, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Really? It doesn't mention the multitude of specific dates either, .... We can't have all of them without abondoning our summary style. sounds very like arguing that September 1939 is less important. But if this is an admission that historians regard it as being as important as anything else, then this article should include the phrase September 1939, and what happened then.
As for what is missing: let's start with the dates of the actual declarations and commencements of war: Sept. 1, 3, and 17, followed by an admission that this produced a general state of war in Europe and Western Asia. Cease dismissing the invasion of the Baltic states as "troop movements". And this should be a paragraph by itself, separate from movements at the other end of Asia. (And that's just that one paragraph.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:17, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
There are many dates of declarations of war and they are not more important then most battles. Focusing only on Poland is WP:UNDUE, and the Baltics are quite clearly labelled, what exactly about "By mid-1940, the Soviet Union's occupation of the Baltics was completed with the installation of pro-Soviet governments." is insufficient? I find it odd that you'd push for that, along with the need to specifically label Sept. 17 though, especially as most historians don't consider the USSR to have entered the war until 1941. Oberiko (talk) 22:34, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
That it omits the Soviet operations of 1939. Most historians regard the Winter War as being part of WWII, too, except Soviet apologists, of course.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:47, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
If you are looking for specific dates, are you saying that none of the quite prominently linked Causes of World War II, Timeline of World War II or invasion of Poland articles would not strike you as a place to start? Oberiko (talk) 20:32, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Not to a reader, who is not looking at edit space; and many readers who will need to check the date will not know that the war in Europe began with the invasion of Poland. That is what this article is here to tell him — and doesn't. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:49, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Did you not catch the Readers should be allowed to form their own opinions bit above? We quite clearly state "...the Germans invaded Poland. France, Britain, and the countries of the Commonwealth declared war on Germany...". Is that somehow not clear enough for you? Oberiko (talk)
Omitting the facts in order to prevent the reader from forming an established opinion is not supported by WP:V; there are several rather unpleasant names for it. In this case the fact that much of the world changed from peace to war between August and October 1939 is simply elided over; it is of great significance to the history of the war and it is not here. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:29, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
NPOV also states:
: From Jimbo Wales, paraphrased from this post from September 2003 on the mailing list:
  • If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts;
  • If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents;
  • If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it does not belong in Wikipedia regardless of whether it is true or not and regardless of whether you can prove it or not, except perhaps in some ancillary article.
As of yet not a single prominent adherent has been found. If one is eventually found then it can be said with certainty that is was not easy to find. Jooler (talk) 20:38, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
It seems that only people who have been arguing for 1939-only have dismissed all the sources as not prominent. I'm sorry, but you considering the official Japanese histories of World War II and several best-selling / highly influential books as non-prominent clearly shows bias against any source that doesn't stand by your personal view. Oberiko (talk) 21:07, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
What exactly are "official Japanese" histories? Who are the historians involved? No evidence of such histories has been presented here. Jooler (talk) 21:22, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Check the sources I list, I include three which credit the "official Japanese histories of World War II" as using 1931 for the start date of World War II. Still doesn't explain why you consider every other source as not-prominent. Oberiko (talk) 21:54, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry - a reference to a reference to something without specific details about who wrote it etc, is not a proper citation and in anycase as it says 1931 and NOT 1937 it doesn't really support your position anyway. What we are looking for is a claim from a prominent WWII historian an "expert in the field" (as per WP:NPOV) who specifically says that WWII began in 1937. It is 100% verifiable that in 1937 Japan and China were fighting a war that would merge into WWII in 1941. But that does not make 1937 the start of WWII. Until 1941 it was a regional conflict. This is the consensus majority view as has been demonstrated. What has not been demonstrated is that the non-consensus minority view, that WWII began in 1937, has a prominent adherent of the stature of well-known WWII historians such as Keegan and Deighton. Basically unless you can demonstrate a prominent adherent to the view that you are putting in the article about 1937, it does not belong in the article because you are giving it undue weight Jooler (talk) 22:19, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
You're saying the sources are wrong? Bold, but not your place. If you want to learn more, the Japanese official histories are called Senshi Sosho, written by the War History Section of the Japanese Defense Agency.
I didn't say anyone was right or wrong I said one is the view of the overwhelming majority. Now if the Senshi Sosho uses 1931 for the start of WWII (as opposed to the regional Asian conflict) that does not defend the prominent use of 1937 in the opening paragrpagh. Jooler (talk) 22:57, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
No one doubts it's the date used by the majority of Western sources. Now, if it's just the intro paragraph that's bothering you, that's fine, we can redraft it. But, we can not go against NPOV and say that World War II started on a certain date. Oberiko (talk) 23:05, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
But this other bogus suggestion of racism does require comment: it is held by the great majority of all sources, and there is no evidence here (or elsewhere) that Japanese sources differ as a whole. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:16, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

In any case, we are not here to incorporate the POV of the Japanese General Staff; we are entitled to mention it as theirs, but that is a different proposal. Bowever, this raises the question of whether the Pacific War is entirely part of WWII, or only part of it is - essentially a translation issue; again, we can say that question is debateable, but we may not simply accept the minority view. (on this question, again, Taylor belongs to majority; he would not include any of it before the end of 1941. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:24, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

That seems insultingly dismissive. Seperating them from, presumably, us, IMO, shows considerable bias against the Japanese. And, as stated, we've always been arguing not-1939 is, at least, a significant minority, not for any specific date. Inarguably, 1937 is when full-scale warfare broke out in Asia. Oberiko (talk) 22:48, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Ah, the unfounded cry of racism, I thought we should come that at last. What I said was mere emphasis on the necessity of prose attributions of minority points of view. But I see no further need to discuss the views unique to Oberiko. Unless someone agrees with anything he says expressly, I intend to ignore him; I will feel free to revert his reversions. I see no reason to waste more time than that on him. I will be glad to endorse an RfC on his use of attacks and his abuse of sources. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:03, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I would support the RfC and I would also support a charge of WP:OWN. Jooler (talk) 23:08, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
An inactive page that isn't related is hardly a rebuttal. And I did not accuse you of racism, I meant that your segregatation of Japanese historians is unwarranted. Stating "we are not here to incorporate the POV of the Japanese General Staff" would certainly imply that. Are their historians not equally valid? If not, why can't we use them? Aren't we suppossed to try and use all reasonable POV's? And by what do you mean abuse of sources? They're quite clearly labelled and the notice-boards I put them on seem to agree that they are both reliable and qualify as the view points of, at least, a significant minority.
Unless modern historians, of any nationality, agree with them, we should either quote them, and attribute their opinion "to them", or ignore them. Sources do date.
I've provided several sources, many of which are modern, which use their dates, along with attribution to them. I don't believe that ignoring official histories is doing any readers any just service either. Oberiko (talk) 23:42, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Oberiko's ingenious Wikilawyering on WP:ATTFAQ ignores its history. Large parts of WP:ATT and its co-pages are consensus, and better phrased that anything elsewhere; but the merger for which it was designed was rejected - largely independent of the virtues of the page, but on the grounds that there should be no merger. This is one of those parts. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:28, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
If you feel that RfC is the best course, then we should probably do so. Oberiko (talk) 23:14, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I don't intend to spend enough time on you to write one; but I will gladly endorse it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:28, 12 June 2008 (UTC)


Firstly a minor correction I believe is in order, its Sir John Keegan, so titled for his contribution to military history.
Secondly, Sir John Keegan has published a very small, but in my highly biased opinion as a long time military historian, point of view, of a far greater importance here than his other works, namely The battle for history: re-fighting World War II. It has been available for over a decade, and can be had in the United States for under $5.
Quite simply the book asks all the questions being asked here, and has a staring point in the work of a relatively unknown New Zealand journalist Chester Wilmot back in 1951. I would firstly request that this discussion be adjourned until all current participants have had a chance to read this book, which is only 128 (A2) pages, and contains 10 pages of bibliography.
While you are all reading this book, you may want to ask yourself the additional question when the Second World War ended. If it begun in China in 1931 (and not 1937), then it certainly did not end in 1945 in Europe (are we forgetting Greece?) or Asia, where the Vietnamese civil war brought on by the Second World War only ended in 1955, and as some may argue the Second World War has never ended given the China - Taiwan relationship.
Hence, my earlier proposal that for the start of the Second World War, the record of armed hostility initiating global combat operations commencement and cessation be the only parameters used for consideration. Combat is of course far easier to define as the "fighting, is purposeful violent conflict intended to establish dominance over the opposition", and if set in a global strategy, than combat reflects projection of force beyond a regional position that was the (largely) eastern and north-eastern China. Certainly the contemporaneous building of the Imperial Japanese Navy (as the politically dominant service) over a decade before 1941 suggests its intended use beyond the confining itself to coastal bombardment of China.--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 23:18, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
No, actually combat is much harder to define. Was the Greer engaged in combat? and if so, when did it start? (It is possible to argue its whole mission was warlike, although I would not.) This is why the declarations of September 1939 and the surrenders of 1945 are the conventional boundaries of the war. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:32, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't says that the Australian Chester Wilmot was unknown. I've got The Struggle for Europe in my loo library. Jooler (talk)

Wikipedia:Mediation_Cabal/Cases/2008-06-13_World_War_II

The case is now open. I am the mediator. Most of the discussion will take place on the mediation page. Anyone who wants to comment can. Thanks.  Mm40 (talk | contribs)  01:28, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Why I am reverting to 1939

Oberiko's sources are listed here.

Actually reading them shows that they are a conglomeration of three different sorts of claim, two of which exist for virtually all major wars; the third exists for most. Most of the proponents of the first two types do not dispute that the war began in 1939; they want to add something to that statement; and they disagree about what to add. Oberiko's argument, such as it is, is therefore against having dates for wars at all, and against having infoboxes. That is a possible argument, but this is not the place for it.

  1. "In a sense", The War began when this underlying cause became visible in the year Y. Compare
    • In a sense, the American Revolution began in 1621/1676/1763
    • In a sense, WWI began in 1894/1905/1907
  2. "For Foolanders", The War began when Fooland entered it Compare
    • WWI began in 1916 for Rumania, in 1917 for the United States.
    • For Egypt, the Revolutionary Wars began in 1798.
  3. As a variant of this, about countries already at war when the Great War swept them up in it, "The Great War may be considered to have begun" when the pre-existing war did in Fooland.
    • WWI may be considered to have run 1913-1921 for Montenegro.
    • In India, the Seven Years' War began in 1751

All of the above have been claimed; some of them are consensus. But World War I still says 1914-1918, and it should. So here; the idea of a paragraph on the relation with the Pacific War is worth it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:06, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Wrong, these sources do not (mostly) dispute that the European War began in 1939. They all present reasons why, for the Second World War itself, it was or could have been a different starting date. Also we don't use Wikipedia, or other wiki's as a basis for judgement. I'm not against dates, I'm against using specific dates as the start of the war when clearly other sources state otherwise; that would be a violation of WP:NPOV. Oberiko (talk) 03:03, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I didn't mention the European War. Dragging it in is a red herring. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:31, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I invite anyone interested to examine Oberiko's collection. As for myself, I do not believe him; but the evidence invites a new section. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:12, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

What do Oberiko's sources actually say?

Oberiko claims to have found many sources which deny that the War began in September 1939. As it happens, I had one of them to hand:

Oberiko quotes, elsewhere:

  • In a sense the Second World War began as early as 1931 with the Japanese seizure of Manchuria.

This is a type case for the first class above, in the main section. But when Palmer discusses the War itself, he says:

  • The Second World War opened with the assault on Poland.

No words could be clearer. Palmer supports the statement Oberiko has been fighting these three months. I do not care how this arose, and shall make no conjectures; but Oberiko's report of the meaning and intent of his source is inaccurate, misleading, and unreliable.

This is the only one I've checked; I invite others to check what his other alleged sources actually say; the results may be of interest. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:12, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Well I've already done the same analysis with The Library of Congress World War II Companion. The introduction by David M. Kennedy clearly states "But world war came only when Europe, too, plunged into the maelstrom with Germany's invasion of Poland in September 1939." Jooler (talk) 15:46, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
To be fair, that is a different class: historians who assert September 1939 themselves, but state that some others disagree. That is what I think we should do, and what Oberiko has resisted and reverted. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:54, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
  • 'Encyclopedia of World War II ed. Spencer Tucker, 2005; p.3, from the essay on Origins of the War, quoted (inexactly) and out of context:
  • ...Japanese official histories of World War II begin in September 1931 with the start of the Manchurian Campaign
  • Some historians date the war from 1937, with the Japanese invasion of China; Japanese official histories, however, start with 1931, when Japan's forces overran Manchuria. But perhaps the most accurate place to begin is with the end of World War I.

This does not assert that Japanese official histories say World War II started in 1931; although they may. It asserts that they find 1931 the best place to begin the story, as most histories of the American Civil War begin before Fort Sumter (IIRC the official history begins with the secession of South Carolina, the year before.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:46, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

So, your arguments basically come down to that someone who recognizes the possibility of 1931 isn't good enough? Also, can I ask why you didn't include the two sources I have that specifically assert that the Japanese official military histories do date World War II as beginning in 1931? Oberiko (talk) 05:24, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
No. I have never said, and do not believe, that "someone who recognizes the possibility of 1931 isn't good enough"; I have said nothing about quality, and Ienaga (who asserts 1931) is a good historian. Unfortunately, Oberiko reads his sources in the same manner he reads my comments. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:08, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

What happened to the footnotes?

I've largely been ignoring the discussion for the past few days, but what happened to the footnote solution? I thought we had a workable compromise to the start date issue. What happened? Parsecboy (talk) 03:12, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

I had created a draft here, but it seems to have been drowned out by the other discussions on source relevance. That said, I'm more then willing to continue and try to draft new ones. Oberiko (talk) 03:42, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Intro draft attempt 3

World War II, or the Second World War,[1] was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the Worlds nations, including all of the great powers,[2] organized into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The war involved the mobilization of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history, and placed the participants in a state of "total war", erasing the distinction between civil and military resources. This resulted in the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort. Over 70 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.[3] The financial cost of the war is estimated at about a trillion 1944 U.S. dollars worldwide,[4][5] making it the most costly war in capital as well.[6]

The actual starting date of the war is open to interpretation. Most Western histories use the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions in 1939; other sources often use the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931,[7][8] the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937,[9][10] or one of several other events.[11] In 1941, the conflicts in Europe and Asia were unified into a single war that continued until 1945. The Allies were victorious, and, as a result, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as the world's leading superpowers. This set the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 45 years. The United Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The self determination spawned by the war accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Western Europe itself began moving toward integration.

  1. ^ Official military histories in Commonwealth nations refer to the conflict as the Second World War, while the United States' official histories refer to the conflict as World War II. English translations of the official histories of other nations tend to resolve into English as Second World War also, for example Zweiter Weltkrieg in German. See C.P. Stacey Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, for example. "Official" usage of these terms is giving way to popular usage and the two terms are becoming interchangeable even in formal military history.
  2. ^ Hartmann, Frederick H. The relations of nations, pg. 312
  3. ^ Dunnigan, James. Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You About the Greatest, Most Terrible War in History, William Morrow & Company, 1994. ISBN 0-688-12235-3
  4. ^ Mayer, E. (2000) "World War II" course lecture notes on Emayzine.com (Victorville, California: Victor Valley College)
  5. ^ Coleman, P. (1999) "Cost of the War," World War II Resource Guide (Gardena, California: The American War Library)
  6. ^ Keegan, John (1989), The Second World War, Glenfield, Auckland 10, New Zealand: Hutchinson .
  7. ^ Bradley James, Powers, Ron. Flags of Our Fathers, pg. 58
  8. ^ Tucker, Spencer; Roberts, Priscilla Mary. Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History, pg. 771
  9. ^ Chickering, Roger; Förster, Stig; Greiner, Bernd. A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937-1945, pg. 64
  10. ^ Fiscus, James W. Critical Perspectives on World War II, pg. 44
  11. ^ Among other starting dates sometimes used for World War II are the 1935 Italian invasion of Abyssinia (Ben-Horin, Eliahu. (1943). The Middle East: Crossroads of History, pg. 169; Taylor, Alan. (1979). How Wars Begin, pg. 124; Yisreelit, Hevrah Mizrahit. (1965). Asian and African Studies, pg. 191) and 1941 when the European and Asian conflicts merged (Taylor, AJP. (1961). The Origins of the Second World War, pg. vii; Kellogg, William O. (2003). American History the Easy Way, pg. 236). There also exists the viewpoint that both World War I and World War II are part of the same European Civil War (Canfora, Luciano; Jones, Simon. (2006). Democracy in Europe: A History of an Ideology, pg. 155; Prin, Gwyn. (2002). The Heart of War: On Power, Conflict and Obligation in the Twenty-First Century, pg. 11)

Comments
The last paragraph wasn't touched, hence the italics. Oberiko (talk) 04:14, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Much better, IMO. Did I miss Pearl Harbor? (I can't believe omitting that would get by...) Also, I'd del the ital (unless you used it just to show "no change". And I'd change "in capital as well as lives" to "in capital, as well." (I find the other redundant & inelegant.) OK, I'm quibbling. Trekphiler (talk) 06:06, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Changes made. Pearl Harbor, or more specifically, " 1941 when the European and Asian conflicts merged" is in the footnotes. I've added the references tag, though, due to the number of other references on this page, it's easiest to click "edit" on the section and then "show preview" to view them. Oberiko (talk) 10:45, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I think you might wish to make specific mention - in that last paragraph - of the Middle East - (specifically, Palestine and the Suez Canal); as that became one of the roots of yet another conflict. The (relatively peaceful) transformation of the British Empire into the modern commonwealth (in 1949) might also merit a mention. The rapid division of Europe, by the 'Iron Curtain' into two armed camps is as important as the moves to economic unity in western Europe.
Ultimately, the war ended both British hegemony and economic power; and Germany and Japan became economic power houses, as their industry re-equipped in reconstruction - but that might just be a consequence too far.
Overall, a pretty good intro that incorporates much of the complexity in a succinct fashion. Kbthompson (talk) 11:43, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I'd rather not get into anything nation-specific since there are eight powers that we've got to focus on (China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Soviets, UK, US); including details for one or two of them (barring the "super powers") would be, IMO, undue weighting. I'd also rather avoid naming any specific decolonization or following conflicts, as there are many of both and they're covered in the aftermath section (except Suez Canal, which should probably be added). Oberiko (talk) 11:53, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
That looks good to me. Nick Dowling (talk) 12:02, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Seems fine to me as well. Parsecboy (talk) 12:50, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Looks good to me as well, though I'd add one to three references behind the 1939 date so it doesn't look unreferenced compared to the other entries.--Caranorn (talk) 13:00, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

I would strongly prefer the approach used in the paragraphs Oberiko blanked:

The Second World War subsumed the Second Sino-Japanese War; several historians, especially in writing of the countries directly involved in that war, have treated it as being entirely part of the Second World War, which therefore, for them, began in 1931 or 1937. Conversely, A. J. P. Taylor argued that what began in 1939 was a second European War, which did not merge into a World War until 1941.
The end of the War is also disputable; some sources end it from the Armistice of August 14, 1945, rather than the formal surrender; in some European histories, it ended on V-E Day; the Japanese Treaty was not signed until 1951; the Six Power treaties were signed, formally ending the War in Europe, in 1992.

(Of course this could use revision; it can go in the header if people prefer, although I see no reason to.) We should acknowledge and include the prevalent division; we should not simply assume the minority view.

Oberiko's text is unacceptable. It can be read as implying that only Western sources use September 1939, which is absurd; even the implication that most Japanese sources use an earlier date when discussing the whole war is unevidenced. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:51, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

I'd figure that if their official histories use 1931, it'd have be a pretty widely held view. But, I won't really quibble about a single word. I have no problem with the following instead:
This is conjecture, original research, and is relatively unlikely. Official histories reflect official views; most historians then filter those out. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:05, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Conventionally, the start date of the war is set as September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions[1][2]...
Thoughts? Oberiko (talk) 18:44, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps this would be better:
"Traditionally, September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions is considered the starting date of the war[3][4]. However, as the years preceding the war was one of occupations and offensives, while on the other hand some great powers only became involved in 1941 there is no perfect agreement among historians about the starting date." If the second line is not acceptable, I still would ask you guys to consider the rephasing in line one (traditionally instead of conventionally and considered instead of set) Arnoutf (talk) 19:03, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
It's not really tradition, I can't see the Asian histories using that as a date. The word "conventionally" is actually the exact term both the sources I'm using use; I have no objection to changing "set" --> "considered" though.
The new would thus be:
The actual starting date of the war is open to interpretation. Conventionally, the start date of the war is considered as September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions[5][6]...
Oberiko (talk) 19:37, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

This entire line of discussion depends on Oberiko's OR about two off-hand statements about "Japanese official histories". Neither actually says that the Japanese official histories say "World War II started in 1931", and if they are in Japanese, they are unlikely to say WWII at all. Official histories may well begin before the start of the war, and the Great Pacfic War, contrary to our article, began in December 1941. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:54, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

OR? I have quite sufficiently shown that the Japanese official histories start WWII in 1931.
  • "Europeans date World War II from 1939 to 1945 and, with North Americans, date the Japanese part of the conflict from December 1941 to August 1945. The Japanese official histories date it from September 1931 and the start of the campaign in Manchuria" (The War With Japan: The Period of Balance, May 1942-October 1943)
  • "We consider the Second World War in very narrow terms and with precise dates: 1939 and 1945. But Japanese official histories date the Second World War from September 1931 and the conquest of Manchuria." (When Men Lost Faith in Reason: Reflections on War and Society in the Twentieth Century) Oberiko (talk) 21:50, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I would not include the "The actual starting date of the war is open to interpretation" as that is implying there is really a non-consensus. I would rather see something along the lines of my suggestion: ie ""Conventionally, September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions is considered the starting date of the war[7][8]. However, as the years preceding the war was one of occupations and offensives, while on the other hand some great powers only became involved in 1941 there is no perfect agreement among historians about the starting date."
This version also acknowledges there is some difference in interpretation but does not put undue attention to this fact. Arnoutf (talk) 20:22, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
So what's wrong with Some historians, especially in writing on East Asia and the Second Sino-Japanese War, have treated it as being entirely part of the Second World War, which therefore, for them, began in 1931 or 1937. Conversely, A. J. P. Taylor argued that what began in 1939 was a second European War, which did not merge into a World War until 1941. ? (I do not insist on "subsumed") Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:50, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I guess you mean that sction to replace my proposed "However, as the years...". 2 issues First: Language wise it is problematic. For example the word "it" in this line can refer to both East Asia and the 2nd S-J war; but that is tweeking. Second: My version allows for the German occupation of Czechoslovakia to be considered an act of war; as well as allowing both 1931 and 1937 as starting dates in the east, and both the invasion of the USSR and Pearl-Harbor as involvement of the last great power. Being vague is sometimes not a bad thing ;-) Arnoutf (talk) 21:20, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree with the tweak, read that war instead. I know of noone who considers the occupation of Czechoslovakia the starting date, even though many consider it an act of war, it was a German-Czechoslovak war, quickly ended. The other secondary advantages we share. I dislike the claim of causality in your version; it would be difficult to verify. As for grammatical tweaks, I'll lob you one. What exactly does years preceding the war was one mean? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:32, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
  • The firsr sentence would be better as The German invasion of Poland and the subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions in September 1939 are conventionally considered the start of the war. Simplify, withough any undue stress. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:37, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Re: Arnoutf: The starting date most certainly is up to to intrepretation, if it wasn't then wouldn't everyone be using the same date? Your text also doesn't include any other dates, implying that 1939 is the starting date. I think one sentance on quite valid alternatives is warranted. Your statement "However, as the years preceding the war..." implies that the other conflicts took part before World War II had started, which other sources say they didn't.

Re: Pmanderson: I don't think you can insist on requiring sourcing for "most Western historians" but then freely use "Some historians, especially in writing on East Asia" without any; especially when a quite considerable number of the sources I've provided are writing on the full-scope of the war. Oberiko (talk) 21:50, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

when a quite considerable number of the sources I've provided are writing on the full-scope of the war. This is as idiosyncratic in its definition of "quite considerable number" as it is in grammar; many of Oberiko's alleged sources are not discussing the start of the war at all, if read in context and with the natural sense of the English; most of those that are deal specifically with Asia. (The only exceptions I can think of offhand are Taylor and Lukacs; perhaps Rostow, if he is not simply discussing the Japanese view as distinct from his own.) I suggest we work out a compromise without him, and then ask if he is willing to accept it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:26, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Of the 40+ sources I've provided, you're ruling all but three of them out? I don't believe you have any kind of qualification to make such sweeping judgements. And, as I've stated elsewhere, I'm getting rather tired of your personal attacks; my presenting opinions you don't agree with and attempting to uphold NPOV doesn't warrant such behaviour. I'd ask you to remain civil. Oberiko (talk) 23:13, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
No. I am observing that they mostly do not say what you claim they do. They are good sources to what they actually say; in many cases this is that someone other than the author begins the war, when treating of Asia, at some other date; in some cases it is nothing relevant to this discussion at all. Who these other sources are, except for the generality that they are Chinese or Japanese, is rarely stated; their number is never stated. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:39, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
You are observing direct quotes. All directly state that the war did start at another date, could have started at another date, or that it was plausible to start at another date. The consensus on the noticeboard is that they were reliable. Oberiko (talk) 04:29, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Can Oberiko read English? Many of them say that somebody else thinks the war started at another date (Wachtel, Okihiro, Menton, Dallin...); the second quote from Taylor is a hypothetical, intended as reductio ad absurdum (he does not believe WWII began in 1932, but in 1941); and at least one is from a book which says that The Second World War opened with the assault on Poland. This does indeed demonstrate that somebody thinks WWII began at other times, and demonstrate we should mention the view; but no more. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:43, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Doubtless, however, Oberiko will find some way to contend that as the Second World War began in Asia in 1937 does not "deal specifically with Asia". (I see I have omitted such sources as Dallin's citation of that reliable source Josef Stalin. If this causes any confusion, I regret it.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:37, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Re Cz invasion: an act of aggression, no Q, but not a cause; no fighting resulted (AFAIK). Trekphiler (talk) 23:18, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
And so not part of WWII. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:39, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

We now have two proposals which say much the same things:

Conventionally, September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions is considered the starting date of the war[9][10]. However, as the years preceding the war was one of occupations and offensives, while on the other hand some great powers only became involved in 1941 there is no perfect agreement among historians about the starting date.

And

The German invasion of Poland and the subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions in September 1939 are conventionally considered the start of the war. Some historians, especially in writing on East Asia and the Second Sino-Japanese War, have treated that war as being entirely part of the Second World War, which therefore, for them, began in 1931 or 1937.

We are each proud of our own words; could some third party iron out the differences? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:22, 14 June 2008 (UTC)


I generally prefer the first version, because it mentions that some historians consider the World War to not technically have started until 1941, although the wording can be a little clunky, especially the first sentence. Perhaps lift the first sentence from the second proposal, and substitute the first part of the first version (of course putting the links and sources in). There are some issues with grammar in the rest of the first version though. "years" is plural, while "was one of..." is singular; these need to match. Maybe it would be better to say "The 1930s saw a series of occupations and offensives throughout the world..." Thoughts? Parsecboy (talk) 00:31, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
I disagree with both. The latter attempts (without citation or sources) to segregate historians covering the Asian theatre from the rest of the world, while the former is basically my proposal except it mentions only 1939, glossing out all other dates. Oberiko (talk)

Controversy is the wrong word to use. Per Chang's I mentioned earlier: "Americans think of World War II as beginning on December 7, 1941... Europeans date it from September 1, 1939, and the blitzkrieg assault on Poland... Africans see an even earlier beginning, the invasion of Abyssinia by Mussolini in 1935. Yet Asians must trace the war's beginnings all the way back to Japan's first steps toward the military domination of East Asia — the occupation of Manchuria in 1931."
Perhaps...
Because World War II included a confluence and escalation of prior conflicts, the starting date of the war differs according to combatant. ...
Something like that would be much clearer than indicating there's controversy where I really don't see any. —PētersV (talk) 01:23, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Draft attempt 4

World War II, or the Second World War,[11] was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the Worlds nations, including all of the great powers,[12] organized into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The war involved the mobilization of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history, and placed the participants in a state of "total war", erasing the distinction between civil and military resources. This resulted in the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort. Over 70 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.[13] The financial cost of the war is estimated at about a trillion 1944 U.S. dollars worldwide,[14][15] making it the most expensive war as well.[16]

Conventionally, the starting date of the war is set as September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions;[17][18] other sources often use the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931,[19][20] the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937,[21][22] or one of several other events.[23] In 1941, the conflicts in Europe and Asia were unified into a single war that continued until 1945. The Allies were victorious, and, as a result, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as the world's leading superpowers. This set the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 45 years. The United Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The self determination spawned by the war accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Western Europe itself began moving toward integration.

Comments

  • Support I was happy with #3 as well, but this is fine. Nick Dowling (talk) 07:27, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Looks good. (minor remak, I think in the secoond para line two "other sources often use..." the word "often" is redundant as a source either uses a date, or not; and not sometimes one, sometimes another - but that is copyeditting). Arnoutf (talk) 08:42, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Seems fine to me. Parsecboy (talk) 12:13, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Looks good to me. Note, does that source really use Civil War for the theory of WWI and WWII as a single conflict? That really seems far fetched as it assumes a common culture, which at best is a recent notion. But I only object to the terminology if said source does not call it civil war.--Caranorn (talk) 12:46, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Both sources I cite for that do call it a civil war. I don't care for the theory myself (all wars could be considered "human civil wars"), but it does exist. Even Oxford uses the term:

-- (The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern Europe, pg. 6) Oberiko (talk) 14:24, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

      • Okay, no objection then and full support for proposal.--Caranorn (talk) 14:44, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment Oppose - I take it conventionally is shorthand for 99.999% of all source texts. No prominent adherent is used for the use 1931 or 1937. I.e. where is the "History of WWII 1931-1945" book or similar? On the whole, the whole thing is far too wordy for the start of an article and is just confusing for someone coming to the subject for the first time. Jooler (talk) 14:22, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Additional - I'm quite amazed the people don't see this overly wordy confusing, and weasel worded. Compare tis with the opening of the WWI article which by comparison is a fair example of clear writing.
  • 'World War I, also known as the First World War, the Great War, and The War to End All Wars, was a global war which took place primarily in Europe from 1914 to 1918.[2] Over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths.[3] Over 60 million European soldiers were mobilized from 1914 to 1918.
  • The immediate cause of the war was the June 28, 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb citizen of Austria-Hungary and member of the Black Hand. The retaliation by Austria-Hungary against the Kingdom of Serbia activated a series of alliances that set off a chain reaction of war declarations. Within a month, much of Europe was in a state of open warfare.
  • Jooler (talk) 19:53, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, WWI was a relatively simple war (only in Europe) compared to WWII which was truly global; so the text is likely to be a bit more complex. Also the "immediate" cause is less obvious as the Anschluss, the Czech situation, and the Sino-Japanese war were already precursors which involved breach of international rules about sovereignty; while WWI was not immediately preceded by such events. Arnoutf (talk) 20:52, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Sir if you think WWI was only Europe you are sadly mistaken. You forget Japan as one of the Allies for starters. See for example West Africa Campaign (World War I), South-West Africa Campaign, East African Campaign (World War I), Asian and Pacific theatre of World War I, Sinai and Palestine Campaign, the Mesopotamian Campaign, the Caucasus Campaign, and the Dardanelles Campaign) and Battle of the Falkland Islands. Jooler (talk) 21:24, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
As for the prelude you are either unaware of or forget Second Balkan War or the German naval build-up. You might like to read Origins of World War I. Jooler (talk) 21:35, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Let's be serious, nothing of any real consequence happened anywhere during WWI outside of Europe; all the real action in the Pacific was done before the end of 1914; Spee's squadron, as well as Emden, were sunk, and Tsingtao was captured. The rest was peanuts. Regardless, we're not talking about WWI here, we're talking about the sequel. Parsecboy (talk) 01:29, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Nothing of real consequence! - Tell that to the Arabs. What about the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire? Have you never heard of Lawrence of Arabia? . The Sykes-Picot Agreement the Balfour Declaration, the British Mandate of Palestine? The state of Israel wouldn't exist but for what happened in WWI. This is all off topic, but I was discuss ing the clarity of the Wikipedia article's intro not the war itself. Jooler (talk) 07:54, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
I stand corrected. WWI was indeed more global than Europe alone. My point was, however, that WWII was more complex as it truly was a multi-theater war with two comparably intensive theaters. Important as the middle-eastern campaigns were (you didn't mention Galipoli) they were connected to the European theatre; ie the collapse of the Ottoman empire had an immediate influence on the War in Europe, much more than any Pacific action had. Arnoutf (talk) 08:44, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Er.. I did mention Galipoli! Under it's proper name the Dardanelles Campaign. You are also wrong about the impact of the Pacific threatre as it was an immense drain on resources, the war could have been won a year earlier, but I'm not going to get side-tracked any more here. The point is the intro to the WWI article is clear and concise. The proposed intro to the WWII article is imprecise, weasel worded, and confusing. Jooler (talk) 09:01, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, presents the different views in an adequate way. This trivial dispute has been going on for far too long and it seems to me it is best settled this way. 96T (talk) 14:51, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. I'd swap "the most costly war in capital as well" with the phrase "the most expensive war". Note to User:Jooler: please don't tag the section under discussion or other editor's talk entries. This space is for discussion, not tags. Binksternet (talk) 14:51, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Change made. Oberiko (talk) 14:54, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It is not made clear whether the casualties and cost of the war are calculated 1931-45, 1937-45 or 1939-45. Colin4C (talk) 14:57, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Comment that level of accountancy should not be part of the introduction. I would suggest to use the conventional numbers there as well, with a similar footnote (the cost reported here reflect sept 1939 as the start of the war, if an alternative starting date is adopted, these cost should be amended). Arnoutf (talk) 15:03, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Conditional oppose. Moving conventionally out of its natural, unmarked position is undue weight; is conventionally set would be clearer and preferable. I could go either way on the list of dates, but a separate paragraph, linked to from here, would permit more detail. In particular, the claim that the two wars were one European civil war with an armistice, and possibly Taylor/Lukacs claim of 1941, differ in nature from the others. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:05, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Comment If I read you correctly you would accept: "The starting date of the war is conventionally set as September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions;[17][18] other sources use the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931,[19][20] the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937,[21][22] or one of several other events.[23]" (If not I misunderstood your conditional oppose) Arnoutf (talk) 18:47, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes. I don't think it's the best possible language, but it would be acceptable. Colin's objection could be dealt with by adding This article uses the conventional dating. at some point (and then doing so). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:14, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. Looks good. Though personally I don't think alternate dates of 1931 and 1937 should be treated as the same because between 1931~1937 China and Japan only fought quickly-settled, localized incidents, not total war. Also, for 1939 date, is there a word "stronger" than "conventionally"? Blueshirts (talk) 05:27, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support It's not a showstopper for me, but I would prefer some other word than "conventionally"; it implies that all other views are unconventional, and I don't think that quite captures this discussion. Perhaps "Most commonly...." That has the disadvantage of strying into weasel words but there is no perfect solution here (yet) and this is good enough. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 16:53, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. This is getting ridiculous, but this seems to be the best way to incorporate everyone's demands. Skinny87 (talk) 19:53, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Well given the nature of Wikipedia it won't be long before the wording is changed completely again. So this whole thing is pretty much a pointless exercise. Jooler (talk) 09:07, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Amendments

These are suggestions for further improvements, not conditions for de-tagging. Most importantly, Arnoutf is right that the whole list of dates belongs in a separate section, with a cross-reference from the lead. Leads should summarize the article, not bring up topics of their own. But this is not, I think, a matter of bias, but of clarity.

I would prefer declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions;[notes] some sources use, but that's a tweak. If we're going to cite Tucker's Encyclopedia, it would also be preferable to add (in the note) that it is not the editor's opinion. rather, the encyclopedia asserts the existence of historians who use 1937: he uses 1918/19, at least as a piece of rhetoric. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:14, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I would be more happy with the some source as well. (Just hoping to find a way out of this swamp). Arnoutf (talk) 19:18, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

The same extra paragraph would make clear whether the convention counts the Pacific Front of WWII as beginning in December 1941, or in September 1939; most of our statistics will assume 1941, I suspect, but we should say so. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:29, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

The Taylor/Lukacs date of 1941 should be included; it is as well attested as some of these. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:49, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Comment on all the suggested dates. I notice, after ref China/Japan, the start dates have a certain parochial influence, i.e., people tend to date "the war" from when their country became involved. (It's very common among Americans, from what I've seen, to date it to 7 Dec 41 & ignore Britain et al., aside China.) It occurs to me, in light of this, it may be impossible to satisfy everyone. Not to say we shouldn't try.... Trekphiler (talk) 13:34, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, I noticed that myself as well (I was already wondering why nobody raised May 10 1940, as everybody I know is sure that is when the war started). Arnoutf (talk) 13:40, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually I mentioned May 10 1940 but obviously as the entry date for three neutrals, not just one. I also discarded it as non essential for WWII as a whole. But more seriously, yes there are a number of local beliefs when WWII started, what we should try to focus on (and I think we are) is what historians consider the starting date for WWII itself and not just the entry date for a particular combatant.--Caranorn (talk) 14:50, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Jees you guys - if you're going down this route have you thought of 8/9 April 1940, invasion of Denmark and Norway. Jooler (talk) 20:56, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Draft attempt 5

World War II, or the Second World War,[24] was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the Worlds nations, including all of the great powers,[25] organized into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The war involved the mobilization of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history, and placed the participants in a state of "total war", erasing the distinction between civil and military resources. This resulted in the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort. Over 70 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.[26] The financial cost of the war is estimated at about a trillion 1944 U.S. dollars worldwide,[27][28] making it the most expensive war as well.[29]

The starting date of the war is conventionally held to be September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions;[30][31] some sources use the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931,[32][33] the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937,[34][35] or one of several other events. Other sources follow A. J. P. Taylor, who holds that there was a simultaneous Sino-Japanese War in East Asia, and a Second European War in Europe and her colonies, but they did not become a World War until they merged in 1941; at which point the war continued until 1945. This article uses the conventional dating.[36] The Allies were victorious, and, as a result, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as the world's leading superpowers. This set the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 45 years. The United Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The self determination spawned by the war accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Western Europe itself began moving toward integration.

I still believe that the date list really should go in a separate section, together with the various dates for the end of the war; but that is not a question of POV as much as of orderly presentation. The question whether this should be done, and what summary phrase can go in the intro if it is, can be postponed unless it becomes an objection to this draft. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:19, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
I would opt to remove the whole "Some sources......European war" listing of dates. At worst keep the "Some sources....several other events". This is sufficient as the next line is merely an explanation of what these other events might be. That is a detail level unsuited for the intro. Arnoutf (talk) 12:48, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Draft attempt 6

World War II, or the Second World War,[37] was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the Worlds nations, including all of the great powers,[38] organized into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The war involved the mobilization of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history, and placed the participants in a state of "total war", erasing the distinction between civil and military resources. This resulted in the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort. Over 70 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.[39] The financial cost of the war is estimated at about a trillion 1944 U.S. dollars worldwide,[40][41] making it the most expensive war as well.[42]

The starting date of the war is conventionally held to be September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions;[43][44] some sources use other dates including 1931, 1937, and 1941 (see below). The Allies were victorious, and, as a result, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as the world's leading superpowers. This set the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 45 years. The United Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The self determination spawned by the war accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Western Europe itself began moving toward integration.

and as a separate section, which would be linked to from above and from the infobox:

Other dates for the beginning of war include the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931,[45][46] the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937,[47][48] or one of several other events. Other sources follow A. J. P. Taylor, who holds that there was a simultaneous Sino-Japanese War in East Asia, and a Second European War in Europe and her colonies, but they did not become a World War until they merged in 1941; at which point the war continued until 1945. This article uses the conventional dating.[49]

The end of the War also has several dates; some sources end it from the armistice of August 14, 1945, rather than the formal surrender; in some European histories, it ended on V-E Day; the Japanese Treaty was not signed until 1951; the Six Power treaties were signed, formally ending the War in Europe, in 1992.


Euhm NO!. The introduction is a summary. So EVERYTHING in that summary should be explained in more detail below; adding an explicit pointer is in my opinion a very bad idea. Can't we agree on this The starting date of the war is conventionally held to be September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by the United Kingdom, France and the British Dominions;[50][51] some sources use other dates. And than make the different starting dates of the War more explicit in the "wa breaks out" section. Arnoutf (talk) 16:57, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Fine. The dates and the link are an effort to lean over backwards for compromise, but if no one insists, away with them! Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:02, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I disagree with this proposal and the above modifications. The earlier draft attempts were much more informative. --Flying tiger (talk) 18:26, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Odd, since this contains slightly more information than Draft 4; it just doesn't put it in the lead, where Arnoutf objects (rightly) it doesn't summarize the article. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:27, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Draft #4 looks better and more succinct, because it finishes the entire issue about dates in one sentence. Draft #6 forks the same info into another paragraph with one historian (Taylor) singled out, which to me looks rather tedious. Blueshirts (talk) 23:27, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't insist on naming Taylor, although he appears to be the originator of his view. One of the problems with Draft 4 is that it doesn't mention the 1941 view at all; if we are required to mention minority views, we should not pick and choose between them. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:52, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
"Traditionally" sounds stronger and more accurate than "conventionally". Because "conventionally" implies the date has been vetted by theory; whereas here, the summary in question is being rewritten under the pet demands of trolls. The word "tradition" also reinforces the caution that September 1939 reflects cultural bias (i.e "World War II wasn't official until those pesky Germans started shooting"). Finally, "conventionally" implies that dates outside of September 1939 are not scientific; when they have only been established as non-traditional.Woerkilt (talk) 05:32, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
"Traditionally" is indeed stronger than "conventionally"; to the extent it is stronger, it falsely implies that September 1939 is no longer accepted by most reliable sources. The claim about cultural bias is unsupported; can we have some evidence before we begin such polemics? They could easily cut both ways. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:38, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps "generally" instead of tradition or convention? "Tradition" and "convention" both carry implications. Also, regarding "including 1931, 1937, and 1941 (see below)" perhaps that should be not struck, but appear as a summary of the text proposed for the detailed "other dates" ref, e.g., ..."some sources use dates reflecting other triggers of conflict." —PētersV (talk) 15:05, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree to generally or some such word. Arnoutf has an excellent point that all of a lead implies "see below"; but including 1931, 1937, and 1941 is harmless. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:13, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Done Other trigger points doesn't really summarize the Taylor/Lucasz view that the World War began when two regional wars merged some time in 1941. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:17, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps "some sources use dates reflecting other triggers or confluences of conflicts." The reason for the obvious dates are obvious. For a meaningful narrative, I think it's more important to indicate why other dates are mentioned than to catalog the inventory of dates themselves, which is just data without context or information. —PētersV (talk) 01:43, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
A touch abstract, but I agree with the rest of Peters' comment. "Some sources use other dates, depending on which conflicts are considered part of a world-wide war." , perhaps? (This is explicitly the issue for 1941, and clearly the issue for 1931 and 1937.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:30, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

I do not intend to revert or tag this further expansion of this text; it is much better than what we had yesterday. There is one problem of detail: one reason I have been saying 1941 is that Taylor (at least) is vague about when in 1941 it became a World War: though the final inclusion of the USSR in June, or of the United States in December. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:40, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

I do not agree with your latest edit. The text says "including", which means those events are example of other starting point. There is no need for elusive wording like "other dates". --Flying tiger (talk) 22:05, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Try "inclusive" wording. This is, as Peters points out immediately above, a summary and more descriptive to boot. But we can try my version instead. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:30, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I had read his comment. I also had read yours above. I understand that if you have change your mind about the compromise, I have not. Sorry, but I fail to see how it is more useful for the lead of the article not to have the three main other alternatives refered to. This is no much longer and much more informative for a newcomer. I would not support this kind of wording which I consider not "inclusive" but "elusive" --Flying tiger (talk) 13:49, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Fine; I have included the dates. More than that comes under Peters' objections. The reasons why they are chosen are (as should be done) included in a separate section, and summarized in the lead. Can we compromise there? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:04, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but I do not consider those objections relevant. Those three dates are obvious. There is no need for more explanation in the lead.--Flying tiger (talk) 18:34, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Amendment

This edit was earlier reverted, at a request for further discussion. I think it deals with the issue of the dating of the war without the problematic word "joining". The documents at the time tend to us the word "theatres" and tend to keep the Pacific theatre distinct from the European theatre. I can't see why this duality in the war should not persist in the intro, and it would be more accurate. I also quite like the "one war theory", with the 15 year gap as an intermission. First/Second war, etc.

Here is my proposal. Benkenobi18 (talk) 17:11, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

World War II or the Second World War is the term applied to the global conflict primarily fought between the Axis and the Allies across all of Europe, North Africa, Russia and most of the Eastern Pacific, from the latter half the 30's ending only in 1945. The second world war was the culmination of the tensions wrought after the Treaty of Versailles ratified in 1920. Thus while the end of the war is well defined, the beginning is less definite, with the period of the 20's considered to be a intermission between the two massive wars of the 20th century.

Two theatres dominated the strategic considerations of the war, the Pacific theatre centred on the Axis power of Japan, and the European theatre, centred on the Axis power of Nazi Germany. The conflict in the Pacific theatre began with the First Sino-Japanese War whereupon Japan seized the province of Manchuria from China. In 1937, Japan invaded China, sparking the Second Sino-Japanese War in an attempt to cripple China altogether and establish their Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. On December 7th, 1941, Japan, with their stunning attack at Pearl Harbour, brought the USA fully into the Second World war.

In the European theatre, the war took a different turn. After the Munich Accord in 1938 and the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, Hitler demanded the cessation and surrender of Poland, believing that the Allied powers of Britain and France would not stand up to him. Instead, Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany September of 1939 in response to the Axis invasion of Poland. Thus, the war is dated starting from 1939 in the European theatre, which is the usual date given for the whole of the Second World War.

That sounds like the best try so far, to me. I'd only ask for a cite of source on the "intermission" (& I'm not sure if Price counts, 'cause he was only talking about the war at sea in A/c versus the Submarine). I'd del the date of the attack on Pearl as too U.S.-centric (use the link, instead). Some of the statistical stuff from the earlier iterations might be appropriate; personally, I'd leave it out, 'cause I find it adds clutter, but... Beyond some cleanup, I'd say that's good to go. Trekphiler (talk) 06:43, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
The thing that jumps out at me most is that the FSJW was in 1894-95, and was over control of Korea, so it needs to be removed here. Also, Soviet Union, not Russia. Parsecboy (talk) 11:23, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
The one war theory is not really a dating for the present subject, but claims it is part of a Time of Troubles in Toynbee's sense; thus it is not making the same kind of assertion as the others. I object to any wording which does not acknowledge September 1939 as a majority view, however (we don't need to be obtrusive about this, but the reader should be able to find it readily; she may want to know). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:14, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Information.svg At the risk of starting yet another extended wrangle, I deleted the dates 1931, 1937, & 1941. If this was a paper encyclopedia, I'd agree with leaving them in, per convention; it's not, & they're in the links, if anybody wants to know. If you think this constitutes vandalism, you've been arguing this issue too long. Trekphiler (talk) 06:11, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

temporary freeze of edits to dates during mediation?

Do we or do we not freeze any edits to the start and end dates to this article during the duration of mediation? I assume yes, it would certainly be conductive to finding a consensus. I have accordingly reverted PMAnderson's recent edit despite my general agreement with the 1939 start etc. Note also that I'm now apparently in dispute with PMAnderson on two articles (and five talk pages?), which is not a good sign, though in this article we seem to agree about history but not procedure.--Caranorn (talk) 14:58, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

I should prefer not to, obviously. I believe a middle way is possible, acknowledging the convention that the Second Sino-Japanese War is part and parcel of WWII without affitming it in Wikipedia's voice. A freeze during mediation will only give incentive to those whose text is presently presented to delay, obfuscate and argue every minor detail; if the mediation continues, they win; if the mediation is abandoned, they win.
On the other hand, continuing editing here may make mediation moot; if mediation does resolve the issue, its compromise will prevail in normal editing by consensus of the participants. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:23, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Re: Caranorn - I think it'd be best. Until some kind of agreement / resolution has taken place, it will just remain change-revert-repeat. Oberiko (talk) 22:25, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
That renders this proposal completely unacceptable. Protect it if you like; protections are supposed to be temporary. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:47, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

TAGs on mainpage

I think the placement of 2 tags stating that the entire article is POV, and that it maybe not factually correct is overdoing it.
We are writing Wikipedia for its readers, not for our own petty disagreements. I agree there is a dispute, but as far as I have seen it is only about the Introduction. Furthermore, the disputed POV is that the 2nd S-J war is the start of the war. Apparently this is also the factual inaccuracy; but I tend to disagree there, as "the merging of two wars the earliest of which should count as the start of WWII" is clearly an analysis and not a fact in itself.
I have replaced the tags, as they are in my opinion over the top, with a single POV tag - referring explicitly to the introduction. Please do not give the signal the whole of the article is crap by putting up a list of non-specific warning tags . Wikipedia mainspace should be reader friendly and not a representation of the petty infighting behind the screen (ie here). Arnoutf (talk) 22:28, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Setting up the date of the beginning of the war is one of the most important questions, because it implies who is responsible for the world worst disaster in history, if you set it to 1937, Japan is guilty, if you set it to 1939, it is Germany. Megaribi (talk) 22:38, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
Guilt?? That is a new, and in my opinion irrelevant approach. Anyway, what I try to say in this section is that we should be careful slapping multiple generic warning templates everywhere, where a single specific one will do. Arnoutf (talk) 22:53, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

The intro effectively asserts that the war began in 1937; the section on the outbreak of the war implies that the Asian battles there mentioned were part of the war. Both are claims of fact, and disputed. (In addition, the claim that the Amur River battle of 1939 was a Soviet victory is questionable; contemporary sources treat it as a draw, which was (in the strategic situation) enough for Soviet security.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:16, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

I removed the blanket tags (which were later re-added) as they seemed over the top given that only some of the details in a few sentances are under dispute, but the current targeted ones are OK. Nick Dowling (talk) 01:26, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Asserting that the war started in 1937 is VERY serious for the credibility of the whole article as it is contradicted by the section on casualities later on in the article which assumes in its calculations of deaths that the war began in 1939. And are production figures for weapons calculated 1937-45 or 1939-45? Colin4C (talk) 14:48, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikiquette alert filed against Pmanderson

As per the procedure, I am notifying the editors of this page that I have filed a Wikiquette alert against Pmanderson. Oberiko (talk) 01:52, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

The following response from an uninvolved editor contains a long comment on the general issue:
I have to laugh over the actual content being disputed. Consensus among historians is so overwhelming about the start of WWII that any attempt to provide an alternate "start" date would be so heavily qualified with footnote after footnote going through the POV revisionism that the article would lose all its readers before they even got beyond the opening paragraph. This argument may be intense, but as it stands the net result will be the loss of credibility and likely readability.
This is exactly the condition of proposal 4. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:38, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Japanese version

It has been asserted that "official Japanese Histories of WWII begin in 1937" - if that is the case, why does the Japanese WWII Wikipedia article explicitly state 1939-1945 in the first para? Jooler (talk) 23:40, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Since when do we use any Wiki as a source for anything? Parsecboy (talk) 01:43, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Did I say we should use it as a source? Presumably there are good reasons why the Japanese Wikipedia article uses 1939-1945, which may have been overlooked or misinterpreted here. As I don't understand Japanese I unable to investigate further,but it does seem to me that the claim that "official Japanese Histories of WWII begin in 1937" is at odds with the unofficial Wikipedia article and I can't help but think that there must be some good reason for this. Jooler (talk) 06:16, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
I have to also ask the question as to why here and here (a featured article) also explicitly use 1939-45 when we are told that these dates are not used by the Chinese on the whole. Jooler (talk) 06:38, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
We can't presume anything about those other language versions. Ignore them! The discussion about when the war started involves only sources available to us. Binksternet (talk) 08:31, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
The point here is not that whether histories written in China or Japan use 1937 or 1939 "on the whole", but that substantial number of historians have argued for various starting points before 1939. In addition, can you read Chinese? This is directly from the second paragraph of zh-wiki: 儘管在1939年9月前,衣索比亞的抗義戰爭,中國的抗日戰爭(起始於1937年的盧溝橋事變)等反軍國主義的抵抗已經開始,但普遍持有歐洲中心觀的學者認為戰爭從1939年9月1日德國入侵波蘭開始. The gist of the sentence means that even though Sept 1 1939 is the starting date generally held by Eurocentric historians, the Sino-Japanese War had already began in 1937 with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. Doesn't really fit your case here, does it? Blueshirts (talk) 08:34, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
ZOMG! The Chinese Wiki does use 1937! This still doesn't matter, because it's still a Wiki entry, and therefore totally irrelevant. The point that is relevant, is right there in Blueshirts' first sentence Parsecboy (talk) 12:02, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
No I don't speak Chinese funnily enough. Here is what Google Translator makes of the first two paragraphs:
"The Second World War (World War II, World War II; 1939 - 1945), is so far, the human society by the largest and deadliest, the most devastating global war. The warring parties are China, the United States, Britain, France, the Soviet Union and other countries of the Allies and to Germany, Japan, Italy and other militaristic nations of the Axis Group. Progress of the war to climax, the world's 61 countries and regions taking part in the war, 19 million or more of the population was involved in the war, the flames of war throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and Oceania five continents, the two warring sides and also the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Ocean And the Arctic Ocean four started the fighting. Finally, World War II to the Allies victory in the end."
"Despite the September 1939, Ethiopia's anti-war, and China's War of Resistance Against Japan (starting in 1937 the Marco Polo Bridge Incident), anti-militarism of the resistance has begun, but the widely held view of the European Centre for scholars believe that War from September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland, to September 2, 1945 Japan surrendered to the Allies and come to an end. The war caused a total of about 7,000 people over 2 million deaths, accounting for the world's total population at that time (about 1.9 billion 70 million) ratio of around 3.18 percent.It is estimated that during World War II, money and property losses of about 1.385 trillion U.S. dollars, substantial damage to housing. Factories, farms, railways and bridges damaged, while difficult to estimate."
As far as I can tell from this rough translation - it still asserts VERY CLEARLY in the first sentence that the war was from 1939-1945. It then states that military action had been taking place in China and Ethiopia prior to 1939 and that Western scholars use 1939 as the start date. It does not assert that WWII began in 1937. The article then continues on about the build up to the invasion of Poland from a European perspective. It gives some detail of various nations pre-war and actually mentions the Sino-Japanese War under a section titled "in the pre-war military conflicts" The Pacific theatre is then introduced chronologically in 1941 with the background to the attack on Pearl Harbour. The point here is that due weight is given to the pre-1939 dates. The article does not dwell on events in Asia before 1939 and uses "conventional" "western" dating for the focus of the article. I don't see why our article should be any different. Jooler (talk) 13:59, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Precisely. Unsourced and unsupported claims of Eurocentrism may be seen, as so often, as a device for those of a particular POV to get their view enshrined in Wikipedia. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:54, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
You're both still missing the point here; it's a Wiki, so it's totally irrelevant to this discussion. The Chinese Wiki can say the war started in 1902 for all I care; any wiki isn't to be used for anything, stop making us beat this horse. Parsecboy (talk) 20:47, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
So you explicitly state that you care little for historical accuracy on Wikipedia (albeit Chinese Wikipedia). Interesting. But perhaps this is not what you meant to say. I think you are missing the point. It has already been demonstrated that for the most part Oberiko has misrepresented his sources. The vast majority do not say what he says they say. They do not say explicitly WWII was from 1937-1945. Some say what amounts to "'in a way WWII begain in 1931/37 etc.." We are urged to believe by Oberiko and others following the same argument that the "conventional" use of 1939-1945 as the delimiters of WWII are "Western bias". But the way the Chinese and Japanese articles have been written seems to contradict this. Your counter-argument is that we should just ignore this. I've yet to see a single piece of evidence the clearly presents a historical record of WWII in its entirety that uses 1939-1945 with the possible exception of a book by Saburo Ienaga (quote not yet forthcoming). If this remains the only source it certainly represents an minor opinion. Jooler (talk) 21:11, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
You're putting words in Parsecboy's mouth. He explicitly stated that another Wiki is irrelevant to our debate. That's why neither he nor I will talk to the points that you bring up under this section heading. Start a new heading if you want to discuss 1939 etc. The Japanese wiki does not matter here at en.wikipedia.org. Binksternet (talk) 21:46, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

In short: there is no evidence of Western bias; no assertion by any source that 1939 is Western bias. A handful of sources say somebody uses a different date, and we now say so too. It might be justified to prune the excursus about the various dates back, for good style, but I'm not going to. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:13, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Binksternet. I'm paraphrasing Parseboy's words "The Chinese Wiki can say the war started in 1902 for all I care" but I make it clear that perhaps this is not what he intended to say. Personally I would deplore it in the most extreme manner possible if the Chinese article used the date 1902. These Chinese and Japanese are irrelevant as a source for an article. I fully concur with this view. But they most certainly are not irrelevant to this debate and I'd like you or someone else to give me a good reason why they should be irrelevant to this debate? You cannot just shut your eyes put your hands over your ears and go "la la la la - I can't hear you!". Parseboy saying "it's totally irrelevant to this discussion" does not make it so. These articles exist therefore the can be discussed. The significance of their existence however is matter for debate. I would argue that the case for Western bias as previously laid out is weakened by their existence. PMAnderson agrees with me. Jooler (talk) 23:18, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Why would anybody here on the English wikipedia WWII discussion page want to debate sources that can't be used in the article? I certainly don't. Binksternet (talk) 23:29, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Yeah - as I thought the "la la la I can't hear you" argument. I am not talking about using the articles as sources. I thought I had made that quite clear. I am talking about their very existence as an example of a Japanese/Chinese perspective on dating the War. Jooler (talk)
That's not what I said; it is likely that the phrase your babel-fish translated "European Centre" is in fact Eurocentric. But they're not reliable sources for that, or anything else. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:24, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't doubt that Eurocentric is the correct translation. You said "there is no evidence of Western bias; no assertion by any source that 1939 is Western bias" as this followed on from my earlier post illustrating how the Chinese article follow the Western dating. I took it to mean that you thought that the fact that Chinese article does not counter the Western bias is suggestive that the Western bias argument is bogus. I apologise if I misunderstood. Jooler (talk) 23:38, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
The Chinese wikipedia is not a source, any more than we are. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:44, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
No I have made it abundantly clear that I do not think it should be used as a source. But still it exists and one has to question why it exists in its current form and not in a form more like the English article. Jooler (talk) 23:49, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
I think I may have been a bit bone-headed here. I now see where you're coming from. you are saying that the Chinese article alleges Eurocentrism, and it is another example of alleging bias without anything to back it up. Jooler (talk) 23:56, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Chinese article on WW2 is a joke. It was an exact copy of an old English article that was promoted in 2004 (scroll to bottom). It has exactly two references (Churchill's memoir and A War to be Won) and the entire article carries no in-line citation. Funny thing is, in the 2004 nomination process the anon left a note "how come there isn't much info on the China Theatre" and in the entire process only six users replied, with only three supporting votes. So much for an FA article! I suggest you lay off on using the Chinese "FA" article for your argument. Blueshirts (talk) 02:13, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

And in four years nothing has changed. No one has corrected it. In 1250 edits over the last 4 years no one has fixed it up. Interesting. Jooler (talk) 07:00, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Discuss war start dates

I made several changes today that tried to emphasize the difference of opinion in the world war 2 article. There are two issues that came up about this.

1) "World War 2", someone says that it is "dubious." This should be straightfoward case. World War II is also written as World War 2. Anyone agree?

2) Start date. I tried to emphasize the start dates to be 1937 and/or 1939, but the person that said dubious says that it explicitely need to be 1939. This is matter of contention and no sources in the web or in the books solidly says that: "World War 2 started in 1939." They usually says that "it says it started in 1939." I think we should state both of this in the introduction. Japan was already at war with China from 1937 and Germany "joined" it in 1939. I'm not taking any position but I think we should discuss this difference in the article without explicitely forcing some date, because I strongely object to forcing some date in wikipedia article. We need to stay NPOV. What do you think? Onetwo1 (talk) 15:45, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

I'll just chime in for the number. II=2, one is a roman numeral the other an arab numeral. There is no need to have both in the intro.--Caranorn (talk) 15:59, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
And the text says "the World War 2". This is what is dubious. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:16, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
no sources in the web or in the books solidly says that: "World War 2 started in 1939." That is an utter falsehood; the one thing the mediation has agreed on is that a majority of sources do say exactly that. R. R. Palmer's words are quoted on this talk page: The Second World War opened with the assault on Poland. A minority of sources disagree; we dispute whether that minority is even primarily Asian, let alone the assertion of this text that all Asian histories belong to it.
I hope this text will be reverted to one of the versions we were discussing before this sockpuppet of an anon began his contribution. (Note my talkpage; User:Onetwo 1 and the anon User:71.237.70.49 admit to being the same - an interesting way to evade semi-protection). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:16, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
That's a rather odd accusation. The User:Onetwo account seems to have been editing since march 2006. The annon first showed up in february of this year. I don't think the annon has edited this article (talk page included) either. All that seems to have happened is that Onetwo edited your talk page and forgot to log in (assume good faith), though it's odd that he reverted to annon only two minutes after posting as Onetwo. I notice a lot of licence problems with that account, but that's about it. And there is no such thing as evading semi-protection, it's not difficult (and in any case encouraged) to create an account, edit for four days and then get access to such semi protected articles...--Caranorn (talk) 18:01, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

1)I agree that World war II (roman) and World war 2 (arabic) are the same; therefore we do not need both. 2) I'm not sure but I think maybe User:Onetwo means more that "in Europe, war started in 1939" and "in Asia in 1931, 1937 or 1941" rather than "Europeans think WWII started in 1939" and "Asians in 1931, 1937 or 1941". Anyway, I take notice that many users do not agree with user:Pmanderson latest proposal. So far, the consensus lasted only one day...--Flying tiger (talk) 18:10, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

I think this is part of the issue. Europeans state WWII started in 1939; and Europeans named this conflict "WWII". But there are indeed many, many sources that use sept 1939 as start. Arnoutf (talk) 18:25, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
I have restored Flying Tiger's text, as not requiring tags; the section on the outbreak of war, which we have not discussed, still does. I agree with Vecrumba, of course, that it should still be shortened; but that is not a pressing need. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:42, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
    • ^ Kantowicz, Edward R. The Rage of Nations, pg. 346
    • ^ Greer, Gordon B. What Price Security?, pg. 28
    • ^ Kantowicz, Edward R. The Rage of Nations, pg. 346
    • ^ Greer, Gordon B. What Price Security?, pg. 28
    • ^ Kantowicz, Edward R. The Rage of Nations, pg. 346
    • ^ Greer, Gordon B. What Price Security?, pg. 28
    • ^ Kantowicz, Edward R. The Rage of Nations, pg. 346
    • ^ Greer, Gordon B. What Price Security?, pg. 28
    • ^ Kantowicz, Edward R. The Rage of Nations, pg. 346
    • ^ Greer, Gordon B. What Price Security?, pg. 28
    • ^ Official military histories in Commonwealth nations refer to the conflict as the Second World War, while the United States' official histories refer to the conflict as World War II. English translations of the official histories of other nations tend to resolve into English as Second World War also, for example Zweiter Weltkrieg in German. See C.P. Stacey Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, for example. "Official" usage of these terms is giving way to popular usage and the two terms are becoming interchangeable even in formal military history.
    • ^ Hartmann, Frederick H. The relations of nations, pg. 312
    • ^ Dunnigan, James. Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You About the Greatest, Most Terrible War in History, William Morrow & Company, 1994. ISBN 0-688-12235-3
    • ^ Mayer, E. (2000) "World War II" course lecture notes on Emayzine.com (Victorville, California: Victor Valley College)
    • ^ Coleman, P. (1999) "Cost of the War," World War II Resource Guide (Gardena, California: The American War Library)
    • ^ Keegan, John (1989), The Second World War, Glenfield, Auckland 10, New Zealand: Hutchinson .
    • ^ Kantowicz, Edward R. The Rage of Nations, pg. 346
    • ^ Greer, Gordon B. What Price Security?, pg. 28
    • ^ Bradley James, Powers, Ron. Flags of Our Fathers, pg. 58
    • ^ Tucker, Spencer; Roberts, Priscilla Mary. Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History, pg. 771
    • ^ Chickering, Roger; Förster, Stig; Greiner, Bernd. A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937-1945, pg. 64
    • ^ Fiscus, James W. Critical Perspectives on World War II, pg. 44
    • ^ Among other starting dates sometimes used for World War II are the 1935 Italian invasion of Abyssinia (Ben-Horin, Eliahu. (1943). The Middle East: Crossroads of History, pg. 169; Taylor, Alan. (1979). How Wars Begin, pg. 124; Yisreelit, Hevrah Mizrahit. (1965). Asian and African Studies, pg. 191) and 1941 when the European and Asian conflicts merged (Taylor, AJP. (1961). The Origins of the Second World War, pg. vii; Kellogg, William O. (2003). American History the Easy Way, pg. 236). There also exists the viewpoint that both World War I and World War II are part of the same European Civil War (Canfora, Luciano; Jones, Simon. (2006). Democracy in Europe: A History of an Ideology, pg. 155; Prin, Gwyn. (2002). The Heart of War: On Power, Conflict and Obligation in the Twenty-First Century, pg. 11)
    • ^ Official military histories in Commonwealth nations refer to the conflict as the Second World War, while the United States' official histories refer to the conflict as World War II. English translations of the official histories of other nations tend to resolve into English as Second World War also, for example Zweiter Weltkrieg in German. See C.P. Stacey Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, for example. "Official" usage of these terms is giving way to popular usage and the two terms are becoming interchangeable even in formal military history.
    • ^ Hartmann, Frederick H. The relations of nations, pg. 312
    • ^ Dunnigan, James. Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You About the Greatest, Most Terrible War in History, William Morrow & Company, 1994. ISBN 0-688-12235-3
    • ^ Mayer, E. (2000) "World War II" course lecture notes on Emayzine.com (Victorville, California: Victor Valley College)
    • ^ Coleman, P. (1999) "Cost of the War," World War II Resource Guide (Gardena, California: The American War Library)
    • ^ Keegan, John (1989), The Second World War, Glenfield, Auckland 10, New Zealand: Hutchinson .
    • ^ Kantowicz, Edward R. The Rage of Nations, pg. 346
    • ^ Greer, Gordon B. What Price Security?, pg. 28
    • ^ Bradley James, Powers, Ron. Flags of Our Fathers, pg. 58
    • ^ Tucker, Spencer; Roberts, Priscilla Mary. Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History, pg. 771; note, however, that Tucker's own view is that 191 is most convenient; p. 9.
    • ^ Chickering, Roger; Förster, Stig; Greiner, Bernd. A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937-1945, pg. 64
    • ^ Fiscus, James W. Critical Perspectives on World War II, pg. 44
    • ^ Among other starting dates sometimes used for World War II are the 1935 Italian invasion of Abyssinia; (Ben-Horin, Eliahu. (1943). The Middle East: Crossroads of History, pg. 169; Taylor, Alan. (1979). How Wars Begin, pg. 124; Yisreelit, Hevrah Mizrahit. (1965). Asian and African Studies, pg. 191) for 1941 see (Taylor, AJP. (1961). The Origins of the Second World War, pg. vii; Kellogg, William O. (2003). American History the Easy Way, pg. 236). There also exists the viewpoint that both World War I and World War II are part of the same European Civil War. (Canfora, Luciano; Jones, Simon. (2006). Democracy in Europe: A History of an Ideology, pg. 155; Prin, Gwyn. (2002). The Heart of War: On Power, Conflict and Obligation in the Twenty-First Century, pg. 11)
    • ^ Official military histories in Commonwealth nations refer to the conflict as the Second World War, while the United States' official histories refer to the conflict as World War II. English translations of the official histories of other nations tend to resolve into English as Second World War also, for example Zweiter Weltkrieg in German. See C.P. Stacey Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, for example. "Official" usage of these terms is giving way to popular usage and the two terms are becoming interchangeable even in formal military history.
    • ^ Hartmann, Frederick H. The relations of nations, pg. 312
    • ^ Dunnigan, James. Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You About the Greatest, Most Terrible War in History, William Morrow & Company, 1994. ISBN 0-688-12235-3
    • ^ Mayer, E. (2000) "World War II" course lecture notes on Emayzine.com (Victorville, California: Victor Valley College)
    • ^ Coleman, P. (1999) "Cost of the War," World War II Resource Guide (Gardena, California: The American War Library)
    • ^ Keegan, John (1989), The Second World War, Glenfield, Auckland 10, New Zealand: Hutchinson .
    • ^ Kantowicz, Edward R. The Rage of Nations, pg. 346
    • ^ Greer, Gordon B. What Price Security?, pg. 28
    • ^ Bradley James, Powers, Ron. Flags of Our Fathers, pg. 58
    • ^ Tucker, Spencer; Roberts, Priscilla Mary. Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History, pg. 771; note, however, that Tucker's own view is that 191 is most convenient; p. 9.
    • ^ Chickering, Roger; Förster, Stig; Greiner, Bernd. A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937-1945, pg. 64
    • ^ Fiscus, James W. Critical Perspectives on World War II, pg. 44
    • ^ Among other starting dates sometimes used for World War II are the 1935 Italian invasion of Abyssinia; (Ben-Horin, Eliahu. (1943). The Middle East: Crossroads of History, pg. 169; Taylor, Alan. (1979). How Wars Begin, pg. 124; Yisreelit, Hevrah Mizrahit. (1965). Asian and African Studies, pg. 191) for 1941 see (Taylor, AJP. (1961). The Origins of the Second World War, pg. vii; Kellogg, William O. (2003). American History the Easy Way, pg. 236). There also exists the viewpoint that both World War I and World War II are part of the same European Civil War. (Canfora, Luciano; Jones, Simon. (2006). Democracy in Europe: A History of an Ideology, pg. 155; Prin, Gwyn. (2002). The Heart of War: On Power, Conflict and Obligation in the Twenty-First Century, pg. 11)
    • ^ Kantowicz, Edward R. The Rage of Nations, pg. 346
    • ^ Greer, Gordon B. What Price Security?, pg. 28