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Q: World War I & II - when were these terms first used? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: World War I & II - when were these terms first used?
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: victus-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 07 Jul 2004 17:28 PDT
Expires: 06 Aug 2004 17:28 PDT
Question ID: 371070
This is something that I've always wondered about - when did the terms
World War I and World War II first appear (and where)? Seems to me WWI
wouldn't have been called that until WWII had started (else why would
they have called it world war ONE unless there was an expectation that
there would be several more world wars?). And what did they call the
first world war before it was called WWI (and same question for WWII
if that wasn't the popular term at the time of the war)?

Request for Question Clarification by juggler-ga on 07 Jul 2004 18:01 PDT
Hi Victus,

 You ask, "When did the terms World War I and World War II first
appear (and where)?"

I'm not sure that it will be possible to definitively pinpoint the
exact first use.  The term "World War II," for example, had actually
been used before that war even started (i.e., in essentially the same
way that we talk about "World War III").

It might be possible to give you a short history of when the terms
became popular.  Even that is a fairly complex question, though. You
may wish to review Google Answers' pricing guidelines.
Subject: Re: World War I & II - when were these terms first used?
Answered By: actualwolf-ga on 07 Jul 2004 18:39 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi Victus-

According to the Oxford English Dictionary online, (OED is widely
considered to be THE "last word" on matters of English word usage")
the phrase "world war" first came into use in 1909 in the 8 April
edition of the _Westminster Gazette_.

However, this usage precedes the actual First World War. Similarly,
the phrase "World War 2" preceded the Second World War as well, when
used in reference to an unrelated conflict by the _Manchester
Guardian_ on 18 February in 1919.

Interestingly enough, both World Wars I & II seem to have been named
as such in one swoop by _Time_ magazine in its 11 September 1938

So, essentially World War I was called "The Great War" or "The War to
End All Wars," until the beginning of World War II, which was never
commonly called anything else.

I hope this answer is satisfactory and thank you for using Google Answers,



The Oxford English Dictionary Worldwide
victus-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: World War I & II - when were these terms first used?
From: pinkfreud-ga on 07 Jul 2004 20:18 PDT
My uncle, who fought in WWII, told me that during most of the war,
many Americans referred to it as "The War in Europe," seemingly
ignoring the Asian aspects. In my uncle's military life, it was simply
called "The War." He said that he seldom heard the term "World War II"
until after the war was over.

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