The correct short name of the Second World War

It has become common in recent years for people to refer to the Second World War as “World War 2,” using the Arabic number 2. This is incorrect and undesirable. It has always been called “World War II,” using the Roman numeral. Similarly, the short name of First World War has always been “World War I.” Roman numerals have a weight and convey a sense of importance that is appropriate to the two greatest wars in history. The name “World War 2” has the weight of the name of a video game. Whenever readers send a comment that includes a reference to “World War 2,” I change it to “World War II.”

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Nile M. writes:

You’re correct. However there has been a growing consensus to refer to World War I again as The Great War. Its coinciding with and causing geopolitical, national, societal and cultural changes suggests it deserves the description of the Great War.

Also, a little known fact is that Winston Churchill called the Seven Year’s War (1756–1763) “the first world war” in A History of the English-Speaking Peoples.

LA replies:

I have no problem with calling World War I the Great War, and have done so myself. That is what it was called, before World War II came along. But it’s still “World War I” and the next war is “World War II.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 20, 2011 11:20 AM | Send

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