why are straight white guys so obsessed with world war 2
like i’ll talk about my interest in history and i’ll have guys be like “yeah i’m a history buff too i love world war 1 and 2″ like cool i was talking about ancient history. like the conversation was literally about ancient egypt.
my fave thing is replying “oh, cool. i just can’t get into it. i like everyday life and religion and art. personally, i find war boring.” and let me tell you it’s a journey to watch them try and understand that killing thousands of people indiscriminately doesn’t hold my attention.
yup it’s always the “oh you’re just not into history” and the response of “yes i am im just into ancient history” and you’re ready to throw 38 greek myths at them just to shut them up about the kinds of bombers the britsh were using in the second world war
except like. they really dont give a single fuck about wwi/ii. they care about the weapons and machinery. do they care about the events and the people? do they care about why wars were actually important? in my experience, very, very rarely.
I think that gets to heart of it: they’re not history buffs in any real sense. What they are is war fanboys. They collect and curate technical information about wars just like any other fanboy collects and curates technical information about the subject of their fandom. It’s basically not real to them; knowing what exact metal the buttons of SS uniforms were made of is of no greater significance to them than knowing the exact height of the captain’s chair on the starship Enterprise – it’s just another shiny technical fact for their collection.
As somebody who is actually very interested in the social history surrounding both WWI and WWII, but couldn’t give two shits about uniform buttons and bomber construction, this is pretty accurate. These guys will say they’re interested in history but know practically nothing about how WWI altered the course of psychology and perceptions of PTSD/mental health, or about how African American civil rights activists spearheaded the Double V Campaign to combat fascism and bigotry both abroad and on the home front, calling out how non-Black Americans were supposedly standing for freedom and liberty whilst still imposing segregation back in the United States, etc.
The social history of wars in the 20th century is fascinating, but that’s not what these guys care about. As @prokopetz says, they’re not interested in history, they’re military fanboys.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, until they stop pretending to care about history:
They care so much about HOW a war was fought that they can’t be bothered with WHY.