History Of World War Two At Risk Of Being Forgotten, Study Finds

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The history of World War Two is at risk of being forgotten, with some people mistakenly thinking Germany and Britain were on the same side.

A new study has found facts, figures and the history of World War Two all have the nation coming up short.

Events like the Battle of Britain, the date of D-Day and even who fought who during WWII aren’t part of most of the nation’s knowledge.

One person in 10 had no idea Adolf Hitler was involved in World War Two.

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TV Channel HISTORY commissioned the research to mark the launch of its World War True season which starts tonight.

Dan Korn from, HISTORY, said:

Britain’s role in World War II in defying the Nazis was one of the most important in our recent history.

This research shows the importance of telling its stories to the next generation so the fortitude and sacrifice of our forebears in the forces and on the home front is not forgotten.

In HISTORY’s World War True season, a mix of documentaries, drama, personal accounts and classic films will tell the remarkable true story of Britain’s war years.

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The study of 2,000 adults found that people believed themselves to be ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ knowledgeable about World War Two.

However, the results found 36 per cent were unaware Britain’s allies included France and the US.

More strikingly, around one in 20 believe the UK was on the same side as Germany, Italy and Japan during the conflict.

And more than one in three didn’t have a clue that the Battle of Britain took place during World War Two.

UK Government

Around 43 per cent didn’t even know the battle took place over British airpsace, despite the clue in the name.

Three in 10 people didn’t know the Blitz was a World War Two event, while around 32 per cent didn’t know ‘VE’ Day marks ‘Victory in Europe’ at the end of the war.

Other people even believed the Battle of the Somme, the Treaty of Versailles and even the sinking of the Titanic were World War Two events.

Interestingly, 70 per cent of Brits didn’t know Winston Churchill wanted to unite Europe and encouraged freedom of movement after the Second World War.

Despite being widely recognised as the battle which brought the end of the war, around six in ten of the people polled couldn’t name 1944 as the year when D-Day took place.

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Almost one in six were also left stumped by the dates of the beginning and end of WWII, being 1939 and 1945 respectively.

Researchers from OnePoll.com found out half of adults reckon the majority of their history knowledge comes from their school days.

Almost six in ten pick up facts from TV whereas 37 per cent rely on films for their history lessons.

In terms of cinema, it emerged The Great Escape is considered the best World War Two-themed film.

United Artists

Schindler’s List pulls up a close second, followed by Saving Private Ryan and The Bridge of the River Kwai.

The recently released Dunkirk makes up the top five, with The Eagle Has Landed, Das Boot and Pearl Harbor also featuring in the top ten.

The latest season from HISTORY, World War True, launches October 9 with WW2 Treasure Hunters, featuring Madness frontman Suggs, at 9pm.

The season will be airing throughout October and November.

Top ten World War Two films:
1. The Great Escape
2. Schindler’s List
3. Saving Private Ryan
4. The Bridge on the River Kwai
5. Dunkirk
6. Pearl Harbor
7. The Eagle Has Landed
8. Das Boot
9. Battle of Midway
10. Downfall