I came up with an idea to hold the World War II poll when I came across a similar questionnaire.

The poll results truly shocked me. Although there were few respondents they had a very foggy idea about World War II. Their ignorance was horrifying.

What are the results of our poll? Let’s start with our respondents.

The respondents of the World War II poll

All in all, thirty-one respondents took part in the poll.

The diagram on the countries stated by respondents can be presented in the following way:

countries ww2 survey

It can be seen that the bulk of respondents are from Russia, the US and the UK. Respondents was from 10 countries.

Was the family of poll respondents influenced by World War II?

Two-thirds of respondents said their relatives took part in World War II in one role or another.

relatives ww2 survey

“Ronald died, blew up by a land mine”, Julieann, UK.

“My both grandfathers are heroes of the war. My two grandmothers were nurses during the war. They are still alive”, Anastasia, Russia.

“1 grand father was part of the Belgian resistance and the other grand father worked in a hospital as a doctor”, Peter, Belgium.

Some of them fought on the front line, while others worked on the home front (either industrial or agricultural sector) to meet the army needs.

It is worth noting that sometimes people refused to kill and as a result were imprisoned.

The poll results

Q1: Which countries fought against each other in World War II?

The vast majority of poll respondents (97%) are well-informed about the deadliest war humankind has ever seen. They know about involved countries and opposing alliances.

However, we should make two provisos.

  1. Many English-speaking respondents do not acknowledge the contribution of the USSR (comprising Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and back then thirteen other republics) to the Pacific theater of war. Put simply, they do not recognize the key role of the USSR in defeating Japan. Initially, the Soviet Union had to maintain a huge army to defend its eastern borders from a possible Japanese attack and formally was not at war with Japan. Adolf Hitler was trying to convince Japan to attack the USSR but he failed. In fact, before the German invasion of the USSR the Japanese troops had already come in some near-border conflicts (in Chinese territories controlled by Japan) with the Red Army. It was then they got an overview of the Soviet military efficiency. Perhaps it is a high time to post some articles on this topic.
  2. Many Russian-speaking respondents substituted the term World War II with a more familiar one the Great Patriotic War, which is associated with a liberating war led by the Soviet people against mighty fascists, who occupied many countries and imposed their control over them. Moreover, documents on the USSR involvement in the Pacific front have not been published until the past decades.

Q2: Who won World War II and who made the greatest contribution to the victory?

Battle for the Reichstag. Berlin 1945-2010

Battle for the Reichstag. Berlin 1945-2010. By Sergey Larenkov

While speaking about involved countries, the bulk of respondents correctly named those, which are considered to be on the winning side. Most of them also regarded the Soviet, British and U.S. contribution as a decisive one.

The greatest contribution to the victory

Here I was quite surprised… About a half of British respondents said the USSR contribution was the greatest one. However, some British pollees did not even mention the Soviet Union among winning countries. The majority of U.S. and other respondents also pointed out that the USSR made the biggest contribution to the victory over fascism. Their opinion was proved by the Soviet military success and the huge number of casualties. Almost all respondents from the former USSR named their country a winner.

the greatest contribution to the victory ww2

According to many respondents, the US runs a close second. In support of this idea the pollees mentioned the U.S. economic aid to Great Britain and, to a lesser extent, to the Soviet Union.

On the whole, 77% of respondents admitted that the USSR defeated Nazi Germany.

One of respondents expressed an interesting opinion that Germany suffered a defeat but managed to become a prosperous country in the course of time.

The memorial to the victims of fascism in Bologna (Italy)

The memorial to the victims of fascism in Bologna (Italy) 

In fact, it was a very controversial question.

Is it possible to win a war? There are no winners in war and there cannot be any. There are, however, dead and wounded adults and children, demolished cities and villages, devastated countries.

 “This is a holiday

With temples already gray,

This is joy

With tears upon our eyes” (V. Kharitonov)

There are tears because these tragedies cannot be forgotten. There is joy because it is the end of all sorrows.

In the Soviet times, we had a great toast. It was always proposed the first “For peace!”. It is a pity that people, who remember this horrifying war, are passing away.

Plenty of Soviet movies are dedicated to World War II, its various aspects, interpretations and consequences. Russian directors and actors did not set a task to shoot an entertaining movie, they presented an individual vision of horror and desolation caused by this war. Now movies about World War II turn into high-grossing blockbusters…

Several quotes of poll respondents:

“Nobody wins a war on this scale”, Paul, UK.

“Honestly? I do not care about the rest of the world. My small country lost a third of its population and we still have not recovered from these wounds…”, Petra, Belarus.

“All wars are nothing more than political games. Authorities want power, money and fame but the burden of war rests upon the shoulders of ordinary people“, Oksana, Russia.

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