Top 10 WWII Lies We Believe Because of Movies

If you were born after the Second World War, which I wish you, you probably acquired your knowledge on the subject through history lessons during your schooling but also by watching a shitload of war films. The problem with the second option is that often we are presented with certain things or events that are not necessarily true or did not happen that way and we start to believe them. So we’re going to deconstruct some of these big mythos together, because Hollywood lies last five minutes.

1. “The soldiers were between 30 and 40 years old”

Unfortunately most of the WWII soldiers were much younger than those shown in the movies since the average age was in their twenties. Even for high-ranking soldiers like Major Winters at the head of the American “Easy Company” who was only 27 when the war ended (and therefore 23 when it started). Most of the people sent to war were very young recruits and that is all the more sad.

2. “Bullets can hit us underwater”

Take for example the mythical scene of the landing in We have to save the soldier Ryan, we see some soldiers falling into the water and being killed by bullets coming at them. Water is nearly 800 times denser than air, so there is very little chance that bullets will maintain the same speed and trajectory when entering water. Historically, soldiers may well have found respite by positioning themselves underwater while being fired upon and surviving.

3. “You can run and shoot with precision at the same time”

You inevitably see scenes where the soldiers heroically charge towards the enemy, shooting with precision, well, it’s quite complex to achieve. Weapons back then were less accurate than those of today and running while shooting was mostly about exposing yourself to enemy fire and wasting ammunition without hitting your target.

4. “There was always plenty of ammo”

Since we’re talking about bullets, we can talk about the fact that in the movies soldiers have infinite ammunition syndrome, a super useful thing when you’re on a battlefield. However, it was very difficult for a soldier to carry a lot of ammunition on him and they had to save their bullets, which is also true for aerial combat scenes where we see planes firing without stopping and never missing a shot. balls.

5. “Most casualties were military”

Several films tend to show the horror of war through the lives of soldiers, supporting the fact that the greatest casualties of World War II were military. Except that it is false, there are more dead civilians than soldiers during the four years that the Second World War lasted: nearly 80 million civilians for nearly 23 million soldiers.

6. “All the soldiers on the same side were like brothers”

In American films, soldiers are presented as true brothers in arms ready to do anything to support and save each other. If this has been the case in some companies (as shown by the excellent series band of brothers) this was not the norm at all. It was much sadder than that: an enormous number of internal fights, suspicions of treason, executions on the basis of rumors, imprisonments and confusions were registered in the various American infantries.

7. “Battles have been won thanks to one or two heroes”

Yeah, so in the movies we often see a decisive moment in a huge battle involving thousands of soldiers and everyone there is saved by the heroic act of one or two characters: it’s not at all believable. The conflict involved millions of people and a battle can’t be won by one man, it makes for a good movie but that’s it.

8. “The Red Army executed its own soldiers and sent them to the front unarmed”

In the movie Stalingrad we can see several scenes in which the leaders of the red army fire on their allies who fall back or send their soldiers to the front without any weapon. The first is simply false, the army did not fire on its own soldiers, and the second could stem from a form of propaganda used by the Germans at the time to extol the heroism of Russian soldiers. But no, diving into the heart of an unarmed battle is too stupid to have really happened.

9. “The allies were not committing war crimes”

When we present the armies of the allies in the films they are generally shown from a heroic and positive point of view, which can be normal in a film. Only the American, Canadian and British armies also committed war crimes (especially when arriving in Germany): looting, murder, rape or beatings and few films talk about it.

10. “All great things have been achieved by American soldiers”

If most films present the Americans as the real heroes of the Second World War, it should be remembered that they took part in it in 1941, the war had already been raging for two years. But where it gets problematic is that some movies rewrite history, like U571 Where The great Escape by showing events where the Americans would have saved us when the soldiers were not even there. And I’m not even telling you about all the bullshit in the movie Captain America.


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