Educate the Public!

These are excerpts from a file I found on the Internet, which gives students' writings on World War II and other topics in American history. I am assured these are actual examples and are not made up. - Jonah

I was grading finals a week or two ago, and had asked my students to identify the term "the Erie Canal." One student eschewed many of the niceties such as dates, location, etc., but did note that the Erie Canal was a waterway ("north of Ohio") that linked the Northeast and the Northwest, and improved trade. Then the student went on to say, "Now it is Lake Erie, and used mainly for relaxation and recreation." I've also had a student explain that the U.S. would never run out of energy because new coal was being formed all the time. This same student thought that "interchangeable parts" (a la Eli Whitney) meant "transformers," and wrote that the American South did not need as many machines as the North, because they could change their machines around to make other machines.

One of my friends, who now is a professor at Tennessee Tech, taught a World War II class here for several years. He actually compiled a "history" of the Second World War from student statements. The following is a sample (all misspellings are rendered faithfully):

"Germany was beated in World War One. After the Versai treaty, the German people had no goals in life other than giving themselves enough food to eat and shelter to keep war. Germany was very depressed. Hitler was their Masia. He picked his people up, dusted their backsides, told them they were great and gave them bread to eat. Hitler wanted his people to spread out and breathe. Anti-Semitism was one of Hitler's most well-known attributes. He used the unsavory Jews and Slavics to infuriate his people. He brought the German people out of the gutter."

"Ludwig Beck, a British officer, wrote the Hosenback Memorandum, which said that Germany must move if it was to achieve the needed Liebaumstraum. Imperialism was the "in thing" in the 30s and 40s, so Hitler annexed Australia, and just like Reagan, Germany was back. Romania was taken for oil, and Albania for rubber and iron or. Germany and Austria sort of got together. This was called the Anslush. The Germans wanted to smash Rhineland to get back at Russia for World War One. Rhineland was the location of Russia's major oil fields. "Blitzkreig" describes the effective defense of the Rhineland."

"Chamberlain was a wimp. He let the Nazis take over the Ardennes, and ravage Europe at no cost. The Germans landed in Kursk, and proceeded to overrun Poland before anyone knew what was going on. The Poles tried to use their horses as tanks, and lost. Then they tried to hold the Maginot Line. Britain declared war because it stated in the treaty of Versaille that Poland was a British protectorate. The British people were tired of not doing anything and forced the signing of the Warsaw Pact. Chamberlain still held negotiations with the Germans in Muncie during the invasion. Much fighting took place in the Sudetenland between the Germans and British. 90% of the Germans lived in Sudetenland. Sedan was given to the USSR in accordance with the non-aggression pact."

"Hitler was megalomacic. After Poland he went on and on and on. Hitler fired Fritz and Blomberg because he thought they were both faggots. The German army trained 24 hours a day, SEVEN days a week, while the Allies just sat. Hitler conquered Europe because he didn't take a defeat until after Europe was conquered. In the beginning the Germans did well because they basically fought no one tough. Denmark was cake. So was Sweden. In the invasion of Norway, however, The "Blucher" was sunk near the Norwegian capital of Dunkirk. Eventually the Germans set up a Comissar system in Norway. France, Bulgaria and Belgim were next on Hitler's hit parade. "Eagle Day" was named for the invasion of Bulgaria."

"The Germans were blessed with great strateegists like Rommell, Bach, Runckstedt and Von Arm. In the 1941 campaign for France, the Germans were going to use the Von Schwin Plan, but General Gugarian developed a new plan The Germans used special "Aunschluss" divisions to aid in the capture of small towns. The German air force helped by dropping bombs Stukas were very effective with their 75mm cannon. After Germany broke the Maginot Line, Panzer Leader Einsatsgruppen crossed the river in France instead of holding the line like he was supposed to. The Germans found the going through the Ardennes impossible, so they plowed through the Meuse River and reached the English Coast in about two weeks. The French were just too weak, and the British were non-existant. English and French troops were pushed to Tobruk, an important harbor in Finland."

"Winston Churchill said England wouldn't surrender even if their island sinks. He ordered the sinking of the French fleet in Mers-el-Marine. Brition was in sad shape. They cut down trees and put them on the beaches hoping they looked like guns. They were fighting World War Two with World War One methods. This caused great problems until they realized which war they were in. The British did have good leaders like Montgoney and Bradley and a whole host of others. George Dowding was foreign minister for defense. He stressed the role of the mighty RAF in ground attack. His radar helped Britian immensely because it broke German Siper codes."

"On June 22, 1941, Italy stabbed France in the back. Italy got in it for the fun of it. Their army wasn't worth a shit. The Italians didn't exist in overall strategy. There were no military minds in the Italian High Command. Officers bought their commissions so they could eat pasta, meet beautiful women, and have a nice uniform to wear to local cocktail parties [Reenactors! - Ed.]. They had many cowardly and incompetent officers, i.e. Beppo Smchidt, Grazziano, and Frtichz Bloomberg. Bologilo was unable to lead a squad, let alone an army. They were the worst band of bunglers in the war."

"By 1942, the war was going well, Germany was winning and all was right with the world. General Donitz was Chief of the U-boats. He used the "Wolf Pact" against Great Britain. He led subs to New Orleans and Venezuela to blow away oil tankers. With no submarine force at all, his "Wolf-packing" techniques sunk allied ships right and left until the end of the war. Then 30,000 out of 40,000 U-boat crews died."