Skip to comments.Most Britons have no idea about Waterloo
Posted on 04/25/2015 9:39:10 AM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
With the 200th anniversary of the famous Battle of Waterloo just two months away a survey in Britain has revealed that most ofthe public know little about it and some even think it's just an Abba song, while many thought the French actually won.
A survey of Britons published in the build-up to the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo found three-quarters knew little or nothing about it -- while many thought France won.
The poll of 2,070 people for the National Army Museum found 73 percent either knew nothing or next to nothing about the battle, one of the most important in the nation's history.
When asked what came to mind when Waterloo was mentioned, 54 percent of people aged 18 to 24 said the London railway station named after the battle, while 46 percent cited the Eurovision-winning song by Swedish pop group ABBA.
The Battle of Waterloo, fought outside Brussels in 1815, saw the Duke of Wellington lead the British and allied forces to a final, decisive victory over French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.
But the survey found only 53 percent knew Wellington commanded the British troops.
The other 47 percent thought it could have been 16th-century navigator Francis Drake, Britain's World War II prime minister Winston Churchill, King Arthur, who ruled in the fifth century, and even the wizard Albus Dumbledore from the "Harry Potter" books.
Fourteen percent thought Napoleon actually won.
"Despite the Battle of Waterloo being an iconic moment in British history, UK public awareness is dramatically low," said Janice Murray, director-general of the National Army Museum.
People will give joke answers when there’s nothing on the line. Pay for correct answers, and watch the accuracy rate go up.
I lived in Waterloo township Michigan as a young kid.
I wonder how much our own people know about our history.
How many people think Battle of the Bulge refers to people gaining weight in middle age?
How many people think the biggest atrocity of World War II was the internment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans in this country?
How many people know all about Stonewall, but nothing of Gettysburg or Ft. Sumter?
How many people know nothing of Jimmy Doolittle and his raid on Tokyo??
Swedes get it
Interesting. I thought they would answer “is that a song from Abba? I love them!”
I bet American Ignorance in School can top that!
The Napoleonic Wars is one of my favorite historical subjects. I wonder if the French in general know more about Waterloo than the Brits.
When American college students know nothing about our Civil War, we can’t laugh at the Brits for not knowing about Waterloo.
Is it perhaps because the loos have become waterless?
I’m afraid you’re right.
You have to remember the British panic when they received the first two words of the outcome of the British shellacing of Napoleon at Waterloo,
Oddly enough the Brit’s, on balance, love ABBA.
Sure they do as they worship Napoleon, even thought they lost in it. Ironic that a Corsican pretending to be French would end up a hero there.
PLEASE refer me to a good book on the subject. I am beginning to think it is impossible to find a good one; the numerous wars and shifting alliances might make it just not possible.
Every Nap. war book I’ve ever read has lost me in the details by page 15, but I really want to know more about this subject.
Yours in groveling misery,
My Waterloo ancestor must be spinning in his (winning side) grave.
I taught Jr High history for many years. I really think a lot of what you point out is due simply to the passage of time. The last Civil War vets were dying off when I was in school, so the Civil War was still almost within living memory. There were lots of children and grandchildren of Civil War vets still alive to keep the memory alive. Today’s high school history texts cover about 1/10th the CW battles that my schoolbooks mentioned.
Then there’s today’s political correctness factor. I saw one textbook that devoted more space to the role of women in the CW than Grant & Lee combined.
The same thing is happening to the coverage of WWII. If the Battle of Guadacanal is even mentioned, it will rate a sentence or two at most. Patton, MacArthur (except for his defiance of Truman in the Korean War) and Halsey together are covered less than the Tuskeegee Airmen or women in the workforce. The internment of the Japanese is covered for several pages, the Bataan Death March, not so much.
That was my initial thought. They are obsessed with the guy. Whereas Wellington is nothing to the people in England, it appears.
Some years ago had this exchange with a young person at work about my Civil War ancestors.
“Which side were they on?”
“The side that won.”
“Which side was that?”
I kid you not.
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