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Tommy's story

Answers for Chaska High School

Photograph of young Tommy with his mother Hello "London Schoolboy." My name is Jim Klingelhutz and I have these questions for Tom Holloway.

1. During the war, how did you feel about the citizens of the different nations involved in the war?

I can't remember very clearly. I was six when it started and twelve when it ended. I don't think I felt any anger or resentment to the citizens of Germany, Italy or Japan. Our armies were fighting their armies.

2. Did you separate "the government" from the "citizens" of nations in your mind - or did you see them as a whole as either good or evil?

Jim, I think this is a good question. I think on the whole even at my young age I realised that it was the governments that were fighting and that the people of those countries were really people like us.

3. If we are take one lesson from World War II, what lesson would you have us learn?

Politicians use their enormous power to make ordinary people do terrible things. In your American Civil War it was one army fighting another. During World War 2 it was unarmed, defenceless, innocent civilians who suffered most. Look at the proportion of Polish or Yugoslav women and children and old people who died, compared to those in uniform, (figures given below). Isn't it the same now in Bosnia and Rwanda?

Estimated loss of life during World War Two
(From the book 'Hitler and Stalin' by Professor Alan Bullock)

Country Total Population Military Civilians
Britain 1939-45 390,000 0.8% 326,000 62,000
France 1939-45 810,000 1.9% 340,000 470,000
Germany 1939-45 6,850,000 9.5% 3,250,000 3,600,000
Greece 520,000 7.2% - -
Hungary 420.000 3.0% - -
Italy 410,000 0.9% 330,000 80,000
Poland 1939-45 6,120,000 17.2% 123,000 6,000,000
Yugoslavia 1939-45 1,706,000 10.9% 300,000 1,400,000
USA 1941-45 295,000 0.4% - -
USSR 1941-45 21,300,000 11.0% 13,600,000 7,700,000
Figures for the USSR are 'official', but some post-war estimates say that as many as 25,000,000 civilians died.
Tom Holloway

Tom has written a story about his childhood :

Tom is a member of the MEMORIES Panel of Elders. You can click here to write to him.



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