Four Years War
Posted: 28 March 2014 01:59 AM   [ Ignore ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  231
Joined  2008-07-19

I was recently reading a short story ‘Cake’ by Stella Gibbons (she of Cold Comfort Farm fame). In the story, she uses the phrase ‘the Four Years War’ to refer to the First World War. She uses it three times, so it’s presumably not an isolated piece of creative phrasing. It’s not a name for that war that I’m aware of seeing before.

I couldn’t find any other instances with a Google search. There are lots of hits for a Star Trek RPG with that name and for a French/Venetian conflict in the 16th century, but none that I can see for WW1, other than instances of ‘four years war’ in a sentence or a title father than as the name of the conflict.

The story is in a collection published in 1940 (’Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm’) and the story itself seems from internal references to be set in 1940, so presumably written about then. I think that’s too early for the 1914-18 war to be called the First World War.

Has anyone else come across this phrase used this way?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2014 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4742
Joined  2007-01-03

I’ve found a citation in letter published in Scientific American 121, 5 July 1919, p. 9:

We should have a law [...] which should provide for the application of any patentee for an extension of the term of his patent for say five years, upon a verified showing that the invention could not be adequately practised during the continuation of the four years’ war just passed.

But it sounds like the four years here is linked to the duration of the proposed patent extension rather than a common term for the war. It’s also not capitalized.

I found numerous citations for various wars over the centuries (the French/Venetian conflict being just one), but no others specifically linked to WWI--not that I looked terribly hard.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2014 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  335
Joined  2007-02-13

This is from the preface to a play by G.B. Shaw called Geneva: Another Political Extravaganza:  “But the British people and their rulers were in no mood to black out their windows and recommence the Four Years War in defence of this distant and foreign corridor. Being, as usual, unprepared for war, we tried to appease Germany and yet keep the peace with Soviet Russia.”

From a work by Walt Whitman we can surmise that Americans in the 19th century sometimes called the War Between the States (aka The Civil War) The Four Year’s War. (Edit:  Well, when you click on the link it doesn’t go right to the page with “Four Years’ War” in it, but if you type that in the search box you can see a number of examples)

[ Edited: 28 March 2014 05:26 AM by jtab4994 ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2014 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  246
Joined  2007-02-16

From Wikipedia:

In Canada, Maclean’s Magazine in October 1914 said, “Some wars name themselves. This is the Great War. A history of the origins and early months of the war published in New York in late 1914 was titled The World War. During the Interwar period, the war was most often called the World War and the Great War in English-speaking countries.

The term “First World War” was first used in September 1914 by the German philosopher Ernst Haeckel, who claimed that “there is no doubt that the course and character of the feared ‘European War’ ... will become the first world war in the full sense of the word.” The First World War was also the title of a 1920 history by the officer and journalist Charles à Court Repington. After the onset of the Second World War in 1939, the terms World War I or the First World War became standard, with British and Canadian historians favouring the First World War, and Americans World War I.

Another Four Years War:

The Italian War of 1521–26, sometimes known as the Four Years’ War, was a part of the Italian Wars. The war pitted Francis I of France and the Republic of Venice against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Henry VIII of England, and the Papal States. The conflict arose from animosity over the election of Charles as Emperor in 1519–20 and from Pope Leo X’s need to ally with Charles against Martin Luther.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_War_of_1521–26

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2014 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3498
Joined  2007-01-29

In Canada, Maclean’s Magazine in October 1914 said, “Some wars name themselves. This is the Great War. A history of the origins and early months of the war published in New York in late 1914 was titled The World War. During the Interwar period, the war was most often called the World War and the Great War in English-speaking countries.

An end quote is desperately needed after ”This is the Great War”; it took me a couple of rereadings to figure out what was going on.

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ Founder      Schrödinger's Cat ››