Huffpost Parents

World War II Twitter: A Family Dinner Table Talk

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This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

It's not surprising to see celebrities make news on Twitter, but famous historical events? This week, The New York Times featured @RealTimeWWII, a feed run by Alwyn Collison, an Oxford alum and current marketing manager, who has been re-enacting the war, 140 characters at a time. He started tweeting on August 31 -- not a random date. That was the day that Germany invaded Poland 72 years ago.

According to Collison's bio for the account, its purpose is to "livetweet the Second World War, as it happens on this date and time in 1939, and for 6 years to come."

Are people on Twitter actually interested in reading about history? Apparently so -- Collison has over 150,000 followers. But, it's not just what he's writing about -- the Times points out that other Tweeters who have tried to kick off similar projects haven't amassed nearly the same amount of fans -- it's how Collison tells the story. The tweets are a mix of newsy-sounding reports and personal accounts of how people felt during wartime. Some examples:


WW2 Tweets from 1939
New Zealand's 1st internment camp now open, imprisoning German nationals from Western Samoa, including head of Samoan Nazi Party

WW2 Tweets from 1939
Finns joke about huge Russian invading armies: "They are so many, and our country is so small, where shall we find room to bury them all?"

WW2 Tweets from 1939
"Overnight snow saved us from thirst. Only food: condensed milk & hard ship's biscuits, which those with good teeth chewed, then passed on"

WW2 Tweets from 1939
“A young girl was running after us, shouting ‘Daddy!'. SS took her away at the 1st village. I didn't see what happened, but I heard a shot”

We think it's exciting to see this new way of learning about the old, history being discussed outside the classroom... So in our real-time world where we talk about the present and think about the future, let's take it back to the past for this week's Family Table Talk.

Questions for discussion:
  • What do you know about World War II?
  • Are there other historical events you'd want to learn about this way?
  • How else could Twitter enhance a subject you're learning at school?

This Week's Recipe:
Each week, we give you something to talk about at dinner time, and now, something to eat too! Tonight's recipe comes to us from The Naptime Chef: Roast Chicken Stuffed with Corn & Parsley for Cold-Weather Cooking.

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In her new cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

Click here to see last week's Family Dinner Download

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For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (thefamilydinnerbook.com).