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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old November 4 2013, 05:17 AM   #1
trekkist
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TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

In "Bread & Circuses," Spock refers to 6 million having been killed in WWI, 11 million in WWII (and of course 37 in WWIII). A 1965 Almanac gives 8.5 million & 26.6 million respectively (those being troop dead, with no inclusion of civilians), which means the figures cited could easily have been checked and found wrong at the time.

In-universe, this suggests an alternate timeline predating WWI…but has anyone speculation (or better) as to how the mistaken figures made it to the air? Fact-checking in Season One is on record, and lawyer-checking, at least, in Season Two (as in the Gerrold's flatcars, eh, tribbles). Was late Season Two so rushed as to explain these errors?
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Old November 4 2013, 05:41 AM   #2
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

Spock may be counting just the Allied deaths.

I mean who cares how many Germans or Russians or Chinese people died?

Well maybe in the 60s when the Cold War was in full swing. When no Chinese actors were actually allowed in TOS. I think nowadays after 60 years we can consider every death, even those of 'our' enemies.
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Old November 4 2013, 05:48 AM   #3
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

According to Memory Alpha, Roddenberry was rewriting pages all through filming, so perhaps there wasn't time or money to get some of the details researched.
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Old November 4 2013, 07:24 AM   #4
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

A de Forest Research memo (dated September 15, 1967) actually covered this, but I believe the episode was being hastily rewritten by Roddenberry and Coon throughout filming, so they may not have been able to implement the change.

Also, the dates I have indicate the episode was filmed September 12-20, 1967, so the scene may have already gone before the cameras by the time the de Forest memo arrived.

de Forest Research wrote:
six million who died in your First World War, the eleven million in the Second, the thirty-seven million in your Third – In WWI there were 8.5 million deaths; in WWII, 30,538,000. 37 million deaths for WWIII seems conservative; suggest 260 million.
The fact that the previous two de Forest memos (dated May 10, 1967 and September 7, 1967) didn't address this suggests that this dialogue was a last minute change. That's also supported by the fact that the episode brings up World War III, a topic which NBC had specifically asked Roddenberry to avoid previously (on May 17, 1966, in reference to a revision of 'The Corbomite Maneuver'):

Stan Robertson wrote:
As we discussed, a suggestion would be that on Page 48 of this draft, it be made pointedly clear that there was no “World War III” between the Sino-Western powers. Let’s keep emphasizing with our writers, as we know you have been, that this is a topic we’d like to avoid.
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Old November 4 2013, 12:55 PM   #5
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Spock may be counting just the Allied deaths.
Spock's figure for WW 1 is close to the number for allied military deaths of 5.7 million.

It's possible that Spock was simply wrong in the figures that he recited, he's not infallible. And that neither Kirk nor McCoy choose to correct him at that time, assuming that either of them knew off hand the correct figures.

It was later established that 600 million died in the Trek 3rd world war, and the 37 million dead could have been for the eugenics war. Spock confused the eugenic war with the 3rd world war once before in Space Seed, and might have been repeating the mistake.


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Old November 4 2013, 05:36 PM   #6
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

Thanks, Harvey. That's exactly what I was looking for. My GOD, I love this forum.

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Old November 4 2013, 05:41 PM   #7
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

In-universe, there is the possibility that the Enterprise records could be wrong. After all, it's several several centuries since these events took place. Perhaps, the information got lost or distorted in that time. After all, maybe some of our numbers about events 400 years old are wrong too?
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Old November 4 2013, 06:00 PM   #8
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

And in one episode (Tomorrow is Yesterday? Assignment: Earth? City on the Edge of Forever?), Spock makes a comment, "Records from that period in your Earth's history are fragmentary."

Lots of history might have been lost due to the hypothetical World War III.
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Old November 4 2013, 08:41 PM   #9
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Spock may be counting just the Allied deaths.

I mean who cares how many Germans or Russians or Chinese people died?

Well maybe in the 60s when the Cold War was in full swing. When no Chinese actors were actually allowed in TOS. I think nowadays after 60 years we can consider every death, even those of 'our' enemies.
China and Russia were part of the allied forces in both WWI and WWII. Allied deaths would include Chinese and Russian casualties.
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Old November 4 2013, 08:54 PM   #10
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

Melakon wrote: View Post
And in one episode (Tomorrow is Yesterday? Assignment: Earth? City on the Edge of Forever?), Spock makes a comment, "Records from that period in your Earth's history are fragmentary."
Are you perhaps thinking of "Space Seed"?
SPOCK: Hull surface is pitted with meteor scars. However, scanners make out a name. S.S. Botany Bay.
KIRK: Then you can check the registry.
SPOCK: No such vessel listed. Records of that period are fragmentary, however. The mid-1990s was the era of your last so-called World War.
MCCOY: The Eugenics Wars.
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Old November 4 2013, 09:03 PM   #11
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

scotpens wrote: View Post
Are you perhaps thinking of "Space Seed"?
That must be it. I overdosed on "Tomorrow" and "Space Seed" when the computer was down in September.

The line does suggest details of the 20th century may be lacking by Kirk's day.
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Old November 4 2013, 09:11 PM   #12
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

scotpens wrote: View Post
SPOCK: ... Records of that period are fragmentary, however. The mid-1990s was the era of your last so-called World War.
The first and second world wars were before "that period."

Even with the later and larger third world war it is hard to imagine all historical records world wide disappearing.


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Old November 4 2013, 10:06 PM   #13
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

T'Girl wrote: View Post
scotpens wrote: View Post
SPOCK: ... Records of that period are fragmentary, however. The mid-1990s was the era of your last so-called World War.
The first and second world wars were before "that period."

Even with the later and larger third world war it is hard to imagine all historical records world wide disappearing.


Depending on how badly the Eugenics and third World War went, I can easily see some information being lost or distorted.

A Colonel Green or Khan Noonien Singh may have had records of certain events modified or even purged for some reason.
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Old November 6 2013, 11:07 AM   #14
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

Harvey wrote: View Post
The fact that the previous two de Forest memos (dated May 10, 1967 and September 7, 1967) didn't address this suggests that this dialogue was a last minute change. That's also supported by the fact that the episode brings up World War III, a topic which NBC had specifically asked Roddenberry to avoid previously (on May 17, 1966, in reference to a revision of 'The Corbomite Maneuver'):

Stan Robertson wrote:
As we discussed, a suggestion would be that on Page 48 of this draft, it be made pointedly clear that there was no “World War III” between the Sino-Western powers. Let’s keep emphasizing with our writers, as we know you have been, that this is a topic we’d like to avoid.
Based on that quote, the issue seems to be more to avoid specific mention of the combatants in hypothetical future wars.
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Old November 6 2013, 07:31 PM   #15
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Re: TOS' incorrect world war I/II dead

Exactly who were the combatants was still unspecified in First Contact, a government or group known as "econ" was mentioned, but what part they played in the war is unclear.

Might just have be a eco terrorist group that was harassing Cochrane's effort to create a FTL engine.


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