How tall were they?

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Kim Sung
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How tall were they?

Post by Kim Sung » 31 Oct 2005 08:57

When I see photos of soldiers who fought on WW1 or WW2, I feel, at that time, they weren't so tall as their sons and grandsons living now. See the first photo in this thread viewtopic.php?t=58473 even though this was taken before WW1.

How tall were German or British soldiers at the time of WW1 or WW2? In Erich Remarque's 'All quite in the Western Front', I remember there was a sentence like this: "I saw the body of a dead German soldier in a retaken trench. He was a very tall guy about 180cm." In today's standard, 180cm isn't tall for Germanic Europeans. Just the average height. What was Germans' average height then?

And, in time of WW2, Germans were taller than Slavic peoples just like now?

During the 20th century, what changes occurred in Europeans' height?

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Michael Emrys
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Post by Michael Emrys » 31 Oct 2005 09:16

I saw something on this not long ago. It even broke it down by army, but I'm afraid my recollection of it isn't that good. What I do recall is that all the numbers fell within the range of 168-175cm. It's worth remembering that many of these soldiers grew up during the Great Depression when inadequate nutrition was not uncommon, especially for city dwellers. Many of them were also underweight when conscripted.

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Post by Michate » 31 Oct 2005 12:55

I vaguely remember having read that in the late 19th century the average height of the men during conscription health tests in the German army was 168 cm, and after WW2 it was 172 cm. Today average male height in Central Europe seems to be 179 cm.

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Kim Sung
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Post by Kim Sung » 31 Oct 2005 12:59

The Dutch are the tallest people in the world now, I don't think they weren't on the top in the 19th century.

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waldorf
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Post by waldorf » 02 Nov 2005 09:10

My one granddad was 6 ft even (U.S. Navy)
My other granddad was 5 ft 8 inches (U.S. Army)
Mother's Uncle was 6 ft 2 inches (Marine Corps)

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Lars
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Post by Lars » 03 Nov 2005 10:22

killchola wrote:The Dutch are the tallest people in the world now, I don't think they weren't on the top in the 19th century.


A Dutchman once explained that to me that this was due to natural selection. Every time the dikes breached only the tallest ones survived the flood because they could keep their noses above water :wink:

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liuzg150181
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Post by liuzg150181 » 03 Nov 2005 12:37

Lars wrote:
killchola wrote:The Dutch are the tallest people in the world now, I don't think they weren't on the top in the 19th century.


A Dutchman once explained that to me that this was due to natural selection. Every time the dikes breached only the tallest ones survived the flood because they could keep their noses above water :wink:

Uh,is he serious or is he just joking? :lol:

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Big Orange
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Post by Big Orange » 03 Nov 2005 14:47

My late grandad was tall for his era and was a very tall man for a guy from Bristol, he was nearly 6 foot tall.

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Lars
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Post by Lars » 03 Nov 2005 15:28

Big Orange wrote:My late grandad was tall for his era and was a very tall man for a guy from Bristol, he was nearly 6 foot tall.


I´ve been lied to! There are no dikes in Bristol :oops:

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Post by Michate » 03 Nov 2005 17:42

A Dutchman once explained that to me that this was due to natural selection. Every time the dikes breached only the tallest ones survived the flood because they could keep their noses above water.


Being partly Dutch and not too small myself I am rather qualified to explain that the real reason is the special Dutch diet of Patat speciaal with Frikandelle and after that Vanillevla. This worked quite well at least for me (with a height of 193 cm in the morning) :wink:.

Unconciously this is well known in Germany, as each weekend heaps of Germans directly after crossing the Dutch border have nothing more urgent to do than to try the recipe (even more urgent than buying coffee).

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 03 Nov 2005 20:34

My maternal grandfather was 1.68 m tall. He is on the right in the attached photo, next to the Artillery Officer School commander who was taller, as was his friend. I am 1.88 m
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British Sapper
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Post by British Sapper » 04 Nov 2005 06:19

Certainly the average height of the population was much smaller than today.

In those days life expectancy was only little over 40 years. It only rose after the 1930's due to diet and medicine advances.

In the UK for example we had to have the 'Bantam' regiments. These tiny blokes fought well in WW1.

The fact is that living conditions were terribly harsh in those days.

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Lars
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Post by Lars » 04 Nov 2005 10:46

Three things contributes to higher people:

1/ More mixing of the gene pool. Until the late nineteenth century it wasn´t uncommon for familes to live in roughly the same area centuries after centuries resulting in very little "fresh blood"

2/ More and better food, fx. the absense of famine during childhood.

3/ Fewer childhood infections which reduces growth.

At 1.87 m I´m 10 centimeters higher than my father and 15 centimeters higher than my grandfather. Of course you have already guessed that I grew up in a place with dikes (South-Western Denmark) while neither my father or my grandfather did :wink:

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Post by Deine-Zukunft » 04 Nov 2005 10:57

"When I see photos of soldiers who fought on WW1 or WW2, I feel, at that time, they weren't so tall as their sons and grandsons living now. See the first photo in this thread viewtopic.php?t=58473 even though this was taken before WW1"

Those mens in the picture are from A.A.P.S.U

African albino pygmies special forces.

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Post by Deine-Zukunft » 04 Nov 2005 11:03

Unit and not forces.My mistake :D

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