Ngram “War” Graphs

American Wars Ngram

Being a huge military history buff I decided to pick the most popular wars America fought in since the Revolutionary war.  View Here.

A few obvious conclusions are the fact that World War II is still the most talked about war in literature.  I concluded this is because it was in fact a world war and henceforth affected most of the globe.  In addition to the technologies and programs that came into being as a result of the wars destruction and loss of life.  One interesting fact I discovered was the popularity of the Vietnam War which can be found more common than the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Iraq and Afghanistan War, Korean War, and the Spanish American War.  My graph goes to 2008 therefore it was not surprising to see it more popular than the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars which are still going on today.  In addition, the Vietnam War appears to be the least declining popular war on the list.  The other wars all reached their peak and are steadily declining in popularity but Vietnam appears to still be rising by 2000 and only starting to decline where the graph cuts off.

I decided to investigate the Vietnam War results for all the given time periods.  The first, 1800-1974 was beneficial in learning about the French involvement in Vietnam prior to American military occupation along with increasing escalation events leading up to American involvement in the mid 1960s.  The period of 1975-1998 was full of a wider range of sources such as oral histories, maps, timelines, Vietnamese civilian perspectives, and even arguments on why we lost the war.  This collection blew me away and made me, honestly, angry at myself for not having discovered and using this earlier, and Google for not promoting this tool more.  If I ever felt compelled to write a paper on an American war I would certainly use Ngrams from now on.  The data can obviously be manipulated to appeal to a certain argument but the context is always historically accurate and the material collected by Google is broad enough to find something relevant to the research one is doing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.