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Newt Scamander: "What, you fought in the war?"
Jacob Kowalski: "Of course I fought in the war, everyone fought in the war – you didn't fight in the war?"
Newt Scamander: "I worked mostly with dragons, Ukrainian Ironbellies – Eastern Front."
Newt Scamander and Jacob Kowalski discuss their service in the First World War[src]

The First World War (also known as the Great War or World War I) was a Muggle military conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918 and involved most of the world's great powers.


Muggle involvement

The American No-Maj Jacob Kowalski was a veteran of the First World War.[3][4] He served in France as part of his country's Expeditionary Forces, and remained stationed there well after the conclusion of the war (presumably as part of a peace-keeping effort), returning to the United States in 1924.[4][5] Due to his extended service, he was only able to find a menial job at a cannery in his post-war life, which lead to him being unable to secure the loan he needed to fulfil his dream of opening a bakery.[3][4]

Jacob's brother also served in the war but ultimately lost his life in the fighting.[6]

Wizarding involvement

During the war, British Minister for Magic Archer Evermonde was responsible for passing emergency legislation forbidding wizards and witches from getting involved, in an attempt to prevent mass breaches of the International Statue of Secrecy.[1] This did not prevent thousands of wizards from discreetly aiding Muggles wherever they could.[1] Minister Evermonde's position drew the public condemnation of Wizengamot member Henry Potter, which caused a minor stir at the time.[7]

Rolanda Hooch's broomstick was singed by an "overzealous" anti-aircraft device sometime during the First World War.[8] She recounted this experience to Harry Potter many decades later in 1991.[8]

Theseus Scamander was among the wizards who participated in the First World War, later earning a reputation as a "war hero."[2] His younger brother, the magizoologist Newt Scamander, was part of a secret British Ministry of Magic operation to wrangle Ukrainian Ironbellies on the Eastern Front.[3][9][10] This programme was ultimately cancelled as the dragons tried to eat everyone other than Newt.[9][10]

The wizarding war effort in Europe included an "Owl Airforce" although whether it was used for deploying attacks, sending messages, surveillance, or some combination of the three is unknown.[11] The book The Owl Airforce: True Life Tales of War in Europe by Simon Dentata covered the history of the airforce in detail.[11]

The wizards of America also did their part in the war effort, although they prudently ensured that the overwhelming majority of No-Maj compatriots remained ignorant of their contribution. As there were magical factions on both sides, their efforts were not decisive, but they won many victories in preventing additional loss of life, and in defeating their magical enemies. This common endeavour did not, however, lead to a softening on MACUSA's stance on No-Maj/wizard relations, and Rappaport's Law remained firmly in place.[12]

Behind the scenes

  • While Rolanda Hooch's line in the GBA video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone refers to the "Great War", there are differences in some of the translations to other languages.
    • In the Brazilian Portuguese translation, Hooch talks about the Second World War ("Segunda Guerra").
    • She speaks of the Second World War again in the Danish translation ("2. verdenskrig").
    • In the German translation, Hooch refers only to "des Krieges" (which literally translates to "of the war"). In German, der Zweite Weltkrieg would indicate World War II, while simply der Krieg would not specifically indicate if World War I or II is meant.
    • In the French translation, she specifies that it was "la guerre de 1914–1918" ("the war of 1914–1918").


Notes and references