OMG! Avatar is not World War 2, it's World War 1! The Fire Nation is Imperial Germany, the Earth Kingdom is Czarist Russia (complete with a bumbling monarch, internal intrigue and bears), the Water Tribes are the Western Allies, the Avatar is the US! Everything matches much better!
I was forced to brush up on my WWI knowledge to answer this ask because I can’t say I ever learned about it properly in school, so it was time (plus I’ve learned a lot about the 1900′s lately so why not get into WWI as well?).
And I must say… you are spot on.
It’s interesting how similar the Russian situation is, in particular. Russia was in the fight from the start, if anything they were in it first of all. The monarch isn’t involved, but then he gets involved and shit hits the fan? And the next thing you know, they’ve collapsed internally and surrendered territories to the enemy… interesting and oddly similar to what the Earth Kingdom does, huh? Kuei does get reinstated but still, it’s very similar.
The Water Tribes as France and Britain is also very interesting since it’s quite the push-pull struggle that seemingly never ends with Germany. It’s curious, but that’s very close to how I write the Water Tribe and Fire Nation in Gladiator. Nobody can break through, nobody wins… until something pretty magical happens :’D in Avatar’s case, it’s Aang, in WWI it’s USA finally joining in (when Germany’s losses are so bad that they can’t beat USA, France and Great Britain).
And of course, how could I forget that Germany has submarines, superior air force for a long time, they even started with the poison gas! They had the most tech advancements, I think. They weren’t superior in all regards, and sure, they didn’t have tanks the way the Fire Nation does, but those submarines caused a hell of a lot of trouble to the Allies. Sounds an awful lot like the Fire Nation too, yes it does.
In short, I guess this must have been the real inspiration for Avatar’s warfare? I had never realized it, and thanks for pointing it out xD but now I have trouble believing WWI’s didn’t have anything to do with how they wrote ATLA. Those are seriously way too many coincidences…