The Cultural Impact And Legacy Of World War Two

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Oooh, a big question! Flicking though the telly channels this evening, I saw that BBC2 was screening yet another documentary about said period. Why, now so long after the fact, is there such interest in the period? Was the Allied victory the greatest achievement of mankind deserving of near constant attention, or is it really just a great Good Vs. Evil story? Please also feel free to throw in any other thoughts more related to the actual subject line, don't just stick to my badly phrased question.

NOTE: Please do not turn this into another tiresome argument about who really won, who saved who etc - you want to do that, please start another thread.

DG, Friday, 27 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Interesting maybe because it was the last time Western youth did anything worthwhile?

dave q, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Been interest in the states for many years. America's "good war". Also dated as birth of the postmodern. I never understood why, except that it was big and "postmodernity" needed a big thing to latch onto. Certainly DID mark the birth of "postmodern" literature, as a form which ABANDONED progress and assumed radical subjectivity. Poss. b/c outcome ensured a big boot on face of culture in US/europe for a span of yrs.

Sterling Clover, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

due to big influx of american servicemen, plus military police instead of civilian, resulted in important forming of pre- "liberation" gay cultures in my old home city.

Geoff, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

DG: I know you were obsessed with WW2 at a young age, as was I to an extent. Not so sure about the rest of the world, but in UK - people of all social backgrounds came together in forces so rigid pre-war class structure broke down, aristocracy had to work often for the first time, grammar-school-educated middle-classes found themselves in commanding positions over said aristocracy, and growing middle- class acceptance of what were previously considered very left-wing ideas on (relative) social mobility leading to massive 1945 Labour landslide (Mainwaring: "It'll be different after the war, you know. The upper classes will have to work for a living. No more sitting around all day." Wilson: "Oh, I didn't know you were a socialist." Mainwaring: "How dare you" ...)

Also: massive evacuation of urban children to rural areas ending, forever, isolation and innoculation of rural communities, massive geographical barriers within childhood culture broken down (as dissected in "Green and Pleasant Land" currently being repeated overnight on C4).

But, of course, Britain virtually bankrupted itself in fighting the war hence massive rebuilding job necessary, decay in public services, impossible difficulties for Attlee government (people had expected too much too soon ... as with Blair but to a far far greater extent) hence Tory revival in early 50s and decline of Labour not reversed until 1963/64. To an extent massive public desire to build more egalitarian society in immediate post-war years also dissipated in early 50s: hence huge interest in the 1953 Coronation etc.

Mark S: any of this coming up in the special issue of Crafts re. the Festival of Britain?

Robin Carmody, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Very obliquely, maybe. Not really. Nothing on Dad's Army at all ;)

All hot stuff nevertheless.

mark s, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Robin, agree with your summary but as I mentioned elsewhere (Post war litereary canon?) that for UK WWI prob more important, in if not causing an immediate change, then at least sowing the seeds of discontent which were which reaped post '45.

Slaughter of millions on Somme, etc over what seems to me to be a gentleman's club dispute (oh you've invaded Austria , in that case we'll have to go and invade Greece etc) must have destroyed what faith 'the working classes' had in their leaders.

Plus October revolution (and womens suffrage) must have given people if not the will, then the idea that there could be an alternative to what in many cases was a feudal system which hadn't changed much in a few hundred years.

Billy Dods, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Billy: didn't WW1 also lead to the decline of the Liberal Party?

Mark: I was thinking more in terms of the Herbivore / Carnivore thing re. the Festival of Britain / Attlee losing / Churchill getting back, as put forward by Michael Frayn in *that* essay back in 1963 (reprinted in the Guardian just a few weeks ago). The thing that stood out most in my mind about the FoB was Peter Hennessy commenting in the 1994 C4 series "What Has Become Of Us?" that a new steam locomotive took pride of place: Britain had lost / was losing the race in technical innovation and this was, looking back, intensely symbolic, it being only 17 years before steam was abolished on BR.

(other great memory of that series: fantastic five-years-pre- Parr "Walking Back To Happiness" / M1 juxtaposition)

Not Dad's Army, no: that exchange was from the last series, I think, supposedly towards the end of the war, and says a lot about the new attitudes that came through in the 1945 election. I can *just about* imagine someone like Mainwaring swallowing his pride about voting Labour in '45, though that would have been the only time.

Robin Carmody, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Not too up on history of liberal party Robin, but you’re right their decline was quite precipitous, which they’re only just recovering from.

I suspect that their decline is in part for the fact that they were Govt which took us into WWI and in part disputes between Asquith and Lloyd George. I can’t believe that it was purely because Labour was more progressive as they’d done some good stuff pre-war e.g. Universal state pension.

Billy Dods, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

It was the first major war that ANZAC and the canadians fought under their own flag. This makes it an important part in our colonial history.

anthony, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Robin: yes, interesting stuff actually, on the relationship of the FoB to the past and future, gets a bit beyond some of the usual clichés maybe (piece by Tanya Harrod who = a grate scholar and writer).

Billy: I've always thought it baffling how slow and sluggish real change was after WW1. By the 30s, Stanley Baldwin seemed able to RECAPTURE the support many of those you'd have tht wd NEVER TRUST THE RULING CLASS AGAIN. But perspective is surely different depending on family history ahd background. My nearby family were not quite unTOUCHED by WW1 (my mother's two uncles were both gassed, to survived and became doctors), but let off strangely — I think unusually — lightly. Both my grandfathers were preferred occupations in WW2 (engineer, something in the admiralty), so saw no fighting. My mother's mother (13 when WW1 broke out) was a FIERCELY ANTI-WAR CONSERVATIVE, a position which I could really never fathom (she cried when the Gulf War broke out). My dad went all the way to London in 1965 to stand in the crowd as Churchill's funeral cortege went by (tho actually had flu and had to stay in bed). I watched it on a neighbour's TV, and painted a picture of St Pauls. I was given a Churchill Crown by an uncle, but didn't like the ugly scowling face on the coin, and grew up with a strange dislike of him (unrelated to politics or the war obviously), which erupted into an argument when I was 12, and I announced that I hated him. I had been told countless times that Hitler was a bad man, but when quite small I thought it unfair that the Germans lost the war AND got to be so disliked, and felt secretly sorry for them. I didn't root for them, but I was certainly very leery of the triumphalism of "We Won". In a funny way, I don't think this did any harm when punk came along and was just SO contemptuous of the sentimentality of community still being touted (Jubilee Street Parties as descendent of Spirit of the Blitz, etc etc), even though by then I'd read all abt the Death Camps and everything, and watched The World at War avidly. I think I kind of felt that not being taught about the Death Camps at school was part of the sentimentality (tho it was probably more accident than not: I hardly studied ANY history, becaue I wasn't in the history stream).

My mum says she LOVED the war: it was like a giant adventure playground (she was four when it began).

mark s, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Sterling: The popular litcrit explanation is that the horrors of WWII (read: Holocaust and bomb) introduced an element of unavoidable absurdity to the world, and that literature was, as a whole, chewing on the vast gulf between the normality of everyday life and the massive, ridiculous awfulness of those events. Actually, let me rephrase that more simply: WWII was absurd, and literature followed.

Not a complete explanation by any sense, but I do think this was a strong element. After seeing images of Auschwitz and Hiroshima, how could literature go on producing sensibly modernist novels? And note that the theory's upheld by the fact that postmodernism's initial twinklings can largely be traced back to central and eastern Europe -- particularly among Jews -- during the pre-war tension-development period. Which is to say: it explains Kafka and Schulz.

Nitsuh, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

DISCLAIMER: Please do not read the above to mean that Kafka or Schulz were postmodernists. I'm only positing as a drift from high modernism in that general direction.

Nitsuh, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

anthony - does that mean the c in anzac is for canada? fuck, I never knew know NZ have pulled out of the alliance now, lucky bastards to have a govt that is willing to downgrade its defence and not support a fucked up missile system..

Geoff, Sunday, 29 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

No it does not but the status of Australia and Canada in WWI and WWII have fairly intetrestin parrells.

anthony, Sunday, 29 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Yah, but WWI was absurd as well. Reaction there = angry nihilistic despair. WWII reaction = absurdity? Go figure.

Sterling Clover, Sunday, 29 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Theory: for Margaret Thatcher (in her teens during WW2) it was likewise an adventure playground, a fantasy land of national stereotypes and set ideas and imperial fantasies in which she could indulge herself for years to come. For Edward Heath (who served in the war) it was something to build his life and career to never happen again: his experience of it prevented him from sentimentalising it *for one moment*.

Of course you then have to work out where Airey Neave stood ...

Robin Carmody, Sunday, 29 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Sterling: WWI was more absurd in a "half the continent just killed one another" kind of way, which seems to dovetail nicely with something like Journey to the End of the Night. But WWII was absurd in a much more absurd way: massive bureaucracies for the assembly and disposal of an entire ethnic group? One metal object, dropped from the air, demolishing an entire city? Something about it seems a lot more surreal...

Nitsuh, Monday, 30 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

seven years pass...
one year passes...

wild, never knew this!

Young Maple spoke many languages. But his favorite, alas, was German. At Harvard he got kicked out of ROTC for being vocally pro-German when that just wasn't cool, according to a separate article on him that I just read. Stymied in his hopes to do post-graduate work in Berlin, which was busy with other things at the time, he enlisted in the Army in 1942. The Army had just the place for him: the 620th Engineer General Service Company, which despite its innocuous name was actually a holding unit for about 200 GIs of suspect loyalty, many of them German-born. The unit, which was not given weapons, was located in Camp Hale, Colorado, which is far from any port, but happened to next to an detachment of German PoWs on a work party.

However, he was pressured into resigning from the university German Club for singing the "Horst-Wessel-Lied" and other Nazi songs.[1][5] When he told The Crimson student newspaper that "even a bad dictatorship is better than a good democracy",[1] he was also dismissed from the campus Reserve Officers' Training Corps.[2][5]

goole, Friday, 18 February 2011 19:22 (eight years ago) link

three years pass...

70th anniversary of the Dresden bombing was yesterday and ended up getting sucked into a quagmire of moral relativism. Atrocities are atrocities...

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 17 February 2015 05:46 (four years ago) link


Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 17 February 2015 05:47 (four years ago) link

they are but there are a lot of german people on the liberal spectrum and the nazi spectrum who remain heaviliy invested in the suffering of dresden

no love deb weep (nakhchivan), Tuesday, 17 February 2015 12:31 (four years ago) link

It is pointless to deny the horrific brutality of that bombardment, but foolish to rationalize it as equivalent to the crimes of Nazism. You will never hear the older citizens of European countries occupied by the Nazis saying the Germans suffered unjustly or the Allies were too brutal or inhumane.

Aimless, Tuesday, 17 February 2015 17:36 (four years ago) link

if some country lucked into the exact # of ppl killed + buildings destroyed needed to accomplish war objectives, and didn't go over that calculation by even one, how would we even know? or does it not matter and all war is horrific brutality whether justified or not?

Mordy, Tuesday, 17 February 2015 17:42 (four years ago) link

three months pass...

, Sunday, 7 June 2015 13:50 (four years ago) link

Here we learn that a government that put some of its citizens in concentration camps shockingly committed the terrible injustice of depriving some soldiers of publicity.

Aimless, Sunday, 7 June 2015 16:37 (four years ago) link

one year passes...

I guess this is the general purpose WW2 thread?

im about halfway through Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and it has re-kindled my boyhood fascination for WW2. it's difficult, however, to wade through the dross (soooo many bad documentaries) and find the quality stuff. I picked up Max Hasting's "Inferno: The World at War," and it looks pretty good but I'm interested in something perhaps more...academic? Or at least something that remains comprehensive while having a point of view. a friend also recommended Timothy Snyder's "Bloodlands" which looks like the kind of thing I'm interested in.

ryan, Saturday, 9 July 2016 05:30 (three years ago) link

Shirer book is a great read but tainted by prejudice and partisanship in the end i think

and the Gove maths out Raab (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 9 July 2016 08:43 (three years ago) link

Bloodlands isn't really about WW2, it is purely concerned with the combined civilian genocide of Stalin/Hitler in the east. I just started The Maisky Diaries yesterday and have the Klemperer Diaries queued up. Max Hastings is a military fanboy wanker and completely untrustworthy imo.

calzino, Saturday, 9 July 2016 09:15 (three years ago) link

The three volumes of Richard Evans' Third Reich trilogy is excellent, and heavily sourced in a way that's of the academy though these are not intended chiefly for an academic audience. I'm nearing the end of the third volume, focused on the war (the first two are on the rise of the Third Reich and its rule before the war, respectively).

droit au butt (Euler), Saturday, 9 July 2016 09:20 (three years ago) link

I get the prejudice with Shirer (right or wrong I find it easy to ignore his obvious homophobia) and his slight digs at the nazis throughout (goering's "corpulence," hitler's tantrums) are really a relief in some ways. but maybe you mean something else with partisanship? too hard on chamberlain?

ryan, Saturday, 9 July 2016 14:11 (three years ago) link

Max Hastings is a military fanboy wanker and completely untrustworthy imo.

shit. I liked the cover and it seemed like a decent refresher before tackling more in depth stuff.

ryan, Saturday, 9 July 2016 14:12 (three years ago) link

Hastings does mention in the preface that gerhard weinberg's "the world at arms" is one of the best single volume histories of the war.

it's totally foolish to want to know what the single best literary/historical classic account of ww2 is, I know.

ryan, Saturday, 9 July 2016 14:18 (three years ago) link

ignore me, it's probably best you come to your conclusions your own way. I got half way through his WW1 book and then ditched it for the way superior Christopher Clarke book and he decided MH definitely wasn't for me.

calzino, Saturday, 9 July 2016 14:22 (three years ago) link


calzino, Saturday, 9 July 2016 14:25 (three years ago) link

partisanship i was thinking specifically about crazy Hitler's tantrums tbh, they always read like he's unreflectively repeating Allied propaganda and become too cartoonified for me to take them seriously - i think in the context of a more rigorous historical approach i'd accept those stories more willingly

and the Gove maths out Raab (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 9 July 2016 15:05 (three years ago) link

speaking of that sort of thing, Shirer is where the legendary "teppischfresser" thing originates, i believe.

ryan, Saturday, 9 July 2016 15:08 (three years ago) link

quite possibly. even if all the details are true i think it undermines his credibility, but that's a personal foible probably.

and the Gove maths out Raab (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 9 July 2016 15:12 (three years ago) link

Volker Ullrich's first volume of his Hitler biog is quite interesting. Although it seemed to be way too padded out with Goebbels diaries and I get the feeling way too many archives got reduced to ashes in the Nazi end days for there to be a flood of new information, like what came out of the Soviet archives in the 90's.

calzino, Saturday, 9 July 2016 15:21 (three years ago) link

Bloodlands isn't really about WW2, it is purely concerned with the combined civilian genocide of Stalin/Hitler in the east.

this is true but still imo a tremendous work (and extraordinarily readable)

Mordy, Saturday, 9 July 2016 15:25 (three years ago) link

Absolutely. His account of the Babi Yar massacre is the probably the most harrowing depiction of real, pure evil I have ever read.

calzino, Saturday, 9 July 2016 15:31 (three years ago) link

his more recent book, "Black Earth," also looks really good.

i think my problem is that im asking for two irreconcilable things at once: both a factual historical account (this happened, and then this happened), but also a kind of deep and sophisticated interpretive framework for *explaining* all this inexplicable carnage.

ryan, Saturday, 9 July 2016 15:33 (three years ago) link

baba yar was one of the first events of the holocaust i learned about as a child (it was where my extended family who perished in the shoah were killed). i remember where i was when my parents told me about it - we were eating at a deli and i had just ordered a large dish of cole slaw for lunch (since that is all i wanted to eat at the time) and the restaurant made me a large dish of it despite it generally only being served as a side. i kept getting really confused because i thought they were talking about baba ganush.

Mordy, Saturday, 9 July 2016 15:34 (three years ago) link

Ordered both "Bloodlands" and "Black Earth" (the paperback, not out until September), very much looking forward to both of them. I'm particularly interested in the "lebensraum" stuff at the moment so I think Snyder is my guy for now.

ryan, Sunday, 10 July 2016 17:02 (three years ago) link

The first half of Bloodlands is concerned with Stalin's collectivisation induced famine in Ukraine and his genocidal terror campaigns of the 30's, it is unremittingly bleak but hard to put down.

calzino, Sunday, 10 July 2016 18:00 (three years ago) link

im sure this is a bit of a naive question but im here to learn...

so when i was a kid first learning about all this (late 80s) i distinctly remember that most of the books i read treated the holocaust as more or less ancillary to the military heroism of the allies while also quite de-emphasized--it was something certainly worth mentioning (in a chapter, say) and then passed over. the principle image of the destruction and chaos of the war was always "the bomb." I don't know if this is a correct impression of the "cultural status" of the war at that time but it's what i experienced.

thinking on it, i get the impression that the bomb carried much more symbolic weight as the central image of the war on through the 50s/60s/70s than the holocaust did. it seems to me that this has changed, and possibly right around 1989? and is the collapse of the USSR, and the subsequent greater understanding of exactly what happened in easter Europe, responsible for this cultural shift (if indeed i am perceiving it accurately).

it could simply be that my own (white, american, texan) consciousness of the holocaust has simply grown, and i certainly remember reading Anne Frank in school and all that--although quite strangely i dont remember the teachers being too explicit about the context for that book!

ryan, Monday, 11 July 2016 21:02 (three years ago) link

i think for decades after the true scope of the holocaust wasn't truly understood or disseminated properly in the greater culture, plus i think its nature as something that was only really even reported on after the war ended led to the primary narrative of WW2 remaining the conflict and the exclamation point that officially ended it.

nomar, Monday, 11 July 2016 21:09 (three years ago) link

at least for awhile, i mean it's not as if the holocaust was unknown or the scope wasn't understood to a degree, but i think WW2 in culture was about battles and air raids and sieges and u-boats or whatever for a very long time. and i think pearl harbor also played a part in the A-bomb having a more central role, bc that was obv the greatest generation's 9/11 and once the trauma from that event faded i think people started to get a better perspective on the whole war.

nomar, Monday, 11 July 2016 21:11 (three years ago) link

during the Cold War people were really terrified of being nuked so ppl were pretty obsessed with the bomb

ejemplo (crüt), Monday, 11 July 2016 21:11 (three years ago) link

This concept of "socialism" here is trapped in 19th century Prussia. Led by pied pipers like Chapo Trap House, DSA, Cortez, and New Yorker/CIA families.

It's a really funky framework game here. If any American could figure it out, they'd probably get threatened with murder and go on the run and disappear from any activity in politics except vague drunken shitposts on the internet.

rapmaster_5000, Friday, 7 June 2019 04:08 (three months ago) link

yeah Aimless, US Lend/Lease scheme was essential to the survival of the Soviet Union, although they did well to move a lot of their military industry deeper east after the invasion it wouldn't have been enough to maintain such a huge front. But my simple analysis is that doing someone a solid by lending them some gear during a desperate struggle against dogged invaders can be costly but not as costly as profusely bleeding your own citizens. At this end listening to stupid pols talking like D-Day was that pivotal moment that turned the tide.. and never before has such a great sacrifice.. blah blah blah is just so annoying as fuck. I don't like agreeing with Putin .. but a stopped clock etc..

calzino, Friday, 7 June 2019 08:00 (three months ago) link

Would like to note that Stalin was profusely bleeding the Soviet Union's citizens long before there was a desperate struggle for national survival.

Flood-Resistant Mirror-Drilling Machine (rushomancy), Friday, 7 June 2019 09:19 (three months ago) link

I didn't know that at all.. wow learn something new every day from you!

calzino, Friday, 7 June 2019 09:20 (three months ago) link

That seems to be a fairly personal response.

Flood-Resistant Mirror-Drilling Machine (rushomancy), Friday, 7 June 2019 09:21 (three months ago) link

sorry if it sounded personal.. but ffs!

calzino, Friday, 7 June 2019 09:22 (three months ago) link

Look, obviously Mike Pence's historiography of WWII is nonsense, but rejecting one national myth doesn't require embracing the opposing national myth. Russian nationalist mythology is just as stupid as American nationalist mythology as far as I'm concerned. Certainly I'm impressed by Zhukov's generalship, but just because Stalin's meat-grinder was eventually effective doesn't make it any more valorous than Petain's.

It does occur to me that "total war" is the one kind of war where you actually do win by killing more of them (percentage wise) than they do of you.

Flood-Resistant Mirror-Drilling Machine (rushomancy), Friday, 7 June 2019 09:28 (three months ago) link

I'm not being moralistic about Soso's reign of terror here, am coldly talking about raw numbers of whom did the most damage to the nazi regime's ability to wage war, just bringing the moralising to how much blood was shed per unit destroyed for the long suffering Soviets and how their annoyance at the western d-day hyperbole is pretty legit.

calzino, Friday, 7 June 2019 09:42 (three months ago) link

the bolsheviks had reason to exaggerate the extent of it but I think it's fair to say that like the tsar before them they were in a desperate struggle for survival & control long before the third reich arrived

ogmor, Friday, 7 June 2019 09:59 (three months ago) link

I don't think it's about "embracing the opposing national myth" at all! The conclusion to draw from the idea that WWII was won by the Soviets wouldn't be "turns out Stalin was a good guy", it would be "turns out feel good narratives about freedom always triumphing are bullshit and the conflict was actually just as much or more about two despotic maniacs going to battle at the cost of an incredible amount of human lives". Doesn't really help fly anyone's jingoistic flag.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 7 June 2019 10:47 (three months ago) link

Soviet Union definitely did more to defeat the Nazis than any other country who signed a pact with them

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Friday, 7 June 2019 11:36 (three months ago) link

I don't think it's about "embracing the opposing national myth" at all! The conclusion to draw from the idea that WWII was won by the Soviets wouldn't be "turns out Stalin was a good guy", it would be "turns out feel good narratives about freedom always triumphing are bullshit and the conflict was actually just as much or more about two despotic maniacs going to battle at the cost of an incredible amount of human lives". Doesn't really help fly anyone's jingoistic flag.

― Daniel_Rf

Is that the conclusion Putin's drawing from the Soviet victory? (I genuinely don't know, I don't follow these things). I think it's very easy to glamorize the Soviet victory, to make it into a national myth (which can just as easily benefit the successor state). You can talk up the decisive role of maskirovka in Operation Bagration. You can talk about the determined resistance displayed by the "Hero City" of Stalingrad. You can - and this is the stuff Calzino is implying that is bothering me - try to make it into a game of numbers, to say that D-day was a sunday stroll in the park, that the Battle of Britain was a tea party. I find those sorts of comparisons trivializing to the actual suffering people went through on the Western front. Acknowleding the mind-boggling disaster that was the Eastern Front doesn't require one to put down the actions of people on the Western Front in comparison.

Flood-Resistant Mirror-Drilling Machine (rushomancy), Friday, 7 June 2019 13:45 (three months ago) link

..(trivializing to the actual suffering people went through on the Western front.)

lol, there is no cure for what you have!

calzino, Friday, 7 June 2019 13:58 (three months ago) link

I mean it takes a bit of work to turn criticising the pitiful ahistorical guff that comes out of Western leaders mouths - and the media - about WW2 - Into me trivilaising the dead of any non-Eastern military theatres by saying they suffered less and did less damage to the Wehrmacht.

calzino, Friday, 7 June 2019 14:12 (three months ago) link

bump to keep “I hate to agree with Putin” calzino from having the last word

I also thought this was a good thread:

Russia really does deserve far more credit, thanks, and appreciation for its WWII sacrifices than it currently receives in the West. But quite frankly it will never get such respect if it ties its military exploits to the Great Patriotic War narrative.

— 101 144 141 155 040 105 154 153 165 163 (@Aelkus) June 6, 2019

El Tomboto, Saturday, 8 June 2019 13:48 (three months ago) link

Another American windbag who seems to think you can't criticise bullshit national narratives without becoming tethered to other bullshit ones.

calzino, Saturday, 8 June 2019 13:59 (three months ago) link

The usual disingenuous bollocks about Molotov/Ribbtrop like it makes a difference to how much their citizens paid in blood ...tell your twitter man the Soviet Union didn't have a hitler-pact referendum you know!

calzino, Saturday, 8 June 2019 14:41 (three months ago) link

Trying to remember if any other Allied nations signed pacts with Hitler

wake me up for "I Should Coco" (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 8 June 2019 14:44 (three months ago) link

so much suffering in the double/triple occupied zones as well, and not just the soldiers - the poor citizens and from ss and nkvd. But I'm guessing at this point I'm a tankie so I just ignore any funny business from Soso!

calzino, Saturday, 8 June 2019 14:57 (three months ago) link

their annoyance at the western d-day hyperbole is pretty legit

as far as I can tell, nobody is really debating this point with you; you seem more broadly upset that American and U.K. politicians keep talking about D-Day on the anniversary of D-Day. I don’t know what to tell you there buddy.

El Tomboto, Saturday, 8 June 2019 14:57 (three months ago) link

I just like a moan and find it fucking insufferable!

I'm remembering some doc I watched recently and some captured allied solder was saying: as we were getting liberated from the camps those Red Army folks that managed to survive against the odds were getting shipped off to Eastern gulags.

calzino, Saturday, 8 June 2019 15:00 (three months ago) link

10 years (post Iraq) of Help For heroes type shit at football matches has turned me into a raving Tankie!

calzino, Saturday, 8 June 2019 15:03 (three months ago) link

On this day remember that Operation Bagration, on the Eastern Front, starting 23 June 1944 was very much larger than D-Day and Normandy, and so were casualties. In UK and US we forget that victory came in May 1945, not June 1944, in Berlin, not Normandy.

— David Edgerton (@DEHEdgerton) June 5, 2019

joking, obv. I like this guy on British WW2 era history and he's otm here.

calzino, Saturday, 8 June 2019 15:14 (three months ago) link

The other problem with Pence's comment: no sector of the American economy so closely resembles the socialist (or Soviet) as much as the military industrial complex, to this day. During WWII, the US effectively became a command economy, with the War Production Board becoming our version of Gosplan.

despondently sipping tomato soup (Sanpaku), Saturday, 8 June 2019 17:38 (three months ago) link

I think the saddest lasting cultural impact of WW2, at least at this moment in history, is that baby boomers think they won it.

― El Tomboto, Tuesday, June 4, 2019 8:41 AM (one week ago)

right on schedule

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 19:27 (three months ago) link

“WW2 was hell” say thousand yard stare dads born in 1946

omar little, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 19:29 (three months ago) link

these old UK bastards that weren't even a thought till after the Nuremberg trials might have experienced some austerity and rationing as children. But they still grew up in a relatively stable era in terms of the security of the NHS and the shiny new welfare state that hadn't been PFI'ed out of shape yet. I'd wager anyone growing up poor in the 70's had it maybe slightly better and without national service in their formative years, but much tougher afterwards - especially than these old bastards with property portfolios and substantial savings. aka the most selfish and deluded bunch of wankers generation.

calzino, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 20:07 (three months ago) link

I was born in 1954 and I will gladly tell you that "WWII was hell". So was WWI, for that matter. I won't pretend I fought in them. I even caught a break and missed being drafted to serve in the Vietnam War. I lead a charmed life.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 20:11 (three months ago) link

My old mum, who was 5 or 6 when war broke out, used to tell me how much fun she'd had - kids being kids. Running about wild, getting the old gas mask on and spending the night at the bottom of the garden in the back court in the pathetically inadequate bomb shelter, cheering Uncle Joe Stalin in the newsreels at the pictures etc.

John Harris is a Guardian columnist (Tom D.), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 20:14 (three months ago) link

... I meant to leave out the word 'garden' there, she's didn't have a garden, of course, the very thought!

John Harris is a Guardian columnist (Tom D.), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 20:18 (three months ago) link

i guess this is a fair place to ask it: what are the non-shitty documentaries about WW2? i thought about watching the world at war a while back but doesn't seem to be streaming anywhere.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 20:33 (three months ago) link

it's on You Tube innit?

calzino, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 20:34 (three months ago) link

calzino, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 20:36 (three months ago) link

d'oh! yeah, should've looked there -- thanks! i assume that's one of the best ones? still seems to be highly regarded.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 20:40 (three months ago) link

Have you seen the late 90's bbc series The Nazis A Warning From History? It's more about the holocaust and not the theaters of war and all that. but it is very powerful and the brahms requiem music in the title is appropriate. And someone who dobbed a gay neighbour to the gestapo get's ruthlessly shamed 40 years later.

calzino, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 20:56 (three months ago) link

yeah my mum also always said she enjoyed the war, she was 4 when it began

mark s, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 21:00 (three months ago) link

Unforgettable image courtesy the magisterial World at War. British soldier on the weather in Burma: "It was the only place I know, you'd open up a tin of corned beef, you could pour it out like liquid." Mmmm, gimme dat cawm beef smoothie! Kids these days are too damn picky...

— Ian Penman (@pawboy2) May 12, 2019

calzino, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 21:42 (three months ago) link

my favourite bit of World at War is always when it sets up the topic of the next ep, and sir larry's reading of the final line "Nemesis would come… from the SEA!"

mark s, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 21:45 (three months ago) link

i've posted this before, but I was working in a bookstore when the brokaw GREATEST GENERATION book was huge and we sold a lotta copies to people 21 and younger intending it for their parents. I guess the idea could have been that they figured their parents, as the kids of said generation, might dig it, but idk. Was that the final nail in the boomers' imagining themselves as rebels against the crusty old establishment generation that spawned them?

Good morning, how are you, I'm (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 22:26 (three months ago) link

So...the erasure of Russia and the Eastern front from American accounts of the war is the source of no great's obviously a relic of the Cold War and just general jingoism...however, I'd be curious if at any point this was a planned or systematic thing. Were textbooks edited, etc? Was there an actual propaganda campaign to claim the US "won the war against fascism" more or less on its own (with, of course, the help of the plucky British, whose ass we proverbially saved)?

adam tooze, author of The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy’, discusses the changing historiography of WW2 a bit in a v good interview here.

Fizzles, Thursday, 13 June 2019 05:48 (three months ago) link

like the interviewer I was quite surprised by how largely backwards and poor the late 30's German economy was revealed to be in Wages of Destruction. They were miles behind Britain and France in GDP, electrification, motorisation and hamstrung with stagnant growth and a bigger population to feed. Despite having a huge army they were a bit of a basket case really and their expanding reich brought as many new problems as short term benefits.

calzino, Thursday, 13 June 2019 07:20 (three months ago) link

i also the remember the book mentioning some of the social housing built by the nazis was barely just 19th century standard with no power supply circuits nor toilets.

calzino, Thursday, 13 June 2019 07:34 (three months ago) link

Enjoying that Vichy book by Julian Jackson. On Jacques Doriot who went full fash after getting booted out of the communist party (might be a warning from history to Tommy Yack Yack!):

Doriot's image of heroic, working-class virility made him attractive to self-hating middle-class fascist intellectuals. Until he became rather fat, Doriot looked the part of the fascist leader (except for his glasses).

calzino, Thursday, 13 June 2019 09:28 (three months ago) link

sorry rushomancy , didn't catch your post at the time: no, I don't think that's what Putin's take is, and am somewhat baffled as to what Putin has to do with anything I said?

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 13 June 2019 10:02 (three months ago) link

my favourite bit of World at War is always when it sets up the topic of the next ep, and sir larry's reading of the final line "Nemesis would come… from the SEA!"

― mark s, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 21:45 (yesterday) Bookmark

lol! been re-watching this tonight and my fave portentous epilogue by lazza was " the sun had set on one imperial power... on another.. the sun was still rising". if only Redd Pepper's voice had broken in them days..

calzino, Thursday, 13 June 2019 21:46 (three months ago) link

Dan Carlin did a like 70 hour series on the Eastern Front a few years back, and I imagine a lot of people heard it

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Friday, 14 June 2019 14:08 (three months ago) link

I mean more than will read a 500 page book about it

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Friday, 14 June 2019 14:09 (three months ago) link

Just reading this review of Alexiviech's book, collected oral testimonies of people who were children during WWII. Love the two books of hers that I've read, but they are tough (especially Chernobyl Prayer)

xyzzzz__, Friday, 14 June 2019 19:39 (three months ago) link

Yeah, the concentrated child misery means I think I will have to skip this one.

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