Military History

Blogging about the Battlefield since 2005

Posts Tagged ‘Memory’

The First World War: the war that changed us all

Posted by Daniel Sauerwein on October 14, 2012

Great article from the Telegraph, posted to History News Network

The First World War: the war that changed us all.

SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-11-12)

The very last combat veteran of the First World War, Claude “Chuckles” Choules of the Royal Navy, died in an Australian nursing home last year, aged 110. The last non-combat veteran, Florence Green, an RAF steward, died this February in King’s Lynn, also aged 110.

So the First World War has almost entirely deserted living memory. And yet its memory stays strong – and grows ever stronger – among those born decades after it ended. More than 300,000 people still visit the battlefields in northern France every year. First World War dramas come thick and fast: Parade’s End, Downton Abbey, that revered, much-repeated last scene in Blackadder.

Literature, too, goes back and back to the trenches. Pat Barker has just published Toby’s Room, a First World War novel, 21 years after Regeneration, the first book in her war trilogy. Yesterday, David Cameron talked of how Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse and the novels of Sebastian Faulks have kept the First World War vivid for new generations….

Posted in 20th Century Military History, Conflict, World War I | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The Pacific

Posted by Ross on January 4, 2010

[Cross-posted at Thoughts on Military History and Birmingham “On War”]

Here is a trailer for the upcoming mini-series from HBO. It is produced by the same team that brought us Band of Brothers. The key difference, other than being set in a different theatre of war, is that it is not based on one book but two. Making it different again is that these books, With the Old Breed by Eugene Sledge and Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie, are memoirs and not an operational history like Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers. It will be interesting to see how they integrate these two stories in the series. I am looking forward to seeing it as Band of Brothers was a good series that given the limitations of the genre stayed quite faithful to the book. My only concern is how will the series deal with some of the issues raised by combat in the Pacific such as the brutality that was quite unlike what was seen in the European theatre. Also how will it represent the experience of the Japanese soldier. I have these concerns simply because TV/Film is now the key method by how young people consume information and having taught ‘A’ Level history I know that there is lack of proper reading and that many myths are built up by simply consuming TV History. unfortunately, pupils/students of this age take much of what is shown in these programmes as red and fail to understand that there is more complex narrative to the events than they seemingly care to understand. While I can sit and enjoy it for what it is the question remains can pupils/students who think that by watching it they are gaining an insight into history. I admit to having used elements of Band of Brothers in teaching. Indeed when teaching Leadership to a group of Public Service student on a BTEC course I used elements to illustrate the problems of small unit leadership and unit cohesiveness that grows out of a shared experience. I also used the following scene when teaching the Holocaust to illustrate the reaction to that event:

While of course it was not archival footage it did have a more potent impact on the students I was teaching. Why? I am not sure. To be honest I did not think about it at the time. I just realised that something they might have already watched would be useful in reinforcing an image and understanding that I was trying to give them. I suppose this is the power that TV/Film has on young people and if used properly and in the right context it can be useful pedagogical tool. But the problem is context. Without young people take what is shown as accurate. I suppose this is why as a historian I do get annoyed with Hollywood and its representation of history. Do not get me wrong there are good historical films out there but they lack depth and in a society where information is power and where people want it on tap a lack of depth and context can be a dangerous thing.

Posted in US Marine Corps, World War II | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

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