Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Heard: "1910-1919" by Joanna Bourke

Heard: 1910-1919: Eyewitness: a history of the 20th Century in sound by Joanna Bourke, downloaded from Overdrive.com

An English radio production. BBC Audiobooks, LTD is the publisher so I assume this was a broadcast on their channels. I could find no production date but the release date on Overdrive is 2006 and AudioGO (new name for BBC Audiobooks) lists a pub date of 2004.

There are still several events from the decade that are still discussed. World War One eclipses everything. The great thing production is audio clips from eyewitnesses and participants. Veterans of the fighting, families left at home, politician's wives, etc. are all included in the audio clips.

The war followed the usual pattern. Calls to defend against a foreign threat intent on destroying the nation or way of life. Fervor for the cause with many men enlisting. Hatred for the new enemy. Military and political leaders blundering their way along and leaving corpses on the way. Everyone slowly wearing down and dying off.

Anti-German sentiment was very high before the war. There were a lot of German immigrants living in Britain and personal assaults and looting of German owned shops happened around the country. During the unofficial Christmas Armistice in 1914 one English soldier interviewed said a German he talked to spoke fondly of England and wanted to return after the war.

That anti-German sentiment was stirred by rumors and propaganda of German atrocities. Things got so bad that - and I had forgot about this one - in 1917 the King changed the royal name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.

The cluster-fuck campaigns on the Western front were discussed. WWI is often spoken of as the advent of the machine gun. Yeah, attacking into machine guns was stupid. But, artillery still did most killing. Artillery did fail in the Somme where the shells did not penetrate deeply enough to German bunkers. After the first couple days of the Somme the "British Army issued a statement". Oh, you can bet that statement was a load of bullshit.

Post-war issues of no work and rationing. Before the war 4 in 10 men were ineligible to vote. Women advancing in careers and work during the war leading to suffrage. If women were over 30 and owned property or paid substantial rent they could vote.

Comments
1- Bullshit from the government and military. Bullshit is always coming out of the mouths of those in charge. How do you determine what is true and false? You can say "You can tell he is lying because his lips are moving" but that's an extreme.
2- Who was th eguy who wrote a WWI history with an emphasis on economic theory? Nial Ferguson? I never finished his book but recall how many British could not come to grips that some soldiers liked killing Germans. I tried reading a Bulldog Drummond book a few years ago. I did not take notes but recall that Drummond still had plenty of hatred for the Bosch.
3- You could argue Drummond is a by-product of wartime PTSD. Drummond cannot settle down and seeks adventure. Plenty WWI vets were struck with drinking problems and an inability to relax.

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