The BBC World War Two Porn Page 457


Waking up this morning and putting on the TV to see the news, instead I saw on BBC Breakfast a 30 minute piece on the role of a teenage girl in 1932 in helping her father do the maths to establish that the Spitfire needed eight .303 guns to deliver a sufficient weight of shot.

That sentence contains the total import of the 30 minute film. In spreading it out over half an hour, the BBC managed to repeat slight variations on that sentence over forty times, padded out with numerous shots of spitfires, Battle of Britain reminiscences and the exhibition of the kitchen table where the maths was done.

I am very glad the Battle of Britain was won. I admire the heroism of those who fought. My mother never forgot her only brother, an RAF navigator who was shot down and died aged nineteen. I am not mindless of the stakes or the sacrifice. But I am old, and the war was over more than a decade before I was born. It is as chronologically distant from a child born today as Victoria becoming Empress of India was from me. I have repeatedly been tempted to write about the WW2 obsession in the media and the English political psyche, but have refrained from not wishing to offend those with whose emotional ties I sympathise. But this is becoming an unhealthy obsession with a “glorious past”.

The BBC’s piece today actually finished with a Churchill speech, with spitfires flying and with Elgar. It was like a parody. The recent focus on Churchill’s vicious racism might as well not have happened. It really is going too far, and it links in to a current day militarism which was initially cultivated by New Labour and Blair’s obsession with neo-imperialist wars abroad.

You have a war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. We have had “anniversary” events that mark the 70th, 75th and now 80th anniversary with the result we have a full 16 years during which not a day passes that is not a “major anniversary” of an event in WW2, on which peg the BBC can hang more “Britain’s Greatness” nostalgia. Very plainly this all meshes with Brexit, with the nostalgia for Britain’s world-bestriding role exuded continually by Johnson and Gove, and with the new aggression of Unionism. It gets less and less subtle – Stalin’s propagandists might have blenched at today’s BBC state propaganda piece. The girl who did the maths deserved her recognition. But not like this.

In the real world, the UK has just resumed arms sales to Saudi Arabia to massacre the children of Yemen and support the jihadist terrorist fanatics of Idlib.

I am going to keep this page permanently open for comments, and hopefully bookmarked on the right hand side, so you can record future examples of BBC WW2 Porn as they occur, or indeed other examples of gratuitous official militarism.

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457 thoughts on “The BBC World War Two Porn Page

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  • exiled off mainstreet

    I agree with you. While the war was important, it ended a lifetime ago, eight years before this old man was born, and I also don’t notice much coverage of the Soviet contribution, which sealed the victory. It is, perhaps, helpful when politically correct iconoclast barbarians want to eliminate all history.

      • Cubby

        Mary

        Russian propaganda.

        The truth is that Vera Lynn, Englands very own superhero crushed the Nazis by standing on the white cliffs of Dover and blasting them a couple of times with her supersonic voice. Hitler ran off to his bunker and said the game is up – we may have V2 rockets but the Englanders have V1.

        • Mark Golding

          During WWII My mother was an ARP warden stationed at Crystal Palace. A ‘doodle bug’ or German V-1 early cruise missile landed in Crystal Palace Park Road, hitting a large house, killing an entire family, mother and four children huddled in the basement. My mother said she heard the distinctive growl of the ‘buzz bomb’ motor which abruptly stopped and she knew it was gliding down. She covered herself with a duvet or eiderdown that kept her legs warm and that saved her life. The ARP post was smashed completely and glass was everywhere. My mother got out and ran some distance to the burning house and heard a child screaming. Sadly the heat was too great to enter the ruins and that memory haunted her for a long time after the war ended.

          • Mary

            A version of The Repair Shop that dealt with memorabilia from the period has just been shown on BBC 1.

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000kxvk/the-repair-shop-fixing-britain-series-1-episode-6

            – ‘Jay Blades uses three recent repairs and some fascinating archive to tell some amazing stories of espionage and undercover operations.

            Francis Suttill had a moving tale to tell about the wartime relic he brought into the Repair Shop. His father was a member of the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War and worked as a secret agent behind German lines, alongside the French Resistance. They did everything from disrupting trains to trying to destroy power plants. It was a dangerous job, and Francis’s father was captured and executed by the Germans. Long after the war, Francis managed to track down a metal cell that was used to drop supplies for agents like his dad, and brought it into the barn. Jay uncovers more about the amazing exploits of the SOE, their impact on the war effort and the influence they have had on the modern-day secret service.

            Matthew Brooksbank and his partner Nigel brought in a teapot that belonged to Matthew’s much-loved next-door neighbour Gladys, who told him an astonishing story of operating undercover in Germany to help people persecuted by the Nazis. She was given the teapot by one of the women she helped, but it was broken on a train journey. Jay uses archive footage to tell the fascinating story of undercover operatives like Gladys and how they paved the way for more women agents in the secret service – culminating in the appointment of the first female director-general of MI5.

            Finally, a bike owned by Huw Banister’s mum, one of the Bletchley Park codebreakers. The cycle’s links to Bletchley Park allow Jay to narrate the story of the undercover work done by the likes of Huw’s mum to help crack German communications and shorten the war.’

            Actually, very moving stories of bravery by ordinary people.

          • N_

            Ah, “shut those blackout curtains”! My mother was in South London too, as a child, when the German airforce bombed. They bombed the council estate and also they also bombed the hospital when her baby brother was in it. I am not sure but I think both the bombs dropped by planes and the doodlebugs which were used later in the war used to whistle. Then there were the terrifying few seconds when the whistling stopped. Families sheltered behind furniture in their homes if there was no time to get to a public shelter. Many children’s nerves were badly affected. At first the authorities tried to bar people from sheltering in tube stations, but they became “encouraging” for public relations reasons when they realised the population weren’t quite as stupid or as submissive as they thought. Mattresses were laid on the platforms, sometimes with about six children on.

            So no it was not all about Vera Lynn.

        • Mary

          I assume you were being facetious about the Russian losses. 🙂 Suggest that anyone reads up about the Eastern Front, Russia and Japan.

          • different frank

            alwayswrite
            You are a sad troll.
            <"https://tenor.com/gif-maker?utm_source=nav-bar&utm_medium=internal&utm_campaign=gif-maker-entrypoints">

        • N_

          The USSR won WW2 and lost far more people than any other country, but at the time of the Battle of Britain in 1940 (in which many defending pilots were Polish) the USSR was not at war with Germany. Nor was the USA.

          • Blue Dotterel

            I am not sure that anyone won “WWII”. It seems that the Hitler and Mussolini got ideas beyond their station and began to bite the hands that fed them, being the financial elite in the US and possibly UK, thereby necessitating that they be put down. Once accomplished the ideology championed by the Nazis and Fascists was continued in the West without much alteration by those that encouraged it in the first place. We are living in the midst of that same ideology today.

          • PeeMer

            The undeniable victor of World War II was the USA. It came out of the war more powerful, much richer and much more influential than it entered the war. Just as it had after World War I. The USSR came out World War II undeniably more powerful though poorer and had become a military superpower – though never really rivalled the USA in the economic field. .Britain came out World War II, on the winning side in a formal sense, but almost bankrupt, poorer and incomparably less powerful. Though in Europe it had gained a certain moral advantage. Churchill realized Britain’s weakness which was what was behind his championing of the European idea from the beginning of the 1930s. In 1940 he suggested that France and Britain unite into a single state with common citizenship. The French turned down the idea, however they returned the compliment at the beginning of the 1950s by asking the question in reverse, but this time Britain turned it down. A curious fact is that the predecessors of today’s Brexiteers were the appeasers of the 1930s.

      • PeeMer

        And yet I have been told that the Germans are very much respected in Russia, and the general attitude towards them today with regard to the war is “they did bad to us, we did bad to them, so we are quits.”

    • Tatyana

      Current World War II assessments readily forgive any country for their collaboration with Hitler. For example, Finnland, fought on the side of the Nazis from the very beginning of the attack on the USSR, and only two months before the victory, they switched sides. They were vivid participants in the siege of Leningrad, which is called genocide and the most destructive siege in the history.

      But modern assessment have no condemnation of Finnland, there are excuses and apologies, as well as for other collaborators. Any country, in their opinion, could form any alliances with any Hitlers, if the goal was the defeat of the USSR. And these modern people do not see their own inhumanity, denying the USSR the right to defend itself.

      A lesson should be learned from the war, what is it? what conclusion do we teach children? In Russia, we teach that Nazism is unacceptable and that war is a terrifying disaster, and we teach them that racism, fascism, any form of discrimination is bad.
      But I see a modern Western narrative that is inclined to the opinion “the USSR was bad, so we will not honestly acknowledge its merits.” the West cannot recognize anything good in the image of the USSR; that would entail many unprofitable consequences. Dilemma.

      I also clearly see that the attitude towards the USSR is also transferred onto the modern Russia, which the West denies the right to have and defend its own interests.
      This is also a form of Nazism, by the way.

      • Tatyana

        We have a russian joke on that sort of dilemma 🙂

        A Jew comes to a public bathhouse with a cross on his neck. Everyone stares at him, then one of the bathers says:
        – Abraham Solomonovich, you either remove the cross or put on your pants.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        I was actually taught that the powers that be in the UK in the 1930s were reluctant to oppose Hitler because he was a buffer against communism (i.e. the USSR). In other words, it was OK for us to be fascist sympathisers (and our Royals were, leading industrialists were and plenty of politicians were, not to mention the execrable Daily Mail’s repulsive writings about Nazi Germany in the 1930s).

        We were not really bothered by Hitler taking over Austria, Sudetenland, parts of Rheinland-Pfalz. But there came a point when we had to say ‘enough’s enough’. I do not understand why Poland was significant, it seems more likely to me that it just happened to be top of Hitler’s list when Chamberlain laid down his belated marker.

        We were never taught about the 20 million Russians who died. If we had been, it would have been one sentence. Any sane teaching of history spends a whole lesson asking what sacrifice is about and who made the greatest ones.

        My true history lessons were self-taught in adulthood, I gave up on history at school as all it seemed to be was dates of this war, that war, the other war; passing of this imperial law, that imperial law, the other imperial law (like the Corn Laws covering Ireland).

        We learned about the abolition of slavery but did not spend a whole lesson on the execrable practices of slavery upon which the UK became rich, nor did we even spent one second on how the UK Empire was the world’s first great drug dealer (the Opium Wars were about preserving our right to make millions of Chinese junkies by peddling them Class A drugs). That might be too uncomfortable, might suggest that we were really repulsive villians as a nation and that the Empire was built not on compassion and humanity rather on slavery, drug dealing and racism.

        We learned all about Churchill in WWII but nothing about his remarks about how gassing indiginous tribes was entirely appropriate.
        That’s right, Churchill was an artisanal version of the industrialised gas chambers of Auschwitz and Treblinka. We did not learn that we, the British, invented Concentration Camps in the Boer war, another idea the Germans industrialised after we invented it.

        We certainly did not spend much time on the true grisly nature of the Highland Clearances, which Mr Murray will tell you much more about than I can, but suffice to say that Ethnic Cleansing did not start in the Balkans in the 1990s, it started at least as early as in Scotland several hundred years ago.

        I guess when I was growing up, what MI5 and MI6 were co-ordinating in Northern Ireland was current affairs, not modern history. Now, I can tell you that not only did those repulsive security service agencies co-ordinate the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring, which spent its time being paedophiles, trafficking children to the UK and further afield to be raped by psychopaths not only from Ireland, England and Scotland but also from the USA; but for the past 40 years, the whole of the UK Establishment has covered it up to five enquiries. They make the Terms of Reference of enquiries specifically exclude Kincora Boys Home, which was the hub of the most disgusting State-sponsored Child Abuse in recent history in the UK. It was allowed to continue so the Security Services could blackmail adults.

        I have to say that I would murder any old men still alive who condoned and actively pushed such practices, even if they were over 80. They have no right to die with dignity, have their evil covered up. Now they are doddering old men, unable to protect themselves, so abuse them horrifically, the way they caused helpless children to be abused horrifically. And then put it on the front page of every newspaper. Fine every editor £1m if they refuse to print it: it is a greater crime than not wearing a face mask (which has no ability to stop coronaviral transmission) into shops). Every newspaper in the land has knowingly covered up for the Security Services, not one of them is innocent. They are just low level nazi orderlies ‘doing what they were told’.

        So Tatyana, there you have it: my country built an empire on slavery and drug dealing (we were the forerunner of the Medellin Cartel); we appeased Hitler until he threatened us, we invented concentration camps and our whole apparatus of State promoted, condoned and covered up institutionalised child abuse for the purposes of political blackmail.

        Next time any UK numpty tells you that we are good and you are evil, raise a few of these points with them.

        They probably do not know the first thing about the true nature of their home country….

        • Tatyana

          No, Rhys, I don’t think I could say that, or refer to these facts, outside of this blog which I consider to be a news and education source.

          My usual communication with people doesn’t affect politics or history. I have a wonderful hobby, thanks to which I communicate a lot with ordinary people from around the world, absolutely the whole world, imagine this breadth of communication!

          My circle of contacts involves more women than men, and we love to chat about everything besides a hobby, and I know for sure that we all love our children and wish a better future for them. And I am absolutely absolutely sure that we are all the same people everywhere, we all strive for one thing.

          Except that there’s a separate category in each country, those people that have no other life except for digging into the historical crimes of long-ago-dead criminals, the blame and retribution for which they are trying to lay on modern children to make them hate entire countries and entire generations, and to go shooting at each other.

          • Tatyana

            I really can’t imagine how it’s possible to put such ‘calls for hatred’ into practice?

            The neighboring workshop is occupied by Olga from Ukraine. Should I say to her, “Don’t come for coffee anymore?”
            I have already mentioned that there are Muslims and Georgians among my neighbors, and I can’t imagine that I suddenly decided to knock on their doors and say “Don’t come to visit, and don’t bring your children to play, and I won’t borrow your large cooking pot anymore”

            What an utter stupidity, arrogance, intolerance! Why would someone do that?

        • Laguerre

          “I do not understand why Poland was significant, it seems more likely to me that it just happened to be top of Hitler’s list when Chamberlain laid down his belated marker.”

          The traditional idea is that Hitler did not want to wait and negotiate a Czech-style agreement. The Nazis were always moving too fast, seemed to want war, to show off their masculinity. It was inevitable that it would end in a war, sooner or later.

          • N_

            The British elite couldn’t give a toss about Poland. What they cared about was the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact which they thought might give Germany a free hand in the west (all being lovy-dovy with the Sovs in the east) to take over the low countries and threaten the mouth of the Thames. It was that pact which made things different in September 1939 from the point of view of the British poshboys from the previous year when Germany led by the ex-corporal annexed Austria and the Sudetenland.

          • N_

            I should add that the Soviet rulers did not expect the pact with Germany to last forever or even for more than a few years and indeed they thought war between the USSR and Germany was inevitable.

          • Tatyana

            look deeper into the history.
            There were lands that belonged to Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary for a couple of centuries before the WW1. These lands passed to Poland as a result of the WW1.
            The Russian, German, and Austro-Hungarian empires fell apart after the WW1 (Ottomans, as well) while France and Britain remained.

            At the beginning of WW2, Hitler wanted to return the former German lands (well, the USSR also wanted to return the former Russian lands) back from Poland.
            Britain (and France too, I guess) could not allow those empires to be reborn and the results of WW1 be reviewed.

            I also believe that by that time the British government was supportive of the Jews, while Hitler hated the ethnicity and believed them to be the rivals of the future-to-be german empire. Perhaps, in that period British Jews were somewhere close to the government and military circles of Britain and lobbied the decision to fight Hitler?

            The biggest community of the European Jews lived in Poland at that time, that’s why Poland was significant, I think.
            They still argue about Jewish property in Poland up to today, here is the Reuter’s news
            https://www.reuters.com/article/us-poland-election-restitution/polish-state-tv-uses-jewish-property-restitution-issue-to-attack-opposition-idUSKBN23M2M5

        • Spencer Eagle

          I always took ‘The World at War’ series to be the definitive documentary on WWII, but over time realised that it was simply carefully crafted propaganda. The run up to war in Europe simply wasn’t black and white as portrayed by the media and on side historians. In particular the manipulative tactics deployed by the US in the 1930’s, the seizing of assets and recognition of illegal governments, all played a major part in fanning the flames – a foreign policy doctrine used by the US to this day. Have a look for ‘The Hitler Speech They Don’t Want You to Hear’, it may re calibrate your understanding of what actually underpinned WWII.

  • Ron

    The same thing is going on in the US. As an early boomer born the year after the war ended, I am amazed at the War Porn as you call it. I do not remember this sort of thing after about my 10th birthday. But it seems to get more and more intense the further we get away from it.

      • N_

        “Help for Heroes” stickers on cars are similar to the Union Jack stickers that some fixed to their vehicles in the late 1970s as an easier expression of white supremacism than wearing a white hood or a “Vote National Front” badge. It is no surprise that Tommy Robinson has associated himself with this “charity”.

        Meanwhile there is a large dose of “proles are dirty” in the British version of the virus mask discourse. It meshes with the idea that “proles always want something (e.g. a vaccine) for nothing.”

  • Christopher Barclay

    I think you miss the main attraction of the story to the BBC: a woman involved with engineering in a field where a lot of men died. The BBC can simultaneously emphasise the girl’s contribution while in some way diminishing the male sacrifice.

    • N_

      I don’t watch TV, but it sounds to me as though “girl makes contribution in mostly male-dominated area” was just a contemporary wrapper for the message that helping the state authorities is good behaviour by members of the nation, and that reluctance or resistance is antisocial, against nature, and beneficial for wicked foreign barbarians.

      • ramblingidiot

        No you’ve got it the wrong way around, and so has Mr Murray. The real moral of the story is ‘girl makes contribution in mostly male-dominated area’. The shots of Spitfires etc are so common these days nobody takes any notice of them. Its hard to see this story as anything other than a pile of feminist claptrap with a few bits of iconic British machinery thrown in.

        • N_

          Thanks for this, @rambling. I think I will watch it when it gets an iPlayer number. It seems quite interesting from various angles, including what might be being conveyed about maths and the national effort (hello Dominic Cummings) and possibly about how the rulers want gender roles to work in the coronavirus epoch.

        • Republicofscotland

          Hedy Lamarr, an actress, created a design for a device to block enemy ships from jamming allies torpedo guidance systems during WWII.

          Lamarr had both the brains and the beauty to match.

  • N_

    The specific big message with this kind of “all pull together in the national interest” propaganda is of course that major sacrifices are expected of everyone but the super-rich and that anyone who demurs or criticises is a traitor acting nag against nature, nation, and neighbours. The economy has shrunk by a QUARTER and the government are not raising taxes. There is ONLY ONE WAY this will go. This dwarfs 2008 by a very long way, and all sensible people who don’t have access to private jets are hoarding food if they can. A multiply reused bit of pleated tissue paper won’t put food in your belly.

  • Republicofscotland

    On economic sanctions, war, by other means, the USA, is thinking about returning to fully imposing sanctions back on Iran, in what is called the Snapback option, if a arms embargo isn’t extended on Iran via the UN Security Council. However it is likely that both Russia and China will veto the USA’s proposal, especially so China with its bilateral relations, and its Sino-Iranian Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

    The time scale for Snapback is unclear, as is Joe Biden’s position on it as to whether he would continue to impose the severe sanctions if Trump applied them before the presidential elections, and on the premise that Biden is victorious after them.

  • Republicofscotland

    I know this is off topic, but it’s of interest I think.

    “Thanks to Gordon Young, Counter Fraud Dept, for compiling the list.
    The Tories have stolen too much too quick.
    Surely the papers will run with this.

    “£252m of public money given to Ayanda Capital, registered in Mauritius for tax dodging, to supply PPE that never appeared.

    £186m of public money given to Uniserve Ltd of Essex, the UK’s largest privately owned logistics and global trade management company, to supply PPE that never appeared.

    £116m of public money given to P14 Medical Ltd of Liverpool, which had liabilities exceeding assets by £485,000 in December 2019 with just £145 in the bank, for PPE that never appeared.

    £108m of public money given to PestFix, with 16 employees and net assets of £19,000, for PPE that never appeared.

    £14.2m and a subsequent £93.2m of public money given to Clandeboye Agencies Ltd, a confectionery wholesaler in Co Antrim, for PPE that never appeared.

    £40m of public money given to Medicine Box Ltd of Sutton-in-Ashfield, despite having assets of just £6,000 in March, for PPE that never appeared.

    £32m and a subsequent £16m of public money given to Initia Ventures Ltd, filed for dormancy in January this year, for PPE that never appeared.

    £28m of public money given to Monarch Acoustics Ltd of Nottingham, makers of shop and office furniture, for PPE that never appeared.

    £25m of public money given to Luxe Lifestyle Ltd, to supply garments for biological or chemical protection to the NHS. According to Companies House, the business was incorporated by fashion designer Karen Brost in November 2018. It appears to have no employees, no assets and no turnover.

    £18.4m of public money given to Aventis Solutions Ltd of Wilmslow, with just £322 in assets, for PPE that never appeared.

    £10m of public money given to Medco Solutions Ltd, incorporated on 26 March (three days after lockdown) with a share capital of just £2, for PPE that never appeared.

    £1.1m of public money given to Bristol shoemaker Toffeln Ltd, had seemingly never supplied any PPE whatsoever in the past, for PPE that never appeared.

    £825,000 of public money given to MGP Advisory, described as a venture and development capital business that was in danger of being struck off the companies register for failing to file accounts, for no one knows what for.”

  • Peter Brown

    I agree totally. My father did his National Service 70 years ago and has never forgotten his time in the army. His uncle was taken prisoner at St Valery; he quite literally never forgets. But last week he was annoyed to find wreaths still out at a war memorial. He said we have Remembrance Sunday once a year and not keep trotting out anniversaries. He also despairs of the abuse of the poppy from being a symbol of remembrance to being a symbol of British Nationalism.

    So yes. Enough already.

  • Bill Laing

    I thought the piece had merit because it was a perfect illustration that girls can do maths and science.

    Just a pity my teenage daughter was not up early enough to see it.

  • Alan Roberts

    I know this is tangential to the issue, but it was soon discovered the even eight .303 calibre machine guns threw far too little weight in the Battle of Britain that was about to happen. Later models on both sides had 20 mm automatic canon which finally performed the job that was needed.

  • Albert

    So it is OK to focus on Churchill’s “racism” but not on WW2 ? Isn’t Churchill’s “racism” even more distant from today than WW2 is ?

  • skyblaze

    I visitted my local park to have a chill time in the sun….leave by one of the exits and its like a shrine to soldiers who died in WW2. Really not the place for it. WW2 is over its the past lets move on

  • Bruce

    What I find interesting is that a lot of people know that the 2003 Iraq war was built on lies about WMDs, with Saddam eventually being found in a hole in the ground. But probably another big chunk of the population is not aware that the Iraq war was a sham. People on this site would think it utterly naive not to question the government narrative around the Iraq war.

    Now, WW2 was a much bigger event – the biggest conflict the world has seen and therefore the most important event in recorded history.
    But people who have no trouble questioning the government line about the Iraq war, would be appalled to go against the government narrative on WW2, which was the “good war” after all. But WW2 is subject to the most relentless propaganda, no other event comes close. What is this propaganda intending to conceal? Is there something dark hidden under the triumphalism that is WW2 remembrance?

  • Merkin Scot

    11a.m., Friday, and the Beeb is giving us more WW2 porn.
    Vera Lynn and that American song about bluebirds.
    They managed to get Nimrod and Jerusalem into the very first line of the programme. Sceptred Isle followed.
    .
    Who will rid me of this turbulent BBC?

  • Mary

    Some more PC revisionism. The name of Guy Gibson’s dog has caused trouble. The headstone on the dog’s grave has been changed. The same name was used as the codeword for the Dambusters’ raid.

    Dambusters dog’s memorial replaced by RAF to remove its racist name
    The much-loved squadron dog died on the same night that his owner breached the famous German dams during the Second World War.
    https://news.sky.com/story/dambusters-dogs-memorial-replaced-by-raf-to-remove-its-racist-name-12030664

  • Blissex

    The real problem is that the English Empire was militarily defeated in both WW1 and WW2, and was only saved in both cases by USA funding and intervention, plus USA funded russian intervention in WW2.
    In WW2 England was also politically vanquished by the USA, and more so in 1956, as the USA made surrender of pretty much the entire English Empire to them a condition of their funding and intervention on the english side.

    To give an idea of what power the USA had (and largely still have), they built, launched and equipped during the few years they were in the war a total of 151 (one hundred and fifty one) aircraft carriers. And that’s just one of many similar statistics.

    The endless bellowing rhetoric about Bletchley Park, the finest hour, etc. are just escapism to avoid confronting that stark reality, that feels endlessly shameful to the descendants of those upper-middle and upper classes who owned a third of the world.

    Until the political and/or military defeat of England in both WW1 and WW2 has been fully acknowledged England cannot be a realistic, normal country, and the BBC will continue to spew out delusional celebrations to appease the feelings of english supremacists.

    • Blissex

      «plus USA funded russian intervention in WW2.»

      BTW as Marshal Zhukov himself wrote, the USSR had been defeated in WW2 too (as the staggering losses of lives and territory show), and was indeed only saved by USA funding and supplies.

      The great mystery of WW2 is why ever the Nazis decided to go to war after seeing clearly that the Kaiser had been defeated only by USA funding and intervention in WW1, and most obviously the USA would do the same in a new european war. Perhaps that was just the deluded arrogance of their “Supreme Leader”.
      In the case of Japan, where cooler heads were planning, there is no mystery: in 1941 they were absolutely sure they would be brutally squashed by the americans in a couple of years, as the USA at the time had 3 times the population and 10 times the GDP per head of Japan, and they just chose mass death over “cowardice”.

    • Kempe

      I thought the English Empire ceased to exist in 1804.

      Don’t be over impressed by the aircraft carrier statistic; 125 of these ships were escort carriers, one third the size of fleet carriers, built on merchant ship hulls and just fast enough to provide air cover to convoys.

      They were a British idea.

      • Blissex

        Actually only 90 were escort carriers about the same size as the recently retired “Ark Royal”, and the total regardless, including the giant carriers that still no other power can even remotely afford (and in current times may be quite vulnerable), still had quite a punch, and the escort carriers were a british idea because the UK was poor.

        Simply put the USA had (and still have) overwhelming financial and logistical superiority over their satellites and their enemies in WW2, and were able to roll over their enemies in two theaters at once pretty much on their own in the Pacific and with a small but dispensable contribution by their allies in Europe. Some of my usual quotes:

        JM Keynes: «The financial history of the six months from the end of the summer of 1916 up to the entry of the United States into the war in April, 1917, remains to be written. Very few persons, outside the half-dozen officials of the British Treasury who lived in daily contact with the immense anxieties and impossible financial requirements of those days, can fully realize what stead-fastness and courage were needed, and how entirely hopeless the task would soon have become without the assistance of the United States Treasury.»

        «Nonetheless, John Maynard Keynes, the chief economic advisor to the new Labour Government, warned ministers in August 1945 that Britain’s world role was a burden which ‘… there is no reasonable expectation of our being able to carry …’ As he pointed out, the entire British war effort, including all her overseas military commitments, had only been made possible by American subsidies under the Lend-Lease programme.»

        «From as early as August 1941 – just two months after the Nazi invasion of the USSR – American convoy ships supplied the Soviets with what would eventually amount to more than 14,000 airplanes, 44,000 jeeps, 375,000 trucks, 8,000 tractors and 12,000 tanks. Not to mention 1.5 million blankets, 15 million pairs of army boots, 2.6 million tons of petroleum products and 4.4 million tons of food supplies.
        “The Americans gave us so many goods without which we wouldn’t have been able to form our reserves and continue the war”, admitted Georgy Zhukov, one of the Soviet Union’s most famous WWII generals.»

        Loud and endless talk about Bletchley, Dambusters, commandos, however righteous, etc. is meant to distract from that kind of geopolitical reality in which one power can quickly finance and build 151 aircraft carriers of various sizes and the others cannot, and to obfuscate the defeat of the Empire in both WW1 and WW2.

  • K holliday

    Can I recommend the Taylor of Inverness to you. Either the play or the book.
    A true story about a young man discovering his fathers past.
    It’s an astounding story.
    Imagine, someone so tossed about by tumultuous times he fought for many masters in the Second World War. Consider him on Remembrance Day.
    Tumultuous times, with people as cannon fodder. A bitterly true story.

  • patrick dunlop

    In some senses the War has never ended. Those of us who are a part of the immediate post-War generation have carried the trauma of that catastrophe all our lives and will likely die with it in us. All the adult males I met as a child had ‘been in the War’. My own father like many Scots and Glaswegians (51st HD) spent 5 years in Reich POW camps from 1940 until 1945. I don’t believe he dealt with the traumatic experiences of that time but I do believe that he unwittingly passed them on to his children. Many British do not fully understand the full effects of that War on the Continent of Europe. With all its flaws I see the EU as a palliative to that War and an attempt to prevent further bloodletting. Of course I voted to remain in the EU.

    I just looked again at the scene in the 1958 film ‘The Young Lions’ where the soldiers open the door of the hut in the concentration camp. When I first saw it aged 9 I turned a corner out of my boyhood, for a boy saw something of his fathers suffering and then he understood something of the dire nature of the catastrophe which was now waiting in the streets outside of the cinema for him (for me) the reality of death and sorrow and grievous unhealed wounds. The War never ended. Only now is it fading away as my generation age.

  • John Crisp

    Just came upon this. Couldn’t agree more. I’m the same age as you and grew up with the same themes and national memories (plus the memories of my mother, a Pole who came to England in 1947, having lost most of her immediate and extended family during World War II), but I think it’s time to stop with the national(ist) nostalgia. Boris Johnson is younger than us, but listening to him is like listening to a bad parody of Biggles and Jennings, with a touch of PG Woodhouse. Every new government initiative (outsourced to the private sector) is announced as “world beating”, “top tier”, “top tranche”. No, we are not “top nation” anymore, and haven’t been for close to a century. Time to get over it.

  • Parenti

    Saturday 5 September 8.00pm-9.00pm BBC RADIO 4 Archive on 4: Spitfire: From the Ashes > “This isn’t the usual story, about the plane that saved Britain. This is a story about the ordinary men and women, in church-halls, bus depots, laundries and garages, who saved the Spitfire.”

    This one has ‘the Spitfire sweethearts’, “bless e’m all” , “roll out the barrel”.

  • Dave

    The invasion of Poland was a tactile victory but a strategic mistake. Hitler’s purpose of the Nazi-Soviet Pact was to force Poland to the negotiating table over Danzig, as they would have been made aware of the ‘secret protocols’ to divide Poland between their powerful neighbours in the event of war. Poland had more to fear from Russia than Germany, as much of their vast non-Polish territory had been taken from Russian Empire/Soviet Union during their civil war.

    For whatever reason, the reckless failure to negotiate forced Hitler’s hand (at least in the sense he couldn’t allow them to call his bluff) and Poland collapsed quickly, as was obvious it would, and so why the Poles failed to negotiate is a puzzle, (before but particularly after the Pact was signed) as there was nothing a reckless Polish Guarantee could do to save them.

    So a tactile triumph, but a strategic defeat, because the Pact was more favourable to Soviet Union than to Germany. That is Soviet Union gained more and took more than was allowed by the Pact, and this made Soviet Union a terrible potential danger to Germany, particularly, as Hitler saw it, if corrupt communism fell and replaced with a powerful Russian nationalism. And this forced the preemptive attack on Soviet Union.

  • PeeMer

    This is so correct. I too have noticed the way in which as WW2 becomes more and more distant, and particularly since Brexit, the more time the media seems to spend on anniversaries and events surrounding it. Neither are they usually very informative but merely set pieces for jingoism. My father fought in the war and my mother lived through the Blitz in one of the most heavily bombed areas of London. Yet by the mid-50s they had a German ex-prisoner or war and his Jewish wife living in the flat above and with whom they got on famously and remained close friends for life. Of course it helped that both he and she were very much free spirits (he “escaped” from the POW camp several times a week to meet her and then returned to camp before morning for labour next day). Just wish the British media could show the same generosity of spirit 70 years later.

    • Dion Matthews

      Let’s not forget that the centenary (and the build up to it) of the oil war to end all oil wars i.e. WW1 was a colossal money spinner; I don’t for one minute imagine that the people and institutions who profited from that did not know that after 2018 their income would decrease significantly so they went looking and found WW2 just waiting for monetisation.

      As to my comment about WW1 being an oil war, Robert Newman did it best with “Rob Newmans history of oil” if you can find it, also have a look at the Berlin to Baghdad railway.

  • Parenti

    I seldom listen to BBC R4 now, but am alerted by their adverts/plugs for upcoming programmes.
    Some of their ‘War Porn’ is subtle, like today Sun 11th Oct 2020 R4 14:45 hrs ‘Legacy of War’ and later same day R4 16:30 hrs in ‘Poetry Please – Every Little Touch’ which links many aspects of ‘touch’ including no final human touch that war AND covid-19 preclude. ‘Insidious’ might be appropriate.
    BBC does no similar programmes on all the wars after WW2 and especially current war zones.
    Personal and National grief appears a better parochial tool?

  • Bill Michel

    And lucky for us here in the US that PBS has sub-contracted all programming to the UK. We get *both* war-porn, *and* British Aristocracy! Jollyl Good Show!

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