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VE Day

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  • VE Day

    Mike, any personal memories of VE Day? I know you were very young when the war ended, but just wondered if you could remember anything of it? For those of us who've grown up in a generally peaceful world, it's very hard to imagine just what it was like when the whole world was at war.
    'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

    Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

  • #2
    We kids weren't frightened by much of it, of course, since we'd grown up with the bombing, and the adults kept a good face on things. But I do remember jumping over the bonfire burning the 'guys' -- Hitler and Goering. I have quiite a few memories of wartime. Few of them were frightening. I'm not sure what would have happened to us all if the V-bombs had kept coming.

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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    • #3
      My Dad watched a V1 land on Motspur Park. He thought it was great! I think Tom Baker said that he owed Hitler for a great childhood! I must say, I envy the opportunities of the time...for those that didn't get killed, that is...

      Watching some of the veterans of World War (part II) today, I had the weirdest feeling I'd been there. Maybe its already a race memory...Heroes without a choice. I don't think there are many wars that can be called 'necessary'...but once it started, that was one that had to be finished.

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      • #4
        You may like to know that I decorated my balcony with allied flags today and also may want to read what I posted in the "Movies" section [broken link]

        And at this point I would like to add that VE-Day made Europe as we know it now possible, Thank God!

        Cheers,
        L'Etranger
        Last edited by Rothgo; 04-08-2010, 02:05 PM.
        Google ergo sum

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        • #5
          I still feel that many folk really don't appreciate the complexity of the European War...in brief, that the original tensions of the continent in the latter part of the nineteenth century were the result of territorial, colonial and prestigious aspirations by all the major continental powers. Britain's naval hegemony was at once a stabilising (global) influence and a spur for militaristic expansion for the other nations - German and Austro-Hungarian expansionism was 'defensive-reactive' in 1914 rather than blindly aggressive, the concept merely being repackaged by the Nazis as 'Lebensraum' in the 'thirties...with inevitable and eminently foreseeable added impetus following the humiliation and excessive economic 'punishments' of the Versailles diktat. Had the 1914-18 conflict ended with a reverse result (say, the Royal Navy redistributed in reparations to the central Euopean powers) then the resentment in the UK would undoubtedly have led to the ineluctabe rise of a nationalistic organisation a la Nazis; with similar consequences. There is every reason to suppose that an Austro-Hungarian-German victory in 1918 (and it was close) would have imposed Versailles-like penalties on the vanquished French/ British/ Italians....though whether this would have resulted in a less destructive WWII than was actually the case is impossible to say. I won't mention the possibilities extant if the USA had decided to adopt German as it's official language...
          I'm just blathering on because whilst I feel overwhelming gratitude to the 'Allies' of the second conflict, I feel that there is still too much 'blame' heaped on the Axis...a simplistic view. Even poor old Poland (viewed still as a victim) had highly aggressive intentions and actual ventures against both Germany and Russia in former times. The tragedy of both Poland and Germany is geographical! Hopefully, we can start to put the Nazi period into the same category as the Napoleonic era: a signal lesson in Welt Politik, but with sufficient objectivity to recognise that all nations bear some responsibility in the social engineering of the others. It's just that 'Victors Write The History Books', as the old saying goes...

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          • #6
            One thing I cannot repeat often enough: leaving aside for a moment all the tragedy my father's generation caused (actively or passively by not doing enough to stop Hitler) the utter defeat had another positive result (apart from being the shock from which the resolve to unite Europe peacefully emerged): there was never before such a long, intense (albeit often painful) discussion and desire to understand of what happened as in Germany. On all levels of awareness, privately, in the media and among scholars. Look, you all grew up firmly trusting your dads were on the right side. We wanted to find out why we couldn't have "Hero Dads" andm more seriously, why people we loved were either involved or ignored the obvious ... how a society was able to allow such moral corruption.
            (Even if the perpetrators aren't around anymore you can find answers. You easily get a copy of your father's or grandfather's war records from a government office here. They are accessible, at least of the former Wehrmacht soldiers). We haven't found all answers, we're still probing and searching, but there are already results: like Germany not taking part in the Iraq War, just because a bully says so. And there are people who are fed up of it all and who don't really understand the historic chance. While in other countries many never bothered to undergo such a process since they could point to the inheritant of the 3rd Reich, West Germany, and say that's were all the Nazis came from, not Austria, East Germany, plus Slovakia, Croatia and Hungary in part.
            Google ergo sum

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            • #7
              My parents are children of the 30s, born in 1930 and 1933 respectively, so I've heard many tales of the war from them - air raids, rationing, blackouts etc. Interestingly, I found an article on the late German singer Nico recently - she was born in 1940, taken to Berlin in 1946 and was apparently profoundly affected by the destruction she saw there. I know that Mike has mentioned similar things, and of course Ballard was very much inspired by his experiences in Shanghai. These things linger on. I live in Coventry and the ruined old cathedral is a permanent testament to WWII, and the Blitz in particular.

              I wonder how most youngsters today view the wars? According to a recent poll, many seem to think Churchill is the puppet bulldog off the insurance company adverts, and have never heard of the man himself. Meanwhile, parts of the UK press seem to view further integration into Europe as tantamount to a surrender to Germany sixty years after the war... :roll:
              'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

              Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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              • #8
                The future of Europe is in food. Since Britain finally, thank God (THANK GOD!!!) has begun to adopt catholic culinary tastes along 'continental' lines, we can no longer whine on xenophobically about garlic and 'sausage-eaters' :lol: .

                Now, if we can just outlaw football, unity in Europe will be assured...

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                • #9
                  I note that our illustrious PM also fails to appreciate the detail of twentieth century history. He says Germany should not develop a 'victim culture' because 'they started it'. The cry of the European Playground? Never mind Versailles, or punitive sanctions (plus ca change), or admiration of Hitler by the Royal Family, or dumping on the Czechs, or parsimonious policies of defence procurement compounding the failure to react to an obvious rising threat. No victims in Dresden or Cleeve or Konigsberg, of course.

                  There are plenty of little Hitlers, Stalins, Pol Pots, and Mugabes knocking around the world waiting for a chance. Countries take it in turn to cop for them. Events like the recent European War are merely the inevitable result of good old human nature and the primitive tribal expression of Nationalism. The British kicked all of the Jews out a few hundred years ago, and can't exactly be exonerated from the charge of nationalistic expansionism. Yet again, it's a case of how wide is your temporal perspective?

                  Sorry if this is all sounding a bit simplistic. I'm following a Blair trend.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Perdix
                    I note that our illustrious PM also fails to appreciate the detail of twentieth century history. He says Germany should not develop a 'victim culture' because 'they started it'.
                    Blair gets something right for once! There's a disturbing rise of the far-right in Germany at present, and I'm sure this 'victim' business has got something to do with it. "We won the war, they won the peace" may be a bit of a cliche, but on the whole the Germans have got off very lightly. (I don't agree with the Versailles Settlement, by the way). Of course, Britain has its crimes as well - but I don't agree with 'relativising' the Third Reich, I'm afraid.

                    Anyway - Radio 4 has been broadcasting an interesting series about VE day every morning this week - they can be heard here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/coming_home/
                    \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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                    • #11
                      Well,yes...the danger of revisionism is that it tends to sanitise or fictionalise history! Which is of course how most of our older history is traditionally viewed. Caesar, Genghis Khan, Tamberlane, Napoleon, Hitler: all complete shits, albeit highly talented ones: bogey men of their own periods and immediate aftermaths - admired heroes in the long view? Neo-nazis and Stalin nostalgists may both perceive and promote a seriously warped perspective of their icons. There must never be a veneer of 'cleansing time' placed over the wickedness of the Third Reich, nor similar states and ideologies. I just feel that it was Germany's circumstancial and historical hard luck to be the incubator of such sentiments crystallised. We don't seem to 'punish' the Italians in the same way, nor even the Japanese (possibly even more totalitarian). It could have happened here, too - although perhaps the polyglot, multicultural nature of 20th C Britain (largely a result of imperialism, BTW!) and our more overt resentment of authority makes 'us' more resistant to 'national direction' except under undue threat (which, of course, is the stimulus that the Nazis capitalised on in the first place). I don't know - I naturally react against 'National Stereotypes', for the very reason that it seems to be the wellspring of the worst kind of xenophobic patriotism. 'Because they're different'. Hum.

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                      • #12
                        No victims in Dresden or Cleeve or Konigsberg, of course.
                        The Blitz or Die Brand -I doubt it felt much different to the civilians involved.
                        \"It got worse. He needed something to cure himself. What? he asked. M-A 19 he answered.\"

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                        • #13
                          In my experience the German people are fully aware of the crimes committed in their name and only the usual far-right groups, of the kind you'll find in every country (and maybe in larger numbers in the US, which is what we perhaps should be worrying about at the moment), are
                          'revisionist'. It's our duty to be vigilant. If another Hitler emerges, we should be ready for him -- and he's as likely to be a managerial type, like Blair, as he is to be a ranting loony. Hitler was also very charming when he wanted to be and it's worth remembering that's how he gathered the power in the first place. As for Italy (or especially Austria) and the other axis countries, surely it's time to stop blaming anyone and make sure we analyse accurately what's going on now. VE Day was a huge emotional moment in the UK and most parts of Europe, which was fine, but realpolitik is realpolitik and what was done to the victims of Yalta, for instance, as well as to many relative innocents, as part of allied policy, shouldn't be forgotten. On the other hand it's getting a bit late to 'punish' anyone for any crimes they might have committed so long ago. We must look to ourselves and our own motives and, yes, remember how close we non-Axis people came to becoming what Hitler and Hirohito made the German and Japanese people become.

                          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                          The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                          Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                          The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                          Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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                          • #14
                            How we, as in mankind deal with overpopulation and limited resources such as water, food, oil will determine whether we have learned our lessons and can live as one, in a peaceful global village.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Mike: Your post said it all. We all have a responsibility.
                              it's got to be so hard to choose right from wrong in moments like that, i cannot imagine, but if the majority would have told hitler to take a walk! how different history would be today!

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