Baldrick and Education Secretary embroiled in row over WWI


Blackleaf
#1
It's good to see someone finally fight the left-wing myths about World War I, and it's no surprise that it's our brilliant Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove.

British Education Secretary Michael Gove has attacked "left-wing academics" for using TV series like Blackadder "to feed myths" to students about World War One, including that British top brass were cowards and buffoons.

Mr Gove told the Daily Mail on Thursday that people's understanding of the war had been overlaid by left-wing "misrepresentations" which at worst reflected "an unhappy compulsion on the part of some to denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage".

Mr Gove has pointed to the 1989 series Blackadder Goes Forth, set during WWI, which depicts Britain's military leaders - such as General Melchett, played by Stephen Fry, and Tim McInnerny's Captain Darling - as cowards and buffoons, in common with earlier fictional accounts of the conflict such as the 1960s musical farce Oh, What a Lovely War!

Some scenes in Oh, What a Lovely War! were based on historian and Conservative politician Alan Clark's revisionist history of WW1, The Donkeys, which is credited with starting the trend for unflattering portrayals of WW1 top brass.

Gove added: "The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh, What a Lovely War!, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles - a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite."

But amateur historian Sir Tony Robinson, 67, who played the hapless Baldrick in the original series between 1983 and 1989 and in later one-off specials and is now the presenter of archaeology series Time Team, has accused Gove of "slagging off teachers".

Robinson, a left-wing activist and member of the Labour Party, said on Sky News on Sunday: "To categorise teachers who would introduce something like Blackadder as left-wing and introducing left-wing propaganda is very, very unhelpful. And I think it's particularly unhelpful and irresponsible for a minister in charge of education."

In November, Conservative defence minister Andrew Murrison, a former Royal Navy surgeon, said: "We risk disconnection from a defining event of our time and an opportunity, perhaps, to balance the Oh! What A Lovely War/Blackadder take on history, that has sadly been in the ascendant for the past 50 years."

Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson in Michael Gove WW1 row

5 January 2014
BBC News


Sir Tony Robinson (right) played Baldrick in 1989 BBC comedy series Blackadder Goes Forth

A row has erupted between Sir Tony Robinson and Michael Gove after the education secretary claimed "left-wing academics" were using Blackadder "to feed myths" about World War One.

Sir Tony, who played Baldrick in the BBC series, said Mr Gove was essentially "slagging off teachers".

But Mr Gove said Sir Tony - a left wing activist - was "wrong" and he had not been attacking teachers, just "myths".

The row comes ahead of centenary commemorations for the outbreak of WW1.

The final series of Blackadder - set in the trenches of WW1 - depicts Britain's military leaders as cowards and buffoons, in common with earlier fictional accounts of the conflict such as the 1960s musical farce Oh, What a Lovely War!

'Catastrophic mistakes'


Sir Tony Robinson, 67, defended Blackadder on Sky News yesterday

Mr Gove told the Daily Mail on Thursday, that people's understanding of the war had been overlaid by "misrepresentations" which at worst reflected "an unhappy compulsion on the part of some to denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage".

"The war was, of course, an unspeakable tragedy, which robbed this nation of our bravest and best," wrote Mr Gove.

"But even as we recall that loss and commemorate the bravery of those who fought, it's important that we don't succumb to some of the myths which have grown up about the conflict."

He added: "The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh, What a Lovely War!, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles - a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite.

"Even to this day there are left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths."

Some scenes in Oh, What a Lovely War! were based on historian and Conservative politician Alan Clark's revisionist history of WW1, The Donkeys, which is credited with starting the trend for unflattering portrayals of WW1 top brass.


General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett, played by Stephen Fry, is portrayed in the BBC's Blackadder Goes Forth as an eccentric buffoon


In Blackadder Goes Forth, Captain Kevin Darling preferred office work and folding the General's pyjamas than being with his comrades in the trenches


Alan Bleasdale's The Monocled Mutineer was also in Mr Gove's crosshairs

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Sir Tony, a former member of Labour's ruling National Executive Committee, said: "I think Mr Gove has just made a very silly mistake; it's not that Blackadder teaches children the First World War.

"When imaginative teachers bring it in, it's simply another teaching tool; they probably take them over to Flanders to have a look at the sights out there, have them marching around the playground, read the poems of Wilfred Owen to them. And one of the things that they'll do is show them Blackadder.

"And I think to make this mistake, to categorise teachers who would introduce something like Blackadder as left-wing and introducing left-wing propaganda is very, very unhelpful. And I think it's particularly unhelpful and irresponsible for a minister in charge of education."

The actor and Labour activist said it was "just another example of slagging off teachers," adding: "I don't think that's professional or appropriate."

But a spokesman for Michael Gove hit back at his comments.

"Tony Robinson is wrong. Michael wasn't attacking teachers, he was attacking the myths perpetuated in Blackadder and elsewhere," said the spokesman.

"Michael thinks it is important not to denigrate the patriotism, honour and courage demonstrated by ordinary British soldiers in the First World War."

Paxman comments

Speaking ahead of the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War Mr Gove said only 'undergraduate cynics' would say soldiers had fought in vain

Earlier, shadow education secretary and TV historian Tristram Hunt also criticised Mr Gove's "crass" comments.

In an article in The Observer, the Labour MP wrote: "The reality is clear: the government is using what should be a moment for national reflection and respectful debate to rewrite the historical record and sow political division."

In October, BBC Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, who has written a book to tie in with the centenary of the start of WW1, criticised schools for relying on episodes of Blackadder Goes Forth to teach pupils about the conflict.

The following month, Conservative defence minister Andrew Murrison, a former Royal Navy surgeon, said: "We risk disconnection from a defining event of our time and an opportunity, perhaps, to balance the Oh! What A Lovely War/Blackadder take on history, that has sadly been in the ascendant for the past 50 years."

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x13...tal_shortfilms

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x13...eee_shortfilms

BBC News - Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson in Michael Gove WW1 row
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jan 6th, 2014 at 10:19 AM..
 
taxslave
+3
#2  Top Rated Post
See I told you to find a real history book instead of those Bridish ones.
 
Cliffy
+2
#3
War is for buffoons. Glorifying war is the work of idiots who have money invested if making weapons of mass destruction. WW1 was a particularly stupid war. The incredible loss of life over nothing can only properly be described as complete insanity. It was a family feud between the inbred monarchies of Europe. England is only one of a few that were dumb enough to keep theirs.
 
Blackleaf
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by CliffyView Post

War is for buffoons. Glorifying war is the work of idiots who have money invested if making weapons of mass destruction. WW1 was a particularly stupid war. The incredible loss of life over nothing can only properly be described as complete insanity. It was a family feud between the inbred monarchies of Europe. England is only one of a few that were dumb enough to keep theirs.

There's so much tripe imbedded in that message than the only things that are accurate within it are the spelling and the grammar.

I have an urge to correct all that you have got wrong, but I feel I will be here all day if I did so.
 
Cliffy
+1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

There's so much tripe imbedded in that message than the only things that are accurate within it are the spelling and the grammar.

I have an urge to correct all that you have got wrong, but I feel I will be here all day if I did so.

It would take you all day to justify stupidity?
 
Blackleaf
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by CliffyView Post

It would take you all day to justify stupidity?


It would take me all day to correct all that you said wrong, so I'm not going to bother to do that this time.
**************************************

The Left's refusal to say Germany started the First World War makes them unfit for office, Boris Johnson said today.

The London Mayor condemned history-illiterate Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt for claiming it was ‘crass’ and ‘ugly’ to pin the blame for the Great War on Germany.

Mr Hunt, an historian who was elected to the Commons in 2010, said that the case put forward by Mr Gove, Max Hastings and Fritz Fischer that the conflict ‘was a necessary act of resistance against a militaristic Germany bent on warmongering and imperial aggression’ overlooked internal opposition to Kaiser Wilheim II.

But Mr Johnson hit back today, accusing Mr Hunt of ‘talking total twaddle’, adding: ‘If Tristram Hunt seriously denies that German militarism was at the root of the First World War, then he is not fit to do his job, either in opposition or in government, and should resign. If he does not deny that fact, he should issue a clarification now.’

Why won't the left blame Germany for the First World War? Boris Johnson calls for Labour’s education spokesman to resign in row over how to mark Great War's centenary


London Mayor accuses Tristram Hunt of 'talking total twaddle' about WWI

Political row erupted ahead of centenary of the outbreak of the Great War

Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove attacked 'left wing' myths

Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson accused minister of being 'very silly'

No.10 insists UK 'shouldn't be afraid' of saying it stood up to aggression

By Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor
6 January 2014
Daily Mail


British soldiers preparing artillery shells during World War I. London Mayor Boris Johnson is angry over the Left's refusal to blame the conflict on German militarism, aggression and expansion


Labour’s refusal to say Germany started the First World War makes them unfit for office, Boris Johnson said today.

The London Mayor condemned the party’s education spokesman Tristram Hunt for claiming it was ‘crass’ and ‘ugly’ to pin the blame for the Great War on Germany.

It marks an escalation in the political row over how Britain should mark this year’s centenary of the outbreak of the conflict in 1914.

London Mayor Boris Johnson (left) accused Labour's Tristram Hunt (right) of 'talking total twaddle' by playing down the part played by Germany in the outbreak of the First World War

Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove last week attacked the left-wing academics for fuelling myths about the First World War, accusing shows like Blackadder of belittling Britain and clearing Germany of blame.

Mr Hunt yesterday accused Mr Gove of trying to use the WWI centenary to ‘sow political division’, condemning ‘ugly’ and ‘crass’ attacks by the Conservatives.

He wrote in The Observer: ‘Whether you agree or disagree, given the deaths of 15 million people during the war, attempting to position 1918 as a simplistic, nationalistic triumph seems equally foolhardy, not least because the very same tensions re-emerged to such deadly effect in 1939.’

Mr Hunt, an historian who was elected to the Commons in 2010, said that the case put forward by Mr Gove, Max Hastings and Fritz Fischer that the conflict ‘was a necessary act of resistance against a militaristic Germany bent on warmongering and imperial aggression’ overlooked internal opposition to Kaiser Wilheim II.


Education Secretary Michael Gove said shows like Blackadder and Oh What A Lovely War painted an incorrect picture of the conflict

But Mr Johnson hit back today, accusing Mr Hunt of ‘talking total twaddle’, adding: ‘If Tristram Hunt seriously denies that German militarism was at the root of the First World War, then he is not fit to do his job, either in opposition or in government, and should resign. If he does not deny that fact, he should issue a clarification now.’

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Johnson added: ‘It is a sad but undeniable fact that the First World War – in all its murderous horror – was overwhelmingly the result of German expansionism and aggression.

‘That fact is, alas, not one that the modern Labour Party believes it is polite to mention.’

Downing Street appeared to back Mr Johnson today, insisting Britain 'should not be afraid' to make clear why it needed to stand up to German aggression.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: ‘The prime minister’s view is that the centenary of the First World War is an opportunity to do three things, one obviously to commemorate the fallen, second, there’s an opportunity of course to learn about the impact the conflict had on our country and the world because of course there were very significant impacts on us as a society and as an economy as a result.

‘And thirdly of course to reflect on the achievement of peace for the most part, with some tragic exceptions obviously such as the Balkans conflict in the 1990s, but for the most part on peace in Europe following the two conflicts which scarred the first half.

‘So there’s an opportunity for us to do that, and I think we can do that without being afraid of saying it was right for Britain to respond to aggression and to enter the war on that basis.

'So those are the things we can do, and we can do those without being afraid that it was right for Britain to respond in the way that it did.’


Captain Coward: Tony Robinson as Private Baldrick, left, and Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder in the titular sit-com, which Education Secretary Michael Gove blames for distorting attitudes about the First World War

The political battle over how the Great World War should be remembered has focussed in particular on whether the BBC sitcom Blackadder should be shown in schools.

Mr Gove argued: ‘The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh! What a Lovely War, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite. Even to this day there are Left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths.’

Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson, who played Baldrick in the series, branded Mr Gove ‘very silly’.

Sir Tony, a prominent member of the Labour Party who once sat on its national executive, said: ‘I think Mr Gove has just made a very silly mistake. It is not that Blackadder teaches children about World War One.

‘When imaginative teachers bring it in, it’s simply another teaching tool,’ he told Sky News.

‘They probably take them over to Flanders to have a look at the sights out there, have them marching around the playground, read the poems of Wilfred Owen to them. And one of the things that they’ll do is show them Blackadder.’


 
Spade
#7

The Final Sequence Oh What a Lovely War - YouTube

 
IdRatherBeSkiing
+2
#8
Black Adder was a very funny series. Also like Rowan Atkinson in his documentaries about everyday briton's and their everyday lives with his Mr. Bean series.
 
lone wolf
+2
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

There's so much tripe imbedded in that message than the only things that are accurate within it are the spelling and the grammar.

I have an urge to correct all that you have got wrong, but I feel I will be here all day if I did so.

I think the word is "embedded".... One should be sure of his own doorstep before accusing another of not sweeping.
 
damngrumpy
+1 / -1
#10
First of all this is not a left right thing its about what will come out.
Funny wading in now, 2014 is exactly 100 years since the that war.
All kinds of documents will come forward showing just how stupid
British Officers were. I remember old vets in our family years ago
talking about incompetent leadership in the British Army and the
Canadians as well all the way up to government. Who knows the
story of the Ross Rifle the biggest piece of crap ever produced.
WWII was no better my father told me several stories of how stupid
some of the senior officers were. Not only incompetent but arrogant
as well. We had a neighbour who used to joke the British were so
stupid they fooled the Germans cause the Germans couldn't believe
anyone could be as dumb as the Brit officers.
No a lot of truth is about to come out and the present government
wants it played down. They start some quarrel with academics
to make themselves look good, Terrible thing when the truth must
be confronted.
 
Spade
+1
#11
Blackleaf moaned, "Why won't the left blame Germany for the First World War? ".

Well, because the Austrian-Hungarian Empire started it.
 
Blackleaf
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by damngrumpyView Post

First of all this is not a left right thing its about what will come out.
Funny wading in now, 2014 is exactly 100 years since the that war.
All kinds of documents will come forward showing just how stupid
British Officers were. I remember old vets in our family years ago
talking about incompetent leadership in the British Army and the
Canadians as well all the way up to government. Who knows the
story of the Ross Rifle the biggest piece of crap ever produced.
WWII was no better my father told me several stories of how stupid
some of the senior officers were. Not only incompetent but arrogant
as well. We had a neighbour who used to joke the British were so
stupid they fooled the Germans cause the Germans couldn't believe
anyone could be as dumb as the Brit officers.
No a lot of truth is about to come out and the present government
wants it played down. They start some quarrel with academics
to make themselves look good, Terrible thing when the truth must
be confronted.


You should tell your neighbour to not learn his WWI "history" by watching Blackadder and to start reading about it in a proper history book. Tell him to read MaX Hastings' brilliant book on the subject.

Even in the readers' comments section of the online Daily Mail article written by the brilliant historian Max Hastings, in which he rails against Blackadder and the Left's cunning plan to twist history to fit their deadly delusions, there are people spouting the very Left wing myths of WWI that Hastings and Gove are angry about. One or two people on the readers' comments section attacked Hastings and his article saying that British officers of WWI WERE stupid (despite what Hasting says) because they ordered troops during the Battle of the Somme to WALK in single file towards German gunfire! But British troops were never ordered to walk in single file towards German gunfire. This is a Left wing myth - one which is perpetuated in an episode of, yep, you guessed it, Blackadder Goes Forth.

So these people, in attacking Gove and Hastings for saying that many people's views of WWI today are nothing more than Left wing mythology, are just proving Gove and Hastings' point. They believe the Left wing myth that British officers ordered troops to walk in single file towards German gunfire - and probably believe it by watching that episode of Blackadder Goes Forth.

Quote: Originally Posted by SpadeView Post

Blackleaf moaned, "Why won't the left blame Germany for the First World War? ".

Well, because the Austrian-Hungarian Empire started it.


Germany, and her aggression and expansionism, started WWI.
 
Cliffy
#13
Left wing, right wing - delusionals, one and all. Do you have trouble having bowel movements with your head in the way?
 
Blackleaf
#14
For those wishing to increase their knowledge I would recommend BBC Newsnight and University Challenge presenter Jeremy Paxman's book Great Britain's Great War. It provides a summary of the build up to the war in the very first chapter and is a brilliant read.

That, of course, is if you have the slightest interest in actual history, rather than the Left wing version of the war as a pointless war in which British soldiers were led by eccentric buffoons which has been propagated in the last 50 years or so by Blackadder and Damngrumpy's neighbour.

I think it's about time I helped Paxman, Gove and Hastings' quest to de-left-wing-myth WWI.



As the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War draws near, we will see a flood of books about it, and Jeremy Paxman has got in early with this vivid account, in under 300 pages, of Britain's part in it. In his Introduction he writes that for us the Great War is as far distant from us as the Battle of Waterloo was from the men who joined up in 1914, that as a result many of us make the false assumptions that we understand it, and that we look at it through the eyes of our society rather than through those of that generation. I am not sure that this is entirely true, even of those who, like Paxman, were born five years after the end of the Second World War. I think the UNDERSTANDING of the First World War, and the accounts here of the politics and of the campaigns, would be fairly familiar to anybody who is interested in the history of the time. But Paxman has a point when he shows that the widespread present JUDGMENT that the World War I was a "pointless" waste of lives was NOT shared by the men who were prepared to sacrifice themselves or by their women folk who saw them going to war.

The considerable value of Paxman's book lies, in my opinion, not so much in seeing that war once more in its original perspective as in his own characteristic mixture of sympathy and sardonic observations, but above all in the many details he has culled from his source material. One early example: "postmen resigned their jobs rather than face the sight of yet another family in tears" as they received the dreaded telegram announcing the death of one of their loved ones. The enthusiasm with which young men volunteered for enlistment in 1914; the proliferation throughout the war of wildly invented stories about German atrocities; the attacks on shops owned by Germans who had long been resident in Britain; the way in which government censorship of the press did and did not work; the bullying jingoism of the Northcliffe Press; the tribunals which were set up after conscription had been introduced in 1916 to hear applications to be exempted from it; the breakdown of traditional sexual morals and its consequences; the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey - these and many other themes which are familiar in outline are here copiously illustrated with less well-known details. There are excellent portraits of politicians and generals, grotesque quotations from propaganda and exhortations, and moving excerpts from letters written home by the troops.

Paxman details the horror of living and dying in the trenches, and of the gas attacks of which 181,000 British soldiers died during the war (Germans, too, but we do not get the figures). There were 420,000 British and Empire casualties during the four months in 1916 of the Battle of the Somme, 275,000 a year later during the four weeks of the Battle of Passchendaele, and 250,000 during the six weeks of the last German offensive in 1918. Paxman marvels several times how men endured all this and why there were no significant mutinies in the British army, and not the least interesting part of the book is the great variety of psychological explanations he suggests. The quality of leadership played a great part - not from the very top so much as from the young subalterns who came from the public schools; and so, among all sections of society, did a sense of duty which, Paxman writes, is "today almost invisible in British society". But there was also the fear of being considered a coward, and, worse, of the courts martial which passed over 3,000 death sentences (though only about one tenth of them were carried out).

Throughout the book we see what immense changes the war wrought to the social structure of England - to the role of government, to class relationships (though these reverted to "normal" soon after the end of the war) and to the role of women (which were more enduring).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-Britai.../dp/0670919616

Baldrick and the Left's cunning plan to twist our history to fit their deadly delusions


By Max Hastings
7 January 2014
Daily Mail



Actor Tony Robinson, seen here as Baldrick in Blackadder

Last week in the Mail, Education Secretary Michael Gove declared the centenary of 1914 should be an occasion for recognising that Britain played a necessary and honourable part in resisting German militarism; that the ‘Blackadder view’ of World War I futility is a gross distortion of our history.

Of course he was pretty much right, but the party political roof fell in on him.

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt delivered a blast of invective, denouncing Gove’s view and urging that the centenary should be used simply to celebrate Europe’s modern peace, rather than attribute blame for what happened in 1914.

Tony Robinson, the actor who played Baldrick in the Blackadder saga and has since sat on Labour’s National Executive Committee, delivered his own assault.

This was a sorry start to the commemoration. But it reflects the determination of Britain’s Left to make an ideological argument out of World War I, as it does out of almost everything else in history.

Margaret Thatcher’s funeral exposed the still dogged determination of many Socialists to deny the failure of their policies over half a century, culminating in the disastrous Seventies, which made possible Thatcher’s ascent to her role as national saviour.

Ed Miliband likewise refuses to acknowledge the bankruptcy of Gordon Brown’s economic stewardship, with which he and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls are inseparably identified.

Most of the Left, for the majority of the 20th century, went to their graves applauding the Soviet Union as the motherland of socialism.

Because Tony Benn has lived to a ripe age, many people who should know better treat him as a cuddly old pet. Yet he spent his political career promoting Marxist policies that would have brought doom on this country, if ever he had a chance to implement them.


He has never recanted, any more than did the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawn or Ed Miliband’s father Ralph. Hobsbawn was loaded with honours before his death in 2012, by people apparently happy to ignore the ideology with which he associated himself, together with the misery and bloodshed it brought upon the world.

And so back to 1914. There is a Left-wing template for the two World Wars, as for everything else.
World War II is seen as Britain’s ‘good’ struggle against Hitler, especially after 1941 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, and Stalin was obliged to abandon his earlier alliance with the Nazis.

But World War I is regarded by Socialists as our ‘bad’ conflict: morally quite distinct from World War II and the fault of aristocratic elites across Europe rather than of the Germans.

Michael Gove was right when he wrote last week that the history of the era was hijacked in the Sixties by Joan Littlewood and her satirical musical Oh! What A Lovely War, and more recently by Blackadder.
These brilliant productions propagated the vision of a futile struggle, conducted by imbecile generals.


Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt (pictured) delivered a blast of invective, denouncing Gove's view and urging that the centenary should be used simply to celebrate Europe's modern peace

There was no cause at stake, the Socialist school claims, worth a single life.

Some of us, however, take a very different view. I have a special interest, because last year I published a book about 1914, Catastrophe, which told the story of the early months on the battlefield.

I argued that the British could not safely or responsibly have stayed neutral while Germany secured hegemony over the Continent.

Tristram Hunt mentioned my book dismissively in his weekend broadside against Michael Gove, but it seemed plain he had not read it — few Labour frontbenchers are big readers outside the party’s official condensed book list.

Hunt favours the notion that blame for World War I rests with Serbia — some of the army officers of this small Balkan nation supplied the guns and bombs used to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.

It is certainly true that Serbia behaved irresponsibly by promoting terrorism in the Austrian Empire.


Michael Gove declared the centenary of 1914 should be an occasion for recognising that Britain played a necessary and honourable part in resisting German militarism

But there remains no credible evidence that the Serbian government — or the Russians — were complicit in the assassination of Franz Ferdinand.

The Austrians nonetheless decided to use the outrage to justify eliminating Serbia from the map.

They sought, and received, Germany’s promise of unqualified support for smashing Serbia, even though they knew the country was under Russia’s protection.

Throughout the European crisis that followed, the Germans persistently lied, denying their complicity in the looming Austrian strike and Austria’s intention to eliminate Serbia as a state.

Throughout the month-long crisis that preceded war in July 1914, Germany was the one nation that could at any time have halted the descent to disaster, by telling the Austrians to abandon their invasion of Serbia.

Berlin did not do so because the Kaiser and his generals were bent upon securing a coup in the Balkans, even at the risk of triggering a European war — which they thought they could win.

The British had little sympathy for Serbia or Russia. It is highly doubtful Britain would have entered the 1914 continental clash but for the fact Germany set about implementing its vast war plan for smashing Russia and France by invading neutral Belgium.

The Belgians appealed for aid to Britain, a guarantor of their inviolability under an 1839 Treaty. The British government sent an ultimatum to Berlin, demanding Germany should withdraw from Belgium — which it did not.

Thus, in defence of international law and the rights of a small state faced with aggression, Britain went to war on August 4, 1914.

Tristram Hunt, the Labour Party and some Leftist novelists and historians stick with the view that Britain had nothing to be proud of here, and that Germany had little to be ashamed of.

I, and many other British people, disagree. Those who think we should have stayed out of the continental war in 1914 must address a vital question: if the Kaiser had won, what sort of peace would he have imposed on Europe?


Captain Coward: Tony Robinson as Private Baldrick, left, and Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder in the titular sit-com, which Education Secretary Michael Gove blames for distorting attitudes about the First World War

A brutal and draconian one is the answer. We know this, because Berlin in September 1914 prepared a secret ‘shopping list’ — its terms for granting peace to the Allies, and these fell little short of Hitler’s a generation later, save there was no plan for a Jewish genocide.

The Kaiser and his generals were bent upon European domination.

After defeating Russia, in March 1918 they imposed a treaty as harsh as they intended for Britain and France, had Germany also been victorious in the West.

A distinguished historian of the era mused aloud to me recently: ‘Why is it that while the world will never forgive Hitler for having been mad, it seems willing to forgive the Kaiser for having been mad?’

Why, indeed?

Yet it is not the world that is so eager to excuse Germany for its decisive role in starting World War I, but the Left, which propagates a shamelessly distorted vision of the past.

If Tristram Hunt was writing the national history curriculum for our schools, Labour would think it safer not to teach children anything remotely controversial about how one of the largest and most terrible events of history came about — less still anything that might distress modern Germans.

‘Don’t mention the war!’ said Basil Fawlty. The Shadow Education Secretary obviously agrees, which is a good reason for hoping he never attains power over our schools.


 
Tecumsehsbones
+1
#15
The British started it so that, after their glory days were over, their worthless descendants could glorify the concept of getting your guts scattered all over the Green Fields of France for no reason.

Quote:

'Don’t mention the war!’ said Basil Fawlty. The Shadow Education Secretary obviously agrees, which is a good reason for hoping he never attains power over our schools.

Of course, he was talking about a different war, but never let factual accuracy or relevance get in the way of a good, jingoistic, John Bullsh*t rant.
 
Spade
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by SpadeView Post

Blackleaf moaned, "Why won't the left blame Germany for the First World War? ".

Well, because the Austrian-Hungarian Empire started it.

Yeppers!
"World War I began on July 28, 1914, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This seemingly small conflict between two countries spread rapidly: soon, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, and France were all drawn into the war, largely because they were involved in treaties that obligated them to defend certain other nations. Western and eastern fronts quickly opened along the borders of Germany and Austria-Hungary."
 
Blackleaf
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by TecumsehsbonesView Post

The British started it


I never expected an intelligent, factually correct comment from you.

And I have to say..... I never got one. As we all know, you're one of those Left wingers who change history to fit their deadly delusions that Gove is trailing against.

You never disappoint.

Quote:

Of course, he was talking about a different war, but never let factual accuracy or relevance get in the way of a good, jingoistic, John Bullsh*t rant.

Please read the article first before posting. That way you wouldn't make it look as though your brain is as empty of brain cells as Accrington Stanley's trophy cabinet is of silverware.

Quote: Originally Posted by SpadeView Post

Yeppers!
"World War I began on July 28, 1914, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This seemingly small conflict between two countries spread rapidly: soon, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, and France were all drawn into the war, largely because they were involved in treaties that obligated them to defend certain other nations. Western and eastern fronts quickly opened along the borders of Germany and Austria-Hungary."

And you're another one.

Like the makers of Blackadder, you peddle historically inaccurate myths about WWI as has been going on for the last fifty years. You can't simply read about the causes of WWI. You just believe what you have been told to believe.

Germany was the main cause of WWI. As Hastings points out, they knew that Austria was planning to wipe Serbia off the map. They were the ONE country which could have stopped it but decided not to do so. Germany wanted a European war - a war which it thought it could win. It was the militarism and expansion of Germany - especially its invasion of Belgium - which brought the British into the conflict and properly ignited the conflict.


The Austrians nonetheless decided to use the outrage (of the shooting of Franz Ferdinand) to justify eliminating Serbia from the map.


They sought, and received, Germany’s promise of unqualified support for smashing Serbia, even though they knew the country was under Russia’s protection.


Throughout the European crisis that followed, the Germans persistently lied, denying their complicity in the looming Austrian strike and Austria’s intention to eliminate Serbia as a state.


Throughout the month-long crisis that preceded war in July 1914, Germany was the one nation that could at any time have halted the descent to disaster, by telling the Austrians to abandon their invasion of Serbia.


Berlin did not do so because the Kaiser and his generals were bent upon securing a coup in the Balkans, even at the risk of triggering a European war — which they thought they could win.


The British had little sympathy for Serbia or Russia. It is highly doubtful Britain would have entered the 1914 continental clash but for the fact Germany set about implementing its vast war plan for smashing Russia and France by invading neutral Belgium.


The Belgians appealed for aid to Britain, a guarantor of their inviolability under an 1839 Treaty. The British government sent an ultimatum to Berlin, demanding Germany should withdraw from Belgium — which it did not.


Thus, in defence of international law and the rights of a small state faced with aggression, Britain went to war on August 4, 1914.
 
no new posts