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Re-branding Pearl Harbor anniversary for a new generation

Discussion in 'WWII' started by Tiki Tom, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    the poor Scottish troops, forgotten even by their own! http://punditwire.com/2012/11/29/scotlands-forgotten-heroes/
  2. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    I've known a couple of former Scottish soldiers from years gone by. One served as a infantryman but I'm not sure which regiment. He was from Glasgow. The other one served as an cavalry officer, initially with the Cheshire Yeomanry. He was with them when they took part in operations in Palestine. The regiment was still horse-mounted then. But when it was converted to a signals unit, he transferred to the Royal Scots Greys. My son-in-law's grandmother on his father's side served in the R.A.F. during WWII and presently lives in Arlington, Virginia.
  3. I stand corrected! My source, to its discredit, referred only to the 40,000 "French troops" under command in the rear, and singled out the "last" of the BEF, being about 4000 troops, being evacuated just before the remaining force was encircled.

    As a Canadian student of our military history, and history in general, nothing gets my back up more than reading a British or American history that, if it references Canada's war effort at all, lumps us in with "the British". The rear-guard force being one quarter British Army, and Scots-based specifically, is something that warrants reference.

    Having said that, I maintain the undeniable - there was no "Scottish" army in France!

    Also, I am no fan of "SSS" - Short Scotsman Syndrome, the minority of Scots who play the victim card, particularly in respect of the English. My Scots mum was certainly no fan of those who acted like that, and she knew plenty!

    Trying to evacuate nearly 400,000 troops, someone will be at the end of the queue! Assuming a rear-guard action was sound strategy (how could it not be? There was air and naval support, why in heavens name would there not be a guard at the back door?), someone's forces had to be chosen.

    I acknowledge one historic fault in recognizing Dunkirk, and that is the view of it as solely a British endeavour. It was of course an Anglo-French effort, with equal access promised. Indeed, in the early days, most evacuees were British, the French complained and Churchill ensured at least equal access to the boats.

    So, if the Scots were "sacrificed", the article suggests it was unfair. That is certainly the tone I get from it.

    So, if not the Scots, then who? 10,000 French who escaped should have stayed back? Given the equal access promise from the British, how well would that have gone down? "Sorry mate, if you don't speak the King's, you're not next in line"!

    10,000 English troops instead? Sacrifice them instead? Were those soldiers less worthy than their Scots compatriots? Someone had to get the short straws!

    I will end with three points:

    1. Dunkirk was one hell of an operation.
    2. There is no monopoly on sacrifice.
    3. If the Scots were chosen along with the French to protect English backsides, it's a compliment, not a criticism!
  4. Colonel Adam

    Colonel Adam Familiar Face

    Perhaps I'm just being dense, but your generation reckoning is a little confusing. To your way of thinking, my father was too young to have served in WWII--he was 10 in '42, but my grandfathers were old enough to have served, right? So, by your way of thinking, that means I am one of those young people who are three times removed--I, my father, and my grandfather--yet I'm nearly SIXTY YEARS OLD! That would make my children, two of whom are nearly 40 years old, four times removed--the so called "millenials" you refer to. I know I'm being petty, and I write this in jest more than anything else. It just kind of threw me for a loop.
  5. Colonel Adam

    Colonel Adam Familiar Face

    In all fairness though, although you're an historian (as am I) most people, of any age, are not. Still, most adults I know understand very well that WWII actually began before the attack on Pearl Harbor, even if they don't know as much as you do. I know I was taught all this in high school, in the seventies, and I can't imagine schools have stopped doing this. You yourself have just failed to mention Britain and Nazi Germany having been at war before Pearl Harbor. See what I mean?
    Of course, and I'm sure you know this, the attack on Pearl Harbor was just the event which brought America into the war--and yes, by this I mean a shooting war. And that's what's most significant to most Americans.
    I think the point I'm trying to make is that, as an historian myself, I understand your frustration. I've been a Medieval historian for more than thirty years, and the things people still believe about the Middle Ages make me want to ram my head in to a wall! But all those others out there are not, so they don't know, for example, that Vikings never really existed.
    Hang in there, and try not to let the ignorant masses get to you. After all, it's your job to teach them. But remember, most people just don't care as much about the subject as you do.
  6. Colonel Adam

    Colonel Adam Familiar Face

    To get back to the actual subject here, every time I hear about people wanting to jazz things up to make it more interesting to younger generations, a chill runs down my spine. I get images in my head of Lady GaGa, wearing nothing but a T-back and a B-17 on her head, rapping the Star Spangled Banner, and a film about six teenaged girl Navy Seals, in hip hugger BDUs, saving 200 crying paratroopers trapped behind enemy lines, then kung-fooing Hitler to death--just the way it really happened!

  7. To be honest, I'd take that over the vast majority of films about more recent conflicts. ;)

    It'd be no Fury, though, that's for sure.
    Colonel Adam likes this.
  8. I'd watch that!

    But, Fury I found disappointing. I find it difficult to root for war criminals.
  9. Colonel Adam

    Colonel Adam Familiar Face

    Firstly, let's remember that these are all personal opinions; however, I have to agree. I know of our men did some bad things too, and perhaps movies in the past tended to make our soldiers look like innocent school boys, but now days it's popular to root for the antiheros, or even outright bad guys, and I don't like that either. I guess it's my age, and I'm old-fashioned, but I still like rooting for the clean-cut good guys who represent what Americans should be, if not what we actually are.
  10. Actually, I flatter myself as a twice-deployed JAG officer of 15 years service and counting, graduate of the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, the US Army JAG School Law of War Course (Charlottesville VA) and the USAF Pacific Joint Operational Law Exercise (Pohakuloa, Hawaii), among other courses, that it is NOT a matter of opinion that shooting to death an unarmed, surrendered Prisoner of War was then a war crime.

    As is the proposed rape of local women.

    "Anti-hero" is a term loosely defined as one who, despite many flaws, ultimately fights for good.

    What Pitt's character did in that scene, and what they wanted to do to that prisoner at the radar site in Saving Private Ryan, etc., is called "murder" in the law of war (aka Law of Armed Conflict LOAC, also called International Humanitarian Law IHL).

    He can be as "clean cut" as you like. He was a f&^%$#@ murderer.

    Picture it the other way around. Oh, right, the Germans were the "bad guys", so that's "different". They had to take PWs, but we could get away (even fictionally) with a murder or two.

    Except it's not. The law of war, protections as well as allowances, applies to ALL, not just "the good guys".

    The other guys in the film were pretty cool.

    Not starting a flame war by the way, this'll be my last comment.
    Edward likes this.
  11. Bluntly, I think that's one of the reasons I appreciated the film the way I did. I found it somewhat refreshing to see something that accurately reflected the brutality of the war and didn't try to pretend that "our boys" were all good. If anything, the most sympathetic charactrer to my mind was the frightened Waffen SS conscript who made eye contact with the last survivior, whom he saw hiding under the tank, and didn't say anything, just marching on past with his unit. A moment of common humanity in an inhumane situation. (Similarly, one of the best films I've ever seen about the Northern Ireland I lived through was 71; nobody on any side comes out of that particularly well, which is why it's one of the best. The rape thing with Pitt's character is an interesting comment in light of some of the information that has emerged about the Allied forces' behaviour in Europe as they advanced eastwards.

    In that sense, I found the Fury crew somehow less contemptible than the story arc in Saving Private Ryan where one of the group makes the shift from refusing to shoot an unarmed enemy to shooting him in cold blood, and that seems set up as if you're supposed to cheer on that character development. (I gather it reflected a true to life incident. but still).
    MisterCairo likes this.
  12. I'll prove my last point a lie and say this. I wasn't suggesting our side didn't do bad. I recall reading in a history of the Canadian Army about a sergeant having had his section blown away opening up on a line of German prisoners, being heard to say "f*** you", and being allowed to just walk away.

    Perhaps apocryphal, but we did bad things. Not denying that, and I'm not suggesting it should not be shown in films or shows, quite the contrary, as you say, it's good we're acknowledging the bad with the good.

    I do not, however, understand how we're supposed as viewers to feel as that Canadian soldier did - we got blasted, they're the enemy after all, so f%%% it - Gerry had it coming - and carry on rooting for the "good guys".

    Let's see a show about the court martial if the soldier makes it out:

    Edward likes this.
  13. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    Nothing like this has ever been in a movie that I know of but it always seemed a little odd that men flying airplanes and dropping bombs on cities full of people are considered brave but a man who blows himself up in front of an enemy (usually us) in his own country is considered cowardly. But then if you can explain the intensity of the attention given to professional and college sports, then I guess nothing else matters all that much.
  14. Colonel Adam

    Colonel Adam Familiar Face

    I just meant whether a movie is good or not is a matter of personal opinion. Geez!
  15. A terrorist is a freedom fighter after his side wins.
    Edward likes this.
  16. Indeed - to the victor, the spoils.

    . That's why there's no international treaty criminalising "terrorism".... No agreement on a common definition that can be guaranteed to always mean "the other guy".
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
    Colonel Adam likes this.
  18. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    A terrorist may or may not be someone who does something just because he hates someone or something. The man who blew up the federal building in Oklahoma did that out of hate. But most carry out acts of terrorism because they don't have an army to do it for them. We have troops all over the Middle East doing things that armies do. The basic aim of terrorists is to get us and other foreign armies out of their countries. Can you blame them? Sometimes it works. Reagan pulled troops out of Lebanon after someone blew up the Marine Corps barracks. The Spanish pulled troops out of Iraq when someone blew up a train or streetcar back home. But usually we just step up the bombing, send in more troops, attempt to build a new local army wherever we are and create more refugees. That's pretty much what happens but don't ask me what we ought to do. I have no idea. It will go on until one side or the other runs out of bombs, bullets or people. If anything, we'll run out of patience before they do because there's plenty of everything else.
  19. My Loyalist ancestors considered the Americans who confiscated their property and ran them off into Nova Scotia to be terrorists, although I don't know if that precise word was used then. But I learned in school that they were "patriots." And yet we were also taught that the Bolsheviks were murderous radicals who expropriated property and ran off its rightful owners. It's all in who's doing the teaching, and what their agenda is.

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