Victory in Europe Day – 75 years on

VE-Day; telegram from Eisenhower; front page of Nottingham Evening Post.

Hard to celebrate during the lockdown, but the television broadcasts are also a bit safe and dull. Perhaps I’ve read too much Spike Milligan, but I thought there was a great deal of irreverence around.
Socialists have of course been keen to emphasise the victory over fascism.
Keir Starmer’s video was broader than that.
But it appears we all might have been trumped by Germany’s SPD party and also by the speech by the German President.

Saw some front garden parties, where people might just have crossed the line, but tricky for anyone to police. Enjoyed a garden tribute to one WWII soldier.
My penance for not doing more on VE Day – learning more about the Nuremberg trials.

I wonder what some were hoping the message was going to be today as they made the 75th anniversary of VE Day a public holiday.  
Perhaps – that Britain at its best can be the best and doesn’t need anyone else.  
Well, watch the history and know, we absolutely did need others; know that the WWII spirit in facing down a crisis lasted as long as the panic buying for toilet rolls; and realise, that Britain, despite the efforts of our key workers, is nowhere near its best, just when we needed to be.

We can do better; we can be better; no more lions being led by donkeys.


The Man with the Iron Heart

Only 2 reviews from Google, but they sum the film up well.

An unpleasant film to watch cos it brings life to horrible atrocities by the Nazis in Eastern Europe during WWII.
The film is well made and well shot, but just horrible cos of what it shows. So it becomes a duty to watch.
A reminder at how the mass executions started through mass shootings.
I think the film didn’t go on general release cos another film on the same events came out just before it. Currently available on BBC i-player.


Confronting Holocaust Denial by David Baddiel

This BBCtv documentary says memorials to the Holocaust are needed because people will always need to be reminded and to be told that it did happen.
Baddiel visited one site which was an extermination camp; 200,000 people being killed within one hour of their arrival by train.
Opened with one of Eisenhower’s quotes – that he went to witness the extermination camps to better challenge the people who would one day deny they existed.

Wiki. BBC. Daily Mail. A visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, U.S.A.

A Hidden Life

Nearly 3 hours. Or have I missed the point?
“The film depicts the life of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer and devout Catholic who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. The film’s title was taken from George Eliot‘s book Middlemarch.” – from Wikipedia.
Yeah, but 3 hours.
You see how beautiful the higher parts of Austria are; and some of their villages and churches; and the mountains, fields and rivers; and the rural railways int the age of steam.
The film certainly conveys the. religious beliefs of Franz Jägerstätter and his wife. And conveys the authoritarianism of Austria under the Nazis, and how Austrians changed under Fascism.

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

George Eliot

Will anyone remember the defiance demand the interrogators? Well, the film itself says ‘they will now’. But the Catholic Church has already beatified him.
The couple are heroes, but of the suffering kind.
(I wonder if films exist to celebrate those who struggled and campaigned against Nazism in Austria? At least Herr von Trapp’s defiance resulted in a Nazi motor car being disabled.)
This is a worthwhile film. Just be mentally prepared for the 3 hours.

1917 (movie)

Go See.
Cos it compels and feels authentic and gives form to many types of jeopardy that messengers in the Great War British Army faced; unsignposted jeopardy around every corner.

Turns out the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry 6th (with my Dad’s Dad) might have been there or thereabouts for the attack portrayed; or could it ever have been there like that? Cos why did the messengers have to cross no mans land and German controlled areas to reach another part of the British Army?

Some of the twists are bit strange and bits of the dialogue ditto. But these criticisms are on the margins.
Wiki. Guardian.

Enjoyed a review discussion a few days on, main contentions being –
– the no cut presentation can distract if you worry about it; exhausting even; akin to a video game format and not to advantage;
– the sequence of events happening to the messengers are far-fetched (e.g. Germans bring poor shots; the waterfall and rapids); and made difficult by not giving the ad-hoc messengers red armbands to enable them to pass through the trenches faster;
– the acting was mixed; the lead was too “rabbit in the headlights”; and Cumberbatch and Firth not doing so well; indeed, why have Cumberbatch’s back to the camera as he reads the message at the very apex of the film?

Boris Johnson was locked in a box and he was given the keys

Have watched the BBC Newsnight interview of Tony Blair by Kirsty Wark. The key points were on Brexit. [Extracts below.] Gist is – 
– he begged people not to have a Brexit General Election; Boris Johnson was locked in a box and he was given the keys;
– accepting the Govt’s right to negotiate a deal, but promising the people to have a say on it should have been the strategy all along;
– Labour would have been damaged by becoming a Leave party.  
Also nice to hear the achievements by the last Labour Gov’t set out again.  

Frustrating that there isn’t proper space for Tony Blair and his supporters to express their views properly.  
(BTW, just look at the comments on YouTube – people frightened to engage with his opinions.)

Extracts on Brexit … 

“I didn’t want a Brexit General election. I begged people – do not give the Tories a Brexit General Election. Boris Johnson was locked in a box and we gave him the keys.” 
“A Tory gov’t will do nothing for the people of Sedgefield.” 

“You can’t unite the country over Brexit. Brexit is a Tory project. [Johnson’s view is do it and try and move on.] My view … 
“you have to do everything you can to get the decision back in front of the British people … I believe if you have the right strategy … accept the result, that the Gov’t has the right to negotiate a deal but we reserve the right to put it back before the British people … I promise you a majority of people in constituencies like mine would have listened to that argument …  
“If we’d simply become a Leave party, what would have happened to all those other seats we’ve got? … what would have happened to … the bulk of our party members who were passionately anti-Brexit?  
“We had twice as many Remain voters than Leave voters voting Labour … and the biggest drop in any age group [in our support from 2017 was with] young voters.”  

“… Things have got happen … 
“… Got to have a big tent conversation with the British people.

“The fault [for Britain’s plight] lies with those who promoted Brexit.”