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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Relationships Between Veterans' Organizations


aiwac

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Reading on Jewish veterans organizations, I was struck by the fact that they were friendly to each other even if they'd fought on both sides of the line.

Was this also true of general national veteran's organizations or did the hatreds of the war die hard?

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By the 1930s it was rather more complicated than a question of the hatreds of WW1. The British Legion has still to explain its acceptance of an invitation for a delegation to visit Dachau concentration camp in 1936.

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By the 1930s it was rather more complicated than a question of the hatreds of WW1. The British Legion has still to explain its acceptance of an invitation for a delegation to visit Dachau concentration camp in 1936.

Before the mods shut this down it's worth pointing out that Jewish prisoners had not been sent to Dachau in 1936 and it's evil reputation was not yet established. It's all too easy to make judgements in hindsight. One has to ask "what did they know then?" Precious little I imagine

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I know that the current day relations between branches of the British Legion are not always amicable!

Chris

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  • 3 weeks later...

'Fellow Travellers of the Right' by Richard Griffiths (1980) looks inter alia at the relationship between the British Legion and the 'Frontkampferbund'. Griffiths quotes the "naive or perverse" speech by the Prince of Wales in 1935: "I feel that there could be no more suitable body or organisation of men to stretch forth the hand of friendship to the Germans than we ex-service men, who fought them and have now forgotten all about it and the Great War."

Griffiths: "As Lord Rochdale, a prominent ex-serviceman was to put it ,'I have never met an ex Serviceman who took part in the Great War who has anything but friendly feelings for the German ex-Servicemen against whom he fought.' "

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How representative were these organizations of the men who fought and the families of those who died?

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Griffiths quotes Major-General Sir Alfred Knox MP: "I am convinced wherever I go that the vast majority of the people of this country, and especially ex-Servicemen, would heartily welcome a rapprochement with Germany." There is a common theme of a "universal respect for a very gallant ex-enemy" (Lt. Col. Alfred Hacking).

But, as you suggest, the feelings of parents, widows of those who died would probably not have been so warm.

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