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Remembered Today:

Patriotism WW1


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They say the Vietnam war with its nightly TV coverage 'killed' all comic book/boy's own concepts of patriotism. Did the WW1 B&W footage with which we are all familiar have an impact on the WW2 generation?

Discuss .. if you like.


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In terms of the visual propaganda element then I doubt it. Print news was much more important in those days (I'm not demeaning print journalism now, mate). People would only have seen the films on a weekly trip to the cinema. And there wasnt the photo-journalism of later year - where cameramen went was much more tightly controlled. So not the same impact as the "nightly news" of the Vietnam and later conflicts.

But when you get to WW2, you see the British being masters at the art of propaganda (putting the efforts of Goebbels to shame). Think how the imagery is still blithely (and meaninglessly) tripped out today. "Dunkirk spirit". "Spirit of the Blitz". The regular anti-German war-related headlines that appear in our lurid press whenever the two countries play a football match. And this 60 years on. Those propagandists probably never realised how successful they would be!


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As any good historian's answer ... it all depends ...

WWI propaganda to the US certainly didn't diminish American young men in their desire to "go" ... but the cost of the adventure kept the political forces in check ... I believe it is a wonder Canadians volunteered in the numbers they did in 1939 after THEIR experience during the Great War ...

But, in the final analysis ... I believe that a generation, unblooded, will percieve the previous generation's battle - if presented as glorious - in that light. So WWII followed the victorious WWI pretty much okay ... Vietnam followed Korea with a shudder, not a cheer ... the current situation - IMHO - has its morale roots in DS - and it's opposition in Vietnam ...

Propaganda works ... John Wayne (a famour 4-F sort of guy) was the model we had and many of us formed our preception both of the military and of combat from him - like it or not.

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Thanks folks - the question was really prompted by my reading of Max Hasting's 'Armageddon' which looks at the final two years of the war in Europe.

Think what you like of Mr. Hastings .. but the book itself was very readable and did throw up some good 'myth shattering' stories about the attitudes of servicemen (Western Allies anyway) during this particular period.

Being me, I then started thinking about how these attitudes towards war may have been forged.

Thus the musing about the WW1 footage came into the scenario!

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