Humor Magazine

The Sunday Rumble: 29.6.14

By Davidduff

A Snow job on WWI:  'A snow job' used to mean a PR exercise to cover up some ghastly cock-up but you will note from the capital 'S' in my title that I am referring to a person, in this case, Mr. Dan Snow, the well-known TV historian - although I have never actually watched any of his programmes.  Not, I add hastily, that I have anything against him but I find TV history (along with TV science) to be irritatingly influenced by the need of the producers to use old film clips or cgi effects.  Be that as it may, according to The Telegraph, Mr. Snow is experiencing considerable 'incoming' after one of his programmes attempted to clear away some of the many myths surrounding WWI.  Here is a list of them:

1. It was the bloodiest war in history to that point 

2. Most soldiers died 

3. Men lived in the trenches for years on end 

4. The upper class got off lightly 

5. 'Lions led by donkeys' 

6. Gallipoli was fought by Australians and New Zealanders 

7. Tactics on the Western Front remained unchanged despite repeated failure 

8. No one won 

9. The Treaty of Versailles was extremely harsh 

10. Everyone hated it

For what it's worth - not much! - I agree with Mr. Snow that most of those are myths but particularly the last one.  This notion has grown up on the backs of the superb but deeply anguished poems of the great war poets like Owen and Sassoon who, it is believed, spoke for all the men concerned, but commonsense tells you that is non-sense.  It's not possible to give numbers but very many men actually enjoy war.  The best example I can instantly think of is Winston Churchill who as a young man positively relished being in the very center of where-ever the action was fiercest.  Also, #4 above, is particularly galling because the sacrifices by the gentry of Britain were enormous.  So well done, Mr. Snow!

More rumbles later when I have completed certain domestic tasks - it's a hard life!

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10 First World War Myths Exposed

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