You get the feeling it would have been good to sink a couple of pints with RC. It’s in the details he picks up on whether he’s telling us the stories of working class victories or defeats or when he’s relating the extent of the absolute idiocy of the Colonel Blimp protagonists. Take the meeting in Moscow in the summer of 1939, where a representative from both the French and British governments came to see what possible negotiations could be made with Russia. Naturally on meeting they gave their names, and when the British representative came to give his, “Soviet statesmen sat bewildered as he told him he was none other than Admiral Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurty Plunket-Ernle-Erle-Drax. He went on to regale them with a list of his various honours and had just reached the Order of the Bath, when one of the Russians politely inquired why the Order had gained such a peculiar title. Alas, the noble admiral did not know. On the spur of the moment he invented a story: in the Middle Ages the monarchs and their nobles enjoyed hunting. This made them dirty, and therefore afterwards they needed a wash. On hearing this explanation, the Soviet delegation fell about in laughter, presumably muttering to one another, “it’s a right one they have sent us here, tovarish.”” The war ends with a far less amusing meeting, the big three, Russia, Britain and the US divvy up the spoils: friendships born of the “cohesive power of impending plunder”. All the death and misery and all the hardship still to come and it’s decided in seconds. Churchill passes Stalin a swiftly written note, suggesting the percentage spoils. It’s translated. Stalin draws a large, decisive tick with his blue pencil. Churchill is sickeningly smug as he relates this story.
There has long been an unsavory fascination with the Second World War, a mountain of books, documentaries and a dubious trade in memorabilia. War ‘scholars’ go in to the most bizarre minutiae of detail: War Paint: Volume 3 Colours and Markings of British Army Vehicles 1903-2003, that’s an actual book, honest. What sort of a person reads this stuff? Would these obsessives be among the 15% of trained, combat-riflemen who actually fired their weapons in battle? Research has told that the rest don’t fire, even when their own lives are in direct danger. RC urges us to think on the casualties of the world wars otherwise. To urge people to kill each other takes an extraordinary amount of callous discipline, including the murder of your own men for insubordination (many died in the ice-house). And, of course, it takes a disgusting concoct of lies. Read Ray Challinor’s, The Struggle for Hearts and Minds, to learn the truth, not just about the Second World War, but of the eternal truth about war: They were bombing Iraqi villages in 1923.Book Details [amazon asin=0956817610&text=Buy Now&thumb=/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/amazon-buy-button-sml.png]