Reims-Cathedral-France-Sept-1914.jpg

For You, Tommy, The War is Over

Jasper Copping reports in the Daily Telegraph:

[Germany’s] special envoy for the centenary of the [outbreak of the Great War], Andreas Meitzner, requested a series of meetings in London earlier this month with his British counterpart, Andrew Murrison, as well as senior officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to hear about the UK’s plans and outline Germany’s position.

There are understood to be some official German concerns that the way Britain marks the centenary could cool relations between the two countries, against a backdrop of possible negotiations over the future of the EU and the UK’s membership of it.

Norman Walter, from the country’s London embassy, said that a “less declamatory tone”, which did not dwell on issues such as who was responsible for the conflict, “would be easier”. He also suggested that commemorations should include a focus on the achievements of the European Union in helping to bring peace to the continent.

The tone of Britain’s commemorations has been the subject of debate, with historians accusing the Government of concentrating too much on the carnage of the conflict and depicting it as accidental and futile out of a desire to avoid upsetting the Germans by appearing triumphalist….

Contribution of the European Union to bringing “peace to the continent” : close to zero.

George Orwell:

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

Mr. Meitzner should be listened to politely, and then ignored.  

  1. EJHill

    Note to Frau Merkel:

    Get-over-it.png

  2. Valiuth
    Andrew Stuttaford

    Mr. Meitzner should be listened to politely, and then ignored.   · · 51 minutes ago

    Just like the English to be passive aggressive. On the other hand one should consider what the Germans do when they become angry. As the saying goes, “Third time’s a charm.” 

  3. Ross C

    If the British are very lucky their commemorations will put the kibosh on their future in the EU.  It is hard to imagine a more feckless and yet destructive bureaucracy than Brussels.

  4. Larry3435

    There is nothing about the Great War that is worth celebrating.  It was idiotic butchery on all sides, and for no reason, and it gave rise to everything bad in the 20th Century, from the Soviet Union to the Nazis.

  5. I. raptus

    “Who won the bloody war, anyway?”

  6. Skyler

    I don’t see a need to rub Germany’s face in it, but at the same time, it wasn’t that long ago and if Germany hasn’t learned a lesson yet, perhaps it needs another. They were the aggressors twice. No one should forget what they did, and the people who died to stop them should not be insulted by not speaking the truth.

  7. tabula rasa
    Andrew Stuttaford

    George Orwell:

    “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

    Exhibits A-C:  Howard Zinn, Edward Said, Noam Chomsky

  8. Ed Driscoll
    C

    “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

    It’s a brilliant sentence, but where did Orwell write this? I’m not coming across the phrase by searching in my Kindle edition of 1984, which is where it seems to be universally attributed, when it’s attributed at all other than simply “– George Orwell” in every reference in Google that I’ve found. (Curiously, considering the themes of the novel, the word “obliterate” doesn’t seem to appear at all in 1984, according to the Kindle search engine.)

    Unless I’m mistaken, or someone can track it down in an earlier article or book by Orwell, I’m wondering if this is the Orwellian version of that equally brilliant but apocryphal Chesterton quote, “When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything.”

  9. Valiuth

    Who is this they? I did not realize sin was hereditary. No one is left alive to blame. Do we not believe the Germans to be contrite.

  10. raycon and lindacon
    Valiuth: Who is this they? I did not realize sin was hereditary. No one is left alive to blame. Do we not believe the Germans to be contrite. · 12 minutes ago

    Perhaps the same might be said of the Greeks and Romans.  This is a remembrance of what happened almost 100 years ago.  To mean anything, it must be a truthful recollection.  

    Otherwise, it will be another indulgence in political correctness.

  11. Andrew Stuttaford
    C
    Ed Driscoll: “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

    It’s a brilliant sentence, but where did Orwell write this? I’m not coming across the phrase by searching in my Kindle edition of 1984,which is where it seems to be universally attributed, when it’s attributed at all other than simply “– George Orwell” in every reference in Google that I’ve found…

    Unless I’m mistaken, or someone can track it down in an earlier article or book by Orwell, I’m wondering if this is the Orwellian version of that equally brilliant but apocryphal Chesterton quote, “When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything.” · 50 minutes ago

    Hmm. Very interesting. There’s already one famous but dodgy Orwell ‘quote’ out there (“we sleep easily in our beds…”).  Could this be another? 

  12. Jerry Carroll

    Robert Vansittart, who occupied a high place in the British foreign office , said before WWII: “It is the most astounding thing that the Germans have been able to persuade the world they were badly treated by a treaty [Versailles] whose reparation and disarmament clauses were never enforced and which took from them nothing which they had not acquired by robbery and murder. It is actually worse. Germany’s victims extracted a thousand million pounds from them while we and the Americans were lending them two thousand million pounds. Their war criminals were steeped in atrocities, but the Allies renounced the right to try them. They allowed the Weimar Republic to conduct the trials and in consequence the very few that were brought to trial were acquitted or lionized. In every war since 1860 to the present Germany has been the wanton aggressor. The leader and his ruling clique are irrelevant as the character of the German people will always produce bellicose leaders with an ideology of force, and it does not matter if he is called Frederick, Wilhelm or Hitler, or the people around him are Junkers or Nazis.”  They thought he was too over the top.

  13. Skyler

    ValiuthWho is this they? I did not realize sin was hereditary. No one is left alive to blame. Do we not believe the Germans to be contrite.#9 · 1 hour ago ·Like ·  Quote·  Flag·  Share·  Direct link

    In which case, no living German should be offended that other people’s sins are on display.

  14. James Of England
    Andrew Stuttaford

    Mr. Meitzner should be listened to politely, and then ignored. 

    Never think yourself too clever to learn anything. Mr. Meitzner’s list of fears should be carefully examined for any good ideas that haven’t been considered. If there’s one time one can expect the German imagination to really excel it’s in drawing up catalogues of masochistic paranoia.

  15. Valiuth
    Skyler: ValiuthWho is this they? I did not realize sin was hereditary. No one is left alive to blame. Do we not believe the Germans to be contrite.#9 · 1 hour ago ·Like ·  Quote·  Flag·  Share·  Direct link

    In which case, no living German should be offended that other people’s sins are on display. · 7 minutes ago

    Well this is a two edged sword. When a person if forgiven the offense is not constantly brought up at least not by the party that was in the right. It is unseemly. Now if the Germans were less contrite like Japan or Russia about their past issues I would be more in favor. But, Germany does deserve a bit of a break on this issue of the World Wars. 

    What can I say I like all the Germans I know, and in general I like Germany more than I like other parts of Europe. They are sympathetic. Unlike the French. 

  16. tabula rasa
    Andrew Stuttaford

    Ed Driscoll: “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

    It’s a brilliant sentence, but where did Orwell write this? I’m not coming across the phrase by searching in my Kindle edition of 1984,which is where it seems to be universally attributed, when it’s attributed at all other than simply “– George Orwell” in every reference in Google that I’ve found…

    Unless I’m mistaken, or someone can track it down in an earlier article or book by Orwell, I’m wondering if this is the Orwellian version of that equally brilliant but apocryphal Chesterton quote, “When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything.” · 50 minutes ago

    Hmm. Very interesting. There’s already one famous but dodgy Orwell ‘quote’ out there (“we sleep easily in our beds…”).  Could this be another?  · 24 minutes ago

    If he didn’t say it, he should have.  It is certainly consistent with his other writings (e.g., Politics and the English Language).

  17. Western Chauvinist
    I. raptus: “Who won the bloody war, anyway?” 

    I hope the BBC plans to run the Fawlty Towers: The Germans episode on a continuous loop during all commemorations of conflicts with the Germans. Hilarious! 

  18. DocJay

    The English would do well to examine their grossly incompetent generals who butchered the cream of English manhood.

    The English would also do well to realize the only reason that war was won was because America intervened.

    Germany, not so nice in this war, but not exactly a one sided blame as to the causes even though they should get most of it. 

  19. DocJay

    I can’t edit. A significant reason for victory was US involvement. That sounds not only better but more accurate.

  20. James Of England
    DocJay: The English would do well to examine their grossly incompetent generals who butchered the cream of English manhood.

    The English would also do well to realize the only reason that war was won was because America intervened.

    Germany, not so nice in this war, but not exactly a one sided blame as to the causes even though they should get most of it. 

     

    DocJay: I can’t edit. A significant reason for victory was US involvement. That sounds not only better but more accurate. · 9 minutes ago

    You know this is about WWI, right? The “cream” comment sounds like you get that (although people complain about generals in all wars), but the suggestion that the outcome was in doubt at the point that Americans reached the front seems surprising, and I’m not sure who else gets the blame for the start of the war; Franz Joseph?