What is it about Arnhem etc.?

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by von Poop, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    But would that argument not also apply to the huge amount of material on 1940, Dunkirk, B of B, El Alamein, Normandy, etc.
    To Adam's original question, why is Arnhem special?
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    But would that argument not also apply to the huge amount of material on 1940, Dunkirk, B of B, El Alamein, Normandy, etc.
    To Adam's original question, why is Arnhem special?

    Ha - I wondered who would mention Dunkirk first.
  3. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The difference, Andy is that everybody on the 1940 sub-forum gets along...although it did get a bit heated when someone with an axe to grind wouldn't let his 'Sealion' what-ifs drop.
  4. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    So, people who are fascinated with Arnhem have a different psychological profile? More aggressive and argumentative? I don't think Adam had contemplated that angle.:)
  5. JohnS

    JohnS Senior Member

    As someone who has written a few books on Arnhem and has gotten to know a lot of people connected with it, I must say that I am too puzzled by the amount of fighting that occurs. There are a number of different groups that seem to hate each other and will stop at nothing to outdo each other. Also, because I am friends with a certain party, other parties won't give me the time of day, even though I consider myself neutral. Strange. It is childish and I do my best to ignore it.
    What is to blame for this? I think that it comes down to money and pride. Don't buy their book, buy mine. My research is better, my photos are better...etc.
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  6. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Is that simply an academic trait or do you find it particularly acute with respect to Arnhem? Again, curious if the many authors of Normandy, for example, books have the same degree of bitter rivalry.
  7. JohnS

    JohnS Senior Member

    Good question Canuck. I'll let you know after I write my first Normandy book. :P
    canuck likes this.
  8. Brian Smith

    Brian Smith Junior Member

    As an outsider to this debate it seems to me that unlike any other issue where everyone can set out their thoughts and a health debate takes place people just want to get at each other, to be personal. There is no discussion taking place as to the facts just people looking to pick an argument.

    Rather than squabble why not revisit the facts and identify the areas of disagreement and debate. May be we can then be the one "forum" to go someway towards addressing the issue.

    If we continue as we are we just get deeper and deeper into the mire and no nearer identifying why issues exist.

    Sorry rant over.

  9. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Ever decreasing circles - short battle taken out of its campaign context - increasingly thin "new" information - still marketable (just look at number of posts on here :biggrin: ) - Montgomery bashers - Brit bashers - defensive Brits :biggrin: - regimental mythology - inter- and intra-service and international buck passing on an epic scale - superficial historical research - overeliance on oral history recorded long after the event - and too many bullet points :)

    Seriously though, when you read a regimental or divsional history of one of the other units of 21 Army Group (or 12 Army Group for that matter) you realise that the fixation on one short battle has distorted the entire historiography of the campaign. The fact that the survivors of 1st Airborne got home immediately may have meant they were lauded by the press in the absence of the other chaps who were still facing a rough winter in the mud of Holland and Germany.


  10. smdarby

    smdarby Well-Known Member

    Tom, your last point is one that really rankles me. Bus loads at a time visit Oosterbeek cemetery, yet hardly a sole travels down to places like Bergen-op-Zoom to pay respects to the 6,000 or so Brits and Canadians who were killed clearing the Scheldt Estuary or in other important operations, or who died during the bombing campaign. Not to mention all the other cemeteries in the Netherlands that are neglected by battlefield "tourists". The fact is that the Netherlands was primarily liberated by infantrymen slogging their way through the polders in awful weather. It was hard soldiering and not very glamorous, but it was a job that had to be done. These men deserve just as much respect as those from airborne who died at Arnhem.
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  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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  12. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Nicely said! Canadian veterans would love you for that appreciation of the inglorious Scheldt campaign.
  13. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    The siren like lure of Arnhem did cross my mind a few years ago. I was struck by the disparity of published works devoted to 1st and 6th Abn Divs respectively. 6th Abn Div had a largely successful war, taking part in one unarguably pivotal opertation, followed by an equally bloody one, each followed by an extended ground campaign, and also managed to sandwich an emergency line deployment in between the two drops. The ratio of printed works devoted to that, compared to the 1st Abn at specifically Arnhem, seems to run into the tens to one in favour of the 1st.

    From the various flame wars I've seen on other forums, I pretty much reckon the result of the Arnhem op has been used by many to fashion a club to beat its architect to virtual death with. Suggestions that Div 'X' showed a lack of drive then devolve into the transatlantic backbiting contest, depending on whether you 'support' Div 'X' or Div 'Y'. To some it's almost like the Germans had nothing to do with it.

    Also perhaps some battles just develop an industry of their own. The average Joe Soap will find it difficult to name more than two major battles from the Napoleonic War, the American Civil War or the Great War, and you can probably guess what the winners would be (Waterloo, Gettysburg and the Somme I'd suggest). Once a battle gets a few books devoted to it, it develops a bit of a bubble around it, it must be selling said books so more get written. For Arnhem it may help that there were actually a lot of survivors from 1st Abn Div, meaning a lot of witnesses accounts, and a fair amount of spin afterwards I the light of the result.

    My annoyance is that, in the bullet point history of the conflict that's so popular now, British actions tend to be distilled to Dunkirk, Battle of Britain, Alamein and Arnhem, when there was actually a lot more going on than that.

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  14. Tom Wallace

    Tom Wallace Junior Member

    Here's a write-up on RT pointing out the usual suspects, with a focus on The Bilderberg Group.

  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  16. DPas

    DPas Member

    Back to the original question, from what I have seen as someone who tries to stay out of that kind of bullsh*t, is that it is a handful of people with very large egos that kick the whole thing off. The type of person who criticises the others work while at the same time believing that they themselves are infallible, while the person they bicker with does and believes the same. The same people also have a sense of entitlement over the subject and information and materials, and seem to forget the most important part; remembrance. The worst part is that (and I genuinely believe this) they do not realise that they are doing it, and constantly feel like they are the injured party.

    I am happy to ignore the stupid bickering. The thing that annoys me though is that it leads to the perceptions like those expressed here. That in turn blackens the area of Market Garden research and all those that are involved, and even the operation itself. Honestly, the men that fought there deserve better, and these egos would do well to remember it and remember that it is not about me, them or anyone who was not there. Being one of the "younger" people involved, I should not have to be the one to say stop being a 50 something year old child, grow up and show some respect.

    Anyway, rant over. As I said on another thread, not all of us are like that. I can also say that I have made some of the very best friends I have through this research and that they too are as depressed about the kind of crap that goes on as I am.
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  17. Tom Wallace

    Tom Wallace Junior Member

    Prince Bernhard, Nazi Party, Carrington, British Establishment, Hotel Bilderberg and secret yet high profile annual meetings?

    Now that would be a good TV mini-series. ;)

  18. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    If you like bollocks mini-series.

    Away with Bilderburg bullshit please.
    It has bearing on little enough, and on nothing here.
    Lofty1 and dbf like this.
  19. wowtank

    wowtank Very Senior Member

    Could it be that it has filleted down from veterans from different parts of the operation, who held different views from different perspectives of the battle.
    And that a Bridge to far is a very popular film.
  20. arnhem44

    arnhem44 Member

    Can you be a bit more specific ?
    'coz I see enough disagreements on topics around DDay, Italy campaign, Japs in Malaysia, invasion of Japan , etc.
    I don't think Arnhem or Market garden reserves an exclusivity on unreconcilable arguments..

    The only thing speaking or it is that Market Garden is the most pivotal clash in WW2 with the highest "what if.." value.
    Would a total win of it, actually ended the war in europe by christmas 44, and would the iron curtain have laid further to the east ??

    (ps : personally I don't think it would have mattered...)

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