Will age ever weary the subject?

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by von Poop, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I am familiar with the needless complexity of academic writing. They write in this intentionally obtuse way because peer review is ultimately the goal of the exercise. I also appreciate the use of jargon although the Humanities shouldn't have the same degree as the pure sciences. In this article, however, the opaque style is insufficient in masking the flawed thinking and condescending arrogance of the authors.
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    But will age ever weary the subject?
  3. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Yes, it inevitably will but not in the near future and I'm not prepared to make a longer term prediction. As someone previously noted, the sale of books and the number of people signing up for battlefield tours offer a means to quantify that interest.

    That all assumes that the 'subject' remains unchanged. If the likes of Kidd & Sayner have their way, you may no longer recognize it or certain aspects will be out of bounds.

    “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” - George Orwell
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
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  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) honours the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars, and ensures they will never be forgotten.
    About Us
    To preserve and maintain the cemeteries and memorials for the public in perpetuity

    Looking at the above one assumes that WW1 and WW2 will continue as historical periods for many many years to come.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  5. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    I find that the younger generations in general have little knowledge and are disinterested. There are and will be exceptions.

    Age will weary the subject, especially if there is another non-nuclear but still cataclysmic global conflict to talk about or we have a world v’s alien conflict (I like to think there aren’t any aliens, but can we be certain...?).
  6. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    My own theory is that the memory stays (very) much alive while there is direct contact (say to Grandparents stage) with the conflict or to, say, a hundred or so years. After that there is no-one to talk to and books and films simply can't make the proper substitution. This implies that WW2 'memory' still has some time to go - another 30 years or so.

    WW2 is also a difficult one with respect - or lack of respect if you get an alternative drift - to Normandy: the place is in great danger of becoming a glorified theme park occupied by (largely American-dressed) re-enactors. There are proper lessons to be learnt there - and many other WW2 locations - and I just hope that the touristic/theme park element doesn't cloud the true significance of that place(s).
  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    There appears to be a constant flow of new WW2 memorials being campaigned for, unveiled, or fundraised of late.
    I sometimes think too many.

    Would never dream of decrying the genuine motives behind many such projects, & am fully behind the filling of 'official' gaps represented by things like the Bomber Command one, but I do wonder how long the bronze & granite can keep being pumped out.

    I seem to see more & more WW1 chaps getting exercised about battlefields being smothered by memorial projects, from buildings to that now legendary 'garden centre discount bin' animal one at Pozières.

    I love the wide range of memorials around Pompey, and always like that around every corner in London there's memorials to obscure sons (& daughters) of empire, but the character is diverse. Centuries of events rather than a concentration relating to one particular conflict.
    Is there a limit? Or danger of dilution?
    I really don't know.
    Just sometimes wonder.
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Maintain the ones we have .Which based on my travels we struggle to do.

    As you suggest there are many types of memorials covering the centuries around the UK and they are is situ so job done

    We allude to the Normandy memorial being driven by a national newspaper. People not particularly interested by WW2 will see this as a good deal possibly not realising that all the deaths are commemorated by CWGC and their names are Remembered.
    You will end up with a memorial for every single battle of WW2.
    All over the world there are still people who offer Remembrance in some form or other for past conflicts including WW2.

    Remembrance is what we need,this is done nationally each year and will continue and it does not always require a granite plinth.

    My thread below Already shows the issues looking after or choosing the correct site for a memorial.
    World War 1 Victoria Cross Paving Stones, location observation.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
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  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

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  10. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    We probably underestimate our good work on this forum in helping family enquiries into WW2 relatives and their service. They may only be dipping their toes into the history of the war, but some stay involved afterwards and at the very least they leave with a greater understanding of events and hopefully this remains with them moving forward.
    Dave55, SDP, canuck and 2 others like this.
  11. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    When I first joined this forum it seemed, to me anyway, that the vast majority were interested in the exploits of their parents, and that seemed to be the case for some time. I then started to notice that folks were joining looking to research the service of grandfathers.

    Has anyone noticed that it now seems to have moved on again and people are now talking about great grand parents - are they trying to tell us something!!!

    ps. to answer the post title, I hope not
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  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Big style.
    (Noticing it again on Twatter this week made me search here.)

    Colours things.
    I'll never subscribe to the 'Greatest Generation' hagiography, because I grew up surrounded by people who fought, & they were just... well... people.
    I still find that far more interesting than hero-worship.
    'Ex-army/Navy/RAF' (as we used to call 'veterans') with WW2 service meant anything among people you knew, from those with a distinguished career to the mad old Submariner in a Pompey pub (Or maybe every pub. No names... etc. :unsure: )

    Very grim seeing the participants fade, but also interesting how that inevitable process affects the historiography & view of memorials.
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  13. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    Having grown up with rationing and bomb sites, living 500yards from a BSA factory making the Besa Machineguns with a solid concrete and brick air raid shelter in the garden, spoken to men who "were there" ordinary men who when I was at work in what was a War Factory making parts for aircraft, were just coming out of the shock of it all and beginning to speak of their experiences. The Polish crane driver who had fought in the RAF as a fighter pilot, the maintenance fitter who had fought in a Field Regiment from Alamein to the Gothic Line. Joe who had a scar like a large burn on the back of his neck and a huge star on his chest, where the shrapnel went in at the back and came out the front carrying with it most of his collar bone. He got it at Benghazi "you would dive for the ground and try to hide behind a thistle convinced it would save you. When everyone got up and walked foreword you just lie there wondering what has happened holding your rifle and staring at the bayonet on the end but it wont move. After a while someone comes over and gives you a prod, calls for assistance and they carry you away. Two years on a support frame hoping it will eventually heal. Fred was in the Navy sunk twice on MGB's out of Dover, they put him on the safest ship in the Navy as an Ack Ack gunner on Prince of Wales. He swears he saw a bomb go down the funnel of the Repulse before he ended up in the water being picked up by another ship.
    I take great sadness that these personal stories will be forgotten. The Generals, senior officers and politicians assure their attempt at immortality. Paying to have books written and published.
    The letters I inherited and others that I transcribed hoping to put them into a book that publishers refuse to even look at, because the WW2 market has gone and letters were censored of anything commercially interesting. I see little hope now with the Covid disruption, this generation will have other tales to tell.
    The last letter written by Major David Shepherd MC before he disappeared has set the scene in an OP on a mountain top at Monte Grande: "So I am alone in a tiny dugout where I live along with the Infantry CO we are very busy, I have to answer not only my own phone and wireless but also theirs. As the floor is deep in mud you can imagine slithering around with a phone in each hand trying to fire the guns with one and explain on the other to a company commander above all the noise of firing to his flank actions!
    Its an odd feeling being alone but now one is so used to all the sounds of war that they no longer cause terrible fear unless unpleasantly close and personal". Ten days later he walked back from an OP alone, his close friend the infantry CO was off sick with dysentery, he was never seen again.
  14. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Well it certainly will not based on the work of CWGC Our Work | CWGC
    Assume we on here can keeping knocking this stuff out for a few years yet

    However whilst listing to some people calling into tv shows asking how they can eat cheaper this Christmas I fear the worst.They have to be told by someone how to do this.
    Go to lidl/aldi (other cut price supermarkets are available) you can buy a ton of food for next to nowt and whilst your at it walk past your local war memorial pick a name take a photo with your latest iphone/android phone get on internet and see what you can find out.
    Open up thine mind

    onwards and upwards to the time my head is in a pickle jar and posting on here via the power of thought (having said that blimey it could be irritating for some)
  15. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Having just offloaded some books at a proper bookshop, by their metrics it's still doing better than the Great War, the Napoleonic Wars and,less surprisingly, the American Civil War.
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  16. Little Friend

    Little Friend Senior Member

    Well I think that World War Two will Always have more interest because it was a more modern war. Also as it was the last global conflict, and a much faster war than all the others. Plus there is so much memorabilia from those days, 400 MPH Spitfires, Mustangs, which attract the attention of the young. The slower Lancaster, B-17 and B-24s full of Firepower which still display at packed-out air shows. So many museums dedicated to WW2 world-wide. As for books on the subject, there are Hundreds... I have many and varied, and there are new one's getting published all the time. I think World War Two interest is here to stay for a long, long time. (Hopefully)
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  17. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Interest I think will remain but what will future generations be told ,if anything ? There`s so much political spin put on things these days, will people take the time to dip beneath the surface or will it suffice to put a note on the family tree that their Grandfathers were participants in a war not against Germans but a political party `The Nazi`s` National Socialist Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP)

    Thankfully there`s good people here on the forum to steer the more inquisitive people in the right direction but what about those whose interest could have been nurtured but were not luckily enough to find their way here ? I arrived a few years ago knowing nothing or `nowt` as my Grandfather would have said.

    I arrived in this world too late to realise the importance of speaking with veterans and many had passed on to that great parade ground in the sky long before I was born. There are ways to hear and see their recollections with sound archives etc but for me if you want to be reminded what kind of men fought WW2 watch the acclaimed World at War Series in particular ;-
    The World At War 1973 Episode 26-Remember .

    Ordinary people who did extrordinary things always attract interest hopefully with the right guidance the subject will ,for now, stay strong .
    Will age ever weary the subject ? Sadly yes but some will always have an interest of some kind in the subject.

    The exploits of those who served not only those who died should be remembered but the seed must be implanted for us to seek more knowledge . Irrespective of peoples interest growing weary their service and sacrifice will ,for some always be there to find. Interest or not it`s history ? The last verse of the famous poem `For the Fallen` sums it up quite well:-

    As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
    Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
    As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
    To the end, to the end, they remain.

    Those who seek can find ...

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  18. Little Friend

    Little Friend Senior Member

    For whatever reason, when I started Secondary school (1968) our history lessons started-off with the Kings and Queens of England. Plus other historical facts of interest, if of course you were interested ? But to me it didn't seem to be moving quick enough, by the time it came to leave School and start work four years later, we hadn't even got to the first World War ? So, perhaps even then, they were trying to hide the two most interesting pieces of history from us young-un's. Didn't want us to know the true horrors of war, which at that time weren't even 30 years old. But, from a class of 34 pupils I came 6th. Dunno 'ow ?
  19. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Uncle old chap,
    Thanks to t'internet you could publish the letters yourself. You could write the context that prov ides the interest. In 2019 I toured with Ted Barras a Canadian journalist,m broadcaster and author of several books about WW2. These are based on the memorabilia and stories left behind with relatives and friends.

    A historian friend advised me to write the book you want to write and then fond a publisher.
  20. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    No one can predict how fashion and interests change. However, there are several reasons why interest oin rte Second World War is likely to persist for a while.

    1. Its a great story that fits the classic good versus evil conflict with thew good guys winning. Sure history was a lot murkier, especially concerning the USSR, but when it comes to truth versus legend you print the legend. In some ways the Second World War could be seen as part two of the C20th Great Wars, but WW1 seems too different to conflate the two.

    2. WW2 had profound effects on the modern world. Although it is often overlooked, the United Nations was the allied coalition and its institutions and values were those that mobilised the world against the axis powers. The European movement and its creation the EU, was intended to end European conflicts driven by nationalism. The EU supports the remembrance of the Second World War as a reminder of the alternative to the EU project. Senior politicians Martin Schultz and Franz Timmermans pledge support for the Liberation Route Europe on that basis. The Second World War was the USA's Good War - a reminder of the sacrifices made by the new world to save the old. It will be a while, if ever, that the world will be allowed to forget it. It was the Soviet Great Patriotic war that provides Russians with a justification and pride. Although barely yet acknowledged, the great suffering of the Chinese is a justification for modern Chinese expansionist policies.

    3. The scale and participation was such that every family has some story to trace. Records are often accessible and it is in living memory. Will memory fade with the last veteran? It doesn't seem to have for WW1.

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