Churchill a myth?

Discussion in 'General' started by Slipdigit, Feb 4, 2008.

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Was Winston Churchill 'real' ?

  1. Yes.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. No.

    71.7%
  3. I do not understand the question.

    6.5%
  4. I am a UKTV watching under 20 year old and refuse to believe in the existence of anybody.

    21.7%
  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I reckon the outright and outrageous denialists will never be that big a problem, they'll be shouted down wherever.

    The more insidious form of distortion, for me, is the easy romanticising of the Third Reich that many seem to indulge in, it may begin as a strong interest in the era (nothing wrong with that) but among some it flowers into a rather 'Barbara Cartland' view that becomes more detached from reality (Like that recent Peiper site).

    The worst aspect of this to my eye is that there are many books published that are more interested in 'Steely-eyed' Nazi 'heroes' presented in an uncritical manner than a bit of gritty actual history. An excellent example is the amount of Michael Wittmann hagiography one can easily find compared to the scarcity of actual good information.
    I don't think the approach is intentionally sinister, but it becomes so as it feeds upon itself.

    It seems the Eastern front has been more fertile ground for this kind of balls, perhaps down to 50 years of strong Anti-communism in the US allowing a more positive view of the Germans that can be portrayed as fighting that ideology?
     
  2. stevew

    stevew Senior Member

    I looked at the uktv link which shows the list of the top 10 fictional characters who are believed to have been real, well IMHO 3 of those 10 are real (one being real, but not in the context of being famous), I have checked on all 3 before making myself look an idiot.
     
  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    My Favourite subject! The corruption of history by Hollywood, Television documentaries, and authors that write convincingly about subjects that they know nothing at about.

    Recently we had BBC excavating the Normandy battle fields. And what a load of rubbish they spouted....

    What has occurred is that for 64 years we have had films and TV programmes purporting to tell the true story of 1944/5,

    That has resulted in the Hollywood version being seen at the "Actual History of events" When more than half is utter rubbish. BUT! it is seen as the truth because "I saw it on the Pictures!
    What a terrible shame that the courageous deeds and sacrifices are buried under a welter of quasi romantic frothy nonsense.....

    Our "Real" hero's deserve better, As does their memory. To that end this old warrior has been batting away trying to put history "Straight" With, I must admit...Little success.

    The SS were evil bastards, and got short thrift if they even batted an eyelid. The whole of the German forces were part of that evil Empire.

    That there are a very few of us left, with the un-envious job of trying to relate exactly what happened. That is a shame. Keep it coming Ron, and other mates.

    If only for the friends we left behind. For they deserve better......
    Sapper
     
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I looked at the uktv link which shows the list of the top 10 fictional characters who are believed to have been real, well IMHO 3 of those 10 are real (one being real, but not in the context of being famous), I have checked on all 3 before making myself look an idiot.
    I see what you mean Steve, I'll take a stab at it:
    ??
    • King Arthur – 65% (Uncertain, but there's a case)
    • Sherlock Holmes – 58%
    • Robin Hood – 51% (possibly/likely real)
    • Eleanor Rigby – 47%
    • Mona Lisa -35% (tricky... define 'real')
    • Dick Turpin – 34% (definitely real, but a poorly told legend)
    • Biggles – 33%
    • The Three Musketeers – 17%
    • Lady Godiva – 12% (real)
    • Robinson Crusoe – 5%
    ??

    While many are based on 'real' people there are layers of legend over them, perhaps it's not the character they asked about but their respective stories...
    I'd like to see the survey now and pin down the actual framing of the questions, can't seem to find it at the mo but this is definitely looking like a pretty shallow bit of sensation stirring (surprise surprise).
     
  5. Christos

    Christos Discharged

    I must object to revisionism being placed in the same category, generally speaking, as denial, hollywoodism and Neo-Facist hero worship......Napoleonic literature and history is now firmly in the hands of revisionists, and experts on the subject like David Chandler do a fine job of conveying the period in the only manner that it is possible to these days.

    Revisionism is the fate of all history once the original participants are gone. It is the ONLY way that history can be written after the fact. The distortion it creates is really only another form of historical tweaking, and an inevitable one at that. Without it, views POLARIZE and ideas become stagnant. Revisionism tackles this mental atrophy in the best possible way,...HEAD ON. It is a pessimistic view, in a lot of cases, but a pessimist is merely an optimist in full possession of the facts!

    One day, I hope to write , if I can ever find sufficient time, history that can and will be nothing but REVISION. I hope that my future audience for any work I may produce will not give my work a perfunctory glance, label it as revisionism, and discard it on that basis alone. As I say, once all the contemporaries are gone, it's the ONLY way to perpetuate the story, the only way to justify a desperate struggle that these conflicts were, and.......it will be all that we have.

    Could we really study someone like Alexander without revisionism?....I think not!
     
  6. stevew

    stevew Senior Member

    I see what you mean Steve, I'll take a stab at it:
    ??
    • King Arthur – 65% (Uncertain, but there's a case)
    • Sherlock Holmes – 58%
    • Robin Hood – 51% (possibly/likely real)
    • Eleanor Rigby – 47%
    • Mona Lisa -35% (tricky... define 'real')
    • Dick Turpin – 34% (definitely real, but a poorly told legend)
    • Biggles – 33%
    • The Three Musketeers – 17%
    • Lady Godiva – 12% (real)
    • Robinson Crusoe – 5%
    ??



    Adam,

    I had included Eleanor Rigby, although the song is not about a real person, the headstone of Eleanor Rigby was in a cemetery where Lennon and Macca often relaxed. I had also gone for Lady G and the highwayman

    Steve
     
  7. Christos

    Christos Discharged

    While we are at it.....lets look at a typical Hollywoodism, and the distortion thereof....from the movie BRAVEHEART.....

    FACE PAINTING:....Pictish origins...dissappeared in the 5th century.
    BATTLE OF STIRLING:...The implication that the Scots won the battle by baring their bums at the English is cute, but laughable in the extreme.
    DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS:....Never undertaken by women.
    FALKIRK:...The suggestion that Robert Bruce sided with the English for this engagement is contentious to most Scots, to say the very least for it. Having said that, we also know that the Bruce's were oppurtunists of the highest order, so it is really anyone's guess as to his role in the Battle itself.
    WALLACE:....Tall....over six feet 5 inches. Son of minor nobility....Long flowing beard and moustache, said to have the largest and heaviest broadsword of any man of his generation. If he was born at the time the movie suggested, apparently he would only have been aged 14 at Falkirk....far too young to lead an army.
    ENGLISH RULE: Dark as it was, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to suggest imposition of PRIMA NOCTA (sexual rights for lords of peasant brides in their fiefdoms)
    SCOTTISH TACTICS: Wallaces principle tactical inovation was called a SCHILTRON, and was indeed designed to repell cavalry. But, the formation was circular, and it's mobility was roughly eqivalent to an old Macedonian Phalanx, (ie, a flat surface was required, and even a little rough ground could disorder a formation enough to make it vulnerable to a full blown Cavalry charge. It's very immobility made it an essentially static formation, and it was torn apart by English archers. At Stirling, Schiltron's survived principally because the English RAN OUT OF ARROWS.
    All these distortions make for compelling cinema, and serve to turn the story from a revolt into a struggle based on love interest. Lots of Scots suddenly became more than a little interested in their own history for a change, and began to see their own origins as something other than what they had suppossed at the time. The service this gave for Scottish nationalism was second to none, but it succeeded in distorting the truth so badly that it has probably set back Scottish understanding of their own hisory from this period for a long time to come....

    This is not REVISIONISM......it's HOLLYWOODISM.....
     
  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Christos

    You say "I must object to revisionism being placed in the same category, generally speaking, as denial, hollywoodism and Neo-Facist hero worship" and then go on to say
    " Revisionism is the fate of all history once the original participants are gone"

    Note the "once the original participants are gone" bit !

    That's me, and Sapper and all the other vets on this site and this was the very point I was making when I was expressing my concern.

    If you GOOGLE for a definition of Revisionism you get 219,000 hits but I consider that Channel 4's history site has a pretty good one which makes the links to Holocaust Denial .

    revisionism
    Strictly, revisionism is the theory or practice of revising one's attitude to a previously accepted situation or point of view. In historical terms, it is usually applied to a new theory that upsets what has been commonly believed about an era, individual, event and so on. However, in recent years, the term has become somewhat tarnished by the campaigns by some to change the accepted views of certain events for ulterior motives. A prominent example of this is Holocaust denial <http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/H/holocaust/index.html>.
     
  9. Christos

    Christos Discharged

    And indeed Ron, this is why I say that the next 5 years or so are probably the most important period of all!....WE must act, as buff and veteran, to eliminate historical distortion BEFORE it can becomes 'the accepted view'.....

    From George Orwell......."Who controls the past, controls the future"
     
  10. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    I reckon the outright and outrageous denialists will never be that big a problem, they'll be shouted down wherever.

    The more insidious form of distortion, for me, is the easy romanticising of the Third Reich that many seem to indulge in, it may begin as a strong interest in the era (nothing wrong with that) but among some it flowers into a rather 'Barbara Cartland' view that becomes more detached from reality (Like that recent Peiper site).

    The worst aspect of this to my eye is that there are many books published that are more interested in 'Steely-eyed' Nazi 'heroes' presented in an uncritical manner than a bit of gritty actual history. An excellent example is the amount of Michael Wittmann hagiography one can easily find compared to the scarcity of actual good information.
    I don't think the approach is intentionally sinister, but it becomes so as it feeds upon itself.

    It seems the Eastern front has been more fertile ground for this kind of balls, perhaps down to 50 years of strong Anti-communism in the US allowing a more positive view of the Germans that can be portrayed as fighting that ideology?
    Oh most definitely VP. And this is one of the problems of unbiased study of the Eastern Front, the attitude of the West towards Russia for 50 years after the conflict. We were quite prepared to accept the writings from the German side which helped to perpetuate the whole "Red Horde" theory and the idea that "General Winter" and "The Lunatic in Berlin" stopped the Wehrmacht from beating the Russians. the more I read about it the more I think that defeat was inveitable from the word "go". They gave it a good shot though.

    Christos, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by revisionism. How would you define it?
     
  11. Christos

    Christos Discharged

    Modern kids follow Orwellian doctrine to the letter. They firmly believe that
    .....................WAR IS PEACE........FREEDOM IS SLAVERY..........
    .........................IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH..........................

    Got an errand to run....BRB
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    We had a discussion on revisionism on WW2f recently, the conclusion drawn was pretty much that the word had lost much of it's validity in historiographical terms; as it now carries too many different meanings depending on the users interpretation of it.
    The attraction it carries/carried to the more extreme fringes has muddied the water for what should be a pure attempt to get the history well researched and 'correct', in the face of certain 'accepted truths' (using all sources, from man on the ground to paper-trail). It should have little to do with the petty opinions it's now often used to bolster.

    These days 'Revisionism' as a term might be best discarded because of these multiple definitions.
     
  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    I would have done poorly with this as I don't know and have never heard of few of these. Many of the others I would have surmised didn't quite live up to the legends associated with them.
    • King Arthur – 65% (Uncertain, but there's a case)
    • Sherlock Holmes – 58%
    • Robin Hood – 51% (possibly/likely real)
    • Eleanor Rigby – 47% <----------------Assumed it was the subject of the Beatles song, but otherwise thought most likely fictional
    • Mona Lisa -35% (tricky... define 'real')
    • Dick Turpin – 34% (definitely real, but a poorly told legend) <------------?
    • Biggles – 33% <-----------------Someone's dog?
    • The Three Musketeers – 17%
    • Lady Godiva – 12% (real)
    • Robinson Crusoe – 5%
     
  14. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    well im under 20 and i think im quite well educated in this subject and i also happen to know who Winston Churchill was believe it or not. I agree though that many people do not know enough about this side and subject in history. Cant blame them for having limited knowledge, after all its not everybodys cup of tea. Ask me a question about another historical topic and i may struggle to find an awnser.

    P.S Churchill was that guy in saving private ryan yeah?

    Donnie
     
  15. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    going back to owens post about waterloo,marshal blucher and his army helped out did it not.churchill was real,but like my nan says,he was over in america,on the piss all the time.bevan was the real leader.yours,4th
     
  16. Christos

    Christos Discharged

    Lacking a dictionary to hand, my INTERPRETATION of revisionism is a body of work that turns over accepted ideas, or clarifies the ideas that are already accepted...

    BRAVEHEART is a fine example of revisionism gone wrong, and turning history into something it clearly was not for a general purpose other than the exposure of the truth......
    District Attorney of New Orleans and Louisiana Circuit Judge Jim Garrison, whose book "On The Trail of The Assassins" is an example of a genuine revisionist, someone who seeks the truth, and none but the truth (so help him, God). Whether his conclusions arrive at the 'truth' or not is a matter for other revisionists to solve, but for the moment, he has widened the envelope of understanding in a manner that is significant to the pursuit of historical accuracy. Whether you believe Garrison's conclusions or not, you still have to acknowledge that his work opened up up a subject to public scrutiny that, previous to him, was about as closed off to public debate as any subject could be. I particularly liked his extensive work into the life and times of Lee Oswald, and his expose of his true role as a government agent, trained by intelligence services in Russian and Spanish, and with access to highly classified photos at Atsugi Airbase in Japan of all U2 spy flights over the Soviet Union. Forever, now, Oswald will never be considered as a 'lone nut', nor will he ever again be described as anything but the intelligent man that he was, a fact which should give future historians pause for thought as they examine the Crime of the 20th Century in years to come.
    Other examples of revisionism for the right reasons.........

    Naves and Rusbridgers work on British Codebreaking in WW2:.....Again, whether you believe the conclusions or not, nobody will ever be able to claim again that the principle contribution of of Britain to WW2 was anything other than their codebreaking services (some may well say they the only contribution that has remained a closed door for historians). Their evidence for British knowledge of JN-25 has been confirmed by American sources, so it is left to us to handle the implications of such information.....One only has to look at the activities of US Submarines to see that they are on to something, confirming the real reasons behind the strategy on a shoestring in the Pacific War, and why in fact their was little else that could be done with 9 tenths of resources going to Europe. Without extensive intelligence knowledge, US submarines would have been no more effective than Japanese submarines were. The proof can be found in the very over the top success by a fleet of subs of no more than 230 at their peak, and performing many operations that had nothing to do with chasing merchants and warships. When you sink over 5 million tons of merchants, and more Warships than the Germans, British and Russians combined, something must have put these subs in the right spot at the right time in a consistent manner. Losses were 52 boats to ALL causes, a figure that is VERY low by comparison with British, German and Russian submarine services. Check the figures and see for yourself. As a friend of mine said of this puzzle, "EVERY mission for those subs was a classified operation."
    So, another example of revisionism for the right reasons was 'Hitler's Willing Executioners", a body of work that simply looked at MOTIVATION rather than effect of policy in relation to atrocity. Groundbreaking stuff that caused a storm for it's implications that mass murderers can also be loving family men....I quote John Mileus...(screenplay writer for Francis Coppola),
    "....You must have men who are moral, and at the same time can utilize their primordial instincts to kill. These men, who fought with their hearts, who had loving families, but they had the strength....the strength....to do that."
    This is not denial, and it's not Hollywoodism, nor is it Neo-Fascist Hero worship.....but it is REVISIONIST history.

    Now, I have said a lot here that people will disagree with, but I ask you, can you ignore evidence simply to go along with an 'accepted' viewpoint?

    Comments please from the vets, and anybody else interested.
     
  17. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Mind you, there are 6% of the survey who believe that Montgomery was a myth. LOL!!! There are many cases of that coming up in discussions!!! (That was a joke and not meant as a discussion of Monty)
     
  18. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    no,you cannot ignore historic evidence,however one might believe otherwise.yours,4th wilts.
     
  19. Christos

    Christos Discharged

    Oh Donnie.....ask ME a question about another historical topic.....I can field questions from all aspects of history, and from most periods. SERIOUS study of MILITARISM through the ages demands knowledge from EVERY historical period, and from topics as diverse as economics, industrial technology, politics, social sciences of all types, psychology, methodology, strategy and tactics....the list goes on....all these are combined when you study any period in MILITARY HISTORY, making it the most difficult field of all to publish in, and therefore to say something truly different and worthwhile. My utter contempt for todays airheaded kids knows no bounds, trashing the sacrifices of their progenitors as 'in the past and pointless to be knowledgeable about"....

    Shame on all of these kids, reducing the ultimate sacrifice of many veterans to nothingness with their self-centered attitudes. It makes my blood boil to think that they walk around enjoying a very modern lifestyle with all the gadgets on the backs and bones of many un-selfish men and women....

    PUNKS.....................
     
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    bevan was the real leader.
    Odd point of view there Wilts?
    Bevan wasn't even in the coalition/war cabinet, he may have been an ideological leader for the left at around that period but only really got his hands on the levers of power in the '45 election.
    It could fairly be said that he was something of an irritation to both Atlee & Churchill for the actual war period.
     

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