Friday, June 04, 2004
Remembrance and Reconciliation

As I mentioned in yesterday's posting, the historical events surrounding D-Day have been subject to a revisionist retelling of teh Second World War. In its milder variant, it is a self-congratulatory extension of the European ideology, where 'liberation' is a European, rather than a purely national experience. Freud would be delighted to learn that even the Germans were liberated from themselves.

Denis Boyles in the National Review chronicles this move of D-Day into an artificial story where the victors and the defeated stand together. The French are embittered:

Le Monde took advantage of an arte television documentary showing D-Day from the German perspective to explain that the Allies in Normandy were slipshod and mismanaged because their leaders were inept, a point of view that suggests to the French a certain similarity to Iraq.

The Germans are more admiring:

The most influential media are contributing strongly to the generous mood by avoiding national self-pity and voicing admiration for the allies, dwelling on the awesome logistics and statistics of D-day.

The public TV channel ZDF is screening a five-part documentary series called simply Liberation.

The news magazines Stern and Der Spiegel have the D-day landings on their covers this week, contrasting the heroics of the longest day with the dysfunctionality of the Nazi regime - Adolf Hitler slept through the invasion at his Berchtesgaden eyrie, his aides too frightened to wake him. And Erwin Rommel, the "Desert Fox", who was in charge of organising the defence of France, spent D-day in the forests of south-west Germany celebrating his wife's 50th birthday.

Should we support this narrative if it obscures the sacrifices and deaths that the Allies suffered in order to snuff out the Nazi regime? That is irrelevant. This whole concept of the Grand Crusade has proved colossally damaging to the realist cause, since rose-tinted glasses and moral ballast have prevented many from critically assessing what happened to bring us to where we are now.

(00.07, 5th May 2004)


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