Thursday, August 14, 2003


In his memoir of his WWII service (Quartered Safe Out Here) George MacDonald Fraser makes an interesting point

There is, for some reason which I don't understand, a bitter desire in some to undermine what they call the 'myths' of the Second World War. Most of those myths are true, but they don't want to believe that. It may be a natural reaction to having the war rammed down their throats by my generation; it may have its roots in subconscious envy; it may even spring from a reluctance to recognize that today's safety and comfort were bought fifty years ago by means which today's intelligentsia find unacceptable, and from which they wish to distance themselves.

"It may have its roots in subconscious envy." In a sense, that is the other side of Shakespeare's St. Crispin Day speech:

And gentlemen in England, now abed, shall think
themselves accursed they were not there.
And hold their manhood cheap, when any speaks
who fought with us on Crispin's Day.
A neat little theory could be worked up "explaining" the 60s upheavals in terms of those feelings of inadequacy and the related desire to disparage the accomplishments of the World War Two generation.

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