do not mention the war

Bertolt Brecht: Conscription Continues

In History on May 21, 2018 at 08:00

In the little series ‘Voices from the Great War’ comes a quote from the German author Bertolt Brecht.

I was called up in the war and sent to a hospital. I dressed wounds, applied iodine, gave enemas, did blood transfusions. If the doctor ordered ‘Brecht, amputate a leg!’ I would reply, ‘Certainly, Your Excellency!’ and cut off the leg. If I was told, ‘Perform a trepanning’! I opened the man’s skull and messed about with his brains. I saw how they patched fellows up, so as to cart them back to the Front as quickly as they could.

He himself did not serve in a hospital but instead after volunteering served in a plant nursery and also did some administrative work. It allowed him to get his A-Levels, thus him joining the army was not driven by patriotic feelings. His writings during the war can be separated in two periods. The first were reports from the front and poems which were positive about the war but after 1916 this changed and he distanced himself from the war effort. Brecht remained productive throughout from 1914 to 1918 and it is sure that he was an established artist once the war was over in November 1918.

The quote above therefore originates from one of his reports and displays the work of the military doctors towards the end of the conflict. It shows that the will was not diminishing in the least as the title of this little quote demonstrates. In fact, the Kaiser stated only a few months before that those of the German enemies who do not want peace will be destroyed ‘with an iron fist and a flaming sword’. If there was ever more need for assurance of the German morale, the Kaiser delivered it. It demonstrates that there was still believe that Germany may win the war. Indeed, Ludendorff was only stopped in his progress on the Marne in mid-July 1918, only four months before the end of the war.

featured image: Self Portrait via WikiCommons CC BY-SA 3.0


England vs Germany. Podcast

In Football on April 15, 2018 at 13:33

I’ve had the pleasure to speak with Chris of the website Outside Write about the topic that I have studied and researched for my PhD: England vs Germany and its reverberations on and off the pitch, especially on the sports press in England.

Before Germany could play England the game had to come to Germany, something which this podcast also touches upon.

Once football became the most popular sporting pastime in Germany, the development of the game began and in 1930 almost brought rewards: Germany took a 3-0 lead but had to live with a 3-3 draw after England scored late to save their immaculate record against Germany.

The next stop is the World Cup Final of 1966 when England beat West Germany 4-2 after extra time. It was the climax for English football. Since then Germany have mostly stood in the way of England, like in 1970 and again in 1982, 1990 and 1996.

The episode also mentions Brexit briefly and the current political climate in which the tone of the press coverage has become once again more aggressive as it had been in the 1980s and 1990s.

Could it happen again? Yes, England and Germany could meet again. Though the latter would be considered favourites, it is not a given that England have no chance to go through. Everything has to click for England if they really want to beat Germany again in a competitive match.

Have a listen to this podcast episode and let me and Chris know what you think.

Short Memory

In Cold War on April 2, 2018 at 07:47

The whole affair of Russia getting involved in or influencing the last US election and Brexit is a discussion led with a short memory. The recent spy affair only adds to that.

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