Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Lil Christmas History of a Different Sort

Via an old Tweet from Lileks... "Christmas Under Fire (1941)." The vid is of historical interest to perhaps a few of you Gentle Readers and is nine and half minutes long. I found it tremendously interesting; YMMV.

Here's the info blurb on the vid:
Despite the Blitz, it's 'business as usual' as England prepares for Christmas in this propaganda film intended for US audiences. It's a Christmas of holly and barbed wire, guns and tinsel, yet the British, we are told, are determined to make it as cheerful as possible.
"England is fighting for her life", asserts the American narrator, but it is admiration rather than pity that the film seeks to evoke. The filmmakers achieve this with emotions bigger than most 10-minute films could contain, as we watch plucky Londoners creating a subterranean Christmas on Underground platforms and the choristers of King's College sing their hearts out. While no doubt intended to encourage US support in the War, 'Christmas Under Fire' ultimately offers a portrait of a nation "unbeaten, unconquered and unafraid". (Poppy Simpson)
I can just imagine watching this in a darkened theater... with dread. The war, for us, wasn't even three weeks old at Christmas in 1941. The Brits had endured it for two years at the time... and they were literally getting their asses kicked.

We should thank our lucky stars and the brave men and women who answered the call back then. It was the darkest of days...


  1. Although our men died in WW2, America viewed it from afar...the Brits and Europe got to witness it hand to hand.

    A very different view, I must say.

  2. We should thank our lucky stars and the brave men and women who answered the call back then.

    You can say that again.

  3. Pat: About this post and in the "things unsaid" Dept... I arrived in London in 1953, as an eight-year-old. There were still entire city blocks of rubble being cleared away from The Blitz, more than eight years after the end of the war. So, yeah: A different perspective, indeed. And it was MUCH worse in Germany, as I found out a year or so later.

    Amy: True... this bears repeating, lest we forget.

  4. When we were in London several years ago, I wondered about the bombings and the damage done to the city in WWII. When I see an old building (pub style) next to modern buildimg, I always wonder if it was the result of bombings or just modernization.

    I have never been able to stretch out on a plane while flying overseas. Jesse, on the other hand, slept all the way to Scotland and home on planes that were not full last year.

  5. Lou: All the damage from The Blitz was pretty much gone by the time I returned to London in the '80s. That said, there's always stuff being torn down and rebuilt, London being among the oldest of old cities.

    I think Jess was pretty fortunate to find empty seats on her way to/from Scotland... in this day and age!


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