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Forces War Records Blog

POLITICAL ROW HEATS UP OVER LOOMING WWI CENTENARY

Blogger: GemSen As the World War One Centenary looms – discussion over the conflict and particularly over how it is taught in schools has become a hot topic of debate.

In the news recently, Micheal Gove, Secretary of State for Education, has apparently commented in the Daily Mail that: people's understanding of the war had been overlaid by "misrepresentations" which at worst reflected "an unhappy compulsion on the part of some to denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage. "The war was, of course, an unspeakable tragedy, which robbed this nation of our bravest and best," wrote Mr Gove. "But even as we recall that loss and commemorate the bravery of those who fought, it's important that we don't succumb to some of the myths which have grown up about the conflict." He added: "The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh, What a Lovely War!, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles - a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite. "Even to this day there are left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths." He is referring to was the fourth and last series of Blackaddder, set in the WWI trenches of Flanders in 1917, where Rowan Atkinson played Captain Blackadder, and Tony Robinson played his dumb sidekick, mocking the military leadership at the time. And even though it was done with humour and entertainment in mind, the series is still used in some schools as part of history lessons — this is what Gove is unhappy about also commenting: "left-wing" myths about the "Great War" belittle Britain and absolve Germany of blame. Tony Robinson, the actor who played Baldrick, has hit back commenting: "I think Mr Gove has just made a very silly mistake," Robinson, a vocal supporter of the Labour Party, told Sky News. "To categorise teachers who would introduce something like Blackadder as left-wing and introducing left-wing propaganda is very, very unhelpful." Meanwhile Gove won few friends with his comments about Germany being to blame for the war. The minister wrote that it was "plainly a just war", and that the "ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites, the pitiless approach they took to occupation, their aggressively expansionist war aims and their scorn for the international order all made resistance more than justified." Nick Clegg said the commemorations should be sombre and avoid 'finger wagging'. But, it has also been reported that Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman backed Gove, saying Britain should commemorate the war "without being afraid to say it was right for Britain to respond to aggression". Learning about the Great War As part of the commemorations, the Government have planned various activities and services to mark the anniversaries of the First World War, with school children encouraged to visit battlefields and learn about the sacrifice of troops. With the centenary fast approaching, interest in the First World War is growing and there’s never been a better time to start researching this conflict and your ancestors who perhaps once fought in it. Source: Yahoo News & BBC Find out more with Forces War Records… Do you know enough about your ancestors who fought in the First World War? Why not log on to Forces War Records and find out more  - there could be a war hero in your family just waiting to be discovered, and remembered… Why not delve into our ‘historic documents’ library and read some of the interesting War diaries that we get sent – there’s nothing quite like reading a personal account of war, as history unfolds itself through the eyes of somebody who was actually there. Forces War Records are fortunate to receive such amazing real life war stories involving lashings of courage, and now you can read some of them – completely free of charge. Discover interesting facts about your ancestors, become more knowledgeable about history, and reveal some of the fantastic characters involved in war…What are you waiting for?
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