Reply
Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Music during the War (2)

 

Sorry, this post got away from me with some errors; I was in a hurry. No time to correct the beginning, but at least nothing I wanted to say is missing. And interestingly enough the n- word was bleeped. Thank you cultural Barnes and Noble Internet police. I should have known better. I only wrote the phrase word for word because that is how it was used by a German cultural official of the Third Reich.

Sunltcloud wrote:

<!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:smileyfrustrated:ection1;} -->

All entertainment was heavily censured under Hitler. My grandfather’s extensive library was decimated to a minimum. All the books he loved had to be burned. My mother said that they carried basket after basket to the public market place to be destroyed. I can’t remember listening to the radio, but I remember Leni Riefenstahl as movie maker and chief propagandist and I remember the popularity of Marlene Dietrich with Lili Marlene. This song was liked by many countries, it seems, once "verboten" by Goebbels, but reinstated, and still it rings in my ears. If you are interested in the background go to wikipedia here

 

Circa 1933 Hitler had begun to sanitize the German arts and entertainment scene. Theatre, literature, film, press, radio were degraded to mirrors of his goals. He demanded a new lifestyle, new direction in art, a new cultural outlook, based on German “clean” blood and race. The cultural organizations and unions of the Weimar Republic were replaced by the propaganda apparatus of the NSDAP (Nazi party)

In 1933 in Berlin the Reichskulturkammer was opened. Pop music and dance music titles of that time tended to obstruct a clear view of what was going on behind the scene and diverted attention away from the terrible actions that took place. Faschist cultural politic was intense. 

 

This is what Eugen Hadamowsky, one of the Third Reich’s cultural leaders said: “Can a country as culturally advanced as Germany allow itself to bring in **bleep** jazz? Would it not damage a German’s soul to get his music from a Hottentott kral?”

But swing and jazz that had been imported since the end of WWI, simply continued without competition from overseas. American originals were re-produced by German bands, given German titles, and played openly.

 

From conversations at home, a long time ago, I am aware that there were "official songs" with secondary texts attached that made fun of the regime; those were sung with enthusiasm when nobody listened who could report you. When I was a child my mother would punish me if I sang "dirty" ditties that had to do with the war. For instance one that I remember is about butter. We sang, "Meine Mutter schmiert die Butter immer and der Wand lang, immer an der Wand lang." It means "my mother smeared the butter along the wall, along the wall." Since no butter was available it was a great sin to poke fun at such a commodity. We feared the wrath of our mothers as much as our mothers feared the wrath of the Third Reich, but children couldn't help themselves and mothers often secretly grinned when they discussed our little sins.

 


 

 

Wordsmith
literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

How does the experience of listening to the news via radio in the 40s differ from our experience of getting news from the television and internet? Frankie thinks often of the path her voice travels and believes that the sound of war and a person's voice carries the events straight into American living rooms. Do you agree?

 

Getting the (breaking) news via TV and/or the internet is also getting a visual picture so the impact of the situation  becomes more real and urgent immediately.  Whereas listening to the news on the radio back in the 40s was only hearing the announcer's voice.  Frankie tried very hard to convey exactly what was happening as it was happening and as it was happening, her mind was already racing on how she was going to report it.  When Frankie first started working with Murrow and he was reporting, she wanted to add her voice to Murrow's, "have the Germans plow straight through the air into an American livingroom, holding the curtain back so they could hear it better and it was a dare.  I dare you, she thought now, to look away."  She so desperately wanted the Americans to understand exactly what was happening. 

 

It struck me odd, and it is something I never thought about, how reporting affects the reporters as well.  Frankie got a weird exhilaration of danger from what she saw and wanted to report it as such.  Murrow reported everything, but calmly.  Savareid couldn't take the shrieking of the bombing and the planes.  Being in the midst of the war affected each of the reporters differently.

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Music during the War (2)

[ Edited ]

I remember Lili Marlene sung by Marlene Dietrich very well Sunltcloud - it was popular in Britain too.  A sad, haunting tune, very fitting for the times:smileysad:.

 

This was the event when books were burned in Germany in 1933 - the year I was born. Perhaps your grandfather was encouraged to join in the destruction.

 

 

Sunltcloud wrote:All entertainment was heavily censured under Hitler. My grandfather’s extensive library was decimated to a minimum. All the books he loved had to be burned. My mother said that they carried basket after basket to the public market place to be destroyed. I can’t remember listening to the radio, but I remember Leni Riefenstahl as movie maker and chief propagandist and I remember the popularity of Marlene Dietrich with Lili Marlene. This song was liked by many countries, it seems, once "verboten" by Goebbels, but reinstated, and still it rings in my ears. If you are interested in the background go to wikipedia here

 

Circa 1933 Hitler had begun to sanitize the German arts and entertainment scene. Theatre, literature, film, press, radio were degraded to mirrors of his goals. He demanded a new lifestyle, new direction in art, a new cultural outlook, based on German “clean” blood and race. The cultural organizations and unions of the Weimar Republic were replaced by the propaganda apparatus of the NSDAP (Nazi party)

In 1933 in Berlin the Reichskulturkammer was opened. Pop music and dance music titles of that time tended to obstruct a clear view of what was going on behind the scene and diverted attention away from the terrible actions that took place. Faschist cultural politic was intense. 

 

This is what Eugen Hadamowsky, one of the Third Reich’s cultural leaders said: “Can a country as culturally advanced as Germany allow itself to bring in **bleep** jazz? Would it not damage a German’s soul to get his music from a Hottentott kral?”

But swing and jazz that had been imported since the end of WWI, simply continued without competition from overseas. American originals were re-produced by German bands, given German titles, and played openly.

 

From conversations at home, a long time ago, I am aware that there were "official songs" with secondary texts attached that made fun of the regime; those were sung with enthusiasm when nobody listened who could report you. When I was a child my mother would punish me if I sang "dirty" ditties that had to do with the war. For instance one that I remember is about butter. We sang, "Meine Mutter schmiert die Butter immer and der Wand lang, immer an der Wand lang." It means "my mother smeared the butter along the wall, along the wall." Since no butter was available it was a great sin to poke fun at such a commodity. We feared the wrath of our mothers as much as our mothers feared the wrath of the Third Reich, but children couldn't help themselves and mothers often secretly grinned when they discussed our little sins.

 


 

 


 

 

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

 

Before Pearl Harbour and before Roosevelt took you into the war?  Why? 

JerseyAngel wrote:
From what I could find online during my brief lunch break, the draft was reinstated in Sept of 1940.

 


Choisya wrote:

 

Some of the boys from the town have been drafted to the war
I am not sure, but I don't think any Americans have been drafted at this stage?  That happened after Pearl Harbour.  Perhaps someone could give us the date?
The argument between Harry and Iris about the flagpole, with the authorities being slow to reply to her letter about lowering it, is perhaps a metaphor for American attitudes towards the war at this stage. 

 


 

 

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

Thanks Debs - you are getting to know me too well:smileyvery-happy:


dhaupt wrote:

Choisya, I have to add to the thanks you're getting here on the board on your personal knowledge of this time. I was first educated by you to the fact of all the children being sent to the "country" in an earlier first look but I don't remember if it was The Sister or The House at Riverton that this was also discussed, ah getting older does make me forget things.

Thanks again for your insight and your personal take on this.


 

 

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

 

Oh my Bamboo - what a strange use for the old blackout curtains!  How scary for them. Did America black-out all lights during the war?

BambooMom wrote:

I think the war becomes real to each of the characters at different times, just like any other major world event. Many of the characters are not ready for the war to become real; some (like Frankie) are pushing for it to become real, but then it finds her when she least expects it (with finding the little boy, and realizing her roommate is dead). Others, like Emma, don't want it to immediately affect them, although they are sympathetic when the topic arises.

 

In terms of blackout curtains, my grandparents had some made during the war. They were put away, but quickly brought out again in the '60's when they were alerted that a serial killer (and their garbage man), Charlie Starkweather, was on the loose in their town. My grandfather stopped at school to pick up my mom and her sisters, while my grandmother hung and closed up the curtains. (It was thought that Starkweather had murdered at least one couple from his route when he noticed they were home.) They stayed locked up in their house until Starkweather was caught.


 

 

Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Music during the War (2)

 

My grandfather was a very quiet man who loved to read and garden. During air raids he never went downstairs into the basement or to the shelter, but sat in his study. He taught me to grew vegetables when I was four and he squirted ripe gooseberries into my mouth to make me shiver and laugh. He played chess with a friend by mail. My grandmother wanted him to "be somebody" and more or less forced him to become an inspector at the Saline (salt mine). That's when he joined the party. Or had to join as I was told.  After the war he was sent to a labor camp nearby by the French, but my mother flirted and begged her way past the officials and rescued him due to illness a few months later. He died of cancer soon afterwards. Neither my grandmother nor my mother ever spoke about those times in front of me and when I was older and asked questions, I was told that "all this" was in the past and needed no discussion. Whatever I found out, I found out after my mother's death from her journals. And from a 350 page book about the town of Bad Duerrheim.That his name wasn't mentioned in the book gives me the hope that, at least, he was not one of the active "enforcers." Some of those hanged themselves at the end of the war; others were brought to trial. But still I wonder, what about the silent bystanders. Weren't they to blame just as much?
Choisya wrote:

I remember Lili Marlene sung by Marlene Dietrich very well Sunltcloud - it was popular in Britain too.  A sad, haunting tune, very fitting for the times:smileysad:.

 

This was the event when books were burned in Germany in 1933 - the year I was born. Perhaps your grandfather was encouraged to join in the destruction.

 

 

Sunltcloud wrote:All entertainment was heavily censured under Hitler. My grandfather’s extensive library was decimated to a minimum. All the books he loved had to be burned. My mother said that they carried basket after basket to the public market place to be destroyed. I can’t remember listening to the radio, but I remember Leni Riefenstahl as movie maker and chief propagandist and I remember the popularity of Marlene Dietrich with Lili Marlene. This song was liked by many countries, it seems, once "verboten" by Goebbels, but reinstated, and still it rings in my ears. If you are interested in the background go to wikipedia here

 

Circa 1933 Hitler had begun to sanitize the German arts and entertainment scene. Theatre, literature, film, press, radio were degraded to mirrors of his goals. He demanded a new lifestyle, new direction in art, a new cultural outlook, based on German “clean” blood and race. The cultural organizations and unions of the Weimar Republic were replaced by the propaganda apparatus of the NSDAP (Nazi party)

In 1933 in Berlin the Reichskulturkammer was opened. Pop music and dance music titles of that time tended to obstruct a clear view of what was going on behind the scene and diverted attention away from the terrible actions that took place. Faschist cultural politic was intense. 

 

This is what Eugen Hadamowsky, one of the Third Reich’s cultural leaders said: “Can a country as culturally advanced as Germany allow itself to bring in **bleep** jazz? Would it not damage a German’s soul to get his music from a Hottentott kral?”

But swing and jazz that had been imported since the end of WWI, simply continued without competition from overseas. American originals were re-produced by German bands, given German titles, and played openly.

 

From conversations at home, a long time ago, I am aware that there were "official songs" with secondary texts attached that made fun of the regime; those were sung with enthusiasm when nobody listened who could report you. When I was a child my mother would punish me if I sang "dirty" ditties that had to do with the war. For instance one that I remember is about butter. We sang, "Meine Mutter schmiert die Butter immer and der Wand lang, immer an der Wand lang." It means "my mother smeared the butter along the wall, along the wall." Since no butter was available it was a great sin to poke fun at such a commodity. We feared the wrath of our mothers as much as our mothers feared the wrath of the Third Reich, but children couldn't help themselves and mothers often secretly grinned when they discussed our little sins.

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

Choisya, on the first page of Chapter 3 (page 43) , it talks about Iris unrolling a map of the world. The second paragraph talks about the places on the map, then reads, "Letters printed in straight lines in the comforting typeface of school, the world ordered as neatly as the men now were. Since the draft had begun in October, each man's number pulled by hand from the War Department's glass fishbowl and recorded, the roads and rails were full of American boys being sent all over the country, leaning over books and maps in their olive drab, sprawled in the too tight seats moving from Ohio to Omaha. Tennesse. Georgia. The Carolinas. From town the two Snow brothers would go first, then a Wilcox, a Duarte, and a Boggs. Johnny Cripps and Dr. Fitch had numbers so high, it was as good as if they hadn't been called. They'd never be needed now." From this paragraph I assumed boys from the town of Franklin were being drafted into the war, although for now it looked like they were being sent all over the US,  possibly to train first before officially being sent to fight in the war.

 


Choisya wrote:

 

Some of the boys from the town have been drafted to the war
I am not sure, but I don't think any Americans have been drafted at this stage?  That happened after Pearl Harbour.  Perhaps someone could give us the date?
The argument between Harry and Iris about the flagpole, with the authorities being slow to reply to her letter about lowering it, is perhaps a metaphor for American attitudes towards the war at this stage. 

aprilh wrote:

Rachel-K wrote:

Please feel free to use any or all of these questions as a jumping off point for discussion--and please feel free to post your own! Especially for the "Chapter" threads, please be conscious of spoilers!

 

The book's epigraph states that "War happens to people one by one." When does the impact of the war begin to feel real to us as readers? Are we listening to Frankie's broadcasts along with Emma and Will? Did one war story from these early chapters move you more than the others?

 

For me, the war felt real when I read about Frankie walking home and having the bombs drop from overhead, flattening her to the ground. When she ended up at the bomb shelter and found her seven-year-old neighbor, Billy, there looking for his mother, my heart broke. I had a feeling something awful had happened. When Frankie takes Billy home and the houses there are torn apart, my heart broke for Billy, for losing his mother and for Frankie, for losing Harriet. "Listening" to Frankie tell this story over the radio, gave me goose bumps.

 

When does the war feel "real" to each of the characters?

 

I think for Frankie since she was in the middle of where the bombings were taking place, the war always felt real to her. But for Emma, I don't think the war hit home until she heard Frankie's story of Billy losing his mother. It seemed she forgot about it though, and went on living her life as usual, until Will announced he was leaving for London to help out at the hospital.

 

How does the experience of listening to the news via radio in the 40s differ from our experience of getting news from the television and internet? Frankie thinks often of the path her voice travels and believes that the sound of war and a person's voice carries the events straight into American living rooms. Do you agree?

 

Getting news from TV. and the internet today is almost instantaneous. If we need information, we just need to type in a few words and instantly we're connected to what we need to know. In the 40's, the only source of information came from the radio , paper or from writing letters. Getting information would have been much slower and it must have been so hard to wait to hear word that people you knew were safe.

I think Frankie is right that a person's voice could bring the events of the war into people's living rooms. This was one of the only ways people had of knowing what was going on during this time. It seemed people hung on the radio announcer's word trying to memorize every detail shared with them, so they could get a good grasp of what was going on in the world.

 

What is Frankie's attitude about reporting the news? How does she see her role? How did Harriet see her role as a reporter? Did the two women have different attitudes toward what they were doing there?

 

It seemed Frankie was more reporting about the what was happening in London and Harriet wanted to report on what was really happening to the Jewish community. Harriet was discouraged that the news of what was happening the Jewish community was being buried in the papers instead of being front page news. After Harriet died, Frankie seemed to make it her mission to continue on with Harriet's work.

 

What is the town of Franklin like? How does the town seem to be preparing or not preparing for war?

 

Franklin is a small town, where everyone knows all the people living  there. Right now, it doesn't seem to me that the town is preparing much for war. Some of the boys from the town have been drafted to the war, but that's about it. The only person who seems truly worried that the war might hit them at home is Harry. He's concerned the height of the flag pole will gain the attention of the Germans, possibly making the town of Franklin a target.


 


 

 


 

April
Contributor
pmldwnlln
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

What a diverse group of strong women we are presented with in this book.  And as diverse as I find them, there is a piece of each that I find I personally relate to.  With Frankie, it is her desire for the full picture.  Iris' impatience with what she views as nonsense strikes me.  Emma's character address emotional pain and a greater life picture that I can appreciate.  And is it the fact that I'm a women that I connect so much more strongly with the women than the men?  My initial thought is that Sarah Blake has done a wonderful job of making women the central focus of a story about war without neglecting the experience of men. I am struggling to understand these men, specifically why does there seem to be weakness associated with each of them?

 

I imagine that the radio presentation, had I been with these women, would have been a more powerful experience of the war than what we currently receive.  Words, without pictures, allow us to more fully assimilate the events into our individual reality.  And while it has been said that ,"War happens to people one by one," I think that is rather simplistic.  Of course, we all have our individual experience of a situation.  And we are alone in that experience but the mere fact that no two lives are alike.  When does the war become real?  I suppose there is a moment of buy-in but really isn't that reality constantly shifting as we add experience upon experience?  I had my inital buy-in when Frankie observed the gunners, yet the reality deepened with each passing war event:  the bombing that left the boy without a mother, Emma losing Will to the war for 6 mo.  And I felt that Emma's reality deepened as well, first with the story Frankie told of her little friend and then saying goodbye to will.  I imagine that only in retrospect will the starkest clarity of the war's reality for each character and myself be truly understood.

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

 

Thanks April.  I am just very puzzled by this because at this time there was (as the novel shows) a lot of opposition in America to you entering the war so why were men being drafted?  I think America's entry to the war was declared by Roosevelt after Pearl Harbour in December 1941.  Is this paragraph in chapter 3 talking about the period after Pearl Harbour?  Perhaps I should ask Sarah about this. 

aprilh wrote:

Choisya, on the first page of Chapter 3 (page 43) , it talks about Iris unrolling a map of the world. The second paragraph talks about the places on the map, then reads, "Letters printed in straight lines in the comforting typeface of school, the world ordered as neatly as the men now were. Since the draft had begun in October, each man's number pulled by hand from the War Department's glass fishbowl and recorded, the roads and rails were full of American boys being sent all over the country, leaning over books and maps in their olive drab, sprawled in the too tight seats moving from Ohio to Omaha. Tennesse. Georgia. The Carolinas. From town the two Snow brothers would go first, then a Wilcox, a Duarte, and a Boggs. Johnny Cripps and Dr. Fitch had numbers so high, it was as good as if they hadn't been called. They'd never be needed now." From this paragraph I assumed boys from the town of Franklin were being drafted into the war, although for now it looked like they were being sent all over the US,  possibly to train first before officially being sent to fight in the war.

 


Choisya wrote:

 

Some of the boys from the town have been drafted to the war
I am not sure, but I don't think any Americans have been drafted at this stage?  That happened after Pearl Harbour.  Perhaps someone could give us the date?
The argument between Harry and Iris about the flagpole, with the authorities being slow to reply to her letter about lowering it, is perhaps a metaphor for American attitudes towards the war at this stage. 

 

Frequent Contributor
fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8) : Setting the Scene.

Choisya,

Great pics,  thanks for posting

 

MG

Correspondent
T-Mo
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎08-31-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

[ Edited ]

Roosevelt had been watching the developments in Europe since before war broke out. In fact, prior to the Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact being signed in 1939, the United Stated send a coded telegram to London, to warn of the impending pact. The draft itself had been signed into law because Roosevelt was fully aware of German atrocities being committed- not to mention Poland, Holland, Norway, Belgium, and France had been invaded and collapsed under Nazi forces. At that time, the way it looked, Britain was next. Roosevelt knew he would have to start training troops so that when the time came, they would be ready for action. He hoped that by training troops early, when the time came, U.S. troops would be prepared to defend against Germany. It was a very proactive approach, rather than waiting to be reactive.

 

The Lend-Lease program became law in the U.S. in March 1941. With that, the United States had an interest in protecting their ships and good being sent across the Atlantic. The Germans had waged a heavy submarine campaign in the hopes of blocking the aid being sent across the ocean. In April 1941, the U.S. signed an agreement for a joint defense of Greenland. With the British defeats on the Mediterranean front, the U.S. favored sending troops to Iceland, to replace the British troops stationed there. After Pearl Harbor, men were flocking to enlistment centers to join the fight for freedom, and to defend their nation, and those of others who had been swept up and annihilated by the Nazi war machine.

 

With all that being said, Roosevelt was very aware of the developments going on in Europe. And he knew full well that it was only a matter of time before the U.S. would have to engage its troops. He had to bide his time accordingly though, so as to garner support from the public. He took proactive steps to ensure the public would support his decision when the time was right.

Frequent Contributor
fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I agree Choisya,   Frankie's descriptions bring the war up front and center.  They are as vivid as pictures.

MG

 


Choisya wrote:

Gosh, I would have thought that the descriptions of bombs dropping all around her, getting to the shelter and the bombing of the house where she lost her friend Harriet and Billy's mother was enough to involve readers in the immediacy of the war. The description of the house being torn in half by a bomb was a very poignant one for me because I saw that several times during the war.  Indeed, after a particularly heavy raid, people would go to look at such houses, all possessions shown to the world, perhaps to think 'there but for the grace of god go I'...

 

..

 


Thayer wrote:

JaneM wrote:

I think the impact of the war to me, as the reader, began with Frankie's participation at the Gunner's Battery as she observes the chaos of shelling and the return fire of the guns.  Prior mentions of the war just don't have the immediacy that is evident with the intensity of this scene.  It is at this moment that I feel Frankie has moved beyond observing and reporting to participating in the war.  To Emma the war becomes real when she hears Frankie's story of the orphaned boy.  She is ready to commit to the cause at that point.  Of course Harry feels the war much sooner as he asks Iris to lower the flag.  In this first section I think the war has not become real to Iris even though she has tacked up a map to track where the boys are (p. 44).  I still feel she is an observer to an external event.

 

 


Jane,

 

I agree with you. Frankie comments that when she is with the gunners, "there is nothing between you and the war."


 

 


 

Correspondent
GreenFairyLV
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎06-23-2009
0 Kudos

Re: chapters 1-8

[ Edited ]

It took me until half way through chapter 6 to start liking this book.  Now I'm hooked.  I understand the characters more and the story.  I'm now just starting chapter 14, I won't say anything that goes beyond chapter 8 on this thread, I just wanted to say if it's taking you awhile to get into it, like me, keep reading, it's worth it and it only get better.  A lot of people loved it right away and I was afraid this would be a horrid read for me since I didn't.  I'm glad I kept reading, now I can't wait to see what is going to happen next.  :smileyhappy:

Distinguished Correspondent
JerseyAngel
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Draft

Here's an excellent link that explains the draft & why Roosevelt started when he did. I also copy & pasted the first several lines...

 

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50785

 

September 16, 1940

On this day in 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Selective Service and Training Act, which requires all male citizens between the ages of 26 and 35 to register for the military draft, beginning on October 16. The act had been passed by Congress 10 days earlier.

America was not yet involved in the Second World War, but Roosevelt considered it a prudent step to train American men for military service in case the U.S. would have to defend itself against the growing threat of fascist and militarist regimes in Europe and Japan.

 


Choisya wrote:

 

Thanks April.  I am just very puzzled by this because at this time there was (as the novel shows) a lot of opposition in America to you entering the war so why were men being drafted?  I think America's entry to the war was declared by Roosevelt after Pearl Harbour in December 1941.  Is this paragraph in chapter 3 talking about the period after Pearl Harbour?  Perhaps I should ask Sarah about this. 

aprilh wrote:

Choisya, on the first page of Chapter 3 (page 43) , it talks about Iris unrolling a map of the world. The second paragraph talks about the places on the map, then reads, "Letters printed in straight lines in the comforting typeface of school, the world ordered as neatly as the men now were. Since the draft had begun in October, each man's number pulled by hand from the War Department's glass fishbowl and recorded, the roads and rails were full of American boys being sent all over the country, leaning over books and maps in their olive drab, sprawled in the too tight seats moving from Ohio to Omaha. Tennesse. Georgia. The Carolinas. From town the two Snow brothers would go first, then a Wilcox, a Duarte, and a Boggs. Johnny Cripps and Dr. Fitch had numbers so high, it was as good as if they hadn't been called. They'd never be needed now." From this paragraph I assumed boys from the town of Franklin were being drafted into the war, although for now it looked like they were being sent all over the US,  possibly to train first before officially being sent to fight in the war.

 


Choisya wrote:

 

Some of the boys from the town have been drafted to the war
I am not sure, but I don't think any Americans have been drafted at this stage?  That happened after Pearl Harbour.  Perhaps someone could give us the date?
The argument between Harry and Iris about the flagpole, with the authorities being slow to reply to her letter about lowering it, is perhaps a metaphor for American attitudes towards the war at this stage. 

 


 

Scribe
ReadingPatti
Posts: 2,523
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

dhaupt, I am enjoying this book so much. I love the way the author is using women to tell the story., We are getting picture of what is was like during that time.

 

I like how the author tells us what is going on. I can't imagine how the people in London lived through that time. Not knowing if a bomb will destroy your house or kill your family. God, I don't know how they did it. The fact that Sarah using women is even more remarkable. I think this was the first real time that women took a major role in working in jobs that men had.

Then you have to lives of those in the town of Franklin. U.S. not yet in the war, the letters carry word to love ones and the radio tells people what is going on. I cried when the little boy lost his mom. I hope that he is going to be ok.

 

I can't wait to read more of this very interesting book. Sarah really knows how to tell a story. I think that she has a great future a  author.

 

How do you feel about this book?

 

ReadingPatti

Scribe
ReadingPatti
Posts: 2,523
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

laurajzz., I couldn't agree with you more. I love these characters and the fact that they are women is even more remarkable.

 

To live in fear that a bomb could destroy your house and your family is brought to life. I think that Frankie did finally realize just how serious this war was when she lost her friend and Billy lost his mom.

 

Iris puts up the map to let the people of Franklin what is going on with the war. Although the U.S. is not in the war yet, little do they know what will happen.

 

Iris gets the letters for loved ones and Frankie tells the U.S. what is going on with the war. She is telling the people exactly what is going on.

 

These are strong women for their time. Their are doing their part to let everyone know what is going on.

 

I for one a very glad that this book was chosen. It is very good and I want to know what is going to happen to these characters and how the war affects their lives.

 

ReadingPatti

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Draft

 

Thanks a lot Jersey/Angel, that explains it!  I wonder too if it was also another way of dealing with unemployment after the Great Depression?  
The army authorities here found that men who were called up in 1939 were very unfit and underfed as a result of the long years of Depression.  They instituted special diets and exercises to improve their health and the government also provoded free cod liver oil, free milk for babies and schoolchildren and broadcast fitness programmes on the radio.  There was a Radio Doctor who spoke on the radio for five minutes each morning and gave advice on diet and health matters.  Dr Hill also oversaw the publication of Ministry of Food pamphlets giving healthy recipes which made efficient use of our rations. We were told to eat carrots because it would improve our eyesight for the blackout!   There was a cartoon character called 'Potato Pete' and I remember making a 'rice' pudding at school, using grated potato and nutmeg!  

JerseyAngel wrote:

Here's an excellent link that explains the draft & why Roosevelt started when he did. I also copy & pasted the first several lines...

 

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50785

 

September 16, 1940

On this day in 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Selective Service and Training Act, which requires all male citizens between the ages of 26 and 35 to register for the military draft, beginning on October 16. The act had been passed by Congress 10 days earlier.

America was not yet involved in the Second World War, but Roosevelt considered it a prudent step to train American men for military service in case the U.S. would have to defend itself against the growing threat of fascist and militarist regimes in Europe and Japan.

 


Choisya wrote:

 

Thanks April.  I am just very puzzled by this because at this time there was (as the novel shows) a lot of opposition in America to you entering the war so why were men being drafted?  I think America's entry to the war was declared by Roosevelt after Pearl Harbour in December 1941.  Is this paragraph in chapter 3 talking about the period after Pearl Harbour?  Perhaps I should ask Sarah about this. 

aprilh wrote:

Choisya, on the first page of Chapter 3 (page 43) , it talks about Iris unrolling a map of the world. The second paragraph talks about the places on the map, then reads, "Letters printed in straight lines in the comforting typeface of school, the world ordered as neatly as the men now were. Since the draft had begun in October, each man's number pulled by hand from the War Department's glass fishbowl and recorded, the roads and rails were full of American boys being sent all over the country, leaning over books and maps in their olive drab, sprawled in the too tight seats moving from Ohio to Omaha. Tennesse. Georgia. The Carolinas. From town the two Snow brothers would go first, then a Wilcox, a Duarte, and a Boggs. Johnny Cripps and Dr. Fitch had numbers so high, it was as good as if they hadn't been called. They'd never be needed now." From this paragraph I assumed boys from the town of Franklin were being drafted into the war, although for now it looked like they were being sent all over the US,  possibly to train first before officially being sent to fight in the war.

 


Choisya wrote:

 

Some of the boys from the town have been drafted to the war
I am not sure, but I don't think any Americans have been drafted at this stage?  That happened after Pearl Harbour.  Perhaps someone could give us the date?
The argument between Harry and Iris about the flagpole, with the authorities being slow to reply to her letter about lowering it, is perhaps a metaphor for American attitudes towards the war at this stage. 

 


 


 

 

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006

Re: Gas masks.

[ Edited ]

The use of gas masks is mentioned in the early chapters so I thought I would post a link about these monstrosities which we all had to wear from time to time.  They were instituted because the Germans had used gas during WWI and it was thought he might use it again.  Children and babies had special versions of them.  So far as I know gas wasn't used in WWII.  We carried our gas mask in little brown box everywhere and at school we had to practice putting them on but I do not remember them being used much by ordinary people during the air raids and I never heard of an instance where the air raid wardens used the special gas rattle.    

 

Watching the little video above reminded me of Frankie's visits to the air raid shelter and I wondered if this book will eventually be made into a film because the three locations, Cape Cod, England and Europe, and the different aspects of wartime life on each side of the Pond would, I feel, make excellent material for a film.

Frequent Contributor
nfmgirl
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-20-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I had a really hard time getting into this book, and in the beginning I almost gave it up. But I told myself to give it 100 pages. If I didn't "feel it" by then, I would abandon it. The writing style in beginning of the book was so manic and clipped that I had a hard time following it. It didn't "flow" for me. I have to assume that this was intentional, displaying the mania of the war and the brevity of life. I felt no connection to the characters. I couldn't even keep the characters straight, and didn't know who was who.

 

But around chapter four things shifted, and became more enjoyable for me. I got a handle on who I was dealing with in the story, and dialogue flowed. One thing that struck me at the end of the early chapters was how Iris seemed symbolic of the US at this time-- intact and untouched. Likewise Will and Emma sort of start out this way, young and in love and warm and cozy in their little cocoon. But then the cruelties of life begin to creep in and the cocoon begins to unravel.

 

So I'm glad that the book came around for me, and am curious to see where it goes from here.


Heather
http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com/