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margotjj
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

My grandpa was in WWll and he never wanted to talk about it. All he mentioned once to me was that he "helped free a camp" He was saying this as he looked over the Nazi flag, pins and other things he had brought home with him (at the time he was re-boxing it all to give to my mom to use in her classroom) Oddly it was my Mom-Mom (great-grandma) who shocked me the most with WWll stories when I was a kid. This one story will sit with me forever:

 

Shortly after my grandpa came home from the war his mother in-law (my Mom-Mom) washed everything he had brought back. While she was pinning the cloths to the line my grandma ran out and told her to take down the flag. Mom-Mom didn't understand why. To her the War was just stories. This orange/red flag meant nothing to her. Her daughter stood in the back yard explaining to her what the flag symbolized. Mom-Mom at the time still didn't understand her but complied to her daughters wishes and hung the flag in the basement to dry. Before boxing it up with everything else grandpa brought back with him. Mom-Mom had never paid attention to new and politics and war, that was for the men to deal with.

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emmagrace
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

I really love how the londerners continued with their daily lives even though they knew that the Germans would return in the night. I really respect their courage and determination to go on with their lives. I remember hearing of the treatment of Jewish people in school and it angered/saddened me greatly. I can not imagine how I would have felt if I were around during the war. War no matter where it occurs has some impact on everyone.

 

The effect of Maggie's death was so sad for me. All I could think about were the ones she was leaving behind. The death of Billy's mother and Harriet saddened me, but I was also a little angry. They were innocent people murdered in cold blood.

I agree with Emma- What did Frankie do when she found out about Harriet and Billy's mother? I would like to learn a little more about Frankie.

 

I think both Maggie's death and the story of the bombing influence Will's decision to go to Europe. I wonder if the mistakes his father made had some part in his decision as well?

 

I think that there are many people that have some feelings/ideas about the things that are happening with the Jews. I think that there are enough suspicions going around for at least some people to have an idea.

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CJINCA
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off


Rachel-K wrote:

Frankie thinks proudly of how Londoners "can't help" but go about their lives as they usually do, and at the same time is furious at how American's go about their own ordinary lives without any impact from the war abroad. What makes ordinary life bravery on one coast and complacency on the other? Are you furious at the Americans with Frankie? How does Frankie bridge the distance between the two countries full of people going through their daily lives during war?

 

Well, going about your regular life while being bombed is an act of defiance; going about your regular life while others are being bombed is, at best, denial.  I can understand that denial, and why Americans would not want to get involved, but failure to deal with the war "refugees" is one of the most shameful facets of the US history of WW2 (Japanese internment camps being another).

 

Does Maggie's death or Frankie's story of the bombings and deaths in London influence Will's decision to go to Europe?

Maggie's death -- Will flees, I don't think he cares where he goes, just as long as he gets away from his failure.  Maybe he wants to become a hero to Emma, if he thinks he's lost something in her eyes.

 


 

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DSaff
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

It's so true that hindsight is 20/20 and that it is so easy to be an armchair quarterback.

 


lmpmn wrote:

I find as I'm reading other's posts about war in other countries and media information, how much this book really does relate to what's going on today.

 

As far as being furious with the Americans not joining the war sooner, it's easy to look at it now and say, "Yes, we should have."  It's always easier to look back at history and judge because one has the bigger picture to look at and all the necessary information and time to make the decision.  That's something that people discuss every day here in America.  Should we have gone to war?  Why are we still there?  It will be so much easier 50 years from now to look back and say what should have been done with clarity.

 

As far as the media is concerned, someone on a different thread brought up the idea about being a reporter and being able to have balance between telling the truth, staying objective, and staying compassionate.  Our society is saturated with information from all kinds of different people: some have hidden agendas, some are open about their agendas, some who tell objective stories with no agendas at all, etc.  If you want to know what's going on in the world, it's your job to find who's out there and what their story is in an intelligent, informed manner.  Back then it was so different.  Radio was king and whoever owned the airwaves had a say in what was said and how it was said.


 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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maryfrancesa
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

I commented on some of these issues earlier Frankie does seem proud of how the bristish are ealing with the bombing with the true stiff upper lip and all.  I am not sure that she realizes what america feels about her reports,  Sure that with some people if they are not affected they are not concerened about it.. is this true or not not sure.  I amy not want to hear about the war and how it affects people when I believe I may be affected at some time.  I think that the majority of americans know that we will eventually enter into the war and what she reports may affect us.

I think the two discussions of death Maggie's and Will's mother and Harriet aree to make us draw comparisons.  Yes life does  go on after the deaths in England and and in America.  Maggie's because Will blames himself and feels that he cpuld have prevented her death but i doubt that much  Maggie was sick before she delivered her baby girl.  I thik that Will may ave felt that he needed to do penance for her death so he volunteered to go over there.  I do not think he really thought it through of how bad it was over there.  He may also have felt that Emma would lose respect for him because he caused a death,  Why does he keep comparing himself to his father and his failure.

I don't thoink that anyone except Frankie has any concept about the Jewish problem  I wonder how she does, since she is the only one concerned about them

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Biblio_Sue
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

This is only my opinion, but since Americans didn't have a "stake" in WWII at the time of the London bombings it was merely something that was going on "over there"; it was the same with the plight of the Jews all over Europe.  Would things have been different with the availability of today's media technology?

 

My mother-in-law's aunt was killed in the Holocaust..

My grandmother - a Scottish war bride - had a son whom she gave up for adoption about  3 years before my father was born in 1944.  My uncle contacted my dad 10 years ago -- it was quite a surprise but definitely a pleasant one as we have been able to establish a relationship with our new-found family in Scotland.  My grandmother had been dead for some years before this revelation, and she literally took this secret to her grave.

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boadiccea
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Registered: ‎09-03-2009

Re: War, Up Close and Far off

Frankie thinks proudly of how Londoners "can't help" but go about their lives as they usually do, and at the same time is furious at how American's go about their own ordinary lives without any impact from the war abroad. What makes ordinary life bravery on one coast and complacency on the other? Are you furious at the Americans with Frankie?

 

I think Frankie's characterization of Americans' complaceny is a bit unfair when viewed from impartial, 60+ years later eyes, but is understandable if one were to put oneself in her shoes.  While Londoners going about their daily lives is an act of the sheer will to survive, Americans going about their daily lives is just that...going on with their daily lives.  Consider how difficult it was in those days, with nothing but a radio and daily papers to link them to the rest of the world, to truly know what was going on over there.  The US is geographically isolated from the rest of the world, and while in today's times the internet and television etc bring us all closer to everyone else, back then, it must have seemed so very distant, so very difficult to take in.

 

I am not furious at the Americans, though I am slightly appalled at how easily people seem to want to pull the wool over their own eyes.  "It can't happen here" or "our president promised not to send us to war" being 2 prevalent ideas expressed by American characters in the book.  Things change.  Presidents may have good intentions but never EVER bank on a promise made by a politician. 

 

I see today's world in much the same way, how much people DON'T want to know the truth about difficult things, how much people just want to go on with their daily lives and not be bothered by the world's problems.  Though world events change, human beings' reactions to them are the same over the years, and I think Blake captures that.

 

We get two descriptions of death close upon each other: One, of the bombing in London that Frankie lives through, but that kills Harriet and little Billy's mother, among many others, and the second, of Will's struggle with Maggie during her dire labor. What is the effect of hearing of death in these two contexts? How do the emotions--shock, outrage at injustice, shame, guilt, fear--take hold of the characters (and the readers!) in each of these stories? Why would an author give us these two difficult stories one after another--are we being invited to make comparisons or draw conclusions?

 

The way I took it, and the way I thought it was mean to be taken, is that human beings are unpredictable in how they react to overwhelming stimulii.  Personal grief/shame/guilt can spur human beings to do unpredictable and sometimes extraordinary things.  In this instance, things which could be viewed as cowardly or viewed as heroic, depending on one's point of view. 

 

So, I drew a conclusion about Will.  As of right now, having only read into Ch. 9, I characterize Will as a coward, even though he is trying to turn it around by volunteering to help victims of London air raids.  Why a coward?  Well, he saw the signs of Maggie's decline but didn't take the right actions, so then he blamed himself when she died.  He lumped himself in with his father, deciding that as a Fitch he was doomed to fail, doomed to be shamed in this town.  Instead of learning from the experience, rising above it, becoming a better doctor and serving his town the way it needs to be served, he leaves his new bride, who has issues of her own when it comes to abandoment, AND he leaves his town without a doctor (the old retired doctor not really a good solution, I suspect), to go running off to be a hero, to redeem himself in the eyes of his town, his bride, and himself.  That said, I think he is severely misguided.   If I were going to be furious with any character, it is Will I am furious with.  (So far.  Having only started Ch. 9.)

 

Does Maggie's death or Frankie's story of the bombings and deaths in London influence Will's decision to go to Europe?

 

Yes.  Unequivocally. 

 

His own wife, too, unwittingly helped him make the decision.  We learn of Emma's orphan-hood at a young age, her fears of abandoment, her finally feeling like she belongs, like she has a home, and in a moment of empathy for the young boy whose story was told by Frankie, she says to Will "We have to do something!"  While Will would have (I suspect) ordinarily dismissed such a notion with a "What can we do, we're all the way over here" type of comment, his losing Maggie in childbirth that night and the subsequent shame and guilt, sahme and guilt which carry over from the days when his father was shamed by the fall of the bank, Emma's words spoken a moment of gripping emotion spur him to act.  He abandons her and his town.  Right now I don't really have a lot of respect for him for making this decision, but I'm eager to see if he really does do some good over there in London. If he redeems himself or not, or if Emma is going to end up a war widow, losing her only chance at "family" once again.

 

Do you or your family have "close up" or "far off" stories around the holocaust and WW2?

 

I am given to understand that there are Jewish relatives on my mother's side who were "disappeared".  A couple of them made it over here, settled in a small farming community in CT, and meshed with their new society so completely that my mother never knew of her Jewish heritage until she was an adult.  Their story has never been told, save for one letter I have, written by my grandmother to my cousin, detailing some of what happened to our family.  Their story is vastly incomplete, and hazy.  It's a story I'd like to tell, but am not sure I will ever get the opportunity to learn more, and therefore I am sympathetic to Frankie for wanting to finish what Harriet started.  I'm rooting for her, and for Harriet's memory.

 

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maude40
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

No, I'm not furious with the American complacency. I think it's the way of human beings that haven't felt war up close and personel. Our minds don't want to go there. It's  a little like sticking our heads in the sand. We feel helpless to do anything so we pretend it won't affect us. I'm not saying it's the way we should act but I don't think we can help ourselves.

 

The people that are being bombed everyday are acting brave because it's the way they can best get through their life as it is. If you can go about life as though it were normal, there is some comfort in the normalacy. Yvonne

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HannaintheTriad
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

Thanks for that link!

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Baileys_and_Books
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

Wow, Rachel - so many good questions.

 

I will take on your question about Will going to London. I believe his decision comes only from his experience with Maggie, as well as additional guilt he continues to carry from his father's experience in the town.

 

At this point in the story, the war hasn't really touched many Americans, certainly not in Franklin (except maybe Harry, and it hasn't really touched him as much as concerned him). While Emma was affected by Frankie's reporting, it did not move her to action (in fact she seemed to forget the story of Billy), and Will seems to only use that out of convienence for explaining his actions, more so than it being his actual motivation.

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Suetj
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

Thank you for the Edward R Murrow link.  For me what stands out in this historical novel is the radio aspect. In comparison to todays television broadcasts,in that we seem so saturated by war news of today that we almost become numb to it- the radio broadcasts of the past,  seemed to be a more intimate connection as the only way for loved ones at home to get closer to the young men and women overseas.  They seemed to value the radios power of communication. 

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Choisya
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

[ Edited ]

 

I think Frankie's characterization of Americans' complaceny is a bit unfair when viewed from impartial, 60+ years later eyes, but is understandable if one were to put oneself in her shoes.  While Londoners going about their daily lives is an act of the sheer will to survive, Americans going about their daily lives is just that...going on with their daily lives.  Consider how difficult it was in those days, with nothing but a radio and daily papers to link them to the rest of the world, to truly know what was going on over there.  The US is geographically isolated from the rest of the world, and while in today's times the internet and television etc bring us all closer to everyone else, back then, it must have seemed so very distant, so very difficult to take in.

 

IMO there is nothing unfair about Frankie's characterisation here.  I think the author is trying to reflect the feelings of the British and of Americans in Britain at this time, as against those of Americans in America.   There were certainly very strong feelings around about America not entering the war at a time when Britain truly had its back to the wall and was facing the Blitz.  Churchill had appealed for help to Roosevelt at a time when we scarcely had any resources to continue and when our defeat was on the cards but Roosevelt initially refused that help.  There was a lot of bitterness about this at the time and a journalists like Frankie (and Ed Morrow), living amongst blitzed Londoners, would have felt this 'in the air'.  It is little realised how 'broke' Britain was in 1939 - the First World War had destroyed us economically and the economic downturn of the Great Depression was a further blow to our economy. Fighting the Battle of Britain on our own in 1940 used up nearly all of our precious resources and killed many able young pilots (including 5 Americans). Had we lost this battle, a German invasion was considered to be certain - occupied France was only 22 miles away across the Channel.  It was after our victory in that battle that Roosevelt gave his Arsenal of Democracy 'fireside chat' to the American people, who had learned through people like Frankie and Ed Morrow of Britain's desperate plight and their bravery.  Churchill's speech before that battle spurred on the British people and impressed many Americans. 


 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

 

Is thisand accurate description of America's entry into the war and the negotiations between Churchill and FDR. Often the picture from one side of the ocean is different than the other.
I have always been given to believe that the USA abandoned Britain at the Yalta Conference, yielding to Stalin's demands against Britains protestations. It is believed in some circles that Stalin took advantage of a very sick Roosevelt to achieve his goals. What is the feeling about this in Britain? I am not sure if this topic belongs here but I am interested in knowing the "other side of the story". I think that nterpretations depend, to some degree, on locale or perspective. As they say, a recession is when your neighbor is out of work, a depression is when you are, so I suspect viewpoints on the war effort are similar.


Choisya wrote:
I think Frankie's characterization of Americans' complaceny is a bit unfair when viewed from impartial, 60+ years later eyes, but is understandable if one were to put oneself in her shoes.  While Londoners going about their daily lives is an act of the sheer will to survive, Americans going about their daily lives is just that...going on with their daily lives.  Consider how difficult it was in those days, with nothing but a radio and daily papers to link them to the rest of the world, to truly know what was going on over there.  The US is geographically isolated from the rest of the world, and while in today's times the internet and television etc bring us all closer to everyone else, back then, it must have seemed so very distant, so very difficult to take in.

 

IMO there is nothing unfair about Frankie's characterisation here.  I think the author is trying to reflect the feelings of the British and of Americans in Britain at this time, as against those of Americans in America.   There were certainly very strong feelings around about America not entering the war at a time when Britain truly had its back to the wall and was facing the Blitz.  Churchill had appealed for help to Roosevelt at a time when we scarcely had any resources to continue and when our defeat was on the cards but Roosevelt initially refused that help.  There was a lot of bitterness about this at the time and a journalists like Frankie (and Ed Morrow), living amongst blitzed Londoners, would have felt this 'in the air'.  It is little realised how 'broke' Britain was in 1939 - the First World War had destroyed us economically and the economic downturn of the Great Depression was a further blow to our economy. Fighting the Battle of Britain on our own in 1940 used up nearly all of our precious resources and killed many able young pilots (including 5 Americans). Had we lost this battle, a German invasion was considered to be certain - occupied France was only 22 miles away across the Channel.  It was after our victory in that battle that Roosevelt gave his Arsenal of Democracy 'fireside chat' to the American people, who had learned through people like Frankie and Ed Morrow of Britain's desperate plight and their bravery.  Churchill's speech before that battle spurred on the British people and impressed many Americans. 


 


 

 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

 

Thank you for that link. As a college student, I would sit for hours, in what was called the listening room, with a pair of rather large headphones covering my ears, as I listened to Churchill speak.

Choisya wrote:

Churchill's speech before that battle spurred on the British people and impressed many Americans. 


 


 

 

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Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: War, Up Close and Far off

 

When I was in highschool in the early '50s anything that had to do with WWII was totally ignored. I remember that the history teacher who was supposed to address the subject told us that not enough time remained in the semester. And during the next semester we were advised that it should have been covered in the previous one. It wasn't until I came to the United States in 1964 that I began to read books about the war and the holocaust. It took me another 35 years to find out some of the "omissions in my education" I had lived with.For instance:
A favorite ten-volume series of books in my childhood was about "Nesthaekchen," a spunky blond, blue-eyed girl, a doctor's daughter, whose life I followed from the time she played with dolls until she became a grandmother. She was supposed to have been the "typical" German child. We all loved the stories. The author, Else Ury, (1877 - 1943) wrote 39 novels which describe the ideal woman, "close to hearth and home." The Nesthaekchen series was written between 1918 and 1932 and all but book number four are still available in Germany. Book four is about WWI.
When I googled Else Ury in 2002 I read, for the first time, about her life. She came from a well-to-do Jewish family who, like many "assimilated" Jews did not put an emphasis on politics and religion. In 1935 she was excluded from the "Reichschrifttumskammer" (national writers' association) and was no longer allowed to write. Most of her family emigrated to England. Her brother Hans committed suicide. Else Ury remained in Berlin to take care of her 90-year old mother. In 1939 they had to move into a "House for Jews." The mother died in 1940. On January 6, 1943 Else Ury had to fill out a form, listing her possessions - they were considered enemy possessions and taken away from her - then she had to proceed to a transfer point in Berlin. On January 12, 1943 she was deported to Auschwitz along with 1,190 others and murdered in the gas chamber the next day. Else Ury was 65 years old at the time of her death. She was number 638.
I still get tears in my eyes when I think about Else Ury. My childhood had been built on lies.

thewanderingjew wrote:

 

Thank you for that link. As a college student, I would sit for hours, in what was called the listening room, with a pair of rather large headphones covering my ears, as I listened to Churchill speak.

Choisya wrote:

Churchill's speech before that battle spurred on the British people and impressed many Americans. 


 


 

 


 

 

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

 

That was a heartbreaking story which brought tears to my eyes, as well.  I know it had to be hard for you to share it. Thank you.

Sunltcloud wrote:

 

I still get tears in my eyes when I think about Else Ury. My childhood had been built on lies.

 

 

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Tarri
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Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

 


Sunltcloud wrote:

 

When I was in highschool in the early '50s anything that had to do with WWII was totally ignored. I remember that the history teacher who was supposed to address the subject told us that not enough time remained in the semester. And during the next semester we were advised that it should have been covered in the previous one. It wasn't until I came to the United States in 1964 that I began to read books about the war and the holocaust. It took me another 35 years to find out some of the "omissions in my education" I had lived with.For instance:
A favorite ten-volume series of books in my childhood was about "Nesthaekchen," a spunky blond, blue-eyed girl, a doctor's daughter, whose life I followed from the time she played with dolls until she became a grandmother. She was supposed to have been the "typical" German child. We all loved the stories. The author, Else Ury, (1877 - 1943) wrote 39 novels which describe the ideal woman, "close to hearth and home." The Nesthaekchen series was written between 1918 and 1932 and all but book number four are still available in Germany. Book four is about WWI.
When I googled Else Ury in 2002 I read, for the first time, about her life. She came from a well-to-do Jewish family who, like many "assimilated" Jews did not put an emphasis on politics and religion. In 1935 she was excluded from the "Reichschrifttumskammer" (national writers' association) and was no longer allowed to write. Most of her family emigrated to England. Her brother Hans committed suicide. Else Ury remained in Berlin to take care of her 90-year old mother. In 1939 they had to move into a "House for Jews." The mother died in 1940. On January 6, 1943 Else Ury had to fill out a form, listing her possessions - they were considered enemy possessions and taken away from her - then she had to proceed to a transfer point in Berlin. On January 12, 1943 she was deported to Auschwitz along with 1,190 others and murdered in the gas chamber the next day. Else Ury was 65 years old at the time of her death. She was number 638.
I still get tears in my eyes when I think about Else Ury. My childhood had been built on lies.

thewanderingjew wrote:

 

Thank you for that link. As a college student, I would sit for hours, in what was called the listening room, with a pair of rather large headphones covering my ears, as I listened to Churchill speak.

Choisya wrote:

Churchill's speech before that battle spurred on the British people and impressed many Americans. 


 


 

 


 

 


 

Wow, what a dose of reality.  Thank you very much for sharing this story.

 

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JaneM
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Registered: ‎02-01-2008
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off


thewanderingjew wrote:

 

That was a heartbreaking story which brought tears to my eyes, as well.  I know it had to be hard for you to share it. Thank you.

Sunltcloud wrote:

 

I still get tears in my eyes when I think about Else Ury. My childhood had been built on lies.

 

 


 

I agree.  The story personalizes the tragedy of millions.  Thanks for sharing.

Jane M.
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Choisya
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

[ Edited ]

thewanderingjew wrote:
Is thisand accurate description of America's entry into the war and the negotiations between Churchill and FDR. Often the picture from one side of the ocean is different than the other.
I have always been given to believe that the USA abandoned Britain at the Yalta Conference, yielding to Stalin's demands against Britains protestations. It is believed in some circles that Stalin took advantage of a very sick Roosevelt to achieve his goals. What is the feeling about this in Britain? I am not sure if this topic belongs here but I am interested in knowing the "other side of the story". I think that nterpretations depend, to some degree, on locale or perspective. As they say, a recession is when your neighbor is out of work, a depression is when you are, so I suspect viewpoints on the war effort are similar.
I can't pick up that link TWJ but there is no doubt that Churchill had great difficulty in persuading Roosevelt to enter the war and American public opinion was at first against it, as The Postmistress makes clear.  Churchill made a dangerous journey over the Atlantic to plead the urgency of his case but Roosevelt did not believe him because he regarded him as a drunk and untrustworthy. An American poll in 1942 found that 65% of Americans did not wish to enter the war and 50% did not trust Churchill or the British, and the US Press reported extensively on Churchill's drunkeness. It was Roosevelt's advisors who changed his mind, together with a change of heart in the American public, possibly affected by broadcasts, Pathe News Gazette films about the Blitz and Churchill's speech to Congress in December 1941.
I am not sure what you mean about Yalta because Churchill was in favour of 'hiving off' the troublesome Baltic states/Eastern Bloc to Stalin. That area had involved Europe in wars for over 800 years and after the Yalta Conference Churchill wrote in his diary that 'we have put the lid on Pandora's box'.  The deal was sealed at the Potsdam Conference, which Harry Truman attended in place of Roosevelt. Part of the deal was Stalin's agreement to support the US in the war in the Pacific and in the invasion of Japan. Roosevelt certainly had a better personal opinion of Stalin at that time than did Churchill and wrote:'I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man...I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, nobless oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace'. Churchill called Stalin a 'devil-like tyrant' and did not trust him. However, Stalin and the Russians had been valuable allies and we could not have won the war without their heroic efforts on the Eastern Front.  As such concessions had to be given, as after every victory. Attitudes towards Russia altered significantly during the Cold War, especially in America and, of course, as we learned more about Stalin's atrocities. But as you say, this is not relevant to our discussion here:smileyhappy:.


thewanderingjew wrote:

 

Is thisand accurate description of America's entry into the war and the negotiations between Churchill and FDR. Often the picture from one side of the ocean is different than the other.
I have always been given to believe that the USA abandoned Britain at the Yalta Conference, yielding to Stalin's demands against Britains protestations. It is believed in some circles that Stalin took advantage of a very sick Roosevelt to achieve his goals. What is the feeling about this in Britain? I am not sure if this topic belongs here but I am interested in knowing the "other side of the story". I think that nterpretations depend, to some degree, on locale or perspective. As they say, a recession is when your neighbor is out of work, a depression is when you are, so I suspect viewpoints on the war effort are similar.

 

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jenieliser
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Re: War, Up Close and Far off

What is the effect of hearing of death in these two contexts? How do the emotions--shock, outrage at injustice, shame, guilt, fear--take hold of the characters (and the readers!) in each of these stories? Why would an author give us these two difficult stories one after another--are we being invited to make comparisons or draw conclusions?

I was sad about both deaths, but the effect was different. Maybe it's because of my experiences, or lack there of, that I feel the mother dying in the bombing was more distanced, disconnected. But the Maggie was more close to home-more personal maybe? Or was it just the perspective we saw the deaths through-Will being a doctor, with somewhat of a guilt complex, and Frankie being a brave woman in a horrible situation?

I think we are being invited to make comparisons instead of conclusions. So far I've seen many comparisons made between those in the warzones and those far away.

Does Maggie's death or Frankie's story of the bombings and deaths in London influence Will's decision to go to Europe?

I think Maggie's death was the icing on the cake, or the straw that broke that camel's back, or just his excuse. He was a regular listener to "the radio gal" before the boy's mother died, and before Maggie died. I got the impression he already wanted to go, but Maggie's death sealed it for him. It was very convenient, he felt he had screwed up and wanted to get away from it all, to escape. He had already had the war on his mind. It was convenient.