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War and Propaganda

Greasy Pole: Ouch! What A Lovely War

Greasy Pole

Among the pitiless military killers of World War One there was reputed to be a German General who named one of his problems as the determination of British soldiers to 'fight like lions'. But then – 'lions led by donkeys'. More recently there has been a Minister of Education in a British government who scorned anyone who sympathised with that German assessment: '...an unhappy compulsion ...to denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage', regarding the war '... through the fictional prism of drama 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'.

Centenary

No Glory: Remembering World War One in Music and Poetry

The launch of the No Glory in War 1914-1918 campaign took place in October 2013 at St James's church, Piccadilly in London. Robert Graves was married in this church in 1918 and his wedding was attended by Wilfred Owen shortly before his death on the Western Front. Good-bye To All That was Graves's autobiographical work on his experiences in the trenches of the western front. Owen was famous for his war poetry such as Anthem for Doomed Youth and the condemnatory Dulce et Decorum est.

David Cameron's speech of October 2012 at the Imperial War Museum (see Socialist Standard January 2013) about commemorations to mark the anniversary of the First World War inspired the open letter to The Guardian of 22 May 2013 where the signatories stated 'this was a war driven by big powers' competition for influence around the globe' and the campaign wants 'to ensure this anniversary is used to promote peace and international co-operation'.

Oh! What a Lovely Centenary

Last October David Cameron delivered a speech at the Imperial War Museum detailing the government’s plans to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

Also known as the Great War this was to have been ‘the war to end all wars’. There will be commemorative events to mark the outbreak of the war in August 1914, various battles such as the naval battle of Jutland, the disastrous Churchill-inspired Gallipoli campaign, the 'bloody' first day of the Somme, the Third Battle of Ypres popularly known as Passchendaele, and the Armistice of 11 November 1918. This is quite a number of events that will be commemorated between 2014 and 2018. It could be like the Royal Wedding, Diamond Jubilee, Olympics, Princess Diana's funeral and the première of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse for four long years as the capitalist class endeavours to bolster British nationalism and militarism.

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