Thursday, May 29, 2014

The World Wars, or Six Hours of My Life I'll Never Get Back


It's bad. Really bad. I sat through it mainly because it was so full of howlers that I couldn't make myself stop hanging on for the next one.

Did you know that Joseph Stalin (as opposed to Lenin and Trotsky, who are never mentioned) founded the Soviet Union?

Or that Winston Churchill learned about warfare in the trenches at the end of World War One (that's right -- he never served in India and Afghanistan, didn't accompany American forces as a journalist in the Spanish-American War, didn't get captured, escape across hundreds of miles of enemy territory, then ride back across that territory on a bicycle as a messenger during the Boer War)?

Or that Patton led the invasion of Sicily? Apparently Patton didn't report to Harold Alexander. Apparently Bernard Montgomery and his half of the ground force weren't even there. Also, the invasion of Sicily was the first major American operation in the European Theater -- Operation Torch never happened and nobody ever heard of Eisenhower during the war. I guess they staged the Sicily landing out of London or some damn thing.

I never knew that Douglas MacArthur was the most important leader of US forces in World War One. Silly me, I thought that was Pershing. I thought that MacArthur was, until the last little bit of the war, Chief of Staff of the Rainbow Division. Yes, he did go out on attacks, but he wasn't supposed to. He was supposed to be at army headquarters making sure the division's staff officers did their jobs. And similarly to Churchill, no mention of his distinguished career prior to that war -- he just happened to be a general by that time, apparently for no other reason than that his dad won the Medal of Honor in the US Civil War.

And those are just ones that I noticed and remember, not having bothered to take actual notes.

OK, OK ... so they only had six hours to cover two World Wars (whose fault is that? They could have made it five two-hour nights). That might entail glossing over some of the finer points. But it doesn't mean they had to just be stupid and wrong. And especially if they were going to focus on seven individual people (Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Churchill, FDR, Patton and MacArthur) they could have taken the time to get the important things about those people and their interactions right.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Three Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide
Some graphics and styles ported from a previous theme by Jenny Giannopoulou