A history podcast discussing various cultural genres which reference the First World War, including detective fiction, Star Wars and death metal music, and ask why the First World War has particular popular cultural relevance.
32 - Postcards from the Western Front
1:02:39What happened when people wanted to visit the battlefields of the First World War? This month we're rejoined by Prof Mark Connelly (University of Kent) to discuss his new book Postcards from the Western Front: Pilgrims, Veterans, and Tourists after the Great War. Along the way we discuss ownership of the battlefields, issues of infrastructure for tourists, and what happens if your mum visits you in the trenches.
31 - Giantpoppywatch - Commemoration and Remembrance
39:08How do you commemorate the First World War in the age of social media? This month we take a look at the @giantpoppywatch twitter account and discuss the various ways people seem to commemorate the war. Along the way we discuss armistice balls, yarn bombing, and which muppet is the most respectful.
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30 - The Thirty-Nine Steps
50:18This month Jessica, Angus and Chris discuss John Buchan's 1915 novel The Thirty-Nine Steps. Along the way they discuss the importance of the Scottish countryside, the deviousness of espionage, and why you should never get in a car with Richard Hanney. WARNING: This episode contains references to racist language and ideas from the early 20th century. References: John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915) John Buchan, Greenmantle (1916) John Buchan, Mr Standfast (1919) Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps (1935) Ralph Thomas, The 39 Steps (1959) Don Sharp, The 39 Steps (1978) James Hawes, The 39 Steps (2008) Orson Welles, The 39 Steps (1938) Ben Schott, Jeeves and the King of Clubs (2018) Sapper, Bulldog Drummond (1920)
29 - The Red Baron
1:03:21How do you portray the most famous flying ace of the First World War? This month we're joined by Prof Ingrid Sharp (Leeds) to discuss Baron Manfred von Richtofen also known as 'The Red Baron'. Along the way we examine the ways his myth evolved during the war, the ways he was appropriated by the Nazis, and the threat he posed to Snoopy. If you would like to join Chris for the launch of his new book The History and Politics of Star Wars: Death Stars and Democracy, the event is on August 13, 2022 at 11AM PST / 1PM CST / 7PM BST. You can find the registration details here. ReferencesThe Red Baron (2008) Dresden (2006) Valkyrie (2008) Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) Revenge of the Red Baron (1994) Joyeux Noel (2005) Red Baron (1990 video game) John Buchan, Mr Standfast (1919) WE Johns, Biggles Chris Kempsall, The History and Politics of Star Wars (2022) Manfred von Richthofen, Der rote Kampfflieger (1917) Baroness Kunigunde von Richthofen, Mein Kriegstagebuch (1937) Charles Schulz, Snoopy vs the Red Baron
28 - The King's Men
48:49What happens if you combine the First World War with an action-adventure film? This month we watch the 2021 film The King's Man and discuss its portrayal of an alternative vision of the war. Along the way we explore John Buchan novels, the absence of key historical events, and wonder about whatever happened to Wilfred Owen. References: Guardian review Indiewire review John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915) John Buchan, Greenmantle (1916) John Buchan, Mr Standfast (1919) John Buchan, The Three Hostages (1924) Alfred Hitchcock, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935) Patrick Barlow, The Thirty-Nine Steps (2005) James Hawes, The Thirty-Nine Steps (2008) 'Sapper' [H. C. McNeil], Bulldog Drummond (1920) Arthur Conan Doyle, The Final Problem (1893) 37 Days (2014), OWALP episode 16 Blackadder, 'Goodbyeee' (1989) James Joll, The Origins of the First World War (1984) Wilfred Owen, 'Dulce et Decorum Est' (first published 1920) Abel Gance, J'accuse (1919) Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (1975) Lewis Millstone, All Quiet on the Western Front (1931) Otto Dix, Der Krieg (1924) Sam Mendes, 1917 (2019), OWALP episode 14 Jessica Meyer, 'Peaky Blinders and the Ubiquity of Poetry', 30/10/2013 Ben Schott, Jeeves and the King of Clubs (2018) Sarah Moss, Night Waking (2011) George Tomkyns Chesney, The Battle of Dorking (1871) George MacDonald Fraser, Flashman (1969) Brian Fee and John Lasseter, Cars (2006) A. E. W. Mason, The Four Feathers (1902) EA Dice Battlefield 1 (2016)
27 - Over the Top Magazine
55:45How do you get children interested in the First World War? In this podcast episode, we are joined by Andrew Powell-Thomas, editor of Over The Top, a history magazine aimed at children, published by the Great War Group. We then speak to two special guests, who give us their opinion. Along the way we consider how you get specialist historians to write for children, what stories spark historical interest and the importance of animals to the history of the war. References: Over the TopThe Great War Group Andrew Powell-Thomas Rudyard Kipling, ‘My Boy Jack’ Mark Connelly The Great War, Memory and Ritual: Commemoration in the City and East London, 1916-1939. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer, 2015.
26 - Textiles
50:14How are embroidery, and the women who do it, portrayed in the years after the First World War? This month Jessica takes us on a tour of post-war embroidery in Tracy Chevalier's A Single Thread and Dorothy Whipple's High Wages. Along the way we discuss surplus women, the varying perceptions of embroidery as skilled work, and the constant reminders of the First World War. References:Tracy Chevalier, A Single Thread (2019) Dorothy Whipple, High Wages (1930) Dorothy L. Sayers, Unnatural Death (1927) Dorothy L. Sayers, Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928) Herman Darewski and R.P. Weston, ‘Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts for Soldiers’ (1914). This is Billy Murry’s 1915 version) Janet S.K. Watson, Fighting Different Wars: Experience, Memory and the First World War (2004) Alexia Moncrieff, Expertise, Authority and Control: The Australian Army Medical Corps in the First World War(2020) Ana Carden-Coyne, ‘Butterfly Touch: rehabilitation, nature and the haptic arts in the First World War’, Critical Military Studies 6:2 (2020) Lesley Glaister, Blasted Things (2020). See episode 9 of the podcast for our discussion with Lesley Glaister. Armistice & After: Peace Project, Leeds City Museum 10th-18th November 2018:
25 - The Contemporary Image of the Junior British Officer
58:04What did it take to be a good junior officer in the First World War? This month, Chris, Angus and Jessica speak to Charles Fair about the development of junior officer training in the war. Along the way we discuss the significance of the Territorial Force, which schools had officer training corps and the definition of a 'temporary gentleman'. References Blackadder Goes Forth (1983) Charles Fair, Marjorie's War: Four Families in the Great War 1914-1918 (2012) Charles Fair, 'From OTC to OCB: The Professionalisation of the Selection and Training of Junior Temporary Officers During the Great War' in Spencer Jones (ed) 1917: The Darkest Year: The British Army on the Western Front 1917, pp.78-109 Dan Todman, The Great War: Myth and Memory (2007) Dorothy L. Sayers, Murder Must Advertise (1933) Gary Sheffield, Leadership in the Trenches: Officer-Man Relations, Morale and Discipline in the British Army in the Era of the First World War (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000) Henry Ogle and Michael Glover (ed), The Fateful Battle Line: The Great War Journals and Sketches of Captain Henry Ogle MC (1993) H. F. Maltby, A Temporary Gentleman (1920) Ian Isherwood, Remembering the Great War: Writing and Publishing the Experiences of World War I (2017) John Bourne, ‘British Generals in the First World War’ in Gary Sheffield (ed), Leadership and Command: The Anglo-American Military Experience since 1861, (London: Brassey's, 1997) pp. 93-116 John Bourne, ‘The BEF's Generals on 29 September 1918: An Empirical Portrait with Some British and Australian Comparisons’ in Peter Dennis and Jeffrey Gray (eds), Defining Victory 1918, (Canberra: Army History Unit, Dept of Defence, 1999), pp.96-113. Martin Petter, (1994). ‘Temporary Gentlemen’ in the aftermath of the Great War: Rank, status and the ex-officer problem. The Historical Journal, 37(1), 127-152. doi:10.1017/S0018246X00014734 Michael Roper, The Secret Battle: Emotional Survival in the Great War (2009) Paul Harris, The Men Who Planned the War: A Study of the Staff of the British Army on the Western Front, 1914-1918(2015) Peter Simkins,‘ ‘Building Blocks’: Aspects of Command and Control at Brigade level in the BEF’s Offensive Operations, 1916-–1918’ in Gary Sheffield and Dan Todman (eds), Command and Control on the Western Front: The British Army’s Experience 1914-18, (Staplehurst: Spellmount, 2004) R.C. Sherrif, Journey's End (1928) Reginald Hill, The Wood Beyond (1995) Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That (1929) Royal Military College Sandhurst, ‘Syllabus of the Course of Instruction (For Three-Term Course)’, 1912 Siegfried Sassoon, The Memoirs of George Sherston (1928-1936) Tim Halstead, ' "A Ragged Business": Officer Training Corps, Public Schools and the Recruitment of the Junior Officer Corps of 1916' in Spencer Jones (ed) At All Costs: The British Army on the Western Front 1916, pp. 414-429. Also see his forthcoming More Than Victims of Horace: Public Schools 1914-1918 (Helion, 2022)
24 - Football
1:03:26What effect did the First World War have on football? This month we're joined by Dr Alexander Jackson (National Football Museum) to discuss the ways in which the First World War and football affected each other during and after the conflict. Along the way we discuss football as a recruitment tool, tensions regarding amateur status, and the reason why some football pitches aren't as equal as others... References: Jackson, A. Football’s Great War. Pen & Sword, 2022
23 - Charley's War
1:00:53How is the First World War represented in British comics? In 1979 the Battle launched a new strip, Charley's War. The story followed boy soldier Charley Bourne, who fought his way through the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and ended up in Russia in 1919. Written by Pat Mills, it was inspired by the film Oh! What a lovely war. The aim of the strip was not to glorify the conflict but to encourage the reader to re-evaluate their preconceptions of the First World War. At the time of publication, what made this unusual was it went against the standard preconceived historical storylines in other comic strips, which worked to normalise war and elevate the central character to the status of a hero. Angus enthusiastically read them at the time, Chris and Jessica are much more recent consumers of Charley's War. References: 'Pat Mills on Charley’s War’, IWM Comics and Conflicts Conference (2011) Fussell, Paul, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1975) Hynes, Samuel, The Soldier's Tale: Bearing Witness to a Modern War (Allen Lane 1997) Jachimiak, Peter Hughes. "'Woolly Bears and Toffee Apples': History, Memory, and Masculinity in Charley's War", The Lion and the unicorn, 31.2 (2007), 162-175 MacCallum-Stewart, Esther, 'The First World War and British Comics' University of Sussex Journal of Contemporary History. 6 (2003) 1-18 Mills, Pat, and Joe Colquhoun, Charley's War (London: Titan Books, 2004) Williams, Rachel Marie-Crane, 'Image, Text, and Story: Comics and Graphic Novels in the Classroom’, Art Education, 61.6 (2008), 13-19 Wurtz, James F., 'Representing the Great War: Violence, Memory, and Comic Form’, Pacific Coast Philology, 44.2 (2009), 205-215