Thursday, May 12, 2005

For You Fritz, The War Is A Hobby That Takes Place on Weekends & Public Holidays

 Posted by Hello

They have a bloody Tiger tank! I want one.

With the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe just past it seems journalists have had their antenae twitching for buried and unusual stories related to the dark days of 1939-45. Last week there was a lot of coverage of Germans who fought for the allies, life on Britain's occupied Channel Islands, and the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states. This week, the BBC website has come up trumps with a look at Second World War reenactors, specifically a bunch of Brits who impersonate the German 116th Panzer Division.

I've always found reenactors a little odd (not least because after one heavy drinking session in a olde worlde pub, Walter Mondale emerged from the bathroom to find a bunch of English Civil War reenactors sitting around in full 17th Century costume, prompting him to believe that we had traveled through time) but I do have some empathy for the ones who choose to be Romans, Vikings, or English and American Civil War types. Its fun to dress up and fire guns- its why people join the army- and there's a real upside to knowing you won't die or have to endure forced marches in full kit. However, despite their claims to have no political motive, it does strike me as a little peculiar to want to spend your weekends pretending to be a bold defender of the Third Reich. I wonder if there is interest in forming an Al Qadea reenactment group, or a Baath Party one? This is yet another confirmation for me to go with the endless WWII programing on the History Channel that despite public abhorrence for the tenets of Nazism, a significant (mostly male) tranche of the British and American public finds something alluring about the iconography of Hitler's Germany.

The BBC story is here: BBC NEWS: "Can war games cause serious offence?
Rather than wash the car or put up shelves this weekend, you could put on the costume of a warrior from history. Dressing up as a roundhead or a Roman is an option, but what about a soldier of Nazi Germany? Groups who spend time, money and effort in recreating the army held responsible for one of the darkest moments in human history are sometimes regarded as crackpots and extremists...."

And the homepage of the 116 Panzer Division reenactors is here: : Der Windhund
"These living history re-enactors show the fighting man of the German Army during the closing stages of the War. After the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6th 1944, the Germans went mainly onto the defensive. Squeezed ever tighter they struggled on with ever diminishing resources.
AFRA members try to replicate the equipment and clothing used by these men to bring to life a little piece of History. By preserving vehicles etc. they are able to bring the public closer to what is now termed modern history."


Mondale said...

All i'm saying is you have to be careful. After a few pints of 'bishop's nipple' you turn around and there's some beardy weirdy with a huge musket in his hands you have every right to be concerned.
You make it sound amusing. I tell you, i was scared.

Debbie said...

Please change the pic. everytime I check your blog and see that pic the music from Hogan's Heroes is in my brain all day

Mondale said...

That website about the German Panzer thingies. Where do you find that shit? I swear you're getting stranger as you get older.

weasel said...

Google is a wonderful thing. That and googling after a few pints of "Bishop's Nipple".