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The Spirit of the Blitz

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Message Paul Titterton
It's called the 'Frog in the jar technique'. That's why a million German kids invaded Poland... Their grandparents had had an advanced culture, great literature, music and architecture... So what happened? ..If Hitler had promised a war against the rest of the world right at the start he would not have been voted in. If he'd said I intend to kill all the Jews, all the socialists and gypsies, 20 million Russians and 8 Million of our own, people would have said 'No you can't do that.'

The frog in the jar refers to the fact that a frog will not sit in very hot water.. he will leap out of the jar. If you gently heat the water however ...get the croutons ready. Hitler never mentioned mass extermination to begin with. People fondly thought ..the inhabitants of the leibensraum would simply make way for the Nazis? Socialists had been disappearing for ages in the 30s and those left were shouting about the coming storm but they were the 'usual suspects.' German Cut and Runners.

That's also why we allowed them to invade Iraq. If Bush/Blair (the 'Blush brothers') had said we would take out Saddam, his 'world's fourth biggest army', his sewage system and hundreds of thousands will die, tying us down for years.. we would have objected. We may have mentioned that the kids sweating it out in dust storms may have thought it nobler to be on hand for future emergencies... like for example, rescuing the poor people of New Orleans.

I'm not suggesting that Bush and Blair are Hitler and Mussolini because even if we kill a half million Iraqis, which many predict, we still won't approach more than 1 % of Hitler's total. I don't like the association with WW2 and I have previously argued that WW2 was a real cause. A war that was unavoidable once they had let the Nazis take control of the streets. And the ballot box. Another difference between Hitler and Bush is that Hitler won his election!

I have argued in the past that the justness of WW2 has been abused and expressions like 'fighting on the beaches' etc., stolen, to justify present conflicts. I have also said that we nearly lost. The US and Britain has faced worse situations before, without resorting to the barbarism we have seen in Fallujah and Al Ghraib. There is no chance that Bin Ladin will cause any more than minor casualties compared to the slaughter we suffered then. This is not to belittle the three thousand dead in New York, but this was often a weekly total for the US, in 1944.

Whilst Hitler had his share of luck, with the allies so divided, he also made blunders and it could have been a different outcome, so easily. They were a generation ahead of the world in rockets. Gagarin went into space in a souped-up V2, with the swastika painted over! This was a valiant war fought by uncomplaining, loyal people..wasn't it?

In Britain the concept of putting up with your lot and getting on with it, was memorably described as the 'Spirit of the Blitz.' Staunch Londoners called Alf or Pearl would shake their fists at the Heinkels and shout "Give'em hell lads" to the overhead Hurricanes.

'And every night we used to say these are hard, hard times
And though we lost half the roof, we opened for business
And every day as we looked up and saw safe, clear skies
We queued up to help out and showed all the Spirit of the Blitz'

The Londoners were not brave and they were not cheerful. They were like everybody else whose security was destroyed. They cried openly, they stole from the ruins and they went insane. Their children had been taken away from them. Nowadays, we spend years preparing families for fostering and working through the traumas.

Then, millions of people were somehow expected to just get on with evacuation. The knowledge that their kids were safe from the bombs maybe helped, but they also knew their precious children were with total strangers who had been pressurized to take them. Their parents had every right to be alarmed as we now know so clearly.

They were near to giving up. "London can take it" said Churchhill, but he was in his private bunker, fortified by a rather special Cognac, mysteriously available to some. They had to force their way into the 'tubes', as the automatons that ran London Underground, had had no intention of letting them live there at first, when the bombs fell. Private property was rather more important than any ephemeral war.

I wrote the above lines of "Spirit of the Blitz," for Clydebank, near Glasgow, as much as for London, but neither place deserved such horror. Clydebank, as the shipyard responsible for such megaships as the Queens Elizabeth and Mary was destroyed to such an extent that 65 years later it has still not fully recovered. The thought that we could still endorse the bombing of cities, knowing what it did to these people, fills me full of shame and disgust.
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'Hamish ' is an antiwar writer socialist- scientist and musician living in Scotland.
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