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Ken Burns: The War

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Wesley S 18 Oct 07 - 04:33 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 07 - 04:02 PM
robomatic 17 Oct 07 - 07:44 PM
Ebbie 04 Oct 07 - 01:03 PM
JedMarum 04 Oct 07 - 10:19 AM
robomatic 04 Oct 07 - 12:45 AM
GUEST,petr 03 Oct 07 - 06:02 PM
katlaughing 03 Oct 07 - 03:23 PM
Donuel 03 Oct 07 - 02:31 PM
Alba 03 Oct 07 - 01:33 PM
JedMarum 03 Oct 07 - 10:54 AM
Greg B 03 Oct 07 - 10:00 AM
robomatic 03 Oct 07 - 06:52 AM
Greg F. 29 Sep 07 - 10:13 AM
Teribus 29 Sep 07 - 04:03 AM
Ebbie 28 Sep 07 - 08:37 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 28 Sep 07 - 06:40 PM
Greg F. 28 Sep 07 - 06:11 PM
fretless 28 Sep 07 - 05:03 PM
Ebbie 28 Sep 07 - 03:28 PM
GUEST,Neil D 28 Sep 07 - 02:03 PM
Greg B 28 Sep 07 - 01:12 PM
artbrooks 28 Sep 07 - 11:16 AM
Teribus 28 Sep 07 - 09:38 AM
artbrooks 28 Sep 07 - 08:41 AM
Teribus 28 Sep 07 - 04:04 AM
artbrooks 27 Sep 07 - 08:56 PM
Teribus 27 Sep 07 - 08:26 PM
artbrooks 27 Sep 07 - 08:06 PM
Teribus 27 Sep 07 - 08:01 PM
Greg F. 27 Sep 07 - 05:47 PM
Teribus 27 Sep 07 - 01:32 PM
Ebbie 27 Sep 07 - 01:12 PM
Teribus 27 Sep 07 - 12:50 PM
Ebbie 27 Sep 07 - 11:33 AM
Greg B 27 Sep 07 - 10:44 AM
Greg B 27 Sep 07 - 10:42 AM
fretless 27 Sep 07 - 10:13 AM
robomatic 27 Sep 07 - 06:16 AM
Chanteyranger 27 Sep 07 - 02:30 AM
TRUBRIT 27 Sep 07 - 12:25 AM
Stilly River Sage 27 Sep 07 - 12:09 AM
Amos 26 Sep 07 - 11:54 PM
GUEST,Dani 26 Sep 07 - 09:59 PM
Don Firth 26 Sep 07 - 08:25 PM
Don Firth 26 Sep 07 - 08:16 PM
PoppaGator 26 Sep 07 - 05:19 PM
Wesley S 26 Sep 07 - 03:29 PM
Alba 26 Sep 07 - 03:09 PM
fretless 26 Sep 07 - 03:07 PM
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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Wesley S
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 04:33 PM

Every night I watched I had to laugh when the announcer said "Corporate sponsorship of The War is by General Motors". Proof of the military-industrial complex.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 04:02 PM

100


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: robomatic
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 07:44 PM

Now there's a good cause for the editorial option. When you kill it, please also kill this.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 01:03 PM

PBS in Alaska last night at 8 o'clock began a re-run of The War. I missed a number of episodes last time.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 10:19 AM

The "southern boy" soldier stories reminded me of one a Texas friend told. His father, also a Texas born fellow had been on one the first US troop ships to land in the UK after the US entered the war - and was highly indignant at the signs the cheering Brits carried, "Welcome Yanks!"

He was no damn Yankee, and if he could have, he would have gone home right then and there! Funny story my friend his father was mad about it all is days.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: robomatic
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 12:45 AM

There's a neat trilogy of books about the experiences of a young Southern American, growing up on a farm owned by his family and among sharecroppers, going into basic training and over to Europe, The author is Ferrol Sams and the first book in the series is When All The World Was Young

In the book on the war, he recounts a European Jew telling him that at the close of the war, when many people thought they were safe, someone got onto the American flyers' frequency and called in an air strike on a group of Jews.

So I suppose this sort of thing was liable to happen to any number of people, along with the usual errors in identification and coordinates.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 06:02 PM

Ive watched it as well, and have always been a fan of Ken Burns.
and obviously it is not an attempt to cover the entire War - rather Americas part in it and narrated by people from several towns.

on another note; some of the stories that my father relates (growing up in a town in Czechoslovakia). At one point the school and hospital were strafed by an American plane (even though the red cross on the roof was clearly marked). There were no kids in the school as the Czech children were let out of school for the last 3 years of the war. My dad and his friends collected the spent shells and made primitive guns out of them - by stuffing them with nitrocellulose? as a propellant...
Which was good fun until someone got a nasty hit in the forehead..


Later a US plane made a bombing run on the railway station..
(apparently it made one warning pass - so anyone in the area
could get out- and then came by a second time and bombed some railway cars.) Unfortunately the railway cars were full of Hungarian refugees
who were locked in and couldnt get out- so dozens of people were killed - a lot of women and children) My dad says hed never seen so many dead people in his life. I wonder if that pilot ever knew.

they knew the war was nearly over when all the germans were leaving
and among them was a Russian soldier on a motorcycle.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 03:23 PM

Alba, here's a link to my dad's childhood friend's site: Warrior Saga. He figures he'll probably live to be the last WWII vet as he is in incredibly good shape at 93, no medications and no real ailments! Here;s a little bit about him:

The mission of this site is to chronicle the military careers of individuals who have not previously shared their sagas. Initially, the military saga of Floyd Coleman will be presented; others to follow at a later time. Floyd Coleman served in World War II and the Korean War; he was involved in the development and testing of some of the early tanks used in the war. If anyone has questions or can contribute to the mission of this site, please feel free to communicate.

There are a lot of period photos and documents scattered throughout his story, and a lot of details of where he went and what he did.

kat


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Donuel
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 02:31 PM

I was said here that Tenn. folks saw the war as a (sic) product of the hated Yankees/North.

Could that have been Confederate hatred and racism speaking out against a Wall Street that they saw as the cause of the Great Depression? Surely FDR was beloved more every year and he was surely a Yankee.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Alba
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 01:33 PM

Dani asked earlier on in this Thread "What was the very haunting song sung by a very familiar female voice, something about what was given for America?"
The Voice is Norah Jones, Dani.
She is singing the words of Gene Sheer's: American Anthem

"All that we've been given by those who came before,
The dream of a nation where freedom would endure.
The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day.
What shall be our legacy, what will our children say?
Let them say of me, I was one who believed in sharing the blessings I received.
Let me know in my heart when my days are through,
America, America, I gave my best to you.
America, America, I gave my best to you.


I may watch this Film again and again.
It allowed me to understand my Dad's reluctance to speak about his experiences. He is gone now and I can only imagine what those experiences were.
I am not going to nit pick this Documentary. It brought War into my sitting room for 7 episodes.
Leaves me wondering now what had been locked inside my Dad for all those years him and I sat in other sitting rooms together.
You know just sometimes I would look at my Dad and he had a odd expression on his face. I'd ask "are you ok"? He would turn to me, the expression now gone, and say "of course pet"!. I saw a glimpse of that expression on some of the Soldiers faces during this Film.
Best to All
Jude


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: JedMarum
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 10:54 AM

This was an excellent film series. Ken Burns is true master! It was beautifully crafted, with powerful images and narrative - and somehow the fourteen (plus or minus) hours flowed seemlessly.

I am surprised at the comments about repeated imagery. This should not viewed as a negative - this is something an artist does on purpose - repeat the same powerful images, sparingly but purposefully - and you'll note they are often repeated in slightly different contexts. It is also common practice to select well known images to reuse, in conjunction with lesser know images. For the same purpose of "stating" and "restating" your basic message. The series also repeated some of the narrative points - to remind the viewer of key facts behind a story that might be told in little "chapters" over several sections of the film.

The most important major difference in this film and the Civil War film Ken produced was the way the story was told. The Civil War was a historical narrative, that is history told pretty much according to the timeline of events - sometime using personal accounts within the historical narrative, but essentially gathering the facts from the vast collective history and retelling it.

In The War, Ken has the film's entire narrative based upon the first hand experience of individuals who experienced it. The history is the backdrop. The story comes from the girls at home, the boys in uniform, letters from Moms and Dads, the published thoughts of select newspaper columnists. The story had very very little historical narrative - in fact, as I recall it had none, except to tie together the stories of the various individuals telling us their experience.

This is a much more difficult task for a film producer - but produces a much more powerful story - a powerful human story. We all have a pretty good understanding of the basic historical facts from this time, and if we don't there is enough history told within the film to fill in the details we might have missed - but this film answers the most important question for me - "What was the human experience like, for those who lived through it?"

I own the Civil War set and have watched it countless times, over the years. I will buy The War DVD set too - and I will watch all the repeat showings before that ... I believe the series will be one our generations most important.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Greg B
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 10:00 AM

I saw Ken Burns interviewed the night before last on Conan
O'Brien. And last night on Real Time (Bill Maher).

I have to admit that I was very let down when Burns said,
word for word, the exact same things on both shows. Not
variations on the same thing. It was like it was the exact
same interview, from a script.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: robomatic
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 06:52 AM

Just saw the final installment - covering the end of the war. Although I think the Ken Burns series captures many of the high points well, I was slightly disappointed:

MUSICALLY:
Throughout the series they've used what sounds like a slightly fuzzed high note on the electric guitar- or possibly it's electronic. It is meant to be discordant and is a bit too successful at to my hearing. It has been overused and is quite irritating.

FACTUALLY:
In the final installment, there were some palpable inaccuracies re: the Atomic bombing. There was a line about the Germans working feverishly to develop their own bomb. That is not really true. The German science community was not aware of certain critical information which would have revealed that an atomic weapon was possible- the Allies had a program to
A) Deny the Germans access to uranium ore and heavy water. This program was largely successful.
B) Determine what state of development any German Atomic development was at. After the Allies were in Europe, technically proficient Americans were visiting known scientists and their institutions to find out how far the Germans had gotten. Well before the end of the war they knew there was no German Bomb.

There was a comment that the Americans had only two bombs and would not have another for months, but that the Japanese were unaware of this. According to the Rhodes book, there was the makings of a third bomb and it was in military hands. After Nagasaki the US government got the military to give back to civilian control the second plutonium core. A third weapon was at hand.

Makes me wonder what other inaccuracies are in the series.

The emotional side of things, the tension throughout the American land and the services, the grim foreboding of what it would take to take Japan, and the immense relief at the sudden end of the war by use of the Atomic Weapons, that all rings true.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Greg F.
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 10:13 AM

I note you do not, or cannot, come up with a single point to refute what I stated.

Nugatory, Mr. T - like "debating" with a holocaust denier or a proponent of "creation science", it would be totally pointless & only serve to legitimize the nonsense.

Life's way too short to waste time on you.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Teribus
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 04:03 AM

Well judging by what you write Greg F, both (MA & PhD) must have dropped out of a Corn Flake packet. All you can reply with is a personal attack, I note you do not, or cannot, come up with a single point to refute what I stated.

Your point:

"This is a fine old Amereican tradition. For example, all thru the War of 1812 there was a brisk cross-border traffic between Canada & northern New York and Vermont. One estimate was that fully 60% of the beef consumed by British troops in the area came from the U.S.

Making a quick buck trumps "patriotism" most every time."

Was complete and utter hogwash. You make the all too common mistake of applying modern perspective and mores to past events. What you described above was common practice everywhere at that time, it had absolutely nothing to do with chosing profit over patriotism, it had a hell of lot more to do with survival for the ordinary farmer and merchant.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Ebbie
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 08:37 PM

I disagree with you, Bill Hahn. Every day there are new people coming on, people who need this information more than those of us who were alive at the time. Heaven forbid that there will ever be a whole generation who doesn't believe a word of it.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 06:40 PM

Ranger Steve---so true.   There is so much more to this than the U S involvement which this series focuses on. When documetaries are made--no matter how well they are made (and this is) it would be better were the other parties, the causes, and all the other matters included. This way it becomes a one sided kudo to us.

On another note---at what point in time will the PBS stations and teh History channels finish fighting WW2.   While history can teach us lessons I believe we have gotten that already and the world, sadly, has changed and warfare is different today.

Would that there were no wars but re-living our past as an endless loop serves no purpose. Strategy has changed from Revolutionary Times, The Maginot Line, Rommel's tactics, Ike's plan, and even the return to American Revolutionary tactics by the opposition in Nam.

Bill


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Greg F.
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 06:11 PM

Greg F, you are no student of history.

The advisors for my MA and PhD (with honors) might beg to differ with you.

Teribus, you are (as usual)an ass.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: fretless
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:03 PM

On Maryland Public Television, the next new episode airs on Sunday night. But if you really want an intense experience, you can see the previously-aired segments on Saturday, beginning at 4 PM and ending at 1 in the morning. Whew! I haven't done that sort of marathon since I devoted a full day to watching Starwars IV, V and VI back to back while stripping and refinishing a set of antique chairs.

Burns was interviewed on The Daily Show last night. He described a lot of the footage used in The War as not previously seen. But of course he would, wouldn't he?


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Ebbie
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 03:28 PM

Am I mistaken in thinking it is Friday, tonight? I won't be home but I expect there will be another showing of the series.

Has anyone else had the same experience as I've been having? Sometimes I have to turn to another station for a few minutes or just pick up a book or something - the fact that these are LIVE shots is sometimes more than I can bear.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 02:03 PM

The War of 1812 really was an American attempt to grab land: from the English (Canada),the Spanish (Florida) and Native Americans. The British had impressed American sailors, maybe thousands of them, during the Napoleonic Wars but had stopped by the outbreak of The War of 1812. The mercantile cause mentioned earlier was the British attempt to stop U.S. trade with France during their war with France. This was exactly what we (the North) did to Britain during our blockade of the South during our Civil War. There was also resentment of the British supplying Native Americans in western Ohio and Indiana
during the uprising of confederated tribes under Tecumseh and his brother, The Prophet, shortly before the War of 1812. There was also
a sense by some American leaders that we needed to teach the bullying British another lesson since they had forgotten the one from a generation earlier.
    However, none of these factors combined would have been enough to send us into war without the potential for real material gain in newly acquired land. So the War of 1812 was the first of two American wars fought primarily for the sake of taking other peoples land, the Mexican War being a shameful second. Not to mention the numerous "Indian" wars which were part of 400 years of systematic land theft on the part of Europeans and their descendants throughout this hemisphere.
    Okay. No more drift. Does anyone know when the next (fifth) installment of Ken Burns' "The War" is scheduled to be aired.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Greg B
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 01:12 PM

Finally got through the long first episode; I still don't see
very much that is new, that hasn't been done before. Perhaps
the perspectives of the home front and the notation of the
political exigencies, but that was about one percent of what
so far is just a chronological account done in much the same
manner as recent History Channel documentaries have been done.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: artbrooks
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 11:16 AM

Teribus, I believe that is what historians refer to as "the militia myth". In fact, most of the participants on the US side were also militia. Ah well, enough of this particular bit of thread drift.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Teribus
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 09:38 AM

"The root cause was mercantile, with that of impressment of US citizens for service in the British navy as a secondary cause."

Those were reasons aired for public consumption, the excuses given. The US at the time could do absolutely nothing to alter the restrictions placed on their trade or on the right of search and impressment exercised by the Royal Navy of that time. The United States of America simply did not have the naval power to challenge Britain, or alter the status quo.

There was only one thing that the United States of America could gain by going to war with Britain in 1812, a Britain engaged in the largest war Europe had ever experienced, and that was land. That and that alone was America's war aim, it had absolutely nothing to do with trade or impressment, they were the lies d'jour sold to the US Congress of 1812, they bought them and they lost. Canada stood, the US Army of the day being beaten off by a combination of Canadian Militia Regiments and Native Americans. The sacking of Washington and the burning of the White House later in the war were the result of a raid, the British having no desire whatsoever to embroil herself in yet another war, that would gain her nothing. The colonies that became the United States of America had been written off by Great Britain as being not worth the effort to retain in the revolutionary war of 1776. Britain still felt the same 36 years later.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: artbrooks
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 08:41 AM

OK, now I understand your grammar - but it would not have made it past my high school English teacher. But I'm afraid that you need some remedial classes on the causes of that war. The root cause was mercantile, with that of impressment of US citizens for service in the British navy as a secondary cause. The minor and abortive invasions of the remaining British colony in North America were certainly opportunistic, but hardly one of the reasons for the war.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Teribus
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 04:04 AM

"The War of 1812 was part of the Napoleonic War but not of the Napoleonic War. The Americans had a separate agenda that had nothing whatsoever to do with Britain or what was happening in Europe,..."

Pretty self explanitory Art, "The War of 1812 was part of the Napoleonic War" in that it occured at the same time and the United States of America made some pretence of an alliance with Napoleonic France. "...but not of the Napoleonic War" in as much that the United States War of 1812 had nothing whatsoever to do with securing "revolutionary" France's place in Europe, or, Napoleon's enforced Empire on the European mainland.

The War of 1812 was in essence an attempt at an opportunistic land grab nothing more, nothing less.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 08:56 PM

Ed Yerebus...runs a haunted house.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Teribus
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 08:26 PM

Art, as a part time grammarian, just who the fuck is "Terebus" ?


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 08:06 PM

Terebus, I am a student of history, and a part-time grammarian. "The War of 1812 was part of the Napoleonic War but not of the Napoleonic War" makes no historical or grammatical sense whatever.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Teribus
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 08:01 PM

"This is a fine old Amereican tradition. For example, all thru the War of 1812 there was a brisk cross-border traffic between Canada & northern New York and Vermont. One estimate was that fully 60% of the beef consumed by British troops in the area came from the U.S.

Making a quick buck trumps "patriotism" most every time."

Greg F, you are no student of history. Governments waged and fought wars, the civilian population got on with life and with trade. The time that you refer to was the cusp of this sort of activity. The War of 1812 was part of the Napoleonic War but not of the Napoleonic War. The Americans had a separate agenda that had nothing whatsoever to do with Britain or what was happening in Europe, where Napoleon had introduced the concept of the "levee en masse" - total mobilisation of a country for war. To the colonials this concept would be regarded as a bit radical, so they just continued as before, business as usual, nothing unpatriotic about it.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Greg F.
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 05:47 PM

Very interesting observation by fretless, that folks in at least one area of the rural south were less than totally supportive of the war effort and cynically profiteering at the expense of their more patriotic fellow-citizens.

This is a fine old Amereican tradition. For example, all thru the War of 1812 there was a brisk cross-border traffic between Canada & northern New York and Vermont. One estimate was that fully 60% of the beef consumed by British troops in the area came from the U.S.

Making a quick buck trumps "patriotism" most every time.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Teribus
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 01:32 PM

Oh yes, each man was issued with a canteen, each had to be full, as did ours. Like them once kitted up and ready to move out you jumped up and down on the spot to check for noise, you have no idea how noisey a water canteen two-thirds full is. Nowadays the canteen has been dispensed with in favour of a camel-back, much more water and silent.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 01:12 PM

Thanks, Teribus. Another question: Did they carry their own water? Today's ubiquitous bottled water was not common at that time.

I keep picturing the equivalent of the prairie chuck wagon. :)


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Teribus
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 12:50 PM

* Since Omaha Beach was known to be so heavily fortified- mined, barb wired, with bunkers in place - why was it necessary for the Allies to take it at all? The other beach landings went quite smoothly- would it not have been possible to bypass Omaha and come at it from the back or sides?

1. Why was it necessary? - To cut off the Carentan Peninsula and isolate the German U-Boat bases in Cherbourg, Brest, Saint-Nazaire, La Rochelle and Lorient as quickly as possible. Submarines operating from these bases, even if only used as mine layers, could have caused havoc to the Allied supply lines.

2. Why was it necessary for the Allies to take it at all? - Basically because they could. The Allied General Staff did not have the same conflict that the German Staff faced when they were asked to plan "Sealion". The Allies had naval supremacy and air superiority, they could guarantee the success of the invasion as long as they attacked and landed over as broad an area as possible. I believe that they could have "lost" two beaches and the invasion would still have succeeded.

3. The other beach landings went quite smoothly - "Smoothly" is a relative term. To create the Second Front, the allies learned some bitter lessons at Dieppe (Their exercise to see if it would be possible to capture an existing port intact). For the British and Commonwealth Forces this led to the creation of what were known as Hobart's Funnies, a number of unusually modified tanks.

Operated by the 79th Armoured Division or by specialists from the Royal Engineers. They were designed to overcome the problems, such as those experienced at Dieppe, in the planned Invasion of Normandy. These tanks played a major part in clearing the way so that troops could get through and off the Commonwealth beaches (Gold,Juno & Sword) fairly quickly during the landings.

Montgomery considered that the US forces should use them, and offered them a half-share of all the vehicles available, but take-up was minimal. Eisenhower was in favour of the amphibious tanks but left the decision on the others to General Bradley who delegated it to his staff officers. None of the other designs were used, because it was thought that they required specialized training and an additional support organization.

Had the US senior cammand taken Montgomery up on his offer their DD tanks would not have got stuck on the beaches. All the above combined with the fact that they had miscalculated the tidal stream and landed further west than planned, so the pre-planned, pre-invasion bombardment landed in the wrong place, although this was quickly corrected.

4. Would it not have been possible to bypass Omaha and come at it from the back or sides? - That was what was intended, the airbourne assault that went in ahead of the beach landings also went badly wrong and the paratroopers were not able to exert the pressure on the defenders of the western beacheads as effectively as they wanted to, widely dispersed, unconcentrated and unsupported, that they managed to achieve what they did was remarkable.

* When and how did the soldiers and marines eat and sleep? One gets the impression that it was 24-hour daylight for all those weeks they were going through those hedgerows of France.

The answer to the first bit is, as and whenever possible, same as it has always been for soldiers in action. The timing of the invasion was meant to get maximum use of natural daylight, as that favours the attacker, particularly one with the degree of air superiority that the allies enjoyed.

* It struck me how much lighter they 'traveled' than they are doing in today's military. They wore helmets but that seems to be about the extent of it. Today's military are packing something like 100 pounds of gear and weaponry.

D-Day was an opposed landing, as were the operations in the Pacific. Only light packs carried, the rest of your kit (Golf clubs, dinner jackets, etc) would catch up to you later. You had to arrive in fighting trim, today's military do not fight humping 60 to 80 kg packs, they get slipped very quickly.

They very much doubt if there ever will be another opposed landing, the game has changed markedly in character and moved on from the perspectives of both the attacker and defender.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 11:33 AM

A couple of questions here for military buffs:

* Since Omaha Beach was known to be so heavily fortified- mined, barb wired, with bunkers in place - why was it necessary for the Allies to take it at all? The other beach landings went quite smoothly- would it not have been possible to bypass Omaha and come at it from the back or sides?

* When and how did the soldiers and marines eat and sleep? One gets the impression that it was 24-hour daylight for all those weeks they were going through those hedgerows of France.

* It struck me how much lighter they 'traveled' than they are doing in today's military. They wore helmets but that seems to be about the extent of it. Today's military are packing something like 100 pounds of gear and weaponry.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Greg B
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 10:44 AM

One other thing--- I'm finding some of the ordnance
sound tracks a bit trite and done-to-death. Including
some where the effects are obviously made with drums
and many more where the sound is absolutely nothing like
what the real weapon being depicted sounds like.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Greg B
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 10:42 AM

I get the feeling that Burns is setting up the A-Bomb issue
with some of the interviews--- the guy from Guadalcanal who
says from the point where he saw American dead mutilated
with their genitals stuck in their mouths, his unit didn't
take a single further prisoner.

That, and the rather graphic coverage of the Bataan death-march,
following the Japanese general giving assurances of humane
treatment saying "We're not savages."

From what I've seen so far, I doubt that there will be much
coverage of things like conscientious objectors and so on.

In fact, what I've seen so far just strikes me as a slightly
higher quality re-hash of what's already been said starting
with 'Victory at Sea' through 'The World at War' and endless
repeats and re-works on the Hitler---er, History Channel and
the Military Channel. Even the Japanese-American internments
were done in a way that struck me as having already been
done to death--- what more was there to be said?

I do find myself wondering if ALL the photos and footage of
a given event--- for example Midway or Guadalcanal, actually
originated from THAT particular battle or venue. If that's the
case, then Burns' work is a cut above. How many of us have, for
example, seen the same airplane crash or pile of dead bodies
in documentaries about events that were many months and/or
oceans apart?


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: fretless
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 10:13 AM

Interesting thoughts on timing, robomatic. I don't recall making a connection to Desert Strom when The Civil War fist aired. How will The War play out in the context of a possible U.S. military action against Iran, and the forthcoming 2008 elections?

I'm sticking to my guns on the question of less than universal U.S. homefront support for the war effort. Sure, everyone at home wanted the allies to win, but my hearsay experience suggests that for every gung ho enlistee there were folks who hoped that the war would be won for them by someone else. I remember back when I was a teenager a physician telling me that the reason he went to medical school during WWII was because it offered him a draft deferrment. I thought less of him as a person, although he was still a pretty good doctor.

I was impressed with last night's episode, which highlighted D-Day, although I wished it were longer. The topic seemed too big for the two-hour time slot. And I'm really looking forward to seeing how Burns tackles the emotionally charged end-war issues of the liberation of the German concentration camps and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: robomatic
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 06:16 AM

I saw most of the first episode, all the second and third episodes, and had to tape the fourth. What I saw was very good, but much more narrowly focused than "The Civil War", which was one of the best things done on television. It by definition lacks the broad sweep of The Civil War series and of course, while much later in time, doesn't have to capture, as The Civil War does, such a distant period in time.

But as we all know, we are now several generations removed from The War as well and it does not have the impact on the newer generations that it had on us, sons and daughters of vets and rosies.

I enjoy the interplay between home front and field of combat, and the trouble taken to explain many of the racial attitudes and issues of the time, both with Japanese Americans and African Americans.

Does anyone recall that when "The Civil War" aired we were just about to charge into Desert Storm and there were constant forebodings of heavy losses by many military "experts"? I recall thinking how the heavy casualties and horrendous events depicted in The Civil War were possibly stiffening the spine of an apprehensive population.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 02:30 AM

I missed the first episode but have been watching the others. Ken Burns has such a knack for bringing history to ground level, getting inside of it, and getting it inside us. It's an achievement in itself for combat veterans to speak on-camera in such detail about painful memories. So many WWII veterans have been understandably shut-mouthed about their experiences.

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: TRUBRIT
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 12:25 AM

Can't watch --- will probably buy in DVD format and watch very slowly. My dad was on the beaches at Dunkirk, my uncle lost his leg in the war -- said the shock was so great he didn't feel any pain...-- it's hard........ on a lighter note, he used to encourage us kids to kick his leg!!!! if you are British the war is so encompassing .... remember Jean Redpath's 'The ladies go dancing at Whitsun'.....? My mum lived 20 miles or so from London -- she used to tell me stories of watching London burn from the orange in the sky.......can't watch, yet.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 12:09 AM

Greg B, as to the "Fountain of Youth," I get the impression that some of the interviews are archival, like you would find in Special Collections in community libraries or university or museum libraries. And of course there have been other programs about the war with recorded interviews--we'll have to watch the credits closely to see if any of these come from oral history collections and such.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Amos
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 11:54 PM

The program is available for sale in DVDs from the PBS store, BTW. If you are one of those who did not live through the war in your current identity, it is a stunning and vivid reconstruction of the history, told by those who were going through it at home, in the Pacific, in Europe, and in North Africa.

A


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 09:59 PM

NB: there are many folks who can't get PBS or ANY 'free' station without paying for cable or satellite.

Dani


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 08:25 PM

". . . packed with photographs. . . ."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 08:16 PM

I have to agree with what Poppagator said just above.

Living in Seattle, as I did (and do), out here on the West Coast, we were very conscious of the fact that, if the American forces were to lose in the Pacific, and for awhile, that looked like a distinct possibility, the Japanese would probably invade and it wouldn't be long until we'd find ourselves in some pretty deep trouble. A not too gentle reminder of the possibilities was the first time a Japanese submarine surfaced, stood off-shore, shelled the California coast, then submerged and slipped away. Nobody knows what they were firing at (probably just any target of opportunity) and they didn't do much in the way of damage (put a couple of shell craters in Highway 101), but it was a bit of an hors d'oeuvre for a meal that, fortunately, never came. And, of course, the balloon bombs (launched from Japan, drifted east on the jet-stream, and released over the continental United States) which were more of a terror weapon, but they did manage to kill a few people here in the U. S.

The Japanese did bomb Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, and invaded and occupied two of the Aleutians, Attu and Kiska, occupying them for nearly a year before a combination of American forces and the weather drove them off.

Bond drives, scrap metal drives, Victory gardens (almost everybody in my neighborhood turned their back yards into garden patches, raising vegetables and such). Kids in my neighborhood (me, too) fought whatever battle was current in the news on the big vacant lot across the street. We fought with guns that we made ourselves (having turned our metal cap pistols and such into the scrap metal drives), carved out of bits of scrap lumber, many of them pretty realisitic looking. We were sticklers for fine detail. And each of us did a characteristic gun-shot sound-effect by mouth, some of which were pretty imaginative. We were all American troops (the girls, too–no gender discrimination in this war!), and nobody played the enemy. We saw them in our minds' eyes ("Look! Over there in those bushes!" "Watch out! Some of them are trying to encircle us!" "Pow! Pow!" "Rat-tat-tat-tat. . . !").

All we kids studied drawings of aircraft silhouettes, American, Japanese, and German, so that when a plane flew over, we could identify whether it was a commercial airliner, or an American B-17 or B-25 or P-40, or a Japanexe Zero or an Aichi D3A carrier based bomber, or a German Heinkel He 111 or a Messerschmitt ME-109 (not too likely on the West Coast). It was our patriotic duty to know, and notify our local air raid warden should we be the first to spot an enemy aircraft (!). After all, a war is everybody's concern!

Gasoline was rationed. Unless you had some special need (my father was a health care provider who made house calls, so he had no limitation on gasoline, but still, we drove only when absolutely necessary), you were limited to four (4) gallons per week. Black marketeers and those who dealt with them were regarded with the utmost contempt, and generally wound up getting reported, should they be stupid enough to brag about "getting a good deal" on something.

There may have been pockets of dissent about our part in WWII here and there, but it certainly wasn't pandemic, and whenever it appeared, it, too, was generally treated with anger and contempt by most Americans.

We fully realized that if the Allies lost this war, we would soon be living (if, indeed, we were still living at all) in an entirely different kind of world.

There was no television, of course, but we followed the progress of the war through radio and newspaper reports (the reports from overseas of radio reporters like Edward R, Murrow were listened to avidly). The visuals were provided by newsreels shown in movie theaters, and by Life Magazine—large format, packed of photographs, weekly, 10¢ a copy at the news stand.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 05:19 PM

Very interesting observation by fretless, that folks in at least one area of the rural south were less than totally supportive of the war effort and cynically profiteering at the expense of their more patriotic fellow-citizens.

I don't doubt that his parents' experience was true; however, I still believe that such attitudes were not widespread, but pretty much confined to a very few isolated areas, like backwoods Appalachia.

Now, I'm sure that a degree of black-market profiteering went on pretty much everywhere, but grabbing a few extra bucks for oneself does not necessarily preclude a basically supportive stance toward the national effort. Indeed, for some, the opportunity to skim a bit of booty might have been all the more reason to align oneself with the overall war effort. (Hypocricy aside...)

My own family's stories emphasize such homeland support-the-troops efforts as bond drives, victory gardens, saving scrap metals and other items we would today call "recyclables," etc. ~ just as depicted in Burns' work. Of course, this was in the "North" (New Jersey), but there is a lot of evidence that this feeling was truly nationwide. And "The War" shows us plenty of war-effort commerce and activity in Mobile, Alabama, which is certainly part of the South, albeit a large city and, as an international port, relatively cosmopolitan.

I would also observe that the South as a whole has always provided the sites for a disproportionately high percentage of domestic military bases, and also provided more than its share of enthusiastic military volunteers. I don't doubt that folks in most areas in the South, urban and rural, supported the WWII effort at least as enthusiastically, if not moreso, than the North and West.

Also, even though television was not commerically viable until after the war, nationwide popular media were already an importnat cultural force in the 1940s, in the form of radio and Hollywood movies, and a very conscious pro-war propaganda effort was in place throughout the war years. Those contrary hillbillies encountered by fretless' family were likely among a very small minority of Americans who could resist (who had any desire to resist) the siren song of star-studded war-bond drives, carefully vetted movie newsreels, etc.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Wesley S
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 03:29 PM

When did McDonalds give out commandos and evil Arab characters? This wasn't anytime in the last few years.


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: Alba
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 03:09 PM

"It's good to know that the fast food industry is still on our side" Just a thought should that not be on our hips Fretless :)
Best Wishes
Jude


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Subject: RE: Ken Burns: The War
From: fretless
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 03:07 PM

"Yes Mc Donalds gave out toy US commandos in their happy meals as well as evil Arab characters." As if bacon cheese burgers weren't enough of a blow to Islam. It's good to know that the fast food industry is still on our side! ;-)


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