This is a blog I have been half writing for years, never quite knowing how to put it down. When you love something as much I love the Home Front, it is very hard to see its faults but as I grow older and see more of the world whilst understanding more of our past, I realise that whilst I adore the Home Front and all the inginutiy of the time, I utterly detest the war that surrounded it.
I know that might sound silly, how can you love something and then hate the thing that created it. Without those battles at home and abroad, without the hardships of the time, there couldn’t be the inventiveness that I love so much but to my core the second world war and all the ones before it and all the ones after aren’t something I can ever celebrate and I don’t want this blog to ever be seen in that light.
For many years I had a naive view of history, cherry picking the bits I liked and skimming over anything difficult but as I have seen life in the reality of an adult, my views have changed. Falling in love made me realise how hard it be to lose them, watching grief made me realise how destructive it is, travelling the world and seeing the Cambodian killing fields and visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened my eyes to the horrors of war and reading book after book from both sides and seeing how our enemy the Jerry’s or the Japs or the Wops or all the other derogatory names we used, weren’t anyway different us and then, slowly but surely, it clicked.
War isn’t the sepia glow of pulling together and making jam, war is brutal and war is pointless.
It destroys people, raises whole cities to the ground, ruins culture, and breeds the hate amongst people that it’s supposedly trying to stop. It can cause grief is so wide spread in communities that it can’t be processed and accepted so it stays with them a long after the battles have finished. There are generations of men and women were unable to leave the ghosts behind.
But when we think of the Second World War we don’t think of that. It should be too brutal to idolise and romanise but we do, all these years later, we still do. With all the talk of Brexit and “making it on our own”, a feeling of a blizt spirit is being aroused in people who never saw battle, never lost a friend or loved one and these nostalgists forget one big thing, we weren’t champions at the end. We might have been proud to survive and knew the battle was worth the pain but we were also tired, greiving and broken. You might win on paper, but you still have a country to rebuild, adjust to the new social change, deal with the hundreds scarred by grief or the horrors they have seen and fix countries that have been ruin by your victories.
Though, it’s not lost of me how much good did come out of it all. The second world war gave birth to our incredible health service whilst medicine came on leaps and bounds as it struggled to keep up with the need for blood, plastic surgury and limb replacement to name but a few. But really, I don’t think all of the good it creates can ever outweigh the bad that it makes.
It can be a dangerous thing, this nostalgic pride we have over our victories, as we forget the horrors that made it happen, the Dresden’s and the Mers-el-Kébir. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want us to be ashamed of what we did in the times of war or belittle the sacrifices made by so many, I just want the horror to be remembered as well as the triumphs.
That might sound a little macabre, like I’m revelling in the sadness but it’s not about putting a downer on a memory, it’s remembering history in it’s full technicolour and in doing so learning the lesson that are needed so it doesn’t happen again.
So my aim with this blog is to rekindle the Home Front, not the battles, bring back the humour without the horror and remember all the lessons learnt.
I do love the era and I don’t think that will ever wain, I just can’t be nostaligcally proud of our victory or revel in the details. War is crap, end of story.
I am a pink haired, list lover with a silver lining outlook on life and a passion for reviving history.