Cambridge University students vote against “Remembrance Sunday”

I was a conscientious objector, but my stand was always that there could be such a thing as “just wars” in which it would not be immoral to fight and kill. One of those just wars was World War II. (I wouldn’t fight in Vietnam because it wasn’t a just war but a useless and meaningless one.

Students at Cambridge University, however, have voted against promoting the “Remembrance Day,” which honors those killed in all British wars, on the grounds that it “glorifies war.”  I haven’t time to dissect this, but read the Torygraph at the screenshot, or MetroUK:

Now there is some merit in campaigning against “glorifying war”, or in recognizing the victims of war beyond just dead British soldiers. But this, I think goes beyond that, and, to my mind, at least devalues the sacrifices of the British in the the last just war: World War II. For without those sacrifices, these students would be offering resolutions in German—if they were allowed to offer resolutions at all.

It is a mean spirited form of virtue signaling. I doubt that the same thing will happen in Australia and New Zealand on ANZAC Day.

110 Comments

  1. BJ
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Honoring the people who enlisted (or were drafted) to fight for your country and died doing it isn’t “glorifying war.” They didn’t choose the war they died in. There’s a reason we have memorials for those who died in wars, regardless of whether or not the war was “just.”

    This is reminiscent of the vandals who defaced the Kipling poem because of Kipling’s views on the Empire. The idea is that anything related to something they don’t like must be erased.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Yeah and I don’t think there are missile parades in Britain are there? I know in Canada it’s solemn and when I was a kid awful because they showed us gruesome WWII footage of death camps (What were they thinking? With that, Old Yellar & the Cold War no wonder I grew up riddled with anxiety).

      • BJ
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        I’m of the opinion that we need to show children those things and give them an understanding of what human beings are capable of and what the world is like. My school took me to the Holocaust Museum when I was eight or nine years old. I’ll never forget what I saw at that museum, but I’m glad they took me.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 15, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          Yes but the holocaust museum is not a missile parade like they have in Russia and N Korea.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 15, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          Oh I see you were talking about the films they showed us. In my opinion it desensitized us as we were too young. Those movies now come with warnings as they were showing pulling bodies out of Auswitz.

          • Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

            On the other hand, Gene Roddenberry said that he would have loved to be able to do much more graphic fiction on TV/movies but not done to create a horror movie but to better depict how war really is. He was concerned about desensitization in the other direction.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    You have to wake up too early in the morning for ANZAC day ceremonies to protest them. 😉

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      There were protests in NZ, back in Vietnam War days. (New Zealand sent a few hundred troops on a voluntary basis. As a Pom, I was rather gratified that Britain did NOT get involved in that appalling stupidity. But then there was the Falklands…)

      There was a kerfuffle for example when the protestors went to place a wreath inscribed “To the dead and dying of all sides in Vietnam”.

      The trouble with ‘honouring our dead’ is that the right-wing tends to co-opt these ceremonies in support of current militarism. Nobody asks the dead which side they support, or whether they still think war is a glorious thing.

      (For the record, I think WW2 was entirely justified and necessary on the Allied side. But the dead are still dead. They don’t care.)

      cr

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        My joke was about the dawn ceremony of ANZAC day.

        • Posted October 15, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          IIRC the Returned Servicemen Association (RSA) NZ, they remember them at 1800hrs every night.

          They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
          Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
          At the going down of the sun and in the morning
          We will remember them.

          I have to say i have never been to a dawn service, for the reasons you joke about and ANTI war sentiments BUT i do have a huge respect for those young guys who went to the WW2 battlefields.
          I also admit to a fascination of military hardware and played ‘war’ a lot with kids in the neighbourhood. heh heh.

      • Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        In 2012 I visited one of the more recent war memorials in London. I was heartened to see there was a memorial to *all* victims of bombings.

  3. DrBrydon
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Shades of the King and Country debate: Moved “that this House [the Oxford Union] will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country” (Feb. 9, 1933).

    • Historian
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Yes, I agree. Once again, as is usually the case, this opposition to glorification of militarism is nothing new, although since most people think history started ten years after they were born, do not understand this. A very similar debate took place in Britain during the years between World War I and World War II. The most famous one, at least for its time, took place at the Oxford Union on February 9, 1933. As Wikipedia puts it: The motion, “that this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country”, was carried by 275 votes to 153.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King_and_Country_debate

      Surprise, surprise! When World War II broke out, attitudes rapidly changed. We must not forget that most college students are immature in their political and other views. The real danger is that some of them never outgrow their immaturity.

      Was World War II the last just war that America fought? Perhaps, but I think a case can be made for the Korean intervention. I am sure most citizens of South Korea would think such. I think a case can be made for the first Gulf War, under the leadership of George H.W. Bush.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        “Was World War II the last just war that America fought?

        It was certainly the last declared war.

        • Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

          And hence, from what I understand, last *legal* one, even on American only terms.

  4. Bernie
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    As a volunteer at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton Ontario, I can say we get a few visitors that suggest the museum glorifies war. But they are a very small minority.

    Mostly it helps people realize what those airmen (often family members) went through, a realization that those of the glorification persuasion seem to be sadly missing.

    • Posted October 15, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Hey! I was just there this summer to see the Lancaster fly. You guys do good work.

    • Posted October 29, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      What dense visitors! If they want to see just peace, they should go to another museum.

  5. Posted October 15, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Korea seems to have been a just war. I can think of others.

    But your main point is right. Next will they object to Holocaust memorials for glorifying genocide?

  6. Neil Wolfe
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    How is acknowledging that many people died premature and often horrifying deaths in wars a glorification? Remembering the true cost of war is a good way to reduce the likelihood of future wars.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, better to just forget all about it and then make all the same mistakes all over again.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Very true. But these things can be turned into jingoistic “dulce et decorum est” exercises, too.

    • BJ
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      I’m guessing that if it was “Palestinian Freedom Fighters Remembrance Day,” it would have been supported.

      It’s not about being opposed to the “glorification of war,” but about who they’re remembering.

  7. David Coxill
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    If you look at the poppy used by poppy sellers ,on the black bit in the middle is the name Haig ,all this annual farce does is remember him.
    If this Great Britain of ours really cared about it’s returning soldiers it would provide proper pensions for them .

    In Martin Middlebrook’s book “The First Day On The Somme “in which he contacted veterans he tells of one out of work ex soldier who had to go before a means test panel ,he says
    “There was a fat woman there cuddling a Pekinese ,she said “we all have to pull our belts in a hole or two these days ” .The ex soldier got angry and told her “That bloody dog has had more to eat today than i have ” anyway he overturned the table and got charged with common assault and got three months in jail.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Poppy sales are a major source of income for the Royal British Legion – that’s where the money goes. It is not an “annual farce” sir!

      • David Coxill
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Yes it is ,there should be no need for charity .
        Even Germany treats it’s ex soldiers better,i once read that even members of the SS get a state pension .

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 15, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

          @Coxill I don’t accept your vague decades-encompassing premise that’s anchored by an anecdote about a 100 year old means test on a Private Kidd who ended up in the Scrubs. That was more than 20 years before we had a welfare state & any form of social insurance. The end of WWI saw millions of ex-forces returning to civilian life & to a land of broken promises. Everyone’s expectations got screwed over in a country limping along in debt & with insufficient jobs to go around. They were promised “Homes Fit For Heroes” & mostly it didn’t happen.

          The British armed forces pension scheme TODAY is one of the best public sector schemes – it is a non-contributory defined benefit scheme with a very reasonable “early departure” payment for those who want their money now – that single fact puts it miles ahead of other workplace schemes. That’s the situation now.

          If you want to talk about ex-services disability we are an example to the world on the physical disability & rehabilitation side of things, but much less so on the diagnosis & treatment of psychological conditions [you’d have to be a peculiar ex-soldier who has seen war NOT have a condition frankly].

          There’s much to be done to reduce homelessness, unemployment & anti-social behaviour [crime, violence, prison numbers] among ex-services personnel. There’s the added problem that ex-soldiers aren’t lauded today – there’s no presumption of respect for service. In these times The Royal British Legion is an essential extra arm that does great work – especially among the elderly ex-forces.

          • David Coxill
            Posted October 15, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            It wasn’t a decades old anecdote ,it was a fact .
            The RBL does do good work ,my niece’s
            boyfriend has PTSD .

            What i don’t like is the pressure to wear a poppy .

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted October 15, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

              Anecdotes ARE usually facts – you didn’t know that? A single one hundred year old anecdote does not have a place in a discussion about the way British society treats ex-forces members. IF you use THAT anecdote then restrict yourself to the era the anecdote speaks of.

              You also, out of nowhere, mention post WWII Waffen SS disability war pensions paid by the German government to this day – the implication being [I’m having to suppose] that WE don’t pay our disabled military veterans a pension, or not as good a pension, or something…

              This of course is a nonsense formulation – it’s not even an argument! It’s as if you’ve read some bits from the Daily Mail & one book & decided to thread your disconnected snippets into whole cloth. You’ve ended up with useless rags made from half digested truths, half truths & outright outdated cobblers. You are not looking good.

              • David Coxill
                Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:09 am | Permalink

                The anecdote about the ex soldier is as relevant today as is was then .You are right about the bit about the SS ,can’t see a problem about bringing that into the argument .
                Don’t take to kindly to your suggestion that i read the daily hate ,and i have read many books about 20th Century History .

                Don’t care about looking good in your or anyone else’s eyes.

                Maybe i am not very good at arguing .

                So i will just say i hate he pressure to wear a poppy at this time of year .And as i posted earlier the average Brit knows sod all about WW1 ,yet there are expected to stand in silence for two minutes once a year ,why ?

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

                Enough with the anecdotes – I can present other anecdotes that represent the military experience in a different way. What we want is data – I’ve told you that British military pensions today are top notch & desirable while you claim that 100 year old anecdote is as relevant to today’s military. Well that is complete bollocks – just another in a long line of Coxill assertions backed up with NO EVIDENCE.

                You have still failed to make your point about the Waffen SS pensions – in what way was that superior to our pensions in the same era? [1945 to present]

                That’s the problem with your argumentation – it’s emotive fluff with NO FACTS. I challenge you to make a case for or against something, but lead off by laying out your assertion & then back it up.

                Hard isn’t it?

              • David Coxill
                Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

                It is relevant today because the fat woman is today cutting benefits to sick and disabled people ,if today’s ex soldiers are so well cared for ,why are there so many living on the streets .
                Why don’t you say anything about my point about being under pressure to wear a poppy and observe the two minute silence ?
                Congrats on getting my surname right .
                To be honest i can’t remember what point i was making re the former SS people ,maybe i should have made the point that in the years after the first world war ,the Weimar republic treated the German ex soldiers better than the post war British govt treated the British ex soldiers .

                As for the last bit ,ok.
                My point is that the whole wearing of poppies is meaningless ,it is only peer pressure that keeps it going ,same for the two minute silence ,same with the farce of old service men and woman marching past the queen and all the leaders of the major parties .

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

                You don’t remember the point you were making? That indicates, as I’ve already written, that your point is not discernable in your comments. You now say that your main intent was to point out the “peer pressure” & virtue signalling that goes on with respect to displays of remembrance – so lets throw out your fluff about Waffen SS etc & stick to the point!

                This is your comment then:

                “…wearing of poppies is meaningless, it is only peer pressure that keeps it going, same for the two minute silence, same with the farce of old service men and woman marching past the queen and all the leaders of the major parties”

                As the RBL site states:

                “The National Service of Remembrance, held at The Cenotaph in Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday, ensures that no-one is forgotten as the nation unites to honour all who have suffered or died in war. HM The Queen will pay tribute alongside Members of the Cabinet, Opposition Party leaders, former Prime Ministers, the Mayor of London and other ministers. Representatives of the Armed Forces, Fishing Fleets and Merchant Air and Navy will be there, as well as faith communities and High Commissioners of Commonwealth countries”

                The parade element is restricted to 10,000 ex-services personnel [no associated family members] to give the greatest possible chance for veterans to march. The numbers are restricted to keep the standing time to a bearable length for the walking infirm. Applications are available in April & fill up practically instantly. In the rules there is a further period of application 3 months before the day in case it should happen that a particular group bows out of going or can’t allocate all the tickets they were issued. This particular rule has never been invoked in 100 years! It is your assertion that the…
                [1] poppy appeal
                [2] two minute pause [or silence] &
                [3] the FARCE of the Cenotaph march past
                are ongoing today because of peer pressure. I think you underestimate how important those three elements [above] are to a subset of British & Commonwealth people civilian, military & ex-military. I am ex-military which is why I’m putting my case to you. I will admit that your opinion that the march past is a “peer pressure” farce disappoints me – these ceremonials fulfil a need which you personally can easily tiptoe around & ignore.

                As to “peer pressure” – In my 62.9 years [birthday on the 28th] I’ve never, ever seen a poppy wearer scold anyone for doing without the same – some years I don’t bother wearing even though I always buy a few, because they are a nuisance to attach, but nobody says anything to me [probably too frightened to actually 🙂 ].

                There has been a slight kerfuffle at a couple of remembrances I’ve attended with bystanders incorrectly saluting the Last Post – there should be no salute of course in British military rules. A big No No.

                I’ve only attended the local variety of local remembrance ceremonies each November on the 2nd Sunday & there’s always been around 60 attendees – around 4% of the catchment area. I estimate that the true figure for attendance in my area at some event that day & time [when we include those who travel to bigger events & count only those adults who can get out of the house] is 10% to 12%. Does that picture I’ve drawn look like peer pressure to you? Also when that bugle blows “Last Post” the ice travels up the spine. IT IS NOT “MEANINGLESS” to wear a poppy.

                The medja virtue poppy wearing, the politician virtue signalling of poppies… water off a duck’s back. I don’t let those freaks effect what the poppy means to me.

            • Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

              I do agree that there is an objectionable pressure on people to wear a poppy from some quarters. If such and such a tv personality fails to wear one it provokes mealy-mouthed outrage in some sections of the press (no prizes for guessing which!). If people wear it just because they feel compelled to then that undermines the value of the poppy as a sincere symbol of remembrance. That, however, is not a fault of the poppy scheme itself or of the RBL but of the frothy-mouthed editors of tabloid newspapers with their false outrage.

          • David Coxill
            Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

            Lets chuck out the fluff of the SS ,ok ,why didn’t you comment on my point about post war Germany treating its ex service men better than GB ?
            By peer pressure i meant if a poliico was interviewed on tv without a poppy ,there would be such a stink .

            We each have our own way of remembering the dead of Britain’s many wars ,just don’t think having one cold day in November is my way of doing it .

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

              You “way of doing it” is irrelevant to me – you don’t have to “do it” at all & you can let others show respect in their own ways too without insulting them with your descriptions of their ceremonial badges/rites as “meaningless” & a “farce”. You are foot in mouth Coxill to me now.

              • David Coxill
                Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:45 am | Permalink

                Foot in mouth Coxill ,that’s a new insult ,i think i can live with it .

                You say i was insulting people for marching very 11 Nov ,good i don’t care ,i bet there were plenty of ex WW1 and 2 service people who found it all meaning and a farce .

                I suppose you want names and addresses ?

                Going to the chiropodist later today ,see what he can do about removing my foot from my mouth.

                PS ,i think a lot of people who do take part in these meaningless farces do it because they enjoy doing it .

    • Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      on the black bit in the middle is the name Haig
      Actually, it says “Poppy Appeal”.

      If the rest of your post is as well researched as your first assertion, I think I’ll just ignore it. In any case, although you are right that the government should provide properly for its veteran soldiers, the Poppy Appeal provides a vehicle for the British population to register its appreciation of them too.

      • Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Screwed up the quotes. The first line is Mr Coxhill’s. The second paragraph is mine.

        • David Coxill
          Posted October 15, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          Sigh ,no H in my surname . the Poppy Appeal provides a vehicle for the British population to register its appreciation of them too.

          No it doesn’t ,it is just another thing to do before we get round to the annual xmas bean feast.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        And the only reason it used to say “Haig” was that the Poppy Appeal used to be known by its original name of the Haig Fund – because he was partly responsible for setting it up in the first place.

      • David Coxill
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        If the rest of your post is as well researched as your first assertion, I think I’ll just ignore it.

        Go ahead .

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Recalls the “Bonus Army” riot involving impoverished WW1 vets living in a tent-city “Hooverville” in Washington, DC.

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I happen to know of a cemetery near Cambridge that is a very pretty and well kept place. When I was there many years ago while in the service I walked around the place and was very impressed. It was an American cemetery to honor Americans who died in WWII. If you are an American visiting England it is worth a look and if you are in the American military service and stationed in England you should certainly take a look as I did.

    • Cate Plys
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for mentioning that, Randall.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Kind of ironic. If you look this place up on the internet, it was created in the early 50s by the University of Cambridge donating the land, some 30 acres for the cemetery.

    • David Coxill
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial ,is the place you mean .

  9. Michael Fisher
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Coxhill:

    “If you look at the poppy used by poppy sellers ,on the black bit in the middle is the name Haig ,all this annual farce does is remember him”

    No. The poppy has never displayed the word “Haig” – it used to have “Haig Fund”, but that stopped 25 years ago!

    Since then the ENGLISH poppy has the words “Poppy Appeal” on the black plastic boss. The SCOTTISH poppy also says “Poppy Appeal” today even though Poppyscotland is a member of The Royal British Legion group of charities, and is a trading name of The Earl Haig Fund Scotland. I have no idea of the wording on the Irish, Welsh, NZ, Australian, Canadian poppies – nor the first poppy – the American one.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Canadian plastic poppies are less posh than your poppies and the centre is green. I don’t think it has anything written on it. I always feel sad because every time I get a poppy, I lose it.

      Once there was a big uproar because some people put little Canadian flag pins in the centre to hold the poppy on better.

      • Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        I have not seen the green thing in years. As for losing them … those silly pins. They used to have a little plastic ring as a stopper but they are long gone too. Some sort of latch pin is desperately needed!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

          Yeah the stopper is needed for sure. It usually pokes me to death in the fingers somehow which I take as a way to remind me that war is way worse than a pin prick. 🙂 Perhaps they changed from green. I always remember them as green.

          One solution I’m going to try this year is putting some earring stoppers on the back. They make plastic tubular ones so that might help. Probably will still stick me though.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

            The Royal Canadian Legion Poppy does a “Tie Tack” version – no pointy pin! Easily adapted for none-tie use I expect. Only 10 CAD

            • Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

              Oh cool, thanks. That would be so much better.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        It was a WWI Canadian physician who wrote the poem that inspired the poppy tradition – after witnessing the death of a friend. Though rather mediocre poetry it naturally touched the hearts of a lot of people at the time. I don’t much like the 3rd verse, but I’m thinking on it.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          Yes. Every Canadian kid learns that poem and it is read at a lot of Remembrance Day ceremonies.

          • Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

            John McCrae, from Guelph.

    • Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      I have never in over five decades noticed such a thing on the Canadian poppy. I cannot say though that it ever occurred to me to disassemble it in search of something I can feel smugly outraged by, so I cannot swear to it.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        It doesn’t require disassembly – the wording I describe is on display – on the front of the black boss at the centre of the Brit poppy, where [young] passing eyes can all read it.

    • David Coxill
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Fissher ,no H in my surname ,didn’t know that ,as i said haven’t bought one .
      If you ask the average Brit ,they know sod all about “The Great War For Civilisation “,yet every year public pressure forces them to wear a poppy .

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 2:23 am | Permalink

        That’s an airy assertion about what “the average Brit” knows. Do you have any data to back it up? I imagine that, other than specialist historians, most of us have less than perfect knowledge about most historical events but my feeling (and I certainly have no data to support this) is that many Brits would have some concept of the horrors of the trenches, the scale of the slaughter, ‘Lions lead by donkeys’ and so on. The war poets Owen, Sassoon et al have been on the curriculum for English lit for countless school children for years and I certainly learned about WW1 and it’s aftermath in Europe when I was at school many years ago (and what I was taught was by no means a jingoistic ‘victors history’).

        • David Coxill
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:16 am | Permalink

          You were lucky at your school .Maybe they have a vague idea about world war one ,maybe they have heard about the Somme .

          • John Ottaway
            Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

            For the last four years, there have been hundreds of programmes and events marking the centenary of WWI. Look at the amount of visitors that went to see “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” at the Tower of London

            If you have chosen top ignore them, that’s fine and is your choice to do so, but don’t lump “the average Brit” in with you with regard to ignorance of it

            The RBL do a lot more than help service personnel. They help the families or serving and more importantly EX service personnel. My neighbour is a victim of domestic abuse, the RBL are furnishing her home with white goods.

            Remembrance Day is not just about WWI, it is “a day for the nation to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom” (From the RBL website). And not just military personnel and in fact not just humans, there is a section at the Royal Arboretum for animals

            I served in the army, as did my father and grandfather, and I respect your right to object to Remembrance Day, but I would ask that you at least remember that it is the sacrifices of others, that allow you to hold that opinion and say it out loud

            Finally, please try to have a better understanding of what it is you are actually objecting to

            • David Coxill
              Posted October 16, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

              Last year was the 100th anniversary of the battle of Cambrai ,i can’t remember seeing any mention of it on the tv or in the two papers i read online .

              Soldiers on the whole don’t sacrifice their lives ,they are taken away from them .

              And as for our freedom ,don’t think many soldiers thought they were fighting for that .
              Finally ,getting a bit sick of people suggesting things i should do .

              Having said all that i do have respect for all people involved in warfare .

              • John Ottaway
                Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:51 am | Permalink

                They may not have covered Cambrai, but there was a lot last year about the Battle of Passchendaele, they can’t be expected to cover every battle

                “Soldiers on the whole don’t sacrifice their lives ,they are taken away from them” – I was one, I think I understand what they do far more than you. If someone volunteers to join up and go to war, they are aware of the risks

                In 1914 the British army that deployed to the western front was completely made up of volunteers and they certainly did think they went there to protect freedoms, (listen to the audio interviews of the time). It was only as the war dragged on and they realised that they wouldn’t “be home by Christmas” that the need for conscription arose, that was January 1916. And I can’t see how anyone can deny that WWII was about freedom

                You may well be “a bit sick of people suggesting things i should do”, but learning about something before commenting on it is good advice for life in general

            • David Coxill
              Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

              Another one suggesting things i should do .
              Most of the poor sods who joined the colours in 1914 ,did it to get away from their drab civilian life ,a lot of the men who applied to join the forces were found to be unfit due to lack of food ,yes i know about the mack up of the British army and the TA .

              WW2 started right at the end of a low dishonest decade ,none of the countries of Europe had anything to be proud of ,except maybe the Czechs ,Britain entered the war to save face ,they could do nothing to stop the Germans and Russians dividing Poland between them .

              One of the ironies of ww2 is that Soviet Russia was on the allied side ,Churchill didn’t care about all the people Stalin had murdered ,and continued to during the course of the war ,and he basically handed Eastern Europe over to Stalin at the Tehran conference ,with his list of you can have this percentage of influence in this country ,and we will have so much in this country .
              And he abandoned the poles when they started making trouble following the discovery of the Katyn massacre in 1943 .

              Maybe soldiers are aware of the risks ,but i still stand by my remark that they don’t sacrifice their lives ,they are taken away from them .

              Can’t be expected to cover every battle ,well the BBC series the great war ,did a great job back in the 1970s .

              PS ,it is about time “THE DOC “,told us this has gone on long enough .

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I thought to qualify for CO status under the applicable US statute and Department of Defense regulation, one had to be opposed to war in any form rather than to object to participation in a specific war.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Which of course is nonsense. It presumes there are certain principles which are invariate regardless of circumstances (which I maintain is a head-in-sand approach to reality).

      Some circumstances are such that any rational person with a conscience would fight. Other wars are patently unjust and nobody with any sense or a conscience would voluntarily fight in them.

      I can’t think of any other legal situation which is blind to circumstances.

      cr

    • Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I wasn’t around, but the historical record seems to show that distinction being one of the many social debates that occurred during what the Vietnamese call the American War.

  11. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I just happen to be reviewing a great book about WWI, The Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman. If you read any books on WWI, let this be one of them. Belgium was considered a neutral country and other countries – France, Germany and England had signed up to this fact. The Germans had no respect for this treaty and planned to attack France by going right through Belgium. They even thought it would be helpful if they gave Brussels an Ultimatum of their intentions, basically saying, stand by and let us pass and we won’t kill every last one of you. Belgium had 12 hours to respond, so what do you think they said. They said NO.

    What would you say…

    • Posted October 15, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      If I had known what was coming over the next four years, I might have said yes.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Yes, and hindsight is what fools and cowards live on throughout history. Banking on the word of Germany was never much of an idea.

        • David Coxill
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          There is a cartoon by David Lowe ,printed ! just after the Munich agreement ,in it there is a wall with a banner across a broken section ,the banner reads “I will be good ,signed adolf hitler ,while the guilty men of Munich are playing with some sheep .

          I know it has nothing to do with WW1 ,but it is still valid regarding your comment about them Germans ,well some of them .

    • David Coxill
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      The fight the Belgium army put up against the Germans derailed the carefully thought out plans of the Germans ,which meant they failed to advance to the west and sweep up and in circle Paris ,they were forced to fight on the Marne .

      But ten to one i have got it wrong ,and someone will come and tell me i am wrong .

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    For without those sacrifices, these students would be offering resolutions in German …

    Sounds a bit like what the reactionaries used to say about the French, especially after France declined to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. I used to like to point out to them that, if Lafayette hadn’t’ve had Gen. George Washington’s back at the Battle of Yorktown, they’d all be speaking English today — and not good old American English either, but that fruity “loo, lift, petrol” Pommie stuff, like a common Hugh Grant. 🙂

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Oh yeah?! Well if Octavian has lost the Battle of Actium all power would have shifted to the east. No Western dominance at all. I think this would be an interesting alternate history book. It would be funny if the twist was it ended up the same.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, if Octavian had taken the pipe at Actium, these punk kids at Cambridge would be offering their resolutions in Ptolemaic Greek. 🙂

        • David Coxill
          Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          And if you Grandmother had had Testes ,she would be your Grandfather .

      • Posted October 15, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        And if Ögedei Khan hadn’t kicked the bucket in 1241, allegedly because of a drinking bout, all of that petty European stuff between Octavian and Mark Anthony would have been a footnote because we’d all have been part of the Greater Mongolian Empire.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 15, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          Or if Harry hadn’t taken an arrow in the eye in 1066 we’d have less French in our English.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted October 15, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            But the geezer with an arrow in his eye – is that Harry? Good old Wiki has this to say:

            A figure in the panel of the Bayeux Tapestry with the inscription “Harold Rex Interfectus Est” (“Harold the King is killed”) is depicted gripping an arrow that has struck his eye, but some historians have questioned whether this man is intended to be Harold or if Harold is intended as the next figure lying to the right almost supine, being mutilated beneath a horse’s hooves. Etchings made of the Tapestry in the 1730s show the standing figure with differing objects. Benoît’s 1729 sketch shows only a dotted line indicating stitch marks without any indication of fletching, whereas all other arrows in the Tapestry are fletched

            He also had a McDonald’s franchise in Battle – partnered with some American chap name of Mr. E. A. Presley.

          • David Coxill
            Posted October 15, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            According to that berk bloke ,them Normans won because they had stirrup’s .

            By berk bloke ,i mean Michael Berk .

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted October 15, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

              Michael Berk? Do you mean the journalist & newsreader Michael Buerk? Anyway, neither Berk nor Buerk made such a claim.

              You are thinking of the technology journalist & TV presenter James Burke in his 10-part TV documentary series “Connections” [1978]. In part 3 called “Distant Voices”, Burke suggests that telecommunications exist because Normans had stirrups for horse riding which in turn led them to further advancements in warfare. SOURCE

              He made two further series of “Connections” & possibly he repeated that claim again later in one of those.

              Dan Snow covered similar ground in his recent 3-part series on the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons & Normans of that era, but I’ve not seen it.

              • David Coxill
                Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:21 am | Permalink

                Sorry ,i mean James Burke .So did the Normans win at Hastings because they had stirrups or not?

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

                I dunno – why are you asking me? You presumably watched the James Burke program & can drop some knowledge on me regarding stirrups. Did James Burke say that stirrups won the battle?

                I know that both sides had stirrups [Normans & Anglo-Saxons] by the time of the Battle of Hastings [BoH].
                There are claims that the Normans understood the use of stirrup in war whereas the Anglo-Saxons did not – I would like to see evidence for that certainly! The implications of stirrups are blindingly obvious to anyone moving around on the back of a horse [saddle or without a saddle both].
                I know stirrups are older than Christ
                I know stirrups hit Europe 20 generations of horse soldiers before the BoH
                I know the popular history books blithely rip off factoids from earlier books without checking the primary sources [& many books don’t even reference a source]

                I would lean towards other factors deciding the battle such as all that travel & fighting by Harold’s men the week before & the behaviour of Harold’s men towards the end of the day.

    • Posted October 15, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      It should be said that the modern conception of the French in Anglophone countries: “cheese eating surrender monkeys” is totally unfair when applied to the First World War. The French army bore the brunt of the German assault for more than half the war. In the Battle of the Frontiers – the first major engagement – the French lost 72,000 men in under a week. The entire British army in France at that time was only 90,000.

      In the Battle of Verdun, they lost nearly 400,000 men killed or injured and another 200,000 in the Battle of the Somme, which was happening at the same time.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Yes. The Blueprint for Armageddon podcast series by Dan Carlin is a real eye-opener regarding the carnage of WW1 in France.

        • Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          And essential to understand the reaction for the reparations. (Not forgive, not excuse, merely understand.)

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        And the only reason it used to say “Haig” was that the Poppy Appeal used to be known by its original name of the Haig Fund – because he was partly responsible for setting it up in the first place.

        • Steve Pollard
          Posted October 15, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          Whoops, don’t know why that happened. It was supposed to be a response to David Coxill at post 7!

          • David Coxill
            Posted October 15, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for getting my surname right anyway .

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted October 15, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. And the Germans started the Battle of Verdun with the deliberate aim of “bleeding the French Army white”. It nearly worked..,except it didn’t. First, the French themselves resisted heroically, and kept Verdun supplied and reinforced using the “Voie Sacree”. Second, the British kicked off the Battle of the Somme several months earlier than they wanted, to help take the pressure off Verdun. Third, appalling though the Allied casualties were at Verdun and the Somme, by the end of the battles the German casualties were almost certainly higher.

        And for those who think Haig was a callous butcher, a case can be made that he was a better and more effective commander than many in the War, on all sides.

        • David Coxill
          Posted October 15, 2018 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          If Haig was an a effective commander ,why did he launch the Third battle of Ypres the following year ,and keep it going through the bad weather ?

          He learnt nothing from the battle of the Somme .

    • Posted October 15, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      It should be said that the modern conception of the French in Anglophone countries: “cheese eating surrender monkeys” is totally unfair when applied to the First World War. The French army bore the brunt of the German assault for more than half the war. In the Battle of the Frontiers – the first major engagement – the French lost 72,000 men in under a week. The entire British army in France at that time was only 90,000.

      In the Battle of Verdun, they lost nearly 400,000 men killed or injured and another 200,000 in the Battle of the Somme, which was happening at the same time.

    • David Coxill
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Oh Yeah?! and if the British had not took the island of Manhatten away from the Dutch, Americans would be speaking Dutch .

      “New Amsterdam ,New Amsterdam ” doesn’t sound right now does it ?

  13. bonetired
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that few, if any, veterans of wars think that Remembrance services and poppies glorify war in any way at all. My grandfather certainly never did and he arrived in France in Sept 1914, serving as an artillery officer on the Western Front until Feb 1917 when he became an officer instructor in the UK. Once, he picked up the pieces of his best friend after a shell exploded nearby.

    So if his remembering his friend, and all the other men who were killed, was “glorifying” war then the people who think it is should have listened to him during his final illness in the 1970s when his mind returned back over 50 years and was on the Western Front, screaming about “wizz-bangs” and “gas”. PTSD after all that time.

    Sherman got it right: “I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.” My grandfather would have agreed 100%,

  14. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I cannot think of any sense in which Remembrance Day glorifies war.
    Are we to cancel further performances of Benjamin Britten’s magnificent War Requiem??

  15. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    The similar Oxford Union debate in 1933, which passed the resolution “that this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country”, reflected a mood of gestural pacifism that was also evident in a wing of the Labour Party. Labour’s leader from 1932 to 1935 was George Lansbury, who opposed rearmament in the face of the Fascist threat, and proposed instead unilateral disarmament, the disbanding of the RAF, and the holding of incessant peace conferences. [See his entry in Wiki. Labour is now passing through a phase strangely reminiscent of its 1932-35.]

    Labour came to its senses in 1935, and Lansbury resigned as Party leader. Afterward, he remained in Parliament, welcomed the 1938 Munich Agreement enthusiastically, and devoted himself to personal meetings he held with Mussolini and Hitler, in the hope of converting them to Christian Pacifism. These efforts of Lansbury’s did not exactly achieve success, but they did provide him with material for the book “My Quest for Peace”.

  16. Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    We should not forget that this November Remembrance is the 100th anniversary of the WW1 armistice.

    My grandfather served in both WW1 and WW2 and lost his life in WW2 when his armed cruiser HMS Forfar was torpedoed by a German submarine off Ireland on its way to protect a convoy from Canada.

    My father served in WW2 on arctic convoy protection duties and other conflicts after WW2 in the RN.
    I served in the RAF from 1961 through various overseas troubles and the cold war.

    We were all volunteers, none of us conscripted and I am not ashamed of my families military heritage which is lengthy.

    I shall attend the remembrance parade here in Bedford Nova Scotia Canada and I will remember my family and friends who I lost defending their country and my chosen country Canada.
    These students are lucky to have their youth untouched by conflict and I played my part in this good fortune and I am ashamed for them. Here in Canada I am recognised as a veteran and proud of it.

    Lest we should forget.

    • BJ
      Posted October 15, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      You should be very proud of you and your family’s service, as should your whole nation. You helped secure a better world for all of us.

  17. dallos
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    “Harry Leslie Smith, a 92-year-old World War Two RAF veteran, has not worn a poppy since 2013 because he believes “the spirit of my generation has been hijacked” by latter-day politicians to “sell dubious wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34720464

  18. Posted October 15, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I once saw an interview with a pilot in the British Air Force who had participated int he fire-bombing of Germany. Horrified by the whole thing, he reflected that there is no such thing as a just war, but there can be such a thing as a war for just causes.

  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 15, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    This was of course reported in the Torygraph, and the motion that failed was put forward by the Conservative Association.

    The students did not vote *against* Remembrance Sunday, they voted against *promoting* it. There is a difference.

    I would vote against promoting somebody else’s agenda (usually).

    cr

  20. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    The real reason Remembrance day needs to be remembered is because, as has been mentioned, the casualty figures of the first world war are absolutely insane.
    Figures like 27,000 dead in ONE day.

    Over and over.

    And then the horror of the hellscape that became MORDOR.

    Lest we forget.

    And we are.

  21. Bruce Swanney
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    During the Vietnam War, in New Zealand (and Australia I think) there were ANZAC day demonstrations.

  22. Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I am very disappointed in the students of my ancestral grandfather Moody’s alma mater.

  23. Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Even if you disagree with the outcome, the freedom of choice that was nominally fought for must include the freedom to make the wrong one.

  24. Posted November 26, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Glorifies war? It’s possible but nevertheless why protest against it now and not a century ago?


%d bloggers like this: