Skip to comments."The War" (by Ken Burns) Part 4 of 7; Airing on PBS @ 7PM Central 9-26-07
Posted on 09/26/2007 2:30:49 PM PDT by VOA
This is a "heads-up" for the airing of "The War", the Ken Burns
(Florentine Films) production on PBS.
Links to discussion threads on Parts 1, 2 and 3, as well as other useful links.
URL for thread on Part 1
URL for thread on Part 2 (Monday 9-24-07)
URL for thread on Part 3 (Tuesday 9-25-07)
URLs for PBS websites:
URL to check listing for local PBS stations:
PBS website for Ken Burns’ “The War”
Summary of Part 4 at PBS website:
Great series so far. Mrs. Singer is superb (accent and all). There is no question that there was racism and racial disparity during the war and afterward. If Burns is going to dwell on that he should put it into perspective of how it affected the war effort. We already know such bad behavior existed. The number one aspect of WWII was the heroism of an entire generation, not their treatment of another race. Those that died did so for every man woman and child in the country. Whether they knew it or not.
bump for publicity
I liked some of the personal touches, albeit they were cliched and really heavy handed.
I didn't like the way segregation and racism were presented. Sure, they existed. However, Burns made it sound like blacks showed up to fight, and were deliberately kept out of it by the white brass. There was only one throwaway comment given by Patton in favor of them fighting.
I think that there are plenty of black units that would disagree. And I also think that the men of the RedBall Express (not even mentioned) would *really* disagree. The RedBall Express transported the supplies that kept the Allies fighting until Monty got off his butt, took Antwerp and cleared the Schwelde Estuary. Ever seen a truck convoy shot up by airpower? These guys faced that danger every day.
I doubt that I'll be watching any more of the show. Will flip on Band of Brothers instead.
Thanks for checking in.
Tonight is supposed to be D-Day (and more Pacific Theater island-hopping).
Burns has done a decent job with a ponderous constellation of subject.
(But, my inexpert feeling is he could have spent about one-half the
time he has on “those were the bad old days of America”.)
bump for publicity
I'm sure that if the rest of the series paints the US in as bad a light as the bit I saw, it will be required viewing in all public schools.
My grandfather helped to liberate Dachau (I think, he only told the story to me once, and I really, really wish I had been old enough to know to pay better attention....). At any rate, his comment to me was that after seeing the camp, he had no doubts as to who the good guys were, or why he was in Europe.
I'm not sayin' that there weren't any problems with that generation, I'm just sayin' that the generation wasn't all about the problems.
I will watch as well, but I have been sorely disappointed so far. Even though I had been conditioned to expect something of a victim fest, I was surprised that it is clearly the central theme. I suppose that he will find some way to downplay and demean VE and VJ Days, winning does not seem to be fashionable these days.
I didn't quite "get it" at the time. But I've forgotten it.
My brother said that one day towards the end of a spring semester, an
older prof told the class to put down their pencils...and spent the next hour
telling them about his “free Grand Tour of Europe” from Normandy to Germany.
My brother, in his late 20s was probably the oldest student.
He said the younguns looked like they had been hit with a stick after the
hour was over.
If anything, I'm going to make sure my boys don't make the same mistake with my Dad. We'll see.
I've learned about most of Grandpa's war experiences after his death, either through conversations with his men (Grandmother used to get calls asking for "The Captain" all the time) or through his papers + correspondence with the War Dept.
last bump for publicity by VOA...
gotta go away until 9PM Central!
The paratrooper who has the number 23 on his chest is my FRiends Uncle John McGuire. He made it through Normandy as well as Arhnime (Bridge Too Far), and The Bulge.
He came home and lived in Nutley, NJ until his recent death.
Yes, Cyrus Nowrasteh would have done a superb documentary, including the reasoning behind Japanese internment in the West, and how the discouraging WWII experiences among Blacks started the much-needed change towards desegregation.
My opinion of Ken Burn’s latest: more liberal revisionist spin. Using todays multiculturalism as a yardstick for the second world war era.
I liked the first two episodes but found last night’s very disappointing. Way too much emphasis on the social injustices in the U.S. at the time and not enough on the war itself and individual heroism of the participants. Plus our military victories were glossed over very quickly while our difficuties and mistakes were expounded upon at length. The average hour-long History Channel WW2 show is more interesting and balanced.
Not nearly as well done or informative as “Civil War”.
Trying to show that the “Greatest Generation” were nothing but a bunch of racists.
There was a kid in my 6th grade class at Jefferson Elementary School in the Wayne Michigan Community School District (1959) who was enamored with the swastika. He was forever carving it into desk tops, drawing it on books and paper. Our teacher, Mr. George Smith, who had fought in Europe finally nailed the kid. He impressed upon the kid that he would not have a hand to make those kinds of designs if he caught him again, nobody ran home to limp wrist daddy in those days about such things. The kid never did it again in that class.
I experienced something like that from a history professor, even though the course material was supposed to cover medieval Europe. I think a large number of men became educators after seeing so much death. Many years later, they set aside time to tell those stories - even though so many of them are usually tight-lipped about their experiences.
My fifth-grade teacher was also a WWII vet who served in the Navy. I knew he was former military before he said anything about it - the ramrod-straight posture is a sure giveaway. I used to smile at his occasional reference to the "Nipponese". Long after I moved on to high school, he was named the state's poet laureate. A few of his poems offer glimpses into what the Pacific was like, 1941-45.
We are losing those men and women so rapidly now... God bless every last one of them.
My dad was there too, but nothing so exciting as D-Day - N. Africa, Sicily, Anzio (but he was a combat engineer and thus didn't go in until the worst was over), and the Winter War in N. Italy 43-44. He had a couple of close calls, was so slightly wounded he didn't even bother to apply for a PH, and came home to start a family and a business. He's still kickin' at almost 83!
The entire series is WAY too superficial; and, in the rush to get through, the history suffers.
I tape the show and FF when the home front is shown especially Manzinar and Mobile.
Actually, with a very few notable exceptions like the Tuskegee Airman, which practically took a Presidential intervention to get into combat, that's exactly what happened. Black troops were segregated and kept in support units.
I agree with you that those black support units, such as those doing outstanding work on the Red Ball Express, performed very well and should be honored for their service.
It's an important part of the story. The WWII experience directly lead to post-war movements for rights for women and blacks. People saw women doing "mens work" and running households alone. It was hard to deny that the few blacks who got to combat performed superbly, leading to the desegregation of the Army right after the War. And Americans, black and white, from the North and West saw for the first time and first hand race segregation when they were stationed in the South. It had a profound effect on many.
It's part of our past. As President Bush has observed, it's part of the paradox how a slaveholding society became the primary beacon of freedom in the world.
"I don't care what color they are as long as they kill those kraut sons of bitches!"
I too was getting disappointed with all of the negatives. Then I looked at it from another direction. Mr Burns is trying to show all of the negatives; segregation, internment, and botched attacks, not to show how bad America was. He’s showing all of the negatives to show how far people went to win. Thousands died from botched war plans and we still soldiered on to win. Thousands suffered from racism and we still soldiered on to win.
Compare that with today’s war on terror. No draft. Very little racism. No rationing. No one forced to do anything different in their lives unless they want to. And 40% of the country are a bunch of p-—ies who want us to lose.
He is profiteering off the graves of brave men by using war department footage to disparage them...
To what purpose was it mentioned that Carlson’s Raiders murdered Japanese prisoners in retribution for some of their dead at Guadalcanal?
BTW, the unit Patton was talking about was the Black Panthers. One of their number, a Lt. Jack Robinson, in dress uniform, hopped a bus near their training base in the South to go to town. As a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army he refused an order to go to the back of the bus. His commander refused a court-martial referral from the M.P.'s. Robinson was transferred to another black tank battalion where the commander was willing to press charges, but he was acquitted. He never did see combat, but after the war decided to play a little baseball. The rest, as they say, is history . . . .
The one gentlemen around 20 minutes into tonight’s Part 4 mentioned something about a toothpaste tube like vessel with a reversible sharp end or something. I couldn’t understand parts of it — what he called it for example.
But it sounded like a a suicide device should a man find himself in a hopeless situation. A lethal solution inside a toothpaste tube-like delivery system.
Did anyone catch that and did I get the drift of it?
It didn’t sound like he was referring to a slug of self-administered morphine. Or maybe it was morphine, but a fatal dosage.
I am watching it delayed and just saw that part. It was a syrette of moriphine
Does anybody think in those terms any more?
“I am watching it delayed and just saw that part. It was a syrette of moriphine”
Ah—thanks. Must not have been a lethal brew.
I’m 20 min behind myself, jockeying between FR and the show.
Sorry, but I think it’s a pitiful series. I’ve only watched about 50-60%, but haven’t seen much to indicate that we were fighting Fascism and Nazism, or really that any useful purpose was served by our soldiers’ fighting. Mr. Burns seems not to noticed what the war was really about, so I choose not to notice Mr. Burns any more.
Curious, any WWII veterans or historians out there have an idea or stats of how many Americans didn’t want to join the services during WWII?
Thanks indcons. I hope Ken’s next documentary is about the Spanish conquests of the late 15th-early 16th centuries. ;’)
Huh? Do you honestly think that there was no segregation and discrimination in the North and the West before and during the war?
“And Americans, black and white, from the North and West saw for
the first time and first hand race segregation when they were stationed
in the South.”
Statistically, that probably is most of the story.
But it’s not ALL of the story.
As even Burns (a mild tip of the hat to him) listed a number of
locations in last night’s Part 3 on racial strife...and some of those
locales were most decidedly ABOVE the Mason-Dixon Line.
Well, I guess if I’m going to ding Burns for spending maybe about double
the air-time he need to make his points about how G-d-awful America was
I should give him credit for admitting it was NOT a 100% “Southern thing”.
Ah, the radio message of D-Day by Robert St. John.
I saw a documentary on him. IIRC, he lost his job at NBC during
the Red Scare (he was a leftie).
BUT, then ended up as a reporter from and an advocate for Israel.
In that regard he was a different kind of leftist than the ones
we endure in the USA today.
OK, a tip of the hat to Burns for including all the “thanksgiving”
observances as news of D-Day spread in the USA.
And even the religious services got acknowleged.
Burns even included FDR’s “imprecatory” (sp?) D-Day Prayer.
I wonder who at “Florentine Films” went to bat to air FDR’s voice
intoning “Almighty G-d,...”.
“Fortunately, a significant part of this series is the words of the Veterans and Americans in general themselves. Thats a good thing.”
I agree. Tuesday night’s episode was very slow moving. Tonight’s was better.
As tonight’s program wrapped up, I prayed and as God to use it to open the eyes of my fellow Americans. Perhaps this series (even with some of its liberal bias) can be used to help people see the necessity of fighting through to victory.
My heart is so heavy when I hear the traitorous remarks of many in our nation’s capital who want to turn tail and run from the enemy of freedom we now face.
I was heartened to hear the final song in tonight’s program pay tribute to Americans. Yes, America is a force for good in the world. The bravery and courage of our soldiers—past and present—bear witness to our love of liberty. Not only do these courageous souls fight and die for us, but they do so by the thousands for people they don’t know. God bless every one.