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Gang Roundup – March 2018

Well, yes, can you say that I’m getting ready for the AtoZ Challenge next month? I’ve been researching the Weimar Republic and happened upon quite a few interesting articles. How could I avoid sharing them with you?

You never know where your interests in life will bring you. When I was in school, I loved history already, but I wasn’t really interested in the near history. I loved the ancient times, when life seemed so different (and yeah, quite romantic) to my teenager’s eyes. And besides, the school system didn’t help it, since the history of the last century was only cursorily touched. I never truly studied WWI or even WWII. We just touched upon them, we learned the very basic and that was it.

Even when I started getting involved with the 1920s (a mere handful of years ago) I wasn’t really interested in WWI, because, you know, I tend not to be interested in wars in general, I prefer the ‘banality’ of everyday life. But as I started researching the Weimar Republic for my new fiction projects, I realised I couldn’t possibly address the 1920s in Germany knowing nothing about the Great War.
So I reluctantly started researching it as well. And wouldn’t you guess? Just like it happened with the 1920s, as I started getting into what that time really was, I became bewitched with it. Slowly, I’m realising what such crucial time it was – at least for us Europeans. What pivotal moment in our history it was. That is the time when modern Europe was born, the Europe we know today, the values we believe in today. The time when we turned into the people we are today.

We often don’t realise what horrid war WWI was. Obscured by WWII, the Great War often fades in the background. But it was in truth just as destructive on people’s body and souls, if in a very different way.
So much of what we are today comes for WWI. So much more than we normally believe. I’m slowly realising it. So don’t be surprised if you’ll see more of it on this blog in the future.

Shell Shock: A Documentary of The Effects of WWI to Soldiers

This was so hard to watch. So many people suffering. But in a way I think we are lucky to have these testimonies. People who fought WWI had no idea what they were going into. But we know now. We have their experience and the chance to learn from it. In a way, we have a chance to make all this suffering not to have been in vain.

So many passages misted my eyes. But the one that made me shade a tear was the nurse who said, “I was only 24 and I didn’t have the wisdom I should have had.”

World War I records reveal myths and realities of soldiers with ‘shell shock’

WWI was truly a turning point in the history of the Western World. So many things changed and not all for the worse. In fact, horrible as the war and its aftermath was, a lot of advancement came from it, especially in the technology and medicine fields.
Psychological treatment was an area where huge advancement was made, not just in the actual treatment, but also in the very way psychological damage was understood. The need to cure so many shell-shocked men and women drove many doctors to try and understand the mind better than ever, and in specific the way a trouble mind affects the body and its disfuctions.

12 amazing WW1 facts that you probably don’t know

We do know less than we normally think about WWI. This is a good example of it. Did you know that journalists faced execution with a charge of treason when they wrote about what was happening at the front? Or that millions on letters were delivered during the war and they normally took only two days to travel from home to the front? Also it was during and after the war that plastic surgery made strides in advancement as facial wounds (which were not only horrible to see and to suffer, but also caused heavy psychological disturbs) were very common in veterans.

Life in the Trenches

When we think about WWI, we normally think about life in the trenches. And rightly so, since that was a hugely impacting experience not just on the soldiers, but also on the general population as the soldiers came back from the front.
This is a quick but interesting article about what life in the trenches really was.

Coward: Excellent Short Film about WWI that Deserves More Attention

And I’d like to close these lineup about WWI with a short film that I haven’t seen yet, but which sounds really really interesting.
Shot in 2012, it’s inspired by true events regarding several Irish soldiers who were charged with cowardice during the war. Life in the trenches was unbelievably brutal and we today have indeed a hard time understanding some of the practices carried out at the time. Many times, soldiers didn’t really ran from the fight, but they were nonetheless charged with cowardice and sometimes executed in order to prevent others from trying and flee. This film shed some light on this.

The Bookshop

I’ve heard about this novel a lot on my readers’ group, and now that I’ve seen the trailer of the film I am truly captivated. Well, you know… I’m a bookseller myself.
I love stories of people who go after their dreams, and when it intertwines with books and the knowledge and further dreams they foster, I’m even more invested in them. I’d love to see the film, but I’m probably also going to read the book.

5 Reasons to Watch Gosford Park

A fantastically in-death article about this tv show which came far before Downtown Abby  and enjoyed less success, in spite of being just as good and accurate. Personally, I didn’t even know about its existence, but it does sound a really great story and production. I’m going to check it out!

Gosford Park (2001) is a classic British who-dunnit in the best Agatha Christie vein. The setting: A grand country estate in England 1932. The plot: A party of visiting aristocrats and their accompanying servants gather at Gosford Park for a shooting party.

Before the weekend is over, however, the host is found murdered, turning everyone, both servants and aristocrats, alike, into suspects.


Why the Weimar Republic Failed

If you look up the Weimar Republic, you’re likely to find a lot of articles explaining why the republic was fated to fail.
This article makes a list of all the causes of the failure of the republic. These were all very solid, actual cause of weakness for the republic. Traditionally, historian have pointed out the inner, intrinsic weaknesses of this regime, arguing that it never had any chance at success. But in recent years there had been a change in the theory, since external causes have taken up a stronger stance. The republic did have a lot of enemies both inside and outside, and this terrible mix finally bring it down. But today it’s doubtful that the Weimar republic was indeed ‘fated’ to fall.

Bessie Coleman, Pilot

Bessie Coleman is not only one of the first female pilots in history, but also the first ever African American women to get a flying license, though she had to get it in France since she would have never had it in the US.
As many of the pioneers of flight, she died tragically, but what she did in her short life was remarkable and is still remembered.

Dark Deco: A New Dieselpunk Flavor

Larry Amyett gets a closer look to the dark incarnation on Decopunk, which is kind of an innovation in the field of Dieselpunk since Decopunk is normally understood as a brighter, more light-hearted kind of story. Apparently, this is changing.

A Gruesome Discoveryby Cora Harrison

Like all who seek charitable contributions, Reverend Mother Aquinas is used to being gifted some fairly dubious items. But nothing like this. On opening the evil-smelling trunk, labelled ‘old books’, the Reverend Mother is horrified to discover it contains the dead body of one of Cork’s richest merchants, wrapped in decomposing animal hides.

Many had reason to loathe the hides and skins merchant: his rebellious, republican son; his frustrated, clever daughter; his neighbours; his business rivals; and those whose unbaptised babies were buried on the site of his new tanning yard. But when suspicion falls on a former lay sister from her convent, the Reverend Mother decides she must help find the real killer.

Get the book

The Big Spread

And I’d close this roundup with this lovely short film I stumbled upon on Facebook. Made me laugh our loud!

Gang Roundup (March 2018) Focus on WWI in this month roundup. As I research the Weimar Republic for the upcoming AtoZ Challenge, I've come across may good article about WWI, a time we often don't consider important enough.

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    Posted March 16, 2018 at 20:23

    Two of my closest relatives are Nootella addicts. I blame the hazelnuts!

    • Post Author
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 22:18

      LOL! Nutella is pretty good. But I tried other hazelnut spreads that are even better ;-)

  • Hilary
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 00:59

    Hi Sarah – are you really doing the Weimar Republic .. if you are … I’ll be so happy to read. I wasn’t much of an academic at school … but since I started blogging – I do love history … and so these books, films et al you’ve recommended are just wonderful to see … The Big Spread – yes laugh out loud, but The Bookshop looks a great book, as well as an interesting film … lovely informative post – thank you .. cheers Hilary

    • Post Author
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 22:20

      I fell in love with the ‘Big Spread’ as soon as I saw it. Such fun!
      I hope you’ll enjoy the Weimar Germany series. I’m having a ton of fun researching it. Such interesting period in human history.

  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 16:20

    You make a really important point here, Sarah. It’s easy to forget just how absolutely horrible WWI was. But it was. And its aftermath (e.g. the flu pandemic) was terrible, too. Studying history allows us to remember those things that we should remember.

    • Post Author
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 22:23

      It was a discovery for me too. We tend to know more about WWII. I mean, people who fought it are still alive, even if they are dwindling in number. My great parents told me stories about it, when I was a kid.
      WWI is too far away and often we don’t knwo enough about it. But we still have to learn from it as much as we have to learn from WWII. I wish the centennial had done more to make this event more familiar to us.

    Posted March 19, 2018 at 23:05

    I too was a bit surprised more was not made of the WW1 centennials. For example, we rightly heard much in 2012 about the centennial of the TITANIC’s sinking, but surprisingly little in 2016 about the centennial of the LUSITANIA’s sinking, which took place about twenty miles south of where I live.

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