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Antony Beevor's view on War Films

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10 minutes ago, DMS said:

It is fun that only myth in "War in the gates" in sniper duel, according to his opinion.

You really do still live in the Soviet Union, as mentioned in your profile. Did you even read the whole article?

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The 317th Platoon is a masterpiece. Really hard to find online now, but I remember taking out a physical DVD (along with Bondarchuk's War and Peace) from Robarts library's media archive during my first degree. You could tell just by watching that the extras knew what they were doing; only found out after I watched the film that they were all members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. 

Big fan of Beevor; have his Crete and Stalingrad on my shelf at home and have read both a few times. He's ultimately a pop historian but one of the good ones. Obviously he's right about most of the films but the article is tongue-in-cheek, its not like you should feel ashamed if you enjoyed any of them. Movies are movies. 

Edited by Rinaldi

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Beevor's main point is that most war movies are a falsification/distortion of what really happened. Since movies almost always have a political aim, that's inevitable. He mentions the movie U-571, which is a good example. As a Brit he must feel mightily annoyed about that. He has my sympathy, because mostly the British war effort get's a rough deal from Hollywood.

I don't really agree with Beevor about Valkyrie though.  I thought it was rather good, but perhaps that's because Tom Cruise and Bill Nighy can do no wrong in my eyes. 🙂

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3 hours ago, Aragorn2002 said:

You really do still live in the Soviet Union, as mentioned in your profile. Did you even read the whole article?

I read it again after your comment and still I found nothing about other nonsence in this film. (And that nonsence is much brighter, than sniper duel! Sniper duels occured, while 1 rifle for 2 soldiers and mgs, shooting in own troops - did not. That's why I said that it is fun) And I don't undestand how my profile is connected to the article.

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uh sorry USSR shooting its own soldiers is a verifiable fact.

Its well noted that both sides opened up on their own trying to surrender as well.

I dont think your profile has anything to do with the subject at all, I think he just thought it odd you say you live in a now for almost 30 years fictional country.

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1 hour ago, Sublime said:

Its well noted that both sides opened up on their own trying to surrender as well.

I only read about this regarding the Soviets, when and where did it happen on the German side? Not saying it didn't, just curious to learn more.

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6 minutes ago, Sublime said:

uh sorry USSR shooting its own soldiers is a verifiable fact.

When, where? I know only 1 fact from Loza book, wheh his tank fired over heads, than lower. And someone fell. And that is not exactly "fact", as it is memoirs.

In movie it is shown like a typical, common event. That is obviously not true.

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2 hours ago, DMS said:

I read it again after your comment and still I found nothing about other nonsence in this film. (And that nonsence is much brighter, than sniper duel! Sniper duels occured, while 1 rifle for 2 soldiers and mgs, shooting in own troops - did not. That's why I said that it is fun) And I don't undestand how my profile is connected to the article.

I must confess I misunderstood your comments. I did have the impression that you were complaining about how everybody seems to take sides against Russia and all that it stands for.  And that this movie about the Russian history was the only one called a myth. But you meant that there are more myths than just the sniper duel in this particular movie. I understand that now, but after reading your comments, I did take a look at your profile, in which as location 'Soviet Union' is mentioned. For me that's about the same as "Third Reich' or 'Democratic Kampuchea'.

That combined with the fact that you live in a country which hasn't been interested in the truth in past, present or future, made me angry.

 

 

Edited by Aragorn2002

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Good article.  But, dismayed that at this point in time, not everyone already knows that movies are entirely designed to make money, and if that means creating a popular propagandist "spin" that pleases its primary audience, then that is what will happen (every time).  

I suppose that's what the corrupshun of our educashin system is all about.  Few if any people are trained in analytical thinking at the proliferating new 2nd and 3rd rate unis - only in learning a trade.  (In UK at least, these new schools used to be called "2ndary Moderns" and "Polytechnics".)

Was also impressed with 1966’s The Battle of Algiers.  If you haven't seen it, it's recommended.

 

Edited by Erwin

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How come he didn´t mention the war movie above them all, "White Tiger"? 😀

Seriously, his views match my own pretty well (though he of course has much more knowledge to back them up). I especially liked the comments about The Patriot being a stinker. To me it has always just been a remake of Braveheart in a different location.

Now I have to find 317th Platoon - which I must admit I had never even heard about.

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3 hours ago, DMS said:

When, where? I know only 1 fact from Loza book, wheh his tank fired over heads, than lower. And someone fell. And that is not exactly "fact", as it is memoirs.

In movie it is shown like a typical, common event. That is obviously not true.

Ok first of all that movies an absolute disgrace. even the backround noise of firing goes mysteriously absent about halfway through. its utter nonsense.

Ok now. Order No. 227.

You truly believe no one was shot under that order? Come on man. Im not going to cite examples because history is replete- especially when one side is desperate- of such things. Look at the common roving gangs of SSin Berlin hanging or shooting 'deserters'?

The idea that it didnt happen in Barbarossa and otherwise is frankly naive. Second its been well admitted by bith German and Soviet sources they tried to shoot at their own surrendering troops.

Also Stalin had one of his top marshalls shot for failing in 1941. Hold on let me dig up the name..  pretty sure it was Pavlov. Or he killed himself. Who really knows.  Dont jump to this is HATO on Russia. I cant point to examples of british officers pulling a revolver out amd sshooting a couple of men refusing to advance to stun the rest into movement.

Im pretty sure American troops would ve tempted to light up guys they saw as going over to the enemy side especially if America was in desperate straits.

This isnt like some obscure fact of history DMS, yes one replete with hyperbole and exagerration, but it did happen and alot, after all it was thw biggest land war in history. If you really genuinely have no idea what Im talking about may I suggest perhaps reading books other than official Soviet histories? 

I dont feel I really know much about a battle military history wise unless Ive read a book from at least both sides. And i usually prefer more.

 Ive read American German British Russian and god knows what else about the Eastern Front. Im no expert but Im certainly not going to accept the fact the Soviet troops didnt shoot their own men on purpose spmetimes or send them into absolutley suicidal situations on purpose anf would shoot those who didnt move fast enough.And Im also certain the Germans did too.

 

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4 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

I only read about this regarding the Soviets, when and where did it happen on the German side? Not saying it didn't, just curious to learn more.

Read about Berlin at the end. 

Before Berlin there was a standing order I forget where and when but there was an order ( probably selectively enforced) to shoot "traitors" trying to surrender.

They had penal battalions. If you didnt move fast enough or werent considered interested enough off to a camp. That is if you didnt have an accident first.

However almost any lower level history of the Eastern Front thats lengthy you will find multiple incidents on both the Eastern and Western fronts of German troops opening fire on other Germans surrendering. Google it you.ll find examples.Of course given the nature of the combat there was a lot more bitterness and your odds of being shot bt a former kamaraden increased dramatically if you pulled that sh*t in the East.

Heinrich Biddermans autobiography about his time inthe Wehrmacht is interesting because he fought most his war in the east. he ended upin the west at the end. some notable takebacks - first of all these were only his experiences. if you try to claim im inferring this was corps/front/theater wide youre an idiot.

Now that said according to him yes Germans did shoot at surrendering Germans. Also generally in thr west it was considered risky but if say 4 surrendered maybe one would get shot by accident but barring any local atrocities you were going in the bag. with the east it didnt matter. you could ve taken prisoner you could all be shot out of hand. Apparently panzer crews had a real tough time because their black uniforms often led to accussations of them being SS and getting shot.

Bidermann also noted that in the east no one gave a flying f*** about medics or red cross markings or cease fires to collect dead. he was flabbergasted when he saw medics not getting shot by snipers etc in the west.

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1 hour ago, Aragorn2002 said:

I must confess I misunderstood your comments. I did have the impression that you were complaining about how everybody seems to take sides against Russia and all that it stands for.  And that this movie about the Russian history was the only one called a myth. But you meant that there are more myths than just the sniper duel in this particular movie. I understand that now, but after reading your comments, I did take a look at your profile, in which as location 'Soviet Union' is mentioned. For me that's about the same as "Third Reich' or 'Democratic Kampuchea'.

That combined with the fact that you live in a country which hasn't been interested in the truth in past, present or future, made me angry.

I know how good is my English. :)

Unusual parallels...

Just now, Sublime said:

You truly believe no one was shot under that order?

Of course they was. But... That myth about machineguns shooting at running soldiers is too primitive, stupid, hugely hyperbolised. That didn't happen in such way. Block units officers executed single men, if they refused to fight and agitated others to flee. They were not just behind the rifle units, but in the rear: at road intersections, towns. The scale of war was huge, millions men were involved, may be someone somewhere shot at the crowd, who knows. But showing it like a common event is false. Another myth in this movie, 1 mosins for 2 men... Yes, in 1941 RKKA had problems with small arms. But this means that platoons had only 2 mgs instead of 4. (In 1942 3 mgs, in 1943 - 6) Again, too stupid hypebole. May be somewhere conscripts were caught without arms by quickly advancing Germans, that happened in 1941. But that they were intentionally sent to combat without weapons... I hate such "creative" writers and movie makers.

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Hollywood movies don't care about historical (or any other kind, really) accuracy?

Colour me purple and call me Grimace! Truly changes how I feel about Hollywood. Who knew that they were disingenuous hacks?

All jokes aside, I do agree with Beevor on Darkest Hour. Amazing performance by Gary Oldman, but super-hero Churchill.

*shudders in disgust* Enemy at the Gates....

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4 hours ago, umlaut said:

How come he didn´t mention the war movie above them all, "White Tiger"? 😀

Wasn't sure if you were being humorous.   I saw it and thought it suc***...  was quite poor.

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9 hours ago, DMS said:

I know how good is my English. :)

Unusual parallels...

Of course they was. But... That myth about machineguns shooting at running soldiers is too primitive, stupid, hugely hyperbolised. That didn't happen in such way. Block units officers executed single men, if they refused to fight and agitated others to flee. They were not just behind the rifle units, but in the rear: at road intersections, towns. The scale of war was huge, millions men were involved, may be someone somewhere shot at the crowd, who knows. But showing it like a common event is false. Another myth in this movie, 1 mosins for 2 men... Yes, in 1941 RKKA had problems with small arms. But this means that platoons had only 2 mgs instead of 4. (In 1942 3 mgs, in 1943 - 6) Again, too stupid hypebole. May be somewhere conscripts were caught without arms by quickly advancing Germans, that happened in 1941. But that they were intentionally sent to combat without weapons... I hate such "creative" writers and movie makers.

It's a lot better than my Russian. 🙂 No, this was my mistake for jumping the gun too quickly. But let's leave it at that please.

Who of us can even start to imagine a time so savage and cruel as ww2? I agree with Sublime when he says that both the Russians and the Germans didn't hesitate to shoot their own, if the situation was desperate enough. War has it's own rules.

 

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Whose defending Enemy at the Gates? I dont think anyone on either 'side' has said its even a good movie let a lone accurate.

As I said its bad when halfway through a movie about one of if not THE biggest city battle of all times the ambient backround noise of battle just.. disappears.

I will say this though in defense of western histories of ww2: What exactly has the SU done to help or Russia to clarify? Russia reclosed its archives. The SU made up myths and there wouldnt even be a sniper duel legend without the direct existence of the SU.

Russia hasnt helped matters by tryn to charge or publicly shame people who try to come out with things that arent seen as pro Soviet at that time.

 

Whats that leave the West with? Well we have the stories od the losers.  Lots of self vindication etc. Some truth. Some stuff got out of the East or can be confirmed. Otherwise all we really knew is the biggest land war in history happened in Eastern Europe against 2 brutal dictatorships. One with every reason to lie about its failures and reasons to hide evidence of crime.  The other a victor who got to write history in the manner it desired and one who perpetuated outright untruths and lies for up to even over 40 years after the event ( Katyn )

That said the German movie Stalingrad was good IMO though I wish instead of trying to make it more movie like at the end with the corrupt nazi officer and the woman etc they should have just shown the men die off in various defensive positions/starve as was much more a common reality. maybe a dream like sequence at the end in one of those massive open wire open air camps at the end of winter of 42/43 that the great majority of the 6th Army pows died in the immediate aftermath of the battle.

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