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1. 22Michael Alexander <email@example.com> 2. David H. Olivier <firstname.lastname@example.org> 3. Marjorie Bingham <email@example.com> 4. Wyatt Reader <hirener@EARTHLINK.NET> 5. daniel spector <firstname.lastname@example.org> -----Message from: 22Michael Alexander <email@example.com>----- Re Wyatt Reader's post referring to a film about King Arthur, I believe it portrays Arthur and his knights as Sarmatian auxiliaries in Roman service, who choose to stay in Britain after the Roman withdrawal. Regards Michael Mitchell 22Michael Alexander <firstname.lastname@example.org> -----Message from: David H. Olivier <email@example.com>----- For the past few years I have taught a 300-level course in our Contemporary Studies programme, "War in the Contemporary World". The vast majority of students in this course usually have no experience or knowledge of the military and modern warfare aside from their exposure through the media, although I have had a few reservists in the course, and even the girlfriends/fiancees of soldiers who have served or are serving in Afghanistan. (One former student lost her fiancÚ when he was killed in action in Afghanistan.) I have made use of a number of films, not necessarily for their historical accuracy but for how they speak to concepts which affect those participating in war, willingly or unwillingly. Among the films I have used, and the concepts I've hoped to illustrate, are: Twelve O'Clock High - stress, leadership, and strategic bombing principles The Caine Mutiny - also stress, leadership, and the chain of command Grave of the Fireflies - strategic bombing from the other end; war and non-combatants, war and children, effects of war on modern urban society (used in conjunction with Ishmael Beah's book A Long Way Gone, about his experiences as a refugee and child soldier in Sierra Leone) Crimson Tide - the decision to use nuclear weapons; the chain of command Fail-Safe (the 2000 made-for-TV version) - the decision to use nuclear weapons Jarhead - official and unofficial methods of creating bonds within a unit (used in conjunction with Bao Ninh's novel The Sorrow of War, about his experiences during and after the Vietnam War) If I wanted to introduce another film to this rotating lineup, I'd like to find a compatible copy of Die Bruecke (The Bridge), a 1959 West German film about a unit of teenagers inducted into the army and ordered to guard a bridge in the waning days of the Second World War. I've seen the comments in recent threads over the usefulness and accuracy of many films, and am aware of the objections to some films such as Jarhead. With that in mind, I've tried to set up these films as stories about particular issues, and not necessarily to be taken as strictly accurate history. It helps when I can show Twelve O'Clock High, with exuberant claims for the effectiveness of precision bombing, and then two weeks later show the devastation of Grave of the Fireflies and ask students to compare and contrast the two. I'm always open to other suggestions, especially in terms of recent movies. For example, how do members feel about The Hurt Locker as a possible film for the classroom? Sincerely, David H. Olivier Assistant Professor History & Contemporary Studies GRH 138 Wilfrid Laurier University Brantford Campus David H. Olivier <firstname.lastname@example.org> -----Message from: Marjorie Bingham <email@example.com>----- One of the films I used in a Western Civilization class was "Gallipoli" which tells the story of two Australians going to fight in WW I. My rationale was that somewhere along the line, students would probably see some films on the Western Front (ie. "All Quiet....or "Paths of Glory"). They were less likely to understand the global nature of l the war and the role of the Middle East and the colonial empires. Peter Weir's film also reflects the anti-Vietnam era and gives a good sense, I think, of trench war at its worst, (or so say the memoirs of some of the Australians who fought both at Gallpoli and on the Western Front.) Marjorie Bingham Marjorie Bingham <firstname.lastname@example.org> -----Message from: Wyatt Reader <hirener@EARTHLINK.NET>----- From this recent listing of replies, two of the commentaries point out some thoughts about how film could be used in teaching about war and history. These were not the only two replies which touched upon classroom and film interaction. But for this purpose, both relay some thoughts which bear upon the subject in useful and practically applied ways: > > Subject: REPLY: History and Film ( > > I have also assigned a list of films for students to view outside of > class and then they have to write a response specifically detailing how > Hollywood distorted things and also why the film was important. For an > example, if the student viewed John Wayne's The Green Berets I would > expect them to talk about why Wayne made the film and why it was so > different from many other Vietnam films. > C. Brandon Hone History Graduate Student Utah State > University > > Brandon Hone <email@example.com> > > -----Message from: DAVID BARRETT <firstname.lastname@example.org>----- > > I can only speak for my experience as a relatively recent > Master's graduate. The films that were shown were shown in > their entirety and then discussed at their conclusion. There > was minimal time spent setting up the film, however, I > believe as a general statement, films were viewed in much the > same way as you would historical fiction. > > > DAVID BARRETT <email@example.com> Recently, on Turner Classic Movies[TCM], the program included a 7 part series made during WW II, of films by Hollywood, depicting that war and US motivations for fighting. It was originally presented as a series of propaganda films made by the US War Dept. Frank Capra produced a documentary of sorts entitled Why We Fight. It was more accurate probably than many Hollywood movies made for money, as this was designed to 'message' the US war effort to the American public or others as well. How accurate could be compared with actual historical records and asked of students, for example, to detail the areas where these films match with documented history. That is just one thought. The Map work in these films give a visual display of the meaning of war and operations by ALiied and Axis military forces, which quite graphically show some meaning and importance to particular stories in the newspapers and written histories. Taken, as another example, with the film Patton, his military history across the Map of Africa and Europe could be more easily understood, if it were related to Maps shown in the Capra films. This is a more specific historical example. The Victory at Sea films shown against a Pearl Harbor, They Were Expendable[Also John Wayne], Iwo Jima[JW], In Harm's Way, etc. can display features of these episodes in human terms as relating to actual historical battles and events; certainly fit, for more specific and closer presentations. One such might be the history of the US torpedo boats[PT's] of WW II. This also ties in with John F. Kennedy's WW II experiences in the Pacific as Commander of PT 109[Cliff Robertson's film], prior to his becoming an American President in the 1960s. Another, the Harm's Way film focuses upon the Japanese battleship Yamato, considered the most powerful of its type during WW II. Submarine films give another example, especially when tied to the history and importance of submarine warfare in the Pacific and how it almost brought Britain to collapse in WW II as well as the effects of drawing the US into WW I by sinking the Lusitania. Another focus, comparing films about different wars can highlight changes in military history from one period to another, such as "All Quite on the Western Front" shows trench war of WW I v. mobile war of Patton's history. Equally, the uniforms of WW I and WW II can be demonstrated quite visually in this way. This would make film and historical focuses, possibly, very much more 'alive', rather than merely fact from a lecture or book, within the classroom setting of teaching. Wyatt Reader UCLA___Whittier College California -----Message from: daniel spector <firstname.lastname@example.org>----- Another comment on using Hollywood films in history courses, that may tie pedagogy to history: In my survey course on Western History at UAB (I would have preferred a course on World history, but that was a departmental decision, not mine), I used Man For All Seasons during the Reformation period. After the film I asked the class to discuss who were the "good" and "bad" guys in the film. Using Cairns, ed., Past Imperfect, History According to the Movies, I showed how very different actual history was from the Picture of the Year awarded the film. Beyond using movies to teach history, my objective was to encourage critique of all sources---including me as their professor. Best Dan Spector daniel spector <email@example.com> ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----