Experiences of Total War: 1939–1945
DOI link for Experiences of Total War: 1939–1945
Experiences of Total War: 1939–1945 book
Of course, none of this happened; but, in some respects, it might just as well have done. If the Hollywood blockbuster U-571 (Jonathan Mostow, USA, 2000) has appropriated to a US commando the 1940 British capture of an Enigma encoding machine, then it is only a matter of time before ever-perceptive producers conspire to adapt the bravery and suﬀering of the Blitz, its immense patrimony of human stories, for the consumption of American audiences. U-571 was certainly not the ﬁrst example of popular cinema changing history for dramatic or commercial purposes, but it was highly unusual. American forces were never involved in that particular operation, and the USA had not as yet entered the war. The ﬁlm thus illustrates the status of World War Two in contemporary culture: no longer a historical event to study and learn from, but a mythical battle between good and evil. The example of U-571 also suggests that the 1939-45 conﬂict has obtained an air of familiarity that few historical events achieve: today we feel we know its history so well that we can even make it up.