View Full Version : Where in the world are all the Americans?

Winston Smith
19th Jun 2001, 12:04
Well, perhaps this sounds like a strange question, but I have been wondering for quite some time now and would really like to know:

How come there appear to be almost no American pilots here?

Of course, there ARE some of them, but when considering the proportion of the US's population as compared to that of the UK, AUS, NZ, RSA, etc. combined, one should still expect American pilots to be overwhelmingly in the majority. This is a world-wide accessible English language forum, and since neither national borders nor physical distances are of any significance on the web, isn't it odd that most posters seem to be Brits and Aussies (DISCLAIMER: I don't mean to imply that there's anything wrong with that - just wondering)?

I understand that PPRuNe has been around for quite some time now, and even though it has been founded and is being maintained by a few brave and tireless British individuals (whom all of us are infinitely indebted to) - a fact which might account for a British preponderance during this forum's initial period due to word of mouth - the news of its existence should have made it well across the Atlantic by now - even them pilots down under have heard about it and are contributing generously.

One explanation might be that there is some kind of American "competitor" to PPRuNe out there that I am currently unaware of - or is it that you can't possibly expect people who actually have "spelling contests" to participate in written discourse? :) :) :) :) :)

[ Please don't stuff this thread with posts à la "Why, I AM American, don't ya know, you &#§*$%!" ]

19th Jun 2001, 13:08
I wonder if that fabulous "American's are all narcissistic, short-sighted, ill-bred morons" attitude has anything to do with it??

Sure, it's uber Euro-fantastish, and it sure looks like loads of fun--but it's a pain in the rearend to deal with all of the time.

[This message has been edited by mriya225 (edited 19 June 2001).]

pax domina
19th Jun 2001, 14:56
From what I've heard, I think mriya and McD (see below) have presented two different weights of the "good oil", as they say.

The North America forum (at least the last time I checked) was barely used, and the R&N topics were a rather Eurocentric collection.

However, please keep in mind that I seem to remember reading (a post from the Captain himself?) that PPRuNe was set up specifically as a UK/European alternative to other airline industry forums with a US/North American focus.

Then the OzMates arrived. :) Sometimes I think that the entire aviating population of both Darwin and Cairns must be "on" PPRuNe. (Not that I'm complaining! :) )

"But why are you dressing up for a bunch of low-lifes? Just show up wearing jeans, boots, a tight shirt and a cowboy hat!" - Anonymous male PPRuNer (ATPL) to pax d, while shopping for shoes for the Bash, Premium Outlet Mall, Orlando, Florida, May 2001

[This message has been edited by pax domina (edited 23 June 2001).]

19th Jun 2001, 18:35
I be here, if there is a competitor, I haven't seen it. As far as heli flying, there is JH, but one usually sees the childish ravings of people unrestrained, not the professionals they are supposed to be passing themselves off as. . .

Perhaps it is that most conversations have a UK ring to them, either we do not "get it" humour wise, or some other reason, i have no clue as to why there are not more of us "yanks" here.

Onward we go ...


20th Jun 2001, 01:38
Actually, there are quite a few of "us yanks" here at PPRuNe. (I've been PPRuNe-ing since 1997.) It's just that most posters don't begin posts with "Hi, I'm an American, and I'd like to talk about ..... " :)

PPRuNe seems to have more relevance to a "world-wide" community of aviators. Here's some possible background reasons:

1) Most of the original PPRuNers were residents of the UK, other European countries, or the Australia/NZ area. If not, they at least had ties to those countries (e.g. ex-pats).

2) Even though PPRuNe has expanded enormously over the years, the original interest group also expanded.

3) PPRuNe has received quite a bit of publicity in the UK, which of course adds more participation from those folks.

4) Lately, with European countries making the switch to JAR, there have been even more reasons for discussion among members of those countries.

5) Much of what goes on in other countries' airlines is not necessarily typical of what goes on in US airlines.

6) Finally, many US pilots never fly internationally, so what is covered in PPRuNe may not particularly interest them (although I do know plenty of "domestic" pilots who do read PPRuNe).

All of the above may be factors...perhaps some more than others.

PPRuNe has a unique "personality" as far as airline websites go. There are many other types of airline websites, and they may be more suitable for some pilots. But PPRuNe has certainly found a niche!

20th Jun 2001, 01:43
Hey, I'm still here.

20th Jun 2001, 01:52
Why dont you try asking W? He seems to know everything!

Celtic Emerald
20th Jun 2001, 02:00

You might encourage Captain Ed to come back http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif

Emerald http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/tongue.gif

20th Jun 2001, 04:41
Actually there are a couple of US boards that are pretty interesting. Not up to PPRuNe, but they haven't been around as long either.
Mriya also makes an astute observation. I was surprised at the amount of anti-Americanism found here.
BTW girl, you been away so long, thought you'd run away to sea. :)

20th Jun 2001, 06:35
The impression of PPRuNe anti-Americanism is pure cultural misunderstanding. Europeans are used to international mud-slinging and don't realise how much it hurts. Americans, for obvious reasons, have a less international outlook, so they are more sensitive to nation bashing. While I have been on PPRuNe, the French (as usual) have suffered the worst direct insults from the Brits. As is customary they have given as good as they get. The Anglo-French struggle has been going on for centuries, inevitable really when the world's two greatest nations have to live side by side, seperated only by a ditch. :)

Through difficulties to the cinema

20th Jun 2001, 16:49
Agree Blacksheep, actually I thought we'd been quite kind to the Americans, compared some of the Oz / Kiwi interaction.

I think there are more Americans / Canadians on Prune than realised, purely because it's not that obvious where posters hail from. I don't think Pruners are that concerned about nationalities or gender for that matter, and much of the perceived bias is not intended.

Maybe, sometimes offence is taken not because it is intended, but because the person reading the post misunderstood what was written. We are still two nations divided by a common language. Irony doesn't tend to travel well and is often seen as sarcasm.

Like McD says, much of what is posted is not oriented towards America - maybe more Americans (and Canadians) should post on Prune and redress the balance.

Radar Departure2
20th Jun 2001, 18:01
I tend to agree too, Velvet. Nice interpretation, Blacksheep.

But on the other hand, from the formidable and volatile Mriya, (whom I love dearly) comes the following :

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">Golly, I wonder if that fabulous "American's are all narcissistic, short-sighted, ill-bred morons" attitude has anything to do with it??</font>

Veeerrry interesting topic this. Mriya, and any other sensitive Americans who may be listening, I for one have thoroughly enjoyed the company of every American I have ever met. My arguments with America and its inhabitants are not with personalities.

Like the inhabitants of most countries, whether they be dictatorships or democracies, monarchies or military-run, you believe what you hear about your own country as you grow up.

It is difficult for the rest of the world to explain just how all-pervasive and invasive that attitude appears to us. You are the biggest, the richest, you own the book of superlatives. Jesus, you invented the book of superlatives, you ARE the book of superlatives! Because of the pervasiveness of American kulcha through TV and cinema, we in the rest of the world are flogged repeatedly with your own image of yourselves, and it appears to be taken for granted that we will agree.

But to even the dullest (well, ok, maybe not the dullest; there's lots watch Jerry Springer here too), after a while a dim light glows in the darkness, and it starts to radiate Doubts. Why are there 100 Farrelly brothers to every Spielberg? Why has the U.S. apparently assumed that we all WANT it to be the world's policeman? Just because Charlton Heston played Moses or whoever he played, does that make him infallible when it comes to the moronic refrain of "guns don't kill people, people kill people"? In the undisputed World Champeenship Gun Murder Competition leader?

My point, if there is one, is surprise that the most powerful country in the world, with no challengers on the horizon, can apparently not see the truth in Toynbee's metaphorical dog**, and instead stamps its feet and ask "why doesn't everyone love us"?


*"America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair."
A. J. Toynbee (1889–1975), British historian. News summaries, 14 July 1954.

[This message has been edited by Radar Departure2 (edited 20 June 2001).]

20th Jun 2001, 19:44
Here's an example of one of the "american" forums:


20th Jun 2001, 20:21

Golly, I wonder if that fabulous "American's are all narcissistic, short-sighted, ill-bred morons" attitude has anything to do with it??

Well, I am fabulous anyway .... :)

I checked out the fourum listed, yuk ... I could handle it if i could answer some of those afraid to fly questions, etc.

PPRUNE is so far better.


[This message has been edited by RW-1 (edited 20 June 2001).]

pax domina
20th Jun 2001, 21:08
I've been so inspired, I've changed my signature!

pax d - narcissistic, short-sighted, ill-bred moron

21st Jun 2001, 01:27
&lt;Raises hand&gt;

21st Jun 2001, 04:41
Mriya is formidable, Radar?

There was I, thinking she was cute. Must be something to do with engineering eh? http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/tongue.gif

Through difficulties to the cinema

Radar Departure2
21st Jun 2001, 04:51

The terms are most definitely NOT mutually exclusive, and Mriya is living proof. :)


(Edited cos I forgot the NOT!! AARRGGHHH!!!)

[This message has been edited by Radar Departure2 (edited 22 June 2001).]

22nd Jun 2001, 10:58
I love that quote from Toynbee, RD. I'll make sure I use on every Yank I meet. It is so true.
We could do with more Americans on the site if only to make friends and have somewhere cheap to stay when we visit the USA. Americans are very hospitable in that way.

22nd Jun 2001, 12:02
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">We could do with more Americans on the site if only to make friends and have somewhere cheap to stay when we visit the USA. Americans are very hospitable in that way</font>

Works both ways-last time I was in London coulda' used some place to stay (to be fair, the time before I did stay at a friend's place :) ) Those hotels are Expen$ive....

Also someone to go flying with when you visit :)


22nd Jun 2001, 17:26
Low and Slow, did you ask anyone? I don't mean to be flippant but cliches about nations tend to be true. The English reserve is not a myth, the Australian will desperately want you to tell him how great Australia is, and the American will embarrass you with his eagerness to please, yet in my experience all of them are genuinely hospitable in their own way.

I have had a dream for 20 odd years about criss-crossing America by car. I would write to the local paper in various small cities all across the country expressing my interest as an Aussie in seeing the real America, not the usual haunts. Given the American nature, I am absolutely positive that I would be inundated with offers from average people of places to stay. And I'd love it. Just give me a bed, I'll bring the booze!

A fantasy it must remain unfortunately, but I can assure you if any American Ppruners happen to be passing through my neck of the woods, they would be guaranteed hospitality.

Actually, there is probably room for a forum for that very thing; Ppruners who would be happy to provide a bed to visiting Ppruners from elsewhere? Just a thought.


Capt Homesick
22nd Jun 2001, 22:11
Anybody want to volunteer to host OCB? http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif

24th Jun 2001, 14:14
Perhaps they are all staying in their bomb shelters until foot and mouth disease goes away.

26th Jun 2001, 17:51
It would appear they are in a film which purports to show that Americans won WW2 single-handedly. A perjorative reference to Field Marshal Montgomery and a cameo part by Tom Hanks playing, of all things, a 'British' parachutist are virtually the only mention of our involvement in the European area of WW2.

Perhaps we should hold our BBC more to account for 'Band of Brothers' than Steven Spielberg, though I understand that No.10 have a mention in the credits. It was bought by the BBC for £15million (remember this is our money being spent - unlike American Networks); additionally, Tone in his wisdom has granted the film makers rather attractive tax breaks (nothing to do with his son having a week on this set of course).

I don't wish to take anything away from the American soldiers, to whom we owe a lasting debt of gratitude, but isn't it getting just a tad wearisome for Hollywood to rewrite just about every aspect of history in their favour. How long before they have a film showing they actually won in Vietnam.

Would any American Producer commission a ten-part series showing the bravery and sacrifice of the British soldier and how we won the war in the Pacific with the Americans reduced to a passing mention of being utterly demoralised after Pearl Harbour. Isn't it about time our tax-funded broadcasting service was called to account for how they spend our money - and for Tone to explain why he has not the slightest grasp of British history and why he cares so little.

27th Jun 2001, 00:06
In all the time I spent in America, I never had a negative experience with an American. Consequently I like Americans, so shoot me.
I work for an American company to further my connection.
There I've declared my bias.

In relation to the United States winning the war single handedly, well in truth they didn't. One or two fingers were other countries and in real terms all of Europe suffered more than anything the Americans had to go through.
All this carping about the latest crop of movies which feature Americans at war is suspiciously like sour grapes.
Velvet, your criticism of 'Tone' is way off beam. You should be proud of the fact that this series was made in Britain, that was by no means inevitable, other countries were scouted. It could so easily gone the way of 'Saving Private Ryan' and ended up on a beach in Wexford. Remember these tax breaks brought in millions in revenue to actors and film production staff, British people. That's the present day reality, much more important than any implied slight against the British part in the war. They could have just as easily made it in New England rather than old England. If I were you I would be wondering why the industry isn't making comparable films which commemorate Britains role in the war. They've been particularly thin on the ground lately, in fact I can't think of any, since the 'Battle of Britain'. Interestingly I recently took part in British film set in London and Scotland filmed entirely in IRELAND. What was that all about?

In fact America is going through a wave of nostalgia for WW2 at the moment. While at the same time Europeans are trying to forget it ever happened. The Americans are making films about THEIR war. It's up to us to make films about OUR war.
There seems to be a greater reluctance to remember events in Europe at the present.
This extends to present day wars, this month's FLYING magazine has an excellent article by an F16 pilot recounting his experiences over Iraq in the no fly zone. Equally the latest Flight Journal has an account of the experiences of a A10 FAC in Kosovo in which he recounts how he guided RAF Harriers in on Serb targets. Both are fascinating, but you look in vain for articles by British pilots who took part in either conflict. Why is that? Even British magazines seem to find it easier to find article written by American aircrew.
Of course all that matters not a whit when you can have cheap shot at both Americans and the Blair government.

[This message has been edited by Steepclimb (edited 26 June 2001).]

27th Jun 2001, 21:54

I'd like to point out the fact that the flag on the moon is from the United States of America and it's not British.

Thank you!

ocb :)

29th Jun 2001, 04:48
Why is it that the moment you Brits start raving about Americans you always get nasty and make derisive remarks, haven't you people realised that the Empire is long gone?
As to the initial thread, perhaps Americans have more to do with their time than write the trash that normally appears here at the hands of the Brits. Must be something to do with their proccupation with plane and train spotting. I swear I saw a guy spotting cars from a bridge the other day.
C'mon guys GET A LIFE!!!!!

29th Jun 2001, 05:32

It was mostly made in exactly the same place as most of "Saving Private Ryan" - on the old airfield at Hatfield.

That's really sad. De Havilland- remember them? The Comet? Both of them. Glory days.

I'd be happy to let America win the war single handedly as long as Hatfield could still the epicentre of British aviation instead of the back lot of a film studio...

THrough difficulties to the cinema

29th Jun 2001, 08:40
That war in Europe actually belonged to the ANZACs, the Brits just got in our way and slowed us down, and the Yanks supplied us with all the hardware we could knock off. And what appreciation did we get? Agricultural quotas, thats what! :rolleyes:

29th Jun 2001, 19:07
I'm sorry guys - didn't realise that the English are not allowed now to criticise how their tax pounds are spent. am I entitled to criticise any Government official including the Prime Minister - it's not yet a crime, is it?

Incidentally, this wasn't a rant against Americans - in fact I've spent quite a bit of time out there and have some very good friends who are American. I too worked for an American company, and I like most Americans I've met and think they are generally a force for good in the world. My point was in wanting to know why Hollywood (and the BBC) spent millions I've contributed to on a documentary that is not factual and airbrushes out any mention of anyone but the Americans being involved in WWII in Europe.

That was my gripe, if Hollywood wants to make a 'film' showing they won everything in sight - no problem - but I do object to spending my money on propaganda (for anyone).

This particular documentary was about wartime Europe - that it was made in America should not automatically mean it cannot show the reality. This was not THEIR war, nor OUR war - but a global conflict.

I'm proud of our achievements (British) during this war and am not so inclined to be dismissive of them as you Steepclimb. If you read my post, I'm more irritated with the BBC than Hollywood, and do wish they had commissioned a British production to show our war time exploits.

29th Jun 2001, 19:42
American's are on the forum, those of us who are interested in working out of the US anyway.
As for the movies, they are made with a certain nationalist pride.
Sure we didn't win the war singlehanded but we had a bigger part in the war then any other country. You had the Germans to yourself for a while and got kicked off the continent. Only with the help of a bunch of yanks could you take it back.
As much as the GI's fought the war the folks at home supplied much of the ships, planes, arms and equipment used by the various Allied nations to win the war.
I know you will slam me for my comments but, think how the war was going before we got into the fighting. Hitler had Europe, the Japs had China and most of the Pacific.
By the way we were winning in Vietman when I left.

29th Jun 2001, 20:20
Seeing this thread has 'kind of' moved from "Where are the Americans?" to Hollywood I would like to point some things out to my English friends.

Many U.S. movie critics have blasted the film "Pearl Harbor" for the same things you have pointed out. One I liked the best was from the film critic for (I believe) the "New York Times". I'm going to paraphrase here, "Our English cousins will no doubt be VERY surprised to learn that according to the movie "Pearl Harbor" an American pilot single handedly won the Battle of Britain." The same thing for the movie "U-571", I may have the name wrong, I never saw the movie. One major TV network movie critic pointed out that if Hollywood wanted to make a movie about American sailors and U boats they did not have to change history. In WW II an all American sub-hunting group commanded by Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery actually boarded and captured a German U boat in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean. The Taskforce forced the submarine to the surface and opened fire with small arms. As the submarine crew abandoned the vessel a boarding party from the aircraft carrier boarded the sub and went below to shut the scuttle-valves and to disarm any bobby-traps. After the sub was secured it was towed to Bermuda. Today this submarine is on display in Chicago at a museum. A great story. Just imagine how upset the surviving members of this taskforce feel about being ignored by Hollywood producing this hack movie and not giving credit to the brave English sailors. But then Hollywood has a long history of not giving credit when credit is due.

On a personal note. I flew the screenwriter for the movie "Con-Air" for a week. For you that don't know this, I was a B-727 captain for the United States Marshal Service until about three years ago. Anyway, after riding with us for a week I asked him if he got any good stuff for the movie, he replied that it was the most boring week he had spent in his life and if Disney was going to use this script he was going to have to be "real creative'. When the movie was released a year later I saw what he meant, God was that movie awful. There was absolutely nothing in that movie that was factual.

So, keeping bashing Hollywood, it's a great American hobby.

By the way, I havn't seen "Pearl Harbor" either and probably won't until it's on TV. The best movie about Pearl Harbor has already been made, "Tora, Tora, Tora."

29th Jun 2001, 21:33
!Dockjock=Canadian on the forum!

Back to the original topic of "where are the yankees?" I move to combine the Canadian forum with the North American forum.

Thats where we're headed anyway in real the real world...oh and thank god for americans, where else can you get a breakfast of fried eggs ON TOP OF pancakes, with bacon and sausage for $4? :)

29th Jun 2001, 21:39
ps. http://www.canadianaviation.com

Constable Clipcock
30th Jun 2001, 07:30
"...all narcissistic, short-sighted, ill-bred morons."

One out of four isn't bad!

30th Jun 2001, 10:05
Well we all know that without the ANZAC'S the war would never have been won. And with out Australia for R&R for the Yanks. our nations intelligence would never have decreased. LOL Nah all the best to the yanks. They have done a lot for this palnet and I guess they need Hollywood to exploit the fact that they are good this century. But remember, America is just a whee pup when compared to england. What about all the movies about the domination of England against Scotland, Ireland and other small nations. Just cause America wants to wrongly take on the Hero (ANZAC remember) of WWII England has the problem of being related to germany and most other European Nations which does make it hard to fight back. If Australia and New Zealand hadn't stepped up. You both would have lost the war HAHAHAHA

ANZAC's Forever

Lest we Forget!
RIP granddad


Send Clowns
30th Jun 2001, 12:37

I am not anti-American, have many American friends and appreciate that the Americans did a lot in the war. However it was not as much as Britain and the Empire, let alone more.

What many people know but don't take time to step back and wonder at is that in WWII pretty much the whole UK effort and economy was dedicated towards one end : defeating the Axis powers. This went on for 6 years (significantly longer than the US was even in the war). This is an amazing achievement, unprecedented. Even more amazingly the effort and hardship were supported by almost everyone, as they saw that the purpose was to defeat a great evil.

30th Jun 2001, 14:40
Yep Send Clowns
You are right but look where it got you a second rate nation depending on the rest of Europe to help you out with your currency!

The Nr Fairy
30th Jun 2001, 14:45
That's the idea, Eng - keep the decent banter coming !! :)

Watch out though - you'll be understanding sarcasm next. ;)

[This message has been edited by The Nr Fairy (edited 30 June 2001).]

Send Clowns
30th Jun 2001, 16:16

Well, I seem to recall a particularily stupid and ignorant act of our ill-esteemed chancellor of the exchequer involved announcement that he was to sell all our gold. What did he say was to be done with the funds realised? 25% were to be used to prop up the currency of much of the rest of Europe.

(My reasons for calling it stupid and ignorant was the pre-announcement, dropping the price of gold and raising the price of the Euro before purchase, allowing a lot less money to be realised, and a lot less assistance to this rather weak and sickly currency).

On the subject of the UK economy - well fighting two world wars took a lot out of us. I have seen a good case for the late arrival of the US being an economic decision - that either the war would be sorted with no direct cost to the US (lend-lease was all to be repaid) or Europe would be devastated, America the saviour and Europe dependent on her. I don't believe this is the case, I just think that Americans were ignorant, protectionist and isolationist. Of course it was largely the isolationism and protectionism of America and other nations and trading blocks that caused the Great Depression and thus WWII.

[This message has been edited by Send Clowns (edited 30 June 2001).]

Winston Smith
30th Jun 2001, 16:41
When I opened this thread, my intention was - as I clearly stated - to simply find out why Americans are proportionally under-represented on PPRuNe. I asked this out of pure curiosity, not even being an American myself. Only a few posts have actually answered that question, but I will leave it at that.

What I did certainly not intend was to cause rift between Americans, Brits, Aussies, and Kiwis.

Much more appalled, however, I am at that morbid fascination with a war you have "won" more then half a century ago which seems to be prevalent here. As a result, Britain no longer is a super-power, and the destruction of the British Empire, which had brought civilisation to large parts of the world, became irreversible. - Strangely enough, it's usually the same people who moan the loudest about the gradual implementation of bolshevism by the European Union who constantly have to stir in that pan-European wound.

It's always odd to hear liberals suddenly sound like a bunch of Christian fundamentalist (whom they love to squabble with - each side clinging to an equally absurd religion) with all that good-vs-evil armageddon-talk: "Even more amazingly the effort and hardship were supported by almost everyone, as they saw that the purpose was to defeat a great evil." - Perhaps almost everyone in Britain, but apart from the major axis powers Germany, Italy, and Japan, there were quite a few others who for some odd reason didn't like your "gallant Soviet ally" (Roosevelt), either. Just by having a casual glance at the map the following come to my mind: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia. All of these countries (with the exception of the larger part of Finland) - and a few more who weren't on the axis' side - later got to enjoy (or already had) the blessings of real-life communism (which is not just an economic theory). Popular sentiment in other peripherally involved nations, such as Persia and Iraq, somehow didn't mind "great evil", either, and I wonder how some of you are going to accomodate to your one-sided view the fact that France prefered to fight for a power that had defeated her: Mers-el-Kebir, Syria and Madagaskar should ring a bell, not to mention those brave volunteers (from France as well as dozens of other nations, including many muslims) who sacrificed themselves to save Europe (and Asia) from Bolshevism. Neutral, though with open sympathies for the Axis, was Spain, which is also true for Portugal most of the time.

Alas, for those black-and-white thinkers who are unable to read a statement exactly as it is written (and prefer to incorrectly interpret it so as to give them a chance to show off their highly sophisticated and much-rehearsed Holy Indignation), I think I cannot dispense with the disclaimer that the foregoing is in no way intended to down-play any crimes committed by the Axis forces, but a simple reminder that there are always two sides to a story.

So instead of bickering about who had what part in that universal catastrophy which probably initiated the down-fall of Western civilisation, looking into the future might not be a bad idea for a change.

(P.S.: As a matter of fact, some of you are right, though, that the Anzacs were probably the bravest and most respected soldiers, especially the New Zealanders in Northern Africa. Though Rommel was reportedly "almost fond of them", he could not understand why they had crossed half the world to fight in a war which was not theirs.)

[This message has been edited by Winston Smith (edited 30 June 2001).]

30th Jun 2001, 16:46
Now it's turning into an anti Euro debate, that particular battle was lost around June 7th, D day+1(plus 57 years) surely?

Velvet, I'm not dismissive of Britains war effort, my point is that the British film industry should cover it as only they know how. Look at the crop of recent British films and the growth of special effects, it should be well within the grasp of the industry. Except of cours it wouldn't be considered commercial.

My other point, which I reiterate is that the money was spent in Britain. ''Tone' would surely be roundly criticised by you if he send the production company packing because the script wasn't to his taste. In fact what clinched the deal was the availability of Hatfield and WW2 miltiary vehicles of which there are quite a few in England.
It's not a documentary by the way but a drama and I suspect the BBC bought it before ITV did or even Sky. It's all about ratings at the end of the day and providing programmes that people will watch.

One other thing though, Dockjock suggested combining the Canadian forum with the North American forum. It'll never work, American are always taking the P out of Canadians. Despite the fact that so many big stars of the entertainment industry are in fact Canadian.

30th Jun 2001, 17:41
Actually, con-pilot, there is very little glory to be had in the exploits of Daniel Gallery. He displayed himself as a fool, reckless in his decisions, uncaring of the consequences, and careless of secrecy and intelligence.

His capture of U505 was the only capture by US forces of any Enigma material. It occurred on 5th. June 1944, and the captured Enigma books only made it to Bletchly on 20th. June, too late to assist in decoding messages immediately prior to, or during the Normandy invasion.

Since Gallery allowed the captured U-boat crew to see his crew entering U505, all the Germans were aware that their Enigma material was compromised. Indeed, Gallery compounded his foolishness by interrogating Harald Lange, the skipper of U505 about whether any scuttling charges had been set.

Gallery decided to tow the stricken sub to Casablanca. His engineers told him he did not have enough fuel, dismayed, no doubt that he would even think about taking a captured U-boat somewhere that was crawling with German spies. His next idiotic decision was to head for Dakar - only a very marginal improvement over Casablanca! It took a signal from COMSUBLANT to persuade him to tow it to Bermuda, which was only accomplished by detaching a tug and an oiler from other duties. The codebooks, thanks to the unscheduled trip to Bermuda, were thoroughly delayed in their trip to Bletchley.

In Washington, Admiral King was so furious with Gallery and his stupidity that he was all for having him court martialled, and was only talked out of it by Sir Andrew Cunningham, the British First Sea Lord, who was concerned that any publicity that may surround a court martial may announce the compromise of the German cyphers.

Meanwhile, the crew of U505 had to remain in quarantine for the remainder of the war, away from any other prisoners of war, away from the Red Cross, and in Germany their relatives were told they were dead, only finding out the truth in 1947 after the survivors were finally allowed to go home.

As I say, this was the only capture during the entire war, of Enigma material by US forces.

I am not anti-American. I've spent a lot of time there, and almost every American I've ever met I've liked. I'm very grateful for their assistance in World War II, and acknowledge that it couldn't have been won without them - and the same goes for ANZACs, Canadians, Indians, Poles, French, Dutch, etc. etc.

However, I do object to their re-writing history to the extent that they re-invent their accomplishments and failures, write out almost any effort by any other country, and then want British tax money to do so. I would prefer that tax money to go to rebuilding the British film industry, once a major force in cinema.

30th Jun 2001, 17:57
Oh - and Winston? France did not fight for a power that had defeated her.

The French Mediterranean fleet was sunk at Mers el Kebir because the British were concerned that the ships should not fall into German hands, and asked the French to scuttle them. Permission to do so was sought, but no reply received, due possibly to the chaos throughout Europe. They therefore declined to sink their own ships, and the British Force 'H' reluctantly did so themselves.

I doubt if you can name any action in which any organised French force fought with the Axis powers. There were, of course, collaborators and quislings among the French population, but that is not surprising. The Vichy government is still reviled throughout France, and is among many French still a name associated with a national shame.

Nil nos tremefacit
30th Jun 2001, 18:18
I believe there was a French Division of the Waffen SS that fought at Stalingrad (as did the Spanish Blue Legion).

No-one can justify the behaviour of the Nazis, but the argument that large numbers of Europeans and others felt that they were fighting for the defeat of Communism is not without merit. Millions of Russians and Ukrainians voluntarily fought against the Red Army as did many of the Baltic peoples until 1955. Waffen SS Courland division was raised in the Baltic States and it is probably from this unit that the few Nazi war criminals who still face prosecution came.

Personally I think the Molatov-Ribbentrop Pact was the flame that lit the blue touchpaper in 1939. Everyone must recall that the Soviets invaded eastern Poland 4 days after the Germans had invaded the west (all the Polish troops had been moved west to fight the Germans). Most of that land has never been returned to the Poles and the Polish population was expelled by Stalin after the war to be rehoused in Danzig, Stettin and other German cities whose populations were either exterminated (2 million Germans killed 1945-47) or pushed westwards.

What this has to do with Americans I do not know. http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif

Hollywood's rewriting of WWII is as nothing to the re-writing of the War of Independence (we lost, but it wasn't like Mel Gibson made it out to be), Ireland and Scotland (William Wallace was a murdering thug who got what he deserved).

30th Jun 2001, 18:37
Nil, you may be right about the French in the Waffen SS. However, some Frenchmen allying with the very people enslaving their compatriots does not equate to Winston's assertion that "France preferred to fight for a power that defeated her" (Unless he is making some reference to the Battle of Waterloo - but considering that was won only with the assistance of Blucher and his Prussians, that would be just a tad too confusing).

Winston Smith
30th Jun 2001, 20:42

It is not correct to say that no reply was received, "due possibly to the chaos throughout Europe" - the French Vice-Admiral Gensoul simply refused to hand his ships over to the Allies or, as was offered, to transfer them to the West Indies where they were to remain until the end of the war. Since they did not have to sink their own ships, it appears that they actually did not want to help the Allies in any way. The death-toll of the ensuing massacre exceeded one thousand, almost exactly half the number of American casualties at Pearl Harbor. But don't expect anyone to make a movie about that...

More than three soldiers (on both sides) have lost their lives in the British attack on the naval base Diego Suarez, and it took them six months to entirely quell French resistance. And as I said, in Lebanon and Syria there has very well been an "organized French force" fighting for the axis.

Quisling was not a traitor, but simply a patriot who, as a Red Cross relief worker, experienced the true nature of the Soviet system first hand. The traitors were those who wanted to keep Norway defenseless so that Churchill could invade without difficulties. When they occupied most of Norway, Germany simply preempted Britain by a few days.

Where and how where the French enslaved? They were occupied after losing a war they had declared themselves in the years before.

(By the way, perhaps it is a modest consolation to you that I actually prefer the British cinema while I try to avoid like the plague anything coming out of Hollywood.)

Nil Nos Tremefacit:

That's right, and especially one batallion of the French Division 'Charlemagne' distinguished itself in the defensive battles of Berlin. Overall, there were about half a million foreign soldiers voluntarily fighting in the Waffen-SS, from almost every European nation as well as those peoples subjugated by the Soviet Union. It could even have been much more if the Soviet prisoners had not been treated as inhumanely as they often were, as Alfred Rosenberg, who was later hanged at Nuremberg, pointed out in a letter to High Command.

Good point about Poland, too. That's why all that talk about starting the war because of Hitler's attack on Poland sounds a bit hypocritical. Why didn't they declare war on the Soviet Union (who had much less "justification" for their invasion) for the same reason? Katyn clearly showed what Communism is all about, i.e. killing the intelligentsia, those capable of organizing resistance, and - more generally - those few individuals whose existence is prerequisite for any civilised occidental society.

As I said before, this is not to belittle any crimes committed by Germans.

[This message has been edited by Winston Smith (edited 30 June 2001).]

30th Jun 2001, 21:10
Winston, Gensoul was offered three alternatives.

1) To join the Allies
2) To sink his own ships
3) To be sunk by Force H

He requested time to consult whatever powers may still be contactable. No reply was recieved. His opinion was that France had surrendured, and that he was therefore not, in honour, at liberty to join the Allies.

He did not fight his ships against Force H. His fleet was sunk, most of them at anchor.

After the action, Gensoul offered his men their choice of staying with him in Oran to await the Germans, or returning home, or joining whatever Allied outfits they could find. Many returned to France, including one uncle of mine. He lived until his fairly recent death, at Chanteloup just outside Paris, where he was a member of the "Resistance", the Maquis.

There was no French national force fighting the Allies, and "France" did not ally herself with Germany as you allege. There were traitors, as you say, from all over Europe in the Axis forces.

Your point about France declaring war is a nasty, semantic little dig at the technicalities. Germany was carrying on an undeclared war. France and Britain both had treaties with Poland, occupied by Germany. The technical declaration of war was, therefore, by France and Britain, but the de facto declaration was Hitler's and his alone.

Where were Frenchmen enslaved? From all over France, men, women and children were taken by force back to Germany, to work camps, to the death camps. The village from where my family comes (near Bourges, in Cher) had over 20 taken, out of a population of approximately 60. My cousin was lucky - his father was merely put up against a wall and shot in reprisal for some Maquis activity. Francois was away from the farm at the time, and managed to avoid capture, and spent the rest of the war in hiding with the Maquis. After the war he was invited on a lecture tour of the USA, before returning to France where he married a lot of money and a vineyard.

Of those taken to the work camps in Germany, none survived.

Please keep your lies to yourself. I have no beef with present-day Germany, nor with Germans, for the sins of the Nazi era. But your recent posts smack nastily of sympathy with the aims of Germany of that time.

[This message has been edited by HugMonster (edited 30 June 2001).]

Winston Smith
1st Jul 2001, 00:54

first of all let me thank you for your reasoned replies, also considering your family's history. However, please do not accuse me of "lies". If I made any factual errors or wrong deductions, do not hold back your criticism. If I were not open to revision of any misconceptions I might have, I would not engage in a discussion like this in the first place.

According to my source, the well-known Polish historian Janusz Piekalkiewicz, the alternatives presented to Vice-Admiral Gensoul were:[list=1] to join the Allies. to go to British ports escorted by the Royal Navy, to be handed to the "Free French". to go to French ports in the West Indies (in case he felt obliged by the conditions of the armistice which forbade him to use his fleet against Germany or Italy). To sink the ships himself (not counting being shelled as an "offer").[/list=a]After several hours of negotiations he definitively rejected the British ultimatum, which was followed by the bombardment. You are right, of course, in correcting me that they did not actually "fight", which they were obviously in no position to do.

However, as I have mentioned before twice, in Madagascar as well as in the Middle East French forces were actively fighting against the Allies.

I certainly did not say there were "traitors" from all over Europe in the Axis forces. In my book a "traitor" is someone who knowingly acts against the vital interests of his people, as opposed to those of his acutal or former government. Secondly, a traitor usually expects to get something in return for his deed. But you certainly do not voluntarily join one of the most horrible campaigns in modern history if you do not firmly believe it to be the right thing to do.

Even less justified is it to call "traitors" those volunteers from the Eastern European nations which had had to suffer under Soviet barbarism for more than two decades. Many German soldiers found themselves unable to describe the horrors they encountered during the first months of the campaign in the East.

I am sorry for that question about enslavement. I quickly added it before submitting my post after I saw your reply to Nil nos tremefacit (without even proof-reading it, as may be seen by two mistakes). I did not want to allege in any way that there were no deportations or slave labor (These mostly took place in the later years of the war. I add this just because you speak of "Frenchmen allying with the very people enslaving their compatriots"). I was refering to France as a whole, which was certainly not enslaved.

About your calling France's declaration of war a "semantic little dig at the technicalities": Since it is true that France and Britain had treaties with Poland, I think it is very telling that they did not seem to care about the Soviets doing likewise. And one must not forget that before the invasion Poland actually held considerable parts of Germany occupied, something which even the Socialists of the Weimar Republic had never been able to accepte. Still I recognize the partition and treatment of Poland one of the greatest crimes of the German government.

Since for full eight months after this nothing happened on the western front, France (and Britain, whom Hitler never wanted to have war with) had had plenty of time to withdraw their declaration of war which could be of no use to them (and anyone) and was a permanent danger to Germany.

Really betrayed were the French people by their own government. When the German troops advanced, entire cities were forced to evacuate for no good reason but the lies of the British propaganda. About eleven million citizens were actually fleeing, not few of whom died in this unnecessary stampede. As soon as they had been overtaken by the German Army (and had an opportunity to convince themselves that they didn't actually eat their babies), they were encouraged to return to their homes as quickly as possible. The SS even issued petrol and food to facilitate the restoration of normal life. After that, public sentiment towards Britain was not exactly favourable, and Mers-el-Kebir did nothing to enhance these emotions. It should also be noted that the Allies caused more civilian deaths and destruction in France than the German Army, mainly after 1944.

The Vichy government was not composed of traitors, but of men (some of whom very respected like Pétain) who had signed the best possible treaty with Germany so as to spare the French people unnecessary hardship and suffering.

As for the Résistance, please accept that my understanding in this regard is limited. Attacking enemy soldiers after an armistice has been declared is not only reprehensible, but not protected by any international convention, either. And they really got active after the Germans had to withdraw, murdering alleged "collaborators" - often ordinary, decent citizens. It is estimated that the "Épuration" claimed about one hundred thousand victims who were killed, with many more "punished" by other means - something comparable only to the self-decapitation they afflicted themselves with in 1789. Accordingly, these (often Communist) "freedom fighters" are despised by many decent Frenchmen.

Like you, I "have no beef" with any nation. I guess I do not even have to say this as it should have become quite clear from many of my earlier postings - otherwise I wouldn't be here (like many of my compatriots who love to babble about "multi-culturalism" while they can't be bothered to really learn anything about other cultures and customs, much less learn foreign languages). It simply made me sad to see some of you quarreling about each other's contribution to a global disaster in which no one really can be said to have "won". While honouring one's dead and acknowledging their efforts and heroism is laudable, I do not think it should be made into an obsession. Since we have well-founded reasons to believe that wars between occidental nations will never happen again, we should focus instead on what we have in common.

What actually made me raise this whole issue was that good-vs-evil attitude one is often confronted with as soon as the Second World War is the topic. We should not forget that several hundred million people do not suddenly turn "evil", and that judging with hindsight is not necessarily objective and fair to all concerned, either. There are always two sides to a story (And then, I just saw ocb explain in "Not again!" that Waco is Germany in the 1930's. I will certainly not go to any trouble refuting that).

HugMonster, as I have found you - and many others here - to be quite a pleasure to discuss a wide variety of topics with, I ask you not to take my opinions to heart too much if they seriously trouble you. I honestly appreciate your opinions and would not want to miss your criticism which is always calm and mostly constructive.

1st Jul 2001, 01:42
Winston, I appreciate that your perspective on what occurred in Europe is probably different from mine. That Frenchmen were acting against the interests of the liberation of their country and therefore stopping the killing of their compatriots makes them, in my book, traitors.

Where you got that statistic about more Frenchmen being killed by the British than by the Germans I have no idea, but I can assure you that it is nonsense - probably outdated German propaganda.

There was a small town close to Chartres whose entire population (about 3,000) was wiped out because the Maquis had assassinated the local German commander. I believe it was never repopulated, and what buildings remained were bulldozed.

Yes, during the German retreat, collaborators and German agents were caught, and many killed or punished in other ways. I would be interested to know where your figure of 100,000 came from.

Whilst the French government surrendered, there is, as far as I know, no convention that condemns resistance to an occupying force. The brutalities heaped upon the French (and let's not forget the Dutch and Belgians either) would easily negate any "legality" Germany could have claimed.

My father, a Royal Navy officer, was among the first British forces first into Narvik after the German's hasty retreat. He tells me that he still has nightmares about the horrors he saw, the monstrous crimes inflicted by the occupying Germans on the local population.

And I have seen the photos of what the Allies found when they reached Belsen - which was not even a designated extermination camp, merely a concentration and work camp. What I saw there made that day just about the most upsetting day of my life.

How the Nazis had the nerve to emblazon the gates of Auschwitz with "Arbeit Macht Frei" I don't know.

And finally, all former Maquisards of whom I know are, far from being despised by "decent Frenchmen", themselves respected and honoured as having been instrumental in the fight to free their homeland from foreign, unwelcome, brutal and illegal occupation.

1st Jul 2001, 03:27
Well, reluctant as I am to sail my little corvette into the the line of fire as two mighty dreadnoughts exchange 15 inch shells.
I really must fire my little bofors in your direction Winston.
Your slant on affairs indicates an anti communaist bent but you surely cannot expect anyone to believe some of your statements. It is said that the history of any war is written by the victor but sometimes the truths is so obvious that it requires no more than a simple statement of the facts.

Your criticism of the French resistance beggars belief, would YOU really welcome an occupying army to your country? Maybe, except for Communists. I would fight and I suspect so would you. Or perhaps you would have joined the Waffen SS to fight communism secure in the belief that fighting for a country that invaded your country for the third time in a hundred years is the right thing to do? Traitor is such a strong word, sometimes overused, sometimes appropriate. Been accused of it myself.
Your statement that French cities were evacuated on the basis of British propaganda is so ludricious it's laughable. I think an invading army is reason enough for anyone. Glad to hear the kindly SS were quick to restore order. Pity they didn't maintain that standard of behaviour. The Nazis never ate babies they just shot them.

Yours assertion that Britain and France's declaration of war was a danger to Germany is true. But of course, Germany was the real threat to everyone. I think that may have been the real reason behind the declaration of war, don't you agree?
One thing, why on earth did Hitler declare war on America? Odd that considering your line of thought.
The implication that Poland was invaded to restore German lands is such an old Nazi propaganda lie that it hardly deserves a riposte. The Nazis never made any secret of their desire for lebensraum. I think Poland was always part of the plan.
The fact that many east Europeans chose to join the Waffen SS is no surprise. Stalin's regime was as bad if not worse than Hitler's. If you're an ignorant peasant, it matters not the colour of the uniform that oppresses you.
I appreciate the position you hold. But it seems to me that your take on history merely reflects your own bias and reading matter.
At the time in western Europe communism was not considered the threat you seem to believe it was. In fact Europeans were never quite as fearful of Communism as Americans seem to be. Yet Americans have less reason than anyone to fear communism.
National Socialism on the other hand was a clear and present danger and German expansionism was feared from the early thirties. Even now a cafeful eye is kept on German attitudes, unfairly as it happens.

As it is national socialism is long since discredited and communism has fallen on it's own sword. Neither are very palatable, being merely arms of the same mentality. When they hang you it hardly matter whether they salute with an open hand or a clenched fist.

What all this has to do with Americans I just don't know.