Looking at later interpretations, I can see that they have not always followed the popular, for example interpretation 7 is an article taken from the daily graphic in 1944, bearing in mind that the war is still not yet over. It was written at a time when it was clear that the allies were going to be victorious. This interpretation is reliable because the writer Sir Arthur Bryant had very traditional views and in his writing of history he was not afraid to include his own views, which I suppose could be looked upon as biased but probably just looked at as a more realistic point of view.
There are really three messages of this interpretation. These are 1) that the pilots played an important role in winning the war but there are several other reasons for Britain’s victory. 2) Britain withstood terrible bombardment, survived and became triumphant. 3) Britain saved the world. This interpretation is different however because it considers many more factors why this war was happening etc. for example, this article has been written after there has been time to reflect and gather information and get a full range of reasons.
Also I have already mentioned the fact that Bryant puts in his own views, i. e. Personal not government. At this moment when the article was written it is also clear as I have said that Britain was going to win the war so Bryant knows that he can say basically whatever he wanted without jeopardising anyone’s morale. Some people may think that it is luck at the time but cannot say it until this time when this article was written, so in that respect Bryant is saying what some people think anyway.
This article, I believe is for historical accuracy not for propaganda, because the war is almost over there is no reason for Bryant to do this. Another reason that tells me this is not propaganda is because knowing the background information I know that Bryant is a very open minded person and he says what he thinks- therefore I believe that he would not be pushed into writing about anything that he didn’t believe in. however, in some respects though it is propaganda but only in the sense that he praises the soldiers quite respectively.
The strengths of this article are tat it is more convincing as an assessment, there are more factors and also that it is first hand information as Bryant has experienced the war. The weaknesses are that it is very biased towards the soldiers and it is still propaganda. Interpretation 8 is taken from the official Battle of Britain book written by JRM Butler in 1957 (war over). It is factual and gives two sides however it is slightly biased. It informs us that Hitler didn’t intend to invade Britain and that it was an improvised situation. This was because he was dedicated to Russia and gaining superiority over that country.
The actual fact was simply that Hitler didn’t realise what a threat Britain was and how important it actually was. This information- because it was official, was probably not used for propaganda but was most likely to be government authorised and it therefore not going to have any realistic facts that the government does not want to be in there. The person who wrote this was also a military historian which links into the army, which means that he also would not have written anything to “upset” anyone because it would’ve effected his status (god forbid).
However the information however biased is likely to have more information because there was new information after the war was over, hence maybe making the myth of the few more distant as there were many other aspects that the majority of the public were now able to hear or find out about. The strengths of this piece is that it was an official account- therefore the majority of it should be accurate, it also reaches a wide audience, because after the war a lot of people were interested in finding out the background of the war and why it really happened and what the consequences were.
There are also like I have already pointed out more issues to be considered now. The weaknesses of this interpretation are that it is still fairly biased, it was also Churchill’s interpretation and of course it was government sponsored so is likely to have information to make them happy rather than to upset people by telling people the truth of what happened “behind the scenes”. Churchill himself taken from his Memoirs of the Second World War after the war was over in 1959 wrote interpretation 10.
This is very similar to what he was saying before, however, it is noticeable in this that it is after the war as Churchill mentions things that he would never have said during the war, for fear of offending certain people. For example he says “Extensive damage had been done to five of the group’s forward airfields, and also to the six sector stations. ” I think that this is more honest of Churchill because he would have never had said this before and admitted that London suffered extensive damage.
I think that Churchill also makes it a more accurate account now because he can, and maybe admitting to people that there were other factors involved in winning the battle i. e. Hitlers mistakes he is also admitting to himself at the same time. There is also an amount of acknowledgement from Churchill admitting that there was an element of luck in winning the war and I think that by writing this it is like his final word or what happened, coming from the prime minister is therefore going to be to the public “the truth” and maybe Churchill thought that by doing this it would stop so many different interpretations about the war.
However, this was not going to be the case with such a big change in history, it was inevitable that there would be many interpretations and that they would not all be sticking to the earlier popular interpretation of “the few” and “their finest hour”. The strengths of this are that there are more factors and more concentrated on Russia, and the fact that it is written by the most influential figure from the war at this time. It is also therefore going to be well researched and a good historical view despite all I have said.
The weaknesses of this are that it is biased slightly as most things will be- depending who wrote it, and that Churchill fails to mention Dowding at all and the fact that he played a huge part in helping the RAF but because Churchill didn’t get on with him at all he felt it far more important to talk about Lord Beaver Brook- his good friend. This indicates to me that Churchill doesn’t want to share any glory and therefore shows that he can be slightly biased. Interpretation 11 was a film called “the battle of Britain” made in 1969, starring very well known British actors and it became a very popular film.
The message of this film was different things. 1) Brings up the mention of “the Few” which won the Battle and how it was a very important battle. 2) It confirms the popular interpretation and that the attack on London was Germany’s mistake, that the British were clever and the Germans were not and that it was very nationalistic. In the film there is a contrast between the British and the Germans that the British are cool and determined and that the Germans are fanatical, crazy, stereotypical and had a strong symbolism.
It reinforces the nationalistic views still shown today and it’s basically aiming its appeal to those involved in the war in any way, and it is in a way reminding them. It is also a message to all the new generations to be told about the battle of Britain. And it also a commercial enterprise to make money from it because they knew they could. 3) It is a historical film taken from the truth therefore people will not know any different if they are lying or being biased.
It was also therefore designed to entertain so there is going to be some element of truth but some element of lying in it. The strengths are that it is from the core of the truth and is very successful in reaching the audience. The weaknesses are that it is biased and also selective- in that I mean that they (the makers) have probably chosen the bits that they thought were going to be most effective and lastly that this film was probably made for pure entertainment and to make money.
Interpretation 12- written by Klaus Schulz is an extract from a book called “from Germany’s past” in 1971. The book is a general history of Germany throughout the modern period and it presents a not uncommon German viewpoint. It does not mention the Battle of Britain which is very important when looking at the popular interpretations of the war etc, therefore I can see that it may be bias for me to comment on the reliability, it mainly mentions Russia and the USA and how Hitler made a mistake in what he did and how that is now recognised.
He also talks about the loss in general, which he doesn’t consider to be significant and it is basically general history that I would not consider when looking at how the popular myth has changed but just looking at the background information of what happened in the war and the main reasons. The strengths are that it is from a non-British perspective, which is important because it is fair to get another point of view if we are going to make a conclusion about the Battle of Britain and the myths that followed.
It is also written by the side that lost so really this person would have no reason to lie because really most people are bound to know what happened and why Germany lost. This interpretation is also based on evidence so it is not likely to be lying because evidence is not going to be biased. And finally it also deals with the Germans defeat, which is a very honest thing to do if a German is written the piece because no one really likes admitting defeat. The weaknesses in this are that it omits a great deal of facts about the battle of Britain, and has a possibility of being biased in that sense.
Interpretation 15- written by Christopher Ray, an article called “the battle of Britain- her finest hour or Hitler’s greatest hoax”, in history review, march 1997. It is aimed at A-level students, Christopher Ray lectures at Bristol University. From the picture on the front of the article I can see that it is suggesting that the Lufftwaffe was something to divert the attention and that air superiority was not essential. He is taking the view that Hitler was really intending to invade Russia and not Britain. Why was this written? To stir up emotion and to be controversial?
Maybe it was just to inform people that there was another side to what they believed in already and to sell this new information to students is much more effective because they are going to be open minded because they were not involved in the war obviously and they are most likely not to be biased. It was a new version of the Battle of Britain openly published, and it is saying aswel that the myth was highly distorted. It is not so much an argument that this is being brought to a discussion but more of a debate. Clearly this is easily achieved now as the war is many years over and people are willing to look at it from another perspective.
The strengths are that it is well researched and accurate historically, it is also the first to discuss that the popular myth may have been taken out of context over the years- and that others have suggested this. The weaknesses are that is this his own idea to get the students active in having an open mind to interpretation or was he being serious in what he was saying. Another thing is that he omitted glorifying the pilots in any way and didn’t mention that of course they had something to do with the British winning the war.