04/08/2014 The Papers


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say that a doctor who treated a Liberian suffering from the Ebola


virus has contracted the disease. An earthquake has killed at least 398


people in south`west China. Time for a look at the front pages. Thank you


for joining us. Familiar faces. It comes as no surprise what is on the


front pages but what is interesting are the images that are selected of


the commemorations marking the centenary of World War I. There are


so many pictures that could have been chosen. The Express: The day


the world remembered them. When you have a tabloid newspaper, there are


simple choices for the front page picture, because it is mainly the


picture that sells the paper. Pictures with bright colours always


do better. When you have an opportunity to use something that


has a lot of the colour red in it, it is an opportunity that photo


editors grab it with both hands. And the Daily Star has exactly the same


shop. But then you go on to something like the Metro, they have


gone for a picture of the Duchess of Cambridge laying a wreath in


Belgium. And the Daily Mail have done it again. A picture of Kate and


Harry and the Archbishop of Canterbury in darkness. The Mirror


have chosen very dark pictures of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.


Let's look at the images the papers have chosen. Red poppies raining


down in Dorset. And clearly in the uniforms that were worn by so many


men that went into a war they really believed they could win. And so many


of them were signing up but none of them could have had any idea what


they were heading into. That is the difficulty with this. This is about


a myth, it is not about historian. I'm sorry to go through this. Every


editorial piece today, there was always one fact that was inevitably


wrong. What happened here was that these people were a national army,


they were an army that was configured to be in colonial wars


like the Boer War, where they did not do so well. They had been


thoroughly reformed and they went to fight row in France and took a


tasting. The casualty levels `` they took a beating. The casualty levels


really shocked the politicians. Within three weeks. It was the


Battle of Mons and then the long retreat, where the brunt was born by


the French. We are not hearing too much about that. The brunt on the


east was born by the Russians. But the British plug the line and by the


subsequent spring, that army was broken and it was finished. And it


was finished at Ypres. That is their history. But this myth is, oh, what


a lovely war and the last great scene of Blackadder goes Forth. That


is the iconography. We are looking back at the beginning of a war from


a very long distance. This was the piece that I wrote in the Evening


Standard. The unfinished business is coming up. It comes up in a lot of


the copy but the finest piece that I have read was one written by one of


the oldest historians, Sir Michael Howard, who said that actually, when


people went to war, not particularly the Britons but the Germans, some


French, they were welcoming the war. They thought it was going to be real


excitement. They were going to settle the old scores and it would


be over by Christmas. And had it been over by Christmas, we would not


have got the result many were really wanting. I find it very moving


because we are trying to take a snapshot of an age and yet the more


you turn the prison, when you look 360 degrees, it was not a happy


Europe, it was a Europe that was quarrelling with its self, where a


small fights have been doused down for about 20 years before and


suddenly it exploded into this and went on for longer and deeper and


indeed, the world changed. Now, why the world changed I think is going


to be a big thing that we will come up to as we go through the various


stages of these commemorations. And we will be looking at the First


World War in an area that I do find fascinating because it is not


static, this picture. We will have a different view of the road and


ourselves by the time we come to 2018. `` a different view of the war


and ourselves. By the end of the war, we found out about the truth of


the concentration camps. World War II. And that was used as a form of


justification, a revisionist justification to justify why we had


been fighting. World War I has the same revisionism. Because World War


II was a justified war, we like to use that to justify even further


back in history World War I, to say oh, it was the Germans again and the


same kind of thing will stop and culturally, it becomes part of the


same messy thing. I think that is the most powerful element in this


because what you get out of this, and you are quite right in that in


the very end, was the Second World War where a


great journalist, one of the heroes of our trade, did a book called the


The Good War. The Second World War could be the good war and it


coloured this one because if you look at the way this was regarded in


the immediate aftermath, particularly to one of my


grandfathers, who was horribly injured in the most terrible


fashion, you lived in misery, that this was the bad war and that no


good came of it and no good came of the conduct of... David Cameron


described World War I as one of the most is not the most horrific war


ever. But he also said... But why do we think that this war? Yes, the


experience. It is Blackadder, it is the Somme, but why do we say that it


is worse than any other thing? I suppose they were not in lines of


trenches but look at the levels of attrition in the American civil


war. It is not trivial to bring that out because the American papers have


been dealing with the 150th anniversary of the American civil


war, which took out somebody in almost every family. And very


intelligently as well. I didn't think that there has been real


thought put into these papers, how to balance it and how to give the


image. It is not celebratory in any way, which people had feared. But


how do you do the commemoration, particularly in view of you dies? We


have seen the images of the reconciliation between the European


leaders... Let's look at the Metro because that is a particular moment.


And in one way, one of the young members of the Royal family on the


front plate will appeal to some of the younger readers. It comes down


to in the end trying to get a very complicated series of not one event


but many others across using just one photograph. It boils down to


show business in the end and that is what the Duchess of Cambridge


represents. She represents a kind of a younger generation of Britain, a


hope for a future. She is a mother and all the rest of it. I could not


agree more. And she is used to say, oh, don't we feel dreadful. But she


is very pretty. If William had married a German princess, I don't


think she would be used in the same way. Then again, in 1917, the Royal


Family changed its name because they did not want to sound Germany any


more. This was one family that has spread its tentacles across Europe,


which then started fighting, the statesman paid into it, the


politicians got into it, busy telling these nations that they


needed to start fighting. And now we have politicians like David Cameron


and Michael Gove saying this was a justified sacrifice. 100 years on,


they are trying to justify the death of 17 million men stop I'm not there


is a way to do it. Another photograph of a member of the Royal


family. This is all incredibly important as well. And you think of


some of the surveys that came out on the last Remembrance Day. Many young


people were confused about what the Hoppy represented, why you had to


wear it, what war it was from. `` being poppy. Was it to remember


sacrifice or a piece? Images like this might draw in some of those


people. It is a good point. I'm slightly involved in all of this as


Commissioner of Commonwealth War Graves. And the issue with schools,


because it is on the curriculum, there is a great deal of interest.


And the interest index went right up but the basis of knowledge was, as


you say, astonishingly low. He is very interesting. I think that the


Royal family have orchestrated this very well and very subtly because


they are also sharing the load, the young royals, in doing the really


important commemoration is of the Second World War. Why are they


important? The last big ones were D`Day. It is the last time you will


have veterans who have real memories. They were saying to me


that they will not turn up again. He is quite extraordinary. With


veterans, he has his mother's touch. At Casino, you made it clear...


There were a lot of New Zealand fighters. They had a terrible time.


The veterans from New Zealand got a lot of stick. He made it clear to


every single veteran that if they wanted to talk to him, he would find


the time to talk to them full of the must have spoken with more than 200


in the space of a few days. He is very important. We have seen the


three principles. Harry, his brother and his sister`in`law. And they will


be going Gallipoli. An image with the Archbishop of


Canterbury as well and there with the lanterns which have been the


focus of the this evening. Between these newspapers, coming back to the


reason why tabloids, the most successful newspapers, choose a


particular story on the front page, the Sun is generally read by young


men. They can identify more with Harry than anyone. He is a veteran,


a member of the military. The story they have got a letter he has


written, says, if we get bowled out there is nothing for it. They can


relate. Other newspapers comment on the officer class. Broadsheets speak


about David Cameron's uncle who was lost in the war. That isn't to say


an officer dying isn't worse than Tommy dying. It means that some


papers focus on the working`class element and others for the kind of


people of a class who made decisions at the time. The Daily Mail goes for


a younger man and woman and an older man, more family focused. Briefly,


let's look at the Independent, which always tries to be different. In


effect, the front page looks like it's turned off its own lights. It


is similar to the Mirror. The story of the unknown warrior is one of the


most moving parts. They easy and four bodies, perhaps Guardsmen, they


chose one at random, brought him home and buried him in Westminster


Abbey. It was an amazing thing. It was a catharsis. This is Sebastien


for a looks's paper, Birdsong `` Faulks. It is a deft touch. What I


do think though, speaking of the Unknown Warrior, such is the


technology today, if we were to start again, you could find out


exactly who it was. I went to the laboratory of the Dutch war dead,


who recover 40 Khedive as per year from World War II and they were


getting people from the Warwickshire Regiment and they could say that we


grew up on the borders of summer `` Somerset and so on. `` . I like the


argument between the poets, the correspondence and the public and


the posh historians, and the posh historians aren't having their own


way on this. Let's move on to the Guardian. They are doing something


clever, they have tried to make what happened to count for something that


is happening today, linking the conflict around us in the Middle


East and asking, well saving, we have had a century to count the cost


of war. For those who don't know, the end of the Foles toward war is


when Britain started occupying Palestine. It created a lot of what


we are looking at now with ISIS producing a caliphate. The


Guardian's copy comes down to celebrity. We have the historian,


Dan snow, no rating. You have got one particular relative of the


16`year`old who was scouted and shot, reading from his mother's


letter to the War office, asking for news of his son `` Dan Snow,


narrating. They are used as an afterthought, the Tommy, the average


person, is used to tail off at the end. The majority of the stories are


about celebrity, showbiz, someone from... There isn't any reason to


have that. When it becomes your sole focus, it takes the mood away. It


oversimplifies it. The times have been even bolder than the Guardian


and they have tried to bring the commemorations and make them more


relevant. A slender branch of hope. I couldn't find the hope in all of


this. The ceasefire that has been announced tonight. It is giving a


reflection of the mood in Glasgow. With the Commonwealth Games and the


service in the cathedral. As you say, quite rightly, he was trying to


look for the no more War message that he hopes will get through to


Gaza `` war. It will be very interesting. The bit I thought might


come up, which will come up soon, is the way, of course we will have


terrible things, but war changed by dimension in a huge degree and


someone did it today, I saw in an inside page, they had the nearest


thing to a biplane. By the end, it became a very big air war. On the


1st of April, 1918, you have the foundation of the RA at, the first


independent air force in the world `` RAF. This changes everything for


the worse because you get hundreds, thousands, millions of civilians.


Some of the things we have seen in Gaza to a great scale. It is very


difficult as you say, this enormous portmanteau of half memories, to


simplify and get a straight narrative. Do you think that we got


the coverage right? So many events and thoughts to mark. These are just


the front pages, this is a snapshot. You would have to read everything


and even then you would only have a snippet of what you have got. I


don't have the same optimism that after four years of going over the


anniversaries, that as a culture, we will have a better grasp of what the


First World War involved. We had a new RAF, we got new pilot, zips,


teabags, lots of things. Thank you for your thoughts and for taking us


through the papers for tomorrow. Thanks to you for joining us.


Thanks for tuning into the latest thoughts for the weather prospect


for the rest of the week, the weekend and beyond. There is


something interesting for the second half of the weekend,


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