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TV/iplayer must watches (Read 472081 times)

teestub

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#1800 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 02, 2024, 09:32:14 pm
I know very little about this part of WW2 and one of my initial reactions was "what the hell happened in Japanese society that made their soldiers so careless of their own lives?"

If you do podcasts, the Dan Carlin series on the Asia Pacific war goes into some detail regarding the Japanese society and how that relates to the war, itís 5 episodes of 4 hours each though, so a bit of an investment! https://www.dancarlin.com/product/hardcore-history-62-Supernova-in-the-East-i/

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#1801 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 02, 2024, 09:58:20 pm
Great shout Sean. Iíve done Band of Brothers twice and will watch the other two. The end of the end credits in BoB always got me hard as it was interviews with the elderly members of Easy Company who were portrayed in the series.

As for the Adam Tooze observation, that really came alive for me reading a WW2 history book several years ago and realising how much depended on fuel, hardware and kinetic energy deployed in theatre through tanks, shells, ships, planes, bombs and bullets.  There were equations that the respective war offices drew up that calculated how many KW/square mile were needed that informed production in the factories making all the stuff. I guess thatís why The Bomb suddenly became so attractive to all.


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#1802 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 02, 2024, 10:10:23 pm
If you do podcasts, the Dan Carlin series on the Asia Pacific war goes into some detail regarding the Japanese society and how that relates to the war, itís 5 episodes of 4 hours each though, so a bit of an investment! https://www.dancarlin.com/product/hardcore-history-62-Supernova-in-the-East-i/

Or keeping it on topic, Watching 'Shogun'.

 Besides being beautifully shot, compelling acting and scripts, and a slightly annoying (kind of) main character, it also supposedly portrays japanese society of the time faithfully, from an era that had a big influence well into the 20th century. (The Tokugawa shogunate/Edo period which lasted till the late 19th century).


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#1803 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 03, 2024, 07:59:19 am
I know very little about this part of WW2 and one of my initial reactions was "what the hell happened in Japanese society that made their soldiers so careless of their own lives?"

If you do podcasts, the Dan Carlin series on the Asia Pacific war goes into some detail regarding the Japanese society and how that relates to the war, itís 5 episodes of 4 hours each though, so a bit of an investment! https://www.dancarlin.com/product/hardcore-history-62-Supernova-in-the-East-i/

Canít recommend that podcast series enough. Yes itís very long and quite a commitment but once you start listening itís very hard to stop and it have me a really good perspective of how Japan, its Government, Emperor and citizenry ended up where they did. It comes close to providing some answers as to why the Japanese military and soldiers behaved in the way they did.

Dave

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#1804 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 03, 2024, 08:48:19 am
In February I went to the Yasukuni Jinga Shrine in Tokyo, where the souls of those who died in the service of Japan, from the 17C onwards are enshrined.  There's an attached museum that has an 'interesting' interpretation of 20thC history.  Supposedly the Japanese language exhibit captions differ a lot from the English ones, but even those gave rise to the odd "eh?!".  E.g., the invasions of China / Manchuria etc. are all explained as utterly necessary due to either provocation or existential threat (e.g., the West denying Japan access to resources). The 'Rape of Nanjing' is a minor and successful military operation against a more numerous enemy, with no mention of the 200,000 civilian casualties afterwards. Exhibits include an imperial flag with "the autographs of all 25 alleged Class A war defendants" (who are enshrined there).  There are midget suicide subs, suicide boats, Kamikaze planes (all presumably unsuccessful!) - and no comment on how a culture that pressurized soldiers to kill themselves is a bit fucked up (I guess they don't / didn't think it was fucked up?).  My brother's been to the Hiroshima Museum and said while there are some weepy items (a child's lunchbox found among the rubble etc.), he struggled to feel suitably sad as the tone of the whole museum is "one day, Japan was minding its own business, then America dropped a bomb on us!".

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#1805 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 03, 2024, 09:06:00 am
In February I went to the Yasukuni Jinga Shrine in Tokyo, where the souls of those who died in the service of Japan, from the 17C onwards are enshrined.  There's an attached museum that has an 'interesting' interpretation of 20thC history.  Supposedly the Japanese language exhibit captions differ a lot from the English ones, but even those gave rise to the odd "eh?!".  E.g., the invasions of China / Manchuria etc. are all explained as utterly necessary due to either provocation or existential threat (e.g., the West denying Japan access to resources). The 'Rape of Nanjing' is a minor and successful military operation against a more numerous enemy, with no mention of the 200,000 civilian casualties afterwards. Exhibits include an imperial flag with "the autographs of all 25 alleged Class A war defendants" (who are enshrined there).  There are midget suicide subs, suicide boats, Kamikaze planes (all presumably unsuccessful!) - and no comment on how a culture that pressurized soldiers to kill themselves is a bit fucked up (I guess they don't / didn't think it was fucked up?).  My brother's been to the Hiroshima Museum and said while there are some weepy items (a child's lunchbox found among the rubble etc.), he struggled to feel suitably sad as the tone of the whole museum is "one day, Japan was minding its own business, then America dropped a bomb on us!".


I am on the whole sadly not surprised by this. I have a Japanese friend and on the only time this kind of subject ever cropped up it was obvious how little he knew and understood about what had happened in the Second World War and why. He was of the opinion that it isnít really discussed in schools at all
Dave

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#1806 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 03, 2024, 09:55:32 am

Band of Brothers

Classic war story of American paratroopers training and then fighting the Nazis in France, the Netherlands and Germany. All the cast are good, the battle scenes suitably terrifying and this is the "good war" at its mostly heroic best. Very much well-troden ground but modern-ish production values and direction are a great reason for returning to this subject matter.

Annoyingly, as with Masters of the Air, the British are cast as rather bungling and the UK as some kind of quaint Tolkinesque shire-land, when in reality Britain was a technological powerhouse with an incredibly productive industrial economy. This is very much American mythologising, which is fine in its way, but the war was so vast and encompassed so much that the centrality the show subtly assumes feels misplaced. Still, very much worth watching.


Actually rewatched this recently, had forgotten how good it is - David Schwimmer putting in a fantastic performance as a total contrast to his "Ross from Friends" image!

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#1807 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 03, 2024, 11:17:34 am
"Why we fight" - the concentration camp episode has to one of the most moving episodes of any TV series I've seen.
Should watch again, thanks for the reminder.

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#1808 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 03, 2024, 02:28:30 pm
Thanks so much to everyone suggesting viewing and listening to enhance my understanding of WW2-era Japan, and for the personal insights. Much apprecated!


As for the Adam Tooze observation, that really came alive for me reading a WW2 history book several years ago and realising how much depended on fuel, hardware and kinetic energy deployed in theatre through tanks, shells, ships, planes, bombs and bullets.  There were equations that the respective war offices drew up that calculated how many KW/square mile were needed that informed production in the factories making all the stuff. I guess thatís why The Bomb suddenly became so attractive to all.

Yes this is so true. For me, WW2 is really the start of the very modern world that we live in today. When I see anything WW1 related, it always feels like the last gasp of what Brad de Long calls the "steam power societies" rather than the oil based societies that had fully emerged by 1945. And the war office equations you mention, which I hadn't heard of but which sound absolutely par for the course, remind me of the German tank problem in statistics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_tank_problem

I'm guessing these were the first steps in the path that took us to game theory being applied to nuclear war, or the McNamara quantitative approach to the Vietnam War, as I'm not sure many of the techniques used were really possible in 1914-18, with Fisher not really creating modern statistics until the 1920s and 30s.

As for the bomb, watching The Pacific gave me a visceral sense of why the loses for the Americans must have been very hard to bear. But perhaps it's also tied in with the way of fighting for modern, rich democracies. Tooze again:

"The first point is that the more material is mobilized, the more we flaunt productive power, the more we downplay the role of the fighting men on the frontline. Materialism cuts against heroism. The US Army Rangers scaling the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc were fighting with great bravery, but they had behind them a truly staggering arsenal. Nor was this an accident. The Western way of war, exemplified by D-day put firepower above manpower wherever possible. This is how rich democracies fight if they can. Those who suffer horrendous casualties are, almost by definition, either poor or desperate."

https://adamtooze.substack.com/p/chartbook-289-d-day-80-years-on-world

The whole article is great, and includes a wonderful newsreel footage from 1946 about V2 launches in the American desert in which they put a camera on the rocket, letting the public see the earth from space for the first time.


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#1809 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 03, 2024, 05:07:40 pm
Band of Brothers

Classic war story of American paratroopers training and then fighting the Nazis in France, the Netherlands and Germany. All the cast are good, the battle scenes suitably terrifying and this is the "good war" at its mostly heroic best. Very much well-troden ground but modern-ish production values and direction are a great reason for returning to this subject matter.

Annoyingly, as with Masters of the Air, the British are cast as rather bungling and the UK as some kind of quaint Tolkinesque shire-land, when in reality Britain was a technological powerhouse with an incredibly productive industrial economy. This is very much American mythologising, which is fine in its way, but the war was so vast and encompassed so much that the centrality the show subtly assumes feels misplaced. Still, very much worth watching.

This has triggered me a bit as Band of Brothers is one of my absolute all time favourite TV series, I must have watched it dozens of times now.

Interesting to think of it as covering well trodden ground since when it was actually made it was pretty ground-breaking. It's 23 years old!! Are there any earlier examples other than Saving Private Ryan that did a similar thing?

RE the British, I presume you're thinking of the scene in Neunen where the British tank is destroyed? If so that's kind of fair although I'd point out the role of Col. Dobie in the subsequent episode, who despite very limited screen time is clearly portrayed as being both extremely competent and hard as nails, along with the rest of the British paras, so feels quite balanced to me. The scenes in England never felt off to me given in reality during the invasion prep the American forces were posted in relatively rural areas away from towns and cities to ensure they could be hidden.

I get the point about centrality but the whole point of the series is to focus on a very small group of people. And none of the actions shown are exaggerated; they really did destroy a series of artillery pieces at Brecourt Manor on D Day, etc. It's just that you don't see the rest of the vast scale of the war because that isn't the point. I'd recommend reading Stephen Ambrose's book on which the series is based btw as it provides a lot of extra depth.

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#1810 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 03, 2024, 05:41:37 pm
Well trodden in the sense that there were a LOT of war movies that covered the war in Europe from the point of view of the same sorts of soldiers and with the same basic premise. The difference is the ďmodern production values and directionĒ that can make battle scenes more realistic. But the basic shape of the thing felt familiar.

I get your point re where the soldiers were based, but MotA had a bit of this too when it was unnecessary and itís as much a set of assumptions or attitude as any one particular scene. Obviously none of the actions depicted are exaggerated, itís just super hard to shoehorn in the scale of events in this sort of drama. MotA gets around this a bit by including the black Tuskegee Airmen, scenes with shot down airmen meeting the Resistance or being intended in the camps, but in doing so it loses that tightness that makes BoB so effective.

Anyhow these are minor gripes as I felt all three programmes were excellent.

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#1811 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 03, 2024, 06:36:49 pm
What platforms are all 3 on?

I recorded an episode of Pacific thinking it was a movie and have only watched a couple of minutes. Didn't realise it was a series till reading this.

Watched Kelly's Heroes last weekend in memory of Donald Sutherland.

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#1812 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 03, 2024, 06:49:05 pm
Masters of the Air - Apple TV

Band of Brothers and The Pacific I saw on Now, though they may be available elsewhere.

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#1813 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 04, 2024, 03:30:45 pm
Treasures of the Indus, on BBC iPlayer.
Actually, all the ďTreasures ofÖĒ have been great.

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#1814 Re: TV/iplayer must watches
July 05, 2024, 02:02:43 pm
I know very little about this part of WW2 and one of my initial reactions was "what the hell happened in Japanese society that made their soldiers so careless of their own lives?"

If you do podcasts, the Dan Carlin series on the Asia Pacific war goes into some detail regarding the Japanese society and how that relates to the war, itís 5 episodes of 4 hours each though, so a bit of an investment! https://www.dancarlin.com/product/hardcore-history-62-Supernova-in-the-East-i/

I recommend this podcast for sure. It's super detailed and really really interesting

 

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