Teaching Bomber Command and the Western Front

January 26, 2009

It’s been a bit of a shock to the system returning to teaching as well as researching and writing after a year on sabbatical. Hence the even more erratic than usual posting. Because I’ve come back half-way through the teaching year, I’ve had to offer two new one semester courses. I’m teaching one on Bomber Command, and one on the British Army on the Western Front. I’ve been blogging (also intermittently) about the former – but please bear in mind if you visit that the purpose of this site is teaching. Whilst it is a bit of a slog writing two new lectures a week, both courses are helping me to think about my current writing, and as ever, when you try to explain something you think you know, you realise how much you still have to learn.

Next year, I’ll probably go back to teaching my existing full year courses, but I’ve begun to wonder whether there’d be some mileage in turning these two one semester units into a full year course – in which the first half would focus on the BEF 1914-18, and the second on Bomber Command. The two raise many of the same issues – British ways in warfare; command, leadership, management and control in modern war; attitudes to technology and its effect on war; the representation and mythologisation of the armed forces, war and combat – areas that I think I will continue working on for some time. Or are these two too obvious? Should I be teaching a combined course on the Royal Navy 1914-1918 and the RAF 1939-1945?


From the mouth of a cycling god…

January 26, 2009

Olympic hero Bradley Wiggins explains what he thinks of blogging…

Germans and the International Brigade

January 5, 2009

My review of Josie McLellan’s Anti-Fascism and Memory in East Germany: Remembering the International Brigade 1945-1989 (Oxford, Clarendon, 2004) is finally up at H-Net, with its style slightly mangled by their editing.

The War Office Guide to Good Style, 1942

January 5, 2009

An interesting mix of patronising, patriarchal, and adaptation to the needs of a citizen army…

Army Council Morale Committee, Draft AG Instruction, no date but end 1942, National Archives, Kew, London, WO 163/161.
1. Hundreds of letters containing personal inquiries or complaints reach the War Office daily from relatives of soldiers. The volume of such letters will no doubt increase proportionately with the number of troops posted abroad and the number of our casualties.
2. Very many of these letters are written by more or less illiterate persons, to whom official phraseology (or, indeed, any word consisting of more than three or four syllables) is quite unfamiliar. … Read the rest of this entry »