Tag Archives: WWII

Does German History Hold the Answer to Our Current Brexit Impasse?

Britain is still a world power with significant international obligations and a major player on the European scene – irrespective of whether she considers herself part of it or not. A clarification of how “European” Great Britain considers itself would be paramount for future relations with her neighbours. The British are often confused as to whether they are geographically part of Europe or not.

A possible way out could be found when one looks at the scenario in post-war Germany in 1948/49. Germany in its bid for world power status had been decisively defeated, its territory reduced, divided and destroyed. The three Western Allies decided to combine the three military zones and create West Germany in the face of Russian non-cooperation. That led to the Berlin blockade of 1948/49.

A parliamentary commission was set up consisting of law professors and newly elected regional representatives such as Konrad Adenauer. They met in Bavaria and wrote the “Grundgesetz” (basic law) in nine months! The situation in the country could not have been more dire, with millions of the dispossessed, refugees and returning prisoners of war! Their work also had to be approved by the House of Commons, the US Congress and the L’Assemblée Nationale in Paris. The need to establish a new democratic system of government was overwhelming!

The brief was fulfilled and approved by all three occupying powers. The foundation of the Socialist German Democratic Republic in the Russian zone followed a few months later. The commission’s clear goals were the following: the need to prevent another dictatorship, the desire to incorporate the best aspects of British and American democracy, and to pay homage to Germany’s own democratic traditions going back to the revolution of  1848.

It has become evident that our unwritten constitution is no longer able to serve the interests of the people. A written constitution with a true devolved structure and a supreme court, which makes sure that rules are kept and constitutional conflicts avoided, are necessary! The exercise of codifying the responsibilities and decision-making powers at different levels of government (local, national and international) would reduce the confusion and conflict substantially.

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We Need To Do More For Our Veterans

This year is the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings and we are seeing a lot of media coverage of this important historical event.

When I think of D Day I think of my Grandfather Denis Warwick who was 25 years old at the outbreak of WW2 and underwent surgery in order to be fit for military service. He was a private in the 6th Airborne Division of the Parachute Regiment, took part in the D Day landings, went on to fight in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge and ended his war in Germany. Returning from service with a war wound in his left knee (an injury that troubled him for the rest of his life) he supported his family as a coal delivery driver and then as a building labourer; he died from a heart attack aged 62.

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God Speed The Plough

One of the pleasures of being a PPC is the opportunity to visit many venues in the run up to Remembrance Day on Sunday.

Last week I had a look around the Flower Festival at St Sabinus’ Church, Woolacombe. Many of the exhibits struck a chord – I, after all, grew up on military bases and appreciate from the inside out the sacrifices women, men and children make in service to their country. The embroidered cards with faded handwritten messages, sent back and forth (yes, some French ones sent home to girlfriends from the front line) were especially poignant.

However, one flower display stood out, and that was the tribute to the Women’s Land Army. “God Speed the Plough” honoured the vital work of women undertaken whilst the nation was at war.

The Women’s Land Army was originally set up in 1917 but then dissolved after the First World War. It was reinstated in 1939 as a voluntary service, and then conscripted women from December 1941. “Land girls” did a variety of jobs on grain, stock and dairy farms, including deployment in an anti-vermin squad (‘rat-catchers’).

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