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Snoopy Remembers the Red Baron, but Few Germans Do


Klaiber
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I do as well, and understand their feelings on subjects like this.

 

Honestly, I think that the 2008 Red Baron movie is one of the first modern German-made "war movies" that actually heroicized a German soldier.

 

http://www.dw.com/en/red-baron-film-breaks-german-war-hero-taboos/a-3205499

 

The fact that they made the movie completely in English betrays the fears of it's production company.  I don't think they thought they'd be able to find a viable domestic audience in Germany, and thus looked to the international.

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I liked it too.  If for nothing else than the fact that I liked the actors, thought the acting was good, and liked how they represented the paint schemes.

 

The real test was showing it to my wife. :) She gave the Red Baron a big thumbs up, and liked it more than Flyboys.  So I think that it does have the potential for a bigger appeal.  It's just too bad that it didn't have a better and more accurate script.

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The perceptions we have are interesting and funny sometimes. The first time I went to Ireland I wondered if being German would have any effect on the way I was viewed by the locals. We made it to the hotel and got the cabin crew settled in the hotel and the first thing everyone does of course is meet downstairs in the pub for a pint, so I get out of uniform and head there and when  I walked in there was a nice portrait of Manfred over the bar along with some nice artwork of various WW I aircraft from both sides.  So much for that thought!

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That's really amusing, Ludwig!

 

Btw: here's a Red Baron clip from the new Peanuts movie.  I haven't seen it, personally, but I've heard it's very good.

 

 

It makes me happy to know that a new generation of people are being exposed to WW1 aviation, even if it is through Snoopy. :)

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I also had dug out "Flyboys" and "The Red Baron" recently and re-watched them.  Obviously they both are full of inaccuracies, but the vast majority of them only enthusiasts like us would notice; yet to us some were so blatant as to make you wonder why they neglected what they did.  I enjoyed the flying scenes nevertheless, especially since most of them were very game-like in their portrayals of how the airplanes flew :) 

 

"Der Rote Baron" was the German language version, which I believe was released quite a while earlier than the English language version.  I think the German version did so poorly that there was a grave doubt as to whether it was going to be released at all in English, which was quite agonizing to me at the time.

 

The Irish certainly have nothing against the Germans, especially since such a large percentage of the country is against English rule.  In WWI the Germans sent thousands of rifles to Ireland, which they used in an uprising against G.B.  The French tried the same thing in Napoleon's time.  Obviously the uprisings were failures but they do illustrate the different views that Ireland had of Great Britain's enemies.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend!! 

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Gentlemen, I believe you got something wrong about us Germans. I'll try to explain...

 

We lost two disastrous wars in the past century. At least for the last one we all should be grateful that Nazi Germany was defeated and so am I.

After WWI Germany went into a deep depression mainly caused by the reparation Germany had to pay to the allies, esp. France and Belgium. It was the mortification of a whole nation - like the Germans mortified the French nearly 50 years before when they crowned their emperor Wilhem I. in Versailles after the German-French war 1870/71. Additionally the Germans haven't had the actual feeling that they really lost the war.

This was the reason for glorifiying their war heros and it was the mould for that rising nationalism that finally lead to Nazi Germany and WWII.

 

While for WWI one could say that there were a dozen of European statesman that ran into WWI like some sleepwalker and it wasn't only Germanies fault (like it was stated in the Treaty of Versailles) we can't say the same for WWII - although it was the result of some bad mistakes, also of the allied, in the 20 years before.

 

After WWII the allies did much better - the learned from their mistakes and helped to build a new German nation and the new German society we have today where Germany is a reliable and stable democratic nation in the heart of Europe. 

 

Now, after WWII Germany needed to overcome these old and fateful nationalism. Until today German pupils are confronted with the results of Nazi Germany: the war, the war crimes, the holocaust. Today lmost every German pupil has tovisit a concentration camp. After WWII it took a while but since the late 1950ts  that was a main topic in scholastic education and it formed a common mind: We Germans were responsible for two disastrous wars that caused millions of casulties and millions of mureded innocent. German history was reduced to the time between 1933 and 1945.

 

However - there's still a sense of history and in Germany you'll find a lot of streets and places that are named after German WWI heros. Near my hometown you'll find one of the first German airfields (I believe one of the first in the World - they started there in 1909) and around that airfield streets and places are named after Richthoven, Uded, Voss, Boelcke and Immelmann. Or just look around the old Berlin airfield Tempelhof.

German airforce squadrons are named after Boelcke and Richthofen. So actually we do remember! Just a question: How many Americans know about Eddie Rickenbacker? How many British know about Edward Mannock or how many French remember Rene Fonck? How many Americans have an Idea who George S. Patton was and that he fought his first battle during WWI in France? What I want to say with this is, that this is history of special interest and there are always a few people interested in such a kind of special history.

 

Now, thanks god - German society starts to remember the more glorious history where Germans were known for Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, for Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, for Ludwig van Beethoven or Johannes Brams, for Wilhem Röntgen or Robert Koch, for Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse and our whole history that has started long long before 1933 and the positive history we delveloped after 1945.

And we see the rise of a new, positive national feeling, a development that started during the Football World Championship we had in Germany in 2006 where it was the first time after WWII when you could see thousands of people on the streets, waving the German national flag and proudly singing the German national anthem. I believe that this is something really surprising for French, British, and I'm pretty sure, for US-Americans, isn't it?

 

Now, finally this national anthem we already had during our first democratic constitution between 1919 and 1933, which is reduced to the 3rd verse nowadays, perfectly describes what most Germans stand for today:

 

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit Unity and law and freedom für das deutsche Vaterland! For the German Fatherland Danach lasst uns alle streben Let us all strive for that Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand! In brotherhood with heart and hand! Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit Unity and law and freedom Sind des Glückes Unterpfand; Are the foundation for fortune Blüh' im Glanze dieses Glückes, Bloom in the glow of this fortune Blühe, deutsches Vaterland. Bloom, German Fatherland.

 

Now, I hope you will understand the German soul a bit better

(maybe it's just me so I hope at least you will understand my soul a bit better :) )

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Thanks Hardy for your thoughts!  Being German, it's really interesting to get your perspective on things!

 

To clarify the discussion we were having:

 

The idea of the "Red Baron" is a concept that has permeated both North American and British culture.  Not "Manfred von Richthofen" the person, necessarily.  Few Americans / Canadians or Brits in 2015 would know his real name outside of military buffs or aviation fans.  But the idea of there being a "Red Baron" has become a real touchstone (or focal point) for people.  Most Americans / Canadians or Brits will say that he's a chivalric knight of the sky, flying a red aircraft.  Or they'll call him Snoopy's adversary.  Or reference some other incarnation they've seen.

 

That's in large part due to Charles Schultz and Peanuts.  But it's also because Richthofen (the person) has been romanticized into myth by the English speaking world.  He's in songs, video games, TV programs, cartoons, movies, artwork, toy cars, murals.  He's even on military vehicles as "nose art".

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Baron_in_popular_culture

 

I think the Wall Street Journal article is just commenting on how different that is from the way he's portrayed in Germany, where his name is remembered, but he's not mythologized.  And that's all we were really saying too. :)

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Well, I am glad to hear that the article might not be all that accurate.  From what Hardy has said above, the article seems a bit misleading to me; the implication that came across to me was that very few in Germany even knew who the "Red Baron" was, or even what he was.  It is good to know it's not as bad as all that, or at least that I completely misinterpreted the article.

 

As for Hardy's questions regarding Americans from bygone eras, I would say a LOT of people would know the name of George S. Patton and at least some of his history; I would say fewer might know the name of Eddie Rickenbacker or the details of his fame, but it would still be a very large number of people.  That I would attribute to the generations that grew up knowing about these famous men are now all older and fewer, and the effect they had on world history is slowly becoming less significant to current society.

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In absolute numbers I truely believe that there are more Americans remember WWI heros than ther will be Germans ;)

 

Regarding Patton I alos believe that there are a Lot of people know the name but I bet most of them know him as a WWII General and not the Lieutenant-Colonel who fought the Battle of St. Mihiel - The same you will see in Germany for instance regarding Erwin Rommel, they know him probably as the "Wüstenfuchs", a famous German Tank-General and not as the Infantery Captain of WWI who got the Blue Max for his bravery.

This is not a common interest in history  and fewer people know about it.

 

However - it's kind of funny how US-Americans mythologize the "Red Baron" :D

 

Thanks god - we're all different. That makes the world an interesting place to live in!

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Very Interesting discussion.

 

I work with a German lady and we talk about history sometimes. I believe her father was drafted to the Luftwaffe when he was very young in 44 or 45 and after the war fled to the west when the wall went up. The other day I had a book about JG1 and was pointing out that the Baron is a legitimate national hero that the German people could be proud of. I think she agreed with me, but I don't think it is the case in Germany. One of the things she says is that if you try to be too patriotic or take a strong stand on some issue then you can and will be called a Nazi. Maybe there are a lot of folks who hold these pilots and veterans in esteem, but they do not come out and say so.

 

My view of WW1 guilt and responsibility is that all parties are responsible for the mess. The entente, the Russians the Balkans, Austria, Germany were all off their rockers in 1914. When you read about the war starting it seems crazy to imagine one bad choice after another. I think the dirty secret is that a lot of people wanted the war to happen. I don't really blame German any more then any other country, about the worst you could say is that the Kaiser was fairly inept (childish?) in his decision making, but so were the other leaders/cousins.

 

As to Patton and Rickenbacker, they are both pretty famous here in the states. Most folks will know who Patton was because of the movie they made about him in the 70's.

 

I am from Ohio and this is where Rickenbacker was born and raised and is buried. He's fairly well known here, there is an air force base named for him and a restaurant/club called the 94th Aero Squadron near the airport. I'm not sure many school age kids would know who he is, but many adults would. I'm a fan for Captain Eddy for sure. Having said that, I bet more people in the states have heard of the Red Baron then Rickenbacker.

 

S!

VK

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Yeah, that thing with being too patriotic and you got called a Nazi is still true - but it's a bit changing during the past years like I wrote in my first post here. It takes some time but people seem to understand that German history is much more the the years between 1933 and 1945 - and for sure we can be proud of what we made out of our nation during the past 70 years. 

 

The German Emperor Wilhem II and his cousins as well as Emperor Franz of Austria were victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect IMHO. All the European leaders wnated the war somehow - but they all knew that it would be desastrous and therefore they don't wanted it. But after the ambush of Sarajevo the all acted like sleepwalkers. Some of the newer researches came to the conclusion that Wilhem II had a manish depression. And Czar Nicolas II already had much trouble with the Communists, the war was welcome to him to distract the Russian farmers and bondsman from these fatal ideas of communism. The Frensh were still looking for satisfaction for the mortality of 1871. The Brits were afraid of loosing their "Britannia rules the waves" status and thought that it would be better to stop Germany as long as they were able to stop them.

 

Yes, it was not only Germany that started the war - or in other words - let it happen.

 

 

Finally, I believe that there are a lot of other famous Germans we could be proud of than von Richthoven. Although I'm into WWI aviation and history, I believe that Goethe, Schiller, Beethoven, Brahms, Benz, Daimler, Siemens, Röntgen and many many more which did more for Germany and the World than von Richthoven.

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For Luftritter...  sounds like an apple fritter....  I have a 1933 copy of "Der Rote Kampflieger" which I think is what you were going for.  It reads just fine, not exactly a literary giant, but the 24 year old kid that wrote it was more concerned with putting the thoughts down on paper than writing a best seller.

 

For Snaggle...   I don't remember... not in Dublin... it was in Shannon. I stayed at that hotel so much that I left clothes there and one of the girls would do my laundry for me and have everything nice and tidy by the next time I came through. She thought we were going "on holiday" because of all the sand that we were at the beach....  but nope...  there was a definite lack of water and it damn sure wasn't a holiday.  If you get down South and go to Durty Nellies look for all the ATA business cards stuck in the 1st ceiling beam at the far right after you come through the front door (which is about 5'11" tall.)  They have made improvements since it opened in 1620.

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For Luftritter...  sounds like an apple fritter....  I have a 1933 copy of "Der Rote Kampflieger" which I think is what you were going for.  It reads just fine, not exactly a literary giant, but the 24 year old kid that wrote it was more concerned with putting the thoughts down on paper than writing a best seller.

No, I believe what I stated was correct.  I was not talking about his book at all, which I do have a copy of ("The Red Fighter Pilot").  "Der Rote Baron" is the German language version of "The Red Baron" movie that we were talking about.  Here is an excerpt from the Wiki article: 

 

"To improve its chances on the international market, The Red Baron was filmed in the English language, although it is a German production depicting Germans. With an estimated budget of 18 million euros, it is one of the most expensive and at the same time lowest-grossing films in German history. It premiered on 31 March 2008 in Berlin and was released a week later in the German cinemas. Fewer than 100,000 movie-goers saw the film in the first week, causing the film to miss the Top 3. In the second week it dropped to No. 10. In the third week the film was gone from the top ten."

 

​ARTICLE

 

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