Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

David Banks' Take on World War II: The First Culture War

You'll rarely find a historical book on any era which takes such a fresh approach to its subject.
The thorough analysis of the cultural reasons for victory and defeat (as well as countries' attempts to remain neutral) is such a crucial component that this book can make others appear devoid for omitting the subject, as is so often the case.
The author, historian Robert Oulds, makes his volume even more fascinating by making clear for the reader how World War 2's cultural landscape has m direct links to geopolitics today.
Oulds's primary thesis, that victory was at least predisposed (if not predetermined) by cultural advantages, produces in effect a robust defence of the cultural heritage and values of Anglosphere nations as they appeared in the middle 20th century.
At the same time, it might well provide a more melancholy set of observations for readers when they realise that many of the same cultural traits are now either forgotten or under threat.
Oulds injects his book with the pace of a first-rate thriller. Beautifully-crafted anecdotes provide surprises and entertainment while illustrating the development of the narrative.
For example, a humour-filled description of the 'Thingummy Bob song' by Gracie Fields, a subtle piece of Allied propaganda, is used to epitomise British and American industrial process.
Other pithy subplots describe how the Germans and Japanese created a flimsy mythology which promoted fanaticism.
There are clear examples of how Germany's National Socialist regime was deeply hierarchical and unbending – its leaders often fixated on individual projects at the expense of wider strategy.
Oulds has done well to ensure that the lavish anecdotes never feel like digressions; they are always highly readable and complement a wider focus.
There are really rewarding details such as the competing influences and struggles experienced by Malta and the forces based there.
Oulds also offers crucial answers. For example, how the personalities of individual leaders influenced decisions and outcomes.
How the British took a strategic approach and backed factions they would normally oppose.
Also how the so-called special relationship between the UK and USA was in many ways founded on a rather exploitative attitude by Washington DC. (The British Government gave much of its cutting-edge military technology to the US for free while the US created a punishing debt arrangement for the UK which lasted for many decades after WW2).

World War II, The First Culture War fills a gap in the range of history books currently available and provides novel elements without attempting rewrite history. Readers will no doubt be looking for much more from this writer and it is to be hoped that his approach, bringing a detailed lens to cultural contexts, is applied more widely by other writers.

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Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
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