Battling With The Truth: The Contrast in the Media Reporting of World War II
– By Ian Garden
A fascinating and easy-to-read book that examines key events from the Second World War from both sides of the conflict. While the amount of manipulating (and outright lying) Goebbels and the Nazi party resorted to in the name of ‘the war effort’ is unlikely to surprise you, the amount that came from the British might…
Battling With The Truth offers an in depth (and yet still concise) look at how key moments in the Second World War were reported by both the British and the Nazis. Each event is introduced and explained – meaning that you don’t need to be an expert on the subject to enjoy this book – before Garden examines the output from each side, and then ultimately concludes who was lying – and to what extent.
I loved this book. Garden approaches the Second World War in the same way that I approach history – with the belief that historical accounts tell you as much about the people who wrote them as they do about the period itself. In his book, Garden is focused not so much on what actually happened (only in that it helps ascertain which side was more truthful) but on how each side used key events to shape their public’s understanding of the terrible conflict they were engaged in. It’s a fascinating read that at times beggars belief (particularly – though I guess it is nothing new now – how frequently the Nazis blamed “the Jews” for various tragedies and betrayals). I was also surprised, and rather disgusted, to learn that, if the infamous Dambusters raid occurred today it would be classed as a war crime for the number or innocent lives lost as a result. Pretty sure that fact isn’t mentioned in the classic 1955 film about the raid…
Approaching Garden’s book with the belief I outlined above, Battling With The Truth also tells you a lot about the context in which it was written. While we are much more clued-up about global events than our World War Two counterparts, so many of us have been blindsided by political events this year that we can’t help but bitterly question how we could have been so misled by what we were reading and watching. Similarly, we can only shake our heads in pity at how so many good, honest people were deceived by Brexit propaganda back in June. Our current political climate must surely,then, have influenced Garden in his decision to conclude with a list of “learnings” we should take from the propaganda of World War Two and apply to present day news coverage.
In short, Ian Garden’s Battling With The Truth is a must-read for anyone with an interest in World War Two and, specifically, how and why we remember history the way that we do.
You can buy a copy of Battling With The Truth here.