Missing--or misappropriating--Canadian history

The Eternity Ring (July 1946); The Cage (August 1946); Sunflower (Aug/Sept 1946)

Missing--or misappropriating--Canadian history

Postby Scoop49 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:25 am

So this is my favorite show after The Good Wife. I like the premise (retell the war effort at home from the perspective of a mystery) and I like the execution (good acting and adequate plotting and superb leads) . If I were a leftwing Brit I couldn't be happier with the series' slant. But I'm not British and I'm not a lefty so here are my complaints.
1. The anti-Americanism is wearying and distasteful. And I'm not an American, I'm a Canadian.
2. The portrayal of every rich person and every capitalist as a profiteer or offensive in some way is--frankly--offensive to my intelligence.
3. As a Canadian I resent the writing out of Canada war. There was a time when Brits were more grateful. Actually, there was a time when Brits were more resentful: of all the Canadian troops swanning about England as coastal defence while the British soldiery was off in Africa and Asia. Now you are coming across like the French, resenting the Yanks for rescuing you to the point you've forgotten to resent the Canadians.
But it`s not as if the writer isn`t aware of Canada because he steals two important pieces of Canadian history, strips the boring Canadian brand from them, and recycles them as British history in one case and American in the other.
The Soviet cypher clerk who defects in the Eternity Ring is based on Igor Gouzenko, who defected in Ottawa; and the 30 American soldiers murdered by the 12 SS (Hitler Youth) in the Sunflower were really Canadian soldiers. The 12 SS and most other SS divisions never came near the Americans in Normandy and the Hitler Jugend's commander Kurt Meyer was the only German that Canada prosecuted for war crimes. He was no preening dandy in black --as hilariously depicted in this episode, but a hard-bitten veteran in camouflage battledress. As in the episode, Canada decided not to execute the death sentence on Meyer, using him as a tactical consultant (to help prepare defence plans on the Alaska Highway in case the Soviets attacked from the north, while keeping him locked up. Canadian generals interceded to save him because they were aware of Canadian war crimes, in my opinion. Dying, he was pardoned and allowed to return to Germany. Meyer' s own account of his war was actually published in Canada.
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Re: Missing--or misappropriating--Canadian history

Postby Lynnedean » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:06 am

Welcome to the board, Scoop49. :wavehello: Do please introduce yourself in the Member Introductions and Announcements forum. :smile:

Thanks for your comments from the Canadian point of view; it will be interesting to see what our Canadian Admin Lesley may have to say.

I do think that we have to remember that FW is fiction, with plot points only based on actual events, and particular characters depicted as fits the writer's storyline. It may irritate, but it's the nature of the beast.

~ Lynne

(I get fed up with people from my region persistently being depicted as loutish. Just the other night, I got drunk in the pub and threw my beer glass through the window in protest!)
"Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long." ~ Ogden Nash
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Re: Missing--or misappropriating--Canadian history

Postby starlight » Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:15 pm

Hi Scoop

Some interesting points you raise. Apart from the Canadian angle, I can't tell whether you mean to level your criticisms at Foyle's War as a whole, or just at Series 8.

Yes fiction has this annoying habit of skewing facts to fit a point. I don't think Foyle's War is the worst offender though. In the Meyer case (and, hope I've understood your angle on this right), it probably just made better drama to protect him from the 'clutches of the US' - an independent influential power - than from Canada, which might have been presumed (whether accurately or not) an easier country to bend to Britain's will.

As for anti-Americanism, there can be no doubt that it existed, so if Foyle's War portrays it, then there's accuracy there. But the equivocal feelings between nations was a two-way street. This article about how fictional representations of war often set the fur flying might interest you, as it catalogues Britain's pique at being 'written out' of the war in Burma. Shades of the Canadians in Normandy!

As a point of interest, re Series 8 representation of Anglo-American relations, I think it's important for the drama to highlight the issue that, with the end of the war, the 'alliance in adversity' morphed into an uneasy standoff as the respective interests of the two nations diverged. To be fair though, the British aren't painted in a rosy light in Foyle's War either: the head of MI6 turns out to be a traitor; its scientists are sharing secrets with the Soviets; innocent civilians are being terrorised in the service of 'national security'; murderers are being shielded from justice at government behest... It's a messy, murky time in history.

To redress the balance, though, Valentine delivers Meyer up the Americans, so at least he loves 'em slightly.

Starlight :rose:
Do I need to remind you...how much you can trust me?
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Re: Missing--or misappropriating--Canadian history

Postby kitchentease » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:14 am

Welcome to the forum, scoop49. So nice to have another Canadian voice join us and to learn from you about the real story behind this episode. If they release a "Making of Foyle's War" documentary for this past season, it will be interesting to see what is said about the back story.
But, what does the brain matter....compared to the heart?
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Re: Missing--or misappropriating--Canadian history

Postby starlight » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:06 pm

Ooh! Hadn't seen this video before:

Foyle's War: Creator Anthony Horowitz on The Eternity Ring

Mr Horowitz actually comes clean on the Ottawa connection in an intro for Masterpiece Theatre. :D
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