What's all this then?

My name is Victoria Stiles and I'm an Early Career Historian currently doing whatever odd research / consulting / outreach / tutoring jobs come my way. I blog here about some of the interesting texts I've found.
My research focusses on books about Britain and the British Empire which were in circulation in Nazi Germany but you'll also find a smattering of school textbooks, witchcraft beliefs, bog drainage, bemused travellers and weird illustrations that caught my eye.
Translations from German are my own. Comments are currently unmoderated and are mostly spam for leather jackets anyway.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

England's Mask has Fallen - Index

Another one from the British Library. England's Mask has Fallen (,,Englands Maske ist gefallen") is a 68-page paperback from 1939 with no attributed author. Priced at 30 Pfennig, it has the same cheap, flimsy feel to it as ,,Das ist England!" and the cover style is strikingly similar. I couldn't find a picture online (although there's what seems to be an abridged version knocking about on ebay and some rather questionable online bookshops) so a description will have to do.

Imagine, if you will, an angled, three dimensional map of the British Isles, with London marked as a black hole. Thin waves of smoke emanate from this blot, forming the shape of a looming figure of death, complete with scythe. In front of him is the disembodied head of Winston Churchill, with obligatory cigar and Union Jack top-hat. The title is jovially scrawled across the top in red, cartoonish letters. Classy, I think you'll agree.

For such a short publication, the index is amazingly detailed, although the subheadings don't appear in the main text (and until I read the whole thing, I wouldn't trust all of my translations):

The Strangler at her Side
England conducts an economic war - Pirates for centuries - The destruction of Poland is a slap in the face for England - English freebooters across the globe - How England robbed Spain, Holland, Portugal and France of their former power - The old enemy of neutral countries - Germany's correct treatment of neutral countries - England's blockade, this time without hope of success.

A Hero's Death for Money
England praises with silver bullets - Money, the soul of England's policy - Poland as the latest victim of English warmongering - South-east Europe withdraws from England's moneybag policies - Dishonourable English controls - The City charges usurious interest - England's currency wavers - Isolation attempts fall apart - Security in Europe only possible without England's machinations.

The Poison Trade
The infamous Opium War against China - A people's health is ruined - England destroys Chinese cultural artifacts - England's typical mass-smuggling operation - Use of violence against Chinese protests - England's ever-increasing blackmail of China - Trust in England not justified.

Protector of the Jews
The Jews rule in England - Kings and lords in the service of Jews - Jewish war profits in England for centuries - The Jew in the British Parliament - All influential positions overrun with Jews - Cromwell and Queen Elizabeth in Jewish hands - A Jew as British Prime Minister.

Hunger and Superstition
Areas of poverty in England - Terrible plight of the unemployed - A hundred thousand unemployed Englishmen undernourished - English working class families going hungry for years - The youth without vocational training - The impoverished people of England suffer from despair - Comfort through a love of gambling - The unemployed gamble away their pittance - Football betting a mass swindle - The richer England fails to care for the sons of its homeland.

An Empire Expires
Weakening vitality of the English nation - Decline of the population - Birth rates too low - England is aging - The old English hypocrisy - Birth rates in the British Empire also developing unfavourably - The English unwilling to raise families - 25 percent increase in birth rate needed to maintain England's population - The English no longer a pioneering people, but colonial rentiers - England's demographic and political decline.

Time is working against England
Germany has prepared in time - A long war is to England's disadvantage - England's currency in free-fall - England losing ground in world trade - Question mark over British Army's oil supplies - England's dependence on iron and food imports - England must risk her foreign possessions - England's gold reserves pumped dry - England's power is crumbling - Time is on Germany's side.

The two things that strike me about the structure, as set out above, are the amount of repetitions and the lack of chronology. I'll be interested to see how coherent the whole text is, and what level of detail is provided.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

"That's England!" Cover and index

I had my first visit to the British Library a few weeks ago (such a wonderful, friendly, relaxing place that for the first time ever I actually wished I lived in London) and looked at a couple of Nazi-era books on the British Empire. Time and money constraints meant that I only made a few notes and copied down the indexes, but they're illuminating enough.

First up, That's England! World Domination through Blood and Gold by Fritz Reipert, published either 1939 or 1940. It's only forty pages long, cheaply bound and priced at 40 Reichsmarks*. The cover alone puts it firmly in the categories 'popular' and 'subjective'.

Index: (Bear in mind that German employs exclamation marks far more liberally than English. The author also uses 'Britain' and 'England' interchangeably.)
1. England - same as ever!
2. The bloodstained path to a British Empire
3. The sanctity of contracts - as England sees it!
4. England in the stocks!
5. British conduct during the World War
6. Versailles: new edition - England's dream!
7. German peacekeeping - English warmongering
8. England is to blame for the war!
9. England's blood-guilt in Poland
10. Lies and horror stories - England's weapons!
11. Abuses of neutrality - the prerogative of British warfare
12. England's last resort - hunger blockade!
13. England's big mistake!

*Trying to figure out what that is in today's money, or any other meaningful comparison has me beaten so far. I'm still working on it.