Tuesday, April 07, 2015

A Portrayal of History

How can history be twisted?

One example, from The King's Speech:

Christopher Hitchens and Isaac Chotiner challenged the film's portrayal of Winston Churchill's role in the abdication crisis. It is well established that Churchill encouraged Edward VIII to resist pressure to abdicate, whereas he is portrayed in the film as strongly supportive of Prince Albert and not opposed to the abdication. Hitchens attributes this treatment to the "cult" surrounding Churchill's legacy. In a smart, well-made film, "would the true story not have been fractionally more interesting for the audience?" he wondered. They also criticised the film for failing to indict the appeasement of the era. While the film never directly mentions the issue, Hitchens and Chotiner argue that it implies that George VI was against appeasement, especially in the final scene portraying "Churchill and the King at Buckingham Palace and a speech of unity and resistance being readied for delivery". Far from distancing himself from Chamberlain's appeasement policy, King George VI dispatched a car to meet Neville Chamberlain when he returned from signing the Munich Agreement with Hitler in September 1938. The King and Chamberlain then stood on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, acclaimed by cheering crowds. This led historian Steven Runciman to write that by acting as he did to endorse Chamberlain's foreign policy, King George VI perpetrated "the biggest constitutional blunder that has been made by any sovereign this century."

How will today's appeasers be portrayed?

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