Remember that old quote about those who fail to learn from the mistakes of history are forever doomed to repeat them? I just finished listening to a series of four podcasts on the war on the Eastern front during WW2 which has quite literally blown me away. No normal person who listens to these fascinating narratives can possibly view human conflict in the same light again.
While I’m no war buff, I do have a great historical curiosity and I concede that of the 3000 or so podcasts that regular populate my ipod, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is by far and away my favourite. iTunes describes these podcasts with In “Hardcore History” the very unconventional Dan Carlin takes his “Martian, outside of the box” way of thinking and applies it to the past. Not only are these podcasts extensively researched and passionately presented, it’s done so from multiple perspectives which allows for a very compelling picture of events to emerge.
We tend to have a slanted view of history and if asked what were the key battles and struggles of WW2 I wonder how many of us would be able to look beyond D-Day, Dunkirk, El Alamein, Anzio, Midway, Iwo Jima, etc etc. By far and away the biggest and perhaps the most significant battles happened on the Russian front between the Soviet and the German armies. It’s perhaps an indication of the degree to which our view of the world is dominated by American perspectives and popular culture.
When I think about it, my primary source of reference to the Russian front came from Hogan Heroes, in which reassignment to the Russian front was the omnipresent threat for Col Klink and Sergeant Shultz. A sad reflection on our (my) knowledge given the enormity of what transpired between Russia and Berlin from 1941 to 1945. The descriptions and first hand accounts offered in these podcasts will leave you incredulous.
Listening to these superbly researched and presented podcasts has made me look at WW2 with a very different perspective. The ability to get people to do this cannot be understated because by altering our perspectives the way we feel about things changes, and altering the way we feel is the only genuine way of altering how we react to them.
These podcasts are a great example of the perspective shifts and insights that can be gained by stepping around a complex subject and examining it from multiple perspectives. Do yourself a favour and download the four episodes of “Ghosts of the Ostfront”. Whether you are a history buff or not, you cannot help but be impacted by these narratives.