Hello hello, so I’ve been on a hiatus, Lots has happened, I can’t believe it’s been over a year I last posted! But I’m back mes chers.
And that too with histoire!
So let’s not ponder.
Based on true events during the “The Battle of Scheldt”, the Netherlands is at the cusp of liberation – September 1944. “Forgotten battles” revolves around three protagonists; A Dutch Axis soldier Marinus, British glider pilot Will & a resistance lady Teuntje from Zeeland (westernmost province of Netherlands)
As Nazi’s reign approaches an end, allied troops’ rations are scarce. The immediate requirement of food & supplies is to reach the regiment. Belgians port Antwerp (Newly freed from Nazis) is what the British have their eyes set upon. However, retreating German forces bring about complications. If troops were to cross the Belgian port, it would inevitability result in a Nazi encounter.
Fact of the matter is, at this point Nazis still control the River Scheldt, Antwerp’s deep water route to the North Sea & they’re dug in hard on Walcheren Island, at the Western mouth of the river. It’s a bit of a pickle really.
This film’s amalgamation of three stories crossed over, merging & mixing into one keeps those watching, quite engrossed.
So, while Teuntje & her father (medical doctor) are determined to sit on the fence when it comes down to choosing sides, hot-headed teenager dirk repudiates his family’s choice. His unwavering decision to participate in retaliation against the Nazis instead of waiting out & watching war run its course, leads to dire consequences.
Not long after joining the Dutch Resistance at the tender age of 17, Dirk’s arrested for attacking a passing German convoy. Heavily armoured German troops trudge their way out of town, (an ironic sight I must say, as these once indomitable soldiers, now surrender. Vacating the town they once repressed) what’s disconcerting is their refusal to hang their heads in shame; pride in their eyes speaks a thousand words, displayed through a Nazi, howling at dirk taking pictures, stating he’s still “in charge”.
Matters escalate, leading to grave consequences.
In one final attempt in keeping a hold of the looming liberation of Netherlands, “Wehrmacht” reinforce their presence, arresting men from the mayor’s office where Teuntje is employed. Tracking down dirk (the young boys resilience is commendable), but the Nazis have their way when it comes to heinous acts of torture. Names of Resistance members are revealed, hunted, lined up & shot.
Meanwhile, Marinus Van Stavern is a Dutch member of the Wehrmacht infantry, injured whilst fighting near the Russian border. During his slow recovery from a fatal wound at the field hospital, he encounters a second lieutenant.
What’s quite striking is, the men’s deprivation when it came to remorse, empathy, or humanity. Casually conversing matters pertaining to deplorable murders of infants, people of disabilities & innocents. The lieutenant justifies his actions by quoting his “revered” Goebbels.
“If you tell a lie big enough & repeat it often enough, eventually people will come to believe it.”
One must comprehend, it wasn’t the physical strength of their leader, it was in fact their way with words. Goebbels & Hitler studied how to pull crowds towards their cause, how was this done? Not with coercion (in the beginning) but in fact – speech. There was a method in Herr Hitlers madness. The orator instilled the opinon of mass execution, deeming it fit for a “greater Germany”. Perturbing isn’t it, how he actually formed these thoughts into the minds of the masses.
Although one cannot deny, that man had a gift when it came to persuasion; timed pauses, the hand gestures, the emphasis, resulting in crowds accepting his abominable actions. Hitler compelled them to listen – to what they wanted to hear, yet his commands were to be met in order to attain what they desired. Kind of like waving sweets in front of a kid but only giving it when they listen. Clever innit? But done in a much more complex way.
It’s incontrovertible, what occurred in WWII was horrendous, but how he managed to get as far as he did was because of proclivity towards articulating his speech to the point of persuasion.
whoopsie daisies I am getting too engrossed in Goebbels & Hitler lets get back on track,
As soon as deemed fit, Marinus is transferred to a desk job in Zeeland as Berghof’s personal secretary. At the same time, across the Channel in Dorset, RAF paratrooper Will Sinclair is the pilot of a towed glider alongside his First Officer, Turner. Up until recently, I had no idea what a towed glider was. They’re apparently known as flying coffins of WWII, powered only by the prevailing winds & the guts of the men who flew them. When joining a massive Operation Market Garden reconnaissance squadron, their bird is promptly struck by German 88mm cannon fire resulting in a crash landing, their plane is flooded in an estuary of the River Scheldt.
Dirk’s photographs must reach the Allied forces advancing on Walcheren island & it’s Teuntje’s duty to make sure the task is complete.
News reaches Will & his team of the Canadian Army crossing the Belgian borders, entering Holland. However, war comes with a price & not all can survive. The British Airborne Soldiers later join Canadian Army forces advancing on Walcheren island leading to the “Battle of Walcheren Causeway”.
Due to Wehrmacht’s advantage of barricading off many positions where the allied army could fire as well as a clear view of the allied troops making their way towards the enemy line, leads to several casualties for the British and Canadians.
At the battle of Scheldt 3231 allies, 4250 Germans & 2283 civilians lost their lives. We know how this ends, we know who succumbs to defeat and thank God for that. I didn’t find this film as captivating as say Dunkirk or Midway but you learn a thing or two for sure. The cinematography wasn’t bad, but nothing in comparison to the likes of Saving Private Ryan. All in all, it’s alright if you need an evening watching a war movie – hey, no harm for you history geeks.
The Netherlands was liberated on May 5th, 1945. So many lives lost, for what? As Hitler stated “Großdeutschland”.
I recall a quote of Ernest Hemmingway which I believe fits in quite well with the way Nazis dealt with their enemies.
“There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter”.
Anyways, shall be back with more book, movie, architecture reviews. Au revoir my darlings ❤