Research Paper Update

As of right now, most of the work I have done on this research paper has been directed at the Literature Review aspect. I have decided upon four books: The People’s War (1969) by Angus Calder, Who Will Take Our Children? (2008) by Carlton Jackson, The Impact of Civilian Evacuation in the Second World War (1986) by Travis Crosby, and Churchill’s Children (2010) by John Welchman. I’ve identified The People’s War as one of the fundamental works in the historiography of civilian life during World War II in Great Britain – it was the first comprehensive work about the various facets of civilian life before and during the war. Calder covers a wide array of topics (particularly evacuations) and makes the argument that all of the societal factors of war were codependent. He also makes the point that during World War II, the British people became agents of their own history in a way that had never been seen. Although Calder doesn’t focus exclusively on civilian evacuations, his work serves as the foundation for many of the other works I have chosen. I am still deciding what my fifth source will be.

In addition to the literature review, I have been slowly sifting through my primary sources. I have also been in contact with my great aunt to get a better understanding of her and her sibling’s (including my grandmother) experiences during the evacuation from Liverpool. So far, she has given me an idea of where they were sent with their school classes, but will get back to me with more solid details. What I have discovered thus far from my primary and secondary sources support my hypothesis that the evacuation of children had a complicated and often contradictory effect on morale in British society.

St. Patrick’s Day

The two St. Patrick’s Day websites that I found offered the same basic information: Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, spread Christianity throughout Ireland and a day is celebrated in his honor with feasts and festivals. Both sites included the fact that St. Patrick was not, in fact, Irish, but instead was born in Roman Britain and brought to Ireland for slave labor. He was said to have converted many pagans in Ireland and established multiple monasteries, churches, and schools specifically dedicated to catholicism. The sites also say that St. Patrick’s Day began as a day of feast for St. Patrick but became a celebration of Irish nationalism as the Irish spread to the United States. Both of these sites give a decent background to the establishment of St. Patrick’s Day but fail to cite their sources adequately, use primary sources, or even give the author’s name.

“Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17th 2014. Irish Parades, Heritage, Culture, Irish Songs, St Patrick’s Day Parades, Irish Pubs Directory and Jokes!” 2015 St Patricks Day. Accessed March 17, 2015.

Blumberg, Antonia. “St. Patrick’s Day 2015: Photos, Parade, History, Facts And Religious Significance Of The Celebration.” The Huffington Post. Accessed March 17, 2015.

Man with a Movie Camera

The Russian film, Man with a Movie Camera (1929) directed by  Dziga Vertov is a documentary style silent film that makes a loud statement about Soviet history an also about filmmaking itself. When the film begins, there is no context given to the viewer, it simply shows a series of clips to music that seem to have very little connection to one another. Much of the film focuses on filmmaking itself – there are several parts in which they are filming a man with a camera, setting up the camera, and even Vertov’s wife editing the film itself. Vertov is trying to send the message that film is a medium that can go almost anywhere and that filmmaking itself is a creative process that can clips in various ways to make a greater statement.

Intertwined with the clips about filming, Man with a Movie Camera also focuses on the everyday life of Russian people. Vertov manages to juxtapose the hard labor of the factory workers to the luxuries that Russian people enjoyed such as going to the salon. He also includes film of people spending their day at the beach, playing sports, drinking in pubs, and meeting in labor halls. He incorporates the many different facets of life in Russia in the 1920s as a way of praising it and also as a means of criticism. He seems to be criticising how the idea of the Soviet state is all about the workers, but you still see people indulging at the expense of the workers. However, he seems to praise the sporting aspect of Russian society as a way of highlighting the fact that the Russian people are never idle, even when they are not working. Overall, Man with a Movie Camera, is an intriguing piece of film that with good reason, captures the attention of historians for its social commentary and also its statement about film itself.