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NBC and Tom Brokaw’s Olympic Tribute to the Battle of Britain

We occasionally need to be reminded of the horrors of, and sometimes, the necessity for war.

by
Chuck Chalberg

Bio

August 14, 2012 - 3:30 pm
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Quick now. If you were asked to come up with England’s two most significant accomplishments over the course of the 20th century, wouldn’t one of them have been England’s role in defeating Hitler? Not so, concluded the organizers. So once again, let’s thank NBC for its prime time history lesson. We occasionally need to be reminded of the horrors of, and sometimes, the necessity for war. And what better time for such a reminder as we celebrate well-conditioned athletes strutting their stuff on an international stage and in the name of international cooperation.

Then again, maybe NBC also decided to stick it to the Yanks. After all, the story of the Battle of Britain is the story of England holding out alone against Hitler. They did what had to be done when the Yanks weren’t coming and when there seemed to be little prospect that they ever would.

The most heart-warming moments in the NBC piece came when Mr. Brokaw interviewed Brits who had fought and/or persevered during the Battle of Britain. He was wonderful, and so were they. Of course, he also could have stuck it to the Yanks by asking his elderly interviewees how they liked their NHS and then edited out any criticisms. Nothing like that was done. Good for you, Mr. Brokaw. Of course, nothing like that belonged in the story. Then again, a politicized paean to England’s National Health Service didn’t belong in the opening ceremonies. And it was especially out of place when England’s heroic role in World War II couldn’t crack the organizers Top Two List of that country’s most important contributions during the whole of the bloody 20th century.

***

See at the PJ Tatler from J. Christian Adams: NBC and Brokaw’s Finest Hour

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John C. “Chuck” Chalberg teaches American history at Normandale Community College in Bloomington.
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