Ares & Athena – Issue 17

“Don’t mention the war!” shouts a panicking Basil Fawlty in one of the best-known episodes of Fawlty Towers. Clearly in the 1970s, 30 years after the end of the conflict, a slightly gloating caricature of Britain’s smug embarrassment in their dealings with Germans as a result of World War II was still a rich vein in popular culture. But surely that’s all different now, another 40 years further on?

Anyone who has attended an England v Germany football match in recent years, and listened to the chants of the England supporters, will rapidly discover that the outcome of a war fought by the supporters’ grandfathers and great-grandfathers some 70 years previously is still, either consciously or subconsciously, deep in the psyche of the chanters.