Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few
–Winston Churchill, referring to the fighter pilots who fought and won the Battle of Britain
The British publication News of the World recently sponsored a reunion of Battle of Britain pilots. (via Newmark’s Door) Searching for links on this story, I ran across a September 2000 item in The Independent:
An ICM poll to mark the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain found that some were not even sure that Britain was fighting the Germans, saying instead that they thought the enemy was the Romans or Normans – while 10 per cent thought the French were the foe. Some people were also confused as to whether their wartime leader was Winston Churchill or King Alfred.
For the survey, 1,000 people were asked four questions about the Battle of Britain – but fewer than half of those aged between 18 and 24 knew it was an air battle.
I doubt if the general level of knowledge has improved much in the last 10 years.
C S Lewis observed (I’m quoting very loosely here) that if you want to destroy an infantry unit, you cut it off from its adjacent units..and if you want to destroy a generation, you cut it off from previous generations. Such cutting-off seems to be proceeding, on both sides of the Atlantic, at a rapid pace.