Controversy of the World Wars

British Empire and The World Wars

The World Wars were a terrible and brutal moment in the history of humanity. While the death toll was huge and the destruction catastrophic, it left a harrowing mark on our perception of the world today. Today, we try to grapple with the controversial times using modern methods and a holistic perspective to justify and understand what happened. On this page, we will try to discuss the controversial times of this era, specifically in the events of the Conspiracy of Coventry, the remembrance of the Royal Air Force, and The Empire in Battlefield I.

Return to the Glory Days of the RAF

The Royal Air Force served a essential role in the victory of the United Kingdom in World War two. How we remember the role of the Royal Air Force today is examined through Air shows, restored Aircraft, interviews, and oral histories.  All of these tools of history provide a deeper look to future generation about the real feelings and experience felt by fighter pilots at the time. These examples of Public History are invaluable, creating a more intimate feeling with the gravity of the Battle of Britain and not just a story written through historians.  The spitfire and hurricane planes remain a symbol of accomplishment British patriotism which are displayed as restored aircraft in airshows.  Oral Histories are an essential piece of the puzzle when examining the experience of fighter pilots through a first hand perspective. The legacy’s and memories that get passed down through stories remain to be a great example of public history. The idea of British Identity and patriotism is seen threading through most of these representations. Most stories, Air shows, and restored air craft are a salute to the Royal Air Force but also a direct correlation with British Patriotism and keeping it alive. 72 years after the end of World War two the Royal Air Force is admired and recognized in a high light due to their incomparable contribution to the success of the war.


Spitfires used in WWII
Recruiting poster for Royal Air Force Bomber Command, WWII

Conspiracy of Coventry

Cathedral aftermath (source link),

Many of the efforts of the British during World War II were kept in secret and not released into public history until the 1970s. The bombing of the city of Coventry was one of the secrets hidden by the British Secrets Act. In the documents released it was discovered that the code for the German code machine, the Enigma, had been broken unbeknownst to the Germans. However, the British high command realised that if the British military acted on the knowledge relayed by the Enigma the Germans would simple choose another code structure no longer allowing the British to benefit from their discovery. Therefore, when the British learned of the imminent bombing of Coventry through the deciphering of the Enigma, the High Command chose not to act by refusing to announce an evacuation of the city. Hundreds died and thousands of homes and factories were destroyed; the devastation was immense. But by sacrificing the lives and property of one city, the British remained at an advantage by quietly saving countless British and Allied lives by directing certain ships and troops from minefields and the enemy.

This page discusses the decision by the British to not evacuate coventry to keep the code break a secret in the early 1940.  This topic is being discussed today as people are split on wether or not the British high command really did know Coventry was going to be bombed or not.  This page will show the sequence of events from why Coventry was a target, why the British kept it a secret and what happened to Coventry today.

Link to page

Churchill visits Coventry (top link), Winston with JFK (bottom link)

The Empire and Battlefield 1

British Mass Assault

The four years of World War 1 were horrific and terrifying times that took place during our not so distant past the would drastically change the British Empire. Empires would fall, millions would die, and total war would we fought across the world. In this event we witness grotesque and savage strategies used by both sides that were meant to be hidden from public view. World War I was a conflict that was especially known for not sharing the brutal and hard truths of the war with the public wherein many people would not know or understand the dreadful circumstances that soldiers were in while fighting in the trenches or storming the beaches of Gallipoli. The British were known for their extensive propaganda and hiding the truth about the conflict from the people to keep the people’s support for the war high.

British Scouts Ruins

There were letters, diaries, and books written about the war but these could not give justice to the horrific events that millions of men were forced to endure during these four years of hell. We could not understand the struggles that men from across the Empire had to suffer in the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. However, thankfully, with today’s modern technology we can reconstruct these events in ways that could not have been done before. Movies and television shows were one great way to educate a populace with how this war and others were like.

Fao Fortress Concept Art

This allows people show an audience some hard truths about war that they would have never been able to see and hopefully through the retelling of these stories we can stop such horrible events from reoccurring. The British Empire’s legacy and participation in the war is being shown in unique ways through television and movies that no other media in the past could have hoped to match, educating the masses through various genres of entertainment. However, movies and television shows can only go so far and now they are being surpassed with video games which are the next step on the ladder of immersive historical education to a lay audience. Video games offer so much more than any other media that up to date can offer and Battlefield 1 is an example of how we look back and reconstruct the image and experience of the British Empire.