Last week Education Secretary, Michael Gove ignited a new row claiming that the television comedy Blackadder fed ‘left-wing’ myths about World War One. In the Daily Mail Gove argued that ‘The First World War may have been a uniquely horrific war, but it was also plainly a just war’ further adding that ‘the conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh, What a Lovely War!, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite’.
Karina Urbach, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) recently provided another point-of-view on The Conversation blog site. Urbach believes these two divergent viewpoints derive from a backlash against the teaching of World War One in schools up until the 1960s which placed it in the very terms suggested again by Gove. Those terms promoted the claim that the outbreak of war was solely the responsibility of Germany, often edging very near to ‘glorifying’ war.
The full article can be found on The Conversation and was published on 8 January 2014. For more details of Michael Gove’s comments in The Daily Mail, see the online article Michael Gove blasts ‘Blackadder myths’ about the First World War spread by television sit-coms and left-wing academics and some commentary on the matter on the Guardian website: Blackadder – your country needs you.