“Never was so many owned by so few for so much” – my unhealthy obsession with World War Two

Tanks crossing bridge.
153rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery, crossing the Waal Bridge, Nijmegen 1944
Photo: Tim Pruyn

As written about in my first article, I love History. And in particular, 20th Century European History. There is one aspect of this period in time which has captivated my interests since I was ‘a wee bairn’. And that is World War Two and its preceding years.

Don’t ask me why, because I can’t answer! It’s like asking a certain friend of mine why he fantasizes about Asian women. He just does. You don’t pick and choose you’re interests. But it may be because the War was such a huge global event and I think one is truly blessed to be able to look into the past and pick apart different events that allowed other events to happen. I suppose it’s like being a child again; delighting in the “falling of the dominoes” effect. Just to clarify, I don’t enjoy pizza delivery people falling over.

In my case though, it stretches beyond a mere casual interest, but falls sanely short of the Elvis Presley lyric of “you were always on my mind”.

I’m a proud ambassador of the Holocaust Educational Trust and enjoy passing on the messages we can learn from the tragedies of the Holocaust. You can read my articles on this issue here: contemporaryhistory.blog.com

An innocent trip to WHSmiths is what prompted me to write this article actually. “What on earth could’ve happened in there?”, I hear you cry! Well, I’ll tell you …

I had a discount voucher to use (this isn’t uncommon with WHSmiths I’ve been informed) and I was browsing through books that I could buy, as the voucher excluded every other product in the store. I got to the History section rather quickly and I had, unbeknown to myself, started to verbalise my mental orgasms over what I was seeing before me.

There were a range of World War Two themed books that I was very excited about and I had inadvertently informed almost the entire store of my feelings. I had then made this worse by proceeding to take pictures of the books – something I always do to later compare prices online. I’m very savvy when it comes to personal finances.

I had then wondered my way over towards the DVD section of the store when I spotted a display of DVD/magazine box sets and to my absolute delight, there were two Nazi Germany box sets. I immediately rushed over to the shop assistant who, on reflection, looked startled and bewildered by my obvious excitement.

I enquired whether the box sets were excluded from the long list exclusions and when I was informed they were, it prompted another inner-orgasm which remained internal this time.

I ended up purchasing the rather expensive items at a time when I’m supposed to be saving as much as I can for University. These have subsequently joined my large collection of World War Two themed DVDs which now stands at, what I think is a large amount for an 18 year-old, 27.

This list will definitely grow in the coming months and years, but the deeply concerning aspect of it all is that I can’t stop myself when I see them. I have to buy them. Hey, I even bought a copy of my Nazi Germany text book from GCSE! I’m like a modern-age collector of antiques; someone who hoards them all and then gets put on a TV show when I can’t get out my own house because they’re stacked to the ceiling.

Hopefully it won’t come to that but as I continue my fight against this addiction I listen to the words of Winston Churchill, “never, never, never give up”.

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