It’s pointless to fear the power of myth in the movies

Historian Paul Bew’s warning that that the forthcoming movie Easter Sixteen could unwittingly feed the current drive by the violent republicans to re-establish themselves is whistling in the wind. It has to be faced: striking parallels exist which raise the familiar charges of contemporary betrayal. Those who are susceptible to the Real and CIRA’s arguments will rightly treat denial as a sign of evasive weakness. Instead, it should be easily admitted that the 1916 story is a stonking tale. It contains a terrific narrative and at least 16 brilliant major human interest stories which anyone with red blood in their veins and an imagination can identify with. Honest appreciation of the power of the story is the best defence against subversion. Does a deep fascination with the American Civil War make me a racist? There’s no point in denying the force and appeal of the cause which according to one theory, has yet to be fulfilled. According to another theory though, the popular will of the people of Ireland has now been achieved. The thing about popular will which political romantics chose to ignore, is that no test of popular will is definitive forever. It’s the continual testing that counts – not that the men of 1916 ever put their proclamation to the popular test anyway; at the time, and without the threat of conscription,they would have lost, almost certainly. Facing the story and the myths head on is both truer and better than denial and is a sign of a self-confident democracy. Do we match up yet? Two quiet questions might occur to the romantics : do we want to go through all that again? And what was the fate of the dissident movements post –1922, when voters clearly decided enough was enough?

By the way, the dramatic treatment of 1916 I’d like to see is maybe a perverse one, one on the thoughts of Sir Matthew Nathan the Under Secretary, feeling very personally exposed as he receives the news of the shooting of the guard at the entrance to Dublin Castle, and as he was already coping with his frustration at the refusal of the Chief Secretary Augustine Birrell to come to Dublin as the contradictory on-off rumours flew, because he was engrossed in reading a novel in England. The story of the fall of an old regime is often as gripping as the rise as of a new one.

On the Rising itself, it’s taken as read – and remarkably was so at the time – that the immediate executions by firing squad of the 15 – was a serious mistake by any measure. The PM Asquith was regarded as typically dilatory by failing to press for a halt sooner. On the other hand, what other state would have limited its most drastic punishment to 15, at a time when hundreds of thousands had already been killed in the most terrible war in historical memory?

BTW2 – My fear of an easy thriller was laid to rest when I actually saw the movie “Fifty Dead Men Walking” based loosely on the story of Martin McGartland. With whatever the reservations of those most involved, it has the ring of essential authenticity about the mixed motives, the clash of relationships and causes and the mutual ruthlessness involved in how the grip of the informers strategy inexorably bore down on the paramilitaries, leaving a legacy of exhaustion mixed with recrimination which we ignore at our peril today.

  • Re this subject, see ‘Rebirth of the reel IRA
    Do films on the Troubles illuminate or just inflame?’ in The Times last week –
    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article6073303.ece

    – Danny Morrison

  • Dan, nice to see your still about, I feared you had gone down with arthritis in your keyboard fingers.

  • “And what was the fate of the dissident movements post –1922,”

    One of them became Fianna Fail; another became Provisional Sinn Fein ….

  • Fair Deal

    “Honest appreciation of the power of the story is the best defence against subversion.”

    How often is cinematic entertainment an “honest appreciation”? It will all depend on the final product. Hollywood also has form.

    Films may not always impact but some do and not always good ones.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_a_Nation#Responses
    It is widely credited with assisting the rebirth of the KKK.

    Even modern mainstream films have issues:
    “For some the raw power of the William Wallace story as depicted on the big screen was too much. At one multiplex in Falkirk, managers had to phone the police when cinema-goers started shouting anti-English bile at the screen. Either by accident or design, the police control room managed to send the only constable in the central force who happened to be English. Cue two arrests for breach of the peace and assaulting a police officer.”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article546776.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1

    Even mainstream parties sometimes try to take advantage, the SNP even launched a recruitment campaign around Braveheart.

    “Does a deep fascination with the American Civil War make me a racist?”

    Application of the personal to the broad is a flawed approach for analysis.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Brian

    One also has to accept that ‘historians’ have their own agenda. None of us approach such topics narrative-free. Bew has form in this regard, and his almost hysterical reaction to the Michael Collins film several years ago is a case in point.

    Film makers will do what they do. I’ve enjoyed countless movies which were based on the highly dubious premise of Americans/ British/ Cowboys good, Russians/ Native Americans & Others bad (btw- I’m a real sucker for Cold War Spy thrillers, in print and on screen.)

    With regard to the historical context, there are many political traditions in Ireland today who celebrate the Easter Rising and who are quite comfortable with their narrative of the subsequent development of their political tradition vis-a-vis armed struggle against the British forces.

    I’ve never been comfortable with ‘neatly’ defined historical narratives like that which suggests 1916 was doomed to utter failure until the executions occurred. Yes, there may have been opposition initially from many residents of Dublin, and of course the executions sparked outrage across the Irish Nation.

    But, crucially, I don’t think that alone would have sustained an armed campaign against the occupying British forces without a deeper rooted desire of the vast majority of the Irish people to support the pursuit of Irish freedom, and, for enough, by any means necessary- not least since the Protestant unionists of the North had armed themselves by that stage and in the context of increasing frustration with the failed parliamentary campaign.

    Of course, we’ll never know because interpreting history is an open-ended endeavour.

    The idea that ‘romantic’ notions spurred on the pursuit of Irish independence has always been greatly exaggerated by those most critical of the cause of Irish independence. Regarding the post-1969 conflict, such a narrative ignores the reality that it was the experience of the Irish nationalist community in the Six Counties during the post-partition era which sustained support for the republican cause and narrative.

    It is the ending of the ‘nationalist nightmare’ (not often I’ll quote Garret Fitzgerald..) with all that entails for the death of the Orange State and development of a shared state which will ensure the activities of dissident republicans are doomed to failure. From a mainstream republican perspective, that brings with it the not inconsiderable challenge of promoting the cause of greater unity within the country.

    But it is an infinitely preferable position to be in and course of action than that on offer from the dissident republican movement, and it is that essential truth which will ensure the demise of armed actions in the north.

  • Brian Walker

    OK Fair Deal. Does a deep fascination with the American civil war necessarily make anyone a racist? Application of the personal to the broad when the meaning is clear does no harm at all. Come to think if it, generalising on the basis of one showing of one movie means.. what exactly? But ok, I get your point. As do you mine. Let’s not perversely fail to understand the points being made. I specifically didn’t deny the potency of movie story telling, just the fear of it. There are enough genuine misunderstandings in the world…

  • Brian Walker

    …and Chris, all fair enough. We can all quibble with any single-sentence conclusion about 1916 or post 1969 or any raw historical or contentious contemporary issue. I have no intention of doing so here!

  • I blogged about this topic too, Brian, after I saw ‘Hunger’ and came across the Paul Bew article. Directors have to be very careful but I think Bew is being a bit alarmist.

    A comment on history and cinema

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The problem for Unionism and the right wing press in Britain is that invariably fictional/factional account of events in Ireland(and most other country’s) lead to a negative portrayal of the British and a positive portrayal of whatever insurgency was going on at the time. With film this is particularly so, and it’s not so much a case of shooting the messenger as shooting the medium.

    The reason behind this is not some dreadful anti-British plot dreamt up by fenian loving Holywood but just that imperialism and the throttling of smaller countries has at least for the time being gone out of fashion.

    But Paul Bew may well be right, people who view this film may well conclude that irrespective of the prevailing view (shared by my goodself) that opting for violence to rid the country of the evil Englezes is not justified nor sensible, and they may well decide to join the current bunch of irregulars – but that is just the price we have to pay for living in a democracy and the probably the inevitable legacy of Britian’s imperial past and ongoing presence in Ireland.

    Brian, Re. “On the other hand, what other state would have limited its most drastic punishment to 15, at a time when hundreds of thousands had already been killed in the most terrible war in historical memory?”

    I have always loved the logic of that argument – it reminds me of the Chinese tale of the old man who has his house broken into and all his goods stolen and then when the robber is about to leave he lectures the man on how lucky he is that his friend, who is not as reasonable as himself, has not accompanied him on the robbery. So to the allegations of ingratitude ? we Irish are guilty as charged.

  • willis

    Brian

    Does a deep fascination with the American Civil War make me a racist?

    How could it?

    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/for-the-union-dead/

  • Fair Deal

    “Does a deep fascination with the American civil war necessarily make anyone a racist?”

    Automatically no potentially yes because race is one of the issues involved in those historical events. Therefore, it depends on what aspects of the War between the States fascinate the individual and what lessons they believe are to be drawn.

  • willis

    As to the incomparable visual historian of the first civil war fought between irishmen.

  • joeCanuck

    Brian,
    Not whistling in the wind. Either whistling in the dark or pissing in the wind.

  • Brian Walker

    Sammy, Disapproval rising to outrage at the executions of the 15 extended far beyond the nationalist Irish. It lay deep in the British establishment, although their reaction times were slower in those days than they might be now. The point isn’t a matter of logic in an argument; it’s a free standing historical reflection that I think speaks quite well of the sensibilities of the establishment at a time when they might have become more brutalised by the horrors of WW1. Concern about US opinion played a part, yet only two years before, members of the Liberal cabinet resigned rather than fight a war they disapproved of on semi-pacifist grounds. It would be hard to imagine that happening today. Since WW1 and 2, in some ways we live in harsher, coarser times, although the evidence is mixed. I happen to think this a fascinating historical topic. You could say it was a huge pity that anti- execution opinion under what may have been martial law (there’s a dispute about whether it was under martial law or the wartime Defence of the Realm Act) wasn’t pre-empted. Events might be been somewhat different…. although I agree that the executions may not have been quite the big turning point some say they were..

  • willis

    Brian

    What was the premise for declaration of WW1?

    Belgian neutrality (self-determination) Treaty of London 1839

    Small Catholic country with a few Prods gets invaded by big militaristic neighbour.

    No parallels there then.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Brian,

    I was only teasing – I often give birth to a Chinsese proverb to suggest gravitas.

    The numbers executed are probably not that important – but rather its the outrage at the British attitude that we did not have the right to take up arms – hence the executions.

    The same attitude informs British governmental and public opinion (although probably not the foreign office) in relation to Iraq and Afghanistan where a large percentage of the population objects to their presence and views it as an occupation.

    It seems inconcievable, that years after Britain at least tried to rectify its colonial misadventure in ireland via the GFA the attitude that was in evidence in 1916 could at least be partly responsible for the disaster that was the invasion of Iraq almost a century later.

  • Fair Deal

    “members of the Liberal cabinet resigned rather than fight a war they disapproved of on semi-pacifist grounds. It would be hard to imagine that happening today”

    Maybe a bit unduly harsh on today’s politicians -Robin Cook’s and the belated Clare Short resignations over the second gulf war?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Fair Deal

    If Robin Cook had been a man of principle he would have resigned from the Labour Party as would the quareone from South Armagh.

  • Dewi

    Nice piece Brian.

    “On the Rising itself, it’s taken as read – and remarkably was so at the time – that the immediate executions by firing squad of the 15 – was a serious mistake by any measure.”

    Only it wasn’t immediate was it? The executions were sort of drip fed over 9 days between May 3rd and May 12th – I’ve often wondered if the staged nature of the executions was as big a factor as the executions themself.

  • Dewi
  • George

    A couple of clips from Irishmen serving in the British Army at the time the Rising took place.

    http://www.rte.ie/laweb/ll/ll_t12f.html

  • UHU

    Chris Donnelly

    “[i]But, crucially, I don’t think that alone would have sustained an armed campaign against the occupying British forces without a deeper rooted desire of the vast majority of the Irish people to support the pursuit of Irish freedom[/i]

    Love the way you use the words occupying and freedom. If you say it often enough it’s like the British invaded, LOL.

  • Brian Walker

    Dewi. Thanks for the Garret article – well worth reading. I hadn’t seen it before. His argument that the Celtic Tiger wouldn’t have happened without independence took fully 50 years to become viable. The case is not quite water tight. A Home Rule Ireland after 1910 could have devised the education and social partnership policies different from GB’s to which he mainly attributes success. Fair play to him though.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dewi,

    Reading that story of Garret’s mother puts me in mind of Roddy Doyle’s jolly japes and sex under the stamp counter in his tales of the Post Office derringdo which is probably one of the worst bits of writing relating to that period – a sort Irish Blackadder except Roddy actually wasn’t kidding.

  • UHU

    Ireland’s finest period in world history is undeniably the 19th century when it was part of the Union. It became the land of scholars because the Union set it free. Ever since the 1916 rebellion, freedom was lost political and religious servitude.

  • willis

    uhu

    Care to expand the argument with some examples?

    James Joyce – check

    etc etc

  • Chris Donnelly

    UHU
    The 19th century, Ireland’s finest period?

    Wasn’t there a pretty big famine about midway during that century, and didn’t it precipitate mass emigration on a scale that meant Ireland, alone amongst European countries, experienced a population decrease for the next 150 years?

    I’d say the case against that thesis is pretty compelling…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    UHU,

    re. “freedom was lost political and religious servitude”

    lol

    You know that bottle that you get your political sustenance from? Well if you read the sell-by-date it’s marked 17th Century.

  • U-HU

    no willis, can’t be bothered. Sure they were all British at the end of the day.

    British/Irish = bad

    Irish = good

  • U-HU

    “[i]Wasn’t there a pretty big famine about midway during that century”[/i]

    Yes, the British/Irish scholars planned it, I tell you.

  • Chris Donnelly

    “Ireland’s finest period in world history is undeniably the 19th century when it was part of the Union. It became the land of scholars because the Union set it free…”

    UHU
    I’m not implying scholars plotted the famine, nor emigration, but both occured during 19th century Ireland.

    Therefore to suggest the century was Ireland’s “finest period in world history” is somewhat perplexing…

  • UHU

    Chris Don,

    to suggest ‘the Brits’ are occupiers and the Irish are denied ‘their freedom’ is also perplexing, but hey, you said it.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Less perplexing than a statement of fact, UHU.

    Now please elaborate on the ‘lost political and religious servitude’ bit….

  • UHU

    not until you explain how you can say Ireland is occupied by the British?

  • alan56

    I think the problem unionists face in terms of being type cast in movies is the natural result of film makers and writers being usually excited by the perceived ‘underdogs’. The nuances of regional specific political issues are too complicated and would confuse the viewer. It might also ruin a ‘box office winning’ narrative.
    That’s show business!!

  • greenflag

    test

  • George

    UHU,
    how you can say Ireland is occupied by the British?

    Annexed in 1801 would be more accurate. Subsequently partitioned after the War of Independence.

  • Greenflag

    dewi,

    Garret Fitzgerald strikes the right note in that article. We have to thank the UVF of 1912 for ensuring that the Irish Volunteers rose in 1916.We don’t thank the Unionists often enough for the crucial role they have played in persuading the vast majority of the people of this island that we are better off with our ‘limited’ sovereignty outside the British Union, than being an ‘indentured’ servant of Queenie & Co within 😉

  • Dewi

    GF – get lost!!

  • fin

    Dewi, very interesting article from Garret, he says

    “. During the past half- century Northern Ireland’s share of the output of the whole island has fallen from 37.5 per cent to about 23 per cent. That decline is much too great to be explained by such factors as Northern Ireland’s inheritance of declining industries or by the political violence of the past thirty years.”

    I’m sure there was a thread here a few weeks ago when Garret had claimed that the IRA had destroyed the norths economy through its violence.

  • fin

    ah yes here it is

    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/the-economic-cost/

    well why do you need a head for money when there’s always a bank on hand to give you a big handout

  • Dewi

    fin – don’t blame me – have a go at Garret why don’t you.

  • HeadTheBall

    Alan56

    “..perceived ‘underdogs’”

    There is a great deal in what you say, although the dubious romance of the loser may be more strictly relevant. Bonnie Prince Charlie, long haired English Cavaliers, French aristos on the tumbrils, the Confederacy, Irish rebels – history’s losers and all ready grist to Hollywood’s mill.

  • Greagoir O’ Franclin

    “Ireland’s finest period in world history is undeniably the 19th century when it was part of the Union. It became the land of scholars because the Union set it free. Ever since the 1916 rebellion, freedom was lost political and religious servitude.”

    Very very wrong! The 19th century saw the demise of Ireland. The wealth and whatever power it had moved from Dublin to London. The fine Georgian streets of Dublin became tenements for the masses of poor, as the wealthy folk moved to England. Remember too, the Great Famine that occured in this century, a famine that broke the back of the country and her indigenous people.

  • Greagoir O’ Franclin

    Whatever about the militant nerd Pearse with his fantasist nationalist visions, and the rest of the 1916 gang but they did invoke in the people an Irish Nationalism that had been dormant in the ether of British governance and supremacy. However viewed, good or bad, but 1916 did pave the way for the establishment of an independant Irish Free State, (even if Home Rule and partition was allegedly on the cards) that is the fact of history, even if folk wanna dress it up in myth today.

  • Greagoir O’ Franclin

    Just saw on the telly the movie “Arthur” an alternative take on the Arthurian legend but which just amounted to another mythological take on history to suit the current politics of the day. A load of old bollix really.

  • Greagoir O’ Franclin

    BTW, Dudley Moore was appalling as the champagne swilling, chauffeur driven king but I blame Geoffrey of Monmouth.

    King Arthur superceded by Alfred the Great is a wonderful perpetuation of the King of the Britons/English myth that is still alive and well today.

    Good Night!

  • Up Kerry Number one

    The 19th was Ireland’s finest century? For who?
    Certainly not the Gaels

    I find this statement baffling

  • T.R.O.H.V.M

    ‘not until you explain how you can say Ireland is occupied by the British?’

    I suppose if the irish invaded Britain and imported en masse a loyal minority you woould have no problem with Irish soildiers on the streets of Manchester.

  • HeadTheBall

    “…a loyal minority..”

    Aha, so you see the “loyal minority” as occupiers, do you. So what do you want them to do:

    Withdraw? No dice, they’ve been here, some of them, longer than you.
    Tamely accept UI because you want it? Again, no dice. Their length of residency gives them just as many rights as you.

    Sorry, but compromise is the only way forward.

  • If my history teacher had predicted when teaching about the Easter Rising that Mike from Neighbours would be playing James Connolly in a film of the events, I would have paid far more attention.

  • Greagoir O’ Franclin

    “Sorry, but compromise is the only way forward.”

    Indeed, compromise and agreement is the only way forward.

  • Rory Carr

    The main problem with portraying Loyalist gangs in a positive light in Hollywood movies is in making them appealing to a mainstream audience as is indicated by this clip, a dramatic reconstruction of an RUC interrogation of Johnny Adair, from an unfinished movie intended to highlight their heroic exploits:

  • Greenflag

    Fin ,

    Northern Ireland economist Smyth seems to think the ‘union’ has been good for the Irish economy as in todays paper

    Mr Smyth said the southern influence on the Northern Ireland property market is just one part of a wider trend.

    “So much of Northern Ireland’s industry is owned by southern companies or companies based in the south,’’ he said.

    “Virtually every bank in Northern Ireland is southern owned, whole swathes of our economy are now southern owned.

    “I don’t think people should be afraid of this.

    “If the situations were reversed we would be buying up huge swathes of the Republic.”

    Can’t see the Pound sterling going anywhere except ‘down’ so Mr Smyth’s if is a very big IF .

    The ‘bad side ‘ of the above is that the Irish Government through it’s bailout of toxic debts may soon own large tracts of ‘developing ‘ parts of Belfast (Shankill) albeit temporarily .

  • Greagoir O’ Franclin

    ha ha …good one Rory, very funny!

    🙂

  • T.R.O.H.V.M

    ‘Aha, so you see the “loyal minority” as occupiers, do you. So what do you want them to do:

    Withdraw? No dice, they’ve been here, some of them, longer than you.’

    Who said anything about anyone having to ‘upsticks’? You seem to imply words which are not there and were never said.

    However I don’t see too many Italian Americans
    demanding Rome rule part of the US eastern seaboard however do you? Our ‘Ulster-scots’ brethern are too good to live in a land governed by savage natives though aren’t they?

  • HeadTheBall

    It’s your own emotive language that’s causing the problem. You link the idea of military occupation to the unionist community. Military occupation is almost invariably illegal, ergo occupiers should be evicted. That may all be logical enough, but gets us nowhere with our little local difficulties.

    You’re at it again in your last post with your “too good” and “savage natives”. Maybe “too scared” would be more true and are you characterizing John Hume and Gerry Adams, for example, with their fine Scots and English surnames as “natives”. And do you think most Catholics are savage or do you just assume Prods think that way?

  • HeadTheBall

    Actually, instead of “too good” or “too scared” try “too alienated”, then reflect whether your own kind of thinking might not contribute to that.

  • T.R.O.H.V.M

    ‘Too alienated’????

    Ahh so it was ailenation which forced unionists to deny the democratic will of the irish people for so long prior to partition. Right gotcha !
    It was themmuns fault.

    This ‘ailenation’ wouldn’t have anything to do with the manner in which history has placed unionists (Buffer)? The blame for that lies at the feet of the irish who should just have rolled over and took john Bulls pork sword like good little savages….doesn’t it?

  • HeadTheBall

    And as to your Italian Americans, ever heard of ENOSIS?

    Looking across the water to some assumed tribal cousins is not unique to NI. I am not saying that it is either good or right but simply lampooning it, as you do, won’t make it go away.

  • HeadTheBall

    Really on form there!

    “prior to partition” was getting on for a century ago FFS.

    I have much to learn from you though. In that single phrase (“prior to partition”) you have managed to conflate the unemployed Shankill Road Prod of today with the Big House unionists of the late 19thC.

    Masterly, absolutely masterly.

  • T.R.O.H.V.M

    ‘Looking across the water to some assumed tribal cousins is not unique to NI.’

    So to demand the partition of Ireland was merely ‘looking across the water’ was it. Thats great to know….any other pearls of wisdom?

  • HeadTheBall

    My bad. There I go interrupting your nice wallow in Mopery.

    I have been trying to address the situation we face in NI today but if you prefer a nice rant about the injustices of the past, please be my guest.

    Enjoy.

  • T.R.O.H.V.M

    Ahh so the past has absolutlely nothing to do with the situation in the north today. Right…ok….. thanks for clearing that up !

  • Brian MacAodh

    The fact that there never should have been partition in the first place doesn’t change anything. We have to deal with the realities of the situation in the north today and find a way to make it work.

  • HeadTheBall

    Brian,

    Hear! Hear!

    T.R.O.H.V.M

    Words in mouth, mo chara. I never said that the past has “absolutlely nothing” to do with where we are today. Rather, my problem with you is that you want to talk about “absolutlely nothing” but the past.

    Oíche mhaith.

  • T.R.O.H.V.M

    ‘I have been trying to address the situation we face in NI today’

    Your words. To do that, you need to address the injustices of the past. Of which partition was one. You brought up alienation of the unionist community, as if it were entirely the fault of the other side !

  • HeadTheBall

    “entirely the fault”

    I never attributed blame, and certainly not in the categorical sense you imply. On the other hand I suspect that by “the injustices of the past” you mean those perpetrated by one “side” only, viz. “themmuns”.

  • Greenflag

    Repartition is the way forward when this Assembly implodes. We’ll never agree on the past and it’s unlikely we’ll agree on the future . Que sera and all that . Cast a cold eye on all the dead heroes and victims on all sides and just move on .

  • UHU

    Repartition it is then.

    Let the Greens stay south and the Orange remain North.

    What’s the Irish flag represent?

  • Greenflag

    uhu

    ‘What’s the Irish flag represent? ‘

    It seemed like a good idea at the time. We can still keep the tricolour post repartition and the ‘orange ‘ can represent the present minority in the Republic and also the unionists of those areas of the present NI which would be ceded the Republic. . Presumably a smaller mainly Unionist State would recognise their 10 to 20% Nationalist minority by giving it a spot on their new flag . I’d suggest a reverse of the Irish tricolour but alas that option has apparently been taken up by the Ivory Coast 🙁

  • latcheeco

    Chris,
    But isn’t it equally arguable that you’re being revisionist because constitutional nationalists like Redmond could, in 1916, say the same thing as you’re saying now, given the Home Rule Act was passed (albeit postponed till after the war). They also had a constitutional compromise in which the majority chose to locally administer British rule. They also insisted, as you do, that this meant the nightmare was over. Indeed they believed in it so much that they were off in the trenches getting slaughtered by the thousand.