Weekend Gallimaufry - Author and correspondent Macdonald Hastings talks about the changing attitude towards war and it's horror five years on, in 1944.
September 20, 2010

Watching the skies in Madrid, 1936 - a few years later, no one noticed.

(Editors note: Sorry we're late this week - allergies prevented me from thinking, let alone posting - G.S.)

I suppose it's just human nature that we tend to shut down after intense exposure to pain, misery and death - you see enough and it all starts to gloss over, goes into the abstract. The disconnect.

So it was fascinating to listen to this report, made by Author Macdonald Hastings from November 11, 1944 on his observations of changing human responses to the horrors of war from scenes of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, revisited by London moviegoers in 1944.

Macdonald Hastings: “What a past we’ve come to in a mere five years. When Hemingway’s record of The Spanish Earth was first screened it tore our hearts and gave us a new conception of horror. Now, so inured are we to horror that the Spanish Civil War seems outmoded. Solemn thought.”

I suppose you can draw the same conclusions to our own more recent history. Human nature to shut down, gloss over, become numb, pretend.

Same as it ever was.

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