My dad was born in 1943, in one of the most bombed towns in England. His father, my grandfather, fought in the war. I sat down and asked him about his thoughts on the war and his feelings on Captain America’s new position on Nazism.
Me: What can you tell me about the war that people might not know?
Dad: People might not realise how many foreign people fought in the war, i.e. Indians, Australians. It seems to be dominated by English and American history.
Me: Your dad fought in the war, can you tell me about that?
Dad: He got mentioned in Dispatches, which means he did something exceptional.
Me: When you were older, what did you think about Nazis?
Dad: I think the Nazis were misguided and got caught up in the megalomania and I don’t think they all wanted to do what they were forced to do, but I don’t think they had much choice.
Me:What do you think about increased anti-Semitism and the rise of Neo-Nazism today?
Dad: I don’t understand it, I think they need to get a life.
Me: You remember rationing, what was that like?
Dad: For a kid it wasn’t a big problem, but I was only concerned by the sweet ration. Food was a lot simpler then and lasted a lot longer. But it used to be a mathematical trial.
Me: What was it like after the war?
Dad: There were derelict houses everywhere which you could go into and play around in, it took a while to clean up. Obviously it was dangerous but it didn’t seem to matter.
Me: How do you feel about Captain America, a hero created by two Jewish men, being turned into a Nazi for shock value?
Dad: I don’t think it’s shock value, I believe it’s commercial value. I believe it’s a purely commercial proposition – opportunistic desperation.
Me: How do you feel Ethan [my nephew, his grandson] would react to this?
Dad: It’s unethical. He’s old enough to know that it’s a bad thing. He would be disappointed in Captain America. It would certainly confuse him. I think it’s a step too far really. Sensationalism for the sake of it.
(My dad, bless him, has asked that nobody troll him. I explained if anyone was going to be trolled, it would be me. I hope this interview helps add a new perspective to the fray – indeed I wasn’t aware of India or Australia’s involvement in the war effort. It just goes to show how far reaching this thing is.)