The Mindset of the Times

A recent update led to the installation of the iBook app on my iPod Touch. Being a new father I was also quite pleased that Winnie the Poo came with it for free.

I was even more pleased to find the following among the free books being offered via iBooks:

Der Rote Kampfflieger
Der Rote Kampfflieger

How lucky is that? If you are unaware who that is, here’s the Wiki entry, you might like to look up, and please, do feel ashamed if you actually had to go there…

In any case, I am now half way through the book (it’s an excellent read, but I can imagine it would loose a bit of its appeal in an English translation, I am obviously reading the original German version) and it is quite a window to the mindset of the times. Freiherr von Richthofen displays a very sporting, gallant attitude towards warfare at the beginning of the book. He talks about playing hide-and-seek with the enemy, praises the equally sporting English and uses his time off to go boar-hunting. This stance obviouly changes with the reality of war but it shows the mindset prevalent in the German ruling class prior to World War 1.

You could in deed call it more civilised but it also borders on decadence and carelessness. I was also quite surprised to find Richthofen a very religious man. He states that nothing happens without God’s guidance and mourns the death of a British bomber crew in a crash, after he had aimed for the engine, not wanting to kill the crew.

I highly recommend the book to everyone interested in history and the proper mindest of Steampunk times. I do not know if the English version is available via iBooks, but it is available online:

The Red Fighter Pilot

Now I shall go and hunt for similar accounts of English, French and Americans.

4 Responses to The Mindset of the Times

  1. Schön geschrieben… und ich mag das Thema auch. Die Erinnerungen an die Ritterlichkeit dieses deutschen Helden in einem unschönen Krieg ist eine der wenigen Dinge die man uns danach nicht nehmen oder schlecht reden konnte.

  2. I have a copy of the English translation of „Der rote Kampfflieger“ and although I haven’t read it for a disgracefully long time I don’t think it’s any the worse for being in English – it’s still a great read.

    For French and American accounts, although I haven’t read them myself (yet!) I would imagine René Fonck’s memoirs „Mes Combats“ and Eddie Rickenbacker’s „Fighting the Flying Circus“ would be a good place to start.

    Of the English fliers I have read the following, and would recommend them all:

    „Flying Fury: Five Years in The Royal Flying Corps“ by James McCudden;
    „Sagittarius Rising“ by Cecil Lewis ;
    „Winged Victory“ by V. M. Yeates.

    Happy reading!

  3. @ Thorsten Schreck
    Hi Schrecki!
    Danke für die Blumen und Deiner Aussage habe ich nichts hinzu zu fügen! Gruß nach Aschffenburg!

    @ Bruce Partington-Plans
    Thank you for the recommended literature, I shall go looking for them straight away.
    And that’s quite a nice blog you’ve got there. I guess you would not mind me featuring it?

  4. I hope you enjoy them as much as „Der rote Kampfflieger“ when you do find them!

    I’m glad you like my blog! Please feel free to feature it if you want. Thanks!