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.

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