A Look Into Reality

While reading I found it interesting that Byher put it to the readers of "Close Up" that they decided then, in June 1933, what they would do in a war that had not yet started and might not. In talking about what he had and was seeing in Germany, he also talks about how society cannot expect a man who does not believe in a war to fight it, but that they should not ignore what was going on. Making sure to drive this home to his readers, he explicitly states what is happening - the book burnings, the censorship and banning of authors and scientists, men and women being sent to concentration camps, Jewish doctors being banned from practice, and deaths occuring just a street over from the main tourist area of the Kurfurstendamm are just a few that he mentions. What caught my attention the most though was:

For the last fifteen years people have used the words peace and war so much that the sound of them means nothing at all. They have read war books, said 'how terrible' and gone on to read accounts of life in the south seas or on a farm or stories of a feudal castle, as if all were equally real or perhaps better, unreal. They have signed resolutions and exchanged armistice memories and sighed (if they are old enough) for 'the good old days before the war'. But very few have ever made a constructive attempt to prevent the months of 1914 from being repeated on a larger and worse scale. (308)

He goes on to say that men and women read books about the war (WWI), mention how bad it was, and move on driving home the fact that what was happening in Germany was not being looked at as a similar start to World War I, just on a larger scale. It is especially interesting to me to see the wars being mentioned within a magazine so openly. Magazines from before the true start of WWI did not touch on the war that much, only mentioning that it was still occuring and that is why their publication was slow or something similar. However, with "Close Up" both World War I and the upcoming World War II is mentioned - even if he did not know at the time. The magazines are paying closer attention to the international politics around them now, and that shift from national to international is really interesting. As I have not read earlier issues of "Close Up" I cannot say for sure that this shift occured with this magazine specifically, or if other magazines that were more national began to take a international tone after World War I, however just seeing a couple magazines from both periods of time shows that there is a tonal shift in some capacity. 


I actually wasn't surprised that Close Up magazine talked about WW1 so openly because that seemed to be the objective of their magazine to talk about the uncomfortable, and the undiscussed topics that most magazines did not want to discuss. I think they felt that if they didn't discuss the war they were not living up to their objective. Still, it would have been highly uncommon for a woman during this time to write so openly about the war and to show their dissent of the war. If there were any discussion of war in the magazines at this time, it would most likely be from an objective perspective. Bryher's connection to the war and film fit nicely with Close Up magazine which discussed the importance of the cinema through a literary context and the connection it had to current cultural events which the war was.