I was thinking about the lyrics of that great 2nd.World War number one hit song "We'll meet again" and how unsure anybody alive in Europe at that time around 1942 could actually be sure that meeting anybody again was seriously on the agenda, unless they had hidden themselves away in the Outer Hebrides or somewhere.
"We'll meet again don't know where, don't know when..." was putting it mildly. If you were fighting on one of the many battle fronts in Europe, Africa and the recently opened up South Asia and the Pacific fronts, not knowing where and not knowing when was the order of the day, as all communications including letters written by soldiers were open to censorship. Where you were was a number one secret. This information, supposedly of vital interest to the "enemy" couldn't be disclosed to even your closest relatives back home. Because you never knew did you? Think about it. Was it possible that your closest relatives, perhaps given to gossip, perhaps not sympathetic to the war if such a possibility was even thinkable, perhaps secretly on the "other side", well shouldn't it be borne in mind that in this horrendous time of war they should be considered the enemy too? Not to consider this possibility was approaching treason. That your friends and relatives might in fact not be totally in tune with the bourgeoisie's absolute need to pursue this mass global destruction to some sort of bitter end - just so that capital could be put back on its feet; the memory of the proletariat's revolutionary wave twenty years earlier erased for ever, and the unsatisfactory position of profit restored to strength after the frustration of the depression - had to be taken seriously. You never knew. You couldn't trust anyone. You couldn't be sure. Not if you were the ruling class determined to put things right for capital; and determined to teach the working class a lesson it should never forget.
What an unbelievable state of affairs this seems to us now. And why did everyone go along with it as lambs to the slaughter?
The song "We'll meet again" (if we're lucky that is!) goes on "Keep smiling through just as you always do..." and expresses the hope that populations at home, subject to bombing and punitive austerities, and those fighting on the fronts, faced with constant death or mutilation, will blank out and suppress their human feelings of loathing and revulsion at what the war is doing to everyone, and make out its really all fun and we're enjoying it - and if we're not we'll keep it to ourselves and hide it!
This is such a negation of human life and the human will to live. How did the bourgeoisie get away with it? "It's being so cheerful as keeps me going" the character Monalot whined weekly on the popular ITMA show (NB. ITMA = Its That Man Again, the man being Tommy Handley; host to a crowd of wartime characters on the wireless, designed to keep the terrified population amused.) For you weren't supposed to talk about the war, but were expected to keep your chin up and look forward to the "Blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover" as another war time song had it, which exotic birds were expected any day soon "just you wait and see"; that is if you survived the blitz, the bombs, the fronts, concentration camps, the holocaust, starvation diets, atomic bombs and so on.
The final irony of "We'll meet again" which must be worth five stars as far as irony goes, is at the words: "Will you please say hello to the folks that I know. Tell them I won't be long..." The person speaking if not pleading in this sad song is someone being sent abroad to fight and probably die. He wants to persuade those unfortunate enough to be left behind at home and thus denied the full orgasmic pleasure of being allowed to kill the enemy on the battlefield and die there in glory himself, that really everything's fine and, you'll see, I'll be back before you know it. Before you can say "Jack Robinson" as some local dialects put it in those times. Isn't this some sick kind of phony optimism? It's like the soldiers taking the King's shilling in the UK and being recruited happily for the 1st. World Massacre used to say they'd be back for Christmas - but didn't say which year. Unable to imagine the war would drag on for years and only be ended by proletarian revolution.
War is a terrible thing. It's an obvious thing to say though not obvious to the bourgeoisie for whom it is a necessity. That is to say it is an essential activity for decadent capitalism in its attempts at survival. Will the unpleasant situations in Ukraine, Syria and various African countries lead us to yet another war with its array of sordid songs of solace "there'll be love and laughter and peace ever after" as the bourgeoisie lied in 1942, or will the proletariat finally bring the current cycle of wars, which began in 1914, to an end?