My father, Lt. Frank Bury, of Millichope Park, Munslow, Shropshire was killed on 11th July 1944 at Ouistreham, Normandy, whilst serving in the No. 4 Commandos for which he had volunteered. He is buried in the Military Cemetery at Ranville. My mother remarried and died in childbirth together with the child. After this my brother and I went to live with kind step-parents and then in adolescence with our war-widowed aunt and her inspirational second husband.
After marrying, I chanced to meet the son of a prominent Nazi industrialist in Gstaad in Switzerland. He told me that whilst in the Hitler youth he had saved children from the ruins after the British had bombed Berlin. He despised post-war Britain for having rationing after the Germans had abandoned theirs. When I mentioned our war debts he declared that Germany had trashed its currency to eliminate its debts – the benefit being that ‘it taught the German people how to work’. I was astonished and infuriated, when, subsequently, I read in my son’s history textbook that the crushing imposts of the Treaty of Versailles had led to Germany’s Great Inflation and the rise of Hitler. It was this glimpse of how mendacious German propaganda had penetrated our school history curriculum which jolted me into starting my research. I longed to refute the myths spread by the German ruling elite about their countrymen being the victims of allied oppression. The reality, which emerged more starkly as my research proceeded, was that Germany’s military and industrial elite had deliberately started two twentieth century wars of conquest. Yet the blame has never been firmly pinned on them. This anxiety has sustained my research over many years.
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