With the World Cup nearly upon us we will soon no doubt be bombarded by the latest round of anti-German sentiment. Sometimes one would think that we've always been hostile to the Germans. And yet this was not always so.
The Times decided in 1891 that 'Germany does not excite in any class among us the slightest feeling of distrust or antipathy', the zenith of a century in which Britons admired German culture and the monarchy was closely involved with Germany royalty. Yet twenty-five years later began the era of world wars in which Britain and Germany were twice pitted against each other in fights to the death. After 1945, it seemed that Britain would learn to co-exist on terms of normality with newly-democratic Germany, yet persistent memories of 1940 have continued to obstruct that process, hesitations reinforced by the relentless showing of war films on television, chants from football crowds, and populist gibes from the tabloids. John Ramsden's groundbreaking book looks at every aspect of Anglo- German relations for the last 100 years: from the wars themselves to how they have been seen by the tabloids as re-enacted in subsequent football matches. And he askes 'What is the British problem with Germany?' As Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin once said 'I tries 'ard, but I 'ates 'em'.Don't Mention the War is published by Little, Brown and can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk here.