>The sound of conflict

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The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

John Stuart Mill, 19th century English economist and philosopher.

 

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?

Mahatma Gandhi

War has been a hot topic in the news with events in Libya bringing arguments for and against military action centre stage. I’m certainly not going to dwell on these arguments on a music blog – for fear of losing what’s left of my readership after 21 days of inaction which is tantamount to blogger suicide (in my defence I was busy sorting the aftermath of being burgled!). To return to the point, war has been a subject addressed by many artists over the years and the whole gamut of views have been covered. Edwyn Starr’s ‘War! (what is it good for?)’ stands apart as one of the greatest protest songs in history yet there have also been many gems supporting war. I strongly recommend this siteĀ  which has proved invaluable to me as a history teacher. Josh White’s ‘Berlin Blues’ from 1943 is a superb example of the quality of writing engaged in the propaganda of war. In this blog I will choose five songs linked to the theme of war and offer my views on each.

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