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Dick Seaman TV programme - UK Channel 4


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#151 Vitesse2

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 11:20

Incidentally, I wonder why it is that people keep trying to dig up non-existent dirt about Dick? There was also - from about the same time - "The Last British Hero", which DCN memorably described as "umbala".

http://forums.autosp...showtopic=82973

I would be interested to know if there's a connection between Mr Shirley - author of said umbala - and Jonathan Glancey, who is actually the Architecture Critic for The Guardian, so obviously well-qualified to write about 1930s motor sport :rolleyes:

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#152 seccotine

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 19:42

"why it is that people keep trying to dig up non-existent dirt about Dick?"
"Dirt"? What dirt?
Let's make one point clear : Seaman was linked to no nazi crime. OK.
But he belonged to a racing team that was connected to the German government of the time and the nazi party, a team that was used as an instrument of propaganda. He also, reluctantly or not, did the nazi salute, a gesture that meant something in those times.
These facts don't make him a criminal. But they are highly questionable, and so is the choice he made to have a career in that team. Others, in other sports or in more ordinary circumstances, made a different choice.
Period.



#153 D-Type

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 22:21

"why it is that people keep trying to dig up non-existent dirt about Dick?"
"Dirt"? What dirt?
Let's make one point clear : Seaman was linked to no nazi crime. OK.
But he belonged to a racing team that was connected to the German government of the time and the nazi party, a team that was used as an instrument of propaganda. He also, reluctantly or not, did the nazi salute, a gesture that meant something in those times.
These facts don't make him a criminal. But they are highly questionable, and so is the choice he made to have a career in that team. Others, in other sports or in more ordinary circumstances, made a different choice.
Period.

Again the confusion.
Seaman raced for Mercedes Benz. Mercedes Benz were a private German company. The Nazi party were the party running Germany. The German government (which was run by the Nazi party) subsidised Mercedes Benz directly or indirectly. The Mercedes Benz team were not connected to the German Government.

In what other sports did a competitor have the choice of competing professionally in a German team?

#154 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 23:20

"why it is that people keep trying to dig up non-existent dirt about Dick?"
"Dirt"? What dirt?

I said it was non-existent.

Let's make one point clear : Seaman was linked to no nazi crime. OK.
But he belonged to a racing team that was connected to the German government of the time and the nazi party, a team that was used as an instrument of propaganda. He also, reluctantly or not, did the nazi salute, a gesture that meant something in those times.
These facts don't make him a criminal. But they are highly questionable, and so is the choice he made to have a career in that team. Others, in other sports or in more ordinary circumstances, made a different choice.
Period.

1 Richard Seaman was not the only non-German driver who drove for Mercedes Benz. Chiron, Farina and Kautz (the last admittedly a Nazi sympathiser) were three others.
2 He was a professional racing driver, whose ambition was to be the best.
3 To that end he accepted an invitation to join one of the two best racing teams in Europe.
4 As it happens, Mercedes Benz received a subsidy from the German government: in no way did it cover all the costs of a racing season. Most of the racing budget came from the company, which had temporarily withdrawn from the sport in 1932, due to cost considerations. The 750kg Formula was announced in late 1932 and within sixteen months MB had designed and built a complete new car: whether or not subsidy had been available, they intended racing again in 1934 and subsequent years.

Seaman's attitude was no different to that of Stirling Moss, who also wanted to be the best and joined Mercedes Benz. But that was after the war, so of course MB were purged of any Nazi connections :rolleyes:

Hypothetically, had Seaman joined Alfa Romeo - which was essentially the Italian national racing team - he'd have been associated with a regime which had already indulged in such delightful practices as pushing prominent Abyssinian citizens out of aeroplanes in flight and - like Nazi Germany - bombing defenceless civilians in Spain. Would you condemn Raymond Sommer or René Dreyfus on those grounds?

1930s history is rarely black and white.

#155 Roger Clark

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 07:11

1 Richard Seaman was not the only non-German driver who drove for Mercedes Benz. Chiron, Farina and Kautz (the last admittedly a Nazi sympathiser) were three others.

Farina? Perhaps you meant Fagioli.

I didn't think there was any doubt that Daimler-Benz was closely associated with the totalitarian government, as was the whole of German industry.

#156 Vitesse2

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 08:24

Farina? Perhaps you meant Fagioli.

Indeed. It was late ....

I didn't think there was any doubt that Daimler-Benz was closely associated with the totalitarian government, as was the whole of German industry.

Exactly. Where you have a totalitarian government which still permits private industry to exist and awards it contracts, then those companies are open to criticism when that government falls. By the end of the 1930s almost all German industry was to a greater or lesser extent state-controlled, or at the very least state-directed.

#157 Odseybod

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:12

Indeed. It was late ....

Exactly. Where you have a totalitarian government which still permits private industry to exist and awards it contracts, then those companies are open to criticism when that government falls. By the end of the 1930s almost all German industry was to a greater or lesser extent state-controlled, or at the very least state-directed.


I think expecting Daimler-Benz to have competed without Nazi Party support would be rather like expecting (say) Czech athletes of the '60s and '70s to compete in the Olympics without being Communist Party members. You do what you have to do, though that doesn't necessarily mean you like the way it's done.

#158 Option1

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:17

I'd suggest it also doesn't necessarily make it the right thing to do...

Neil

#159 Odseybod

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:15

I'd suggest it also doesn't necessarily make it the right thing to do...

Neil


Ah, all very well to voice such principled opinions when you're free to do so - not that I disagree with you.

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#160 bradbury west

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 17:19

He also, reluctantly or not, did the nazi salute, a gesture that meant something in those times......
Others, in other sports, made a different choice. Period.


Yes, of course they did, and at a time when footballers were just ordinary people who were told what to do.
Posted Image

Photo taken from a Daily/Sunday(probably) Telegraph, to whom copyright is recognised, article some years back by Russell Davies reviewing a book by someone called Kuper on Nazi/Jewish issues. If the salute by our footballers is not clear enough I can do a larger version.
Roger Lund

Edit

No picture, but this is the article from which the picture came, via DT Archives. It is reviewing a book about Ajax FC. I only retained the photo element and part of the article in the files.
http://www.telegraph...-incidents.html
RL

Edited by bradbury west, 15 August 2009 - 17:33.


#161 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 18:06

Yes, of course they did, and at a time when footballers were just ordinary people who were told what to do.
Posted Image

Photo taken from a Daily/Sunday(probably) Telegraph, to whom copyright is recognised, article some years back by Russell Davies reviewing a book by someone called Kuper on Nazi/Jewish issues. If the salute by our footballers is not clear enough I can do a larger version.
Roger Lund

I can confirm what Roger says - and also add to it. The match was arranged by the English FA at fairly short notice - possibly at the initiative of Chamberlain's government - as a way of showing that all was "normal" in Europe. It was only a few months since the Anschluss, much of Europe's attention was directed towards the Spanish Civil War, there was increasing tension between France and Italy and what became known as the Munich Crisis was developing. Chamberlain was walking the tightrope between peace and war, knowing that he desperately needed more time to prepare his country - he's a much-maligned man, for he bought Britain valuable time to rearm and develop defence mechanisms. Sadly, he proved a less than capable wartime leader.

The England players were ordered to give the Nazi salute by a senior representative of the Foreign Office after captain Eddie Hapgood who - like most of the players he was unhappy with the situation - led a dressing room revolt which threatened to become an international incident. What is often forgotten is that the Germans - quite correctly according to protocol - first played "God Save the King" in honour of the visitors. As per usual, the English team stood to attention but the Germans also saluted while the British national anthem was played. But of course you never see pictures of that.

As an aside, the most notable non-Axis team to give the Nazi salute at the 1936 Olympics were the French. The British contented themselves with an "eyes right" as they passed the rostrum.

Edited by Vitesse2, 15 August 2009 - 18:07.


#162 MCS

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 18:08

Yes, of course they did, and at a time when footballers were just ordinary people who were told what to do.
Posted Image

Photo taken from a Daily/Sunday(probably) Telegraph, to whom copyright is recognised, article some years back by Russell Davies reviewing a book by someone called Kuper on Nazi/Jewish issues. If the salute by our footballers is not clear enough I can do a larger version.
Roger Lund

Edit

No picture, but this is the article from which the picture came, via DT Archives. It is reviewing a book about Ajax FC. I only retained the photo element and part of the article in the files.
http://www.telegraph...-incidents.html
RL


For what it is worth, Roger is referring to Simon Kuper's book - Ajax, The Dutch, The War; an excellent and highly recommended read for anybody with an interest in the Second World War, the "Dutch" and/or European football. A compelling piece of work, full of extraordinary facts.