Netflix Diaries: Foyle’s War

History is written by the victorious. It is evident in the numerous movies and documentaries that the Allies gave the Axis powers a tough fight before rubbing their faces into dust. Most often the story on the silver screen is of a nation ravaged by the ambitions of a deranged man.

Foyle’s War is a glimpse into the lives of people in a nation whose young men are away at war defending their borders and country against the Axis powers. It is a British ITV drama set in the period of World War II. The protagonist is Christopher Foyle who is a Detective Chief Superintendent stationed at Hastings. His job requires him to keep a check on local crimes and illegal activities, maintain a state of peace as anything otherwise would adversely affect the army and the security of the British nation. The character of Foyle played by veteran actor Michael Kitchen stands out as a man of principle who often faces a moral dilemma between acting as a human and as a policeman.

The situation in England in the WW2 period was volatile, with frequent news of bombings and air raids. Fear and anxiety tightly gripped the minds those at home. Now since the young men had left their homes and farms to take up arms, women took charge of the house and the business. They were employed in industries like artillery, carpentry or as mechanics in garage, which were always a male profession. They worked alongside the few men who had been found unfit for duty and were left behind. Not only they clocked the same hours working the the same shift, they got paid in half, saving the business a lot money which they considered a fair bargain. Some businessmen even engaged in the black marketing of grains, liquor and tobacco. They catered to the whims of the rich who found it impossible to give up their caviar and champagne because a country is at war. A few of them moved to exotic resorts or country side guest houses which promised “state of tranquility in a war stricken country”.

The starving mouths were of the poor who survived on the limited rations provided by the government. Plenty of houses got bombed during the air raids at night; they attracted scavengers and thieves looking for valuables or anything useful to trade for money or importantly food. Food was scarce and soldiers lost lives guarding the government supplied rations. The need of the hour was to have a strict law and order in place to combat the perils of war which had permeated through the battleground.

Off late I had begun to find the gore depicted in the current crime drama series not only repetitive but also distasteful. For a history buff this British drama was a welcome change.

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