Of love and war

7th April 2000 at 01:00
THE news that Tom Hanks, the American star of Saving Private Ryan, is to judge an essay competition that invites British teenagers to explore the relationship between our two countries during World War II, should prove a big hit with schools.

Some might scoff at the film's subtext - that it was the American GI (with precious little help from the British Tommy) wot won it on D-Day. But in reality the Anglo-American bond forged in the struggle against Fascism proved to be one of the enduring legacies of the war.

The competition offers children the chance to quiz heir grandparents about the GIs stationed in Britain - famously described as being "overpaid, oversexed and over here". They will uncover a rich "people's history", involving GI brides and at least 5,000 illegitimate babies born to American soldiers at a time when many young British women succumbed to "war aphrodisia".

We do not have to be in love with Hollywood, or Hanks, to develop a passion for history. But if celebrity can be a spur to children's learning, as EastEnders actress Louise Jameson suggests elsewhere this week (page 11), all well and good.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today