“We have two classes of forecasters: Those who don’t know – and those who don’t know they don’t know.”
& John Kenneth Galbraith, 1908 – 2006, Canadian-American economist, diplomat, and public official
The Year That Changed Everything
Born in London at the very end of the Second World War, actress Helen Mirren, known for her subtle and sympathetic portrayal of Elizabeth II in the movie ‘The Queen’ (2006), didn’t have to live through the nightly ravages of the Blitz – an intense eight-month bombing campaign conducted by Nazi Germany against the United Kingdom, which killed more than 43,000 civilians and left 1.5 million Londoners homeless. The offensive came to be called the Blitz after the German word blitzkrieg (lightning war) and was meant to cripple Britain’s war production and demoralize the population into surrender. Over a period of 267 days, London suffered 71 aerial attacks, including a staggering 57 consecutive nights of raids.
Mirren’s parents, on the other hand, spent the majority of the war in London and had to endure that night upon night upon night of intractable bombing by the Germans. Asked what is was like in London during the bombing raids, her mother replied: “We carried on, not as if it wasn’t happening, but because it was happening.” Did you catch that? They weren’t living in denial. They did not hide behind a wall of happy talk or try to minimize the danger. No, they carried on because they had to, because they had no other choice. Those ordinary citizens endured in the face of an external danger and discovered that they had the psychological and physical resources to cope with it. Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl put it this way: “Those who have a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any ‘how’.”