I've been reading the Daily Mail quite a lot since I've been here, but only issues published in 1940 or earlier. So I'm grateful to Jakob for pointing me in the direction of an article in today's edition about German boardgames from the Second World War. It's fascinating, but why is it news? Ostensibly because a German collector is auctioning them in Britain, but really the point would seem to be to contrast the bloodthirsty German kids of 1940 with their far more innocent British counterparts:
During the dark days of the Second World War, British children passed the time with marbles, hopscotch, tiddlywinks and, for a lucky few, a Monopoly set.
But over in Germany, the amusements were far less innocent.
In one version of bagatelle named Bombers over England, children as young as four were encouraged to blow up settlements by firing a spring-driven ball on to a board featuring a map of Britain and the tip of Northern Europe.
Players were awarded a maximum 100 points for landing on London, while Liverpool was worth 40.
It's not just the Mail either. Says the Sun:
WARTIME Nazi board games rewarding German children for “blowing up” British targets have been unearthed.
The 1940s toys show that while UK kids played marbles and tiddlywinks, German youngsters were trying to score points by destroying London.
The Daily Mirror titles its story "Sick 'blast Brits' Nazi toys found" and adds that 'Board games based on snakes and ladders and battleships also get a disturbing Nazi twist'.
Well, Nazis are an easy target, aren't they -- even juvenile ones. But of course, as I've discussed here recently, British children played war games too, so it's really rather silly to pretend that they spent the whole war playing tiddlywinks, whereas the kinder on the other side of the North Sea were plotting the destruction of Britain. And to their credit, most of the commenters on the articles have seen through this too (one even mentioned L'Attaque!)