Archives can provide access to unique personal stories which occur against the backdrop of major events. Several of our archive collections include material relating to the personal experiences of individuals during the Second World War.
During the war the film director Lindsay Anderson served in the British Intelligence Corps in India intercepting Japanese communications. Anderson’s wartime diaries provide a detailed and colourful account of his wartime experiences including his military training, the voyage from Glasgow to India and reflections on army life (Ref. LA 6/1/1-8).
As head of the National Film Board of Canada from 1939-45 Grierson played a major role in the propaganda campaign waged by the Allies against the Axis powers. He also visited Normandy in 1944 to meet with Allied combat cameramen. The sections of the Grierson Archive covering the war time period (Ref. G3 & G4) contain letters, interviews, reports and newspaper articles in which Grierson discusses various aspects of the war effort including his reflections on Nazi propaganda and the Allied response which included Grierson’s creation of the ‘Hitler jig’, a re-cutting of footage of the Nazi leader which had the effect of portraying him as a comic figure of ridicule.
Editor of the Guardian newspaper (1950-69) and later Professor of Media Studies at the University of Stirling Hetherington served with the Royal Armoured Corps during the war. His papers include intelligence papers from June – July 1944 giving details of enemy movements in France (Ref. Heth 1/1). In the immediate post-war period Hetherington was stationed in Hamburg where he was involved in the launch of the Die Welt newspaper which he edited from 1945-50. His papers include a file of material relating to his editorship of the paper (Ref. Heth 1/2).
A German official stationed in Oslo during the Nazi occupation of Norway, his personal papers provide details of his life as a German administrator during the war and his experiences in the post-war period. The library also holds a thesis on Huhnhäuser’s life: Martin, Caroline, Memoir and memory: the papers of a pre-war German – Alfren Huhnhauser, 1885 to 1950', University of Stirling, 2000 (Ref. Thesis 3665).
As well as the above personal experiences of the war the broader political debate surrounding the conflict can be explored in the large collections of left-wing political pamphlets and newspapers donated to the library by W Tait and W Watson. The pamphlets have been added to the library catalogue, while a printed checklist of the pamphlets and newspaper titles is available in the Archives Reading Room.
Material from the John Grierson Archive