This is a genuine question - in that I do not know the answer (and would like to know). I only know “The Cruel Sea” from the film (about the Royal Navy against the German “U Boats” in the North Atlantic during World War II) so I do not know what the book (or whatever) was like.
I ask because the BBC radio production (which I heard an episode of on Sunday) of “The Cruel Sea” was full of socialist propaganda - and some of it was very odd.
For example, I can understand (just about) someone who has just seen an oil tanker ship blown up by a German submarine, rage against people who waste fuel by “speeding to their golf club”. It would not be my first thought whilst watching men die - but people are different, perhaps someone else would blame people who speed to golf clubs (rather than the Germans).
However, a lot of the rest of the production was harder to accept. For example the Captain of the new Royal Navy ship lines up the crew and tells them that they have been unemployed for years because of the greed and selfishness of other people. Whatever the faults of 1930s Britain - it was not exactly famous for “greed” and “selfishness”, it was a rather austere place. Then he tells the crew that now everyone (on the ship) will work together for the common good and….. (a speech that might have come out of the mouth of a Nazi SS commander rather than a Royal Navy Captain - who would have been more likely to say “carry on men” and not wasted any more time).
And later sailors talk of how the rich are going to be made to pay for a “proper health service” after the war. Are the words “health service” in the originial story? “If they spend all this money in war, they can spend it peace” (says a sailor), yes just carry on the capital consumption you are doing in war to finance the Welfare State in peace time - I am sure that will work out fine.
Also another sailor talks of how his father’s farm was runied after “the bankers went bust in 1931″.
Britain went off the gold standard in 1931 (if people insist on calling the credit bubble antics of Governor M. Norman of the Bank of England and Ben Strong of the New York Federal Reserve a “gold standard”), but did “the bankers” go bust in this year?
I rather thought that British (private) bankers in the 1930s were rather careful and traditional people (in three piece suites and bowler hats). But perhaps they really were reckless high rollers, who “went bust in 1931″. Perhaps whilst “speeding to their golf clubs” and, thus, causing peope to either burn or drown in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic.
It is all clear to me now.
Almost needless to say, no one seems to show any sign of religious faith. Everyone is an athiest in a foxhole, and no one calls out to God (or recites a prayer to steady nerves), silly me for thinking some people might.
Perhaps the next BBC Radio Four “dramatisation” will be on the Battle of Midway.
Lots of stuff about U.S. Navy sailors talking about the glories of socialism - and blaming evil Republicans when Amercan ships are sunk.