« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 21: The Coward of the Deep

2016-06-14 | 🔗

Who will sing the praises of the famous warrior who refused to fight.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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the way I heard it is now a book of the same name and because that book is now a New York Times best seller. You said with great modesty I am using the incredibly valuable space in front of the store you're about to here to invite you to pick up a copy for yourself now. It is tempting to point to the many hundreds of five star reviews that the way I heard it has so far received, but that feels too Self congratulatory, so, let's just say: let's just the way I heard it makes a heck of a Christmas present, which you can order right now, at Micro, dotcom, Slash book that Micro, dotcom slash book Honestly, if you like the podcast, you're gonna love the book, and if you like, an autograph copy for Christmas, perhaps we still have a few of those left at micro, dotcom, slash book. Having said that, that's the way I heard
Victor sneeze was the kind of man people wrote, songs about a sailor in the french Navy had risen through the ranks distinguishing himself in countless battles and winning praise and admiration from his countrymen. Now, though, Jerry Admiral stood in the wheel house of his mighty warship and looked out upon the Adriatic. The hour was late, the sea, a mill pop and turn silver and the glow of a waxing moon. He didn't see the periscope poking above the surface, nor did he see the torpedo racing toward his ship. In one terrible blast, both engines were gone and the admiral ship was dead water is the sea rushed in the bow. Slowly rose, Victor grip, the useless helm. Six hundred and eighty four terrified men look for a way out. Sir
leaped over the rails into the frigid water, others tried to launch lifeboats from the rising bow. The officers beg their admiral to attempt an escape for the good of France. They pleaded, but Victor refused. If his ship was going down here, go down with it five hundred metres away the! U boat, commander, watch the nightmare unfold in his parasol. And wondered if anybody would ever write a song about him not likely. Where was the honor in this kind of battle? Where was the glory? Is the doom ship slipped below the surface? The german commander side and turn to his first officer? I'd rather be fighting at a trench. She said they're. At least you can hear the wounded grown, there, a man can fill with rage, but down here we drown masses of men like cold blooded, cowards,
asses of man was a fair characterisation under his command. Thirteen allied boats were sent to the bottom of the sea, along with thousands of sailors who never saw the face of the man who sealed their fate, but cowardice. That's a matter of perspective. In the first World WAR There was no place more hazardous or more harrowing than the pressure Hall of an experimental you boat of Three hundred and seventy five to leave german ports two hundred and two would never turn. There was no reliable sonar. The batteries generated toxic. Ass they had to resurface for air every two hours which left them defenceless but underwater. The crew was blind, choking on air thick with diesel and forever on the brink of some catastrophic mechanical failure. In short, they were death traps and the men who commanded them knew it, but
commander not only kept his crew alive. He kept his enemies on the run. Eventually he would risk Austria is highest military honour and the abiding respect of his countrymen. In fact, the self described coward of the deed. Became widely known as the dread of the Adriatic. In fact, this conflict commander wound up inspiring a few songs after all, but surprisingly not for his exploits in battle when the Germans lost the war, Austria was annexed and the Navy disbanded, so the dread of the Adriatic resumed his life as a civilian. His first wife gave him seven children but died of scarlet fever
his second wife, would give him three more with every passing year, his prominent screw, along with his reputation as a bona fide war hero. But when the world geared up for the Second World WAR and his new commander in chief beckoned him back to service, the dread of the Adriatic did something extraordinary. He refused, then he fled the country. At the time many Germans called it an unthinkable display of cowardice and disloyalty. Others called it treason. But when two american composers heard about Georg insubordination, they took a closer look at his personal life and before Long Broadway had a new musical and Hollywood was handing out five academy awards shore. They took some liberties with the facts. They always do, but they got the important parts right. Georg Ridder was a patron
and the soldier he loved his profession, his country and his family. And yes, he also love the nanny who raised his children and burst. Into song, while skipping through the alpine meadows. You might say that the There were a few of his favorite things, but in midst of singing nuns and precocious kids, and all that other dough re me. The magnitude of gay org, Defiances, easy to forget and if Rogers and Hammerstein could have added. Just one more song to their timeless musical I'd vote for a hunting, ballad called the coward of the deep. Wherein our conflicted commander, ruminates on the pitfalls of patriotism, the barriers of bravery and the limits of loyalty, because really long before anyone heard the sound of music,
Ridder was singing the sound of sedition and Nazi Germany. That was a very dangerous tune and it costs Georg quite a bit his title, his position, his reputation and all of his material possessions, but it was better than the alternative because fighting for Adolf Hitler that just felt the cowardly and gay Org Ridder VON Trap was no coward Anyway, that's why I heard.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-31.