World war did not only shape our world but became a goldmine of stories for the generations to come. Stories of valor, grief, brotherhood, and untapped human emotions. The Forgotten Battle is one such story based on the historic Battle of Scheldt.
The Forgotten Battle (Originally titled De slag om de Schelde) has been directed by Matthijs Heijningen Jr and written by Paula van der Oest and Jesse Maiman. It shows us the horrors of World War II through the lives of three people. People who were coerced into this unpropitious situation. These people never wanted to be a part of it. But they weren’t given much of an option. They cross each other’s paths, affect each other’s life without actually knowing about it.
We often talk about those who fought, those who sacrificed their lives, and the decision-makers and the great leaders, but in this article, we will talk only about those who didn’t choose this for themselves. Who were told they were fortunate enough to come out of it alive, but you ask them, they would tell you that something latched upon their soul which they weren’t able to get rid of ever.
‘The Forgotten Battle’ Plot Summary
The German Troops were losing one territory after another but had complete control over Walcheren, an Island in the Dutch province of Zeeland. They controlled the port of Antwerp. It was crucial to take control over the port for both forces. It was not easy to enter the Island as there was only one entry point, and it was heavily guarded by the German forces. It was a straight path without any cover, which made it almost impossible for the Canadian and English forces to reach the other end alive.
William Sinclair, a young Allied fighter Pilot, is enthusiastic about playing his part in the Great war until his plane crashes in the backwaters of Scheldt river. He is stuck on the Island that is heavily manned by the German Troops. With him is his commanding officer, Tony Turner, who is heavily injured, and a few other companions.
A resistance grows inside the Dutchland. A young revolutionary named Dirk Visser is taken into custody for stifling the German troops, which led to the demise of three soldiers. His sister Teuntje, who works at the Mayor’s office, knows that his brother was part of this covert group supplying information to the allied forces. They had found out that there was more than one way to enter the Island and wanted to provide the information for the same. Teun takes this extremely dangerous job to supply the information and is ready to put her life in jeopardy so that her brother’s death and several others don’t go in vain.
Marinus Van Staveren is a soldier in the Axis who burdens his conscience with a lot of guilt. He is not able to fathom this whole concept of nationalism. He questions what true patriotism is. He tries to see the system separately from the land and then finds out the truth that was kept hidden so that individuals could be herded like cattle by a shepherd whose wish was considered synonymous with nationalism.
Major Spoilers Ahead
‘The Forgotten Battle’ Ending Explained – The Broken Fragments of Human Soul
Teuntje Visser can’t deliver the maps to the Allied forces, but she manages to send her friend, Janna, instead of her. The Allied forces attacked Walcheren and forced the German troops to abandon their post. Teun was taken into captivity, and in the end, a soldier tried to kill her. Marinus, the guilt-ridden soldier, arrives at the scene and kills his colleague. He gets injured in the scuffle and succumbs to his injuries.
William, on the other hand, survives. He reaches the Canadian base camp and defies fate more than one time. Walcheren is liberated, and the Allied forces finally take charge of the Antwerp port. The war continues engulfing the lives of people who neither initiated it nor wanted to continue with it.
The Encounter of Marinus and William – Why Didn’t They Shoot?
In the film, there is a scene where a soldier from the Allied forces, William, comes in front of his counterpart from the Axis forces, Marinus. They look into each other’s eyes as if they are scrutinizing the hatred that their countrymen hold for each other. They should be angry at each other. They should have gone for the kill. But they don’t. They put their arms down and move away. Maybe they understood that it was never about loyalty or nationalism or patriotism.
Joseph Gobbles, the chief propagandist of the Nazi Party, speaks about repeating a lie enough that it becomes a part of the truth. This line holds its meaning even more in the current times. A very thin line separates Jingoism from Patriotism, with the former serving as a crucial tool for the autocratic and dictatorial regimes.
The Forgotten Battle is about three souls who saw through that. They were irked by personal losses and false propaganda that they took to be the reality. But still, when the time came, they broke free, and in a battle where humanity took a back seat, they saved some for themselves and the world around them.
The Forgotten Battle is a magnum opus with some good performances and thoughtfully crafted scenes. The backdrop of the narrative might not be unique, but the film holds its authenticity in ways that will not leave you without having a substantial impact.
The Forgotten Battle is a 2021 War Drama film directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. It is streaming on Netflix.