Providence, RI—In his new book, Brown University history professor and World War I historian Dr. Gregg Guidi exposes the truth behind the longstanding story made popular in both the funny pages and in song about Snoopy fighting the German fighter pilot known as the Red Baron.
Guidi said he’s spent his entire career searching war documents, army archives and newspaper accounts and has finally finished his 2,871 page book putting to bed the “disturbingly historically inaccurate” myth that the beloved “Peanuts” star took on the Red Baron during World War I.
“Snoopy didn’t serve in the United States Armed Forces, he did not engage the Red Baron in an aerial dogfight and he was not a World War I flying ace, as he so callously refers to himself in accounts I’ve read,” said Guidi. “And now, I have enough evidence to call out this cowardly dog.”
Guidi said this myth is “literally like saying Garfield the cat fought Genghis Khan. Literally.”
The book, titled, “What’s Black and White and Never Fought the Red Baron All Over?” will hit bookstores November 18th, just in time to coincide with the Thanksgiving Charlie Brown special.
“Since 1966, Charles Shulz and Snoopy have been trying to fill the minds of the American public with inaccurate, unsubstantiated, and I think, potentially very, very harmful misinformation about a beagle dog facing off against an historical figure,” Guidi said. “I think it’s dangerous, I think it’s irresponsible, and I think it’s high time that this nonsense be rectified and pulled from the television airwaves. It’s doing a disservice to history and to World War I historians everywhere.”
After the storyline of Snoopy fighting the Red Baron first appeared in the comic strip in 1966, Florida-based rock band The Royal Guardsmen released the song, Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron. The Peanuts Halloween special, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” also included scenes of Snoopy taking on the Red Baron, whose real name was Manfred von Richthofen, and who was shot down and killed on April 21, 1918.
“The notion that a dog, any dog, could pilot a Sopwith Camel would be laughable, if it weren’t so disturbingly historically inaccurate,” Guidi said.