One Hundred Years Ago Today

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I know it is frown upon to post two blogs in one day, but I would be remiss if I let this day pass unnoticed.

One hundred years ago today, 23 August 1914 soldiers of the BEF engaged German forces at Mons, Belgium. It was the first major clash of arms between British and German troops in what would come to be known as the Great War.

Much can be said of the how and why that war was fought. What we can never forget is the sacrifice the young men of both sides made fighting for what they believed in, for many gave all they had, and ever would have. That should never be forgotten.

HW Coyle
a.k.a. Nancy Cole

It was the scale

of the sacrifice that was breathtaking and for which both high commands should feel disgrace. May they all rest in peace.

Angharad

It is often said....

That wars are fought over oil, or money, or territory, political alliances, etc..

This may be true to a certain extent when we look at the underlying causes of any war - but the reality is that wars are actually fought by the young, and they need more idealistic reasons to fight. Wars are fought for intangible things like patriotism or against tyranny. Those who do the fighting will not fight for cynical reasons - it takes a higher calling to get an individual to willingly place himself in danger, between his homeland or those he or she loves and "the enemy", whoever that may be.

It takes concepts like duty and honor to get them to keep doing it day after day, or perhaps it's simply the love one feels for those standing in that line beside them. I know for me it was all of this - a duty to my country and to those I had sworn to protect, the demands of honor that I stand between all that I loved in this world and the evil which would take it from me, and the love for those I led - for those wonderful young men who stood with me and watched over me. I gladly stood between them and harm, and I would do it again tomorrow if called upon to do so.

It is my greatest regret that all of my best efforts could not save them all.

Save me a seat at the bar Tommy, and tell the boys I'll be along soon enough to join them. I love you all and miss you every day.

Dallas

WWI

Mixed feelings abound with me as a Canadian with regard to WWI. A coincidence, the last Canadian soldier died at almost exactley 11:00 am on the last day of the war in Mons, Belgium. However it was also because of this war Canada became recognized as a separate country & no longer a British colony. However, when you travel around the small towns of Southern Ontario you see from the monuments everywhere just how much the next generation of each town was destroyed. I don't believe we have or will ever recover these damaged buds on the tree of our country. It seems that every generation, especially now has ignored & has to relearn the tradgedy of "THE GREAT" war. Another Brian

Misha Nova's picture

Ignored War WW1

In the states I think it is odd how we do not study the history of WW1 a whole lot more. My thought is that that war showed the humerus of those in command and their willingness to bleed the young men of Europe dead, promoting their POV. The appalling losses of those young men need to be remembered by everyone as a good lesson of what not to do.

Today some of the wealthy and there hack leaders of this country are determined to return the world to those glory days of there power and control.

With those with open eyes the world reads like a book

celtgirl_0.gif

They genuinely hadn't the

They genuinely hadn't the slightest idea what they were letting themselves in for.

AJP Taylor puts it better than I ever could:

There had been no war between the Great Powers since 1871. No man in the prime of life knew what war was like. All imagined that it would be an affair of great marches and great battles, quickly decided. It would be over by Christmas.

[The] commanders were elderly men who knew war only in the study or on manoeuvres...[they] owed their position to favouritism or some twist of politics rather than to ability. The successful commander was the one who kept his nerve and refused to be shaken by the death and suffering inflicted on his orders. Few of the generals had heard a shot fired in anger; and they did not much increase their experience during the war - they remained far behind their armies at headquarters, drawing lines on maps, barking out orders over the telephone and surrounded by a sycophantic staff.

The irony of it is, the BEF shouldn't have been at Mons in the first place.

On 5 August a Council of War met under Asquith, the Prime Minister; all the leading generals were present. They debated how to aid Belgium...Sir Henry Wilson, of the War Office, pulled the great men up short. Even the British Expeditionary Force, small as it was, could not move except to a prepared timetable; and only one had been prepared - a plan, drawn up in 1911, to place the BEF on the French left. It was irrelevant to complain that this would not help Belgium...it was this plan or nothing...British policy lost its freedom of action from the start.

Even at this early stage, the belligerents were losing sight of the reasons they'd gone to war.

fa 144a.jpg Nicki

Jenni can't do math

I heard this thing on NPR yesterday about the anniversary of the burning of Washington DC in the war of 1812, and I foolishly thought that's what this blog would be about.

Brittan Did Not Fight Alone

On British side were French, Italians, Russians, Dutch, Belgians, Serbs, Montenegros, and Japanese. Later they were joined by Greeks, Romanians, Portuguese, some Arabs and Americans. On the German side were Austrians, Ottomans and later the Bulgarians. War was fought on land in Europe, Africa and Asia. Both the Atlantic and Pacific had naval battles. Nearly ten million died, more than twenty million were injured. and over seven and one half million were missing.

The trench warfare was a result of equal forces. Trench warfare was not new. It was used in the battle for Ft William McHenry during what us Americans call the French and Indian war (1760's) and again during the battle for Peterborough/Richmond during our Civil War (1864-5).

But WW2 was worse. Ninety million died. Twenty five million were Soviets. Nine million were Germans. Eleven Million died in the concentration camps, gas chambers and events like Babi Yar and Long Knives. Since then there were events like The Great Leap Forward, Mai Lai Killing Fields, Burundi and this new "Caliph." Our barbarism is only masked by our alleged civilization.

shalimar, again getting off the soap box.

The best single quote I ever heard,,,

... and one which those actually responsible for fighting a war, and especially for dragging the rest of us into war, need to keep firmly in mind -

"War does not determine who is Right. War determines who is left."

Think about it. Both terms.

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