The Great War

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pellulo
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Re: The Great War

Post by pellulo » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:13 pm

Pictures of WW1 submarines stranded on English coast revealed

A hundred years ago during World War One, Germany declared unrestricted submarine warfare and started targeting hundreds of ships without warning.
The submarines shown were surrendered by Germany at the end of the war and sank off the coast of Cornwall.
The images from 1921 have been donated to Historic England.

The German submarines - known as U-boats - wrecked on the Cornish coast in Falmouth and some remains can still be seen.
German forces surrendered the submarines in 1918 and having been stripped of their engines, they became difficult to tow and occasionally sank or wrecked on British beaches.

In the year before unrestricted submarine warfare was declared by Germany, 431 ships were sunk by U-boats worldwide.
The following year, that number reached 1,263.
Roger Bowdler, from Historic England, said the declaration was "a decisive moment" in World War One.
He said: "It was seen as uncivilised, ungentlemanly and ultimately brought the might of the United States into the war."
The pictures were taken by naval officer Jack Casement and donated to the Historic England Archive by his family.

One third of the Submarine Service's total personnel died during World War One, the highest proportion of any branch of the armed services.
To commemorate their lives, the National Submarine War Memorial was unveiled in 1922, at Temple Pier on the Thames in London.
The memorial has now been upgraded to Grade II* listed status, which means it has an "above-average level of special interest".

One third of the Submarine Service's total personnel died during World War One, the highest proportion of any branch of the armed services.
To commemorate their lives, the National Submarine War Memorial was unveiled in 1922, at Temple Pier on the Thames in London.
The memorial has now been upgraded to Grade II* listed status, which means it has an "above-average level of special interest". Thanks BBC
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Re: The Great War

Post by pellulo » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:11 pm

'Smell of Burnt Limes'
That changed in April when the Times and the Daily Mail published accounts from anonymous sources who claimed to have visited the Kadaververwertungsanstalt, or corpse-utilisation factory.
The Times ran the story under the headline Germans and their Dead, attributing the claim to two sources - a Belgian newspaper published in England and a story that originally appeared in a German newspaper, Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger on 10 April.
That German account by reporter Kal Rosner described an unpleasant smell "as if lime was being burnt" as he passed the corpse factory.
Rosner used the word "kadaver", which referred to the bodies of animals - horses and mules - not human bodies.
Later, The Times carried a longer article quoting from an unnamed Belgian source who described in grim detail how the corpses were processed.

A cartoon published soon afterwards by Punch presented the ghoulish story with the caption "cannon fodder - and after".
The German government protested loudly against these "loathsome and ridiculous" claims.
But their protests were drowned out by public expressions of horror from the Chinese ambassador. China declared war against Germany on 14 August 1917.
However, until now no one has been able to discover conclusive proof that would settle the mystery of who created the story - and who authorised its transformation from a false rumour to officially-sanctioned "fact". I believe we now can.
'Captions swapped'
It was in 1925 that Sir Austen Chamberlain admitted, in a Commons statement, there was "never any foundation" for what he called "this false report".
In the same year the Conservative MP John Charteris - who served as head of intelligence - reportedly admitted, while on a lecture tour of the US, that he had fabricated the story.
The New York Times revealed how Charteris said he had transposed captions from one of two photographs found on captured German soldiers. One showed a train taking dead horses to be rendered, the other showed a train taking dead soldiers for burial.
The photo of the horses had the word "cadaver" written upon it and Charteris reportedly said he "had the caption transposed to the picture showing the German dead, and had the photograph sent to a Chinese newspaper in Shanghai".
On his return to Britain, Charteris denied making the remarks. Since that time, no one has been able to discover the photographs or any clear documentary evidence that would prove the intelligence services connived with the press to promote the corpse factory lie.

But I have found what I believe to be one of the photographs mentioned by Charteris in a collection of Foreign Office files at The National Archives.
The black and white image, dated 17 September 1917, clearly shows bodies of German soldiers, tied in bundles, resting on a train behind the front line just as Charteris had described in 1925.
The covering letter, from a military intelligence officer at Whitehall, is addressed to the government's Director of Information, Lt Col John Buchan, author of The 39 Steps. The letter from MI7, the military's propaganda unit, offers the War Office "a photograph of Kadavers, forwarded by General Charteris for propaganda purposes".
Lies have consequences
In 1917 MI7 employed 13 officers and 25 paid writers, some whom moonlighted as "special correspondents" for national newspapers. One of their most talented agents was Major Hugh Pollard who combined his work in the propaganda department with the role of special correspondent for the Daily Express.
After the war Pollard confessed his role in spreading the corpse factory lie to his cousin, Ivor Montague.
Writing in 1970, Montague recalled "we laughed at his cleverness when he told us how his department had launched the account of the German corpse factories and of how the Hun was using the myriads of trench-war casualties for making soap and margarine."
But lies have consequences. During the 1930s the corpse factory lie was used by the Nazis as proof of British lies during the Great War.
Historians Joachim Neander and Randal Marlin remind us how these false stories "encouraged later disbelief when early reports circulated about the Holocaust under Hitler".
Thanks to B.B.C.!
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Re: The Great War

Post by pellulo » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:29 pm

What if Archduke Franz Ferdinand had lived in 1914?
By Bethany Bell
BBC News, ViennaWorld War One was a tragedy with particularly Austrian roots, sparked by the assassination of the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. But could the war have been avoided if he had not been killed? And would the Austro-Hungarian Empire have survived?
Those are the questions that have been posed at a conference at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, which has been training diplomats since 1754.
For at least one person at the conference, the "what if?" question was personal. Maria Camilla Habsburg Lothringen, a descendant of Austria's former royal family, says the scenario is "quite intriguing" and would have changed her family's fate.
"We would maybe have a different position here in Austria. Maybe we would have more possessions and more responsibility in our functions."
However she says the thought of royal responsibilities and the lack of personal freedom makes her a little "uptight". And the war, she says, is clearly about far more than just the fate of her own family.
"World War One was such a dramatic occasion. To look back at the past and ask what went wrong and learn out of that is a very important thing." One of the speakers, Richard Ned Lebow, professor of war studies at Kings College London, says counterfactual history is an "essential tool in figuring out how the world works", a way of considering the possibility of alternative outcomes.
He believes that World War One could have been prevented, if Archduke Franz Ferdinand had survived the assassin's bullet.
"Franz Ferdinand was the strongest spokesman for peace in Austria-Hungary. He believed that a war with Russia would lead to the downfall of both empires."
Professor Lebow says the assassination of the Archduke "removed this brake on going to war", and created "a pretext and incentive to go to war".
The Austro-Hungarian empire itself might not have collapsed if it had not gone to war, Holger Herwig from the University of Calgary believes.
Posing such "what if?" questions, he says, are more than just a game."What we are trying to do here is to ask the alternatives. Was there an alternative strategy? Was there an alternative political approach to this?"
He says it is important for historians to recognise there were choices to be made.
Professor Lebow says counterfactual history is not just about the past, but has lessons for contemporary politicians and decision makers.
He says leaders have a tendency "to exaggerate their ability to control events, which they all did in World War One with fatal consequences".The second lesson, he says, is that leaders convince themselves that while they have no freedom of action, the other side does.
"When you have everyone believing this, everyone expects the other side to back down and that contributes to loss of control."
The third lesson, he says, is that leaders tend not to question the set of assumptions they bring to problems and, in crisis situations, surround themselves with people they feel comfortable with.
It doesn't matter how clever your policy-making is, he warns. "If you start with the wrong set of assumptions, you are not going to end well. And that, too, happened in 1914."
Thanks, Pellulo
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nexus73
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Re: The Great War

Post by nexus73 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:47 am

Serb state sponsored terrorism (Black Hand) was the match that lit the fuse put in place following the end of the Napoleonic Wars era to the summer of 1914. If there were no Serbs involved, then we still would have had the dynamic of a new power wanting to stretch its wings against the prevailing hegemon to set up plenty of tinder for some other spark to ignite (Agadir Incident #2) a Great Power conflict.

To me the most important part of the Great War was the entry of the USA. Had the Americans remained neutral, the Central Powers and Entente fight themselves into a bloody tie. Then we would see if revolution would have kicked in to cause the combatants to drop dead as imperial regimes. I think the odds were going to be good for such to happen. 1905 Russia did not respond well to losing the Russo-Japanese War. Imagine all of Europe feeling the same way, emerging from an unwinnable war for all involved.

Oh well, most alternate history focuses on different WWII outcomes but WWI is rife with soil to till and very much open for possibilities. An interesting book from the lateTwenties that got reprinted decades later is "The Red Napoleon". Imagine if a Trotsky-like figure had taken the lead in the USSR and wound up unifying Europe under the red flag, then that leader sets his sights on the USA. Rather than debate which timeline occurs, I'd like to see discussion about the different timelines that could have evolved, likely or not, had Europe been left to its own devices by the Americans. Of course the USA gets impacted too. Are the Americans of the Twenties and forward the present day Chinese, powerful noninterventionists looking to challenge the order when they believe their interests are at stake?

Hopefully someone will get off the schneid on this site and let me post. It is not like this forum is a thriving active community these days. A breath of fresh air should be welcomed!

Rick
Bad dice happen. Blame the Russians...LOL!

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Re: The Great War

Post by pellulo » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm

100 years ago, war declaration started The American Century
ROMAGNE-SOUS-MONTFAUCON, France (AP) — Carpenter Guy Ford liked to watch fish play in the currents around his ship as it sailed for Europe to offload untested troops for a war as horrendous as it was defining for the century to come.

April 05, 2017
Ford would soon lose his innocence. But unlike many young Americans who crossed the Atlantic a century ago to fight in World War I, he lived to see his country go from a fledging, inward-looking nation to a world power.

Before April 6, 1917, the United States still was, in the words of American writer Walter Lippmann, a country where "money spent on battleships would be better spent on schoolhouses." Then, 100 years ago Thursday, the United States declared war on Germany and, following victory in 1918, started what would eventually become known as "The American Century."

AMERICA FIRST
Guy Ford, an only child from Ronceverte, West Virginia, was closing in on 30 when the so-called Great War started in August 1914. Two months earlier, a Serb nationalist named Gavrilo Princip had shot and killed Austro-Hungarian Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.
The shot was heard around Europe, where diplomatic alliances quickly drew most of the continent into war, with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire pitted against Britain, Russia and France. But the reverberations didn't immediately cross the Atlantic.

"The attitude of the Americans was not yet the attitude of a big power," said Professor Luc De Vos, a military historian of Leuven University.
American immigrant communities were torn over whether to help the British, and pacifism was the watchword after the destruction of the U.S. Civil War. President Woodrow Wilson won re-election in 1916 with the slogan "He has kept us out of war." Another of his campaign catchphrases had a more contemporary ring: "America first."
In Europe, both sides had already dug in for trench warfare in northern France and Belgium, with gas and tanks and precision shelling making battle more deadly than ever. Some days there were tens of thousands of casualties in unprecedented slaughter.
Ford's granddaughter, Mary Thompson, who also lives in West Virginia, retraced his steps through the war and stopped off at Verdun in northern France. There, the mangled remains of some 130,000 unknown soldiers from both sides, impossible to separate, lie together in the Douaumont Ossuary.
"I can't imagine a boy from Summers County in West Virginia coming to this country and marching ahead of death bombs," she said.
Nor, for most of the war, could most Americans.

IT HAS STIRRED US VERY DEEPLY
Despite American reluctance to get involved, there was outrage early on at the bombing and German destruction of Belgium's Louvain library and reports of other atrocities. Then, German submarines started attacking ships in the Atlantic. In 1915, the British liner Lusitania was torpedoed, killing some 1,200, including 128 Americans. Early in 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare resumed. In his April 2 war message to Congress, Wilson called it "warfare against mankind."
"American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of," he said, four days before war was declared.
And in a diplomatic faux pas with huge consequences, German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann sent a telegram to his Mexico City office to draw Mexico into the war with a promise to get territory back in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. There was no WikiLeaks then, but British intelligence got hold of the missive and fed it to Wilson.

"It means to stir up enemies against us at our very doors," Wilson said.
He asked for war. On April 6, Congress obliged

THEY WERE ESSENTIAL
By then, millions had already died. The U.S. entry changed everything.
"Yes, they were essential in turning the tide. Why? There was a real deadlock," said De Vos, the historian. Tens of thousands of lives were wasted as one side advanced a few miles (kilometers) on the Western Front, from one trench to the other, and then back. "The big problem was: how to break through the front?"
It took more than a year for Guy Ford and hundreds of thousands of other young Americans to be ready for the front lines.
When war was declared, "the U.S. army was smaller than the Danish army and much smaller than the Belgian army," De Vos said.

The British and French wanted them fast, but commander Gen. John J. Pershing insisted his troops needed training first.
So it was May 26, 1918, before Ford, drafted by the American Expeditionary Force, left for France. He kept a small diary noting in short form how seas were rough, target practice was held and with "wind blowing schools of fish at play."
He landed in Brest, France's westernmost port on the tip of Brittany, on June 8. On Independence Day that July 4, when others at home would have been celebrating and drinking, his entry in the diary consisted of "Left Halinghen, hiked to Samer. Loaded on train. That night was issued overcoat before leaving. Air raid that night."
As he was making the 850-kilometer (530-mile) trip across France to the Verdun region with the 305th Engineering Battalion of the 80th Division, the war was entering its end game, the outcome much more uncertain than it seems now in hindsight.

Germany had long fought on two fronts, against Russia in the east and France and Belgium in the west. When Russia signed a peace treaty in 1918, Germany was able to pull troops west and push for the decisive breakthrough. The Germans came within bombardment reach of Paris, but failed again to fully turn the war.

From then on, the arrival of up to 2.1 million U.S. troops became an ever-bigger factor.
"At that decisive moment in the balance of powers, the 2 million Americans — young, enthusiastic troops, they attacked and they were everywhere on the front," De Vos said.
The sense of urgency and stress of battle was evident in Ford's diary, where verbs were in increasingly short supply, giving way to the staccato rendering of villages and dates — ever closer to the America's defining World War I battle of Meuse-Argonne, a region in eastern France close to Verdun.

THE DEAD MAN
A century later, little has changed in the landscape of the Meuse-Argonne where Ford fought, with neat patches of rich pasture cutting a line between opposing forests that once provided a hiding place for the American and German soldiers behind the lines.
At a vital stage of World War I in the fall of 1918, the Meuse-Argonne offensive was the biggest and bloodiest operation of the American Expeditionary Force. It involved more than 1.2 million American soldiers and lasted 47 days, with a loss of over 26,000 American lives. Ford survived.
Today, only chirping birds and the distant hum of lawnmowers break the solemn silence at the vast estate of the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne-Sous-Montfaucon. Days before the centennial, gardeners neatly clipped every edge of greenery and raked leaves left from winter. Visitors were few and far between.
It is the largest American cemetery in Europe and memorializes 15,200 war dead. The stark white crosses, lined up in neat rows between the trees, are engraved with each soldier's name, rank, home state and date of death.

"I'm moved to tears," said Mary Thompson's husband, Bob. "It brings it all home. I know these towns and states. I almost feel like I know these people."
At huge cost, the Americans were driving the Germans back ever farther when, on Nov. 11, the armistice ended the fighting.
Ford wrote only "Nov. 11 - Hiked to Le Mort-Hommes," a slight misspelling of the ghost village aptly named The Dead Man. The reports of a spontaneous concert, bonfires and massive rejoicing at the momentous victory within the regiment never made it into his diary. Emotion was dulled to the extent that for the next day, he wrote only "12 - to Chatel."
Some never made it that far. Even a century later, a day could make a fateful difference. One white marble headstone at Meuse-Argonne reads "ROGERS E. TRAHAN SERGT. 9 INF. 2 DIV. LOUISIANA NOV 11, 1918."

IT COULD HAVE BEEN SOMETHING FROM THE WAR
In May of 1919, Guy Ford returned to life in West Virginia, officially authorized by the 305th engineers "to wear the Service Ribbon" with three bronze stars, for having participated in the Somme, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives.
As much of Europe lay in ruins, with 14 million soldiers and civilians from around the globe dead, the United States emerged as a major power in the world.
In "a personal word" to his soldiers in which he signed off as commander in chief, Gen. Pershing wrote that they "in a succession of brilliant offensives have overcome the menace to our civilization."
Ford eventually married and had a boy and then a set of twin boys. In 1934, when Mary Thompson's father was just four, Ford died at the age of 46. Countless people had returned from the war with physical and mental scars never fully examined.

"We'll never know what caused his death," Mary Thompson said. "We understood from relatives that it was his heart, but who knows — it could have been something from the war."
Online:
The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission
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Re: The Great War

Post by nexus73 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:32 am

It would sure be nice to have an intelligent discussion with you Pellulo. For some reason it appears Larry is on a "hate" trip as he let one post of mine through, got a bit snarky and then nothing more I wrote got posted. I love the game, love history and have watched this forum for years. What's your problem Larry?

Rick
Bad dice happen. Blame the Russians...LOL!

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Re: The Great War

Post by pellulo » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:31 am

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Re: The Great War

Post by pellulo » Tue May 16, 2017 5:02 pm

Hopefully Coming Soon To Museum Near You

NY Museum installs WWI painting of wounded British soldiers

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City museum has installed John Singer Sargent's painting depicting British soldiers wounded in a World War I gas attack. The American artist's 8-foot by 20-foot (2.4-meter by 6.1-meter) oil on canvas titled "Gassed" was mounted Tuesday in the New-York Historical Society's museum on Central Park West as part of a new exhibit, "World War I Beyond the Trenches," opening Memorial Day

May 16, 2017
The exhibit, which runs through Sept. 3, commemorates this year's 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering WWI. Sargent's 1919 painting, on loan from the Imperial War Museum in London, is being displayed in New York for the first time. It depicts a line of British soldiers blinded by mustard gas being led to the rear. The soldiers, with bandages covering their eyes, trudge past similarly wounded comrades on the ground.
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