28 July 1914, Austria declares war on Serbia ...

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by bruno, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    ...And Europe descended into 4 years of the most brutal warfare ever experienced. LTCol John McCrae - a Surgeon in the Canadian Army wrote the famous poem below after the 2d Battle of Ypres in 1915- the battle in which Poison gas was first introduced. 70,000 Allied soldiers and over 35,000 German soldiers were killed in that battle.

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.


    [​IMG]
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Excellent post.
     
  3. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    It was a splendid little war....


    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

    Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
    And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .

    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;

    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,

    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori.


    Don't die for your country. Make the other poor dumb bastard die for his...
     
  4. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    Wasn't it about World War I that Churchill wrote:

    "War, which used to be cruel and glorious, has now become cruel and squalid."
     
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    How much experience did Churchill have with "glorious" war before WWI? I would venture to guess, to the soldiers of the Civil War, it was not so "glorious."

    WWI introduced a new art to killing, heavily influenced by industrialization, but I think we make a habit of remembering, maybe a little too fondly, past wars. Now old pre-WWI wars were glorious and men from WWII were from the "greatest generation." Neither are true.
     
  6. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    Quite a bit, actually. He fought in India and he participated, quite bravely I might add, in the charge of Omdurman. He was also a war correspondent in the Boer War and was captured. I think he did know a little about warfare.
     
  7. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Per my fairly shoddy memory and backed up by wikipedia, Churchill served in the Boer Wars and participated in various adventures all over as an Army officer and war correspondent. So his wars were more of the one-sided and glorious variety.

    I'll put a strong recommendation for The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, which is a engrossing and rather sad account of the road to war and the first month.
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    The last biography I read was "Clemente" but from my quick Wikipedia search, prior to WWI, Churchill seemed to have often been "late to the party".

    Something about marching into fire that seems fairly inglorious.
     
  9. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Actually after he resigned from the Government as First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill was a Lt Colonel - Battalion Commander with the 6th Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers in the trenches in the area around Ploegsteert Belgium in 1916, so he had a pretty good appreciation for the war. And Churchill - though taking the blame for the failed Dardanelles/ Gallipoli campaign was undone primarily by timid execution by first the Royal Navy and the the Army. His reasoning and plan were both sound and could very well have significantly shortened the war if carried out with speed and zeal. Instead they were carried out half heartedly and as a result failed.
    [​IMG]

    A couple of books I recently finished reading on WW1: "Tommy- the British Soldier on the Western Front" by Richard Holmes, and "The Western Front 1914-1918" by John Terraine- both excellent accoutns of the war, the battles and life in the trenches. It was rough!
     
  10. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    28 July 1914, Austria declares war on Serbia ...

    And so little press coverage. I guess we are in the process of repeating our mistakes as opposed to remembering them.
     

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