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World War I

Let's discuss The Great War.

It all started with a conflict between Serbia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire and spread throughout most of Europe, the Russian Empire, the United States, the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East, Africa, Japan, the Pacific, and other pockets of Asia.

An estimated 9 million soldiers were killed in combat, plus another 23 million wounded, while 5 million civilians died as a result of military action, hunger, and disease. This was all before the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918.

Despite all of this, World War I is also known as "The Gentleman's War."

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by Anonymousreply 171March 18, 2023 9:05 PM

I am currently reading A World Undone: The Story of the Great War by G.J. Meyer.

I highly recommend!

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by Anonymousreply 1December 14, 2022 11:42 PM

The War to End All Wars

by Anonymousreply 2December 14, 2022 11:43 PM

Things were better under the Kaiser.

by Anonymousreply 3December 14, 2022 11:44 PM

Wasn’t that the war about slavery?

by Anonymousreply 4December 14, 2022 11:45 PM

It was the war about Slavs (initially).

by Anonymousreply 5December 14, 2022 11:50 PM

The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time

by Anonymousreply 6December 14, 2022 11:51 PM

"Despite all of this, World War I is also known as "The Gentleman's War.""

Who the hell called it that? The generals who sent millions to be slaughtered, while sipping their fucking port?

by Anonymousreply 7December 14, 2022 11:52 PM

[quote] The generals who sent millions to be slaughtered, while sipping their fucking port?


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by Anonymousreply 8December 14, 2022 11:57 PM

R5 Yes. The Serbs are Slavs.

This was went Serbia was bigger and encompassed most of the Baltic States.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire was watching Serbia for a long time. The Empire was getting weaker and weaker. Joseph II was over 85 and the last of an era. Franz Ferdinand was the only heir to Joseph II and could build back the Empire. It was kill him or be killed. Leopold Berchtold was a conniving genius.

The Ottoman Empire was also falling apart. The Turks and the Arabs were revolting against their Empire and each other.

The Russian Empire was faltering, too. Nicholas II never wanted to be czar. He was weak. The Russians just had a major revolution ten years prior. They also had been defeated poorly by Japan.

France was facing a major political scandal at the time, too. The wife of a former PM shot a man in cold blood.

Germany teamed up with the Austro-Hungarian Empire because they had to. They would have risked losing more if they hadn't. Kaiser Wilhelm II was kind of a mockery. A has been.

by Anonymousreply 9December 15, 2022 12:00 AM

I have NEVER heard WWI called "The Gentleman's War". It's infamous for being horrific, down and dirty, and immoral, with all the sins of modern warfare making their appearance. Many subsequently banned.

by Anonymousreply 10December 15, 2022 12:02 AM

I recommend, if you're a literary sort, reading Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory. Fucking brilliant. I also recommend Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy.

And of course, the war's poets and artists.

The world was utterly changed after this war, ushering in as it did the endless horrors of the 20th century.

by Anonymousreply 11December 15, 2022 12:15 AM

R10 Yes, you are right, but the men making the decisions were gentlemen and aristocrats:

King George V, Czar Nicholas II, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Emperor Joseph II, Emperor Taishō, Raymong Poincare, Woodrow Wilson, Leopold Berchtold, Sir Edward Grey, Sir John French, Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, Sergey Sazonov, and the list goes on...

Never before or after WWI were there so many distinguished, sophisticated, and intellectually superior men making these immoral and horrific decisions.

by Anonymousreply 12December 15, 2022 12:25 AM

David Lloyd George

by Anonymousreply 13December 15, 2022 12:33 AM

Finally, something the eldergays can speak knowledgeably about other than The Golden Girls.

by Anonymousreply 14December 15, 2022 12:36 AM

Barbara Tuchman's history of WWI, The Guns of August, and the essay collection The Proud Tower are also excellent on the causes of this conflict and the run-up to it.

Perhaps now a bit dated, but great reads.

by Anonymousreply 15December 15, 2022 12:38 AM

Nicholas II was much smarter than George V. But Nicholas II had character flaws and a narrow, blindered world view. I don't know who this "Franz Josef II" is. Fanz Josef I was old, having been emperor for over 50 years, and a control freak, and a lousy statesman.

by Anonymousreply 16December 15, 2022 12:48 AM

It's covered fairly thoroughly in Rebecca West's "Black Lamb, Grey Falcon" about her 1937 trip through Yugoslavia.

by Anonymousreply 17December 15, 2022 12:54 AM

R16 My apologies! It was Joseph I. He was 86 when he died in 1916, having reigned for 68 years.

He was Emperor from Presidents Polk to Wilson.

by Anonymousreply 18December 15, 2022 12:59 AM

R14 Oh really? And what do you to contribute to the conversation?

by Anonymousreply 19December 15, 2022 12:59 AM

There was nothing gentlemanly about mustard gas.

by Anonymousreply 20December 15, 2022 1:19 AM

Try once more r16. Joseph I was early 18th century. Joseph II was the one in Amadeus (and they are actually pretty unkind to him there, and unfair).

It was Franz Joseph I. I don't know if he was ever the sharpest tool in the shed, but he had certainly become hopelessly hidebound and fearful of this newfangled world he found himself in. When I was in Vienna, there was a modernist house built across the street from the palace, stripped of all little baroque touches. The Emperor insisted that all the windows facing that house have the curtains drawn so that he could never view this monstrosity, even accidentally.

by Anonymousreply 21December 15, 2022 1:22 AM

shoot, that was for r18, not r16 of course. Also should have said, I was on a tour that talked about that house, not that it was built while I was there. I ain't THAT eldergay.

by Anonymousreply 22December 15, 2022 1:25 AM

What does DL think of Woodrow Wilson?

by Anonymousreply 23December 15, 2022 1:32 AM

It was fought to ensure the supremacy of British imperialists, enrich their American brethren, and destroy the multicultural state Austria, as ordained by the racist Wilson.

by Anonymousreply 24December 15, 2022 1:34 AM

R24 How so? How did Wilson make Austria multicultural?

by Anonymousreply 25December 15, 2022 1:35 AM

Damn, never saw the whole thing blamed on Woodrow Wilson before. Now that's how you pass the buck, people!

by Anonymousreply 26December 15, 2022 1:36 AM

"Let's discuss The Great War."

I lived through it, why would I want to talk about it?

by Anonymousreply 27December 15, 2022 1:36 AM

Let's give a shout out to all the homos who served

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by Anonymousreply 28December 15, 2022 1:37 AM

Alfred Redl is an interesting read. The movie, Colonel Redl, is great too! Klaus Maria Brandauer.

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by Anonymousreply 29December 15, 2022 1:38 AM

Another 'mo who was in the war

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by Anonymousreply 30December 15, 2022 1:41 AM

Siegfried Sassoon, gay WW1 poet.

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by Anonymousreply 31December 15, 2022 1:41 AM

Don't forget me

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by Anonymousreply 32December 15, 2022 1:45 AM

I always show this video when I teach WWI.

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by Anonymousreply 33December 15, 2022 1:45 AM

I highly recommend the WWI museum in Kansas City. Covers the impact of flu deaths, too (the virus may have gotten its start nearby, in soldiers’ barracks next to a pig farm). Very depressing, though.

by Anonymousreply 34December 15, 2022 1:47 AM

It's a storm in a tea cup, Mr. Dryden - a sideshow. If you want my own opinion, this whole theater of operations is a sideshow! The real war's not being fought against the Turks, but the Germans. And not here, but on the Western front in the trenches! Your Bedouin Army - or whatever it calls itself - would be a sideshow OF a sideshow!

by Anonymousreply 35December 15, 2022 1:48 AM

R24 Wilson worked hard to dissolve Old Austria, arguably a multicultural state, albeit an imperfect one. The result was Hitler.

by Anonymousreply 36December 15, 2022 1:50 AM

Lighten up, R19, or no pudding cup for you come the treat cart.

by Anonymousreply 37December 15, 2022 1:58 AM

R36 that was after the war. We were talking about causes of the war.

by Anonymousreply 38December 15, 2022 2:03 AM

My favorite from WWI - Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovic (d. 1918).

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by Anonymousreply 39December 15, 2022 2:09 AM

Causes of the war:

France wanted revenge for 1871

Serbia backed by Russia decided to murder the Austrian heir apparent

Germany was arrogant and had an idiot Kaiser

Germany and Great Britain were in intense economic competition

Toxic Masculinity

by Anonymousreply 40December 15, 2022 2:11 AM

I actually got my degree in Modern European History, specializing in the two world wars. But my focus was on things like movie propaganda, the arts, various personalities (kings, poets, etc.). I couldn't care less about armaments or battle strategy, so I admit my knowledge of the actual wars is a bit spotty. But it is still the most interesting era to me.

by Anonymousreply 41December 15, 2022 2:11 AM

R39 Is it just me, or did guys seem hotter back then?

by Anonymousreply 42December 15, 2022 2:11 AM

[quote] King George V, Czar Nicholas II, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Emperor Joseph II, Emperor Taishō, Raymong Poincare, Woodrow Wilson, Leopold Berchtold, Sir Edward Grey, Sir John French, Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, Sergey Sazonov, and the list goes on...

Never before or after WWI were there so many distinguished, sophisticated, and intellectually superior men making these immoral and horrific decisions.

I’d question whether King George V, Czar Nicholas II, Kaiser Wilhelm II or Emperor Franz Josef were intellectually superior to anyone at all.

George V was a famously rigid, unimaginative man with mundane interests and a deep, abiding suspicion of anywhere except England. However, his great advantage was that he was a symbolic figurehead and accepted the limits of that role. It meant that the politicians were responsible for the military disasters and bodybags and George could reasonably retain the loyalty and respect of the British people.

In contrast, Nicholas and Wilhelm were regarded by their people as military leaders and absolute rulers, so they were held responsible for every failure, even when the decisions had been taken by others. They were both deeply out of their depths. They loved dressing up in military uniforms, but were disastrous as diplomats and military tacticians.

Wilhelm was a fool, driven by his hatred of his English mother and by his desire to gain supremacy over his English relatives. He sought to build a navy to beat the British, but got his nation embroiled in war before his navy had reached sufficient strength. (Hitler made the same mistake in 1939.) He was also indecisive and a complete liability due to his inability to think before he spoke. He promised Austria unconditional support against the Serbs and then was horrified when this encouraged Austria to threaten war. He spent years telling his generals that war against France was inevitable and desirable, but also wanted someone to prevent him from being proven correct.

by Anonymousreply 43December 15, 2022 2:12 AM

I hear that it was really too ghastly for words.

by Anonymousreply 44December 15, 2022 2:15 AM

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 gas-shells dropping softly 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.

by Anonymousreply 45December 15, 2022 2:19 AM

I'm R16. R21, the "house" is Looshaus by designer Adolf Loos. It was revolutionary and is a masterpiece. It is not a house in the English sense, its a large commercial and apartment building. By Belle Epoque standards, it was stripped down, but our eyes today can recognise it is sublimely finished.

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by Anonymousreply 46December 15, 2022 2:21 AM

R43 I agree with you 100%.

However, Leopold Berchtold, Edward Grey, Sergei Sazonov, and the others were

by Anonymousreply 47December 15, 2022 2:23 AM

British war propaganda techniques and scripts haven't changed from the Kaiser to Putin

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by Anonymousreply 48December 15, 2022 2:27 AM

You may be right r48. On the other hand, assholes with too much power and too many guns haven't much changed either. Same shit, different century.

by Anonymousreply 49December 15, 2022 2:29 AM

For a very good representation of a WWI propaganda film, you can't beat "Behind the Door" (1919). With a young Wallace Beery.

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by Anonymousreply 50December 15, 2022 2:30 AM

Don't forget this gem from the United States

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by Anonymousreply 51December 15, 2022 2:32 AM

Yeah, "The Birth of a Nation" has a lot to tell us about WWI.

by Anonymousreply 52December 15, 2022 2:33 AM

R52 It was a joke....

by Anonymousreply 53December 15, 2022 2:39 AM

Harry Truman was the only president that served in WWI

by Anonymousreply 54December 15, 2022 2:41 AM

George VI was the last future British monarch to see active service in the armed forces (at the Battle of Jutland).

by Anonymousreply 55December 15, 2022 2:47 AM

I remember it well

by Anonymousreply 56December 15, 2022 2:56 AM

R4 At least the dumb Americans didn't start WWI or WWII.

by Anonymousreply 57December 15, 2022 2:59 AM

R55 He was hot too

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by Anonymousreply 58December 15, 2022 3:13 AM

He was not hot

by Anonymousreply 59December 15, 2022 3:15 AM

Nicholas II was hot

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by Anonymousreply 60December 15, 2022 3:16 AM

Has anyone watched “The Trench?” I think it’s available on YouTube. If you were first over that was it for you. Plus, they blew a damn whistle right before they went over.

by Anonymousreply 61December 15, 2022 4:41 AM

I really liked Benediction (about Siegfried Sassoon)

by Anonymousreply 62December 15, 2022 4:47 AM

Woodrow Wilson was one evil, self-righteous mofo. He was convinced that God Almighty had appointed him to win WW1, so he didn't care how many young men died the trenches because mass deaths were was God's plan.

He also didn't care how many people died in the Influenza pandemic, because effectively combating the disease that was killing millions might interfere with morale, and hinder his campaign to slaughter most of Europe in God's name. Wilson was absolutely horrible, he deserved what he got.

by Anonymousreply 63December 15, 2022 11:34 AM

I've had a lifelong crush on Manfred von Richthofen.

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by Anonymousreply 64December 15, 2022 11:37 AM

I too, highly recommend the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO. It's an extraordinary museum that takes the visitor on a journey from 1914 through 1918. Note that WWI still does not have a proper memorial in Washington, DC (people are still working on a revised version that was supposed to have been completed four years ago). Oh sure, there has long been Pershing Square, but it is very telling that in the U.S., we moved on and away from the horrors of that conflict quickly.

Back in 2013, I learned of a website that was being put together called greatwarproject.org. It was written by a former NPR reporter Mike Shuster. He planned to report on the event's of WWI in "real time". I signed up and followed his "reporting" for 4 years. I am so glad I did. I had no idea the global impact the war had, really had no inkling as to how awful life in France's trenches were, didn't place the Great Influenza of 1918 into the war, etc...

For me, WWI is far more consequential to the world we live in now than WWII.

Appreciate the book recommendations above, I'll try to keep a list and do some more reading, but honestly, studying those 4 years is just depressing.

by Anonymousreply 65December 15, 2022 12:07 PM

R65 Thanks!

by Anonymousreply 66December 15, 2022 4:29 PM

R63, he didn't start the fucking war. If he was evil for getting the US into the war were all the leaders of Russia, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, etc. also evil?

by Anonymousreply 67December 15, 2022 5:54 PM

[quote] I have NEVER heard WWI called "The Gentleman's War".

Of course not, because NO ONE has ever called it that. OP pulled that out of his ass.

Why, OP? You started an actually interesting thread, what was the point of putting that obviously false tag line at the end?

by Anonymousreply 68December 15, 2022 7:25 PM

Yeah, "gentleman's war" is just silly. But I do see a little what OP was getting at. There was definitely a connected class of "gentlemen" who could look around the world in 1900 and say "God has given us all this to manage. European nations owned most of the globe, and a class of so-called gentlemen governed most European nations. Some were literal descendants of Queen Victoria, but most were in some sense trained in Victorian ideals of elitism, scientific rationalism (sort of), service, and everybody knowing their place but really for the common good. There were still independent places, especially the United States, and China hadn't completely collapsed but it was looking shaky at best. Latin America was independent, though economically dominated. And Japan was a very special case. But pretty much it was a class of European gentlemen making the big decisions for the world.

And then in 1914 it was as if these refined gentlemen decided it would be fun to go apeshit and slaughter everybody by the millions. After that war, it was just not possible to take seriously the idea that there is a class of people who know what they are doing if you just leave them in charge.

by Anonymousreply 69December 15, 2022 7:45 PM

R69 100% agree

by Anonymousreply 70December 15, 2022 8:45 PM

great thread overall; thanks, DLers

by Anonymousreply 71December 16, 2022 12:41 AM

I read a book once, I don't see it mentioned here, but all of the leaders were cousins who played war together as kids and a few of them were vicious bullies who took it too far. The rest held grudges

by Anonymousreply 72December 16, 2022 1:12 AM

R72 Yes. Most of the major players were relatives of Queen Victoria.

The obvious one is George V. He was her grandson and son of Edward.

Victoria's oldest daughter Vicky married German Frederick II and they had Wilhelm II. Vicky and Frederick's daughter married the King of Greece.

Alice's daughter Alexandra married Nicholas II

George's mother and Nicholas's mother were sisters.

by Anonymousreply 73December 16, 2022 1:59 PM

R72 The book is King, Kaiser, Tsar and it is a great read about Queen Victoria’s grandchildren’s relationships and roles in the war.

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by Anonymousreply 74December 16, 2022 2:29 PM

R73 you mean Vicky and Frederick’s daughter, Olga, who married the Dutch/Russian “King” of Greece?

I always find the “Greek” Royals laughable, even by absurd Royal traditions.

by Anonymousreply 75December 16, 2022 2:37 PM

R75 I'm not sure

by Anonymousreply 76December 16, 2022 5:27 PM

For the WWI buffs, check out Oh What a Lovely War!

Great cast- Dirk Bogarde, Phyllis Calvert, Jean-Pierre Cassel, John Clements, John Gielgud, Jack Hawkins, Ian Holm, Kenneth More, Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave, Ralph Richardson, Maggie Smith, Susannah York, and John Mills

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by Anonymousreply 77December 16, 2022 8:59 PM

It hasn't been discussed here yet, but it really was Germany's desire for more living space - lebensraum that started the war. Germany wanted to invade Poland and race all the way to its eastern border. Once it had all of that land, it would sue for peace. Germany was very late to becoming a "nation" and the Kaiser always felt inferior to his relatives - the English King and Russian Tsar. He wanted to be seen as a bigger player internationally.

After the Archduke's assassination (remember, wife Sophie was also murdered), it was Germany, whispering to the Hapsburg's that they would back the A-H when they declared war against the Serbs/Slavs.

The entire war spiraled out of control within months and stagnated into trench warfare by Christmas, 1914. And then its reach expanded into the Middle East.

The war just took on a life of its own, commanded by old men who could not get their heads around how the world and warfare had changed. 19th century tactics with 20th century weapons.

And the U.S.? Wilson did what he could, but there was no way he was going to be able to stay out of the conflict when the Schliemann telegram's contents were revealed.

by Anonymousreply 78December 16, 2022 9:28 PM

Lusitania's construction was subsidized by the Admiralty so it could serve as an Auxiliary Cruiser for the Navy. When it was torpedoed there were munitions in her hold using the civilians as human shields. The contraband was kept secret for decades.

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by Anonymousreply 79December 16, 2022 9:47 PM

Last date there was a clue on Jeopardy about the Kaiser in world war 1 and it made me think I should learn more about world war one because outside of like the grand Arc of it I really don't know the nuance as far as what led to it or the complexities during the war so I appreciate this topic because then it reminded me that I wanted to do that and now I shall.

by Anonymousreply 80December 16, 2022 9:58 PM

R78 perhaps you mean The Zimmermann Telegram??

by Anonymousreply 81December 16, 2022 10:03 PM

R78 A lot of it was Leopold Berchtold who exaggerated the threat of Serbia. He was an interesting guy.

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by Anonymousreply 82December 16, 2022 10:20 PM

"Explain World War I.

Use both sides of the paper if necessary."

by Anonymousreply 83December 16, 2022 10:36 PM

R83 what?

by Anonymousreply 84December 17, 2022 1:56 AM

Naturally curly hair

by Anonymousreply 85December 17, 2022 2:03 AM

Other people apparently got it, even if it went over your head, r84.

by Anonymousreply 86December 17, 2022 2:05 AM

R86 can you explain?

by Anonymousreply 87December 17, 2022 4:19 AM

"Gentlemen's war" was used in reference to several conflicts from the 17th century onwards. World War I is one of them, so OP isn't wrong in that sense. But it doesn't exemplify the phrase, and isn't terribly representative. It usually meant an organized war, with aristocratic military leaders, defined terms of conflict and relatively few (by our standards) casualties. Obviously, WW1 didn't adhere to those parameters.

by Anonymousreply 88December 17, 2022 5:15 AM

I am really enjoying this thread, though. Thank you to everyone who made book recommendations. This is outside my usual era of focus, and I should really learn more about it.

by Anonymousreply 89December 17, 2022 5:18 AM

R81 and everyone else here - YES, YES, YES - I meant the Zimmerman Telegram! Apologies. Jee, how embarrassing.

So to correct: And the U.S.? Wilson did what he could, but there was no way he was going to be able to stay out of the conflict when the ZIMMERMAN telegram's contents were revealed.

by Anonymousreply 90December 17, 2022 10:31 AM

Don't be embarrassed. I gave you props for ALSO having the Schliemann telegram in your brain. That's a different domain of historical knowledge, and from so long ago. How old are you!? Bravo.

by Anonymousreply 91December 17, 2022 10:35 AM

Sir John French was an interesting read

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by Anonymousreply 92December 18, 2022 2:41 AM

R91, I'm officially old or an Eldergay. My earliest political memory is The Saturday Night Massacre- when Nixon wanted to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox.

Oh - and archeology is a subject I enjoy reading about.

by Anonymousreply 93December 18, 2022 8:53 AM

[quote]For me, WWI is far more consequential to the world we live in now than WWII.

R65, I enjoy your posts and hate to disagree, but World War II created the world we live in, and we still live with consequences of that war.

History is a continuum, not a series of set pieces, so to the extent that the first war set up the circumstances that led to the second, you have a point. For example, World War I helped cause the Russian Revolution, which led to Communism, which led to antagonism between the USSR and the West. After World War II, that antagonism blossomed into the Cold War, which lingers on in the bitter rivalry between Russia and US today, the new Cold War. Is that the sort of thing you mean? So, yes, you can trace the roots of Cold War II back to World War I, but the specific structure of today's cold war is a direct outcome of World War II.

For Americans specifically, World War II was the far more consequential of the two wars, not only because many more Americans were killed but also in terms of the social changes it brought about and the huge leaps in technology the war led to.

Anyway, I'm not trying to start an argument by any means. I'm just curious about your point of view.

by Anonymousreply 94December 18, 2022 10:11 AM

[quote]Harry Truman was the only president that served in WWI.

R54, Eisenhower was in the Army during World War I as well but spent the war stateside. (His request for a transfer to the front was denied.)

Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and George HW Bush all served in the US military during World War II. In fact, all but Reagan served in active combat zones at some point.

by Anonymousreply 95December 18, 2022 10:14 AM

Nixon was a supply officer who nevcer saw action. Ford was a carrier officer and Bush was a carrier pilot ( being shot down on one mission as his palne's sole survivor ) Reagan had been a trained Horse Cavalryman including saber.

Allowing for his age and the total lack of need for Custer style Cavalry it was felt Reagan would be useful commanding an Army Signal Corp movie unit for training and planning purposes, The studios joined together several large sound stages and the art department constructed a VERY large high scale tabletop model of Japan.

[quote] every landmark, check point, initial point and bomb release point ... every radar center, every Japanese naval vessel in a harbor, every railroad, building and forest and rice paddies ... The objects had to appear not only as seen on a clear day by the naked eye, but also as viewed by a radar screen through an overcast.

Besides the lesser films they made this department would receive the flight profile of planned air raids. Cameras set at the proportionate scale altitude would film the mission track and dangers to avoid on the way to target giving the combat crews a virtual rehearsal.

Clark Gable, William Holden and Alan Ladd served in the unit. Even Betty White

I may be mistaken but I believe I recall Reagan was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.

by Anonymousreply 96December 18, 2022 10:59 AM

R39 very handsome. Sadly revolution in Russia ended his life too soon.

by Anonymousreply 97December 18, 2022 12:10 PM

The Facemaker, which just came out this year and made it on to a few best end of year book lists, is about the creation of plastic surgery as a speciality in response to the brutal disfigurement of soldiers caused by the new forms of warfare of WWI. It’s well written in a narrative nonfiction way, and I wasn’t as squeamish about reading on the topic as I thought I might be.

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by Anonymousreply 98December 18, 2022 12:34 PM

A senseless slaughter...

That's all it was.

by Anonymousreply 99December 18, 2022 12:38 PM

Probably the closest you can get to experiencing what it was like is by watching Peter Jackson’s documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, which took WWI movie footage, preserved and restored it, colorized it and added a audio soundtrack of noises and even speeches that were deciphered by lip readers.

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by Anonymousreply 100December 18, 2022 12:42 PM

There's a theory that WWI is going to be thought of as our own hundred years war and that all of the wars since then are all more battles in the same ongoing war that has never been settled

by Anonymousreply 101December 18, 2022 1:41 PM

Wasn't Belgium's prince super attractive too?

by Anonymousreply 102December 18, 2022 6:45 PM

R94, you began your post with, 'but World War II created the world we live in, and we still live with consequences of that war."

Well, you need to kick back those consequences to WWI. Think back/look at the world in 1914 and then 1919 (post Paris Peace conference). The small east European nations that Hitler invaded and were later ruled by the USSR did not exist before 1919 - they were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. WWI created what we see today, not WWII. Yugoslavia is an exception - a post-WWII ruler who died and a nation fell apart.

Of the Middle East you and I know... well, in 1914 there was no Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan... there were empires - Ottoman and Persian. Of course, you and I only know a world with Iran, Turkey and more. And I'll add this... in Paris in 1919, people of different nationalities, ethnicities, languages arrived, each looking to create a new state, including the Kurds. The Turkish reps wouldn't allow Kurdistan to be created... here we are in 2022 and the Kurds are STILL looking to create a state in the area of Iraq and Turkey and the Turks are still killing them.

None of those Middle Eastern nations was created by the people of the region. Britain and France drew the borders (Sykes-Picot Agreement) and did so with their interests in mind... how to exploit natural resources and the borders intentionally created strife between these new "nations".

Don't think I'm unaware of WWII's impact on the 21st century, but it's WWI that you and I see when looking at a map.

by Anonymousreply 103December 18, 2022 10:39 PM

R103 Someone knows their Gertrude Bell here.

by Anonymousreply 104December 19, 2022 5:17 AM

R104 - ha! Very, very good. I do indeed know the name and read about Gertrude Bell. Unfortunately, I never did finish the biography I was reading. You're quite knowledgeable yourself.

by Anonymousreply 105December 19, 2022 8:31 AM

" Nicholas II had character flaws and a narrow, blindered world view."

Nicholas II. Tsar of All The Russias was a weak incompetent man totally whipped by that German bitch of a wife, Alexandra of Hesse Darmstadt of and by the Rhine.

It was summer, crowned heads of Europe, governments, generals, etc... everyone who mattered was on holiday. Yes, Europe was a powder keg, but things weren't likely to blow up unless someone did something foolish; enter Nicholas II.

By giving order for Russia's military to mobilize it sent a message to Germany who essentially responded "stand down or else...". Nicholas II wouldn't be told and Russia declared war on Germany. Germany responded in kind, then came France, Britain... and rest as they say is history.

Russia had no business declaring war on anyone. But her pride was deeply injured after defeat in war with Japan. Nicholas had other problems at home and probably felt a war was just what nation needed to set things right.

Mistakes keep piling on after mistakes culminating in the disastrous decision by Nicholas II to take control of the military himself. But wait there was more yet to come. Just when you think Nicholas II couldn't do anything else stupid he upped the ante; putting the empress in charge of government while HIM was away at the front.

Those two decisions played key roles in fate of not only Russia but that of the Romanov family and their dynasty.

by Anonymousreply 106December 19, 2022 9:15 AM

Pawns in the game are not victims of chance

Strewn on the fields of Belgium and France

Poppies for young men, death's bitter trade

All of those young lives betrayed

The children of England would never be slaves

They're trapped on the wire and dying in waves

The flower of England face down in the mud

And stained in the blood of a whole generation

Corpulent generals safe behind lines

History's lessons drowned in red wine

Poppies for young men, death's bitter trade

All of those young lives betrayed

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by Anonymousreply 107December 19, 2022 9:20 AM

[quote] Don't think I'm unaware of WWII's impact on the 21st century, but it's WWI that you and I see when looking at a map.

R103, The problem with trying to pinpoint a starting point for our modern world, is that there is always a multitude of earlier turning points which lead to it. R94 thinks our world is a result of WWI, you think WWII, but I could equally well argue that the death of Kaiser Frederick III in 1888 after just 99 days was the turning point, because his death meant that his whole liberal philosophy and hope for a liberal constitutional monarchy along British line never came to fruition. Frederick was an avowed opponent of German militarism, even opposing the use of force to unite the German states over which he was to rule.

If he had lived to the same age as his father, he would have reigned for 34 years into the 1920s. His pro-British attitude leads to the intriguing idea of Germany as part of a Anglo-Franco-German alliance which could have developed into a version of the EU. Certainly it would have been an economic and political powerhouse and would have made a war against it almost impossible. Of course, that does imply that the age of European empires may well have persisted much longer than it did.

Without the death of Frederick, it’s questionable if the Austro-Hungarians would have felt emboldened to act against Serbia (which was almost entirely due to the sabre-rattling of Wilhelm II), which in turn means Russia would not have mobilised. Without Russia and Germany being at war, it’s unlikely the Germans would have facilitated the return of Lenin from exile, which puts the whole Russian Revolution into question.

History is a continuum of turning points which bring us to where we are. One other turning point which I always ponder is what would have happened if the princesses of Darmstadt-Hesse had kept their promise to their Grandmother, Queen Victoria. Victoria abhorred and feared the absolutist nature of the Russian Empire, and was convinced that it would end badly. She made her grand-daughters promise not to marry Russian nobles, but two of the girls broke their promise. Both ended up dead at the bottom of Russian mine shafts during the Revolution.

One of the great unanswerables of history is how Tsar Nicholas would have fared with a smarter, less superstitious wife!

by Anonymousreply 108December 19, 2022 10:03 AM

Gertrude Bell was the female Lawrence of Arabia who was smarter and more well connected then he was and incredibly knowledgeable about the many different factions in the Middle East. But because she was a woman she was completely dismissed despite having a much more workable plan for how best to create nation states in the Middle East, which would have produced a much more peaceful and economically stable region. It’s like they used her information to do exactly the opposite of what she suggested to purposely undermine the region with the maximum Colonialism oppression and derision between the countries and ethnic and religious groups.

by Anonymousreply 109December 19, 2022 10:08 AM

What do you think the biggest tragedy of WWI was?

I think the Romanov murders are up there. Their bodies were thrown down a mine shaft.

by Anonymousreply 110December 19, 2022 3:44 PM

Horatio Herbert Kitchener was also a homosexual.

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by Anonymousreply 111December 19, 2022 4:07 PM

It is terrifying but I think the trajectory of today mirrors ww1 in that NATO and Russia have the same treaty type alliances to defend their allies that make each country a committed party should a war start which it has. This is the problem because in Ukraine lies the beginning as It could start a new Ww. And so stupid too because The US A wanted a market for all the fracked gas. Keeping Europe a U.S. vassal state to the US. The weapons makers and petroleum dealers are all for WW 4 if they get paid that is. Nothing has changed stupid monkeys.

by Anonymousreply 112December 19, 2022 4:13 PM

I always wondered what would happen in William Howard Taft was president during WWI.

by Anonymousreply 113December 19, 2022 4:30 PM

When was the last time ANYONE other than the OP has referred to WWI as "the gentlememn's war"??

by Anonymousreply 114December 19, 2022 4:43 PM

R108, we're at loggerheads here. I don't have the knowledge to begin speculating about what Europe would have looked like if X or Y had lived or if A and B had not married.

What I can say is that the map of Europe and the Middle East was completely altered after WWI and Paris 1919 and we live with the ramifications of that today. The map of Europe and the Middle East did not change in the same way after WWII.

And R109, perhaps I need to find a different tome to read about Bell. The one I started (and I made it up to her work with Arabs and the early steps at founding Iraq) was just too long...

by Anonymousreply 115December 19, 2022 4:49 PM

R110, the biggest my tragedy was that Hitler was not killed. But somebody else would have probably assumed his role…

by Anonymousreply 116December 19, 2022 4:53 PM

Pretty hard to pick one r110. Do their deaths outweigh the 300,000 killed in the Battle of Somme? Or even the 20,000 killed in the FIRST HOUR of that battle?

It was horrible what happened to the Romanovs, especially the kids, but damn, Nicky and Alexandria had practically hung a sign on the palace saying "We fucking suck at this! Please somebody come and rule this goddamn country before it's too late!"

by Anonymousreply 117December 19, 2022 5:05 PM

"which puts the whole Russian Revolution into question."

February Revolution: 8–16 March (23 February – 3 March) 1917 is what lead to Nicholas II abdicating on 15 March 1917. Lenin didn't arrive back in Russia on that sealed train until April of that year.

It was Provisional Government failing and Bolsheviks taking over from Alexander Kerensky's government (who unlike the Romanovs he imprisoned managed to get out of Russia alive), that sealed fate of many events including the murders of every Romanov Lenin's henchmen could lay hands upon.

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by Anonymousreply 118December 19, 2022 5:07 PM

Nicholas should have never abdicated.

by Anonymousreply 119December 19, 2022 5:10 PM

Merck, Boehringer = spoils of war.

by Anonymousreply 120December 19, 2022 5:11 PM

He should have abdicated the day after he became Czar, r119, or at least after the monumental fuckup that was the Russo-Japanese war. He sucked as a monarch. His brother would have been better.

by Anonymousreply 121December 19, 2022 5:12 PM

Has anyone read A Peace to End All Peace? It's about the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and the birth of the modern Middle East. If I remember (and it's been quite a few years) but it was very much up in the air whether they would come in on the side of Germany or come in at all. They were famously the Sick Man of Europe, but they had one big advantage in 1914: They weren't all entangled in a bunch of alliances and commitments that made it so difficult for the other nations to avoid their terrible, stupid fate.

by Anonymousreply 122December 19, 2022 5:33 PM

R121 maybe, but Nicholas was a kind, gentle, and submissive beautiful man who deserved better than the emotionally crazy Alexandra.

by Anonymousreply 123December 19, 2022 5:34 PM

Nicholas II was weak leader and Alix was unstable but she was not the biggest reason for the revolution. War was going poorly hunger in big cities industrialization changed Russia and Nicholas II just didn’t react to these the he should have.

by Anonymousreply 124December 19, 2022 5:56 PM

R124 True and Kerensky then Lenin took advantage

by Anonymousreply 125December 19, 2022 6:12 PM

Well Lenin took advantage mainly by being the only one willing to say this shit is done. We are done pretending that this war has any purpose, that one more battle is going to do shit, that one more trench is going to do shit, that one more advance is going to do shit. We are done, and if you don't think we are done, stand aside and let somebody else admit it.

by Anonymousreply 126December 19, 2022 7:00 PM

R103, just for clarity I’m R94 but not the subsequent comments on this particular topic (WWI vs. WWII).

Your point about the map is well taken. It’s certainly true that the countries of Europe and the Middle East are largely the same today as they were in 1920, although borders have shifted in some cases.

My point was, as I said, more concerned with the social changes brought about by World War II specifically in the United States. I do stand by the idea that the effects of the Second World War - the vast mobilization of men (far larger, more complete and of longer duration than in WWI), the entry of millions of women into the workforce, normalizing the idea of even middle-class women working before they had children, and the almost total focus of the home front on the war effort for nearly four years had greater impact on American society than the impact of the first war. That’s not even considering the tremendous technological innovations, both good and bad, that came out of the war, or the way the horrors of the Holocaust changed attitudes in many profound ways.

Anyway, the topic of the thread is World War I and I don't mean to highjack it. Both wars were indescribably dreadful and both wars brought massive and permanent changes to global power structures, and probably we would both agree on that point. Thanks again for your thoughtful commentary.

by Anonymousreply 127December 20, 2022 8:29 AM

Please, enjoy fighting

by Anonymousreply 128December 20, 2022 5:37 PM

R128, not me, I've expressed my thoughts/opinions about WWI.

by Anonymousreply 129December 20, 2022 8:52 PM

WWI caused Emperor Franz Joseph I to weep

by Anonymousreply 130December 20, 2022 9:25 PM

Emperor Franz Joseph famously said “Ughhh, I am spared nothing “.

by Anonymousreply 131December 20, 2022 10:23 PM

Archduke's killing guarantees peace !

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by Anonymousreply 132December 22, 2022 6:17 AM

"Less than a decade later, in 1898, tragedy once again paid an intimate and unwanted visit to the Emperor. While working in his study at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, the Emperor was brought the news that the Empress Elisabeth had been assassinated in Geneva by a deranged Italian anarchist, Luigi Luchini. The murderer had stabbed her through the breast with a stilleto, penetrating 85 mm, all the way into the left ventricle of her heart. She was dead within a half hour of sustaining the wound. A telegram announcing the tragic news was brought to the emperor by Count Eduard Graf von Paar.

Franz Josef is said to have been frozen for a moment in shock, than as he slumped into his armchair said, “I shall then be spared nothing on this earth.” These words were likely a reference to what he had already experienced with the suicide of Rudolf. Sentimentally his next words were, “Nobody knows how much we loved each other.” The news was the completion of a tragedy, losing both son and wife. The stoicism of the emperor sustained him in the years to come, but it is doubtful that he ever overcame the deep sorrow which consumed him."

by Anonymousreply 133December 22, 2022 7:59 AM

OTOH Franz Josef was slightly less bothered when given news of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's death.

From same linked site above:

"The old emperor’s reaction to the assassination was much different than his reactions to the deaths of Rudolf and Elisabeth. Franz Josef did not care for the Archduke. When learning the news, he is said to have muttered, “It is terrible, the All-Powerful cannot be defied, A higher power has re-established the order which I had not managed to maintain.”

by Anonymousreply 134December 22, 2022 8:01 AM

It wasn't the gentlemens war but it was the cousins war since King George, Czar Nicholas and Kaiser Wilhelm were all related.

by Anonymousreply 135December 22, 2022 8:29 AM

"Nicholas II was weak leader and Alix was unstable but she was not the biggest reason for the revolution. "

Sorry but yes, in many ways Empress Alexandra was reason things became so bad that revolution finally broke out in Russia.

Even members of Romanov family realized that days of that empire being governed by an absolute monarchy fast closing. They along with certain modern thinking ministers begged Nicholas II to begin reforms that would move toward something like the British model. Alexandra wouldn't hear of it; she saw it as her God given duty to protect Russia's absolute monarchy not just for her husband but her son's inheritance. Anytime weak willed Nicholas considered even modest reforms Alix lectured the czar at such great length he soon reversed course.

by Anonymousreply 136December 23, 2022 8:48 PM

[quote]They along with certain modern thinking ministers begged Nicholas II to begin reforms that would move toward something like the British model.

And if only Russia had been inhabited by British people, that might have had a chance to work! We can see the Russian taste in leadership and governance today in 2022; I doubt it was any better in 1917.

by Anonymousreply 137December 23, 2022 11:16 PM

Did anyone watch Netflix's "All Quiet on the Western Front"? Did you like it?

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by Anonymousreply 138December 23, 2022 11:22 PM

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

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by Anonymousreply 139December 23, 2022 11:26 PM


Russia's problems with having any sort of constitutional monarchy lie with simple fact she did not have anywhere near large enough population of educated middle classes. This and it takes decades (or centuries) for such a system to evolve. France went through similar issues which is how she lurched from revolution to Bonaparte becoming a monarch, etc...

In theory Charles III has all same powers as Charles I. However over centuries those powers are performed by an elected parliament.

Lenin's early government was a disaster; they just didn't know how to "govern" or run things. Murdering Romanovs, nobles and anyone else they didn't like was the easy part.

by Anonymousreply 140December 23, 2022 11:53 PM

A YouTuber discussing the 1930 version of All Quiet on the Western Front and why it was so controversial.

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by Anonymousreply 141December 24, 2022 12:01 AM

"It wasn't the gentlemens war but it was the cousins war since King George, Czar Nicholas and Kaiser Wilhelm were all related."

It was all a farce. Prince Albert and his wife (Queen Victoria) grand vision of bringing peace to Europe by marrying their children into sundry royal courts. Everyone believed right up to moment WWI began and for sometime afterwards that the three cousins (The King, The Kaiser and The Czar) would work things out.

Thing is war showed how they all mostly were stuff shirts and best, and incompetent at worst.

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by Anonymousreply 142December 24, 2022 4:23 AM


by Anonymousreply 143December 24, 2022 4:26 AM

Again it cannot be overstated just how disastrous it was for Russia that Empress Alexandra took over ruling as it were while Nicholas II was at the front. Alix was in over her head and relied upon Rasputin which simply was the worst thing possible.

When the munities and revolts began that would soon lead to all out revolution neither Nicholas II nor Alix could grasp how dangerous the situation truly was.

Alix kept a painting of Queen Marie-Antoinette in her bedroom. She was warned gently but firmly over the years it wasn't the best thing. Sadly almost exactly like the doomed last Queen of France was how the last Empress of Russia would end her days. Captive, imprisoned then murdered.

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by Anonymousreply 144December 24, 2022 4:35 AM

It was all for NOTHING

by Anonymousreply 145December 24, 2022 3:58 PM

[quote] It was all for NOTHING

Such a Debbie Downer. Where would society be without the trench coat

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by Anonymousreply 146December 25, 2022 5:54 AM

No one’s mentioned this yet?

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by Anonymousreply 147December 25, 2022 6:02 AM

Still haunting

by Anonymousreply 148January 2, 2023 11:26 PM

I had never seen this pic before - French soldiers in 1914. Was this their normal uniform?

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by Anonymousreply 149January 3, 2023 11:39 PM

R149 no.

by Anonymousreply 150January 4, 2023 12:22 AM

Most people think the USA emerged as the dominant military and economic power after world war two.

By 1920 the United States had the highest standard of living and the largest economy in the world.

by Anonymousreply 151January 4, 2023 12:24 AM

WWI caused the US to be the leader of the world.

by Anonymousreply 152January 4, 2023 12:38 AM

WWI to me seemed to be all about so many British Commonwealth men dead because of alliances that meant nothing to Britain directly.

by Anonymousreply 153January 4, 2023 11:44 PM

William Manchester’s Churchill biography is absolutely riveting when he writes about WWI, The Great War. I didn’t know that Churchill led a battery in France while he served in the war cabinet. He led an expedition into Belgium as it was falling to the Germans and there’s the disastrous Dardanelles strategy. Manchester’s biography is also a cultural history. Manchester died before he could finish the third and final volume. It’s a huge disappointment but read the first two volumes.

by Anonymousreply 154January 10, 2023 12:19 AM

Churchill's time in the WW1 trenches commanding a battalion

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by Anonymousreply 155January 10, 2023 12:49 AM

Such a fascinating part of history

by Anonymousreply 156February 22, 2023 8:54 PM

Yes it was r149. That's why everybody was so worried those farmboys weren't coming back to the farm "after they'd seen Paree, and weewee."

by Anonymousreply 157February 22, 2023 9:05 PM

Let's hear from the great war poet, Siegfried Sassoon...

“Good-morning, good-morning!” the General said When we met him last week on our way to the line. Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead, And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine. “He's a cheery old card,” grunted Harry to Jack As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

by Anonymousreply 158February 24, 2023 4:08 PM

It is in your nature to destroy yourselves.

- The Terminator

by Anonymousreply 159February 24, 2023 4:26 PM

The War that killed Empires

by Anonymousreply 160March 17, 2023 1:40 AM

I had a brilliant history professor who really laid bare the propagandist appeal of world War one amd now every time I see people wear poppies in remembrance I smh

by Anonymousreply 161March 17, 2023 2:26 AM

R161 what is the significance of poppies?

by Anonymousreply 162March 17, 2023 2:00 PM

r162 It was a campaign formed in the aftermath of the war for soldiers to raise funds to support themselves and to remember their dead friends, and now its mostly just a charity drive to raise money for forces charities for wounded ex members and their families. Which is why r 161 is a weird take since the money raised is being used to by wheelchairs not ammunition.

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by Anonymousreply 163March 17, 2023 2:21 PM

R163 I was referring to the poem "Flanders field" which inspired the poppies. It is why I said then propagandist nature of governments during ww1

by Anonymousreply 164March 17, 2023 2:26 PM

[quote]World War I

One of my favorite of the world wars.

by Anonymousreply 165March 17, 2023 2:28 PM

r164 I still kind of disagree with the assessment even with the link to the poem the wearing a poppy was always more remembrance of the dead and support for the injured started after the war than recruitment propaganda to send people to the trenches. The campaign just naturally adopted one of the most famous symbols of the location where most of the fighting took place.

by Anonymousreply 166March 17, 2023 2:37 PM

R166, I agree with you about the wearing of poppies today, but when the poem was published in 1915, it was both an elegy for the dead and a call to others to continue to fight in which they had fallen. It was used as propaganda by the Allies during the war, although today we tend to forget the gung-ho second stanza and remember only the tragic first.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies grow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place. While in the Sky

The larks still bravely singing, fly

Unheard, amid the guns below.

We are the dead, Short days ago

We lived, felt dawns, saw sunsets glow;

Loved and were loved – but now we lie

In Flanders Field

Take up our quarrel with the foe!

To you from falling hands we throw

The torch, Be yours to bear it high!

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep tho’ poppies blow

In Flanders Field.

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by Anonymousreply 167March 18, 2023 8:03 AM

Ugh! Sorry about the formatting.

by Anonymousreply 168March 18, 2023 8:04 AM

Nice! Let's keep this thread going

by Anonymousreply 169March 18, 2023 8:44 PM

It didn’t “spread.” Each country had treaty agreements that they were bound to. When Austria mobilized against Serbia, Russia, Serbia’s ally mobilized. Germany was allied with Austria-Hungary and mobilized against Russia. Years before this, Wilhelm II tried to persuade Nicholas II to abandon his treaties with the Slavs.

by Anonymousreply 170March 18, 2023 8:58 PM

You're all forgetting me

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by Anonymousreply 171March 18, 2023 9:05 PM
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