Thursday, June 12, 2014

War and Its Cost

Passchendaele, 1917
As the centennial of World War I bears down upon us, expect to see a number of posts concerning "The Great War." This is one.

War leaves its mark upon the human soul and the very earth itself. These two pictures show the damage to the land.

The video which follows, shows the damage to humankind. Beware, it is gritty, realistic and graphic. It is not for the faint of heart.

The Somme, Today

Dedicated to my Great Great Uncle Robert, KIA in 1917, Palestine.




Tip o' the hat to Joe in N.Calif.

32 comments:

  1. Got to visit Ypres on a visit to NATO HQ while at the Puzzle Palace. Very sobering. Cemeteries scattered all about, gravestones about a shoulder width apart, and all from the same unit. Essentially wiped out to a man.
    The where's, what's and when's will be comparatively easy to discuss on this subject, the how's and why's not so much.
    They had an actual trench there that had been maintained and could be walked. I did and got to wondering how a kid could here the whistle blow and start climbing the trench ladder, knowing his life expectancy was now measured in seconds. Had similar questions walking Omaha beach and riding a landing craft ashore on a terrain walk in Okinawa. The political class in 1914 was not worthy of this level of sacrifice and not much has changed in the ensuing hundred years. /end political rant

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  2. There will only be justice in this world when the folks who start the wars fight and die in them.

    I was reminded earlier today that tomorrow is the Army's 239th birthday.

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    1. Both sides had Mr Maxim's nifty piece of kit. The British King and the Kaiser (cousins) actually both attended his demonstration of said piece a few years beforehand. As you said, folks who starts it, should face it - from the front line.

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    2. I believe the Czar was also cousin to King and Kaiser. Her Majesty, Queen Victoria (IIRC) wasn't always happy with her grandson "Willie" - the Kaiser.

      And yes, you gentlemen want to fight? Have at it, Hans and I will be in the pub. Do let us know who won, won't you?

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    3. Oh... and I meant Saturday is the Army's anniversary.

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    4. When you said "Army", I stopped paying attention. Actually easy to remember as it's the same day as Flag Day.

      Also, what guy remembers anniversaries, am I right?

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    5. Right... I've known for a coupla weeks it's Flaf Day ...only by accident it's the anniversary.
      Ironically, Cuz is a lifer, having worked his way in the Infantry from E-1 through Full Bird.

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    6. E-1 to O-6? Damn, that's quite a story right there.

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  3. The political class in 1914 was not worthy of this level of sacrifice and not much has changed in the ensuing hundred years. /end political rant

    True, that.

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    1. Pretty sure they're still not worth it these days.

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    2. Even worse, the political class in 1914 didn't understand what they were dealing with. The current political class know does now, and that makes it worse.

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    3. You have a point Aaron. Though I'm not sure the current ruling class cares.

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    4. I'm not convinced our current political class actually does "know". I think they're so convinced of their own mental superiority to everybody else on the entire planet, that they don't believe a world war could happen to them. That hubris was exactly one of the catalyst factors in both world wars. "Clearly the Central /Axis powers see the futility in attacking our alliances", When in actuality, the Central/Axis powers saw was a militarily weak opponent, divided support and an opportunity to return to greatness. HMMMM, nothing like that happening today, thank goodness! But, Aaron, if I'm wrong and you're right, and they do know, that makes it much, much worse. Words like Treason come to mind.

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    5. You know Juvat, you, Aaron and I need to sit down over a couple of beers and discuss this. You both have good points. I'm not quite ready to use the "T" word, but leaning more that way everyday!

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    6. Indeed we do. Should we meet up, I'm requesting the honor of buying the first round.

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    7. I won't object to giving you the first round. I'm sure Juvat won't either!

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    8. I would posit that the current political class isn't so much ignorant as they are aloof and uncaring.
      Their only concern is remaining a part of the political class.
      They do not remember what service is... if they ever knew.

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    9. Skip shoots...

      HE SCORES!!!!

      Excellent observation.

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    10. I am occasionally lucid...
      ...probably a good thing I don't drink any more.

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    11. Heh. I too suffer from occasional bouts of lucidity.

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  4. Some scars NEVER heal... Just sayin...

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    1. Indeed they don't. It's one of the reasons the Russian nation is so paranoid. Mongols, Swedes, French, Germans and then Germans again. Get invaded enough times and you start to mistrust the neighbors.

      Understand Russia's history, you understand Russia today.

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    2. War can be justified politically, but never on a personal level. Thanks for posting this thought provoking article.

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  5. A good post and a moving one. I remember standing in a 2nd hand bookshop in London in 1985 holding one of a stack of books that came waist high on me. Each of the books was of the same series and was a simply list of the names, ages, ranks and units of every British soldier killed in the Great War. Each page had 2 columns of names and the print was very small.

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    1. Thanks Cap'n.

      That stack of books - all that remains of a generation of young men.

      Staggering...

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    2. Yes. We watched Mrs. Henderson Presents this week. It's an amusing and interesting film. I would only make up numbers because I do not know, but probably, 85% of the soldiers killed in WWI died without issue. They were too young. They went too easily into the ground without any remembrance except maybe a sweetheart that they loved. War coarsens everybody, but that's hard to do in a trench in Flanders if one is speaking of anything but the brutality of war.

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    3. "Died without issue"

      At least when I go, my children and grandchildren will remember me (I hope). Those men, when their parents died, all memory of them died, unless a sibling remembered to pass on the memory of that dear Uncle.

      A shame that such men wouldn't be remembered as a living, breathing real human being, rather than as just a faceless "Soldier of the Great War."

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  6. I don't know if you've ever heard the song "1916" by Motorhead. You may find it worth a listen.

    (Motorhead is known for fast and loud, but this song is neither.)

    Lyrics (and a link to a listen) here... http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/1916-lyrics-Motorhead/954D5F5308D93DC448256C55000D254C

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    1. Wow. That was worth a listen.

      Thanks Suldog.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)