54 Comments

  1. Prey the world never sees such a war again… but the innovations it spurred on in technology were striking and to this day intruiging. That fellow’s rifle needs a right good cleaning…

    • Unfortunately, it already has. The Iran-Iraq war, which ended up looking a great deal like this and included poison gas being used.

      cheers (sort of)

      eon

  2. This pic should be sent to the leaders of every country on earth. It might slow down their more “impetuous” urges. I doubt it, but one can always hope.

    • Let the “leaders” go fight each other if they want a war 😉

      I can’t imagine any politician in Europe or America lasting more than one round in the ring with Putin

      Going from disclosures by German and Bulgarian foreign ministers and a senior NATO general in the past two weeks, it seems like some in NATO do want a war to be fought in Europe.

      a ring (or cage) in Las Vegas would be a better venue

      ::Popcorn::

      • “Alas, poor Friedrich! I knew him, Xavier… to think we would meet again under such unfair circumstances. We, the suffering peasants of our respective countries, are forced to fight to the death for the causes of rich fat-cat politicians who exempt their children from the conscription! May all those bureaucrats suffer 20 years of constipation for killing us and then charging our families the bills!”

        As for dealing with Putin, I would personally like to see the results of a knife-wielding attacker getting past the bodyguards. Will Putin actually deal with the guy himself or will he die a tyrant’s death?

      • ” it seems like some in NATO do want a war to be fought in Europe.”

        Perhaps this is because NATO has always been run by the United States (with a European puppet as figurehead “leader”) so a major war in Europe, while potentially disastrous for the Europeans, would likely be beneficial to the United States, perhaps not unlike the way WWII was.

        It was interesting to see the way Breedlove’s leaked emails revealed that rather than serving the President, he was literally plotting against him.

        • That war makes the united state wealthier is one of the greatest lies of all time

          Perhaps a very few in the united state get wealthier – it is far from all, and it certainly isn’t most. If your name is Bush Morgan or Rockefeller, perhaps you might get richer.

          Part of the myth comes from the idiocy of econometrics and the idiotic metric, GDP = Y= consumption + investment + net exports + government spending.

          one of the first things that a government does during war is to print lots more money – Oh look – the government spending has gone up – let’s dance in the streets

          all that’s happened is the government (or at least its central bank) has issued paper money and spent it on real goods and services

          and in the process it has diluted the savings and earnings of everyone else.

          perhaps unemployment goes down, as people are sent off to destroy things and get shot shelled and traumatized.

          meanwhile production shifts from things that we ordinarily like and which make our lives easier and more fulfilling, whether it’s cars, sporting guns, meals out, washing machines, video cameras

          into bombs, tanks, MRAVs…

          and when the war is over, just so the cronies who made them don’t get inconvenienced by cheap surplus coming onto the market, they variously get buried, dropped in the sea, or sent to help militarise the local police department’s cos play.

          The ownership of the news media helps to perpetuate the myth,

          and the thousands of employees of the biggest weapon of war, will spout all sorts of lies too – that weapon? the central bank – that’s what it exists for, apart from making it’s owners extra wealthy.

          There’s a brilliant intro to economics, which sets out the lesson in the first chapter, then shows all sorts of examples of that lesson being applied.
          In the video abridgement, it takes about 2 minutes a chapter

          It’s well worth the time
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uj2FZ7gKdI&list=PL-ama5rVMHxFmDf5QRdPbgyDeV60FnDZo

          • I’ve always thought it was a rather phony +GDP argument for war, because GDP makes no distinction between productive and non-productive (or counter-productive) work, only that money changes hands.

            Perhaps the main economic benefit to the USA of the 2nd World War was being the only major industrial power in the world that was not obliterated by war, and secondly ending up in a dominant position of those that were. From an economic strategy, it might have been better for the US to have waited and entered WWII later, allowing the Germans and Soviets time to destroy each other, for instance, and then moving in and taking over both Europe and Russia, and thus eliminating the possibility of the Cold War and nuclear arms race. It’s ironic that winning wars is so often counter-productive in many ways, leading to situations that are worse than before (& often requiring another war to “fix”).

          • After WWii, Truman wanted to continue high military spending and a worldwide network of bases and entanglements

            But he was faced with a congress full of Republicans who wanted to return to peace time levels of expenditure and avoid foreign entanglements.

            I gather that it is on record, that Dullas advised Truman, that if he wanted the Republicans to go along with his plans, he’d have to scare the hell out of them,

            and Truman proceeded to do that – with a fabricated and greatly exaggerated soviet threat.

            The soviets were a very serious threat to anyone and everyone within their own empire – but were incapable of being a serious threat outside of it.
            They could barely hang onto what they had gained in WWii
            and they certainly weren’t willing or able to make Jugoslavia do their bidding (even though Jugoslavia was an economic basket case – with ever increasing foreign debts)

          • Don’t forget War Bond drives, and curtailment of “civilian production” for the duration.

            My mother (1913-98) lived through the Depression and WW2. and she pointed out that while wages went up during the war for war workers (many of whom, like her sisters who worked in defense plants, hadn’t even had “paying” jobs before that), so did prices, even excluding the black market.

            And after VJ Day, the Depression, which had resisted all of FDR’s and Henry Morgenthau’s “New Deal” programs from 1933 to Pearl Harbor, picked up right where it left off on 7 Dec 1941.

            Wartime economies are bubble economies. Once the war is over, the bubble bursts.

            A good comparison is the Japanese bubble of the 1980s. At one point there, it was maintained by the Nikkei that the land around Tokyo was worth more than the entirety of CONUS, simply based on repeated “bid-ups” due to property “flipping”.

            When the bubble burst, a lot of faux liquidity simply vanished. Mainly because in the real world, the acreage around Tokyo as about as salable as the U.S. Army’s stock of Sherman tanks in 1946.

            Very restricted utility, you might say. And unlike the land, you could actually move an M4A3.

            It’s just that other than governments, there wasn’t much of a market for same. And most of the ones in Asia, Africa, etc. got them for free because it would have cost us to ship them home again. And that doesn’t even include MDAA;

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_Defense_Assistance_Act

            We were giving away brand-new M41 Walker Bulldogs under that one. Some of which are still in service today.

            cheers

            eon

        • No kidding, wars are known to be the best business there is. I can see already those foreign investments lining up.

      • How very true, Keith. Most ordinary people generally have nothing against the fellows on the other side, nor any reason to have some sort of beef with them. If the glorious leaders of high principle and captains of industry of admirable ambition on either side really want to stand by what they preach, let them personally prove their supposed mettle by facing each other like the gladiators of old. And the options for a fair fight are endless — everything from a good old-fashioned bare-knuckles boxing match ( with no time out ) through a knife fight with kukris to perhaps a controlled version of Flanders-style trench warfare where the protagonists have to stay, fight, survive and suffer all hell for a period of at least 12 months just so they can begin to get an idea of what they would be inflicting upon others.

        • Hi Earl, good to see you 🙂

          I wonder if there would be a market for a reality TV show with variously a psychopathic harridan and a narcissist (who could I possibly be referring to?) and a few other war mongering types…

          Digging trenches in the Somme valley and living in them for a winter or four surrounded by rotting slaughter plant waste, trying to shoot each other and shell each other, and crawl through putrid mud and barbed wire to bludgeon each other.

          or perhaps have them play modern war games in a different environment each week – dislocating their knees by trying to run through the mud of flood irrigated Afghan poppy fields while under fire,

          “and our first contestant this week is Congressman Bubba, from the town of Burning Cross, Ms (where all the children are below average), – is he going to Murder the doctors and patients in this un defended MSF hospital and come home a decorated hero? or are the townspeople going to drag his dead body around the town behind a Toyota pickup? Find out after the break”

  3. By odd coincidence, I was just looking at some very similar scenes in Turkey — only those pictures of dead ‘rebel’ soldiers taken just moments ago were in living color. (Of course, that country was the biggest loser of WWI, and the hasty dismantlement of that defeated empire begat a major source of the planet’s war, instability, and “terrorism” up to and including the present day)

    • WWI led to the break up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Deutsches Reich.

      Russia, plunged into civil war, losing the very Ukrainian territories to Germany via Brest-Litovsk that now are the principal source of conflict between an expanding Nato and nationalist Russia ruled by mafiosi. The Bolsheviki won the war, and then rebuilt the USSR atop the ruins of the empire, consolidating control, and industrializing through Stalin’s social re-engineering…

      The Ottoman Empire? Divided up between France, and Great Britain with, erm, portentous results… A Greco-Turkish war that, together with Wilson’s 14 points laid the basis for ethno-nationalist nation states, with ethnic cleansing thrown in to separate mixed populations, and ever after serving as a model for nationalists world wide…

      The Austro-Hungarian empire: Broken up into several successor nations: Poland, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia (later still, the Czech rep. and Slovak rep), a “Union of Southern Slavs” or Yugoslav kingdom, later Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, a “Srpska republic” Montenegro, Macedonia, and “Kosovo/greater Albania” e.g. the Balkans…

      The German Empire loses colonies in Africa (the first genocide of the 20th century, 1904 the Herero Namaqua Namibia war), revolution, political violence, counter-revolution, the proto-fascist Freikorps… Ultimately leads to KPD vs. NSDAP violence, and the vehemently anti-Communist Nazi party’s consolidation over Germany and ambitions to “restore” the situation prevailing between Brest-Litovsk and the collapse of November 1918. This time round, the methods will be a hyper colonialism and planned mass ethnic cleansing/genocide of slavs: reduced to helots and serfs in Poland, likewise in the Ukraine, and with the Soviet state destroyed and parceled out. WWI re-fought, this time with a german victory, and with the Versailles treaty torn up. The appeal of the various iniquities of the Versailles treaty being consciously used by the fascist leadership to marshal support for their true objectives.

      All of the above areas, to this day flash points of conflict, were the poisonous legacies and offspring of WWI. Insert George Santayana’s oft-quoted “doomed to repetition” here…

      • “Hungary”
        As a aftermath of WW1, borders of Hungary were set by Trianon Treaty to dissatisfaction of Hungary and lead to Hungary politic in inter-war period, which finally lead to Hungary joining Axis.
        In WW2 Hungary was in quite peculiar situation, there is anecdotal history that during WW2, might be not true but good describes situation: ambassador of some South American state meet Hungarian ambassador and they start talking:
        (South American) -How is called your county?
        (Hungarian) -Hungary.
        -Where it is?
        -In Europe.
        -Oh, it is one of Slavic countries?
        -No, we are descendants of Huns
        -It is kingdom or republic?
        -Kingdom
        -Who is head of state: king, prince?
        -Admiral Horhty
        -So you have powerful fleet?
        -No, we have not access to sea
        -Have you any territorial claims?
        -Yes, against Romania
        -Are you or will in war with Romania?
        -No, we fight on same side as Romania in war
        -Against…?
        -Soviet Union
        -So which territorial claims you have against Soviet Union?
        -None
        -Don’t talk more about Hungary, my head is aching…

        • Immediately following WWi, a Soviet was established in Budapest, and Max Weber, the Father of modern Sociology was dispatched to Vienna to negotiate a trade deal.

          Apparently he and Ludwig von Mises, spent several very enjoyable days chatting in the coffee houses, as they waited for the inevitable collapse of the Soviet. both knew that there was no point in talking trade.

          Mises had succeeded in talking Otto Bauer out of establishing a soviet in Vienna. Bauer never forgave Mises. Bauer’s social democrats were better armed than the interwar Austrian Army, and were not shy about taking to the streets in displays of might.

          WWi
          the war that made the world safe for:
          Lenin,Trotsky and Soviet communism and mass murder (6,000,000+ in the winter of 1932/33 in the Ukraine alone)
          Benito Mussolini and Fascism
          Generalissimo Franco
          Adolph Schicklegruber and national socialism
          FDR and ever lasting depression (and proto keynesian idiocy and thuggery)in the united state

      • “Versailles treaty”
        See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqpUoivzvv8
        Title League of Notions is clearly pun-intended against League of Nations, organization supposed to solve any border/territory problems, but in case of breaking agreement has no means of punishment – either military, industrial (import/export blockade) or economical.

        • I know I’ve mentioned John Maynard Keynes too many times already (I hope it’s not like saying Betelgeuse three times – and the bugger appears!)

          Keynes, in a highly unusual display of conscience, resigned his civil service position in disgust after the conclusion of the Versailles conference, and wrote “The economic consequences of the peace”

          It’s actually quite good (considering how narrow and limited Marshallian economics was). Keynes is lucid in his reasoning, and the book is readable

          It’s a far cry from his unreadable and fallacy laden confused shite in “the general theory of…”

          It really says something that even someone as conscience and moral principal free as J M Keynes was disgusted and outraged by the peace of Versailles.

      • It’s such a bloody awful convoluted mess, isn’t it — and mostly driven by vainglorious, unsympathetic, non-empathetic and narrow-minded belief systems subscribed to by those who should know better, but who are also subject to the many foibles of being human. It still amazes me after all this time that the majority of people can still be persuaded to go along with what they want to hear in spite of their better judgement rather than the plain ( and often hard ) truths that they simultaneously acknowledge. This duality and rationalization of the thought process appears to be endemic to the human race, as witness countless examples under an almost endless variety of circumstances in everyday living. For starters, a common everyday circumstance that we can all relate to is that of the commuter who habitually drives far beyond the safe speed limit on the highway and weaves in and out of traffic lanes with precious little room to spare— the intellectual rationalization being “I am an excellent driver, I know what I am doing, I am always alert and will never make a mistake, I am a smart and rational thinking adult and I know what I am doing, I know what to look out for and am always prepared, if there is a problem it’s because the other guy wasn’t paying attention and driving properly, and besides accidents only happen to other idiots and can never happen to me because I’m just too good and special”. Add to this someone who has actually taken a course in racing, and who thinks that he/she now knows it all because of that, and we have an incredibly irresponsible and dangerous combination on our hands. There are few situations in everyday living which as clearly support the old adage that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. This same basic tenet, and variations thereof, can be applied to endless examples of historical human circumstance, existence and endeavour.

  4. I just finished reading Poilu: the World War I notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, barrelmaker, 1914-1918, published in French in 1978 and an English translation in 2014. He spent a lot of time in the trenches under very difficult conditions. I highly recommend the book.

    • It is an excellent book. And the translation is very good. I read it alongside Gabriel Chevallier’s _Fear/Le Peur_ (NYRB, 2008), Jean-Yves Le Naour’s _The Living Unknown Soldier_ (Owl Books, 2002), and Arnold Zweig’s _Outside Verdun/Verziehung vor Verdun_ (Freight Books, 2014).

      • Too many Vs here. Its “Erziehung vor Verdun” (Erziehung = education). “Verziehung” (mis-education) would be slang for pampering.

      • I’m not well read in WW1 literature.

        I have read Remarque’s “all quiet on the western front”

        Apparently it was the first book to be publicly burned by the national socialists

  5. Did any of you read the book “Forgotten Soldier,” by Guy Sajer? Even though it was a fictionalized World War II account with questionable historical accuracy, it was one of those really heart-wrenching personal tragedies likely forgotten by politicians today. To make things confusing for those calling Sajer a fraudster is that he NEVER boasted. In fact, many German veterans empathize with the “Forgotten Soldier” because the narrative mirrors their own wartime lives: no glory, no Iron Crosses, but a struggle to survive in the most inhospitable campaign of a hopeless war.

    Did I mess up?

  6. During my last visit to Austria I noticed, with degree of sense of justice, that their own soldiers who fought and had fallen in WWI are remembered. That was not there some 30 years ago. Memorials I saw were without undue political or religious references, but as a statement of martyrdom.

    As of those of us who live in English speaking countries, we are used to see memorials to Canadian, British and Anzac soldiers and that is something to be expected. But, rightly so, there was the other side as well and that deserves respect of their own people. Misery is universal. It’s fair to be fair.

  7. This photograph makes me very sad. The German soldiers were all someone’s beloved son, husband, father or friend. I am equally sad for the French trooper, too, for it is likely he ended up just like them, and if he were so fortunate as to survive that terrible war, God alone knows what sort of thoughts haunted his remaining days and nights. It reminds me of Erich Maria Remarque’s vivid description of Paul Baumer ( obviously his third-person alter ego ) having spent one terrible night alone in a shell crater in No-Man’s Land with a dying French soldier whom he has stabbed, alone with his conscience and with the humanity of his erstwhile “enemy”.

    • In “All Quiet On The Western Front”, based closely on Remarque’s personal experiences as a front-line soldier in World War One that forever changed his outlook.

      • To read about some real “prize bastards” check out Emilio Lussu’s _A Soldier on the Southern Front_ translated from the Italian by Conti (Rizzoli ex Libris, 2014) and if you can find it, read it alongside the film _Uomini Contro_/”Many Wars Ago” although be advised that Lussu got to see this Italian anti-war film late in his life, and he disagreed with some of the tone of the film…

  8. Well said, Keith. And that includes the stupid bastards on both sides. It has been said that hell is the death of reason, and it seems to be so apt nowadays.

  9. Here’s one more personal memoir by a rare survivor of some of the worst campaigns of World War One, Passchendaele included — “Some Desperate Glory” by Edwin Campion Vaughan ( 1897-1931 ), originally published by Holt,ISBN 0671-67904-X Pbk. 1988, and later by Touchstone Books / Simon $ Schuster 1989. A war diary definitely worth absorbing, and although written from the standpoint of a British junior officer, it empathizes with ordinary infantrymen on both sides with little, if any, bias.

  10. Real reason for wars,

    according to foremost libertarian thinker and journalist Randolph Bourne (1886-1918)is “health of state”. That is of course from libertarian point of view which opposes “a state” (any state) as being a source of oppression of its citizens. This view may not be shared by all, yet remains to be remarkably courageous and effectively unchallenged.

    http://www.bigeye.com/warstate.htm

    To his memory is dedicated excellent daily update webpage https://www.antiwar.com/

    • Thank you very, very much Denny.

      With the shock of war, however, the State comes into its own again. The Government, with no mandate from the people, without consultation of the people, conducts all the negotiations, the backing and filling, the menaces and explanations, which slowly bring it into collision with some other Government, and gently and irresistibly slides the country into war.
      For the benefit of the proud and haughty citizens, it is fortified with a list of the intolerable insults which have been hurled toward us by the other nations; for the benefit of the liberal and beneficent, it has a convincing set of moral purposes which our going to war will achieve; for the ambitious and aggressive classes, it can gently whisper of a bigger role in the destiny of the world
      –Randolph Bourne (1886-1918) “War is the Health of the State”

      Randolph Bourne was born in 1886, brought into the world after a difficult delivery in which doctors used forceps that crushed his tiny skull and left him permanently disfigured. At age four he contracted spinal tuberculosis, which stunted his growth and left him hunchbacked. He worked very hard to put himself through school, and attracted the notice of his professors through his intellectual sagacity. A student of the progressive pragmatist John Dewey at Columbia University, he broke with his mentor over the issue of whether the United States’ declared war aims in WWI of “making the world safe for democracy” as Wilson and his supporters argued, were legitimate. He was fired from his academic job for his denunciation of war—deemed unpatriotic at the time. His dismissal in turn, incensed one of his pro-war colleagues, eminent U.S.-historian Charles Beard, and led him to resign from Columbia. Bourne wrote “War is the Health of the State” but died at age 32 of the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic that swept from the front lines to civilians suffering wartime privation, and from there to the rest of the globe, killing about 30 million people worldwide.

      • Glad I could be of help Dave.
        I was also intrigued by destiny of Mr. Bourne and amazed by the fact that while he suffered this crippling condition, it was not obstacle to his inner convictions and natural talent.

        On general note I appreciate we can take some respite from technical discussions and get involved in exchange on history, politics and ideologies. This said, the most precious ability in my mind is to remain objective and neutral as much as possible – which quite frankly we all seem to manage rather well.

        As a result I am pleased with what we do to common benefit of all.

  11. John Dos Passos

    Excerpt from “1919” by John Dos Passos, written in 1932 as part of the trilogy, USA.

    “In a tarpaper morgue at Châlons-sur-Marne in the reek of chloride of lime and the dead, they picked out the pine box that held all that was left of
    enie menie minie moe plenty other pine boxes stacked up there containing what they’d scraped up of Richard Roe
    and other persons unknown. Only one can go. How did they pick John Doe [the unknown soldier]?
    make sure he aint a dinge [black], boys,
    make sure he aint a guinea [Italian] or a kike [Jew],
    how can you tell a guy’s a hundredpercent when all you’ve got’s a gunnysack full of bones, bronze buttons stamped with the screaming eagle and a pair of roll puttees?
    …and the gagging chloride and the puky dirtstench of the yearold dead…

    […] –busboy harveststiff hogcaller boyscout champeen cornshucker of Western Kansas bellhop at the United States Hotel at Saratoga Springs office boy callboy fruiter telephone lineman longshoreman lumberjack plumber’s helper,
    worked for an exterminating company in Union City, filled pipes in an opium joint in Trenton, N.J.
    Y.M.C.A. secretary, express agent, truckdriver, fordmechanic, sold books in Denver Colorado: Madam would you be willing to help a young man work his way through college?

    […] they … took it home to God’s Country on a battleship
    and buried it in a sarcophagus in the Memorial Amphitheater in the Arlington National Cemetery
    and draped the Old Glory over it
    and the bugler played taps
    and Mr. Harding prayed to God and the diplomats and the generals and the admirals and the brasshats and the politicians and the handsomely dressed ladies out of the society column of the Washington Post stood up solemn
    and thought how beautiful sad Old Glory God’s Country it was to have the bugler play taps and the three volleys made their ears ring.

    Where his chest ought to have been they pinned
    The Congressional Medal, the D.S.C., the Medaille Militaire, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, the Italian gold medal, the Vitutea Militara sent by Queen Marie of Rumania, the Czechoslovak war cross, the Virtuti Militari of the Poles, a wreath sent by Hamilton Fish Jr., of New York, and a little wampum presented by a deputation of Arizona redskins in warpaint and feathers. All the Washingtonians brought flowers.

    Woodrow Wilson brought a bouquet of poppies.”

  12. @ Denny & Dave Carlson :

    I have been following your exchange of ideas with great interest. You have both brought up such relevant points about the real state of affairs we currently live in, and which humanity has perhaps nearly always lived in unawares.

    The history and determined moral courage of Randolph Bourne in the face of the greatest odds brings to mind a few specific things, namely :

    1. “A prophet is without honor in his own country” — The far-reaching implications of this one with regard to Randolph Bourne and the burden he had to bear by speaking the hard, painful truth in the face of overwhelming self-serving and ignorant opposition are self-explanatory. That he has been ( perhaps deliberately, and all too conveniently ) largely forgotten by scholars would seem to bring to mind the old adage that it is the victors who get to write the history.

    2. “The evil that men do lives long after them, while the good is often interred with their bones” — Far more than the obvious interpretation that everyone seems to accept nowadays, I do think that William Shakespeare, that past master of understanding the foibles of human nature and humanity, was trying to incorporate a warning in his theatrical plays about what it is that really drives a lot of human motivation, and the long-reaching effects thereof, at every level of society. Just look at the wonderful multitude of “heroes” and “examples to be followed ” that we have been led to believe in for generations, who more often than not turn out to be superficial and shabby examples of humanity, while the truly courageous and quiet ones are conveniently overlooked and buried in the sands of time. To be fair, some of the highly-publicized are actual representative of the highest standards of courage and humanity possible, but for every one of these, multiple others who fail the basic tests of decency are elevated to a level that they neither deserve nor — ironically — sometimes want. Such is the reach of political and socio-economic expediency in presenting figureheads for convenient public consumption in the course of manipulating public opinion and support.

    3. Those who have read Robert Lindsey’s “The Falcon And The Snowman” and watched John Schlesinger’s and Gabriel Katzka’s compelling cinematic version of the same real-life story of espionage and agonizing disillusionment with a once-cherished belief system in an era of immediate post-Vietnam War turmoil will understand the famous line about “The extent of the lie, the level of deception” that still holds true today.

    Doubtless there are many other such examples that ring true and which can be further discussed at length in the light of historical fact.

  13. WW1 MARK IS THE START OF NEW TYPE OF WEAPONS AND TACTICS. THE MACHINE-GUN,POISON GAS,THE SUBMARINE,THE MILITARY AVIATION AS TOOL OF WAR.THE SUB-MACHINE-GUN,AND OTHER TYPE OF EQUIPMENT.

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