Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Veteran's Day

    Veteran's Day.  The day that we use to celebrate and remember the sacrifices of our soldiers of World War I.  Hm.  Schools are open, traffic is still heavy, and I'm at work. 
    Yeah, we're remembering.  Let me refresh some memories here.

    Austria–Hungary was created in the "Ausgleich of 1867" after Austria was defeated by Prussia. As agreed in 1867, the Habsburgs would be Emperors of Austria Empire. With the formation of the Dual Monarchy, Franz Josef became leader of a nation with sixteen ethnic groups and five major religions speaking no fewer than nine languages.

    In large measure because of the vast disparities that existed within the Empire, Austrians and Hungarians always viewed growing Slavic nationalism with deep suspicion and concern. Thus the Austro-Hungarian government grew worried with the near-doubling in size of neighbouring Serbia's territory as a result of the Balkan Wars of 19121913. Serbia, for its part, made no qualms about the fact that it viewed all of Southern Austria–Hungary as part of a future Great South Slavic Union. This view had also garnered considerable support in Russia. Many in the Austrian leadership, not least Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph, and Conrad von Hötzendorf, worried that Serbian nationalist agitation in the southern provinces of the Empire would lead to further unrest among the Austro-Hungarian Empire's other disparate ethnic groups. The Austro-Hungarian government worried that a nationalist Russia would back Serbia to annex Slavic areas of Austria–Hungary. The feeling was that it was better to destroy Serbia before they were given the opportunity to launch a campaign.

    After the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, and nearly a month of debate, the government of Austria–Hungary sent a 10-point ultimatum to Serbia (July 23, 1914) — the so called July Ultimatum — to be unconditionally accepted within 48 hours. The ultimatum was the first of a series of diplomatic events known as the July Crisis which set off a chain reaction and a general war in Europe.

    From Wikipedia, so use the appropriate caution.  I think this is generally correct, however.
    I hate World War I.  It didn't solve any real problems, and was the impetus for the rise of fascism in Europe which led to some of the greatest atrocities seen in modern history before and during the second World War.  One might rationally argue that World War I was the most important event of the last two hundred years.  Tanks, trench warfare, mustard gas... yikes.  You want to know why terrorism now is all the rage?  In the 20th century, this is where it all began.  In spades.
    And then there is this crap.  The freakin' Battle of the Somme.
    The Battle of the Somme was planned as a joint French and British operation. The idea originally came from the French Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Joffre and was accepted by General Sir Douglas Haig, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) commander, despite his preference for a large attack in Flanders. Although Joffre was concerned with territorial gain, it was also an attempt to destroy German manpower.

    At first Joffre intended for to use mainly French soldiers but the German attack on Verdun in February 1916 turned the Somme offensive into a large-scale British diversionary attack. General Sir Douglas Haig now took over responsibility for the operation and with the help of General Sir Henry Rawlinson, came up with his own plan of attack. Haig's strategy was for a eight-day preliminary bombardment that he believed would completely destroy the German forward defences.
    From Spartacus.
    Let me tell you something.  In the first DAY of the Battle of the Somme, the British suffered 57,470 casualties.  That is not a joke or a misprint.
    According to the British official history of the battle, total Allied casualties amounted to almost 630,000 and German around 660,000. British casualties reported by the Adjutant General were 419,654, of whom some 5% were missing at roll call but may have subsequently reported. Staggering figures, especially when taken alongside those at Verdun where fighting between French and German continued throughout 1916.
    The German Army never recovered from their staggering losses; nearly all of their best talent, meaning officers and highly trained solders, died there.
    They say that the ground at the Somme bled for some time after both sides finally left the battlefield. 
    This was for an advance of 12km.
    Do not forget what people did for you. 
    Do not let your children forget.
    Thank you, Grandpa.


    ringloss said...

    Mmm, ethnic nationalism.

    Clark said...

    Ethnic nationalism tasty. Especially with mustard.

    Template Designed by Douglas Bowman - Updated to Beta by: Blogger Team
    Modified for 3-Column Layout by Hoctro
    Modified Layout with buttons by Clark
    Computers Blogs - Blog Top Sites