Sunday, November 09, 2014

Remembrance Sunday, 2014 -- 1914 + 100 years . . .

  . . . is this about lions led to the slaughter by donkeys, for no good reason?

A few days back, I had reason to reflect on how the lessons of the past were often paid for in blood and tears. So, that, if we refuse to learn them soundly and heed them well, we are doomed to pay for them over and over again, at the same price.

I will not hide, that the state of our civilisation c. 2014 deeply troubles me.

But, what were the true lessons of 1914 - 18?

It does seem to me that the world had then been playing with fire for years, and the bomb went off in July and August. Whereupon, the British found that the ruthless German armies brushed aside Belgium's neutrality to outflank the French defenses on their mutual frontier. (As they would again do in 1940.)

That meant that Britain would confront its main naval rival across the narrow English channel. 

So, Britain had but little choice but to stand with Belgium and France.

Where, as the Russo-Japanese War of a decade earlier and even the US Civil War and Crimean War warned, the advances in firepower meant war was now much more devastating and deadly. Railroads, Machine guns and rapid fire artillery meant, only siege tactics could work, and without the breakthrough engines of effective tank units with high mobility and attack aircraft of adequate power, it was going to be a long, hard, blood-soaked war of attrition to break Germany's back.

And indeed the Russians would argue that in the 1940's they bled and caused Germany to bleed at fully comparable levels. 

Of course the consequence was, collapse of Germany, Austria and the Ottomans, as well as of Russia, leading to the bloodiest century in human history.


However, let us take some time to come to a fresher appreciation of General Haig, principal leader of the British Army:

Let us learn, let us weep, let us understand that sometimes we can only postpone the day of reckoning in the face of determined aggressors (as happened with Hitler who exploited post WW I war-weariness), let us try to re-balance the world towards sanity. END