{The red poppy became the symbol of WW1 after the armistice}

Want to discuss this? Leave a comment and come on back later.

Some references: Indie Neidel on You Tube, The Great War; All Quiet on the Western Front (novel); Poilu (autobiography and documentary of a French soldier’s four years at the front); Paris 1919 (the Verailles Treaty and afterwards); The Great War (coffee table photographer’s documentary, mostly British and some American pix and hx.)

The Battle(s) of the Somme: July 1-Nov 13, 1916. British and German armies each experienced ~400,000+ casualties during the course of the battle. The French had ~200,00 casualties. The British experienced 57,000 casualties of which 19,000 were dead right there on the first day of the actual battle.

**Cryptic explanation for first day British losses: A week long artillery barrage preceded the attack. This proved unsuccessful due to many shells being duds, use of antipersonnel shells predominantly which did not damage barbed wire, and the excellent German fortifications. The British troops were mistakenly advised it would be an easy assault…

Rapid troop movement on the field was not possible in those days. The British high command still believed the infantry frontal assault was effective. The highly organized assault (since there was no radio communication for on site changes in plans everything had to be planned out in detail before the assault) started at 0730 local time and the infantry advanced at a walking pace heavily encumbered with gear. (They were to start running when near the enemy line). Modern artillery and machine guns decimated them and when they arrived at the barbed wire it was  intact and they could not move.

A report of the disaster reached high command at 1400 local time.**

The British and French won the engagement in the end.

UPDATE: How does an event like WW1 occur? In the upper echelons of civilization there are relationships and alliances between countries held onto by “honor and law.” Greed and lust for power are amplified emotions at this high level of kings, dictators, and presidents where much power already abides.

I think humans are herd animals usually looking for a leader to guide them and tell them what to do. They need a servant-leader, but that sort is uncommon. Nationalism has a dark side : the enemy; kill him. The mass of humans have no contact with the great leaders and cannot influence their opinions and decisions. And the great leaders sometimes view the people as an abstraction. Memory of the suffering fades and resistance is often futile in rigid cultures. Once deep into war there is little a soldier can do to stop it except, perhaps, on the small unit level. So we have war over and over.

These are memorial pix from a tour of sites in France by a member of

These following photos are 100 years later by Photographer Mike Sheil:



84 thoughts on “WORLD WAR 1: THE WAR TO END ALL WARS”

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    1. Re WW1? After the Somme is over in November I will probably write some more about the war. For detail see “The Great War” on You Tube.

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