29 1 min 9 yrs

July 1st.



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29 thoughts on “WAR – WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

  1. What a tragic waste of life.

    Very moving to watch these heroic men, serving King and country with courage, honour and pride.

    They must be turning in their graves at the current status quo in the eu.

  2. An obscene waste of young life that so many millions of brave, gullible young men should lose their lives as the result of an inter – family land grab.

  3. Paul,

    an ‘inter family land grab’ is a rather poor description of the underlying reasons behind the great war.

    I do agree however with you, it was obscene and a terrible waste of so many young men.

  4. I don’t know LU. I have often thought of WWI as the bickering between relatives over a dead relatives estate.

    What’s your take on the reasons?

  5. Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme.
    I think the men in the still picture are from the famous 36th (Ulster) Regiment, some sections of which were wiped out on the first day of the battle.

    The reasons why they, and the millions of others, went to fight and die are various, and nobody should descecrate their memory by attaching any political point to their deaths. Like all the men who died on all sides in that terrible war, they had mothers and often wives and children and were united in the tragedy of their loss.

    Courage was mine, and I had mystery,
    Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery:
    To miss the march of this retreating world
    Into vain citadels that are not walled.
    Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels,
    I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
    Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
    I would have poured my spirit without stint
    But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
    Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.

    I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
    I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
    Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
    I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
    Let us sleep now…’

  6. Considering the origins of the assassination of Ferdinand came from Serbia, a melting pot of intense internal strife, it is interesting to note that Russia backed them, much to the consternation of Austria/Hungary, and then Britain had a moral obligation to defend France…

    How time changes attitudes…eh?

    (btw, the USA stayed neutral until 1917 when the shipping routes were affected, and then they entered the fray.)

  7. I don’t want to desecrate the memory of anyone Noel. I try to follow the old adage of not speaking ill of the dead and I hope critiquing and debating the policies which led to millions of young men losing their lives won’t do that.

    Franz Ferdinand was assasinated by a Serbian nationalist which was the catalyst for collapse of the Empire. I don’t think that it was any great surprise that Russia would back their co – religionists in Serbia, (we saw Russia & Greece do the same in the 90’s Balkans war)

    don’t understand why Britain had a moral obligation to defend France?

  8. Paul, it was more to do with Belgium.

    Britain, allied to France by a more loosely worded treaty which placed a “moral obligation” upon her to defend France, declared war against Germany on 4 August. Her reason for entering the conflict lay in another direction: she was obligated to defend neutral Belgium by the terms of a 75-year old treaty. With Germany’s invasion of Belgium on 4 August, and the Belgian King’s appeal to Britain for assistance, Britain committed herself to Belgium’s defence later that day. Like France, she was by extension also at war with Austria-Hungary.

  9. Noel,
    One of the two things I appreciate about you is your love of literature and poetry.
    The wife and I visited the Caberet Rouge memorial on our way home from Sarlat.

    We have visited many of these graveyards over the years we have holidayed in France, to pay our respects to the dead. We have also been to a few French and German cemeteries.
    The Germans too deserve respect. They also did what their political leaders told them to..
    The Cabaret Rouge site brought tears to my eyes. Seven thousand plus gravestones. All those young mens’ lives snuffed out for what? Men who had as much right to enjoy the journey of life as I do. Horrific.
    Incidentally, my favourite WW1 poet is G A Studdert Kennedy, also known as Woodbine Willie.

  10. She was obligated to defend neutral Belgium by the terms of a 75-year old treaty.

    Yes, I find the fact that so many millions lost their young lives because of the Treaty of London, a document signed in the previous century by people no longer alive, particularly sad.

    The Germans too deserve respect. They also did what their political leaders told them to

    Agreed on both points.

    Seven thousand plus gravestones. All those young mensโ€™ lives snuffed out for what? Men who had as much right to enjoy the journey of life as I do. Horrific.

    Beautifully expressed Agi

  11. War – it’s a very big earner for the bankers and WW1 was the first time they had exercised the ability to create war on a near-global scale:


    – Woodrow Wilson himself did not believe in his crusade to ‘save the world for democracy’. He later wrote that “The World War was a matter of economic rivalry.”

    On being questioned by Senator McCumber about the circumstances of our entry into the war, Wilson was asked,

    “Do you think if Germany had committed no act of war or no act of injustice against our citizens that we would have gotten into this war?”

    “I do think so,” Wilson replied.

    “You think we would have gotten in anyway?” pursued McCumber.

    “I do,” said Wilson. –

    Woodrow Wilson was owned by banks to do their bidding, and getting the US into a banker-led war was one of the key aims.

  12. Money, or Religion are always at the root of every war. Nice piece Noel.

    What I saw in this video besides brave men was justification for Americas Toys.

    Why send 20,000 men to their deaths when 1000 drones could achieve victory without the cost of our soldiers lives?

    Britain is about to reduce her military to a total of 80,000 men. 20,000 were Killed at Somme let that sink in.

    Is the world really any different than it was 100 years ago? Are the people that lead us any more moral? Have nations stopped coveting what other nations have?

    Man is a violent species that kills for the most miner of reasons. Who was right and who was wrong rarely plays into it after the shooting starts. Do you really think there will be no more shooting?

  13. “Why send 20,000 men to their deaths when 1000 drones could achieve victory without the cost of our soldiers lives?”

    That’s not the point. It’s better to avoid wars in the first place.

    “Is the world really any different than it was 100 years ago?”

    There’s nothing new under the sun, as you and I were discussing a few weeks ago. I think we agreed that WW2 was not a world away but just a moment ago.

    A century ago there was a Power Elite, special interests and politics in many countries polluted everything then too.

  14. hasn’t changed, and war is mans natural state. It’s sad, but true.

    There has never been a period in all of history where a war wasn’t taking place on this planet.

  15. Of course there has never been a period in all of history where rape, murder and theft haven’t taken place on this planet but I wouldn’t call it the natural state of man.

  16. and you would be wrong Seamus,

    It is not the everyday behavior of every man, but it is the nature of man. That’s why we have police. Because there are always lunatics amongst us that think they are just and might plant a bomb in a pub or a schoolyard.

  17. But surely the actions of a lunatic aren’t the natural actions of human beings.

  18. Look at history Seamus, I can’t find a time when one group wasn’t butchering another.

    If it happens constantly isn’t it the natural state or at least tendency?

    You tell me, do you believe mankind is a peaceful creature?

  19. I’m not saying it’s the way it is and hey lets just accept it. I’m saying it’s the way it is so lets be prepaired to stop it.

    We try to get better, we make laws, we create morality, we try to not allow that which is all to frequent of a behavior in us to rule us.

    But we must acknowledge it is the flaw in human nature.

  20. About two weeks before his assassination, Franz Ferdinand met the Kaiser in Bohemia and they discussed how to prevent the militarists in Vienna and Berlin starting a European war. Both men were in the peace parties in their countries – FF because he rightly anticipated that a war would be lost and be the end of the Habsburg dynasty and the Kaiser had similar fears.

    But the German high command was terrified of Tsarist Russia’s growing military strength and convinced that by 1920 or so, Germany would be cowed into second-rate status if it did not decisively defeat Russia for a generation. Meanwhile in Vienna, the Austrian high command had been lusting for an excuse to attack Serbia for at least a decade and the assassination give them that excuse. But they could not attack without German backing against a possible attack from Russia. So the Germans agreed to support them, but only on condition that Austria-Hungary would support them when they attacked Russia.

    This is explored in Europe’s Last Summer: Why the World Went to War in 1914, well worth reading by anyone interested.

  21. Good stuff, Peter. However, you let Russia off a bit lightly. IMO it was, besides Austria, the country chiefly responsible for the start of the Great War. When the crisis came to boil, the Czar rejected the Kaiser’s offer of peace talks and ordered mobilisation against Germany. Germany had no choice but to mobilise against Russia in turn, and then war was inevitable.

    BTW, Britain didn’t only go to war to defend Belgium because of the London Treaty. Protecting the Low Countries and maintaining the balance of power in Europe had been England’s policy since the time of Elizabeth I. It could not see Germany dominate the continent and its only choice was to use this opportunity to join with France before it was conquered.

  22. I agree excellent perspective Peter,

    Hey Peter ever do any reading on “Sidney Riley”?

  23. Noel

    Austria-Hungary did not want a general European war in 1914. It wanted to destroy Serbia militarily, and that was all. Germany and Russia saw each other as mortal enemies and it is likely that a war would have started between them even if the Archduke had survived in 1914, and despite the Kaiser’s efforts to keep the peace.


    No, but there was a tv series here about 20 years ago “Reilly, Ace of Spies” and I watched it with interest. I know that he was shot by the Bolsheviks.

  24. ‘ I know that he was shot by the Bolsheviks.’

    Better than being shot in the Bolsheviks…

  25. Yeah the series is what got me interested in him, historically he was a key behind the scenes player in that time period if he hadn’t got screwed by the brits there was good chance he could have wound up running Russia.

    The series was good based on a lot of the record, I’ve read several different books on the man, the only thing they all seemed to agree on was he Brilliant and dangerous.

  26. Seimi

    A famous cartoon shows two Scotsmen in kilts standing under the antlers of a deer mounted on a wall in a castle:

    “Did you get him in the Trossachs?”

    “No, right between the eyes.”

  27. He he ๐Ÿ™‚

    like the policeman in Glasgow who had captured a criminal, when asked, ‘Did you grab him by the Gorbals?’

    ‘No, by the collar.’ ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Just watched Paths of Glory, Kubrick’s maginficant WWI film (that looks like a documentary) once again. I highly recommend it. Final scene is one of the best in film history.

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