Friday, November 21, 2008

THE WAR TO END ALL WARS



WWI or World War I (also known as the First World War , the Great War, and the "War to End All Wars") was a conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918.


An Australian Observation Post
Fleurbaix
Painting by William Barnes Wollen
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


The Battle of Zonnebeke, Flanders
Summer of 1917
Picture made by Frank Hurley
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


A Trainload of Soldiers
Photograph problably made in Flanders
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


Outlook
Looking out from the entrance of a captured Pill-Box
Photographer Frank Hurley
Picture made in 1917/1918
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


Fragile Air Force
French bi-plane
The pilot: Georges Mailfert
Companion: Sergeant Gabriel Darbost
Photographed before June 1914
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


Chemical weapons, like poison gas were used for the first time, the first mass bombardment of civilians from the sky was executed, and some of the century's first genocides took place during the war. No previous conflict had mobilized so many soldiers, or involved so many in the field of battle. Never before had casualties been so high. WWI was also a war of change, a last blow to the old order in Europe to pave way for the new. Dynasties such as the Habsburgs, Romanovs, and Hohenzollerns, who had dominated the European political landscape and had roots of power back to the days of the Crusades, all fell after the four-year war. Many of the events and phenomena that would dominate the world of the twentieth century can trace their origins to WWI — including Communism, World WarII and even the Cold War.
(Source: www.worldwar1-history.com)
The build up to WWI is a period of time known to historians as the "long fuse", a period of approximately 85 years beginning in the mid 19 century. Europe at the time was a very different place to what it is today, not just politically but geographically also. Countries that existed then no longer exist today and countries that exist today didn't exist then. Few countries had the same borders then as they do today. The dominant forces in Europe were Germany, France and the British, Russian, Austro-Hungarian (Habsburg) and Ottoman Empires. WWI was very much a clash of these empires and soon after the WWI, three of these empires would cease to exist. It was realised that it would only take one country to be attacked for the series of alliances to be called on, one by one and like dominoes they would all be involved.
(The Prelude to WW1 by Dean Hunter)
Alliances:
1879 The Dual Alliance. Germany and Austria-Hungary made an alliance to protect themselves from Russia
1881 Austro-Serbian Alliance. Austria-Hungary made an alliance with Serbia to stop Russia gaining control of Serbia
1882 The Triple Alliance. Germany and Austria- Hungary made an alliance with Italy to stop Italy from taking sides with Russia
1894 Franco-Russian Alliance. Russia formed an alliance with France to protect herself against Germany and Austria-Hungary
1904 Entente Cordiale. This was an agreement, but not a formal alliance, between France and Britain.
1907 Anglo-Russian Entente. This was an agreement between Britain and Russia
1907 Triple Entente. This was made between Russia, France and Britain to counter the increasing threat from Germany
1914 Triple Entente (no separate peace). Britain, Russia and France agreed not to sign for peace separately.
(Source: Copyright © Historyonthenet 2000-2008 All rights reserved
Site created November 2000
Updated 10/03/2007)
Amongst the people across the world who greeted the declaration of War in 1914 with enthusiasm were many underage boys, some as young as 12 years old from just about all the allied countries involved. Everyone knew that the 'War would be over soon" and here was an opportunity for great adventure.


Ambulance
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


Soldier's Lunch
A French soldier at the Place Royal in the city of Reims, France
Picture made in spring 1917.
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


The trenches of J.R.R. Tolkien(A Batallion Signaling Officer)
The colored postcard
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


Daughters of Flanders' Slain
Orphanage in Northern France
Image by unknown American photographer, 1917
published in the National Geographic
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


Blinded Gas casualties
British 55th (West Lancashire) Division
Advanced Dressing Station near Bethune
France.
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


British Highlanders with a bagpipe player
Picture made in 1916
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


...in a bucket, dear Heinrich, in a bucket
German soldier in a waterfilled trench
Vicinity of Ypres, Flanders (Belgium)
picture made in November 1915
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


Windy outpost
Westhoek Ridge (Flanders, Belgium)
Ist day of the Third Battle of Ypres
On July 31, 1917
Image by Frank Hurley
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


Victor Silvester wrote about his experiences in the First World War in his autobiography 'Dancing Is My Life':
'I soon discovered that the war was very different to what I expected. We went up into the front-line near Arras, through sodden and devastated countryside. As we were moving up to our sector along the communication trenches, a shell burst ahead of me and one of my platoon dropped. He was the first man I ever saw killed. Both his legs were blown off and the whole of his face and body was peppered with shrapnel. The sight turned my stomach. I was sick and terrified, but even more frightened of showing it.
The mood of the country was one of almost hysterical patriotism, and no excuses were accepted for any man of military age who was not in uniform. Rude remarks were made about them in the streets. Sometimes they were given white feathers.
WWI saw the manifestation of an illness never before experienced - - - Shell-shock. The army did not recognize it for some time. Even then, some senior officers took the view that claims of shell-shock were simply cowardice. There were differing views on its cause and it was suggested that the only cure was a complete rest away from the fighting. A much larger number of soldiers with these symptoms were classified as 'malingerers' and sent back to the front-line. In some cases men committed suicide. Others broke down under the pressure and refused to obey the orders of their officers. Some responded to the pressures of shell-shock by deserting. Sometimes soldiers who disobeyed orders got shot on the spot. In some cases, soldiers were court-martialled and shot.





A common punishment for disobeying orders was 'Field Punishment Number One'. This involved the offender being attached to a fixed object for up to two hours a day and for a period up to three months. These men were often put in a place within range of enemy shell-fire.'
(Source: anzacs.net)


German Dreadnought battleship SMS Westfalen
Image from 1998-2006 worldwar1.co.uk


'Because the Great War was a mad, brutal, awful struggle, distinguished more often than not by military and political incompetence: because the waste of human life was so terrible that some said victory was scarcely discernible from defeat; and because the war which was supposed to end all wars in fact sowed the seeds of a second, even more terrible, war.'
(Part of a speech by the then Prime Minister of Australia
Mr. P.J. Keating on 11th November 1993
Speechwriter: Don Watson)

May 7, 1917, just an ordinary day
Image by a French army photographer
May 7, 1917
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR

The famous French painter Jean Despujols, who as a soldier happened to be there, made a sketch of the same situation.

'As will the expressions of monumental sadness from all old soldiers who have first hand experience of battle and the oppressive futility of war. It is said that those who do not learn from their mistakes are condemned to repeat them' - John Woods, Editor.


The Shell-Shattered Area of Chateau Wood, Flanders
Picture by Frank Hurley, 1917
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR



Unseen WWI pictures released:
Photographs taken by Kapitän zur See Karl Boy-Ed, 1913
Some Great War photos taken by James Robert Halliday, RN
Photos by John Prouse
Photos by John H. Rogers
Photographs of the US Navy's 14" Railway Guns on the Western Front


"If music be the food of love… play on"
British band and guard of honour,
August 1918
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR


Always someone's father
Always someone's son
German War Cemetery
Village of Saint Laurent-Blangy
North-East of the City of Arras
From THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR

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