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(1914-1918) WWI
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899
Reflections on the Great War
Posted on: 2/12/2019 5:17:45 AM

I look forward to seeing what you have to say Phil.

Regards
Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper
Phil andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Reflections on the Great War
Posted on: 2/13/2019 2:12:27 AM

Jim,

A brief impression has been posted by me on the thread that John Hayward opened “ At any time...”.

I want to do justice to it by posting a more complete rendition here.

This will be done later on today.

A lot to think about here.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Reflections on the Great War
Posted on: 2/13/2019 8:10:49 AM

The lecture was delivered at RUSI in Whitehall.

The Serbian Ambassador to London, an elegant lady, addressed us and emphasised the importance of continuing good relations between her country and the UK.

The Serbian Colonel then addressed us and spoke for more than one hour. His English was broken and delivery was awkward , but he gave a good account of himself and described the big picture of the war in the Balkans before going into the detail about the final battles on the Macedonian Front in September 1918.

He made a startling declaration at the start, stating that there are 1,248, 136 reasons for studying this campaign. The number is the supposed death toll suffered by Serbia in the Great War : a fantastic figure, concocted by including all military and civilian deaths from all causes, and allowing for population deficiency assessed on the basis of excess deaths over birth rate, and subsequent births not occurring . This figure equates to 28% of Serbia’s 1914 population, a rate comparable with that suffered by Poland in WW2. One and a quarter million from a population of about four and a half million ? To my mind, this entails some serious spin.

There is, I think, diplomatic currency in the way these figures are bandied about. The Serbs are anxious to counter the negative image projected by the news coverage of the recent warfare in Kosovo : above all, that of the genocidal onslaught on Moslem males at Sebrenica and the ethnic cleansing that attended it. There is also resentment and dismay at the charge that Serbian aggression and terrorism were culpable for the outbreak of the Great War itself.

It’s an awful thing to suggest, but I’ve noticed Polish statesmen arguing from the same premise about the debt the EU owes on account of the extreme suffering endured by the Polish people 1939-45.

My circumspection about the claims for Serbia’s death rate in the Great War, and the corollary of victimhood, must not obscure the reality, which was truly dreadful.

Suffice it to say that Serbian military deaths in combat were, in proportional terms, comparable with those suffered by the French ; worse still, there was a typhus epidemic that decimated the population ; and, to make the cup run over, the catastrophic retreat through the mountains to the sea entailed hardship and mortality on an epic scale. There were atrocities committed in the tradition of Balkan rivalries and blood feuds : it was just about as bad as it could get.

No other nation has been more exposed to a concerted, bullying onslaught from several powers at once : Germany, Austro Hungary and Bulgaria ganged up on her and did their worst.

The initial campaign in 1914 cost Serbia 170,000 casualties : but the attacking Austrians suffered 227,000 and were humiliated in defeat.

The subsequent onslaught in later 1915 was the ordeal that staggers the imagination. A Serbian army of 246,500 was deployed against the invaders, and had to conduct a nightmarish retreat through the mountains to reach the sea and seek evacuation to Corfu. It speaks volumes that, while 186,000 of them survived to reach the coast , their condition was so desperate that 36,000 of them died from exhaustion, wounds and illness in the ensuing days and weeks. Mass sea burials took place off the Island of Corfu.

The army recuperated and was re-equipped with Anglo French help, and redeployed in Salonika to be the spearhead of the triumphant offensive that broke Bulgaria and liberated the Serbian homeland .

It does make an inspiring and dramatic story, but I could not escape the sense of a propagandist narrative : to reiterate what I’ve written on another thread, the mood of the present defines the depiction of the past.

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899
Reflections on the Great War
Posted on: 2/13/2019 9:15:12 AM


Quote:
It does make an inspiring and dramatic story, but I could not escape the sense of a propagandist narrative : to reiterate what I’ve written on another thread, the mood of the present defines the depiction of the past.


Phil--that you have managed to to give us a resume of the lecture which I consider remarkable in itself.Your command of our language is impeccable and you write with genuine feeling- Bravo Phil.!!!

What to make of what you have imparted to us does require a lot of consideration given the element of doubt that I rightly or wrongly detect.


Serbia would appear to have suffered a holocaust in the Great War but it's subsequent history still leaves a nasty taste..WaS THIS LECTURE A PLEA FOR FORGIVENESS???

Regards

Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper
Phil andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Reflections on the Great War
Posted on: 2/13/2019 10:05:20 AM

Jim,

Far from being a plea for forgiveness , it was pitched as a case of being more sinned against than sinner.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899
Reflections on the Great War
Posted on: 2/13/2019 11:50:27 AM

Considering the attitude of "sinned against"


Quote:
Chasing after European Union membership, the Serbian government finds itself under paternalistic inspection from Brussels, urged to liberalize its economy, reduce corruption, combat organized crime, and restore property to the Orthodox Church and other organizations suppressed under Communism; all while enforcing the rights of workers and minorities, reducing carbon emissions, and supporting E.U. sanctions against Russia.

Balancing these demands would be a daunting task for any country, but especially for Serbia, where the economy is still in recession, per capita annual income is less than 6,000 dollars, school participation is declining, and unemployment tops 20 percent.

The emigration of young professionals makes things worse. For the first time since the 18th century (when many Serbs left their Ottoman-occupied homelands for military careers and land grants in Hapsburg territory), the Serbian diaspora accounts for almost half of the total population of Serbs.
Serbia Today.

Regards

Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper
Phil andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Reflections on the Great War
Posted on: 2/13/2019 5:38:34 PM

That conflict in the Balkans lent the Great War a special character, with a patchwork of ancient feuds coalescing and merging into the huge imperial convulsions.

The name Tito comes to mind. He was a Croatian who served in the Austro Hungarian army and did a tour of duty on the Serbian front.

He was badly wounded fighting on the Eastern Front, with his back pierced by a Russian lance.

It’s a strange fact that three leaders who did so much to influence the modern history of Europe were all victims of cold steel on the battlefield: an unusual thing.

Napoleon Buonaparte was skewered in the thigh by a British pike at Toulon ; Charles De Gaulle was likewise bayoneted in the thigh at Verdun in 1916, and Tito ( not his real name ) was the Third Man, so to speak .

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899
Reflections on the Great War
Posted on: 2/14/2019 5:24:22 AM

Thanks Phil


Quote:
On 25 March 1915,Tito {Broz} he was wounded in the back by a Circassian cavalryman's lance,and captured during a Russian attack near Bukovina.

Now a prisoner of war (POW), Broz was transported east to a hospital established in an old monastery in the town of Sviyazhsk on the Volga river near Kazan.

During his 13 months in hospital he had bouts of pneumonia and typhus, and learned Russian with the help of two schoolgirls who brought him Russian classics by such authors as Tolstoy and Turgenev to read.
Britannica

Regards

Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper
anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899
Reflections on the Great War
Posted on: 7/5/2019 6:01:05 AM

World War I took the lives of more than 9 million soldiers; 21 million more were wounded. Civilian casualties caused indirectly by the war numbered close to 10 million. The two nations most affected were Germany and France, each of which sent some 80 percent of their male populations between the ages of 15 and 49 into battle.

The political disruption surrounding World War I also contributed to the fall of four venerable imperial dynasties—Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia and Turkey.

World War I brought about massive social upheaval, as millions of women entered the workforce to support men who went to war, and to replace those who never came back. The first global war also helped to spread one of the world’s deadliest global pandemics, the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people.

World War I has also been referred to as “the first modern war.” Many of the technologies we now associate with military conflict—machine guns, tanks, aerial combat and radio communications—were introduced on a massive scale during World War I.

The severe effects that chemical weapons such as mustard gas and phosgene had on soldiers and civilians during World War I galvanized public and military attitudes against their continued use. The Geneva Convention agreements, signed in 1925, restricted the use of chemical and biological agents in warfare, and remains in effect today.

Regarss

Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper
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