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 (1914-1918) WWI
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Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 671
Joined: 2005
End of the War
9/15/2020 12:28:25 PM

102 years ago the German army was in full retreat, but was scorching the earth as it went and ferociously fighting for each yard of ground it gave up. The price of victory was high for the Allied and US forces in these final 'hundred days' and it's no surprise the British and French were keen to accept the German armistice when it was finally offered. For the British, the casualty rates in the final phase of the war exceeded those suffered at the Somme two years earlier.

Pershing, in command of the US forces, was adamant that the Germans should be rolled back into Germany proper before any armistice was accepted. He believed the German army should be defeated on its own ground and not defending conquered territory in Belgium and France. Was he right to do so? Would it have been acceptable to sacrifice more lives to hammer home the point to the Germans, civilian and military alike?

Cheers,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4879
Joined: 2004
End of the War
9/15/2020 12:53:56 PM

Colin,

Pain in the arse that I am for statistical details, I feel uncomfortable with the refrain that the British casualty rate on the Somme was exceeded by that of the Hundred Days.

The BEF did suffer huge casualties in the final advance, but they entailed fewer fatalities than the Somme and other of those ghastly static battles.

More gas cases, and a higher ratio of slight wounds, inflated the Hundred Days figures.

No complacency, though, it was still a dreadful toll and your points and questions are going to exercise my mind.

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
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 671
Joined: 2005
End of the War
9/15/2020 12:59:23 PM

Phil,

I'm more than happy to be corrected - indeed, I expect it!

Looking forward to your comments.

Cheers,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3504
Joined: 2004
End of the War
9/15/2020 8:37:59 PM

I might raise a couple of points which may be pertinent, though I have no real idea of answers:
1. How good was Allied intelligence in 1918? Would the Allies have known of various factors in Germany? Growing famine conditions; increasing bolshevik agitation; growing mutinous rumblings in the IGN?
2. I may be way off base, but IMHO European wars were traditionally settled through treaties rather than utter ruin and defeat. Paris x 2 (1814, 1815); Ghent (1814), Versailles (1871), Vereeniging (1902) were all negotiated settlements to wars which drew to a close before one or both of the belligerents was utterly prostrate. Pershing’s argument may look good in hindsight, but he was after all a rather junior partner, Was he bringing some values (punishment and debasement) more often found at the time in civil wars? Was he being percipient, or was he merely bringing West Point training (e.g., Sherman’s march to the sea) to the fore?
3. How large a part of the decisions you raise may have been driven – perhaps even only semiconsciously – by an overbearing fear (certainly in North America and GB) of Bolshevism?

I sense Pershing was working at building a personal reputation for belligerence both for the home market and for the home team, to be honest. At the same time, I don’t think “armistice” describes what was taking place in Nov 1918, and I don’t believe German troops – still under arms or not, since there seems to be some debate of that issue – should have been allowed to return to German barracks under their own orders.

I also sense (and I think to some extent that military conduct against the Red Army and its ancillary forces post-war supports this hypothesis) that the fear of bolshevism I mention may have been at the heart of Allied acceptance of the terms for German troop return.

Just some thoughts on what might become a very informative discussion.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G

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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11426
Joined: 2009
End of the War
9/15/2020 10:13:56 PM

The terms set in front of the Germans were harsh and designed to ensure that the Germans could not resume fighting after a short armistice. An armistice should not end a war but should bring an end to the fighting. The armistice was not a treaty to officially end the war but effectively this armistice did.

The terms of this armistice all but guaranteed that the Germans could not resume fighting.

Was Ludendorff asked to resign because he would not agree to seek an armistice? Did he feel that as the allied offensive had slowed as they waited for supply lines to catch up, that he, Ludendorff would be able to organize an effective defence?

When the Germans were transported to Compiegne Forest and the railway siding, they were prepared to accept whatever was put in front of them. Even so Matthias Erzberger, the head of the German delegation was shocked to see that within the 34 terms of the armistice were clauses that effectively disarmed the German forces. He argued that Germany would need armed troops to deal with the Bolsheviks who were active in the revolution taking place in Germany.

Foch would have none of it although I believe later that he conceded to allowing Germany to have a few small arms.

If I am not mistaken, Erzberger was assassinated within three years by German nationalists who blamed him partly for bringing disgrace upon the nation.

These are some of the terms that I believe effectively made this armistice a surrender document, in my opinion only of course.

Quote:

1. All occupied lands in Belgium, Luxembourg, and France–plus Alsace-Lorraine, held since 1870 by Germany–were to be evacuated within fourteen days.

2. The Allies were to occupy land in Germany to the west of the River Rhine and bridgeheads on the river’s east bank up to a depth of thirty kilometres.

3. German forces had to be withdrawn from Austria-Hungary, Romania, and Turkey.

4. Germany was to surrender to neutral or Allied ports 10 battleships, 6 battle cruisers, 8 cruisers, and 160 submarines.

5. Germany was also to be stripped of heavy armaments, including 5,000 artillery pieces, 25,000 machine guns, and 2,000 airplanes.

6. The naval blockade would continue.

7. 5,000 locomotives, 150,000 railway cars, and 5,000 trucks would be confiscated from Germany.

8. Germany would be blamed for the war and reparations would be paid for all damage caused.



How much more could have been exacted by the allies if they had continued with their attack toward Germany. I believe that the allied offensive was supposed to resume on Nov. 14 if no ceasefire had been negotiated.

The Treaty of Versailles was equally harsh and reinforced the terms already applied in the armistice agreement.

The following is the complete text of the Armistice agreement. It indicates that it was to be in force for only 36 days and that failure to comply with any clauses would result in repudiation of the agreement upon giving 48 hours notice. Either party could repudiate the armistice but there were timelines to which the Germans had to adhere.

[Read More]

Lots to discuss. What was the morale situation of the allied armies in mid-November? The Americans were stronger and fresh but were the French and British and Commonwealth troops in the correct frame of mind to pursue the German forces into Germany? I suppose that what I am wondering is whether the allies needed this armistice or surrender as much as did the Germans.

Cheers,

George







Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4879
Joined: 2004
End of the War
9/16/2020 4:54:16 AM

A massively interesting thread : we’ve been here before , but it still hooks us.

My summary :

Desire to punish the Hun outweighed by fear of the Bolshevik.

This compounded by sense of fragility on the Home Front.

Anxiety about growing power of Uncle Sam.

I’ll try and put meat on the bones later.

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: 4879
Joined: 2004
End of the War
9/16/2020 5:29:34 AM

Forgive my random and breathless input here : a bit opportunistic as the chores of life interfere with the far more interesting and rewarding joys of MHO !

British Home Front was being seen as febrile and fragile. Labour unrest was dangerous : munitions workers had been staging strikes even as the Germans were knocking the British about in March and April 1918.
It doesn’t make edifying reading : you have to wonder what it was that made some of the workers so bloody minded.....my suggestion is that things were brewing up in a nasty way in the years immediately prior to the Great War, and that the conflict postponed things, but then, in a peculiar way, allowed the resentments to explode more effectively . Some of the ministers of government were aware that a kind of Faustian pact had been made with labour, in order to keep mines and munitions factories working : Lloyd George was the instigator, and Churchill had to pick up the poisoned chalice when he became Minister of Munitions. Things were especially bad on The Clyde.....even the Union leaders were dismayed at the refusal of workers to go back to their benches : here I’m aware that I’m treading on dangerous ground with you, Colin ! Any family folklore of yours here ?

I suspect that the failure of the General Strike in the mid 1920s owes much to public resentment about the track record of some sections of the British work force in the war...but, again, I’m walking on egg shells here.

This is something of a ramble, but I believe it does impinge on the subject of our thread.

Haig’s diary provides some fascinating vignettes here. I want to get a quiet moment and cite some of the entries, which provide testimony to the things we’re discussing .

Hoping to get back soon !

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
scoucer
Berlin  Germany
Posts: 2840
Joined: 2010
End of the War
9/16/2020 7:04:48 AM

Quote:
A massively interesting thread : we’ve been here before , but it still hooks us. Regards, Phil


Yes indeed. Fascinating stuff. I don´t know where to start. Will add my 2 pence when I can.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 671
Joined: 2005
End of the War
9/16/2020 10:58:07 AM

Hi Phil,

I think you're right regarding the Faustian pact between capital and labour. I expect there would have been a general strike in the UK (and possibly an earlier civil war in Ireland) in 1914/15 had the war not compelled many would-be protagonists to put aside their grievances temporarily - even the Suffragettes downed tools and got on with the national war effort.

Organised labour was on the rise in 1914; the industrial heartlands of the UK were becoming mobilised to demand a better standard of living. Infant mortality was shockingly high and adult life expectancy similarly woeful - the army had been appalled at the standard of recruits from working class backgrounds in the Boer War and the situation was barely better in 1914. Housing was at a premium; although the rookeries had been cleared a generation earlier, the tenements thrown up to replace them were often sub-standard. The Gorbals area in Glasgow was a particular example of endemic poverty, in an area where most able-bodied men worked, they still couldn't afford the basic decency of a good quality roof over their family's heads. The working class had had enough - and who could blame them?

As the war dragged on and casualty lists grew, can we really question Haig et al for pushing to accept the armistice. As you say, the Bolsheviks were active in Russia and their agents beyond their borders were stoking the fires of revolution. Imagine if word leaked out that the Allied leaders had refused an armistice whereby Germany would have effectively surrendered? Riots erupting across Britain, France and beyond, furious for a war being prolonged to simply move lines on a map.

The General Strike of 1926 was on the background of the above, but also fuelled by anger that the Establishment had gone back on its promise of a land fit for heroes. The same inequalities existed and the economic policy of the day (tying the Pound to the Gold Standard) meant those who possessed capital prospered at the expense of those who didn't.

The Government were right to be wary; the 'Red Clydeside' movement in Glasgow 1919 brought, in response, troops to the city from across the country to restore order, with machine guns posted on top of the Post Office in George Square (overlooking the Council City Chambers and gathering agitators below). Armoured vehicles were kept on standby in the Cattlemarket along at Gallowgate. Scottish troops at Maryhill barracks were confined to base, for fear of them joining and arming any revolution. As it is, the workers were talked down and a compromise of sorts was reached. Elsewhere, Prison Officers and Police struck, getting better terms than they had before - although curiously the army didn't audibly ask for anything. Perhaps the rank and file were hedging their bets to see if the revolution was indeed starting.

Had the war and the fighting rumbled on into 1919 due to a German refusal to give it up, I believe the armed forces would have grumbled but resolved to see it out. An open offer of an end to the fighting (and perhaps this was the best card the Germans never played), whereby the German government publicly broadcast that it wanted to end the war, but the Allies insisted on fighting it out, may have seen the Allied forces refusing to fight. No doubt these possibilities plagued the thoughts of Haig and maybe his diaries will reflect this?

I think I've warbled on enough for now!

Cheers,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4879
Joined: 2004
End of the War
9/16/2020 6:30:34 PM

German defeat in the final months was certainly crushing. Morale had collapsed, and half of all the German prisoners captured on the Western Front in 51 months of warfare were taken in the four months between the counter stroke on the Marne and the Armistice.

Set against that, the BEF suffered more than four hundred thousand battle casualties in those four months - 350,000 of them in the 96 days between 8 August and 11 November - and there were probably seven hundred thousand French and US casualties in addition. So, German collapse notwithstanding , the cost of Allied victory was terrifying, and this was with Germans fighting on French and Belgian soil.

Had the Allies pursued the conflict into Germany itself, imagine how hard the Germans might have fought.

Men who were disillusioned and demoralised fighting to retain Imperial Germany’s conquests on enemy soil were quite likely to find a renewed vigour in defence of heimat. Look at what happened a generation later, when, even after an attempt on Hitler’s life and a crushing defeat in Normandy, along with a stupefying onslaught from the Red Army in the East, the Germans were able and willing to fight furiously in defence of their homeland. I’ve read that the cost of the last ten months of WW2 in Europe accounted for a hugely disproportionate part of the overall human cost of the conflict.

If this was to be true of 1944-45, who’s to say that the same thing might not have occurred in 1919, or even 1920, if the war had been prolonged and the fighting raged in Germany itself ?

I reckon Haig had countenanced this. Foch too, I suspect....although I’m not so sure.

Pershing took a different view : but then US combat fatalities were only six per cent of those of the British Empire, and four per cent those of the French.

I’ll follow this up with some of Haig’s diary entries.

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
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11426
Joined: 2009
End of the War
9/16/2020 9:26:09 PM

I shouldn't think that labour unrest in the Dominions would have given the British cause to question the value of a continuation of the war especially if an armistice was in the offing.

For what it is worth, Canadian labour began the war in a depression but wholeheartedly supported the war effort. There were some radical labour groups that opposed the war and called for general strikes to cripple the economy.
The beneficial economic effects of the war were not seen in 1914. It wasn't until later in 1915 that British and Canadian orders saw wages increase and near full employment became the norm.

The craft unions began to see the introduction of thousands of unskilled labourers and women into the work force as a threat to their position in the labour movement. In 1916 and in 1917, labour unrest came to the fore and protests over wages and working conditions began. The fact that the government of Canada was issuing a lot of freedom limiting decrees in the form of Orders in Council also upset labour.

1917: 218 strikes recorded involving 50,000 workers
By 1919: Strike total up to 427 with an estimated 350,000 workers involved.

Union membership boomed from 140,000 at the end of 1915 to 378,000 by 1919.

Labour unrest was exacerbated by the government response to the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. PM Robert Borden's government introduced legislation that took aim at labour. Strikes were outlawed in early 1918.

Later in the year, certain unions were declared illegal including the International Workers of the World. Many others were included and the rationale on the part of the government was that any group that professed to wanting social reform in 1918 was a bad influence on the war effort. Russian, and Ukrainian language newspapers were outlawed as well.

Labour became more angry when the Canadian government brought in conscription in 1917.

Did Britain treat the labour movement with disdain during the war? And how much concern was there in the allied countries that a Bolshevik style revolution at home would make it almost impossible to continue the fight?

Cheers,

George
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3504
Joined: 2004
End of the War
9/16/2020 10:48:49 PM

Quote:
Labour became more angry when the Canadian government brought in conscription in 1917.

Canada was, of course, on the brink of becoming an industrial rather than agrarian or primary resource nation. Its rulers were not prepared for any changes in the relationships between capital and workers. For workers/unionists/bolsheviks, the introduction of conscription would be seen as an assault on whatever controls on labour were instituted by labour/union organizations.

Quote:
Did Britain treat the labour movement with disdain during the war? And how much concern was there in the allied countries that a Bolshevik style revolution at home would make it almost impossible to continue the fight?

Personally, I think all western or Allied governing bodies treated labour bodies not just disdainfully but viciously. They were terrified of Bolshevism. But before that, I think traditional governing hierarchies across the industrialized world were terrified of the potential power of both labour and unionism. Certainly, as the Great War continued both labour (as a political movement) and union (less political at the time, and less supported socially) were able to flex their muscles. And when they did, they were typically vilified or castigated as traitors to the War effort.

IMHO, the fear of bolshevism grew for at least half a decade after WW1 But that may be a very different thread, so let me stop here.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G

PS: I didn’t know that in Canada the “Wobblies” (IWW) were deemed “illegal”, though it doesn’t surprise me. The “One Big Union” movement was quite powerful at the time, and must have appeared to be similar to Bolshevik movements as a threat to those who controlled parliament (or any legislature).

An aside on the “Wobbly” comment, there is is delightful book shop in Seattle where, last time I was there, they still sold two versions of the I.W.W. Songbook Every time I visit Seattle, I find my way to “Left Bank Books”, at the entry to Pike Street Market. I’ve been a customer from time to time since about 1982!
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4879
Joined: 2004
End of the War
9/17/2020 10:51:12 AM

So much is rushing into my mind about this, that I'll be overwhelmed if I try and do justice to all of the questions that we're grappling with : forgive me if I just stick to selecting a few vignettes from Haig's diary, and discuss the implications.

3 October 1918, Haig responds to a friendly letter from Winston Churchill, and makes a cordial reply. Haig thanks Churchill for his excellent work in keeping the BEF supplied with munitions, and makes a significant comment :

In my opinion, it is of the highest importance to keep on pressing the enemy at every possible point, because if we allow him any breathing time at all, he will be able to reorganise his forces, to construct new defences, and make new plans, and much of the work of " wearing him out" will have to be started afresh.

Haig is clearly an advocate of relentless attack and pressing the advantage, but then he makes a more interesting observation about Churchill's calling for conservation of resources for the decisive struggles of 1920.

To this Haig confides to his notes What rubbish. Who will last till 1920 ? Only America ??

Haig is an advocate of the all out attack, but he's also keenly aware of his heavy losses and of the ability of the United States to become the preponderant power if the war goes on so long.

17 October he makes one of his most telling comments :

The German Army is capable of retiring to its own frontier, and holding that line if there should be any attempt to touch the honour of the German people [ and make them fight with the courage of despair ]

That's a curious sentiment to express, isn't it : the " honour" of the German people ? What are we to make of that ? He goes on to say... 25 October :

" The British Army was never more efficient but has fought hard, and it lacks reinforcements. With diminishing effectives, moral is bound to suffer."

He then opines : " In the coming winter, Enemy will have some months for recuperation and absorption of 1920 class, untouched as yet. He will be in a position to destroy all communications before he falls back. This will mean serious delay to our advance next year."

A more controversial viewpoint follows....." The British Army had done most of the fighting latterly, and everyone wants to have done with the war, provided we get what we want. I therefore advise that we only ask in the Armistice for what we intend to hold, and that we set our faces against the French entering Germany to pay off old scores.

It's tempting to conclude that Haig feels that he and his army are at the top of their game, and that to try conclusions by fighting into Germany will risk what's been accomplished thus far. He's gung ho for intense and relentless attack, but only in so far as it coincides with the interests of the British Empire ,and its successful but diminishing army, and he wants to get out while his personal reputation is at its zenith.

Too much more needs to be added, but I'm being distracted.

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
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 916
Joined: 2005
End of the War
9/17/2020 4:37:57 PM

I suspect that fear of exposing troops, many of whom already had socialist leanings, to the revolutionary agitation in Germany was one reason the Allied occupation was limited to a series of relatively small bridgehead across the Rhine.
The French and British also had very different plans for Germany, while the Americans just wanted their troops home. Enforcement of the Armistice terms would be largely left to France. The British wanted Germany to become a reliable trading partner as quickly as possible. A Germany rendered prostrate by reparations would be counterproductive.
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Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11426
Joined: 2009
End of the War
9/17/2020 5:31:42 PM

Quote:
I suspect that fear of exposing troops, many of whom already had socialist leanings, to the revolutionary agitation in Germany was one reason the Allied occupation was limited to a series of relatively small bridgehead across the Rhine.
The French and British also had very different plans for Germany, while the Americans just wanted their troops home. Enforcement of the Armistice terms would be largely left to France. The British wanted Germany to become a reliable trading partner as quickly as possible. A Germany rendered prostrate by reparations would be counterproductive.


And yet the French were determined to punish the Germans for what they had done. And in the end, their opinion mattered the most. I also think that the negotiations began to wear on the Big 4 and then the Big 3 once Italy left. They were receiving deputations from dozens of ethnic groups that they did not even know existed but who wanted the world map altered to reflect their desire for self determination. Even Ho Chi Minh attended to persuade the delegates and especially Pres. Wilson that the French should be told to leave IndoChina.

Margaret Macmillan's wonderful book, Paris 1919, details the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Versailles. I have recounted this story from her book before but again, when the German delegation boarded their train to come to France, that train slowed to a crawl as it entered Belgium and then France. The purpose was to let the Germans see what they had wrought. When the delegations arrived at their accommodations, they asked who would move their baggage inside. They were told to, "do it yourself".

The Germans could see that the outcome of these negotiations for a treaty would be no better than they were for the Armistice agreement.

As I recall, Macmillan said that initially the British too were going to take a hard line and the British people were on board with that. The British had lent a lot of money to the Russians and borrowed a lot from the Americans. So they were seeking reparations to cover war costs.

Germany, the people, were in no mood to accept the terms of the treaty imposed and were especially upset at Article 231 which came to be known as the War Guilt clause. We know that Germany expected that Pres. Wilson would ensure gentler terms but it was an American lawyer that wrote Article 231 as a means to justify the heavy reparations imposed. That lawyer was John Foster Dulles who went on to a brilliant diplomatic career and I believe was the Sec. of State under Eisenhower.

I must add that later in life, Dulles expressed regret for the wording of Article 231 as it inflamed German nationalistic passions.

According to Macmillan, the British people began to accept the German argument that they and everyone else had stumbled into a war because of the system of alliances. And indeed as Jim pointed out, a stable trade environment appealed to British law makers.



Cheers,

George
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4879
Joined: 2004
End of the War
9/18/2020 9:07:37 AM

You’ll never guess where I am right now......Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s beloved house !

What a wonderful place to be when contacting my friends on MHO 😊

Although Churchill is revered for his role in WW2, his impact on WW1 - for better or worse - was very significant.

In a confused state of mind as I was waiting for Lynn to prepare our picnic lunch, I posted some comments on the thread about the German Spring Offensive which would be more appropriate here.

There are some great quotes that I might deploy when we get home.

Easy to get inspiration 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
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 671
Joined: 2005
End of the War
9/18/2020 9:31:21 AM

Sounds great Phil, lovely weather for it today across the UK! Enjoy.

Looking forward to the quotes.

Cheers,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 872
Joined: 2004
End of the War
9/18/2020 10:15:01 AM

Gentlemen
I think Pershing was right. The Allies didn't need to push the Germans all the way back but at war's end they should have staged a huge miltary parade right thru the heart of Berlin. Show the German people the might and power of the Allies forces and prove to them they were defeated on the battlefield. They needed to be humbled and nip in the bud this "stab in the back" idea.
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4879
Joined: 2004
End of the War
9/18/2020 2:16:39 PM

Quote:
Sounds great Phil, lovely weather for it today across the UK! Enjoy.

Looking forward to the quotes.

Cheers,

Colin



It was sublime, Colin !

I've been there several times, but this one was by far the best : the weather helped, and, I suspect, the emotional impact was heightened after such a long period of restrictions and lockdown. Actually, today the place reminded me of Thomas Jefferson's abode at Monticello, overlooking the Weald of Kent just as Jefferson's mansion surveys the Virginia Piedmont.

Here's a gem that I want to cast into the fray :

Jan Smuts, former Boer Commando and foe of the British, became one of the most highly esteemed soldiers and statesmen on the Allied side. He served in the British War Cabinet, and earned his nickname of " Canny Janny".

Regarding the outrage felt against Germany and the desire to push the war to a conclusion designed to punish the enemy, Smuts commented :

The popular cry for justice is very insistent but two governing considerations should be kept steadily in view. Firstly, the evil of continuing the war is rapidly beginning to outweigh the good to be achieved by a more complete measure of victory or justice. Secondly, the British Empire should not pursue justice at the expense of its own legitimate future...

John Terraine cited this comment, and wrote that Smuts, steeped in biblical knowledge, would have remembered the text There is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness.....Be not righteous overmuch....
Editing : a desk in one of Churchill’s rooms was crammed with lots of photographs of people who mattered in his life, and, quite prominent among them, was a photo of Jan Smuts.
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

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