11 November, a day to remember #2 From the Industrialisation

In my previous postings Feestdagen, consumeren en besparen and Is it wise to annul the Pentecostweekend I mentioned that some members of parliament did not want to scrap only Whit Monday and we looked on what happened on the 315th day of the year (316th day in a leap year) according  the Gregorian calendar.

In 11 November a day to remember #1 Until Industrialisation we looked at the consequences of the urge for expansion.

We saw that in previous years many were sent into their death, no matter if they wanted to partake or not.

We looked at the Peace consideration of Carnuntum, the Fourth Council of the Lateran and the Crusades.
We also saw how alliances were made while wars made a lot of powers weaker and made them to lend money which made them independent of other states.

We sas the downfall of one of the biggest empires, the Ottoman Empire and the beginning of the political hegemony of the Habsburg dynasty in the Holy Roman Empire and Central Europe.

We also saw how the Low Countries were a preferred battle field for Europe. Not only the Battle of the Golden Spurs and the Napoleonic Wars with the Battle of Waterloo would be engraved in the minds of the Flemish people, a bigger war would be fought in Flanders Fields

Though Waterloo may brought the end of 26 years of fighting between the European powers and France, the other European countries wanted to expand further.

The New World had seen with such an expansion a new form of warfare. Previously it had been man to man fighting, using the iron, the sword, the falanx, the gunpowder, firearms. But the usual weapon found in the American Civil War new ‘partners’. Trains, steamships, and mass-produced weapons made their entrance. It was the beginning of industrial war were more people were going to suffer than ever before. The practices of total war, developed by Sherman in Georgia, and of trench warfare around Petersburg foreshadowed the most terrible battle to start the 20th century: World War I or the Great War.

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Expansion-drift in Europe

In the 19th century the expansion-drift in Europe also got the major European powers going to great lengths to maintain a balance of power throughout Europe, resulting by 1900 in a complex network of political and military alliances throughout the continent. A Triple Entente was formed having France, Britain and Russia forming an alliance after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907.

For centuries the Balkans was a matter of dispute and tensions. With the rise of nationalism and the continued decline of the Ottoman Empire, many former Ottoman provinces struggled for independence.

The Entente cordiale of 1904 heralded the end of British neutrality in Europe. The Tangier Crisis which followed encouraged co-operation between France and Britain, given their mutual fear of apparent German expansionism, clearly seen in announcement of Kaiser Wilhelm II who wanted to create a global German empire and to develop a strong navy.

Balkan troubles1

Rulers of Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and the United Kingdom attempting to keep the lid on the simmering cauldron of imperialist and nationalist tensions in the Balkans to prevent a general European war. They were successful in 1912 and 1913 but did not succeed in 1914.

To counteract Austria-Hungary′s aggression into the Balkans, Russia, that had lost the humiliating Russo-Japanese War in 1905, pledged to aid Serbia militarily if invaded. The 1882 Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy had left Russia vulnerable and therefore it signed the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907with Britain to counteract the threat of the Triple Alliance.

The financial structure of the German state, which gave the Reich government little power to tax, meant Germany would bankrupt herself in an arms race. General von Moltke – the Army’s Chief of Staff at the German Imperial War Council of 8 December 1912 in Berlin wanted a general war or a “preventive war” against Russia in 1914.

By 1913 French leaders had largely accepted that France by itself could never defeat Germany in case of war.

Serbia and the Balkan Wars

Serbian civilians - both women and men - are hanged with military precision by Austro-Hungarian forces in Machva [North-East part of Central Serbia

Prime Minister Nikola Pašić his government was dismissed in May 1914 due to Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević his intrigues. { Fromkin, David. Europe’s last summer: who started the Great War in 1914?. New York : Knopf : 2004.. pp. 124–25. ISBN 978-0375411564.}
Serbia near-bankrupt having suffered heavy casualties in the Balkan Wars and in the suppression of a December 1913 Albanian revolt in Kosovo, needed peace, but some Bosnian students throw a fly in the honey.

ANIMALS IN WAR 1914 - 1918

Transport Animals: Ox drawn transport and artillery of the Serbian Army during its retreat to Albania.

On June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, got assassinated in Sarajevo by Bosnian-Serb student and member of Mlada Bosnaor Young Bosnia and the Black Hand or Unification or Death Gavrilo Princip. (Click here to view film footage of Ferdinand arriving at Sarajevo’s Town Hall on 28 June 1914.) The Austro-Hungarians thought that the Serbian government was implicated in the machinations of the Black Hand and took the opportunity to stamp its authority upon the Serbians, crushing the nationalist movement there and cementing Austria-Hungary’s influence in the Balkans. To weaken the Kingdom of Serbia, they offered an ultimatum to Serbia hoping Serbia would reject the remarkably severe terms of the ultimatum, thereby giving her a pretext for launching a limited war against Serbia. One month after the assassination Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914 and as such started of a terrible battle to which seem to come no end.

In supporting an Austrian war with Serbia, Germany, allied to Austria-Hungary by treaty, viewed the Russian mobilisation as an act of war against Austria-Hungary, and after scant warning declared war on Russia on 1 August, which made France to react according her treaty to Russia. Germany was swift in invading neutral Belgium so as to reach Paris by the shortest possible route.

Liège 1914 - Belgian lancers rout German infantry before Liege

Moral obligation

Oversees Britain, allied to France by a more loosely worded treaty, could do nothing more than fulfil her “moral obligation” to defend France and declared war against Germany on 4 August. She also had the obligation to defend neutral Belgium by the terms of a 75-year old treaty namely the 1839 Treaty of London. Armies under German generals Alexander von Kluck and Karl von Bülow attacked Belgium on the 4 August 1914. Luxembourg had been occupied without opposition on 2 August. The first battle in Belgium was the Siege of Liège, which lasted from 5–16 August. The German army swept through Belgium, causing great suffering on the part of the civilian population.

Rape of Belgium

As soon as the Belgian King appealed to Britain for assistance against this “Rape of Belgium“, Britain committed herself to Belgium’s defence on the 4th of August 1914. Like France, she was by extension also at war with Austria-Hungary. With Britain’s entry into the war, her colonies and dominions abroad variously offered military and financial assistance, and included Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa.

Grosse Bertha - Photo by Blueheim

Predicted by the prophet Daniel

What was predicted in the Old Times by the prophet Daniel became reality and nations stood up against nations to enter the War of Nation or the Great War which was to become the first World War. (1 of three)

Crossing the borders up to the Yser

German industrial and economic power had grown greatly after unification and the foundation of the Empire in 1870, but in this war they went looking for new machinery and means of winning terrain and to eliminate the enemy.

1914 Le Sac de Dinant - drawing originally by Georges Scott

After marching through Belgium, Luxembourg and the Ardennes, the German Army advanced, in the latter half of August, into northern France where they met both the French army, under Joseph Joffre, and the initial six divisions of the British Expeditionary Force, under Sir John French. A series of engagements known as the Battle of the Frontiers ensued.

Following the Battle of the Yser in October, the Belgian forces controlled a 35 km length of Belgium’s Flanders territory along the coast, with their front following the Yser river and the Yperlee canal, from Nieuwpoort to Boesinghe. On 11 November 2014 the Germans Ieper attacked Menen and some British trenches in Ypres penetrated by the Prussian Guard were recovered. On the 11th of November 1914 British also captured Mons before dawn. One year later there was a Russian victory at Kemmern near Gulf of Riga and a French victory over Bulgarians after three days’ fighting from Gradsko to Veles.

German infantry on the march on August 7, 1914

German infantry on the march on August 7, 1914

En route for Paris

The war began dramatically with sweeping advances by the Germans through Belgium and France en route for Paris. However stalemate – and trench warfare soon set in – and the expected war of movement wasn’t restored until towards the close of the war, although the line rippled as successes were achieved at a local level. (Click here to view brief film footage of German soldiers preparing trenches in France in 1914.) {Life in the Trenches, Michael Duffy}

Death was a constant companion to those serving in the line, even when no raid or attack was launched or defended against. In busy sectors the constant shellfire directed by the enemy brought random death, whether their victims were lounging in a trench or lying in a dugout (many men were buried as a consequence of such large shell-bursts). {Life in the Trenches, Michael Duffy}

Battle of Verdun

Soldats Argonne 2.jpg

French soldiers observing enemy movements

On 11 November 1916, the year of the Battle of Verdun, a symbol of French determination and sacrifice, British bombarded Germans on the Ancre; French recaptured most of Saillisel, and repulsed German attack at Deniecourt. During the winter of 1916–17, German air tactics had been improved, a fighter training school was opened at Valenciennes and better aircraft with twin guns were introduced.

On 6 April 1917 the United States declared war on Germany.

British soldiers blinded by mustard gas

Gas for chemical warfare

A most terrible weapon was introduced by the Germans on 11 July 1917 on Messines ridge, south of Ypres, mustard gas, a powerful blistering agent. It was a persistent agent, which could linger for up to several days at a site, an additional demoralizing factor for their opponents. This was the beginning of gas for chemical warfare .

Battle of Passchendaele

As usual in Belgium it rained heavy on the 11th of November 1917 but the enemy artillery kept active against new positions on Passchendaele ridge in the Battle of Passchendaele or Passendale (technically the Third Battle of Ypres, of which Passchendaele was the final phase), while the Turks organised a new line of defence covering Jerusalem and Hebron. {Germans called Passchendaele “the greatest martyrdom of the War”.}

Cannister gas mask to protect the soldier from the use of chlorine gas and tearing agents such as xylyl bromide

The men who were sent to war, either by obligation or voluntary, soon found out this was not a world they would like to live in or would ever choose to be part of. But once send to Flanders Fields, there was no way to return back to a save heaven, except the place of the nothingness being dead, buried or not.

To endure

One third of Allied casualties on the Western Front were actually sustained in the trenches, either by gunfire, wounds, infestation or illness. Brown and black rats, frogs, slugs, horned beetles and lice accompanied the men wading in the mud and trying to find a dry place to rest while the dreadful noise went on and on. Many men chose to shave their heads entirely to avoid another prevalent scourge: nits.

Fungal infection of the feet caused by cold, wet and unsanitary trench conditions caused Trench Foot which could turn gangrenous and result in amputation.

Today we can not imagine the smell those soldiers had to endure. They were not able to have proper hygiene and overflowing latrines would give off a most offensive stench added to the smell of the many corpses. Rotting carcases lay around in their thousands. For example, approximately 200,000 men were killed on the Somme battlefields, many of which lay in shallow graves. Trenches would also smell of creosol or chloride of lime, used to stave off the constant threat of disease and infection.

Add to this the smell of cordite, the lingering odour of poison gas, rotting sandbags, stagnant mud, cigarette smoke and cooking food… yet men grew used to it, while it thoroughly overcame first-time visitors to the front. {Life in the Trenches, Michael Duffy}

Turning point

1917 saw a revolution in Russia but was also shaking Germany.

On 3 March 1918, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed, and Russia withdrew from the war.

General Ferdinand Foch, commander of all Allied forces in France initiated an offensive against the Marne salient produced during the German attacks, eliminating the salient by August.

Proposal to armistice

29 September 1918 saw the Bulgarian armistice. A German note to Woodrow Wilson the 28th President of the United States, requesting an armistice and negotiations on the basis of Wilson’s own pronouncements, was sent off in the night of October 3-4. After some further notes Wilson took personal control of negotiations with Germany and demanded that Germany would be made incapable of renewing hostilities.

Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff German nationalist leader and Major-General, victor of Liège and of the Battle of Tannenberg and chief manager of the German war effort, saw Wilson’s proposal to an armistice as a demand for unconditional surrender and would therefore have continued resistance. But on October 26 he was made to resign by the Emperor, on Prince Max’s advice.

Woodrow Wilson's handwritten draft announcing peace

The allies at first did not want to subscribe to the second of the Fourteen Points, on the freedom of the seas, and they wanted “compensation … For damage done to the civilian population … and their property by the aggression of Germany.”
The Social Democrats of the Reichstag with­drew their support from Prince Max’s government in order to be free to contend against the Communists for the leadership of the revolution.
While William II, at Spa, was still wondering whether he could abdicate his imperi­al German title but remain king of Prussia, Prince Max, in Berlin on November 9 1918, on his own initiative, an­nounced William’s abdication of both titles. Prince Max then handed his powers as chancellor over to Friedrich Ebert, a Majority Social Democrat, who formed a provi­sional government. A member of this government, Phil­ipp Scheidemann, hastily proclaimed a republic. On November 10 William II took refuge in the neutral Neth­erlands.

Armistice Day

In their railway carriage at Rethondes, the Allies pre­sented their armistice terms: Germany was to evacuate Belgium, France, Alsace-Lorraine, and all the left bank of the Rhine; neutralize the right bank of the Rhine be­tween The Netherlands and Switzerland; order surrender in East Africa’ withdraw its forces to the pre war frontier in eastern-Europe; annul the treaties of Brest-Litovsk and of Bucharest; and hand a large quantity of war materiel and of rolling stock over to the Allies. On the other hand, the Allies’ blockade of Germany was to continue.

Negotiation at Rethondes

The delegation at Rethondes - La convention d'armistice du 11 novembre 1918 Entre le Maréchal Foch, commandant en chef des armée alliées, stipulant au nom des puissances alliées et associées, assisté de l'amiral Wemyss, first lord of the Sea, d'une part ;Monsieur le secrétaire d'état Erzberger, président de la délégation allemande ;Monsieur l'envoyé extraordinaire et ministre plénipotentiaire comte Von Oberndorff ;Monsieur le général major Von Winterfeldt ;Monsieur le capitaine de vaisseau Vanselow, munis de pouvoirs réguliers et agissant avec l'agrément du chancelier allemand

Pleading the danger of Bolshevism in a state on the verge of collapse, the German delegation obtained some mitigation of these terms: a suggestion that the blockade might be relaxed, a reduction in the quantity of arma­ments to be handed over, and permission for the German forces in eastern Europe to stay put for the time being.
The Germans might have held out longer for further concessions if the fact of revolution on their home front had not been coupled with the imminence of a new blow from the west: though the Allies, having resumed their general convergence on the northern sectors of the front on November 1 had come more or less to a standstill on a line running from Pont-a-Mousson through Sedan; Me­zieres, and Mons to Ghent, Foch now had a Franco-U.S. force of 28 divisions and 600 tanks in the south ready to strike through Metz into northeastern Lorraine and so to turn the Antwerp-Meuse line on which the German de­fense had been counting. On November 11 at 11 o’clock, 1918, the Armistice document was signed at Rethondes.

This moment of 11.11.11 was taken to be remembered, because of the dreadful nature of any war and the many casualties.

Casualties and damage

The Allied and Associated powers are calculated to have mobilized more than 42,000,000 men in World War I and to have lost more than 5,000,000 lives (Russia and France together contributing 3,000,000 dead). The Central Powers, with Turkey and Bulgaria, mobilized nearly 23,000,000 and lost nearly 3,400,000 lives (Germany and Austria-Hungary together contribut­ing nearly 3,000,000). The direct war expenditure of the Allied and Associated powers is estimated, approximate­ly, at U.S. $145,388,000,000 (including US., British, and French loans of $19,697,000,000 to other belligerents); that of the other side, at US. $63,018,000,000 (including German loans of $2,375,000,000).
These figures take no account of the number of wound­ed combatants (more than 21,000,000 in all) or of the indirect cost of the war, which includes nearly $30,­000 000 000 for property losses on land, $6,800,000 for ships and cargos lost, $45,000,000 for loss of production, $1,750,000 for losses to the neutrals, and $1,000,000,000 for war relief. {Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, Vol 19p 966, 1973/80}

Treaty of Versailles

In 1919, Wilson went to Paris to create the League of Nations and shape the Treaty of Versailles, with special attention on creating new nations out of defunct empires.

Memorial Day

external image argonne.jpg

These teenagers dont think about the thought of death

Today there are politicians who do not want a memorial for all the people that died in many battles. It is true that in the world of the dead nobody is remembered; no one can praise those people there, but we on earth can and should remember them.

“For in death there is no remembrance of You; Who gives You thanks in the grave? “
(Psalms 6:5 The Scriptures 1998+)

We can not speak to those who gave their lives and they cannot communicate with us, because they returned to dust and have become nothing. After all, the same fate awaits human beings and animals alike. Everybody has to die at one time, but not everybody does in the same way. Though all creatures shall come to a point in their life where they have to face the end of ‘being’. So many people had to face the end in a terrible way not worthy for a human being nor for an animal. A human being is no better off than an animal, because life in the end has no meaning for either. They are both going to the same place — the dust. They both came from it; they will both go back to it.

“For the event of the sons of men is also the event of beasts – one event befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Indeed, they all have one breath – man has no advantage over beasts. For all is futile. All are going to one place – all came from the dust, and all return to dust. “
(Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 The Scriptures 1998+)
“For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know naught, nor do they have any more reward, for their remembrance is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy have now perished; and they no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun. Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a glad heart; for Elohim has already approved your works. Let your garments be white at all times, and let your head lack no oil. See life with the wife whom you love all the days of your futile life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of futility. For that is your share in life, and in your toil which you have laboured under the sun. All that your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
(Ecclesiastes 9:5-10 The Scriptures 1998+)

It is important that people should take some time to reflect about life and death.

Ijzermonument

Anti War monument in Nieuwpoort by Pieter Braecke (1930)

Taking the Armistice Day 11 November to do that is a good civil day, because no matter which religion or being atheist the signing of the peace treaty should be remembered, because it was not the end of that terrible war, because it was also the seed for the second World War. The seeds of trouble for the next 20 years were namely sawn in those articles of the Treaty of Versailles that Germany had the most obvious grounds for resenting, whether as offensive to its national honour or as unduly onerous, oppressive, and vindictive.

“No More War” was the call in Belgium and therefore they placed an IJzermonument by the Iepersluis in Nieuwpoort in 1930. A a pacifist and Christian movement was started to keep those who died in mind and to not forget the cruelty a war can bring.

A Tower of Peace, To remember

In Diksmuide was also build a Tower of Peace of 22 floors in which a museum is housed about the war, peace movements and Flemish emancipation.

Ysertower and IJzermonument Diksmuide a Call for No War Anymore

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Dutch version / Nederlandstalige versie: 11 november, al of niet vergeten #2 Vanaf de Industrialisatie

To be continued: 1914 – 2014 preparations + Parade’s End and Saint Flora Castle

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Recommended: The marvellous site of Michael Duffy: First World War com

Please do find:

  1. The Battle of Waterloo
  2. Allied Powers
  3. Upon the atrocities committed by the Austro-Hungarian army during the first invasion of Serbia
  4. Western Front (World War I) (Central Victory)
  5. Gas Warfare
  6. Trench Warfare
  7. World War I Timelines
  8. Sarajevo Assassination – Sparkle To War
  9. Battle of the Somme in Pictures
  10. Weapons of our warfare
  11. How to Live Nonviolently
  12. Religion, fundamentalism and murder

In Dutch:

  1. De Guldensporenslag
  2. Nooit geen oorlog meer…?

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About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist. - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog.
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6 Responses to 11 November, a day to remember #2 From the Industrialisation

  1. Pingback: 1914 – 2014 preparations | Marcus' s Space

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