Veterans Day 2017

As Veterans Day 2017 draws to a close it is important to recognize that this has been a strange day in presidential-veteran relations.

This is a graphic of the departmental crests for the agencies that make up the US intelligence community.

(Figure 1: The US Intelligence Community)

You’ll notice that nine of these agencies are military. Of the remaining eight, one is the US Coast Guard, which while now in the Department of Homeland Security is one of the uniformed Services of the United States. Moreover, a significant number of the civilian personnel serving in the civilian portions of the US Intelligence Community are veterans, reservists, and/or members of the National Guard. This doesn’t make them infallible. It doesn’t make what they do and how they do it unquestionable. However, the President, by publicly disparaging the US Intelligence Community, is publicly disparaging a very large number of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and veterans no longer serving in uniform while siding with the dictatorial leader of a hostile foreign power. Everyone cheering the President on in doing so is also disparaging the troops while purposefully ignoring that the President is siding with the dictatorial leader of a hostile foreign power!

Now back to our regularly scheduled Veterans Day post.

There is a significant body of military history developing that convincingly argues that World War I did not actually end on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Rather, the interstate war phase ended and a series of smaller insurgencies, asymmetric and irregular, and sub-regional wars continued. These low intensity wars among the winners and losers of World War I eventually reignited into another interstate war – World War II. As a result, World War I and World War II are more properly understood as phases of a longer, ongoing conflict akin to the Thirty Years War. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of this revision within military history, but it is an important scholarly developmental in what it teaches us about battlefield termination, war, peace, and securing the peace. Especially because if we’re not careful we run the risk of having to live through a similar dynamic in the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa in the ongoing fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

We end with music. First the Dropkick Murphy’s covering Eric Bogle’s The Green Fields of France.

Interestingly enough a folk singer named Stephen Suffet wrote a reply from the Willie McBride that Bogle sings about to Bogle. It uses the same melody as Bogle’s original.

And for our Australian and New Zealand readers, here’s Bogle doing The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.

Open thread!

PS: Confederate Soldiers and Sailors are not considered to be US veterans, no matter what your crazy uncle emails you!

Many in the Georgia legislature may have differed with McKinley regarding the treatment of veterans and the place of the national cemeteries in society, as no disabled Confederate veteran was eligible to live in a federal soldier’s home, receive a pension, or, when they died, be buried in a national cemetery. However, it is certain that the president’s Atlanta speech began a process culminating eight years later in legislation creating the Commission for Marking Graves of Confederate Dead.66

66 Robert Louis Clark, Lee Allen Craig, and Jack Wilson, A History of Public Sector Pensions in the United States, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2003, p. 146; and Neff, Honoring the Civil War Dead, Commemoration and the Problem of Reconciliation, University of Kansas Press, Lawrence, Kansas, 2005, pp. 222–226.

161 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I saw the title of the post and went to look for the Dropkick Murphy’s video to post it, and then I find it is already here. Next year is the centennial. Amazing.

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  3. 3
    germy says:

    Look, I'm sorry, but even before these reports surfaced, Roy Moore's nomination was a bridge too far.— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) November 11, 2017

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  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: Required by law. And the National Park Service, which maintains the National Battlefields, doesn’t get the final say on who is and is not a veteran. The rules pertaining to allowing, one time, no more than 24 hour displays of Confederate flags at ceremonies at national cemeteries are codified by regulation based on law and were created as a courtesy.

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    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: And another thing, I didn’t get deployed I got shipped!!!!

    ReplyReply
  6. 6
    zhena gogolia says:

    My husband saw a pretty big demonstration on Michigan Ave in Chicago today. I said, “What did the crowd look like?” He said, “Angry. Scared.”

    ETA: anti-Trump demonstration

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  7. 7
    Arclite says:

    FBI: lying
    CIA: lying
    NSA: lying
    Comey: lying
    Clapper: lying
    Hillary: lying
    Obama: lying
    Bush Jr: lying
    Bush Sr: lying
    Papadopoulos: lying
    Media: lying
    Democrats: lying
    Corker: lying
    McCain: lying
    Puerto Rico: lying
    Gold Star widow: lying
    Scientists: lying
    Sexual assault accusers: lying
    Putin: not lying

    ReplyReply
  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: Did I ever say you were deployed and not sent?

    ReplyReply
  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The Dropkick Murphy’s don’t look old enough to have a centennial next year.//

    ReplyReply
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    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I seen your post in the last thread about Moore gettin “deployed” to the Nam. We didn’t have no such designation! :)

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    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’ll offer the end of Blackadder.

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    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: Thanks for clarifying. I couldn’t figure out what you were referring to. As for Moore, he’s a ring knocker. He wasn’t drafted. He didn’t sign up because he knew he’d be drafted. So I think deployed fits.

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    Mary G says:

    Great. Now he’s going to have a press conference in Vietnam.

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    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m just jerkin your chain.

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    Indian National Congress supported the British war effort in World War I. A million Indians served. 62,000 died overseas and 67,000 were wounded. Instead of getting Dominion status, which the Congress had hoped for, India got the Rowlatt Acts and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. After the 1919, the Congress decided to agitate for purna swaraj or complete independence. The end of the Great war marked the beginning of the end of the British Empire in India.

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    NotMax says:

    Obligatory WW1 clip.

    (Really, any clip from the film would suffice.)

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    NotMax says:

    Gruesome trivia: More American Revolutionary War soldiers died on British prison ships (anchored in NY harbor) than the total killed in battle.

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    raven says:

    @NotMax: More Airmen in the Mighty 8th AF were killed than all the Marines in the Pacific.

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    BBA says:

    It’s never a bad time to say fuck you to Woodrow Wilson, but on this anniversary of a needless bloody war that Wilson needlessly got the United States into and proceeded to fuck up the peace accords worse than any treaty before or since, it’s especially appropriate to say FUCK YOU, WOODROW WILSON.

    Did I mention he was a Klan-loving racist piece of shit?

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    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    The next video up was Fawlty Towers re Opened.
    Not sure if there is some sort of meaning there.

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    germy says:

    A lot of MAGA types attacking John McCain on Veterans Day for calling out Trump’s Russian loyalty. A lot of levels at work here.— Schooley (@Rschooley) November 12, 2017

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    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ruckus: I see you wrote a cookbook.

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    Ruckus says:

    @BBA:
    I don’t think he’s fondly remembered in many places.

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    Mike J says:

    (((Harry Enten)))‏ Verified account @ForecasterEnten 12 minutes ago
    I can report (unless my sources have failed me) that tomorrow will showcase the first public poll to show Doug Jones with a lead in the AL-Senate race. This race is very real.

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    Eric S. says:

    @zhena gogolia: Was it a general anti Trump march or wad there a specific cause? This Chicagoan wants to know.

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    How Assessing if a Cat is a Liquid Advanced Science

    A liquid is traditionally defined as a material that adapts its shape to fit a container. Yet under certain conditions, cats seem to fit this definition.

    This somewhat paradoxical observation emerged on the web a few years ago and joined the long list of internet memes involving our feline friends. When I first saw this question it made me laugh and then think. I decided to reformulate it to illustrate some problems at the heart of rheology, the study of the deformations and flows of matter. My study on the rheology of cats won the 2017 Ig Nobel prize in physics.

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    Ruckus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Don’t blame me for that.
    I can actually cook and would never be involved with such an abomination.
    Besides it’s Texas A&M. They wouldn’t have me.

    ETA I do have to admit that saltines are tasty during a storm, when you are afraid to eat what the cooks have been leaning over for a while.

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    Eric S. says:

    @Major Major Major Major: When Ozzie the Cat curls up between the back of the couch and my torso he’s very liquid.

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    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Hardtack is … an experience.

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    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike J: I’m going to go with one of the major causes of observation errors in political polling in this case. The people being polled are providing answers to the people paid to make the survey calls that don’t actually align with the actual views of those being surveyed. They don’t want to be thought of as bigots by the anonymous people calling to survey them, surveyors who don’t know who these people are that they’re surveying. So they say they’re not supporting Moore. Or that they’re supporting Jones. When in reality they’re supporting Jones. Happens all the time with political attitude polling.

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    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: I am aware.

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    Mike J says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Possible, but also possible that winning begets winning.

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    NotMax says:

    @Adam L> Silverman

    By any chance developed a taste for SOS?

    ;)

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    Mike in NC says:

    @raven: Finally got the chance to see the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force outside Savannah (Pooler, GA) about six months ago and absolutely loved it. Next up will be the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, FL, perhaps in February. In my 30 years in the Navy Reserve I only flew desks and drove ships.

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    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: I’m not a cannibal and if I was, Tillerson would not be my first thought for an appropriate meal.//

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    Jeffro says:

    It’s worth remembering that if Trumpov were a Democratic POTUS, and was publicly disregarding 17 US intelligence agencies about Russian hacking and meddling in the election* but believing Russia’s despotic hostile ex-KGB dictator when he says ‘not me’, he would already have drowned in tar and smothered in feathers at the hands of righteously angry Republicans. And rightly so.

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    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Eatibus Rex.

    :)

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    @Eric S.: Samwise is surprisingly illiquid for a cat.

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    Mike in NC says:

    @BBA: Both Woodrow Wilson and Donald Trump would probably place “The Birth of a Nation” near the top of their favorite film lists.

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    NotMax says:

    @Mike in NC

    Dolt 45: “Needs more tits.”

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    Eric S. says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I just got home from dinner. We are on the couch. I’m providing the belly rub, Ozzie is providing the purrs.

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    @Eric S.: Samwise is on the edge of the futon staring at the wall…

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    Mike in NC says:

    There was a 1996 French film called “Capitaine Conan” which dealt with fighting various Bolshevik groups in parts of Eastern Europe after WW1. Saw it years ago at the Kennedy Center. Yes, the ‘War to End All Wars’ never really ended.

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    OT: My phone was going crazy with notifications, someone was designating a bunch of my pics on Flickr as favorites.

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    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: That’s quite the complainbrag.

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    Adria McDowell says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Social desireability bias.

    ReplyReply
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    efgoldman says:

    @Ruckus:

    it’s Texas A&M. They wouldn’t have me

    Why not? It was good enough for Goodhair.

    ReplyReply
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    Lyrebird says:

    @raven: belated Happy Bday / Many Happy Returns! Thank you for posting that wonderful picture of you and your bride & two puppies. Very good wishes to them and you.

    ReplyReply
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    Adria McDowell says:

    @BBA: I had a history professor once argue that we (the US) should have entered the war on the side of Germany (he felt that the British were the aggressors in that conflict). That was an interesting lecture, to say the least!

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    @Adria McDowell:
    I had to think about it for a minute, because it’s never really been raised to me, but I agree we should not have gotten involved. There were no good guys in WWI. All the major powers and most of the minor powers were pushing for a war of conquest. It was not WWII.

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    @Major Major Major Major: It just kept going, and going, and going.

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    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Mm, yeah, I’ll bet that was super frustrating 🙄🙄🙄

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    germy says:

    Tonight we saw WWII veteran Harry Belafonte give a speech. There were questions from the audience.

    Belafonte told a story about the week he guest-hosted the Tonight Show. He said two of his guests were MLK and Bobby Kennedy. When we got home, I searched youtube. I figured those shows were probably erased by NBC years ago, but I found these clips. Some powerful talk from both guests, about poverty, voting rights, drugs and equality.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmauhsmcY2c

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGmP5mCfoQo

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    NotMax says:

    Sidebar: WW1 and computers.

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    NotMax says:

    @germy

    Related story. Good reading.

    ReplyReply
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    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I disagree. It was, at a certain level, a war between countries that, at least, aspired to democratic values and those that did not. Russia, as always, being the exception.

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    germy says:

    @NotMax: Interesting! Thanks.

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @schrodingers_cat: And then WW2 pretty much finished the entire empire. Then we kinda took their place, but in a less overt way.

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:
    Hell, even in WW2 the line between good and evil blurred sometimes. The major reason the Western Allies are the good guys and the entire war is considered “good” is because it was mostly a defensive war (because the Nazis sucked at economics and had to loot other countries). Also the Holocaust.

    I will say this: the Allies’ vision of the world was a far better one than the Axis had.

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    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @germy: The “Bridge Too Far” was over the Rhein. Roy Moore’s bridge is over the Vistula.

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    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The two World Wars were basically a European Civil War, in two phases, and ultimately outsiders (the Americans and the Russians) were the victors.

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    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Also the Holocaust.

    You need to stop. Just stop.

    ReplyReply
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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Her point was Britain betrayed the Raj (India) by not granting it Dominion status for its war efforts. I pointed out that Britain, despite winning WW2, got what it deserved by losing its status to the US. I don’t see how my point was incongruous with hers.

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    NotMax says:

    @Villago Delenda Est

    Edmund Pettus, please pick up the very, very white courtesy phone.

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    What did I do? I didn’t mean to sound flippant about it. The Holocaust was a horrible event in history where at least six million people were systematically killed by a ruthless racist regime. I didn’t mean to make light of it.

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  69. 69

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: @Omnes Omnibus: WW2 was literally a war where the bad guys wore skulls on their uniforms and played soccer with the heads of children, and the good guys were led by a kindly old man in a wheelchair.

    ReplyReply
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    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @NotMax: Point taken, but my observation is based on geographical distance. :D

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    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: No, you said that the US took over. Not the same thing.

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    Ruckus says:

    @efgoldman:
    I was trying to be nice. I’ll stop now.
    It’s really that I’ve been to Texas a number of times. That was enough.

    ReplyReply
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    Mike J says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The Rhine doesn’t go through Eindhoven.

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    Adria McDowell says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: He based his position solely on the Lusitania incident. He felt we should have remained neutral prior to that.

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Technically we did. Or least we took it’s place as the most powerful and influential nation on Earth.

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    the good guys were led by a kindly old man in a wheelchair.

    So you’re saying the Allies of WW2 were the X-Men of history?

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    Adria McDowell says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: “Hell, even in WW2 the line between good and evil blurred sometimes.” The only example of this I can really think of is Finland.

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    CNN alert says “Trump downplayed his past skepticism of Russia’s meddling in the US election, saying he sides with current American intelligence agencies over Putin.”

    Guess somebody found the thorazine and shoved a statement in front of him.

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    Amir Khalid says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    The Japanese attempt to conquer Asia wasn’t part of any European war.

    ReplyReply
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    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Amir Khalid: No, it was not, but it can be viewed as a separate concurrent conflict, too. As far as the European Theater was concerned, it was Europeans fighting amongst themselves.

    ReplyReply
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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adria McDowell:
    The Bombing of Dresden?

    ReplyReply
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    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mike J: But it does go through Arnhem…the Bridge Too Far.

    ReplyReply
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    Adria McDowell says:

    @Amir Khalid: Dingdingding!

    Personally, I think one can make a damn good argument that WWII started with the Japanese occupation of Korea. Or with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.

    ReplyReply
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    Origuy says:

    @schrodingers_cat: David Olusuga, a Nigerian-British filmmaker, made a documentary for BBC called “The World’s War” about the Indian, African, and other non-Europeans who fought in WWI. It’s on Netflix right now.

    ReplyReply
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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adria McDowell:
    Wasn’t (Nationalist) China apart of the allies?

    ReplyReply
  86. 86

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: ISTR that the firebombing of Tokyo was the single deadliest day in WW2, if you want to go for that sort of example.

    ReplyReply
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    Adria McDowell says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Germany was a pretty clear baddie in WWII, and a lot of people saw this as a justification for that. I’m not sure I agree with that stance, but there it is.

    Also, Japanese cities got firebombed- many people would have made the same arguments for those actions there. Again, not sure I agree with that stance.

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    NotMaxn says:

    @Adria McDowell

    Astonishing to us, but this was taken as documentary evidence by the general public at the time.

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    @Adria McDowell: I tend to agree, the occupation of Korea was the beginning.

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    Adria McDowell says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Yes. I’m not sure the reasoning behind your question, though.

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    Adria McDowell says:

    @NotMaxn: WOW.

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adria McDowell:

    Germany was a pretty clear baddie in WWII, and a lot of people saw this as a justification for that. I’m not sure I agree with that stance, but there it is.

    Oh no argument from me. Nazi Germany was about as close as to evil as you can get, although going by the number of people killed, didn’t Stalin’s USSR has a worse record (the Holodomer)?

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adria McDowell:
    Just asking.

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    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Where are you going with this?

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    Adria McDowell says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Not much daylight between Hitler and Stalin in my mind!

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Although, now that I’m thinking about it- if we are just going off of Japanese expansionism, then the Japanese occupation of Taiwan counts. But that might be going too far back.

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    hitless says:

    @NotMax: Not much of one. I always thought it was a Scandinavian thing, as my Swedish grandfather actually ate the stuff. If you consider other elements of the cuisine like lefsa and lutefisk, you can understand why it seemed to fit in…..

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    No where really.

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    Amir Khalid says:

    I don’t get the argument that Stalin is eviler than Hitler because he got more people killed. Had Hitler the opportunity to kill the same number of people, he wouldn’t have hesitated any more than Stalin did.

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    frosty says:

    @raven: Including my wife’s uncle Mo, who piloted a B-17 that lost an engine on takeoff … two weeks before the war ended.

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    @Adria McDowell: Japanese expansion into Korea occurred long before the formal annexation in 1910.

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    Amir Khalid says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Japan and Germany were in cahoots on this. Had the Axis powers won WWII, I believe there would still have been a Cold War, but between Asian imperialists and European/Western fascists.

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    frosty says:

    @Mike in NC: We stopped on our way to Florida last winter and my wife got a chance to help fill in their database with some info on her uncle, and see some info on his unit.

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    The Central Powers were pretty clearly the aggressors in World War 1, and by 1916, Germany was basically a military dictatorship. More, their occupation policies really weren’t very different then than they were 25 years later. They effectively turned Poland and Lithuania into a giant slave labor camp and starved out the population. America joining the Allies was absolutely the right call.

    I also strongly part ways with the conventional wisdom about the Treaty of Versailles. The problem isn’t that it was too punitive; it’s that it wasn’t punitive enough, compounded by the Americans and the British hanging the French out to dry by refusing to enforce it.

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    Citizen Alan says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Shitgibbon could never enjoy a silent movie. It would require him to

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    And as long as I’m tilting at windmills, the conventional take on British generalship during World War 1 as being wildly incompetent is also completely baseless. They actually went about solving a fiendishly difficult problem in a quite methodical, and successful, fashion.

    The evolution of offensive trench warfare, both technologically and tactically, is fascinating. The Germans and the Western Allies came up with dramatically different approaches. Contrary to what a lot of military history buffs think, the Anglo-French developments were much more sound and effective than were the German.

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    Adria McDowell says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Oh, no. Mao was a big asshole. The Chinese managed to hold off on their own little civil war until the Japanese were out. Something the Russians couldn’t do in WWI.

    @Amir Khalid: No doubt.

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    Citizen Alan says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Shitgibbon could never enjoy a silent movie. It would require him to@🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    I had always thought (but would be happy to be corrected by someone more knowledgeable) that there was a genuine historical question as to whether the Holodomor was the result of intentional genocide or just grotesque incompetence and ignorance in putting people who had absolutely no understanding of agriculture in charge of, well, the whole region,s agriculture.

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    Pogonip says:

    Adam, I am dropping by to wish you and Cole a good Veteran’s Day. Better late than never!😊

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    frosty says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: I read a recently published book on the last 100 days of WWI where the author said that the allies got the offensive tactics of artillery, armor, and air nailed down and broke the German lines. It sounded something like the invention of blitzkrieg, actually.

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    Citizen Alan says:

    Hmmm. WordPress really seems to hate me tonight for some reason.

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    jc says:

    Mike Pompeo is not to be trusted. Rachel Maddow explained a few nights ago that he is a Trump ally, and he can throw a monkey wrench into the Meuller investigation by refusing to share Intell with Meuller’s team, which would severely hamper their work.

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  115. 115

    @frosty: The Allies had solved the intellectual problem of offensive trench warfare by the end of 1916, though it took a bit longer for industry to be able to produce the volume of artillery tubes and shells necessary to make it work. The addition of tanks added a further wrinkle, though this wasn’t really anything that even vaguely resembled blitzkrieg warfare. Indeed, the primary value of tanks at that stage was in the initial assault rather than exploitation, something that tanks were too slow and mechanically unreliable to contribute to. Rather, their greatest value came from their ability to crush and dismantle masses of barbed wire, which drastically shortened the length of the necessary bombardment prior to an attack. This allowed Allied attacks to gain some element of operational and tactical surprise. Cambrai was a test of this.

    The efficacy of British offensive tactics gets obscured by some unfortunate events over the course of 1917. David Lloyd George decided that he preferred to wage war against the British Army rather than the Germans, which both starved the BEF of manpower and produced roadblocks that greatly delayed the offensive in Flanders. That, combined with the early arrival of the rainy season, left the 2nd and 5th Armies in an untenable position three-quarters of the way up the ridge to the Gheluvelt Plateau and thus to the tragic and costly, but also successful, final attacks of the Third Ypres campaign that immortalized the idea of wasteful generals conducting futile attacks.

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  116. 116
    Yutsano says:

    @Amir Khalid: 16 million people died in the concentration camps, including the vast majority of German and Austrian Jewry. Hitler was almost right on par with Stalin on deaths.

    And then there’s Pol Pot. Cambodia still lives with those scars.

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  117. 117
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Pogonip: Thank you, but I’m not a veteran. I was a civilian contractor when I was deployed to Iraq because the Army program I was part of was an experiment and all the civilians had to be contractors under the rules for that kind of program minus a few civil servants actually running things. And I was then a term appointment civil servant under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act.

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  118. 118
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: Versailles only postponed the inevitable. The Brits and the French basically told Wilson to fuck off with all this “self-determination” nonsense and split up the German overseas territories and the Ottoman Empire amongst themselves. Versailles also so very wisely was harsh and made a revanchist government in Germany more likely rather than less.

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  119. 119
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I’m with you. The main difference was that Stalin was in power longer and had more opportunity to kill people, not that one of them was better or worse. Hitler just got stopped sooner.

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  120. 120
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jc: Maddow is not exactly correct on that. Mueller’s office inherited the Joint Counterintelligence Task Force that Comey set up. While DCI Pompeo moving the Agency’s counterintelligence section directly under the Director of Central Intelligence as a direct reporting unit within the Agency is concerning, if he suddenly shuts off Mueller’s access he’s going to have huge problems. The bigger worry is that there are things that have been compartmentalized from the President, folks within the Executive Office of the President/White House staff, AG Sessions, some members of Congress, and, because of his involvement with the transition, perhaps DCI Pompeo himself, in regard to the counterintelligence investigation. And that DCI Pompeo will try to break that compartmentalization and then take his information to the President out of loyalty to him. If this were to happen he’d be right in Mueller’s crosshairs. He’d also find his stuff about himself being leaked to the press. And it won’t be the US intel community doing the leaking.

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  121. 121
    Paul M Gottlieb says:

    Adam, if you haven’t already read “The Vanquished: Why the First World War Failed to End,” By Robert Gerwarth, I can’t recommend it enough. Immensely informative, is somewhat depressing, reading

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  122. 122
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Paul M Gottlieb: Thanks. I’ve got it and am almost done. I’ve been going through it slowly because it is helping me clarify several different strands I’ve been tugging on for several years for work. I linked to it in the original post and linked to my post from April where I referenced it and quoted from it.

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  123. 123
    Duane says:

    @Major Major Major Major: His revised statement was as worthless as any other he makes. A lame attempt to appease his current intel staff, who must be fuming. The thorazine sounds like a good idea.

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  124. 124

    @Villago Delenda Est: The Treaty of Versailles (which pertained only to the peace with Germany; the peace with the other Central Powers were different treaties) didn’t ensure a revanchist German government, because by the time it was signed, the Germans had already made their revanchism perfectly clear. Short of actually occupying Germany and forcing change upon them, as the Allies did in 1945, producing a German polity that accepted that they had lost the war was not within the power of the Allies. Rather, they needed to produce a peace that preserved the balance of power.

    The lack of self-determination for German minorities was necessitated by this requirement. The Sudetenland was absolutely essential for Czechoslovakia to defend itself. Since the Germans made it clear that they did not consider Czechoslovakia a legitimate country within any boundaries, giving them possession of the mountains that surrounded the Bohemian plain would have condemned the Czechs to being entirely at the mercy of Germany, as proved to be the case when the Allies abandoned them in 1938. The same was true of the need for Danzig to serve as a port for Poland, though for economic rather than military reasons. German intransigence spelled the doom of their near abroad minorities hope for joining with them.

    Reparations were also necessary for balance of power reasons. Germany was largely responsible for turning a regional conflict into a continent wide one, and then the war in the west was fought almost entirely in France’s industrial heartland. Aside from the damage the French economy suffered directly from the war, the Germans deliberately sabotaged mines as they retreated, and carted factories back to Germany wholesale. Meanwhile, the German economy suffered almost no physical damage. A peace without reparations would have constituted a significant shift in the balance of power towards the country that was both the aggressor and the loser of the war. And, as a percentage of the defeated country’s GDP, the reparations imposed by the Allies in 1919 were smaller than what the Germans had imposed on France in 1871. The French made it a point of national pride to pay theirs back ahead of schedule; the Germans decided to ruin their own economy rather than fulfill their obligations.

    The German commitment to a magnanimous peace began the instant they lost the war and not a moment sooner. The writers of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk had no business complaining that someone else being harsh with them. The generals that perpetrated and ran Ober Ost had no moral grounds for complaining that their own population was treated unfairly. The reaction to the Treaty was largely an exercise in Germany’s capacity for self-pity.

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  125. 125
    ThresherK says:

    Anyone else watching Indy Neidell’s Youtube series in WWI? It’s a “this week, a century ago” series I find has the room to open up and breathe with detail.

    How.does it jibe with history for others here?

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  126. 126
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @frosty: The Allies Hundred Days Offensive was only possible because of the preceding German Spring Offensive. Which itself was only made possible by the reassignment of troops made available because of the collapse of the Russian front and was forced into action by the threat of the arrival of significant numbers of US troops.

    The Spring Offensive was a last ditch throw of all available German resources against the Allied line. When it failed to break the British line and allow a flanking of the French lines, the Germans were left with very little to face the Allied counterattack in the Hundred Days Offensive, which essentially broke them.

    As to the quality of Allied leadership, the top levels of the Allied Command, French, Haig, Joffre and Foch were inflexible, unimaginative and dominated by considerations of class and privilege over military effectiveness. A common feature of early Allied offensives was that soldiers were required to attack and hold enemy positions beyond the reach of their own artillery. Indefensible positions from which they would inevitably have to retreat. These generals took this as a failure of “spirit” in the men and would repeat the process over and over, creating the huge causality lists for which WWI is known.

    The kind of tactical advances that eventually made the final Allied strategic planning possible, came from field commanders such as Monash and Currie. Certainly not from their superiors.

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  127. 127
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The Brits and the French basically told Wilson to fuck off with all this “self-determination” nonsense

    It might also be worth noting that given the US presence in the Philippines, San Juan, Haiti, and Cuba, the Europeans thought that Wilson was being a trifle hypocritical and precious.

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  128. 128
    TenguPhule says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Point of order, he also treated Japanese Americans like shit.

    They lost their homes, their businesses and other property to racist whitebaggers. They were imprisoned without cause or trial. AND NEVER GOT ANY JUSTICE.

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  129. 129
    TenguPhule says:

    @Duane: Cyanide would be better, provided Pence got a dose too.

    /My aunt had to put one of her dogs down yesterday. She’s devastated. So I’m in a bitter mood tonight.

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  130. 130

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    As to the quality of Allied leadership, the top levels of the Allied Command, French, Haig, Joffre and Foch were inflexible, unimaginative and dominated by considerations of class and privilege over military effectiveness. A common feature of early Allied offensives was that soldiers were required to attack and hold enemy positions beyond the reach of their own artillery. Indefensible positions from which they would inevitably have to retreat. These generals took this as a failure of “spirit” in the men and would repeat the process over and over, creating the huge causality lists for which WWI is known.

    This simply is not true. The British generals categorically were not unimaginative and inflexible. This conventional wisdom has been demonstrated to be entirely false by scholars such as Paddy Griffiths, Robin Prior, and Trevor Wilson. Yes, they initially overestimated the capabilities of their troops on a number of axes. This manifested in the disaster of 1 July, 1916. Yet, even by 3 July, they were demonstrating the capacity to learn.

    British small unit tactics evolved drastically in a short period of time. The advance in lines disappeared almost within a week, and by 1917, British attacks were unrecognizably different. Rather than company skirmish line, they used four man fire teams operating in a diamond formation, each consisting of two riflemen, a bomber, and a Lewis gunner. They also learned big picture items, especially not outrunning their artillery coverage. They learned how to integrate infantry and artillery into a cohesive force. They mastered the creeping barrage and effective counter battery fire.

    Casualties remained high, because the fundamental nature of the problem they faced was deeply resistant to the technology available at the time. Man portable radios didn’t exist, so once German artillery had cut all of the telephone wires to the front, commanders had no way to communicate with their subordinate units, and had no idea where to direct reserves. (Incidentally, the primitive state of communications is also why generals couldn’t position themselves at the front; doing so would have meant that they were unable to follow the battle at all.) Barbed wire was a serious obstacle, and until tanks became plentiful, absolutely necessitated long preliminary bombardments, thus eliminating surprise attacks. Effective counter battery fire only became possible with effective flash and sound ranging capabilities.

    John Monash and Arthur Currie were both high quality generals, but they were in no way unique. Henry Rawlinson, Herbert Plumer, Edmund Allenby, and Julian Byng are all names that spring to mind, and there were plenty of others. In addition, the Candian Corps and the ANZAC Corps were governed by rules, especially dealing with replacements and lack of dilution, that British formations were not and that made them more effective than they otherwise would have been, but those rules extended to the entire British Army would have made expansion impossible.

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  131. 131
    J R in WV says:

    @BBA:

    I went to a Woodrow Wilson High school, and Wife went to a Woodrow Wilson Junior high school.

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  132. 132
    ThresherK says:

    @J R in WV: My mom went to Warren Harding HS. Talk about “built at the wrong time”!

    When did naming schools after a sitting president stop being a thing? Aside from Obama, which recent prez are folks falling all over themselves to put on buildings?

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  133. 133
    Christopher H says:

    The Suffet ‘reply’ is dreadful.
    Inserting the claim that they did, indeed, play the pipes lowly is so absurd as to be discreditable. The point of Bogle’s original was its reminder that most of the nine million dead, and overwhelmingly most of those in the war grave cemeteries, were recovered dog tags or pieces never properly buried at the time.
    Inserting the claim that Willie McBride – of whom Suffet knows nothing: the name is not that of an actual grave – fought not for empire but for ‘freedom’ is an insult to the colonies who paid for their munitions and rations and uniforms at the inflated price demanded by the empire, sent their youth to destruction for the preservation of that empire, and whipped up jingoism in ways that anyone willing to read can verify. Perhaps, among the millions of dead, there were some motivated by ‘freedom’. Certainly many were motivated by hatred of the ‘Hun’ and many more were motivated by many more discreditable reasons.
    But only the modern school of revisionists, defending Haig’s butchery by treating his self-serving memoirs and sanitised diaries prepared with an eye to future Haigiography, and defending the war by whitewashing the vicious records of their preferred colonial powers, can pretend that there was a side in WWI that stood for, and a side that stood against, freedom. You might as well pretend that Russia before the revolution was something less than the total police state to which it returned after it.
    As to the artistic merits of Suffet’s performance I would reserve opinion – the content may affect my appraisal.

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  134. 134

    @Christopher H:

    But only the modern school of revisionists, defending Haig’s butchery by treating his self-serving memoirs and sanitised diaries prepared with an eye to future Haigiography, and defending the war by whitewashing the vicious records of their preferred colonial powers . . .

    This is a gross misrepresentation of what modern scholars have done.

    . . . can pretend that there was a side in WWI that stood for, and a side that stood against, freedom. You might as well pretend that Russia before the revolution was something less than the total police state to which it returned after it.

    Yes, Russia was certainly an autocratic state. Nevertheless, to pretend that there wasn’t a difference between the two sides is delusional. By 1916, there was no country within the Central Powers that even vaguely resembled a democracy. German conduct in the territories they occupied, especially in the east. While the colonial policies of the Allies was awful and hypocritical, it at least rose to the level of hypocritical because they were fighting for justice somewhere. The same cannot be said of their opponents.

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  135. 135
    Fair Economist says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym:

    And as long as I’m tilting at windmills, the conventional take on British generalship during World War 1 as being wildly incompetent is also completely baseless. They actually went about solving a fiendishly difficult problem in a quite methodical, and successful, fashion.

    Yes, absolutely. What most people don’t realize is that the tactics used at the end of the war to defeat trench warfare like rolling barrages and combined arms were mostly developed by the British. They actually had them working at Passchendaele, to the point that the German were concerned about having a major defeat, but they got stopped by the early arrival of fall rains.

    That said, the Allies had markedly inferior artillery to the Germans and that was a major problem until tanks and tank tactics were developed enough, which wasn’t until late 1917. At the Battle of the Somme, the main British piece was not much more than half the size of the main German one.

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  136. 136
    Cermet says:

    Over fifty years ago, it was commonly taught that WWI set the stage and ultimately caused WWII. Glade historians are looking more into this well known aspect of WWII.

    No issue with Confederate soldiers getting makers but flags of traitors should never be flown.

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  137. 137
    Fair Economist says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym:

    The Treaty of Versailles (which pertained only to the peace with Germany; the peace with the other Central Powers were different treaties) didn’t ensure a revanchist German government, because by the time it was signed, the Germans had already made their revanchism perfectly clear.

    That’s not true at all. The Weimar Republic accepted the military restrictions and was about as well-behaved as any government at the time. Germany didn’t become revanchist until Hitler took over.

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  138. 138
    Cermet says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: WWI was never about democracy – that is complete non-sense. Yes, one side was more democratic but the fight was focused upon who would be the dominating world power and be able to exploit colonies & their resources. It was also about which country would dominate Europe’s potential (really markets) now that the region was fully industrialized (western Europe, mainly) and an vast population was demanding higher living standards and who ever dominated the resources to sell to these European industries would be the economic power. WWi was and always was about these issues – democracy was never a focus just mainly propaganda.

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  139. 139

    @Fair Economist: The Freikorps had already made their presence felt During the Spartacist Revolt, which preceded the final terms of the treaty, the Social Democratic government had already shown itself dangerously dependent upon the military and the extreme right wing for its survival. These forces had been looking to overturn the German defeat in the Great War since before even the Armistice was agreed to. While the Ebert government was on its best behavior, it was clear that no one could depend upon its good intentions to guide Germany.

    To say that Germany didn’t become revanchist until Hitler took over is so wrong I have a hard time believing that you wrote it.

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  140. 140

    @Cermet:

    WWi was and always was about these issues – democracy was never a focus just mainly propaganda.

    It wasn’t the focus, and it was never the war aim of Britain or France, but democracy and some basic human rights, were an ancillary, if unintended, element. By 1916, Germany was a military dictatorship with an ineffectual facade of democracy that was deliberately starving the population of most of eastern Europe. An Allied victory was the only hope for democracy east of the Rhine.

    That Germany threw away the opportunity that defeat offered it does not change that.

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  141. 141
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: I never said anything about all British generals, I said that the top of the command structure was moribund and hidebound. By the end of the war, as a matter of survival, field commanders were not. It was with them that the improvements in tactics originated and on which the strategic planning of Foch depended in 1918. Haig had no great enthusiasm for tanks, but he finally tolerated their presence because they produced results when placed in the hands of imaginative commanders. He had no idea what to do with them himself.

    I mentioned Monash and Currie as examples of these kind of commanders, not to the exclusion of the others you mentioned.

    The fact is that Haig and Foch throughout 1916 and 1917 were responsible for ill-considered offensives that should never have taken place and persisted with them to the point of irresponsibility. These in turn weakened the front and encouraged German counter offensives. This is why they should be regarded as incompetent butchers.

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  142. 142

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    The fact is that Haig and Foch throughout 1916 and 1917 were responsible for ill-considered offensives that should never have taken place and persisted with them to the point of irresponsibility. These in turn weakened the front and encouraged German counter offensives. This is why they should be regarded as incompetent butchers.

    And this is absurdly wrong. The learning curve was necessary. Had they not fought offensives in 1916 and 1917, the battles of 1918 would have been fought without the experience that had been gained. The Somme and Third Ypres were necessary to eventual success.

    One can argue that the Somme campaign went on past the point where it should have been closed, but that again depends upon hindsight. The British didn’t grasp how steeply late autumn offensives would decline in efficacy until they had been tried.

    Passchendaele was a different matter. Haig didn’t really have any choice but to continue the offensive into the bad weather. The rains came early, and. as I said, caught the British about three-quarters up the ridge to the plateau. Remaining where they were for the winter was completely untenable; the Germans would have maintained the complete advantage of the heights, but to an even greater extent given the relative positions. Haig had two choices: he could continue the offensive until the British reached the plateau, or he could have withdrawn and given up all of the ground that had been gained over the preceding months and probably more. The latter course would have had deleterious effects upon morale and would have left the British in a worse position than that in which they had started. Continuing the offensive, even in the horrific mud, was not only a defensible call, it was the right one.

    The Passchendaele offensive is not responsible for weakening the British line to the point of encouraging the German spring offensive, even if one does not account for the fact that the German casualties were nearly as severe as the British, more so if you consider that the Germans could afford the casualties less. The primary culprit there was Lloyd George and his refusal to send replacements from Britain. That’s why Haig had to juggle where he was going to leave the line inadequately guarded.

    As for encouraging the German attacks, that had little to do with it. The primary motivation for those offensives was the impending arrival of the Americans, not any perceived weakness in the British lines. The secondary motivation was German hubris in believing that they had superiority on the Western Front after defeating Russia. In fact, they didn’t. Encouraging German offensives would have been a good thing, had the high command even realized that was possible. The successive offensives greatly weakened the Reichswehr, especially given their tactical approach which ensured that the overwhelming bulk of the casualties were concentrated among their best troops,

    Douglas Haig was not a great general. However, he wasn’t the gross incompetent that you and a lot of others want to believe. There really was no alternative to fighting on the Western Front and learning the craft of offensives through practice.

    I have no idea where your animus against Ferdinand Foch comes from, because you don’t seem to know much about what he was actually doing. He wasn’t responsible for deciding whether to engage in offensives until he was made Supreme Commander-in-Chief in early 1918. Joseph Joffre was the head of French forces in 1916. He was replaced by Robert Nivelle in December of that year, who was in turn replaced by Philippe Petain after the failure of the Chemin des Dames offensive. At that point, Foch became Petain’s chief of staff, and supported him in having limited, if any, offensives.

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  143. 143
    JR says:

    @Amir Khalid: it’s basically an antisemitic argument.

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  144. 144
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym:

    The learning curve was necessary. Had they not fought offensives in 1916 and 1917, the battles of 1918 would have been fought without the experience that had been gained. The Somme and Third Ypres were necessary to eventual success.

    The idea that any competent commander would require two years and several hundred thousand casualties in order to learn how to fight a war is a remarkable one.

    He wasn’t responsible for deciding whether to engage in offensives until he was made Supreme Commander-in-Chief in early 1918.

    I’ve already made reference to Joffre. Both he and Foch were responsible for the debacles at Artois and the Somme in 1916 and as a result Foch was sacked by Joffre, who himself was sacked several days later.

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  145. 145
    Kay says:

    I went to the Veteran’s Day observance at the our school Friday because I’m on a school committee and we’re invited. Pre-k thru 12 in the gym. It was supposed to be outside but it was 20 degrees with a cold wind so they moved it indoors. My son is a freshman so he’s been going to these since he was 4 years old. This is a conservative area and this event, frankly, is very pro war(s). I’m sure they don’t intend that and it could be planned differently and I don’t have any ideas for how it could be done differently but my son said he thinks we’re “indoctrinating little kids”. I pointed out to him that he was a little kid who attended this thing for years and he seems to have formed an opinion that it’s too rah rah war so maybe he should give the little kids credit – they won’t be that indoctrinated if he’s any indication- but he was really pretty upset and he’s generally easy going. I was thinking about it because my own father was a kind of “veteran dissenter”- he is a WWII vet – he was drafted at the tail end of the thing and never left the US- he did his entire term in Washington state and Texas- but he hated it and he wasn’t shy about telling us “oh, it was horrible, couldn’t wait to get out of there”. I was sort of scandalized by this as school age kid, that he was so different from what I perceived to be “the norm” – I didn’t really approve of it at the time, made me think he was weird. He IS kind of odd- but I chose to believe what was presented in school and I was almost annoyed he was complicating this narrative I had been presented with.

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  146. 146
    debbie says:

    @Kay:

    my son said he thinks we’re “indoctrinating little kids”

    He’s right. It’s always been that way. The history I was taught in grade school through high school was all white washed. America could do no wrong.

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  147. 147
    Kay says:

    @debbie:

    But the people who say this are dissenters so everyone else is successfully indoctrinated except them? I don’t know- maybe 30, 40, 50% of the kids are sitting there thinking “well, this is whitewash”. The indoctrination isn’t taking very well if that’s the case.

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  148. 148
    Adria McDowell says:

    @debbie: @Kay: Unfortunately for my kid, there will be no whitewashing of history in my house. I’m just waiting until she gets to a grade where they start hitting history hardcore. They don’t cover it much in kindergarten.

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  149. 149
    debbie says:

    @Kay:

    My comment disappeared, so a shorter version: I think kids have developed a skepticism I never had. I think this is a very good thing.

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  150. 150
    Kay says:

    @debbie:

    Because I’m on this committee I was once again struck with how hard it is to run a good school. It’s really difficult! All these people with varying needs and levels of ability! OMFG it’s like rocket science, but harder because there are no “right” answers. I guarantee there were people there who thought it wasn’t patriotic enough. It’s like being told to conduct an orchestra except everyone in the orchestra will be choosing their own piece to play.

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  151. 151

    @Viva BrisVegas: Yes, actually, it does take a long time to learn how to fight a war to the best of an army’s capabilities. Not just the commanders, but for the tactical doctrine to filter down to the lower levels. In the case of the British in World War 1, that was exacerbated by the fact that they basically had to create an army out of nothing. The BEF as it existed in the summer of 1914 was in no way a continental army. It had no doctrine for fighting in that manner, and it was too small, especially after its heavy casualties in 1914, to provide any sort of cadre from which to build an army. The forces that went over the top on 1 July, 1916 were essentially beginners. The British experience in WW1 is quite similar to the Americans’ in World War 2; the two forces took almost exactly the same length of time to achieve a high level of professionalism, for many of the same reasons. It was a level of competence that the Americans never managed during World War 1.

    Yes, it is true that Foch was sacked by Joffre, though whether that was merited is an open question. That has nothing to do with what you claimed, though, which is that Foch was that “. . . Foch throughout 1916 and 1917 were responsible for ill-considered offensives that should never have taken place and persisted with them to the point of irresponsibility.” Foch wasn’t responsible for the fact that there was an offensive on the Somme or how long it lasted. He was sacked because Joffre thought that he had carried out an offensive that Joffre ordered poorly. The command decision to carry out the offensive was almost entirely Joffre’s; the Somme wasn’t a campaign that Haig especially wanted to fight, but Joffre insisted on it in order to relieve pressure at Verdun. And Foch had no command responsibility at all in 1917.

    Aside from which, overall, Third Ypres was a success on the merits. It achieved its objective of opening up the Salient and depriving the Germans of high ground from which they could dominate the area with artillery. For all of the casualties and stress it inflicted on the British, the consequences for the Germans were worse. There never was a way to win the war without suffering massive casualties in horrific conditions. The only way to avoided those was to have not fought the war at all, but that was never something within Douglas Haig’s purview.

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  152. 152
    debbie says:

    @Kay:

    And the real problem is that most aren’t willing to see there might be an alternate answer that would be better for the kids. My way or the highway! I know I couldn’t work in that kind of atmosphere. I couldn’t keep myself from shooting my mouth off at the most inopportune times!

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  153. 153
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @BBA:

    It’s never a bad time to say fuck you to Woodrow Wilson, but on this anniversary of a needless bloody war that Wilson needlessly got the United States into and proceeded to fuck up the peace accords worse than any treaty before or since, it’s especially appropriate to say FUCK YOU, WOODROW WILSON.

    I won’t argue with the Klan loving piece of shit, but a Germany dominated Europe under Kaiser William III wouldn’t have been in the US’ interests, not to mention all the money that the UK and France owed Americans banks that would have been defaulted on would have been it’s own mess economically. As for the Peace Treaty – the Germans blamed both the English and the French for the sere viciousness of it – considering that it lead directly to WWII those English and French leaders who pushed for the treaty had every reason to shift the blame to Wilson as an naive idealist.

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  154. 154
    hueyplong says:

    I also disagree with ripping Wilson for his handling of WWI, though I’m totally on board for consigning him to hell for his intense racism, flamboyantly expressed in his love of Birth of a Nation (“history written in lightning” or something to that effect). He’s the last Democratic president who would have accompanied the others of that ilk in the move to the modern Republican party.

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  155. 155
    Fair Economist says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: Saying Weimar was revanchist because they fought communists with the Freikorps is like saying the US in 1946 was pro-communist because they had fought WW2 with Stalin. The Freikorps and Weimar were bitter enemies and the Freikorps supported attempts to overthrow them.

    Prior to the great depression, Weimar had about the same range of politics as any other democratic country. If it had not been for the GD, Weimar would probably have ended up just fine, because that is what gave Hitler his chance. Even with the GD, if the German Communists hadn’t gone “Nach Hitler, uns” the Social Democrats would have followed Roosevelt and all would have been fine.

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  156. 156
    Fair Economist says:

    @hueyplong: Wilson is a very mixed bag. His racism was horrific but I agree he made the right decision on WWI, and his economic policies were sensible and progressive. Imo he is in a similar position to the slaveholding founding fathers, although he did make thing worse with racial justice while they mostly just supported the status quo.

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  157. 157
    Annie says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym:

    This, this, this, and thank you. I have never understood why anybody outside of Germany accepted the Germans’ argument about their unfair treatment under the Versailles treaty, especially considering Brest Litovsk and the German treatment of France after the Franco Prussian war. It’s trash on the same level, and for the same purpose as Ludendorff’s stab in the back nonsense.

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  158. 158
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Eric S.:

    In case you check back (I went to bed) — it was an “antifascist” march.

    ReplyReply
  159. 159
    Christopher H says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: ‘By 1916’ there was no central power that was a democracy. Indeed. And what has that to do with justification for the conflict two years earlier?

    Before WWI began, Germany had universal male suffrage for a parliament with only small control over the (appointed) executive. England had limited (property qualified) male suffrage for a parliament with rather more, but certainly not modern, control over the executive.

    By 1916 neither side of the conflict had anything resembling working pluralist democracy.

    And what has that to do with the appalling falsehood of claiming that either side, in going to war or in maintaining it, represented the interests of human freedom?

    ReplyReply
  160. 160
    Breezeblock says:

    Not buying this sung reply to Bogle. The Easter Rebellion was fought for a reason. Bogle’s song stands, if not more so.

    ReplyReply
  161. 161
    Marc says:

    Disparaging troops is not new for the gop. Dubya & Co did it when Abu Ghraib news broke. They did it to Kerry.

    ReplyReply

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