Turning Points

A couple of weeks ago, this blog passed a quiet milestone. I really enjoyed past five years but I don’t know what to make of this. It has taken five years, and this is the big one. There are no other milestones to  hit.

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A hundred years ago today, two archducal lives were cut shot in a remote barbarous corner of the world. A month later, the world was engulfed in a conflagration it could neither have imagined or comprehend. It was the last war of the pre-industrial age, and the first war of the age of assembly lines.

The war claimed sixteen million lives, maimed twenty million more. It was deadlier still when taken into account the pandoran tragedies it unleashed, from rise of the Soviet Union to economic depression to Hitler’s Third Reich. We covered that pivotal moment of June 28, 1914 back in 2009.

The black and white photo above does not to much justice to awe and terror the German advance portrayed in the photo might have caused in France and Britain. Within a month since the declaration of war, the German were almost to Paris; they wore uniforms of faint gray — a color almost impossible to identify in snipers and binoculars. (This camouflage was especially effective at the time when the French were wearing conspicuous hussar colors of dark blue and red pants). And they loudly sang “Fatherland, My Fatherland” in absolute rhythm and beat as they advanced across Belgium.

At Mons in August, the British fought their first battle in Europe since the Crimea War. It was a moral victory where an outnumbered British coups managed to withstand the German advance for 48 hours, but a strategic retreat. British propagandists swiftly compared it to Agincourt. But it would take another disastrous battle, at Marne, in September to stop the advancing Germans.

Soon winter set in. Defying financiers and economists who predicted that the war would have to be stopped when gold reserves run out, and disappointing their footsoldiers who expected to be home by Christmas, the generals and politicians dug in — literally — into four years of trench warfare.

12 thoughts on “Turning Points

  1. I found several references to the song “Fatherland, My Fatherland” in articles describing the Germans marching into Belgium. But I can’t find any more details about this song. Is it the German national anthem or some other song?

    • The Song (Or Hymn) in Question is called by different names in various places. Its actual name is, “Bayernhymne : Or, Hymn of Bavaria”. Since there is a healthy tradition of one upsmanship among Germans of different provences, it has sometimes fallen to a landkris song like The Bayernhymne, that it will be labled with a more national title so that men of different regions will sing it together without angst and therefore with more gusto, Ergo: “Fatherland, My Fatherland” (actually, “Vaterland, Heimatland, Vaterland”). The link below, though sung by a coral group, has all the elements, however, one can only wonder how it must have sounded when sung by a victorious German army on the march with the lyrics below.

      The lyrics to the song as sung by the German Army in Question:

      Vaterland, Heimatland, Vaterland!
      Wir haben dem Führer geschworen
      Zu kämpfen für Volk und für Reich.
      Wir sind nicht zu Knechten geboren,
      Wir fühlen mit allen uns gleich.
      Und wenn der Ruf erklingt,
      Treten Mann für Mann
      Mit den Waffen an
      Für die Ehre,
      Aus tausend Kehlen dringt
      Frisch von Mut beschwingt
      Unser Lied über Land und Meer
      Vaterland, Heimatland, Vaterland!
      Wir sind im Leben und Sterben verbunden.
      Reicht, Kameraden, euch die Hand,
      Eisern und treu steht uns’re Wehr.

      Vaterland, Heimatland, Vaterland!
      Aus Fernen klingt deine Stimme zu uns her.
      Und stolz soll’n deine Ahnen sehn
      Der Söhne Mut im Krieg.
      Wo immer uns’re Fahnen wehn,
      Verkünden sie den Sieg.

      Your Obt. Svt,
      Col. Korn,
      Chief O’ Mayhem, In the Great WW-2 (An tha Cold War)
      Currently Chief O’ Security, Sanitation an the Complaint dept.
      OXOjamm Studios.

    • A hundred years ago today, reptile dinasty Windsor started one of its periodical cognate nastinesses….

      “I grobovi naši Bečom će se borit’ / Po dvorovima šetat’ i plašit’ gospodu / A grobovi naši Evropi će zborit’ / Jugosloven mora dobit’ slobodu!”

  2. A thousand posts very cool. You page is one that I really enjoy. When I first found you, you had done several hundred. I have now gone back though them all. Very nice.

  3. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and interesting,
    and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head.
    The issue is something that too few people are speaking intelligently about.

    I’m very happy I came across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

  4. Congratulations on your 1000th post. I discovered your page recently and have gone back to read every post. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve expanded on my history context greatly. Thank you

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