1914

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The War to End All Wars is Here

Just a few words before we begin. This generation has been running at a furious pace believing that success is within its grasp. They're good enough; They're smart enough; and Doggone it... they don't give a CRAP what you think! [1] The safeties are off. The governors are disabled. Then it happens. For years world leaders have been dropping like flies to assassin's bullets, but the balance of power has changed. Mutual defense treaties (some of them secret) have been signed between the major European powers. Otto Von Bismark's cradle-to-grave social programs and building power base frightens everyone. Serbia harbors separatists who want Austria-Hungary to return Serbian territory. HOWEVER, the coming war is not the fault of a single leader or terrorist group. At any point the public could have called a halt, but they were no more willing to back down than their leadership. They call it "The Great War" or "The War to End All Wars". Millions are going to die. It's going to happen, and it will be more horrible than you can imagine. I mean that. [2] [3] [4]

Here we go.

Death to All Tyrants... or Maybe Just Death

The Great War will begin with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo by a disgruntled Serbian. Is the Archduke a tyrant? He's not a lot of laughs, but seriously, no. Not really. Is the assassin an anarchist? Maybe. In any case, he is one of six assassins planted along a prearranged and advertised motorcade route. One of the assassins throws a bomb, but it bounces off the car and injures others. On their return, the Archduke and Duchess want to visit the injured people at the hospital, but their driver never gets the memo. He follows the original route. One of the assassins is still in position, but he figures the operation is blown. Then the Archduke shows up, five feet away! The assassin steps up and fires twice. The Duchess is hit. The Archduke takes one in the neck. His last words are, "Sophie, Sophie! Don't die! Live for our children!" But Duchess Sophie is dead. The Archduke will be following soon. The assassin is 19 years old... too young for capital punishment. He takes a cyanide capsule, but it doesn't work. He tries to shoot himself, but witnesses wrestle the gun away. He will spend the rest of his life in prison... which will be another 4 years. He will die of tuberculosis. [5] [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
A metal plaque marks the spot today. The assassin, Gavrilo Princip (gahv-ree-low prin-sip), is considered a hero by the Serbians. They are considering restoring the home of his birth. [9]

Better Off Losing

Archduke Ferdinand is dead and a Serbian did it. It's war. Austria-Hungry is allied with Germany, and they know that if Serbia is hit, Russia and France will jump in to save them. France's Plan 17 calls for fast, deep strikes into Germany, so, logically speaking, the Germans must hit France first before the Russians bite the Germans in the... uh... rear. It will do no good to roll into Paris victorious if the Russians are burning Berlin behind them. To outflank the French forces, the Germans march through Belgium which has a mutual defense treaty with Great Britain. (Oh... Oh...) England makes vague noises, but as the German forces reach the Belgian border, the British unleash. The Germans are riding the tiger now. (That is, once you get on the tiger, there is no getting off until he is dead... or you are.) Certainly, the Belgians know they are dead already, so they open up with everything they've got. Bodies pile up like cord wood, but the Germans keep coming. The Belgians and the French are trying to buy time so that the Russians can save them. Indeed, the Russians are mobilizing more quickly than anyone expected... almost as if they were fully mobilized already... because they were. But the Russian forces are mauled by Hindenburg. 250,000 Russians are dead or captured. This isn't working out like it was supposed to, but if one side or the other could get one solid hit in... well... that's not going to happen. France wins this round, but by the end of the year 955,000 Frenchmen will be dead, and that is just for starters. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I highly recommend Dan's Carlin's 6-part series entitled "Blueprint for Armageddon". It is worth the time, and as of this writing, it is free. One other point...the war seemed romantic and exciting to these farm boys, but it became less so from this point on. [15]

Notable Births

  • Yuri Andropov (Chairman of the KGB and General Secretary of the Soviet Union's Central Committee.) [16]
  • Joe DiMaggio (Center-fielder for the Yankees and best known for his 56-game hitting streak.) [17]
  • Alec Guinness (Actor best known as Obi-wan Kenobi from the Star Wars movies.) [18]

In Other News

  • Babe Ruth makes his Major League debut. He pitches a winning game for the Red Sox. He also meets his first wife. [19]
  • The last Passenger pigeon dies. They once filled the skies. You shot in their general direction and you were bound to hit several. [20]
  • Goddard patents his multistage rocket. He also patents liquid rocket fuel. [21]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1914, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Stuart Smalley - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 8 December 2016. “'I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.'”
  2. Hart, Peter. Somme: The Darkest Hour on the Western Front, The. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 9780297847052. “Neither was the First World War the result of the machinations of a few politicians and their 'henchmen' generals. We should never allow ordinary people to abrogate their role in the genesis of Armageddon, either then or now. War in 1914 was the near-inevitable result of the frequently expressed wishes and prevailing attitudes of the British population--it was hence a national responsibility. Popular jingoism was certainly stirred then as now, by cynical politicians and morally opaque newspaper proprietors; however, it had its wellspring deep within the dark corners of the popular consciousness. The political imperatives of defending the bloated empire, the endemic racism and all-embracing casual assumption of moral superiority of the age, the overwhelming reliance on blunt threats to achieve what might have been better achieved by subtle diplomacy--these were all part of the British heritage in 1914. All social classes in the Home Country benefited to some extent from the operation of the global British Empire.” 
  3. Candace Fleming. Family Romanov, Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia, The, Schwartz & Wade Books. “Austria-Hungary was an empire made up of a group of provinces located in Central Europe. While its two largest ethnic groups were German and Hungarian, in 1914 there were also forty million Slavs--Poles, Croats, Bosnians, Serbians, Czechs, and Slovaks--living within the empire because their territories had been occupied by the Austrians. Most of these Slavic people hated being ruled by the Austrians. Burning for the day they would be free, some plotted to break up the empire and return the Slavic provinces to their rightful people.” 
  4. Barbara Wertheim Tuchman. Proud Tower, The. Bantam Books. ISBN 9780553256024. “The Grosse Politik approach has been used up. Besides, it is misleading because it allows us to rest on the easy illusion that it is "they," the naughty statesmen, who are always responsible for war while "we," the innocent people, are merely led. That impression is a mistake.” 
  5. Self-actualized - definition of self-actualized (2016). Retrieved on 9 December 2016. “intr.v. To develop or achieve one's full potential.”
  6. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 December 2016. “He was the first person to declare himself an anarchist and is widely regarded as one of the ideology's most influential theorists. Proudhon is even considered by many to be the 'father of anarchism'.”
  7. Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 December 2016. “Both victims remained seated upright, but died while being driven to the Governor's residence for medical treatment. As reported by Count Harrach, Franz Ferdinand's last words were 'Sophie, Sophie! Don't die! Live for our children!' followed by six or seven utterances of 'It is nothing,' in response to Harrach's inquiry as to Franz Ferdinand's injury. These utterances were followed by a long death rattle. Sophie was dead on arrival at the Governor's residence. Franz Ferdinand died 10 minutes later.”
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: Duchess Sophie was not an Archduchess for reasons having to do with the inheritance of the throne. It's complicated, but the Archduke loved her and refused to marry anyone else... so it remained complicated.
  9. Gavrilo Princip - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 December 2016. “There is still a plaque in front of the museum at the spot where Gavrilo Princip stood when he fired the shots. Bosansko Grahovo municipality has announced a plan to reconstruct Princip's birth house in Obljaj before the centenary of the assassination in Sarajevo.”
  10. Candace Fleming. Family Romanov, Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia, The, Schwartz & Wade Books. “On August 26, just weeks after the war began, 250,000 Russian soldiers marched into Tannenberg Forest. And the Germans, lying in ambush, mowed them down. In just four days, the Russians lost every single man--an entire army either killed or captured--and vast amounts of badly needed military equipment.” 
  11. Hart, Peter. Somme: The Darkest Hour on the Western Front, The. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 9780297847052. “The German war plan envisaged a violent thrust through Belgium to push on into northern France, swinging round behind the main French armies to seize Paris and thereby secure victory at a stroke. Meanwhile, a defensive front would be established in the East to thwart any attempted advance of the Russian 'steamroller'. The French Army had nurtured a blind faith in the powers of the offensive rather than its previous rather more pragmatic reliance on an immensely strong series of concrete forts, typified by those at Verdun, built to defend the Franco-German frontier. It would instead charge blindly forward into the 'lost' provinces of Alsace-Lorraine, forfeited in the aftermath of France's humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The results were predictable as the French, dressed in the brightly coloured red and blue uniforms more attuned to another age of warfare, were duly slaughtered by the weapons of the twentieth century. By the end of 1914 the French had suffered an incredible 955,000 casualties.” 
  12. Keegan, John. First World War, The. Vintage. ISBN 9780375700453. “The strength of the Belgian forts had alarmed Schlieffen and his General Staff successors. They were, indeed, immensely strong, subterranean and self-contained, surrounded by a ditch thirty feet deep. Infantry assault upon them was certain to fail. Their thick skins would have to be broken by aimed artillery fire, and quickly, for a delay at the Meuse crossings would throw into jeopardy the smooth evolution of the Schlieffen Plan. No gun heavy enough for the work existed at the time of Schlieffen's retirement in 1906. By 1909, however, Krupp had produced a prototype of a 420 mm (16.8 inch) howitzer powerful enough to penetrate the Belgian concrete.” 
  13. World War I - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 December 2016. “It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, and paved the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved.”
  14. Plan XVII - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 December 2016. “Though it was not 'a prescribed narrative for the campaign' or battle plan, the deployment made possible a prompt invasion of Germany and/or Belgium before Germany could mobilise its reserves, simultaneous to a Russian invasion of East Prussia. The plan was implemented from 7 August 1914, with disastrous consequences for the French, who were defeated in the Battle of the Frontiers (7 August – 13 September) at a cost of 329,000 casualties. The French northern armies were forced into a retreat as far as the Marne river, where in the First Battle of the Marne (5–12 September), the German armies were defeated and forced back to the Aisne river.”
  15. Blueprint for Armageddon I (PODCAST) (29 October 2013). “Length: 3h 7m. Size: 180.68 megabytes. Summary: The planet hadn't seen a major war between all the Great Powers since the downfall of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. But 99 years later the dam breaks and a Pandora's Box of violence engulfs the planet.”
  16. Yuri Andropov - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 December 2016. “Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov (15 June 1914 – 9 February 1984) was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.”
  17. Joe DiMaggio - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 December 2016. “Joseph Paul 'Joe' DiMaggio[a] (November 25, 1914 – March 8, 1999), nicknamed 'Joltin' Joe' and 'The Yankee Clipper', was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that still stands.”
  18. Alec Guinness - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 December 2016. “Guinness's role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy, beginning in 1977, brought him worldwide recognition by a new generation, as well as Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. In letters to his friends, Guinness described the film as 'fairy tale rubbish', but the film's sense of moral good – and the studio's doubling of his initial salary offer – appealed to him, and he agreed to take the part of Kenobi on the condition that he would not have to do any publicity to promote the film.”
  19. Babe Ruth - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 December 2016. “Ruth arrived in Boston on July 11, 1914, along with Egan and Shore. Ruth later told of meeting the woman he would first marry, Helen Woodford, that morning—she was then a 16-year-old waitress at Landers Coffee Shop, and Ruth related that she served him when he had breakfast there. Other stories, though, suggest the meeting happened on another day, and perhaps under other circumstances. Regardless of when he began to woo his first wife, he won his first game for the Red Sox that afternoon, 4–3, over the Cleveland Naps. He pitched to catcher Bill Carrigan, who was also the Red Sox manager.”
  20. Passenger pigeon - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 December 2016. “Passenger pigeons were shot with such ease that many did not consider them to be a game bird, as an amateur hunter could easily bring down six with one shotgun blast; a particularly good shot with both barrels of a shotgun at a roost could kill 61 birds. The birds were frequently shot either in flight during migration or immediately after, when they commonly perched in dead, exposed trees. Hunters only had to shoot toward the sky without aiming, and many pigeons would be brought down.”
  21. Robert H. Goddard - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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