Friday, November 27, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today is Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day, a day set aside to honor, thank, and generally indulge the true heroes of this Republic. But few know the history of this day and why it was chosen.

During the early part of the 20th Century there was a terrible war the likes of which we had never seen before. The full power of industrialised Europe was put to the prosecution of a conflict that should never have happened. Agents acting on behalf of a country called Serbia assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. The Austro-Hungarians readied their army to tech Serbia a lesson that had been long in coming. Serbia went running to it's ally Russia, who began a partial mobilisation and sent a warning to the Austro-Hungarians to back off. Austria-Hungary went to the Germans who were their friends and the Germans told Russia to back off and began their own military preparations. There the matter would have stood but France told the Germans to stop threatening Russia. That made the Germans decide to act against France and informed little Belgium that they were gonna use Belgium's territory to get at France. That caused England, who had guaranteed Belgium's territorial integrity, to advise Germany to abandon the idea. The Germans went ahead with their preparations and on August of 1914, the German Army invaded little Belgium, whose Army fought like lions but stood no real chance of stopping the Germans. Meanwhile, the Russians made good their promise to help Serbia and handed Austria-Hungary a series of sharp defeats, which a caused Germany to send troops to help. By September of 1914 the Germans, French, British, and Belgians were locked in the agony of trench warfare after the fluid movement during August where both sides tried their hardest to get to the sea. In the East there were stable lines but many great battles remained to be fought.
Four years later in the west things had scarcely moved despite the arrival of American soldiers in their millions, the development of tanks and aircraft that were used to such astounding effect by the British at the Battle of Amiens in early 1918 (an astounding 8 miles of advance where previously advances were counted in yards)but both sides were desperately looking for a way to end the war. After the failure of Operation Michael the German Army had nothing left to launch offensives with. The French Army had seen the morale of it's troops slump so low due to casualties and the cavalier spending of their blood that the Army had briefly mutinied in 1917. The French Army would return to the field and gain some impressive defensive victories but their will to attack and sustain large losses was gone. The British were themselves facing declining troop numbers mainly because of the disaster on the Somme in 1916, where 58000 troops were lost in one morning. Only the Americans had the strength, the will, and the spirit to take the offensive. The US Marines added another battle honor in Belleau Wood, although they lost 10000 men in the process.
Germany however was looking for a way out. Her civilian leaders contacted President Wilson of the US and asked for a meeting to discuss terms. Meanwhile the slaughter continued while the German delegation stared at the armistice documents and the terms contained therein. They were aghast but had no choice because Berlin had told them to do so.
So on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour the Germans accepted the terms and the guns fell silent. At first the soldiers were baffled and had no idea what to do. After ducking and dodging shells and bullets for so long the sudden silence must have been deafening. But once the troops figured out what had happened the roar was deafening: millions of voices raised in relief and joy that the Great War was finally over.
So today spare a thought for all soldiers past and especially present. Buy them a beer and listen to their stories. and if you are brave enough, hug one. Tell him or her that you are proud of them, that you love them, and that you hope they come home for good soon.
It is a small enough thing but means the world to them!

(I KNOW that I have truncated the history of the Great War but there are links below to aid you in understanding the details!)


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


To all my beloved Devildogs ass-kickers and heart breakers, have a happy 234th!

Semper Fi, Carry On

GET SOME!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009