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Tony Grist

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A Centenary [Aug. 4th, 2014|12:03 pm]
Tony Grist
I've had the origins of the First World War explained to me many times and I can never hold them in my head. They're not memorable- and if they're not memorable it could be because they were never sufficient. One thing I'm pretty sure of is that the web of alliances that drew in country after country wasn't the sort of thing that the man and woman in the street cares anything about. An Austrian Archduke gets shot in Sarajevo. Shame for the family and all that but otherwise, so what?

I think the real cause was something like this- that if you fill a continent with armies and navies and refrain from laughing when your leaders strut around with dead bears and tin pots on their heads sooner or later some particularly stompy individual with waxed moustaches is going to want to see if the armaments he's been sold by Mr Krupp and others actually do what it says on the tin.

Today is the 100th anniversary of Britain's entry into the War. The powers-that-be want us to turn our house lights off at 10.00 this evening in reference to something the particularly incompetent Home Secretary of the day is supposed to have said at the time. Well,they would, wouldn't they? he was one of them: short on the negotiating skills, always ready with a Virgilian one-liner.

And there you see the benefits of a classical education!
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-08-04 11:26 am (UTC)
I think the lights already went out quite some time ago.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-08-04 11:49 am (UTC)
I don't really understand this as a gesture of respect. It seems such a random thing to do.

And another thing- Fuck Sir Edward Grey.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-08-04 11:53 am (UTC)
Just looked him up. He sounds like Tony Blair.

Another dangerous sociopath, born into it, like Kitchener.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-08-04 12:31 pm (UTC)
Kitchener was a brute.
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From: cmcmck
2014-08-04 11:28 am (UTC)
My late FiL fought throughout that war (Old Contemptible) and the other one. His first action was at le Cateau- pretty much the first British action of WW1 and his last action was being involved with breaking down the gates of Kz Belsen at the end of WW2.

He never wore a poppy.


We won't be turning off our lights in order to show him some due respect.

Edited at 2014-08-04 11:29 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-08-04 12:27 pm (UTC)
One of my grandfathers went through the War- as an officer in the Leicesters- only to be killed by an incompetent surgeon in the 1930s. The other was training with the RAF when the War ended.
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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2014-08-04 12:41 pm (UTC)
I had one grandfather in the Navy, and the other was a Conscientious Objector.

The only positive thing I know about Kitchener is that he invented a very useful knitting stitch for the making of socks. (There may be others.)

Edited at 2014-08-04 12:42 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-08-04 01:11 pm (UTC)
That humanizes him....
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From: artkouros
2014-08-04 12:13 pm (UTC)
Wars had always been so much fun before - who could know this one would be such a mess? I'm just glad they all learned their lesson.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-08-04 12:30 pm (UTC)
The Armistice was signed and no-one went to war ever again.
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[User Picture]From: charliemc
2014-08-13 10:18 pm (UTC)
Truly a war without basis, if ever there was one. No matter how hard people try, they can't make it sound a bit 'romantic'...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-08-14 07:06 am (UTC)
David Cameron tried telling us the other day that it had been a "war for freedom" which only goes to show that he doesn't know anything about it.
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