Friday, November 26, 2010

Heritage of the Great War

An interesting historical collection, including what's said to be some of the very first color pictures from World War I. This one's titled, "Verdun - Synonym for Inhumanity":


French picture made in 1916 in a trench near Verdun, Northern France.

The Battle of Verdun was the longest and one of the bloodiest engagements of World War I. Two million men were engaged. The Germans began the battle on February 21, 1916. In December of that year the French had regained most of the ground lost.

The Germans intended a battle of attrition in which they hoped to bleed the French army white. In the end they sustained almost as many casualties as the French: an estimated 328,000 to the French 348,000. The real figures are unknown.
Nowadays Verdun stands for everything that is cruel and savage in warfare. Soldiers on both sides lost their sense of humanity.
Actually, the Holocaust is probably a more important example of man's inhumanity. Verdun, as horrible as it was, illustrates the folly of fighting mass 20th century industrial warfare using battlefield tactics of the 19th century. The First World War was mechanized trench warfare for the calvary ethos. Offensive military doctrines were made instantly obsolete by the advantages of machine gun cover. Entire generations of fighting men were wiped out. But it wasn't the war to end all wars. The origins of war are found in the structure of the system and in the hearts of men, unfortunately. Nations will continue to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best, or lest they fall by the wayside.

HAT TIP: Blazing Catfur, "
Killed by Mustard Gas..."

French Army in the Great War."


Anonymous said...


As horrifying as WWI was, there was a WWII just a few years later.

Only the dead have seen the end of war.