One hundred years ago, the Allies, Britain, France, America, Canada, Australia, and men and women from the colonies of the British empire, fought against “Die Kaiser Reich”, German expansionism into central and western Europe, and Russia.
Men, and a few very brave women, from the empire, volunteered in their millions. Unfortunately, the death toll of WW1 was, including civilian casualties, around thirty seven million individuals, killed as a direct result of the war.
The “Meat Grinder”,as the Tommies* called it, especially in the battle for the Somme, as well as Paschendale and Ypres, consumed the lives of fit and patriotic young men, for often little or no gain, especially at the beginning of the conflict.
The Somme was unique though, in landscape, in the spectaculary horrifying and madness-inducing barrage of artillery fire which both sides were capable of, and in the barbarity and seemingly arbitrary manner of what was, for the first time in history, industrial scale slaughter of men by men, for political ends.
New technology was developed as the war wore on, more sophisticated and efficient ways to murder each other arose as a consequence of the needs of the conflict itself, each side unwilling to contemplate defeat in any shape or form.
The red poppy was the first flower to bloom after the war was over, in the hundreds of thousands, in the monument to carnage that those blood-soaked fields had become. We wear our red poppies with the humility of the benefactors of their courage, not with the pride that is eternally theirs.
The red poppy is the symbol of our dead, who lay in the fields of France, and many of whose remains still lie in the fields of France, they who grow not old, but whose names and deeds we remember, and honour.
The horrible truth of WW1, as I see it, is that the British had no business being in the war in the first place. Our sympathy, and strategic concerns, meant that we tried to help the French save their country from permanent occupation, and with the help of all of our colonial allies, we succeeded.
The cost, which must include WW2, is one which I doubt we, the allies, need have paid. If we hadn’t entered into the conflict in 1914, there would have been no reason for the failed architect/painter from Braunnau am Inn, to be elected to any office of power.
All of that is hindsight, I know, but an interesting idea nonetheless.
We need to honour our fallen, in order that we remember why their sacrifice should never turn out to have been in vain. We also need to follow their example, and be a little bit braver in calling out the danger when it appears.
Nobody won the first world war, everybody lost. Britain never recovered.
“Tommy Atkins” was the everyman of WW2, Tommy Robinson is the everyman of the current struggle against colonisation by a hostile ideology, to wit, Islam, “radical” or otherwise. The apparently “peaceful” or “moderate”, is like the ocean washing against the cliffs, slowly wearing them away, pretty much unobservable, unless you’re attuned to the zeitgeist.
Are we going to sell the possible future short?
Looks like it so far.
The election of Donald Trump, and the vote for Britain to Leave The EU, have been the most encouraging signs that some of us at least, have been, and are, trying to save western civilisation, from those who would, first deconstruct it, and thereby then destroy it from within, and simultaneously do everything they can to encourage it’s destruction from without.
In summation then. My own attempt to convey the horror of the useless conflict that was WW1, is rendered, as best I can, in the following piece of prose, “Unsung Heroes”, written by me some years ago, in 2011. I beg your indulgence in commiting it to this article as a sort of post-script. To all the men who fought, We, the many, have lived in liberty, because of the sarifice of the few of both world wars, let us all honour their sacrifice, by keeping the Torchlight of Liberty burning.
With darkened eyes,
Weary and blinded,
Some without their boots,
Mud bearing and stained,
With grief’s filthy marks,
Death following on behind,
That has taken so many,
To its cold and cheerless bosom,
No voices in this caravan of desolation,
No cheery songs of King and nation,
Just tired old men of twenty one,
Shocked to silence,
Rent to the very core,
Their youth destroyed,
By the nightmare of filth and sorrow,
That death-scape that is the soldiers destination,
Who now would raise a cheer ?
Who would fly some banner high ?
Only a heartless fool,
Or a civilian.
Categories: UK Politics