Throughout World War I, Germany sent out rigid dirigibles, also known as Zeppelins or airships, to terrorise their foes across the English Channel and to destroy military targets. The success of this campaign was questionable. Although German bombs set towns like London, Loughborough, and Great Yarmouth alight, they missed many crucial targets and Britons were not easily cowed; Arthur Balfour, First Lord of the Admiralty, said in September 1915 that "Zeppelin raids have been brutal; but so far t
If you were paying close attention to the Soldiers and Their Units subforum last week, you may have been present for the excitement of this thread. A spammer posted a picture of a character from a video game set during the Great War and asked for help identifying "his relative." The ruse was discovered soon enough and the thread locked. However, it got me thinking: could AI be used to create fake historical documents, specifically photographs? I spent the last three days figuring out the basics,
During the war, rubber was in short supply in Europe. Submarine warfare complicated marine trade and merchant vessels were converted for military service, meaning that they could no longer service the civilian economy. A chronic shortage of materials like coffee, leather, wool, and rubber ensued. These shortfalls were felt around Europe, in neutral countries as well as belligerent nations.
In Scandinavia, smugglers recognised this golden opportunity and seized it. Throughout the war, contra
During the war, knitters from around the world made millions of socks and other garments for soldiers serving at the front. Today, two assumptions about this work dominate the popular view: firstly, that knitting was the exclusive purview of women and girls; and secondly, that socks were knitted one at a time by hand. However, the truth is more nuanced. The need for socks was so great that two-at-a-time sock techniques, crochet, knitting machines, and men were drafted into service to supply them
In 1918, Norway was in trouble. World War I was raging across Europe, and although this Scandinavian backwater zealously guarded its neutrality, the conflict could not be kept entirely at bay. The war cut the country off from the maritime trade that had sustained it for centuries and Norway descended into a period known as dyrtiden—literally, “the expensive time.”
On 13 January, a new rationing system came into effect. It limited the purchase and consumption of sugar, coffee, grain, and fl
WITH THANKS TO ALL THE CONTRIBUTORS IN THIS THREAD, ESPECIALLY CHARLIE2 AND JWK. Please see this post for the spreadsheet, compiled by JWK, containing the names of almost all the German POWs who came to Norway.
And without further ado...
When the Great War began in August 1914, Norway had been an independent country for less than a decade. The young nation’s government immediately issued a declaration of “absolute neutrality.” While there was no guarantee that the Great Powers would re
Although the topic of the crucified Canadian has been discussed ad nauseum on this forum, this apparently dead horse rears its head every few years and we gleefully rush to beat it again. This article is an attempt to collect disparate parts of the discussion into a single place. While it is extensive, however, it is not exhaustive.
The broad strokes of the story are simple: In April 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres, Germans soldiers crucified one of their Canadian opponents
During the war, women knitted millions of socks for soldiers. The task of ensuring the quality of these socks fell to organisations such as the Red Cross. To guarantee "a perfect standard of sock for our boys," they faced more challenges than you might imagine.
“The best reason for knitting for the soldiers is that it is hardly possible to make an uncomfortable hand-knitted sock,” wrote a Canadian journalist in 1915. In fact, as anyone who has ever knitted a sock (or attempted to knit one)
22 August 1914 dawned foggy and grey. Nevertheless, "Lieutenant J" and his observer boarded their airplane for a reconnaissance flight that took them from Sedan in France over the Belgian border. North of Bertrix, heavy rain forced them to descend to an altitude of 1000 m -- within range of French artillery. A barrage of gunfire ensued. Lieutenant J was hit first in the chest and then in the head; as the plane careened downwards, the observer "turned around and saw him lying there dead with a bu
Over the course of the past 18 months, I have acquired several pandemic skills. Most of them are of questionable utility. I doubt that any prospective employer, for example, will care that I have learned to make lasagna from scratch or knit Shetland lace. (Of course, who knows. My next job could be at a yarn shop, in which case the ability to make beautiful and complex shawls might be a major asset.)
By far the most arcane skill that I acquired, however, is the ability to read Sütterlin. In
When the Great War began, radio was not used for civilian broadcasts, film reels were silent, and sound recording devices were too cumbersome to take into the field. As far as I have been able to find out, only one audio recording from the battlefield was ever made: “Gas Shell Bombardment” by William Gaisberg in 1918.
However, the authenticity of the Gaisberg recording has been debated for decades. It is now thought to be the result of careful engineering rather tha
Who were the Germans of the Great War? “Hard people to beat,” observed the American surgeon Harvey Cushing in his journal from the Western Front; “big, strong, cheerful, and well-fed” too. Though he noted the names of seemingly all the Allied soldiers with whom he crossed paths, he never mentions the name of a single German, instead referring to them with all manner of pejoratives. One can hardly fault him; to Cushing they were the enemy who caused the carnage that he witnessed in Belgium and Fr
During World War I, knitters from Allied nations produced millions of socks, caps, scarves, and sweaters for military use. American Red Cross volunteers knitted nearly 24 million garments; Australian knitters sent 1.3 million pairs of socks overseas. These efforts are often described as “knitting for victory.”
German (and Austrian) women also knitted for their soldiers. Given the course of history, one cannot say that their work served the cause of victory. Perhaps for this reason, t