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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Socks, Sütterlin, & Other Musings

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AI, Kurrentschrift, and Gertrud von Richthofen

A few years ago, I spent several months learning to read German cursive writing aka Kurrentschrift/Sütterlin. It took concerted effort, and much help from generous GWF members, to reach a level that I consider adequate, and in my opinion the learning process is still ongoing. But no worries, right? This is the age of AI. ChatGPT can read Kurrent for me! Here is a sample of what it's up against: Letter written by Christian Ahrens. Courtesy of Mick/GROBBY. That letter was wri

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

What's wrong with this picture?

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 However, it got me thinking: could AI be used to create fake historical documents, specifically photographs?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,

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

The Case of the Crucified Canadian

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

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

A German aviator at Bertrix

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

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

Learning to read Sütterlin

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

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

What did the war sound like to German soldiers?

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

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

Who were the Germans?

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

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

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