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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

waffenlandser


Waffenlandser

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From time to time, I close my eyes and try to imagine who were the real villains of the Great War. History tends to look for the bad guys and so tries to lay blame for the terrible costs of war. Adolf Hitler won the tltle of the monster in WW2 and Stalin in prewar Russia.

Who were the villains in WW1, I ask myself. They were certainly not the battle worn Tommies who smilingly went into the slaughter of the trenches. Neither were they the German soldiers. They too were doing their duty and paid the supreme price for their patriotism.

As I read deeper into the history of WW1, I call the generals of that time the villains. These were feeble minded old men who applied the tactics of the Boer War and the Crimea to modern warfare.

As the saying goes today.

Field Marshall Haig was able to move his drinks cabinet one yard closer to Berlin as a result of the debacle on the Somme where a million casualties were sustained.

July 1st 1916 is yet another day that will go down in infamy, thanks to the blunders and short sightedness of the British high command. There was no honour or glory in that charnel house. Nothing was gained. No victory was achieved. The thousands of white crosses on the pastures of the Somme Valley bear mute testimony to the crime of the 20th century. Troops who were fresh and untrained spent all night slogging through the mud to their positions. They were over burdened with unecessary loads. The enemy was given ample warning of the attack. They sat sheltered in concrete bunkers and waited.

The Generals and Marshalls sat in chateaux miles to the rear and had cigars and brandy while the troops ate cold soup and biscuits in the mud and filth. They jumped off at 0730 and walked at a slow pace into oblivion. Entire neighborhoods were decimated thanks to the formation of Pals batallions. The cream of Brittain and her Empire were sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and stupidity. The front line commanders were given no latitude to make their own decisions. The arch villain, Douglas Haig insisted on a penetration in depth and not the "bite and hold" suggestions of his field commanders. The Marshals had lunch and drinks while the flower of England lay dead in heaps. The field ambulance system broke down completely and men suffered slow agonising deaths in the mud and on the barbed wire.

Instead of learning a bitter lesson from the first day on the Somme, the assinine folly was repeated day after day. The Ulstermen were one of the few to succed yet were abandoned and were wiped out to the last man. The wounded were left out in the open to die slow agonising deaths. The dead were left unburied for weeks. The shell shocked were called funks and shirkers.

and the Brass Hats had their sundowners and brandy and cigars.

Instead of the French bled white at Verdun, it was the British Empire bled white on the Somme.

I lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of the British high command. Leaders, as a rule, chosen not for their military brilliance, but for their political connections and the good old boy system of that time. What is even more outrageous is their hero worship by an adoring nation on Victory Day. Haig leading the parade on his white charger. He should have been publicly disgraced as the maker of widows and orphans and the grand executioner of millions of our youth.

So, yes. This thread is about a soldier. His name is Field Marshal Earl Douglas Haig. Let history write his epitaph.

haig.jpg

In 1923 he was given$100,000 by a grateful nation despite his wealth from his family business. I remember blind vetrans selling matches and shoelaces on the side walk in Cape Town or begging for food in their empty armed sleeves and legless pants. I remember the faces covered in linen masks clutching at the material in case the mask came off and revealed the gargoyle beneath to a population not prepared for this relic of the War to end All Wars

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Flabberghasted is all I can say....never thought I'd read this on this forum !

This was the kind of opinion on history taught when I was at school 30 + years ago.

Sorry but lets just agree to differ as I can tell by your passion you are closed to research done in the last 20 years or so which shed light on a lot of what you state as fact.

May I recommend Mud, Blood & Poppycock by Gordon Corrigan, 1st July by Andrew Robertshaw...the list goes on....

I spend most of my time when guiding on the Somme dispelling the myths surrounding 1st July in particular - Mud? - where? Everyone walked? come on please...!

I'm no fan of Haig but to place all blame on him & his Generals is just plain wrong. We were fighting an new 'industrial' war and things had to develop in the field with no previous experience.

Why do we need to pin the blame on a 'person' - because it makes us feel better? - or because it's right?

I was just going to 'not reply' to this posting - but my mind's been 'bothered' about it.

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My daughter, aged 13 at the time, was asked to write, as part of a home exercise, an essay on the topic "Was Haig a Butcher?". I'm relieved to say that she came up with a more balanced and objective view that these expressed in the original post. Can I respectfully suggest that even a modicum of reading of recently published books (by recent I mean anything written in the last 25 years!) on the subject may help moderate your opinion?

regards

Ian

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It's been a long time since I read such rubbish. The last 30 years of study and debate about the Great War appear to have passed you by, Enfield. I can only imagine you posted it to troll the Forum.

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I'm with the rest here, Some kind of 1920's opinion for me.

Blame culture....we should be beyond this by now.

A troll amongst us?

Regards

CT-Guards

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I don't suppose this could be an old friend in thin disguise? On second thoughts, I doubt it. We are used to much higher quality trolling than this. Very poor. Ask your library to renew their Great War stock.

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Other questions aside, what is the meaning/significance of the thread title: "Waffenlandser - for who(m) the bell tolls" ?

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Quote: So, yes. This thread is about a soldier. His name is Field Marshal Earl Douglas Haig. Let history write his epitaph.

Er....History is writing his epitaph...I'm very glad it is, so we don't have to rely on the ramblings of people wanting to dump the blame on someone to ease their pain.

I find the whole subject of history unpacking itself as the centuries pass to be fascinating...another example is the study of the English Civil War - no longer is it 'accepted' to regard Cavaliers (Royalists) as those having floppy hats and frills and the Roundheads (Parliamentarians) to be dour grey individuals.

The same kind of new 'reality dawning' is taking place with the multitude of myths and prejudices about the Great War today.

However, it all depends on how open individuals are to the new material - or do they dismiss it as modernist apologetics?

All Romans WERE from Italy weren't they!? :rolleyes:

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Other questions aside, what is the meaning/significance of the thread title: "Waffenlandser - for who(m) the bell tolls" ?

I also wondered about this and noticed the misquoted line from John Donne but didn't feel inclined to re-read the initial post to see if the explanation lay there.

regards

Ian

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Interestingly WaffenLandser is blocked on my (work) PC - it suggests links to extremist Nazi groups.

I suspect alterior motives for this post - maybe a total wind-up.

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Troll or not, I just object to this outdated nonsense being perpetrated under the honourable name of Enfield.

Regards

TonyE

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I would suggest Troll alert.................googled Waffenlandser & got gun sites & info related to Enfield rifles......................coincidence......... :glare:

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Military history seems to be one of the last bastions of the 'great man' or despicable villain view of history, all others seem to go along with the view that things were too complex to be down to one man. As for blaming all the deaths on Haig, why were the British there in the first place? Doesn’t the Kaiser and von Schlieffen have any responsibility?

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Troll or not, I just object to this outdated nonsense being perpetrated under the honourable name of Enfield.

Regards

TonyE

I agree. That Harry Enfield's funny...makes me laugh.

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They did like their cigars and brandy, those old generals.

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Thank you Mr.B, I knew I could rely on you for a knees up..Sorry, I meant wind up. Any more comments like that and I may be forced to mention the regimental history of a certain Indian army unit and militaria fairs in the same breath to Mrs.B.

Enfield Collector; on a more serious note, I am a slightly younger than you, but am still a war baby. Like you I went to a good school with a cadet corps commanded by a WWI veteran, as were several of the other masters. All seemed in perfectly good health. Like you, my grandfather served (and survived) four years in France.

Of course, when I was a child there were some poor maimed and disfigured souls from the First War, but I do not remember the haunting images that you describe. Perhaps things were different in South Africa compared to the London I grew up in.

I also have some problems with your chronology. I looked at your previous posts, and in your very first post you say that your interest in WWI commenced in 1999 when you read your first book about the war and realised the horrors that occured. Yet in the same thread a few posts later you said the picture you use for your avatar was obtained at Tyne Cot in the eighties. Are we to understand that you visited the battlefields then but had no understanding of what you were looking at?

Regards

TonyE

An unashamed revisionist

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never heard of the word 'waffenlandser'

Cnock

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Thank you Mr.B, I knew I could rely on you for a knees up..Sorry, I meant wind up. Any more comments like that and I may be forced to mention the regimental history of a certain Indian army unit and militaria fairs in the same breath to Mrs.B.

I laugh at your threats and click my fingers at your taunts.

She already knows :(

But I agree with your thoughts on this thread: seems to me the Collector has a slightly economical with the truth approach to his own history, let alone that of the Great War. Still, who knows, if he stays with the Forum and reads the threads such as the current Machine Guns at Mons one (as a random example plucked from thin air), he may see that there are ways views can differ politely, but at the same time lead to members reaching a degree of change of opinion.

Where is the Governor of California these days, anyway?

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I read this thread when it had no replies and thought I wouldn't dignify it!

I must say I am very surprised that it has been given so much attention.

The comments in post 1 are not in my opinion made by someone who has seriously studied the subject.

Tyneside Chinaman

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The replies to my thread are not unexpected. I am not a troll, trying to get a rise out of the regulars. The greatest disaster the British army has ever sustained in its glorious history was planned and executed by her generals and Field Marshall. The blame for the slaughter rests squarely on their shoulders.

You can call me a skinhead and a troll, but that does not hide the truth. I have heard there were calls in the UK to remove the statue of Earl Haig from its present position in London.

You can all google me and pore through my few threads. I have been studying WW2 history for decades and only relatively recently have I really started studying the Great War. My late grandfather fought at Delville Wood. He was among the lucky to be present at Roll Call. He eventually paid the price and was yet another victim of blundering and stupidity.

So. You dont blame the leaders. Ok. Who do you blame then? Do you write off 60,000 casualties in one day as just the normal expenditure of war. So called expected wastage, or do you try to find out the reasons why this terrible price was paid for so little gain.

Yes I do subscibe to gun forums and gun auctions. I am proud to collect the rifles of the British army and be their curator and pass them on to history. A little more solid than exhaling a lot of hot air on forums. The so called misquotes from the 1920s are in fact the truth. Ask the occupants of the semi detached houses of Hull, Liverpool, Barnsley and Accrington for the truth. Ask the orphans and widows for the truth. Finally. Ask the silent gravestones on the Somme for the truth.

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I have visited the battlefields of Europe since 1955. Mainly tracing the steps of my late Dad who actually fought in the British army from 1940 to 1945.

My interest in the carnage of 1914-1918 started much much later. I only really got into the details after reading Lynn MacDonald and Robert Graves. I am no Nazi, so if Waffenlandser is blocked in your work PC, its not me. In the BBC documentary on the Somme, post 1920 actually, the blame for the butchery was laid squarely on the commanding Generals. Generals like Inky Bill and the hundreds of senior officers above the rank of Major, who had the guts to join their men at the front were the exceptions. Haig was very good at blaming his underlings like Rawlinson who was sacked and disgraced. Its time history disgraced the right man.

Oh. Lets not forget the soldiers who were executed as desrters and cowards.

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I'm with the rest here, Some kind of 1920's opinion for me.

Blame culture....we should be beyond this by now.

A troll amongst us?

Regards

CT-Guards

A troll is one who posts under multiple nicks and deliberately tries to create friction and unpleasntness on a forum such as this. I do neither. This post is a genuine attempt to delve into history and do some unmasking of the truth.

Attack my message and not me. If calling me names helps you deal with the truth, then its shame on you.

This post helps bring honor to the British soldier of 1916 and not disgrace. I am neither pro German or pro British. Both sides paid heavily.

South Africa, unlike the UK had no Chelsea Pensioners. There were few hospitals for rehabilitation. South Africans were not so directly affected by a war 5000 miles away. Her youth went off to die for a Brittain they hardly knew. There was not the adoring and grateful population waiting for the wounded and maimed. Private organisations like Saint Dunstans and the MOTHS, looked after the blind and the limbless, hence the presence of disabled ex servicemen on the streets begging to stay alive and support their families.

Regards.

Waffenlandser.

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