Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ANZAC DAY: Lest we forget.

[Image from Charles Sargeant Jagger's Artillery Monument at Hyde Park Corner, London.]

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

Aye, we should never forget the massive cost of war. Nor should we forget the reasons for going to war.

And sadly, the nationalistic jingoism of the time muddies the reasons behind WWI. So let's recap:

England entered WWI alongside France because Germany invaded Belgium in an attempt to out-flank the fortifications on the Franco-German border. And when the Belgium army, under the able leadership of their King, resisted the German encroachment onto their territory the German army unleashed a brutal wave of terror on the unarmed civilian population in an attempt to cow the Belgians and suppress their will to resist their adsorption into the Germanic Empire.

There is a lot of twaddle talked about chivalry in WWI. Bugger all is spoken of the mass executions and kidnapping for ransom undertaken by the German army as part of their strategy to overpower Belgium on their war to defeat France as an opening gambit in what they saw would be a wider war to aide their Austro-Hungarian allies against Serbia and its ally Russia.

The nationalist jingoistic nonsense spouted by those who enthusiastically joined the colours on the eve of the war does not excuse the fact that Germany -- through the Schleiffen plan to prevent a two-front war against Germany -- deliberately expanded a conflict in Serbia by invading Belgium, attacking France and then dragging Turkey into the war by forcing the Dardenelles and placing Istanbul under the guns of the Goeben and the Breslau.

And given the nature of the German's actions in Belgium, we should be glad that someone opposed them. even though the manner in which they were opposed leaves much to be desired.

The question as to whether Australia and New Zealand should have joined in remains open. Certainly it was a European war, though given the threat posed to England by German hegemony in Europe (remembering the size & effectiveness & proximity of the Imperial German Fleet) -- our ally -- I doubt that Australia and NZ could have justified staying away for long.

Again, the way in which the war was conducted isn't being debated here. The morality of opposing the Germans and supporting Britain in 1914-1918 is.

4/26/2007 03:20:00 am  
Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

PS: Strictly speaking the sculpture was created by Charles Sargeant Jagger M.C.

He served as an officer in the Worcestershire Regiment

http://www.worcestershireregiment.com/wr.php?main=inc/norton_barracks

"He served with the 4th Battalion in Gallipoli, where he was wounded, and afterwards with the 2nd Battalion in France and Flanders. In April, 1918, be commanded “D” Company of that Battalion during the defence of Neuve Eglise, and fought with great gallantry, stopping the enemy’s advance and successfully bringing the remnants of his Company out of action after the troops on his right and left had been overwhelmed. He was again wounded in that battle, and his bravery was rewarded with the Military Cross."

4/26/2007 03:24:00 am  

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