Cool, Boss . . . thanks.
(I'm not clever about tracking such things down on-line.)
There was a little brouhaha on Pinterest about that site not giving credit to the FB site. Made it easy to track down.😎
The European Film Gateway gives access to around 3'000 historic films (and images and texts from selected collections of 38 film archives across Europe) related to the First World War: >EFG1914 project<
The Western Front defined:
The Western Front was a military theatre of World War II encompassing Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany. World War II military engagements in Southern Europe and elsewhere are generally considered under separate headings.
Western Front (World War II) - Wikipedia
"Gueules cassées, Versailles. 28 juin 1919"
These five face wounded were present when the Germans had to sign the peace treaty on 28 June 1919 in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles.
Never before had so many people been exposed to such incredible brutality: Of the 60 million men who were under arms during the "primal catastrophe of the 20th century", about ten million died. Those who returned alive from cruel battles such as Verdun or the Somme were often broken in body and soul.
Experts estimate that 11 to 14 percent of the mentally and physically handicapped suffered severe facial injuries. For France alone, this was between 10,000 and 15,000 men, as historian Sophie Delaporte has reconstructed. German figures vary considerably, between just under 50,000 and around 100,000.
Armsice signers. Foch second from right.
Left of Foch in the photo (on Foch’s own right) is the senior British representative, Sir Rosslyn Wemyss. On the right is Admiral George Hope.
Interesting thread. Thanks to those who contributed substantive posts to it.
The perspective of time has added to the connectivity of World Wars I & II.. Indeed nearly all of the major forces and conflicts attendant to WWII can readily be traced to origins in WWI, and its direct consequences, and that is now widely understood.
Sadly WWI, for most of its participants, involved no real conflicts meriting, by any reasonable standard, the destruction of human lives and the wealth accumulated over centuries that resulted from this tragic conflict. Indeed the start of the 20th Century appeared to offer progress and prosperity throughout Europe. The Entente Cordial had ended a long period of mistrust and competition between the UK and France. From Russia to the UK economic growth appeared to offer real opportunities for the resolution of mutual long-standing social and economic divisions. As was previously noted in this thread, the various Royal houses on the continent were related, to varying degrees, offering the possibilities of significantly improved communication and understanding. Europe faced no serious external challenges of any sort, excluding some nascent unrest in portions of the British and French Empires.
There were also some serious underlying challenges between and among the competing major powers; An appetite for Empire and greater influence on the world stage, well illustrated by Kaiser Wilhelm, but also popular among German elites, along with the fears engendered by it among its neighbors; As yet unresolved social and political tensions in Russia, as it tried to cope with an ageing autocratic system and the social and economic tensions arising from the then rapid industrialization of the country. Both the UK and France were discovering the constraints that protecting their Empires imposes on national policy. Adding pervasive irritants to it all were merging ethnic and linguistic nationalism across Europe, including a Pan-Slavism movement in Central & Eastern Europe == that affected the Austro-Hungarian Empire more than the other states, but its side effects touched everything else as well.
None of this was beyond solution, particularly in the improving economic conditions that then prevailed. However, some particularly unstable and self-reinforcing elements of the alliances and plans that evolved among the principal powers in the years leading up to the war made them all vulnerable to an emerging crisis they could neither contain nor control.
Ultimately the assassination of the designated heir to the Austro Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo brought the curtain down on the whole Continent.
Truly a great tragedy. Moreover we are still dealing with the aftereffects in the Middle East and other areas.
Exactly 100 years ago, it was the birth of a dead state: the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes proclaimed its union. (Although known colloquially as "Yugoslavia", only in 1929 it was named "Kingdom of Yugoslavia" by King Alexander I.)
In addition to the creation of new states, only some of which are still lasting, there was a lot of boundary shifting in Europe in the Post War Treaty negotiations. Romania took all of the territory it had disputed with Hungary, France took disputed territory from Germany. The linguistic & cultural nationalism persisted and, as you noted, the Balkans and a good deal of Central Europe was still beset with disputed boundaries and stranded linguistic populations. In addition the armistice ending the fighting became a surrender after the fall of the German Government, and with its vengeful reparations the Treaty ending the war did almost as much as the War itself in setting the stage for the second act, which was to come just 2o years after the treaty was signed. More tragedy.
I do not for a moment believe that the Versailles Treaty lead to the second world war. John Maynard Keynes predicted that it would, even before the Paris Peace Conference had ended. He was pouting because Lloyd George did not treat him as the oracle that he believed himself to be. Right wing extremists in Germany latched on to that, but the evidence is just not there. Inflation had been rising in Germany since early 1914, long before the war broke out. The policies which ended run-away inflation were put in place by the Weimar government in the late 1920s. Germany's reparations debt was canceled in 1932. The two right wing parties which put Hitler in power--the NSDAP and the DNVP (the German National Peoples' Party)--both used the "Versailles Diktat" myth to bolster their public appeal. However, the fact is that Germany paid very little in cash towards the reparations, and most of what was "paid" were in-kind payments when the Allies simply packed up vehicles, machine tools and military equipment which they then carted home with them. In particular, France had a spirit of revenge--in 1871, Germany imposed reparations of 700,000,000 gold francs on France for a war which France certainly did not start. France then astounded the continent by paying off those reparations in under three years. But the 132 billion gold marks imposed on Germany was imposed by all of the Allies, with Britain joining France in calling for Germany to pay for the lives lost, the maiming of soldiers, damage to civilian property (the Germans had been particularly vicious in blowing things up as they were driven out of France) and pensions to widows and orphans. Such calculations would have been a pittance in 1871.
I consider the claim that the Versailles Treaty "caused" the second world war to be one of those false historical "verities" which persists simply because it has been repeated so often. For a good summary account, including Keynes' role, I recommend Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, Margaret MacMillan, New York, Random House, 2002. In particular, the Versailles Diktat myth exculpates Hitler, the NDSAP and the other Fascosts of Europe, and the appeasers.
That the Treaty of Versailles was a cause of the Second World War is a popular legend. But the conflicts that broke out after 1919 were of much older origin. The ground had long been prepared.
The fact that the Germans were so outraged by the treaty was mainly due to the fact that they did not want to admit their defeat in WWI. Instead, the belief prevailed that they had remained "undefeated in the field" and had lost the war only because of betrayal by "internal enemies".
I am convinced that in 1919 and afterwards, the Germans had found every treaty unfair that would have called them to account.
Yes, that was Ludendorff's "stab in the back myth," n'est-ce pas