I saw a recent news article that France found another living WWI veteran (apparently, he’d moved into a retirement community a few years ago and the govt presumed him dead, then recently figured out that he isn’t).
I thought I’d write something about modern international perceptions and WWI.
Modern perception: Bad teeth, weak tea, strong beer, good music, effete wimps
WWI Disposition: We basically rule and that’s that.
Strategy: (Right then, we’re here to ensure Belgian neutrality, innit?) More like a football riot.
Total British Empire (this includes GB, Canada, Australia, India, African colonies) Army mobilization 1914-1918: 8,905,000
Total British casualties 1914-1918: 3,190,235 — 35%
Modern Perception: Awhawhaw, cheese and wine, haut culture, really hot women, cowards, rude
WWI Disposition: We are so badass.
Strategy: Bayonet charge into Berlin (Plan 17 from outer space + the Germans won’t invade Belgium — dude, didn’t that happen again later? Geez, you know, now I see why we bash the French. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, well, you can’t get fooled again — say GW and the Who).
Total French Army mobilization 1914-1918: 8,410,000
Total French Casualties: 6,160,800 — 76% — wow, what a bunch of wussies!
Modern Perception: Techno, nice cars, gives us someone to feel morally superior to.
WWI Disposition: Austria needs our help! Oh, and getting some more iron mines in the process would be nice.
Strategy: Defense in Depth + big guns on rail cars + modified Von Schlieffen plan (only partially sorround the enemy and only partially destroy them)
Total German Army mobilization 1914-1918: 11,000,000
Total German Casualties: 7,142,558 — 64%
Modern perception: Failed economic system, the cold war, the mafia, we beat them ONCE in hockey, AK-47’s still got it after all these years.
WWI disposition: The Czar thinks his cousin really doesn’t want to hurt us, followed by sharing is caring
Strategy: Umm, do we really have enough rifles for this? + The cold doesn’t really bother us + eventually, all power to the Soviet!
Total Russian mobilization (Czarist): 12,000,000
Total Russian casualties: 9,150,000 — 76% — now, what would you do if you were starving, freezing, and ordered to charge a German machine gun nest armed only with a sharp stick? That’s right: form a committee.
Perception: Who were they again?
WWI disposition: Avenge Archduke Ferdinand!
Strategy: Avenge Archduke Ferdinand!
Total Austria-Hungarian mobilization: 7,800,000
Total Austria-Hungarian casualties: 7,020,000 — 90%! Let’s reflect for a moment on the fact that only 10% of the Austria-Hungarians (I guess) came through the war unscathed. They were considered the most powerful empire in Europe going into the war. WTF?
WWI Disposition: You infidels will feel the wrath of Khan! (made that up, Ottoman Empirical holdings, really)
Total Turkish mobilization: 2,850,000
Total Turkish casualties: 975,000 — 34%
Notable accomplishments: gave the Australians a hard time at Gallipoli.
The United States
Modern Perception: If it weren’t for us you’d be speaking Austria-Hungarian (just kidding, we didn’t know the difference, so we’d just say German)
WWI Disposition: Well, we guess (oh, and that whole Lousitania thing and the telegram to Mexico were not cool)
Strategy: Lose virginity to European girls. The British aren’t the boss of us.
Total U.S. mobilization 1914-1918 (given that we entered the war in 1917): 4,355,000
Total U.S. Casualties (many, about 100,000, from Spanish Flu within the U.S. and on transports): 364,800 — 8%
Counterpoint: was this war really the U.S.’s problem?
My point (if there is one): History is fun and Nascar sucks.
Thanks, a good book on WWI, that I read about a year ago, is 11th month 11th day 11th hour, by Joseph Persico.