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THE FIRST WORLD WAR > 5. THE FIRST WORLD WAR ~ CHAPTER 6 (175 - 203) (03/22/10 - 03/28/10) ~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 31, 2010 05:00PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

This begins the fifth week's reading in our Spotlighted group discussion of The First World War by John Keegan

The complete table of contents is as follows:

List of Maps ix
List of Illustrations xi
Acknowledgments xv

ONE: A European Tragedy p.3
TWO: War Plans p.24
THREE: The Crisis of 1914 p.48
FOUR: The Battle of the Frontiers and the Marne p.71
FIVE: Victory and Defeat in the East p.138
SIX: Stalemate p.175
SEVEN: The War Beyond the Western Front p.204
EIGHT: The Year of Battles p. 257
NINE: The Breaking of Armies p. 309
TEN: America and Armageddon p. 372

Notes: p. 429
Bibliography p. 449
Index p. 457


The assignment for this week includes the following segments/pages:

Week Five - March 22nd - March 28th -> Chapter SIX p.175 - 203
SIX - Stalemate


We look forward to your participation; but remember this is a non spoiler thread.

We will open up threads for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers.

This book was kicked off on February 21st. This will be the fifth week's assignment for this book.

We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library.

A special welcome to those who will be newcomers to this discussion and thank you to those who have actively contributed on the previous Spotlighted book selection. We are glad to have you all.

This thread officially begins on March 22nd.


Welcome,

~Bentley

TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

The First World War by John Keegan John Keegan

Note:

This thread opens Monday, March 22nd for discussion. This is a non spoiler thread. These threads are being set up in advance as I will be out of the country and access may not always be timely. To avoid any situations where the threads may not be opened; I am opening them in advance; however this thread will not be opened "for discussion" by me until March 22nd..


message 2: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 435 comments Once the war had reached this point what kept the opposing sides from reaching a peace settlement?


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 25, 2010 11:44PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
OUTLINE OF CHAPTER SIX - PAGE 175 TO 203

This chapter outlines the details of the Stalemate beginning in the winter of 1914.

This chapter has various segments not outlined in the table of contents as follows:

a) Stalemate Intro - 175 - 186
b) The Strategy of the Western Front - 186 - 192
c) The Western Front Battles of 1915 - 192 - 203

We will divide the discussion in this thread into these three segments.


message 4: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments Patricrk wrote: "Once the war had reached this point what kept the opposing sides from reaching a peace settlement?"

I was thinking about that kind of thing a lot as I read this chapter. Here are some thoughts. For France, I think it is obvious that they wanted their country back. They wouldn't settle for anything less than what they started the war with, and really they wanted the Alsace-Lorraine area as well. It said at one point in this chapter that most of France's industrial resources (or something) were in the area occupied by the Germans. Unless they wanted to be a purely agricultural nation, they needed that back.

For the Germans, I guess I'm a little fuzzy again as to what they were fighting for in the first place so it is harder to guess their reasoning. But for anyone, while settle for peace when you think you'll still "win"?

I think the bottom line is that the people living in the situation had a very different perspective than we have. To us we can see the years of stasis and a barely-moving line. To them, they had plans to attack and "get back" land.

We also have to remember that while the Western Front was somewhat stable, the Eastern was more liquid. So there was fighting and movement going on in other places. I would guess we'll see some more answers when we read the next chapter about the non-European conflicts going on.


message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
This section opens up with the following:

"The exhaustion of all the combatant armies' offensive force during the winter of 1914, in the East only a little later than in the West, brought Europe by the spring of 1915 a new frontier. It was quite different in character from the old, lazy, permeable frontiers of pre-war days, crossed without passports at the infrequent customs posts and without formality elsewhere. The new frontier resembled the limes of Roman legions, an earthwork barrier separating a vast military empire from the outside world. Nothing, indeed, had been seen like it in Europe since Rome--not under Charlemagne, not under Louis XIV, not under Napoleon--nor would be again until the outbreak of the Cold War thirty years into the future."

John Keegan covers a great deal in this beginning paragraph on page 175.

1. Patricrk raises a great point...at this point in time what stopped all of the combatant armies from declaring peace and going home. Did they think they would lose honor and prestige at home for packing it in? Was this the fault of the leaders and monarchs who did not want to lose face? What kept these folks going? Was it like Elizabeth S stated that France had too much to lose and did not want to become a purely agricultural nation? Maybe France felt that losing this occupied area would mean certain ruin of its economic base similar to what the South was experiencing at the beginning of the Civil War. Did the troops just feel that this impasse was a blessing in disguise because they could all just relax and regain some physical and mental strength? Patricrk, you asked this question...what are your thoughts on this? By the way, Elizabeth you raise some interesting hypotheses.


message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 25, 2010 10:59PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
2. I was trying to imagine Europe and the crossing from one country to another without passports. When I travel nowadays, passports are a necessity and sometimes for some countries not necessarily in Europe visas are necessary. In my recent travel to Indonesia I needed a visa in addition to my passport; for Singapore just a passport; for mainland China (a Visa and a passport); and if you also want to go to Hong Kong and mainland China (you better remember to get a multiple entry visa). Did folks just walk between countries as if they were taking a stroll without repercussions? In my lifetime, I never remember or recall such a period of time; it must have been wonderful. Such different times.

Regarding quotation on page 175


message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 25, 2010 11:10PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
3. I thought I would look into more about limes of Roman legions referenced in the quotation on page 175.

Here is a write-up on limes:

"A limes (or more specifically the Limes Romanus) was a border defense or delimiting system of Ancient Rome. It marked the boundaries of the Roman Empire.

The Latin noun limes had a number of different meanings: a path or balk delimiting fields, a boundary line or marker, any road or path, any channel, such as a stream channel, or any distinction or difference. In Latin, the plural form of limes is limites.

The word limes, hence, was utilized by Latin writers to denote a marked or fortified frontier. This latter sense has been adapted and extended by modern historians concerned with the frontiers of the Roman Empire; e.g., Hadrian's wall in the north of England is sometimes styled the Limes Britannicus, the frontier of the Roman province of Arabia facing the desert is called the Limes Arabicus, and so forth.


SOME LIMES:

The "Roman Limes" represented the border line of the Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD.

It stretched over 5,000 km from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, through Europe to the Black Sea, and from there to the Red Sea and across North Africa to the Atlantic coast.

The remains of the Limes today consist of vestiges of built walls, ditches, forts, fortresses, watchtowers and civilian settlements.

Certain elements of the line have been excavated, some reconstructed and a few destroyed. The two sections of the Limes in Germany cover a length of 550 km from the north-west of the country to the Danube in the south-east.

The 118-km-long Hadrian’s Wall (UK) was built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian c. AD 122 at the northernmost limits of the Roman province of Britannia.

It is a striking example of the organization of a military zone and illustrates the defensive techniques and geopolitical strategies of ancient Rome.

The Antonine Wall, a 60-km long fortification in Scotland was started by Emperor Antonius Pius in 142 AD as a defense against the "Barbarians" of the north. It constitutes the northwestern-most portion of the Roman Limes.

The most notable examples of Roman limites or limes are:

Hadrian's Wall - Limes Britannicus (UNESCO World Heritage ID 430bis-001)

Antonine Wall - in Scotland (UNESCO World Heritage Site

Limes Germanicus, the Germanic & Raetian Limes (UNESCO World Heritage ID 430bis-002)

Limes Arabicus, the frontier of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea facing the desert

Limes Tripolitanus, the frontier in modern Libya facing the Sahara

Trajan's Wall, the frontier in Moesia Inferior (currently in Bessarabia and Dobrudja)

Limes Transalutanus, the frontier in the lower Danube

Limes Moesiae, the frontier in eastern Romania and Moldavia

A mediaeval limes is the Limes Saxoniae in Holstein.


Source; Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limes

Refer to the above for links to more information about all of the Roman limes.


message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
The Limes Romanus


[image error]

Source: Wikipedia


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
4. For those of you familiar with the study of the Roman Empire and its fortifications; what are the similarities that Keegan is making between the trenches and the fortifications during World War I and at the time of the Roman Empire? What would be some of the differences? Is this a good analogy or not?

Regarding quotation reference on page 175


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 25, 2010 11:24PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
5. Now Keegan also mentions Charlemagne.

Today Charlemagne is regarded not only as the founding father of both French and German monarchies, but also as the father of Europe: his empire united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Romans, and the Carolingian renaissance encouraged the formation of a common European identity.

Here is a write-up on Charlemagne and his image:



http://z.about.com/d/historymedren/1/...

Source: Wikipedia

For those of you familiar with Charlemagne, how did he maintain control and his borders without fortifications like the Roman limes?

Regarding Keegan quotation on page 175


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
6. Keegan also in this same quotation references Louis XIV:

Here is a delightful image of Louis XIV showing a little leg and garter:




Here is a write-up on Louis XIV:

"Louis XIV (5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715), known as the Sun King (French: le Roi Soleil), was King of France and of Navarre.

His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days, and is the longest documented reign of any European monarch.

Louis began personally governing France in 1661 after the death of his prime minister, the Italian Cardinal Mazarin.

An adherent of the theory of the divine right of kings, which advocates the divine origin and lack of temporal restraint of monarchical rule, Louis continued his predecessors' work of creating a centralized state governed from the capital.

He sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of France and, by compelling the noble elite to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde rebellion during Louis' minority.

For much of Louis's reign, France stood as the leading European power, engaging in three major wars—the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish Succession—and two minor conflicts—the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions.

He encouraged and benefited from the work of prominent political, military and cultural figures such as Mazarin, Colbert, Turenne and Vauban, as well as Molière, Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, Lully, Le Brun, Rigaud, Le Vau, Mansart, Perrault and Le Nôtre.

Upon his death just days before his seventy-seventh birthday, Louis was succeeded by his five-year-old great-grandson who became Louis XV.

All his intermediate heirs—his son Louis, le Grand Dauphin; the Dauphin's eldest son Louis, duc de Bourgogne; and Bourgogne's eldest son Louis, duc de Bretagne—predeceased Louis."


Source; Wikipedia

Full article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XI...

(Same Question): For those of you familiar with Louis XIV, how did he maintain control and his borders without fortifications like the Roman limes?

Regarding Keegan quotation on page 175


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 25, 2010 11:51PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
7. Keegan in this same quotation references Napoleon:

Here is an image of Napoleon and a summary write-up:



"Napoleon Bonaparte (French: Napoléon Bonaparte French pronunciation: [napoleɔ̃ bɔnɑpaʁt:], Italian: Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), was a military and political leader of France and Emperor of the French as Napoleon I, whose actions shaped European politics in the early 19th century.

Born in Corsica and trained as an artillery officer in mainland France, Bonaparte rose to prominence under the First French Republic and led successful campaigns against the First and Second Coalitions arrayed against France.

In 1799, he staged a coup d'état and installed himself as First Consul; five years later the French Senate proclaimed him Emperor. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, the French Empire under Napoleon engaged in a series of conflicts—the Napoleonic Wars—involving every major European power.

After a streak of victories, France secured a dominant position in continental Europe and Napoleon maintained the French sphere of influence through the formation of extensive alliances and the appointment of friends and family members to rule other European countries as French client states.

The French invasion of Russia in 1812 marked a turning point in Napoleon's fortunes. His Grande Armée was badly damaged in the campaign and never fully recovered.

In 1813, the Sixth Coalition defeated his forces at Leipzig; the following year the Coalition invaded France, forced Napoleon to abdicate and exiled him to the island of Elba.

Less than a year later, he escaped Elba and returned to power, but was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. Napoleon spent the last six years of his life under British supervision on the island of Saint Helena.

An autopsy concluded he died of stomach cancer, though Sten Forshufvud and other scientists have since conjectured that he was poisoned with arsenic.

Napoleon's campaigns are studied at military academies the world over. While considered a tyrant by his opponents, he is also remembered for the establishment of the Napoleonic code, which laid the administrative and judicial foundations for much of Western Europe."


Source: Wikipedia

Full article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon_I


(Same Question): For those of you familiar with Napoleon, how did he maintain control and his borders without fortifications like the Roman limes?

Regarding Keegan quotation on page 175


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 26, 2010 12:01AM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
8. Keegan in this same quotation references the outbreak of the Cold War which would occur 30 years after World War I. At this point in time, Keegan indicates that we would once again see as in World War I (a vast military empire being separated from the outside world).

Here is a link which presents some helpful information about the Cold War:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/militar...

Source: GlobalSecurity.org

For those of you familiar with the subject of the Cold War, in what ways was World War I and the limes of the Roman legions similar to what was transpiring during this period? How was a vast military empire separated from the outside world during the Cold War and the period after World War II? If FDR had lived, would that have made any difference in terms of Russia and Stalin>

Regarding Keegan quotation on page 175


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
On page 175, Keegan goes on to make a parallel connection between the Roman limes and the Iron Curtain.

Do you see that connection? How are these two the same and how are they different?

Here is a brief synopsis of the Iron Curtain:

The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from but the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1991.

On either side of the Iron Curtain, states developed their own international economic and military alliances:

the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the military Warsaw Pact on the east side, with the Soviet Union as most important member of each

the European Community and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on the west and south, with the United States of America as the area's military powerhouse

Physically, the Iron Curtain took the shape of border defenses between the countries of Western and Eastern Europe, most notably the Berlin Wall, which served as a longtime symbol of the Curtain as a whole.

Demolition of the Iron Curtain started in Hungary during the summer of 1989 (for example: removal of Hungary's border fence and the Pan-European Picnic) when thousands of East Germans began to emigrate to West Germany via Hungary on September 11, foreshadowing the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.


Full write-up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Cur...

If FDR had lived would that have made any difference in terms of the build up after the end of World War II and the outbreak of the Cold War?

The antagonism between the Soviet Union and the West that led to what Goebbels, and later Churchill, described as the "iron curtain" had various origins.

The United Kingdom, France, Japan, Canada, the United States and several other countries had backed the White movement against the Bolsheviks during the 1918–1920 Russian Civil War, and the Soviets had not forgotten the fact.

During the summer of 1939, after conducting negotiations both with a British-French group and with Germany regarding potential military and political agreements, the Soviet Union and Germany signed a Commercial Agreement providing for the trade of certain German military and civilian equipment in exchange for Soviet raw materials and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, commonly named after the foreign secretaries of the two countries (Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop), which included a secret agreement to split Poland and Eastern Europe between the two states.

The Soviets thereafter invaded Eastern Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, northern Romania, Estonia and eastern Finland.

From August 1939, relations between the West and the Soviets deteriorated further when the Soviet Union and Germany engaged in an extensive economic relationship by which the Soviet Union sent Germany vital oil, rubber, manganese and other materials in exchange for German weapons, manufacturing machinery and technology.

This ended in June 1941 when Germany broke the Pact and invaded the Soviet Union.

In the course of World War II, Stalin determined to acquire a similar buffer against Germany, with pro-Soviet states on its border in an Eastern bloc.

Stalin's aims led to strained relations at the Yalta Conference (February 1945) and the subsequent Potsdam Conference (August 1945).

People in the West expressed opposition to Soviet domination over the buffer states, and the fear grew that the Soviets were building an empire that might be a threat to them and their interests.

Nonetheless, at the Potsdam Conference, the Allies ceded parts of Poland, Finland, Romania, Germany, and the Balkans to Soviet control.

In return, Stalin promised the Western Allies that he would allow those territories the right to national self-determination. Despite Soviet cooperation during the war, these concessions left many in the West uneasy.

In particular, Churchill feared that the United States might return to its pre-war isolationism, leaving the exhausted European states unable to resist Soviet demands.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt had announced at Yalta that after the defeat of Germany, U.S. forces would withdraw from Europe within two years.

“Stalin is not that kind of man. . . He doesn't want anything but security for his country, and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can, and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace. ”
—Franklin Roosevelt

“This war is not as in the past; whoever occupies a territory also imposes his own social system on it. Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. It cannot be otherwise.”
—Joseph Stalin


Who was right? Churchill or FDR?



Warsaw Pact countries to the east of the Iron Curtain appear shaded red; NATO members to the west of it shaded blue; militarily neutral countries shaded grey. Yugoslavia, although communist-run, was independent of the Eastern Bloc and is shaded dark grey. Similarly, communist Albania broke with the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, aligning itself with the People's Republic of China after the Sino-Soviet split and is shaded grey

Regarding Keegan quotation on page 175


message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
On page 175, Keegan likens the new frontier (World War I) as simply a fortification. It was neither a social nor an ideological border.

Keegan states: "It was quite simply a fortification, as much offensive as defensive, separating warring states."

He raises the following similarities:

a) The fortifications in Virginia and Maryland during the American Civil War

(He is probably referencing the Antietam battle)
http://americancivilwar.com/antiet.html

b) In Portugal by Wellington during the Peninsula War

In Portugal: (Wellington and the Lines of Torres Vedras)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lines_of...

c) at Chaltalja outside Istanbul during the Balkan Wars

Here is an interesting article on the Chatalja forts:

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-...

Another:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Çatalca

Wellington: (Arthur Wellesley - 1st Duke of Wellington)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_W...

d) by the Tsars on the Steppe (the Cherta Lines) during the 17th and the 18th centuries:

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topi...


message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Folks, on page 176, Keegan begins to focus more on the elements of trenches and trench warfare. I have set up a thread for this discussion (trenches and trench warfare) in order to keep this discussion organized.

Here is the link:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...


message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Folks, to discuss the Battle of Ypres, please go to the thread dedicated to that battle. Here is the thread which has been set up dedicated to The First Battle of Ypres:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...

Keegan refers to Ypres (October 1914) on page 177.


message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Page 182:

What were the three different methods employed of holding the Western Front? The British (dominate no man's land), the French (dominate by artillery fire from the distance), the Germans (turn the whole of the Western front into a passive sector, so as to find troops for the East).

Which theory was correct (if any), what were the strengths and weaknesses of all three?


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 26, 2010 04:26AM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Page 182:

Keegan states:

"What would scarcely change for the next twenty-seven months was the length of the front or the geographical trace which it followed. That remained apparently unalterable by the effort of the armies on either side until, in March 1917, the Germans voluntarily surrendered the central Somme sector and retired to shorter, stronger, previously prepared lines twenty miles to the rear. Until then the Western Front stood the same, month after month, for almost every yard of its length, running in a reversed S shape for 475 miles from the North Sea to the Swiss border."

Did the above amaze anyone else?


message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Page 188:

I loved this line of Keegan's when he described Falkenhayn's predicament:

"What they did not want, he could not insist upon; conversely, what they wanted he was increasingly obliged to concede."

What could Falkenhayn have done to improve his lot if anything?


message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
The Western Front Battles of 1915 - page 192

It was interesting to learn from Keegan why Neuve-Chapelle was launched.

"Because Sir John French was unable to comply with Joffre's request that the BEF assist the preparation of the coming Artois offensive by taking over more of the French line, partly, it seems though never stated, because the Field Marshal was anxious to restore his army's reputation, damaged in French eyes by its failure to win ground during the December fighting.

And for this flimsy reason alone with this attempt...the Germans were caught finally by complete surprise. There was a local victory for the British!!!


message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 26, 2010 05:23AM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
It is really hard to believe what utterly primitive forms of communication the British artillery had to resort to (flag signals or runners). Can you imagine that today?

Nine hours of delay!!!! (page 195)

Page 194


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
It was interesting that on page 195, Keegan notes that Adolf Hitler was part of the fresh division (the 6th Bavarian Reserve) which had been ordered forward to deliver a counter-attack in the early morning of 11 March.

There were heavy German losses...with any different luck..the world might not have had to face this personage in World War II.


message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 26, 2010 06:49AM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Keegan on page 196 discusses the outlooks of the various commanders, personalities, styles and countries involved in the Ally offensive.

Some of his conclusions were interesting. Some undercut how much of a success Neuve-Chapelle was for the British (including the British commanders themselves) and at the very least Keegan states that this was unfair in many respects and that this success should never have been doubted.

Keegan stated: "What was at issue was not the combativeness of the British soldier but the still colonial outlook of their commanders, who expected decisive results for a comparatively small outlay of force and shrank from casualties."

"French generals, from a different tradition, expected large casualties, which their soldiers still seemed ready to suffer with patriotic fatalism."

"The British soldier, regular, Territorial, wartime volunteer, was learning a similar abnegation, while their leaders were coming to accept that operations in the new conditions of trench warfare could succeed only with the most methodical preparation. The qualities of dash and improvisation that had brought victory in mountain and desert for a hundred years would not serve in France."

The only dissentients from this new and harsher mood were the Indians, for whom Neuve-Chapelle marked their swansong on the Western Front. They would fight again, in the coming battles of Festubert and Loos, but not as a striking force. Losses already suffered had crippled many battalions and the sepoy, raised in a tradition of warrior honour quite different from the European, could not understand that a wound did not exempt the recipient from a return to the trenches. "We are as grain that is flung a second time into the oven," wrote a Sikh soldier to his father the week after Neuve-Chapelle, "and life does not come out of it. A wounded Rajpur had written home a little earlier, "This is not war, it is the ending of the world." By the end of the year the two Indian infantry divisions would have been transferred from France to Mesopotamia where in a desert campaign against the Turks, they rediscovered a more familiar style of warmaking."


Were there any surprises in Keegan's assessments of the British, the British commanders, the French generals, and the Indians?


message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Some vocabulary that was interesting:

dissentients:

dissentient |diˈsen sh ənt|
adjective

in opposition to a majority or official opinion : dissentient voices were castigated as “hopeless bureaucrats.”

noun
a person who opposes a majority or official opinion.
ORIGIN early 17th cent.: from Latin dissentient- ‘differing in opinion,’ from the verb dissentire.

I am still unsure how this is meant in terms of the Indians. I would assume that they were in opposition to the new and harsher mood. But I am not so sure of the word choice here/


abnegation:

abnegation |ˌabniˈgā sh ən|
noun

the act of renouncing or rejecting something : abnegation of political law-making power.

• self-denial.
ORIGIN Middle English : from Latin abnegatio(n-), from the verb abnegare (see abnegate ).


sepoy:

sepoy |ˈsēˌpoi|
noun historical
an Indian soldier serving under British or other European orders.
• (in the Indian subcontinent) a police constable.
ORIGIN from Urdu and Persian sipāhī ‘soldier,’ from sipāh ‘army.’




Wikipedia

Sepoy


An early 20th century sepoy
A sepoy (pronounced /ˈsiːpɔɪ/) (from Persian سپاهی Sipâhi meaning "soldier") was formerly the designation given to an Indian soldier in the service of a European power. In the modern Indian Army, Pakistan Army and Bangladesh Army it remains in use for the rank of private soldier.

Contents [hide:]
1 Historical useage
1.1 Sepoys in French service
1.2 Sepoys in British India
1.3 Sepoys in Portugese service
2 Other useages
3 See also
4 References
Historical useage

Sepoys in French service

Following the formation of the French East India Company (Compagnie des Indes) in 1719 companies of Indian sepoys (cipayes) were raised to augment the French and Swiss mercenary troops available. By 1720 the sepoys in French service numbered about 10,000[1:]. Although much reduced in numbers, France continued to maintain a Military Corps of Indian Sepoys (corps militaire des cipayes de l'Inde) in Pondichery until it was disbanded in 1898 and replaced by a locally recruited gendarmerie[2:]..

Sepoys in British India

In its most common application Sepoy was the term used in the British Indian Army, and earlier in that of the British East India Company, for an infantry private (a cavalry trooper was a Sowar). It is still so used in the modern Indian Army, Pakistan Army and Bangladesh Army. Close to 300,000 sepoys were crucial in securing the subcontinent for the British East India Company[3:], and played a prominent role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 after it was alleged that the new rifles being issued to them used animal fat to grease the casing.

Sepoys in Portugese service

Sepoys also served Portugal in India. Sepoys from the Portuguese India, later, were sent to other territories of the Portuguese Empire, specially those in Africa. Later, the term "sipaio" (sepoy) was also applied by the Portuguese to African soldiers and African rural police officers.

Other useages

The same Persian word has reached English via another route in the form of Spahi.

Zipaio, the Basque version of the word, is used by leftist Basque nationalists as an insult for members of the Basque Police[4:], implying that they are not a national police but servants of a foreign occupier.

See also

Sepoy Mutiny (also Indian Mutiny or First Indian War of Independence)
Jawan, the word used today to describe a soldier of the Armies of India and Pakistan.
References

^ Rene Chartrand, Louis XV's Army - Colonial and Naval Troops, ISBN 1 85532 709 0
^ pages 50-51, Les Troupes de Marine 1622-1984, I.S,B.N. 2-7025-0142-7
^ http://www.fsmitha.com/h3/h38sep.htm
^ La AN condena a dos años de cárcel al autor de los destrozos en el "bosque de Oma", Deia, 12 January 2005. Quoting a sentence from the Audiencia Nacional: «siendo público y notorio que el término "zipaio" es el que se da a los miembros de la Policía» vasca.
[show:]
Military of India
[show:]
Military of Pakistan


message 26: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 26, 2010 03:48PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Watercolour of an Awan sepoy, painted by Major A.C. Lovett, circa the early 20th century. The painting is included in the book, The Armies of India (published in 1911).

[image error]


message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Page 197:

Keegan begins to talk about the use of gas. We will discuss the uses of gas in the following thread:

World War I and its Technology:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2...


message 28: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 26, 2010 07:48AM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Futility of this war:

So many brave men risked their lives.

Keegan on pages 202 and 203 talked about Charles Magnin who was shot through the chest as he organized an assault. He returned to duty 10 days later!!! Can you imagine?

"For all his effort and those of others like him, for all the continuing bravery of the French common soldier, the attempts on the Champagne heights nowhere gained more than two miles of ground. The Germans second line was not penetrated and, when the fighting ended on 31 October, their position remained intact, though 143, 567 French soldiers had become casualties."


message 29: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
How did 1915 end and what if anything was learned?

a) It was a doleful year
b) Many dead, little gain, no prospect of success until 1916
c) "The Germans had shown that they had learnt much about the methods of defending an entrenched front."
d) "The Allies that they had learnt nothing about means of breaking through."
e) "It was a bitter lesson for the French, all the more so because, in a widening war, their allies seemed bent on seeking solutions elsewhere, leaving the main body of the enemy implanted in their territory.
f) "In Russia, the Italian front, the Balkans, the Turkish battlegrounds - all seemed to favor the enemy."
g) "Only at sea and in Germany's distant colonies had the Allies established an advantage. Neither could bring the Allies victory."


Page 203

What should the Allies have done differently; put yourself in the shoes of the French, the British, the Russians, the Balkans?


message 30: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Folks, I have posted all of the discussion questions, helpful urls and links and other info for Chapter Six: Stalemate.


message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Folks, I have added a thread to discuss what was considered one of the Pre-Conflicts of World War I:

The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)

Here is the link to that thread if you would like to learn more, discuss this conflict either on its own and/or as a pre-conflict to the First World War.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...


message 32: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Bentley wrote: "Watercolour of an Awan sepoy, painted by Major A.C. Lovett, circa the early 20th century. The painting is included in the book, The Armies of India (published in 1911).

[image error]

Hi Bentley, Some great stuff there on the Sepoy's. I read a book a few years back covering the Sepoy units that fought on the Western Front in 1915. If anyone is interested in reading further on this subject the book is; " Sepoys in the Trenches: The Indian Corps on the Western Front, 1914-1915".

Sepoys in the Trenches The Indian Corps on the Western Front, 1914-1915 by Gordon Corrigan by Gordon Corrigan
Publishers blurb:
"This title offers a stirring account of the two-division Indian corps, which arrived in Europe just in time for First Ypres. Regular soldiers all, they found themselves in a land they had never seen, fighting an enemy of which they knew little and in a cause not their own. Led by a few British officers, the regiments fought throughout the first 15 months of the war on the Western Front, being transferred to Mesopotamia in November 1915. The first modern account of the Indian contingent on the Western Front, which never received the recognition it deserved. Drawing from a wealth of unpublished sources, interviews and original material, the book examines how the Indians fought, and why they consistently went uncomplainingly 'over the top' following officers of a very different culture, religion and upbringing. The book examines, in detail, each of the battles fought by the Indian battalions and regiments, made up of Gurkhas, Sikhs, Pubjabi Mussalmans, Garwhalis, Dogras, Pathans, Rajputs and others, many of whom were not even domiciled in British India nor subjects of the King Emperor, and describes the contribution to the war efforts of the innovatory skills displayed by the Indian Sappers and Miners. Old canards are re-examined - inability to stand the cold, reluctance to fight, the prevalence of self-inflicted wounds - are shown not to be supported by the evidence. This study is vital in understanding how the old Indian Army worked, and how it made a major contribution to the Allied effort in the early days of the Great War, when it was the only source of trained regular reinforcements for the BEF."



message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Yes, as I was reading...when I had to research something, I thought others might be experiencing the same questions that I had. I am glad you liked the add on the Sepoys.

That sounds like a great book Aussie Rick and one that is so on target for this week's discussion.


message 34: by Patricrk (last edited Mar 28, 2010 07:22AM) (new)

Patricrk patrick | 435 comments Back on my original question of why didn't they make peace at this point. It is hard to see things from their view point with 96 years to look back on this period. I agree with Elizabeth about France. But I really think the Germans leaders couldn't stand the idea of being out done by their Grandfathers who had won the Franco Prussian War. So I think it was personal pride on the German side that kept the war going on. I don't know the diplomatic history of this time, was there any peace mediation efforts by other countries?


message 35: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 28, 2010 07:42AM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Patricrk...I don't think they wanted peace; they wanted what they wanted at least their leaders did. The Germans were not leaving France; France did not intend to leave France to Germany; the Brits certainly felt that if France fell that they could be next. Someone had to stop the Germans' aggression. As tired and bewildered as they all were and that was probably the reason for the ultimate stalemate in the next chapter; there did not seem to be any leaders that had cooler heads and who could say enough is enough. Everyone wanted something.

You do make some good points about the Franco Prussian War but what other ideas do you have aside from what Keegan has presented. You seem to have some ideas that you are ruminating about possibly. Pride was mentioned for sure; and there was enough of that to go around. There were quite a few peace mediation efforts in various other periods but I am not sure if anything was going on during 1914 and 1915.


message 36: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments Bentley wrote: "It was interesting that on page 195, Keegan notes that Adolf Hitler was part of the fresh division (the 6th Bavarian Reserve) which had been ordered forward to deliver a counter-attack in the early..."

I like these little touches by Keegan. (I.e. telling us where Hitler was at the time.) I like that he is upfront about what will happen in the future and finds ways to tie it in. He is telling the story of WWI, yes, but also giving useful background for WWII. After all, setting the stage for WWII is a large part of the WWI story.


message 37: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Yes Elizabeth...I found those interesting too. The same people who brought us World War I seem to have been around for the next debacle.


message 38: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments Bentley wrote: "Page 182:

Keegan states:

'What would scarcely change for the next twenty-seven months was the length of the front or the geographical trace which it followed.' ...Did the above amaze anyone else? "


Oh, absolutely. In fact, I think we can be not only amazed but incredulous. How could so much death happen in such a long period of time without any advance or retreat? With the line holding steady, that death becomes meaningless. I think that is part of why Patricrk is wondering why they didn't talk peace more. How could such death have really occurred and really meant so little?

The bottom line is: That is war. That is why war is terrible.


message 39: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments Bentley wrote: "It is really hard to believe what utterly primitive forms of communication the British artillery had to resort to (flag signals or runners). Can you imagine that today?

Nine hours of delay!!!! (..."


Wow. Don't forget to add that they were still actively using cavalry. So much changed even just during the years of the war. Communication is so vital for making plans and decisions. How frustrating for the high command generals to have such delay between action and report and between orders and action. Ouch!


message 40: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Elizabeth S wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Page 182:

Keegan states:

'What would scarcely change for the next twenty-seven months was the length of the front or the geographical trace which it followed.' ...Did the above ..."


The folks in power if they were French - probably thought they had no choice - they did not want to give up their homeland to the invaders. But what about the Germans - I guess they had settled in with their lights and carpeting (smile) and their leaders were not going to give up the fight. So there everyone stood for 27 months.


message 41: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Elizabeth S wrote: "Bentley wrote: "It is really hard to believe what utterly primitive forms of communication the British artillery had to resort to (flag signals or runners). Can you imagine that today?

Nine hour..."


I thought that this kind of delay was inexcusable. And the cavalry...the poor horses including the men!!!


message 42: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments I think the poor horses part really hits when we get to the point that horses are pitted against tanks. Ouch.


message 43: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
I know...for those who love animals..this is especially poignant.


message 44: by Erick (new)

Erick Burnham | 244 comments Bentley wrote: "I know...for those who love animals..this is especially poignant."

not to mention machine guns and artillery.


message 45: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
I know how awful for those poor animals...as if they had a dog in the fight.


message 46: by James (new)

James More than one soldier who wrote memoirs said that one of the worst parts of that whole situation was the terrible screaming of the wounded horses.


message 47: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Goodness I can just imagine James. Horrible.


message 48: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi folks,

You might be interested in the link below in regards to animals in war:

Honouring Animals at War


message 49: by James (last edited Mar 30, 2010 02:40PM) (new)

James Thanks, Rick!
Another example - in WWI, and also in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, and now in Iraq and Afghanistan, dogs have served in a couple of ways. They've been used to carry messages, sometimes in situations where no other means was possible, and as scouts and sentries. They are good at detecting IEDs. They were also a comfort for the soldiers to have around.

There was a documentary on the Military Channel a while back on the dogs the Marines took to the Pacific in WWII, and in some cases were able to adopt and take home with them after the war. By contrast, when we pulled out of Vietnam, our government ordered that all the dogs be left behind there. That really broke hearts.


message 50: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi James,

I have read about the dogs used in the Pacific during WW2 but wasn't aware of the situation during the Vietnam War, pretty sad.

The Australian Light Horse based in the Middle East had the same problem at the end of WW1 in that they couldn't bring their horses home to Australia due to quarantine issues and they didn't want to leave them in the hands of the locals after seeing how they treated their animals so the majority of the troopers shot their own horses to spare them years of misery. It was the saddest and hardest duty of many of the troopers after years of terrible conflict but they believed they were doing the right thing by their horses, their best friends!


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