Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, August 30, 2014

100 Years Ago: Quotes from August 1914


Are we going to have Tennyson's "Battle in the Air," and the nations deluging the nations with blood from the air? Now is the time to go on an exploring expedition to the North Pole, to come back and find settled order again.
Isaac Rosenberg, Letter,  3 August 1914
KIA at the Somme,  1 April 1918

German Troops Mobilizing

We're marching off in company with death...In thirteen days I'll probably be dead.
Alfred Lichtenstein, Letter,  7 August 1914, 
Seven weeks later Lichtenstein was killed in action.

Against the vast majority of my countrymen, even at this moment, in the name of humanity and civilization, I protest against our share in the destruction of Germany. A month ago Europe was a peaceful comity of nations; if an Englishman killed a German, he was hanged. Now, if an Englishman kills a German, or if a German kills an Englishman, he is a patriot, who has deserved well of his country. 
Bertrand Russell, 15 August 1914

It is my Royal and Imperial Command that you concentrate your energies for the immediate present upon one single purpose, and that is, that you address all your skill and all the valor of my soldiers to exterminate the treacherous English and walk over General French's contemptible little army.
Kaiser Wilhelm II to General von Kluck,  19 August 1914

French Troops Assembling at the Gare de Lyon, Paris

The United States must be neutral in fact as well as in name during these days that are to try men's souls.
Woodrow Wilson, Message to the Senate,  19 August 1914

The enemy started to advance in mass down the railway cutting, about 800 yards off, and Maurice Dease fired his two machine-guns into them and absolutely mowed them down. I should judge without exaggeration that he killed at least 500 in two minutes. The whole cutting was full of bodies and this cheered us all up.
Lieutenant K. Tower, Royal Fusiliers,  Describing Mons on 23 August 1914

Victory will belong to the one who will have been the first to achieve an armor-plated machine capable of advancing on all ground and armed with a cannon.
Lt. Col. Jean-Baptiste Estienne, French 6th Division, 25 August 1914

Grieving Parents, by Kollwitz, Who Lost a Son in the War

Where do all the women who have watched so carefully over the lives of their beloved ones get the heroism to send them to face the cannon? 
K├Ąthe Kollwitz, German artist, Letter, 27 August 1914

Longtime readers will recognize that a close version of this quotes article covering August 1914 appeared on Roads in August 2013.  Since this month is so momentous [the "Guns of August" and all that], I decided to repeat this posting.  However, I will be taking a hiatus from the quotes series until January 2015.  At that time I'll resume this series following the war's centennial, month-by-month.

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