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

Thursday, August 8, 2013

99 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

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

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

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

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? 
Käthe Kollwitz, German artist, Letter, 27 August 1914

1 comment:

  1. It's remarkable how prescient some men can be on the eve of and/or at the beginning of a conflict between nations. Sadly, few listen to their voices. Even fewer look back to consider what prescient things were said in advance of earlier wars and weigh them against present circumstances.