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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ninety-nine Years Ago: Quotes from October 1914

It is my Royal and Imperial Command that you exterminate first the treacherous English, and walk over General French's contemptible little Army. 
Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1 October

It is not true that Germany is guilty in having brought about the war. . .
It is not true that we wantonly violated Belgian neutrality. . .
It is not true that the life or property of a single Belgian citizen has been infringed by our soldiers, except where such an attack was dictated by the bitter necessity of self defense. . .
It is not true that our soldiers have brutally devastated Louvain. . .
Ninety-three German Intellectuals, in "An Appeal to World Culture," October 1914

Louvain Afterwards
Not Truly Brutally Devastated?

The great Sloven day approaches
A Russian and a Serb are bringing it
We shall be the masters here
Woe upon you German dogs!
Long live Serbia
Protest Song of Slovenes in Austro-Hungarian Service

Winston [Churchill] like every genius (and he really is a genius!) will not brook criticism and idolizes power and so has surrounded himself with 3rd class sycophants—I have told him this to his face!
Admiral Jacky Fisher, 10 October

It is the women of Europe who pay the price while war rages, and it will be the women who will pay again when war has run its bloody course and Europe sinks down into the slough of poverty like a harried beast too spent to wage the fight. It will be the son-less mothers who will bend their shoulders to the plough and wield in age-palsied hands the reap hook.
Kate Richards O'Hare
Magazine article, October 1914

The logic of the world is prior to all truth and falsehood.
Soon to be Austrian Artillery Officer and Prisoner of War Ludwig Wittgenstein 
Notebook entry for 18 October 

Our life is running at full speed.  Everyone is occupied by the war, with care for wounded and the arrangements for future Polish refugees.  The mood is wonderful, with a total belief in success and in victory.
Artist Konstantin Kandaurov in Moscow, October 1914

We are going on a 4 days train journey, probably to Belgium. I am tremendously excited.
Adolf Hitler, List Regiment, 21 October

29 October  Turkey Joins the Central Powers
Swimming in a sea of military defeats, the Ottoman leadership, it seems, should have opted for less war, not more, in 1914. The generation at the helm of the  state, however, welcomed the July Crisis not as a reprieve but as an opportunity to end the empire’s international isolation.
The Limits of Diplomacy: The Ottoman Empire and the First World War
Mustafa Aksakal

Field Marshal Sir John French

First Battle of Ypres, October/November 1914
I have no more reserves. The only men I have left are the sentries at my gates. I will take them where the line is broken, and the last of the English will die fighting. 
Sir John Denton French, Commander in Chief, BEF

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