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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Fake History from the Great War

All this recent discussion of "fake news" reminded me of a feature I ran in 2014 in the St. Mihiel Trip-Wire. This incorrectly labeled photograph has survived a hundred years and—since it appears in history books on the shelves of many libraries—is still alive.


  1. I wouldn't label this under the heading of fake news, as it doesn't seem there was any deliberate attempt to present false information with this photo. It was probably simply incorrectly labeled, nothing more. The photo above is just a small historical typo.

    Present day fake news is more insidious and clear-cut. It is a deliberate attempt to knowingly and willingly spread lies and completely false information and ignore facts in the face of easily obtained corroboration. Present day false news is more akin to Nazi and Bolshevik propaganda and agitprop than anything else.

  2. Agreed; this is not what "fake news" means. We just finished Douglas Smith's Rasputin. He provides numerous examples of propaganda to discredit Rasputin and thus the Royal Family (e.g., that Rasputin and the Empress had regular sexual relations).

  3. I was, for some reason, shocked to learn that one of the conspirators had survived into the 1970's or possibly 80's. I can't recall which one or where I learned this. These characters seem to belong frozen in an older and different time. Perhaps someone out there can refresh my memory...

  4. Off the cuff I cannot comment with any certainty, but I am fairly sure none of the conspirators survived the Great War, either being executed or else dying a long and horrid wasting death in prison like Princip himself.

    You could probably find the answer in 'One Morning In Sarajevo: 28 June 1914' by David James Smith, which I have (somewhere in my unorganized library).

    1. I looked it up and found that Vaso Cubrilovic survived into the 1990's. I don't know his exact role in the assassination plot, but he was considered part of it.

  5. I thought that one of the many books published around 2014 showed that this guy was just somebody picked off the street by the authorities and not one of the conspirators at all. The book is The Trigger, by Tim Butcher. The man in the famous picture is Ferdinand Behr, who was trying to stop a mob from beating Princip. See Butcher's article at CentenaryNews. com, 28 May 2014. He (Butcher) says Behr wrote an article in 1935 about this because he was tired of seeing the photo mis-captioned! Alan Kaplan.

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  9. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my friend were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such magnificent info being shared freely out there. Best Financial Advisor