Dulce et decorum est — Pro patria mori

 

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Unknown American lies in Champagne

What joy, for fatherland to die!
Death’s darts e’en flying feet o’ertake,
Nor spare a recreant chivalry,
A back that cowers, or loins that quake
(Horace 65 BC)

 

One hundred years ago, Americans were sent into the European meat-grinder. Today’s leaders ask us to remember “their glory and their sacrifice” as they take us dangerously down the road to war again, much like in 1914. They taught us in school it was “the war to end all wars” and a “fight for freedom and democracy.” It was, in reality, a war for profit, greed and colonies in the interests of what we today call the one percent.

Warning: Yes, I was and still am ready to fight and, if need be, die for my country.

Victors write the history books

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German, French & Muslim Unknowns lie together in Verdun

Ask any American kid why the US went into WWI and he will probably tell you because the Germans sank the British passenger ship, Lusitania, in 1915, killing 128 Americans among the nearly 1,200 lost. Forget that the Lusitania was carrying arms and munitions and Americans had been told to stay off of belligerent ships.

 

 

 

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Statue to Marines at Belleau Woods

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Marines buried at Belleau Woods

But, if American kids were better at arithmetic, they would subtract 1914 from 1917 and ask their history teachers why, if the Lusitania was the cause, did it take two years to declare war? Perhaps their teachers would be forced to tell them that Britain and France owed too much to American banks and industries to let them lose the war.

 

Perhaps their teachers would also have to tell them how Americans were so opposed to the war that Congress enacted the 1917 Espionage Act and the 1918 Sedition Act (still on the books) making it illegal to voice opposition to the war and to the draft. Many anti-war activists went to prison, including Presidential candidate Eugene Debbs.

“I hate, I loathe, I despise Junkers and Junkerdom,” Debbs said when accused of being pro-German. “I have no earthly use for Junkers of Germany, and not one particle more use for the Junkers in the United States.”

President Wilson never got his 14 points through at Versailles. Britain and France divided up among themselves Germany’s colonies and the former Ottoman Empire. American bankers and industrialists got their money and the road was paved to do it all over again 20 years later.

Ten million young men died for the arrogance and avarice of the wealthy few. I am posting photos below of the graves of a handful of those unfortunate ‘Grunts’ so that we can reflect on the cost of fighting a rich man’s war. We need to reflect to prevent it from happening again. To quote my late friend, Mark Smith, November 11 should be a “day of hate” for those who sent young men to die for nothing; “A day of remembrance” for those lost so that we can prevent the one percent from doing it to us again.

Wilfred_OwenIf you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Lt Wilfred E.S. Owen, 2nd Bn, Manchester Regt, killed at Sambre Canal, 4 Nov. 1918, age 25.

 

6 Comments

  1. Upon his will he binds a radiant chain,
    For Freedom’s sake he is no longer free.
    It is his task, the slave of Liberty,
    With his own blood to wipe away a stain.
    That pain may cease, he yields his flesh to pain.
    To banish war, he must a warrior be.
    He dwells in Night, eternal Dawn to see,
    And gladly dies, abundant life to gain.

    Joyce Kilmer
    KIA, France, July 1918

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. This is certainly NOT the time to lay down our swords and shields down by the river side.

      To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
      A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
      A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
      A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
      A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
      A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
      A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
      A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

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  2. Pardon my ignorance but would have liked to learn more about the US banks, the Brits, the French and ditto ‘20 years later” Maybe i need a reading list

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    1. This is from Dave Anderson: https://www.listland.com/why-did-the-us-enter-ww1-10-reasons-to-explain-historys-most-important-military-intervention/

      As war was breaking out in Europe, the US was reaching the end of a severe economic recession that had gripped the country since 1913. The newly reinvigorated US economy was able to capitalize on European militarism, substantially increasing its exports, awarding more than $3 billion worth of contracts – through the mediation of commercial giant J.P. Morgan – from the British and French governments to American businesses, and extending credit to the Allies that averaged around $10 million a day.

      To say that financing the war oiled the engines of American industrialization and modernization would be an understatement; the US’ GDP increased by around 20% throughout the war, and her industrial production by a staggering 32%. However, the enormous investment the US had made in the Allies – especially compared to the Axis powers – was as political as it was financial. Allied defeat could result in the defaulting of debts which by this stage exceeded some $2 billion as opposed to Germany’s $27 million, and uncomfortable as it may seem, economic factors such as these not only influenced the US’ decision to go to war, it influenced their decision about who to go to war with.

      At many stages of the war, there was little love lost between the US and Britain. As things were cooling off with Germany in 1916, relations became strained with the British over their harsh repression of the Irish Easter Rising and their boycotting of US companies engaged in trade with Germany. German U-Boat campaigns, the intercepted Zimmermann Telegram and a healthy dollop of allied propaganda eventually dictated the decision, but it was at no stage a given.

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      1. This ‘boom’ did not last and by 1922 America was deep into a post war recession. Although the economy improved in spurts during the next few years, most of those gains were lost in 1929.

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