Morning all, I wrote this little piece and sent it around my firm today.. I love this topic and wanted to share it!
dont forget this weekend to visit your local rsl
Pardon the non-work related interruption but this weekend is a pretty cool anniversary (well at least I think so!)
At 6pm Sunday 11/11/18 (11am UK/France) the world marks 100 years since the first terms of the Armistice came into effect, ultimately ending WWI.
WWI - A war that ended with 21 million casualties including 62,000 Australians (1.4% of our total population at the time) and gave us the ANZACS.
The most destructive war in history was fought by 65 million people from 30 different countries under the old principles of empires, kings and
Did you know the rulers of Britain (King George V), Germany (Kaiser Wilhelm II) and Russia (Tsar Nicholas II) during WWI were first cousins? - now
that’s a family dispute!
The armistice was signed 5am, Nov 11, 1918 in a non-descript railway car north east of Paris in Compiegne, it came into effect 6 hours later - the
11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Unfortunately, during the outbreak of WWII Hitler captured that railway car and forced the French to surrender to Nazi Germany inside - he then
destroyed the railway car later in the war - it's now lost to history!
WW1 gave birth to some horrific inventions: machine guns, chemical weapons, tanks and flamethrowers, but also introduced some modern day necessities
like teabags, plastic surgery, zips, daylight savings and stainless steel.
Do you know why they're called 'Tanks'? The British needed a codename for the behemoths so the Germans wouldn’t know what was coming. So the British
called them ''water tanks'' due to their size and shape. The name stuck!
The Germans tried to replicate the British tanks (below left), but they were a failure. Only 1 German tank remains in existence today 'Mephisto'
(below right) - captured by Australian troops. It lives out its days in Canberra at the war memorial.
The French suffered the worst single day loss during the entire war, losing 27,000 people defending Paris in a battle.
Germany made it to within 8km of Paris in the final year of the war - that’s from here to Canning Highway Bridge! Had they taken Paris - where would
we be today, would the Eiffel Tower still exist?
The British lost 19,000 people in a single day during the battle of Ypres. Churchill said of Ypres ''A more sacred place for the British race does not
Every night for the past 80yrs the 'Last Post' is played at Menin Gate, Ypres to remember those who still lie in the fields. Ypres has been rebuilt
and it's beautiful - but the fields are still littered with bombs and bones.
But how did the War start?
The Heir to the Austrian throne, Arch Duke Ferdinand was travelling in his car (below centre) in Sarajevo.
His driver took a wrong turn on the way to a hospital. By chance, he happened to drive past an anti-Austrian Serbian nationalist; Gavrilo Princip -
who was drinking at a pub on the corner (bottom left-now a museum)
Gavrilo, an opportunist terrorist, stepped out from the crowd and fired two bullets at the car. Both the Arch Duke and his wife were killed. Gavrilo
was immediately detained by security (bottom right - although this is disputed to not be him)
Austria called on its allies to honour their treaties and back them in retaliation. This cascaded into Europe splitting on either side of the 'Allies'
or the 'Central Powers' - and just like that, WW1 began.
Four years later and 21 million young lives destroyed, the world finally found a path to that non-descript railway car to sign that armistice.
When the war ended; Monarchs, Kings, Thrones, Empires and Treaties became part of the old world, although we still see glimpses of it today!
After the treaty of Versailles was signed (Nov 1918), Ferdinand Foch - Supreme Allied Commander said: "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for
20 years and 10 months later WW2 officially began when Nazi Germany invaded Poland (Sep 1939)
That was not the only prophetic aspect of the Great War. The war officially ended 11th of Nov 1918 - 11/11/18
The licence plate of car the Arch Duke was driving when assassinated (starting the war) was A11 11 18
When you think of all the petty things people and nations fight about in today's world - take hope that humanity always prevails.
Below you have a German soldier lighting the cigarette of a British soldier in the first few years of the war during the Christmas truce.
In a different time, they probably would have been friends!
I could ramble on for hours about the history of the war, if anyone's interested I have a small box of relics, bomb fragments, artillery, barbed wire,
bank notes and grenade fragments I've found while digging in Somme, Ypres and Verdun in my office!
You're welcome to come check it out and hold some history!
- Ok, back to work!
edit on 8/11/18 by Agit8dChop because: (no reason given)