January 20, 2014

"Many soldiers enjoyed WW1. If they were lucky they would avoid a big offensive..."

"... and much of the time, conditions might be better than at home. For the British there was meat every day - a rare luxury back home - cigarettes, tea and rum, part of a daily diet of over 4,000 calories. Absentee rates due to sickness, an important barometer of a unit's morale were, remarkably, hardly above peacetime rates. Many young men enjoyed the guaranteed pay, the intense comradeship, the responsibility and a much greater sexual freedom than in peacetime Britain."

#10 ("Everyone hated it") from a list at BBC.com of myths about WWI.

84 comments:

MadisonMan said...

This seems a somewhat revisionist history, given that no one is quoted. #10 in particular is filled with weasel words that really jump out.

CB9 said...

"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."

EDH said...

The BBC report would be different if Bush had been president.

Clyde said...

Yeah, other than the barbed wire and machine guns, it was a little slice of heaven.

damikesc said...

I guess the rampant problem of soldiers refusing to fight was just an overabundance of joy.

Joe said...

Like in most wars, most soldiers weren't on the front lines.

My Grandfather was in WWI. When I found his journal, I started to read it with great excitement, only to find that his experience was tremendously dull.

LL said...

Mustard gas and trench warfare were awesomely fun. Ypres was so relaxing, they had two battles there.

MadisonMan said...

My grandfather drove an ambulance in WWI and he was also a photographer, and I have an album filled with gruesome and fascinating injuries. I can't tell if the subjects photographed are living or dead.

The wounds, though, are absolutely brutal, even in black and white.

Hagar said...

A bit tendentious, and no doubt intended to be.
However, for a good many WWII also was indeed "The Best Years of Our Lives."

The mortality rates in the various wars mentioned depend a lot on who is counting what as due to the war, "incidental" to the war, or completely separate issues.

Thus, the most lethal army in history may well have been the AEF that brought the "Spanish Flu" to the world, but the BBC for this article evidently did not consider "The Flu" to have been part of WWI.

The "peace settlement" of WWII was indeed harsh for East Germany, occupied by the Soviet Union, but West Germany had the good fortune to be occupied by a coalition led by the Americans with their unique ideas of how to treat defeated enemies.

And so on.

LYNNDH said...

Yes, the boredom the soldiers in the trenches face was so bad that they took to killing the rats just for something to do. And they enjoyed having trench foot. The gas attacks were fun too, having to put on those funny masks. They enjoyed the game of "Dodge the Sniper" too. The food was good, and cold.

Vince said...

Civil Wars, such as those cited in the article, are bloodier simply because everyone in the country was a target.

Broomhandle said...

At the time of Pearl Harbor my Dad was a small town Midwest boy studying engineering at a small Midwest Catholic college. Two years later, he was a Marine officer and pilot, dive-bombing the Japanese on some remote South Pacific island he'd never heard of before. He never said that he enjoyed the war but it certainly expanded his world.

Rusty said...

Or standing in the trenches. Standing in the offal which a few days ago were that trenches former occupants.Not to mention the piss, shit and puke.
If you were lucky you contracted dysentery,cholera or trenchfoot.

Michael K said...

WWI was the first war in history where the majority of deaths was from wounds, not disease.

Wound care improved after 1917 when blood transfusion was introduced by the Canadians and Americans.

Early in the war, "wound shock" was not understood and many men died as a result. The wounded looked better right after wounding than when they got to the aid station.

Earnest Cowell, a young British surgeon followed casualties from wounding to the Casualty Clearing Station and realized that the cause of shock was blood loss. That was the beginning of blood transfusion.

What had been called "The Resurrection Tent" became the "Resuscitation Tent" in the CCS.

In the Boer War, 10,000 British soldiers died of typhoid alone.

virgil xenophon said...

FWIW 2/3rs of all our casualties in WW 2 were due to weather and/or disease..

Pogo is Dead said...

We should do WW1 all over again.

Sounds like it was really fun.

jr565 said...

Is saying that everyone hated WWI is actually a myth kind of like the guy from Duck Dynasty saying that some blacks were actually happy pre the civil rights movement (or whatever he actually said, since I've never actually heard the official verbiage).
How many people died in WWI? how DARE someone assert that people weren't completely miserable during that time.
And I suppose you'll next tell me that not all Vietnam Vets were baby killers who had necklaces made with viet cong ears, and who came home and became drug addicts and insane schizophrenics.

virgil xenophon said...

PS: IIRC this was mainly due to increased use of tanks and other armored vehicles and no trench warfare where fixed infantry was subject to constant shelling. And also the fact that few mass charges by thousands of men over open exposed ground at fortified emplacements subject to sweeping machine gun, mortar and artillery fire were made compared to WW I.

Hagar said...

So the Americans said,"You want industrial warfare? We will give you industrial warfare!"
The mortality rate on the receiving end was actually quite spectacular.

Michael K said...

"
FWIW 2/3rs of all our casualties in WW 2 were due to weather and/or disease.."

True but not 2/3 of deaths.

A major cause of mortality early in WW I was tetanus because Belgians fertilized soil with horse manure. Horses carry the tetanus organism. In the US Civil War, tetanus was not a problem because horse manure was not used in the South. Tetanus anti-toxin was introduced in WW I and the problem was largely solved by late 1914. In WW II all American troops got tetanus toxoid immunization and there were only 6 cases of tetanus in the entire US Army.

Balfegor said...

Item six, knocking down the ANZAC national myth, is just gratuitous. Even if it's true, does that really deserve equal billing with everything else (which is generally applicable to the entire war, not just one battle)?

In other news, I love how casually the author mentions that only 700,000 Britons died. Sure on a percentage basis that might be lower than some other wars (I guess) but on an absolute basis, that's a lot of dead Britishers.

Many young men enjoyed the guaranteed pay, the intense comradeship, the responsibility and a much greater sexual freedom than in peacetime Britain.

Ah yes. The intense comradeship. That's what makes the pals brigades so terribly sad.

Amy said...

I recently read "One of Ours" by Willa Cather. Much of the story took place in WW1. I learned a lot, and none of it looked 'enjoyable' to me.

Bob Boyd said...

WWI was a big hard thing. It was bound to have a little hair on it.

realwest said...

I'll wager that the soldiers who fought at the Battle of the Somme (which lasted less than 5 MONTHS) and suffered MORE THAN ONE MILLION DEAD AND WOUNDED didn't have such a grand time of it.
In fact I'll bet that they didn't enjoy it at all.

DrMaturin said...

Read the aptly titled Catastrophe:1914 by British historian Max Hastings. He details the first five months of the war, before things settled down into trench warfare. This was a time of mass conscript armies crashing into each other with no thought of preventing casualties. 27,000 Frenchmen died in a single day in August, 1914 fighting to take a bit of ground (unsuccessfully). Jolly good fun.

furious_a said...

My grandfather's worst nightmare from WWI was the first time his unit was gassed. HW and his men had to shoot their draught horses (artillery unit) b/c they didn't have masks for them. That was remedied by the next engagement, but still...

Tried watching War Horse on calbe, but couldn't. Don't think I,ever will.

chickenlittle said...

Dulce et decorum est

Hagar said...

700,000 out of 46 million. 1.5% vs. the 600,000+/- out of 31 million (1.9%) who died in the U.S. Civil War.
And both sides mostly thought they had a cause worth dying for, which was a bit more dubious in WWI.

Hagar said...

Norway lost more men and ships in WWI, when we were neutral, than in WWII, when we were "combatants."

Hagar said...

Plus my aunt Bergljot was one of those who died of the "Spanish Flu."

Ann Althouse said...

"Yes, the boredom the soldiers in the trenches face was so bad that they took to killing the rats just for something to do."

How much boredom does it take before a young man with a gun in an outdoor location crawling with rats starts shooting rats?

Doesn't seem like a strong measure of boredom to me.

Bob R said...

I thought this was much better than most of the "myths" genre of journalism. I think the objections to #10 are misplaced. The best point of the article is that we have far too narrow, homogeneous view of WWI - as if tens of millions of people had the same experience. We have a much more nuanced view of WWII. Maybe because of more popular media, better novels. We get the idea that for most, war is months of boredom punctuated by horrific violence. I suppose WWI was much the same.

Michael K said...

"This was a time of mass conscript armies crashing into each other with no thought of preventing casualties"

Actually, the British did not introduce conscription until 1916. The Act was passed in March 1916 but conscripts did not serve until late in the year or early 1917.

lge said...

They may have gotten meat every day, but wasn't it usually bully-beef?

(Some trivia, or anyway a RELATIVELY unknown fact: "bully beef" comes from the French, bouillé [boiled]. At least it wasn't Spam!)

My favorite invented Franglais from that period was for the city of Ypres -- unpronounceable by anybody but a native French-speaker; but roughly, "Eeepr." The Tommies and Yanks rendered it "Wipers."

David said...

"The best point of the article is that we have far too narrow, homogeneous view of WWI - as if tens of millions of people had the same experience."

Great point if that were true. To the extent that people think about WW I, I doubt they believe that everyone had the same experience. At least the people I hang out with do not.

We will hear more about this as August approaches.

Quiet a bloody century, the 20th. But the 21st is still young. The 20th didn't seem too war drenched just 14 years in.

Gabriel Hanna said...

I'd like to see them do the same with WWII, which was far more fraught with moral ambiguity than we wish to remember about the "Greatest Generation".

For example, 904 American soldiers were tried for rape--in France, the country we were liberating. Roughly 14,000 rapes were committed by American soldiers in Europe during the war--including the wife of Anthony Burgess, who later drew on the incident when he wrote A Clockwork Orangae.

Nothing on this scale happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Steve said...

Other than rum, sodomy and the lash it was a pleasure cruise.

tim maguire said...

An interesting article, but I didn't know that many of the myths were myths (most soldiers died, men spent years in the trenches, the upper class got off lightly--never heard any of those). Also, some of the debunking is done through creative definitions rather than straight up factual challenges (no-one won) or questionable standards (Versailles was harsh).

Hagar said...

Some of the kids who had .22's would go out to the town dump at Årø and shoot rats. Some got quite good at it.

cokaygne said...

Journalists are not trustworthy historians. They always want to shake up the bourgeoisie, and spin their reporting to do that.

It is easy to explain away people's impressions of WWI by pointing out contrary facts that must exist in such a complex worldwide event. Never the less, WWI destroyed the authority of Europe's aristocracy, including Britain's, because most people lost their sense of deference.

Deference was a big casualty because there was no good reason for the war which Europe's aristocrats waged against each other with millions of conscripts.

The deaths, not matter how the journalists try to sugar coat them with appeals to statistics, were tragic for the victims and their loved ones.

Journalists sympathize with the Left, and WWI was good for the Left because of its destruction of deference. Stalin, the little man inside many Leftist politicians, summed up such statistics when he said to Churchill, "When one man dies it is a tragecy. When thousands die it's statistics." as reported by David McCullough in his biography of Truman.

LL said...

jr565 wrote: How many people died in WWI? how DARE someone assert that people weren't completely miserable during that time.

I hear you but it is kind of odd to make that argument when discussing a conflict that is known as a world war and one in which millions died.

SJ said...

And I'm reminded of a biography I've read.

C.S. Lewis served in that War. The comments about it in his autobiography were not many.

Lewis contrasted life in the Army with life in a boarding-school. No one expected him to like life in the Army, which was something of a relief. (Everyone had told him he should expect to like boarding-school, but he hated his experiences in boarding-school...)

There was much camaraderie, much hardship. Gunfire, artillery, rough life in the trenches, sickness. I think he enjoyed some parts of the War, and hated other parts of it.

That War was not pleasant. Not for the many dead, nor for the many survivors who lived through the pain, heartache, and toil of battle.

But like every War throughout history, the soldiers enjoyed some parts and detested other parts.

William said...

You only have to endure three--or, at most, seven--days of mortal terror per month. The rest of the time you were free to contemplate your next turn in the trenches......They didn't kill rats out of boredom but out of hatred. The rats grew fat on the corpses of their comrades. Some men got their entrails caught on the barbed wire. They couldn't fall back with the rest of the troops. The rats nibbled at them when they were still alive. Something to think about on your next leave away from the front line. But other than that the war was fun.

William said...

For penance after Gallipoli, Churchill did a stint on the front lines. By all accounts he was a brave soldier who looked out for his men. What was notable about his tour, was that he brought a copper bathtub with its own heating unit with him to the front lines. He liked to take long, hot baths. He didn't think an inconvenience like front line service should interfere with one of life's civilized pleasures. So there's one guy who found a way to muddle through.

Rusty said...

Dispatching the rats with ones service rifle was not recommended.
For obvious reasons.

DrMaturin said...

@Michael K

"Actually, the British did not introduce conscription until 1916. The Act was passed in March 1916 but conscripts did not serve until late in the year or early 1917."

I know that. I was thinking more about the French and Germans as well as the eastern front, a part of the war given insufficient attention by those of us in the West. As to the BEF, the original,professional army of 1914 was mostly wiped out, hence the need to create an entirely new British Army to go to France and have fun.

Michael K said...

"I know that. I was thinking more about the French and Germans as well as the eastern front, "

I don't doubt it but many do not realize that the British, and the Germans for that matter, went to war as though it was a party or parade. The BEF was an army built for colonial service and not an industrial army like those of Prussia or France. The Russians, of course, were illiterate peasants barely removed from serfdom.

Balfegor said...

Re: DrMaturin:

as well as the eastern front, a part of the war given insufficient attention by those of us in the West.

The eastern front, yes, where the Germans deployed their ultimate superweapon, an ideological doomsday device injected into the heart of Russia in a sealed train.

A war crime like no other.

Balfegor said...

Re: cokaygne:

Deference was a big casualty because there was no good reason for the war which Europe's aristocrats waged against each other with millions of conscripts.

Well, it's not that they didn't have their reasons. But the West was fooled into committing suicide by a pack of murderous independence activists with a comic-book villain name: The Black Hand.

May a thousand generations spit upon their corpses.

DrMaturin said...

60% of the male population of Serbia died in the war. I don't think the war was much fun for them.

DrMaturin said...

BTW, since the article in question addressed the issue of "bloodiest wars in history", that honor goes to the War of the Triple Alliance of 1864-1870 fought between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. This war had the highest rate of fatalities as a percentage of population of any war in history. 90% of the population of Paraguay died in this war. World War I was amateur hour in comparison.

Paul said...

Most people in the military are REMFs. Not that many are on the sharp point of the stick and thus the war, to them, is not so bad.

It's the ones that end up as first wave at Peleliu that find out war really is hell.

Go read "With The Old Breed" by Sledge and find out what GIs who really do end up in a shoot'en zone face.

campy said...

Sure, the war was endless fun for the soldiers, but what about the women left behind? Women have always been the primary victims of war, you know.

Jason said...

Most of the poor bloody infantry who had a horrific time of it are dead and didn't get to tell their stories.

The ones who survived had their faith in God shattered on a scale never before seen, giving rise to entire cultural movements like nihilism and post modernism. The vast numbers of newly minted atheists fueled communist movements in Europe for generations.

This writer should get out more. Or have the experience of losing more friends, to understand.

I recommend folks look up the song "Farewell to All That," by the excellent Irish guitarist and songwriter John Doyle.

He gets it.

John said...

From George Orwell's "Coming up for Air". My personal favorite of all his books:

They're always going on about your blood boiling. Just the same
phrase during the war, I remember.

'I went off the boil in 1916,' I told him. 'And so'll you when you
know what a trench smells like.'

And a bit later:

'Listen son,' I said, 'you've got it all wrong. In 1914 WE thought
it was going to be a glorious business. Well, it wasn't. It was
just a bloody mess. If it comes again, you keep out of it. Why
should you get your body plugged full of lead? Keep it for some
girl. You think war's all heroism and V.C. charges, but I tell you
it isn't like that. You don't have bayonet-charges nowadays, and
when you do it isn't like you imagine. You don't feel like a hero.
All you know is that you've had no sleep for three days, and stink
like a polecat, you're pissing your bags with fright, and your
hands are so cold you can't hold your rifle. But that doesn't
matter a damn, either. It's the things that happen afterwards.'

virgil xenophon said...

WW I also signaled the beginning of the end of Colonialism in Africa. Prior to WW I the Africans had seen only the flower of the British/German/Belgian foreign service as administrators, station chiefs, etc. When exposed to the run-of-the-mill enlisted sent to Africa by both the Axis and Allied powers to protect/fight for their holdings, they came to realize they were not being governed by a super race but by people no more intelligent then they, and as a result their collective willingness to be governed by such waned dramatically.

Oso Negro said...

Some of you seem to not be able to grasp the idea that something may be terrible and enjoyable at the same time. My father served in the trenches in Korea in 1953. He routinely volunteered for patrols in front of the line because it was more interesting work. He survived the Battle of Outpost Harry, which was a horror show of the first water. Despite all, he told me that the first thing he did on hearing of the ceasefire was to sit down and cry that it was over.

traditionalguy said...

The stupidity of the Aristocrat officer corps in England and France is hard to imagine. they did not have clue what the modern artillery, machine guns and mechanized armies could do in a battle.

And they did not care to admit they were wrong either.

Lord Ben said...

It was a good article and informative. I'm glad it was linked. I've long enjoyed studying WWI and the prevailing attitude in the comments is exactly the kind of one size fits all attitude towards WWI that the article seeks to dispel.

It wasn't all "straight at 'em boys!" in the war.

John said...

Oriana Fallaci famously said that she would never marry because "No man could ever be as exciting as war."

Paul Fussell wrote quite about about wartime life in the army. Boredom was one of the biggest problems. My retired Marine Colenel neighbor told me that in VN, his biggest problem with the troops was keeping them from getting bored between patrols.

Winston Churchill said "There is nothing so exhilarating as being shot at and missed"

John Henry

Lord Ben said...

If anyone cares I've had this link bookmarked for a long time. It's good on it's own and lists some more interesting books of the changing tactical situation of WWI is of any interest.

http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwi/articles/britishtacticalchanges.aspx

openidname said...

Of course "Everyone hated it" is false. It takes only one person to make it technically false. The BBC is taking on a strawman here.

Let's just say the vast majority of sensible people hated it.

From Inwood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
From Inwood said...

Discounting the people Jay Leno interviews or the low-information voter, IMHO, he BBC guy is wrong that anyone believed #2 or #4. Moreover, #5 "myth" is not so bad a thought. They were still re-doing Pickett's charge 'til the end of the War.

Re #8, Versailles was an unreasonably harsh settlement regardless of previous war endings & was really product of Wilsonian moralism, not to mention hypocrisy &, QED, bound to cause trouble to the extent that it was enforced. Of course, it wasn’t for very long, such lack of enforcement leading to mistaken beliefs on the part of Germans that they could reverse the results of WW I.

The Godfather said...

I've enjoyed the discussion. Althouse's commenters are more knowledgeable, and more sophisticated, than whoever wrote the BBC piece.

I'm a member of the Viet Nam generation who didn't go to war, but I had friends who did. All of them could recall experiences that were positive and life-affirming, or even funny, but none of them said it was a "good" war.

The BBC writer is an apologist for the military leadership in WWI, and maybe he/she is right, but John Keagan persuaded me that the British, French, and German commands kept throwing more and more soldiers into hopeless assaults on well-defended lines. I've just finished Atkinson's book about WWII in Italy, and it sounds very similar to WWI.

WWI destroyed a large part of the British upper class, and probably the French and German upper classes as well. Whatever the apologists may say, Versailles set the stage for Hitler. And the losses in WWI explain, at least in part, why Britain and France failed to stop him when they could.

Right now we are seeing the US close it's eyes as Iran develops nuclear weapons, as large parts of Iraq are conquered by al Qaida, and as Syria descends into its only particular Hell.

Kirk Parker said...

Balfegor,

"A war crime like no other."

No kidding.

But I disagree with your take on Black Hand. All they did was provide a spark; the tinder that was piled all around Europe was the work of others, the purportedly responsible rulers. If these particular Serbs hadn't started a fire, surely some other source would have come along sooner or later.

William said...

The grievous loss of life was made more poignant by the fact that is was all for nothing. Less than nothing. The leading cause of WWII was WWI........Among the various leaders and statesman, one can't think of a single admirable figure. At Versailles there wasn't a single grown up in the room.

khesanh0802 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

Lots of armchair generals here.

khesanh0802 said...

I am really impressed by the rationality of the comments on this post.
My reaction is more visceral when someone says a war was not so bad. My response is "F.U. Tell me how much fun war is after you have been to one." The only people with the right to judge the character of a war are the infantrymen and Marines who actually face the enemy. (Arty and combat air rank right up there too, but not like the infantry.)

There must have been plenty of "Willie and Joes" in WWI whose spirits would be happy to tell the BBC how pleasant the war was.

Lord Ben said...

"Not everyone's personal experience was negative" isn't the same thing as "War isn't bad."

Did anyone arguing that war is terrible even read the article?

Quaestor said...

All this skepticism, all these snide remarks brimming with feux irony, such as "[Other] than the barbed wire and machine guns, it was a little slice of heaven." You'd think everyone here is recalling their own experiences of the Great War. Such an elderly crowd attends Althouse, I never realized. Or perhaps we're up to our butt-cheeks in military historians all armed to the teeth with documentary evidence fit to prove young Mr. Snow an ass... yeah, right.

Myths die hard. After digesting the facts of Britain's experience of WWI perhaps we should turn our attention to the reason why people will go to such extraordinary lengths to preserve long-held beliefs and perception that in plain truth have no personal consequence for them whatever. So what if the First World War wasn't quite the horror story some here have been led to believe? What personal cost is there in amending one's assessment of a distant historical period? It's not like the actual casualty rates on the Western Front is going to influence the price of butter and eggs next Thursday. What's so damned painful in re-learning some history that is so remote to our daily lives?

Quaestor said...

There must have been plenty of "Willie and Joes" in WWI whose spirits would be happy to tell the BBC how pleasant the war was.

Oh really? What do you suggest? Fire the historians and hire some mediums to conduct séances?

Quaestor said...

faux irony, sorry.

Revenant said...

Saying "not everyone hated WW1" is like saying "not all men hate being kicked in the balls". Both statements are technically true but neither is particularly useful.

Revenant said...

Oh really? What do you suggest? Fire the historians and hire some mediums to conduct séances?

Odd that "WW1 wasn't so bad" is a meme that didn't crop up until the only people qualified to offer an opinion were dead, though.

poplicola said...

"traditionalguy said...
The stupidity of the Aristocrat officer corps in England and France is hard to imagine. they did not have clue what the modern artillery, machine guns and mechanized armies could do in a battle.

And they did not care to admit they were wrong either.

1/20/14, 4:21 PM"

Of course they knew what "what the modern artillery, machine guns and mechanized armies could do in a battle." Otherwise they wouldn't have developed and purchased them for their own armies to use against the enemy.

Aphra Behn said...

WW1 Letters home contradict Dan Snow's recent Mythbusting post on the BBC -
http://www.familyletters.co.uk/response-to-thehistoryguy-mythbusting-ww1-with-primary-sources/

Aphra Behn said...

WW1 Letters home contradict Dan Snow's recent Mythbusting post on the BBC - my grandfather was in the trenches for 25 days and nights at a time
http://www.familyletters.co.uk/response-to-thehistoryguy-mythbusting-ww1-with-primary-sources/

jr565 said...

couldn't you say the same about any and all wars? While the fighting is raging I'm sure its hell, but when there's downtime I'm sure a lot of fun is to be had. hookers and/or girlfriends , drugs, male bonding, various adventures with your boys.

jr565 said...

Why was WWI singled out! as opposed to say any other war in terms of fun quotient?

khesanh0802 said...

@ Quaestor

I have a feeling you are just the kind of guy I am talking about. For those who have been there the losses of war are a very hard thing to be ironic about.

You unwittingly reinforce my point that the "Willie and Joes' are no longer here to rebut the idiocy of the author.

Bruce Hayden said...

http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwi/articles/britishtacticalchanges.aspx

Interesting reading. A lot of what so distinguished WW II in Europe was invented in the last couple of years of WW I, primarily by the Brits, but with contributions from the Frogs and Krauts. It took awhile to move from calvary attacks on prepared machine gun emplacements to integrated tank and infantry attacks that the Brits used so successfully in 1918, and which was little different that what the Germans used in the early days of WW II to take Poland, and then France. They were also integrating air attacks on ground targets with infantry advances. Another big innovation in WW I, esp by the Brits again, was effective counter-battery fire. The most dangerous weapon to advancing infantry in trench warfare was artillery fire, and neutralizing defensive artillery fire was important in infantry being able to advance. Meanwhile, they also developed the rolling barrage, behind which infantry could advance. By WW II, the tanks and airplanes were better, as well as radio communications, but much of what went on in that war appears to be just refinements of what was developed in the later years of WW I.

khesanh0802 said...

One more post though unlikely to be read. From Wikipedia: Total Allied military deaths 5,712,379; British Empire deaths, 1,115,597, France 1,397,800;Russian Empire as many as 2,254,369.

We lost 50 plus thousand in the Viet Nam war and it still is affecting the way we think about the world and the way we act. Multiply that by 20 and think of the effect that had on Great Britain. The Wall is overwhelming as it is. Imagine if it incorporated 1,000,000 names.