A Century of Progress; Not
September 3, 2014 7 Comments
At the end of August 1914, Imperial Germany lost World War I, so did Imperial Russia. And even more they did it in the same battle. Talk about no winners at all. OK, let me explain.
In the opening moves of the Great War, Germany all but stripped the Eastern front of troops to make the Schwerpunkt through Belgium heavy enough to win the war. The Germans were pretty confident, and looking at the way it was going, it’s hard to disagree. They had 34 Corps with 2 or more divisions each in the attack, nearly a million soldiers, to compel the French surrender and make peace with Britain and Belgium, and then it would be time to run back across Germany and defeat the Russian Army. It was about as good a plan as could be devised, although the British going to war was a nasty surprise, and led to some delays.
But my main point today is that the Russians managed to get a couple of huge armies moving toward the German 8th army (4 and a half corps, a cavalry division and the Königsberg garrison). And the German general commanding (von Prittwitz) wasn’t up to the job. He got relieved, von Hindenburg was recalled from retirement, and Ludendorff brought back from the Belgian forts,
As he was driven back, German refugees were scattered around Germany, great ladies from East Prussia filled the Kaiserin’s ear with their tales of woe, and the German’s managed to scare themselves into moving three corps from the western front to reinforce 8th Army. Von Hindenburg tried very hard to tell them he didn’t need them, to no avail
And that’s why Germany, lost the Great War, their only chance to win was for it to be short war, and without those 6 divisions the Allies managed to hold (just barely). But they couldn’t win either, and so Europe bled itself white, until the Americans showed up. The whole thing turned into a tragedy that we are still paying for the consequences of today, not least in the Middle East.
And the Russians? Von Hindenburg fought them at Tannenberg, 95,000 Russian troops were captured, 30,000 were killed or wounded, and about 10,000 escaped, thus setting the stage for the Russian Revolution.
Those unneeded German troops were back in the line in a little more than a week, it was too late.
Of course the boundaries of the Middle East were set up based on Anglo-French treaties after the war. They had nothing to do with much of anything in the real word. One squiggle in one of them is supposedly because Churchill’s pencil jittered. Of course the whole system has pretty much come crashing down in the last six years. It worked fairly well when a benevolent superpower, first Britain, and then the United States, kept it mostly sane. But now, Britain has cut back, and our president (according to reports) simply can’t be bothered.
I note that some analysts are beginning to wonder whether he is physically capable of making a decision. It a concern that came up occasionally about whether such and so would be able to order nuclear release, but this isn’t even a full conventional war, let alone that.
Reports say he has been getting reports on ISIS for a year now, in the presidential daily brief. I have my beefs with American intelligence, mostly I think the rely too much on overhead imagery, and communications, and not enough on what people think, but I have strong doubt that they missed this, so it has to be that somebody wasn’t paying attention.
The State Department spokeschick seemed so proud yesterday that we’ve run something over a hundred bombing sorties, so far, while declining to call it a war. Well, I sort of understand, Congress hasn’t said it’s a war yet, course they haven’t asked for them to either. I have trouble understanding why there isn’t a carrier battle group (or two) in the eastern Mediterranean, nor do I understand why we aren’t running a hundred sorties per day, some of them B-52s and such. but you know, I was brought up that when you find you must fight, you fight to win, all the way to victory. maybe I’m simply old-fashioned but, it worked for thousands of years.
All I know is what I read in the open press, or see on TV but given the givens; the ineffectual means in the Middle East, the lack of enforcement of immigration law, the completely open southern border, and the almost guaranteed certainty that ISIS people have taken advantage of that, and the anniversary of 9/11. I think the only correct advice is to “Keep your head up, your butt down, and check six.” Because I think we’re going to take a hit, and it just might dwarf 9/11, or it might not, cause I don’t know any more than you do. And if my name was Obama, I’d be rather worried about how I was going to explain the loss of the Capitol two hundred years after the British set it on fire.