100 Years Ago Today: World War I Began - July, 28, 1914

by Oubliette 35 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • steve2

    Quendi you make lots of sensible points with which I can only nod in agreement. Sure, 3.5 million dead in less than 6 months is HUGE - then again you need a mass of population to effect that kind of monumnetal toll. There is a coming together of large populations and deadly means. That it meets at a set time in history cannot be ignored - but whether that lifts the toll to the level of "watershed" even requires some judgement.

  • Quendi

    World War I has certainly touched some of us taking part in this discussion. Kaik had a great-grandfather and a grandfather involved. My maternal grandfather fought in France, returned home to the Jim Crow South in Birmingham, Alabama in 1919, and died in 1973. He never spoke to me, his oldest grandchild, about his experiences "over there" other than to acknowledge his service. I only learned that he had been injured in the war two years ago. My mother knew next to nothing also. I'm sure steve2 is familiar with the saying that New Zealand entered the war as a colony and emerged from it as a nation.

    While U.S. involvement made a crucial difference in the Great War's outcome, it is not really remembered in this country. Most Americans know nothing about the significance of 11 November. It is called "Veterans' Day" here, the emphasis being on honoring all of the nation's service men and women. Few know about the armistice which ended the fighting on "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" in 1918. When I quote that phrase to people I know, I get blank stares and puzzled looks. It's a shame.


  • AndDontCallMeShirley

    I thought Armageddon started in 1914?

  • kaik

    I lost great-grandfather from my father side who died during the siege of Premysl. I think all my male ancestors who were between 18 and 45 fought in WWI. My great-grandfather lost his baby brother there, he was the youngest and were not train for the war. Just regular draftee. My great-grandfather was trained officer and had survival skills. When the WWI started he was almost 40. There was a huge shortage of manpower in A-U and many labor intesive work was done by women like operating trains something that was not heard before. My grandparents were the Gen of 1914 and lived through both wars, they all equally told me that poverty and starvation in WWI was real, but WWII was worse due extremely brutal condition of occupied country. WWII was a combination of a total war and oppression of crazy, brutal, hostile foreigner power that intended to decimate civilians deep in the occupied territory.

    Generally the victims of WWI were forgotten with the outbreak of WWII. There was also a huge complain of preferential treamtent of WWI veterans and their families after 1945 from WWII victims, which was probably reason why they were forgotten.

  • steve2

    Quendi, ask New Zealanders when we transitioned from a colony to a nation and we would loudly answer that World War One was not the time. It was never our defining moment or war - we fought primarily out of loyalty to Great Britain. NZ and Australian troops were slaughtered at Gallipoli as British generals blindly adhered to strategic manoeuvres. The blood shed by young New Zealand males ill-prepared in the centre of that war theatre was criminal.

    It would be more than 50 years later when the NZ public protested vigorously in the streets against our then involvement in the Vietnam War that our colonial status began to be shed and

    our opposition to the South African Springbok tour of 1981 and massed rejection of visits by nuclear-powered American vessels in the latter 1980s that we saw ourselves more a nation than

    a colony. There were no battlefields in sight, either.

    No, we were wide-eyed colonial-minded country boys in WW1, mere pawns of Great Britain and the allies in both world wars. New Zealanders would totally reject any statement that we emerged from WW1 as a nation - even though gung-ho historians love these kinds of tripping-off-the-tongue platitudes about the 'making' of nations - especially the patriarchal love of defining national coming of age as readiness to die on the battlefield. Get real!

  • kepler

    Interesting discussion so far.

    As for myself I've studied WWI with great fascination and with an increasing appreciation of its monstrous nature and consequences; yet for the various links of my family, there are plenty of connections to WWII, but hardly any at all related to WWI. And in many ways it's a remarkable skip of the needle.

    On my father's side he and his brothers either enlisted or drafted into the WWII - as were my mother's older brothers. Some served in battles of the Pacific and were wounded. One of my father's brothers, off the farm in Illinois, was a ham radio operator and then became an instructor, an aviator, an officer and then a flight surgeon before he retired from the air force in the 1960s. On my mother's side I can often remember the discussions between my mothe and grandmother about waiting word throught the Red Cross about my uncle Johnny who was a marine and who participated in the island landings of the Pacific campaign.

    The overall effect was that I saw my relatives being in the service and then returning home to start a career or attend school on the GI bill. They were first my foster parents and then my adoptive parents. I followed their example.

    But their parents who married in the 20s, raised them through the Depression Years, they spoke little of WWI. On my father's side the stories were of events of the American Civil War and several of his ancestors served at those battles, particularly at Shiloh early in the career of Ulysses Grant.

    Now, skidding off in a very different direction, I noticed a couple of people remarking on events in heaven. And those are related to what brought us to this forum. And about these events, I often get confused, particularly as to when they were supposed to have happened, how they were detected or even surmised.

    Charles Taze Russell gets tons and tons of credit, but should he not share some with the English poet Milton, author of Paradise Lost?

    Or what about the Book of Enoch?

    How can this "Event" be repeated again and again? And how much of the description is borrowed?

    If there is really any traction on this, maybe we should break to that as another topic?

  • jgnat

    Who is the most important person of the Twentieth Century? Gavrilo Princip. Who the heck was Gavrilo Princip? He was the nineteen-year-old Serb nationalist who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary during a state visit to Bosnia, after a string of errors and accidents delivered the archduke to within shooting distance. Here’s a man who single-handedly sets of a chain reaction which ultimately leads to the deaths of 80 million people. With just a couple of bullets, this terrorist starts the First World War, which destroys four monarchies, leading to a power vacuum filled by the Communists in Russia and the Nazis in Germany who then fight it out in a Second World War. Some people would minimize Princip's importance by saying that a Great Power War was inevitable sooner or later given the tensions of the times, but I say that it was no more inevitable than, say, a war between Nato and the Warsaw Pact. Left unsparked, the Great War could have been avoided, and without it, there would have been no Lenin, no Hitler, no Eisenhower. Princip is one of the few individuals ever to make history. - Steven Pinker, "The Better Angels of Our Nature".

    There had to be a few happy coincidences for Gavrilo to pull off his plot. A failure of any one of those coincidences and the Great War would never have happened.

  • johnamos

    I think that the assassination of the Archduke and his wife was just an honest mistake that the grandfathers of these guys made.



  • Quendi

    This has been one of the most enjoyable and useful discussions I have ever participated in on this board and I want to thank everyone involved, especially Oubliette who started this thread. I appreciate what steve2 shared with us about the metamorphosis of New Zealand into a true and independent nation state. The clarification and correction he gave were particularly illuminating to me. While I knew about New Zealand's closing its ports to nuclear-armed and -powered vessels, I was not aware of Wellington's opposition to South Africa's apartheid. It was a Kiwi friend of mine who linked New Zealand's maturing into a nation with World War I. Perhaps that is because ANZAC Day and the Gallipoli killing fields it commemorates are personally important to him.

    Thanks, kepler, for sharing your family history. As I posted earlier, my maternal grandfather never talked about his experiences in the trenches of France. Though wounded, he was never given a citation, commendation, medal or any recognition for his service except his pension. I marvel that he returned to his home in the American South to suffer further humiliation and mistreatment as a black man under the iron heel of the Jim Crow laws that prevailed in Alabama during most of his lifetime. Being black undoubtedly was a major factor in his not receiving the Bronze Star as was his due. Some black soldiers eventually were honored that way, but the vast majority of these wounded black veterans were not.

    As for the WTS take on 1914 about what happened and when, I do think that should be the subject of another thread. If kepler doesn't start it, I think I will. October is fast approaching, but I suspect that the WTS will let its arrival to unmarked. Maybe the Governing Body fears poking the fire on this issue for although it has taken great care to cover its tracks by making most of its older publications completely unavailable, there are still many who possess them and they might feel a need to look at these wrong prophecies and predictions if the WTS were to discuss them.

    Kudos to jgmat for bringing up Gavrilo Princip. While many people have never heard his name and don't know about the tragic errors which gave hism the opportunity to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, matters are otherwise in Serbia today. There Princip is hailed as a national hero. There are statues to his memory in different places, particularly in Sarajevo. The creation of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia by the Versailles Conference was an experiment in the "self determination" principle that Woodrow Wilson in particular championed. It was done without the careful consideration of culture and history it deserved and ultimately failed. We all know what happened in Yugoslavia. Czechoslovakia was more fortunate as the Czech Republic and Slovakia agreed to an amicable divorce which saved countless lives. Anyway, let's keep on talking for this discussion has been stimulating and of deep interest.


  • Iown Mylife
    Iown Mylife

    My first kid was born 7/28 and the second on 12/7. Wonder if it means anything? Well, both of them are frequently at war with me and each other!


Share this