Published on 29 Jan 2015
Konrad von Hötzendorf has to prevent the Russian army from entering the Hungarian plains. So, he starts a huge offensive in the Carpathian Mountains — in mid winter. He also wants to demonstrate his power to Italy and Romania who are considering entering the war for the Entente. Meanwhile, in the Northern Sea the first Battle of Dogger Bank takes place which leads to the sinking of the German ship SMS Blücher.
January 30, 2015
January 28, 2015
Published on 26 Jan 2015
Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, also known as the Lion of Africa, was commander of the German colonial troops in German East Africa during World War 1. His guerilla tactics used againd several world powers of the time are considered to be one of the most successful military missions of the whole war. In Germany, he was celebrated as a hero until recently. But recent historical research show a picture much more controversial than the one of a glorious hero.
January 23, 2015
Published on 22 Jan 2015
For a decisive advantage on the Western Front, the military commanders of both sides are trying to use technological advances. And so this week, German Zeppelins are flying their first air raids on English towns. Winston Churchill is outlining his ideas for what would later become the tank. Meanwhile at the Western Front, the soldier Adolf Hitler is thinking about how this war is going to continue.
January 20, 2015
Published on 19 Jan 2015
World War 1 broke out in summer 1914, a little over 100 years ago. Our channel is following the historic events week by week. For everyone who recently joined this channel: this recap is specially for you! Catch up with the last six months, hence the first six months of the war. Between the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the Battle of the Marne and the Christmas Truce, hundreds of thousands of soldiers had to die. This is modern war.
January 16, 2015
Published on 15 Jan 2015
French general Joseph Joffre is stuck in a dilemma: the Champagne offensive has been going on for weeks now — without any expected results. Should he dig in and tolerate the enemy on French soil? Or should his soldiers continue to run up against the impenetrable German defences? Meanwhile, South African troops attack German South West Africa and in London, Winston Churchill’s plan for an invasion of the Dardanelles has been approved.
January 14, 2015
Published on 12 Jan 2015
“Indy is answering your questions again. In this episode of OUT OF THE TRENCHES he is explaining how airplanes got armed with machine guns and what was the bloodiest battle of WW1.
January 9, 2015
Published on 8 Jan 2015
The Austro-Hungarian army resembles a better militia after six months into the war. After defeats against Serbia and Russia and still under siege in Galicia, the forces are in dire straits. Many casualties, especially among the officers, mean that an effective warfare is impossible. And all this while the Russians are close to entering the Hungarian plains. On another front, the Russians are winning the battle of Sarikamish which ends in a disaster for the Ottoman Empire. On the Western Front, each side still tries to gain a decisive advantage.
January 8, 2015
Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or lave his country for ever without a passport of any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money for any other currency without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter, a foreigner could spend his life in this country without permit and without informing the police. Unlike the countries of the European continent, the state did not require its citizens to perform military service. An Englishman could enlist, if he chose, in the regular army, the navy, or the territorials. He could also ignore, if he chose, the demands of national defence. Substantial householders were occasionally called on for jury service. Otherwise, only those helped the state who wished to do so. The Englishman paid taxes on a modest scale: nearly ₤200 million in 1913-14, or rather less than 8 per cent of the national income. The state intervened to prevent the citizen from eating adulterated food or contracting certain infectious diseases. It imposed safety rules in factories, and prevented women, and adult males in some industries, from working excessive hours. The state saw to it that children received education up to the age of thirteen. Since 1 January 1909, it provided a meagre pension for the needy over the age of seventy. Since 1913, it helped to insure certain classes of workers against sickness and unemployment. This tendency towards more state action was increasing. Expenditure on the social services had roughly doubled since the Liberals took office in 1905. Still, broadly speaking, the state acted only to help those who could not help themselves. It left the adult citizen alone.
All this was changed by the impact of the Great War1. The mass of the people became, for the first time, active citizens. Their lives were shaped by orders from above; they were required to serve the state instead of pursuing exclusively their own affairs. Five million men entered the armed forces, many of them (though a minority) under compulsion. The Englishman’s food was limited, and its quality changed, by government order.
His freedom of movement was restricted; his conditions of work prescribed. Some industries were reduced or closed, other artificially fostered. The publication of news was fettered. Street lights were dimmed. The sacred freedom of drinking was tampered with: licensed hours were cut down, and the beer watered by order. The very time on the clocks was changed. From 1916 onwards, every Englishman got up an hour earlier in summer than he would otherwise have done, thanks to an act of parliament. The state established a hold over its citizens which, though relaxed in peacetime, was never to be removed and which the second World war was again to increase. The history of the English state and of the English people merged for the first time.
1 In contemporary parlance, the war of 1914-18 was always, not surprisingly, the Great War. It did not need the war of 1939-45 to change it into the first World War. Repington devised the phrase at the time of the armistice, “to prevent the millennian folk from forgetting that the history of the world is the history of war.” Repington, The First World War, ii. 291.
A.J.P. Taylor, English History 1914-1945, 1965.
January 2, 2015
Published on 1 Jan 2015
The Champagne offensive is still going on the Western Front without any side gaining a decisive advantage. In the Caucasus, Enver Pasha is showing how far he’s willing to go to achieve his goals. Against his military advisors’ recommendations, he decides to send more and more troops to Sarikamish. Without supplies and with temperatures constantly below -20 degrees, thousands of them freeze to death before even reaching the frontline. When the Russians finally encircle the Ottoman Troops, defeat is inevitable.
December 26, 2014
Published on 25 Dec 2014
Right before Christmas the allied powers begin the Champagne offensive, which will last several months. In the snow and the mud, and under horrible living conditions not only the soldiers suffer. The images of a war fought with honour and glory are finally over as even the white flag is used for ambushes. Far away in the mountains of the Caucasian, Russia and the Ottoman Empire are fighting a grim battle, too, in which many soldiers die during interminable marches in the snow wearing summer uniforms.
December 25, 2014
Published on 24 Dec 2014
Initially, everyone believed that this war would be over by Christmas, but on Christmas Eve 1914, soldiers were still facing each other in France, Belgium, throughout Eastern Europe, and all of the other theatres of war. But instead of shooting at each other, quite a few soldiers decided to sing and celebrate this night with their enemies. This happened in many places on the Western Front, and the commanding officers were not happy about it. In future, they would see to it that it did not happen again.
December 24, 2014
Britain’s Royal Mail Group has released a hand-written letter posted by a participant in the Christmas Truce on the western front in 1914:
One hundred years ago tomorrow saw the historic truce between soldiers fighting in the trenches in the First World War and Royal Mail is a releasing a poignant letter recounting the moment.
Christmas Day 1914 saw a break in the fighting between allied forces and German soldiers on the Western Front.
It was the moment where troops on both sides put down their weapons, climbed out of the dug-outs and met in no man’s land, where they exchanged cigars and souvenirs, and where a historic football match was played.
In the letter, Captain A D Chater of the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders, describes the extraordinary moment where the men stopped fighting to wish each other happy Christmas:
I am writing this in the trenches in my “dug-out” — with a wood fire going and plenty of straw it is rather cosy, although it is freezing hard and real Christmas weather.
I think I have seen today one of the most extraordinary sights that anyone has ever seen. About 10 o’clock this morning I was peeping over the parapet when I saw a German, waving his arms, and presently two of them got out of their trench and came towards ours. We were just going to fire on them when we saw they had no rifles, so one of our men went to meet them and in about two minutes the ground between the two lines of trenches was swarming with men and officers of both sides, shaking hands and wishing each other a happy Christmas…”
Captain Chater’s letter illustrates how regiments on both sides used the opportunity to bury their dead, referring to it as “lying between the lines”. It was also a rare moment they could simply go for long walk in the open without being shot at.
Captain Chater also describes another meeting in no-man’s land that further illustrates the unexpected good humour between enemy forces:
“We had another parley with the Germans in the middle. We exchanged cigarettes and autographs, and some more people took photos. I don’t know how long it will go on for — I believe it was supposed to stop yesterday, but we can hear no firing going on along the front today except a little distant shelling. We are, at any rate, having another truce on New Year’s Day, as the Germans want to see how the photos come out!”
Not only does Captain Chater’s letter paint a vivid picture of goodwill in the middle of “a war in which there is so much bitterness and ill feeling”, it reminds us that the conflict was not personal between the men on opposing sides. “The Germans in this part of the line are sportsmen if they are nothing else,” he writes, underlining the sense of uneasy trust that inspired the Christmas truce.
H/T to MilitaryHistoryNow.com for the link.
December 19, 2014
Published on 18 Dec 2014
German admiral Franz von Hipper reluctantly carries out his orders to bomb British coastal towns. And indeed, this attempt to intimidate British civilians only makes them more united. British propaganda gets another opportunity to portray Germans as bloodthirsty and brutal. Meanwhile, the French start a new offensive near Vimy on the Western Front.
December 17, 2014
Published on 15 Dec 2014
Ferdinand Foch was one of the most famous Entente generals of World War 1. He already began his military career in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71. Until the end of WW1 he rose to the rank of Commander in Chief of the allied forces. War had always been central to Foch’s life, though neither he nor anyone else really foresaw the size, scope, and horrors of World War One. In this video we’re showing his impressive life.
December 12, 2014
Published on 11 Dec 2014
Near the far away Falkland Islands the story of the German East Asia Squadron is coming to an end: in a naval battle nearly the entire squadron sunk and Maximilian von Spee dies together with over 2000 German seamen. Meanwhile, the war of attrition is still going on in Europe and Austria-Hungary has to learn that their conquest of Belgrade is not putting a lid on the Serbian resistance.