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18 december

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2009 16:02    Onderwerp: 18 december Reageer met quote

December 18, 1916:
Battle of Verdun ends:

The Battle of Verdun, the longest engagement of World War I, ends on this day after ten months and close to a million total casualties suffered by German and French troops.
The battle had begun on February 21, after the Germans—led by Chief of Staff Erich von Falkenhayn—developed a plan to attack the fortress city of Verdun, on the Meuse River in France. Falkenhayn believed that the French army was more vulnerable than the British, and that a major defeat on the Western Front would push the Allies to open peace negotiations. From the beginning, casualties mounted quickly on both sides of the conflict, and after some early gains of territory by the Germans, the battle settled into a bloody stalemate. Among the weapons in the German arsenal was the newly-invented flammenwerfer, or flamethrower; that year also saw the first use by the Germans of phosgene gas, ten times more lethal than the chlorine gas they previously used.

As fighting at Verdun stretched on and on, German resources were stretched thinner by having to confront both a British-led offensive on the Somme River and Russia’s Brusilov Offensive on the Eastern Front. In July, the Kaiser, frustrated by the state of things at Verdun, removed Falkenhayn and sent him to command the 9th Army in Transylvania; Paul von Hindenburg took his place. By early December, under Robert Nivelle, who had been appointed to replace Philippe PÉtain in April, the French had managed to recapture much of their lost territory, and in the last three days of battle took 11,000 German prisoners before Hindenburg finally called a stop to the German attacks.

The massive loss of life at Verdun—143,000 German dead out of 337,000 casualties, to France’s 162,440 out of 377,231—would come to symbolize, more than that of any other battle, the bloody nature of trench warfare on the Western Front.

Bron: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&displayDate=12/18&categoryId=worldwari
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2009 18:06    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=2890 Smile


18 december 1915: Het eerste geheel metalen ééndekkervliegtuig maakt zijn eerste vlucht,nl. de Junkers J1.

http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=12602&highlight=junkers
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2009 18:13    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

En niet te vergeten Wilsons vredesvoorstel uit 1916, dat werd afgewezen op 26 december (zie de WIKI-kalender)
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Percy Toplis



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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:02    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

† 1914 Cherubina Willimann

Cherubina (gedoopt Anna Maria Josepha) Willimann osd.ter., Koblenz, Duitsland; † 1914.

Feest 18 december.

Zij werd op 12 maart 1842 geboren in het Zwitserse plaatsje Rickenbach bij Luzern. Te Schwyz aan het Vierwoudstedenmeer trad zij toe tot de tertiarissen die leefden volgens de regel van Sint Dominicus; als kloosternaam koos zij Cherubina.

In 1885 werd zij priorin van de leefgemeenschap op de Arenberg bij Koblenz in Duitsland, waarvan zij welbeschouwd ook medestichteres was. Reeds zeshonderd jaar lang hadden er dominicanen op de Arenberg gewoond. Johann Baptist Kraus, die van 1834 tot 1893(!) pastoor zou zijn van Arenberg liet er naast een parochie- en bedevaartskerk ook een klooster bouwen voor een nieuwe congregatie van vrouwelijke religieuzen en had in Zuster Cherubina een energieke kracht naast zich. Zij stond bekend om haar grenzenloos godsvertrouwen dat herhaalde malen zichtbaar werd beloond.

De zusters leefden volgens het motto: "Slechts God alleen en alles voor Hem!" Zij verpleegden zieken (van 1883-1974 verzorgden zij het ziekenhuis van Koblenz-Moselweiss), gehandicapte kinderen en bejaarden, en legden zich daarnaast toe op kleuter- en lager onderwijs. Bij de dood van zuster Cherubina op 18 december 1914 telde de gemeenschap 662 zusters in 42 vestigingen. Sinds 1963 hebben de Arenberger dominicanessen zelfs vier vestigingen onder de Indianen van Bolivia.

http://www.heiligen.net/heiligen/12/18/12-18-1914-cherubina.php
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"A grand canyon has opened up in our world, the fissure, the crack, grows wider every day. Neither on each side can hear a word that the other shrieks and nor do they want to."
-Stephen Fry on political correctness.
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Percy Toplis



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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:04    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The Battle of Givenchy (18-22 December 1914)

The French, finding themselves in difficulty at Arras in late 1914, asked the British to launch an offensive to push the German line further north. This request came after a series of British attacks south of Ypres had all been repelled with heavy losses. The strategy for attack was always the same: a brief bombardment followed by a frontal assault by infantry which made little progress against the enemy's lines of barbed wire, trenches and machine gun nests. In fact, British munition reserves were at their lowest levels with just forty rounds allocated to each gun, mostly shrapnel shells which had a limited effect on the fortified positions.

So, in compliance with the French request, General French planned six simultaneous small-scale attacks with most of the burden of the fighting to be borne by the men of the Indian Corps, already severely tested since their arrival in Flanders a few weeks previously. Indeed, the Indian troops had suffered heavy losses in the defence of Ypres and during a series of attacks along the Belgian frontier and La Bassée Canal; and a large number of those who survived were exhausted and suffering terribly from the terrible winter conditions which reigned in the sodden trenches of Flanders, their dismal situation compounded by a lack of warm clothing and adequate food.

The attack began on 19 December at 3.10 a.m. in freezing rain between La Bombe Crossroads, near Neuve-Chapelle, and La Bassée Canal. Setting out from the village of Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée, the Lahore Division succeeded in taking the first two German lines despite coming under heavy machine gun fire and, further to the north, the Garhwal Brigade and the Gurkhas took 300 metres of the opposing line at Festubert; however the enemy was quick to regroup and launched counter-attacks in the same morning, supported by artillery and making great use of hand grenades, a weapon the British had in very short supply. At dawn on 20 December the German artillery began to shell the Indian troops and, later in the morning, a series of mines exploded under the British lines causing much death. Meanwhile the German infantry was moving forward at Festubert, on the point of enveloping Givenchy, and had taken more than 800 British soldiers prisoner. In response to the threat, reinforcements were bused in to relieve the now dislocated Indian Corps.

British losses were high, especially among the Indian units. In addition to the wounds inflicted by German bullets and shells, many of the victims were suffering from frostbite and trench foot.

Lacking clear objectives and sufficient means, the British assaults of December 1914 in French Flanders resulted in heavy losses (4,000 for the BEF compared with 2,000 for the German Army) and absolutely no strategic gain for the Allies. The Indian soldiers were particularly affected by the conditions for which they had not been prepared and, faced with a growing risk of mutiny, the British general staff decided to withdraw them from the Western Front over the coming months.

The many soldiers who lost their lives in no man's land and the water-filled craters in this sector of the front had to be buried and this was one of the reasons for the temporary ceasefire which was observed shortly after the battle: the Christmas Truce.

Yves Le Maner
Director of La Coupole
History and Remembrance Centre of Northern France


http://www.remembrancetrails-northernfrance.com/learn-more/battles/the-battle-of-givenchy-18-22-december-1914.html
Zie ook http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/givenchy.htm
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"A grand canyon has opened up in our world, the fissure, the crack, grows wider every day. Neither on each side can hear a word that the other shrieks and nor do they want to."
-Stephen Fry on political correctness.


Laatst aangepast door Percy Toplis op 17 Dec 2010 23:07, in totaal 1 keer bewerkt
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:06    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

A legionary postcard presenting a Belina squadron, dated the 18th December 1914



Comment: A Belina squadron became a germ of cavalry of independent Poland. So called "the Belina seven" executed first military action ordered by Pilsudski (begun on the night of the 2nd/ the 3rd of August 1914). The squadron crossed a border and proceeded towards Jedrzejow. Due to lack of saddle-horses the sortie was carried out by a rented chaise and a Cracow hackney. On the way back the squadron got five horses, seven saddles and one more cavalrymen.

On the 13th of December 1914 Pilsudski's troops entered Nowy Sacz, where reorganization took place, in result of which First Infantry Regiment was re-named First Brigade of Polish Legions. Belina's cavalry consisted then already of two full squadrons and third one under oragnisation. In the whole First Brigade was serving 2613 men with 441 horses. After a short rest, on the 20th of December "Beliniacy" ("Belina boys") set out to fight together with rest of the Brigade.

Second and Third Infantry Regiments formed Second Brigade of Polish Legions. Command over Second Regiment was given to colonel Zygmunt Zielinski, command over Third Regiment to colonel Jozef Haller (because the regiment was still under organization in Mszana Dolna only two battalions set out from Cracow). Second Brigade was sent to Hungarian front where it passed extremely bloody combat trail through Hungary, Slovakia and Ukarine - therefore it was called "Carpathian" or "Iron" Brigade. It was lancers of Second Brigade who did a famous charge by Rokitna (in July 1915). (Aleksander Korolewicz)

http://www.poland.pl/archives/ww1/article,,id,284105.htm
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"A grand canyon has opened up in our world, the fissure, the crack, grows wider every day. Neither on each side can hear a word that the other shrieks and nor do they want to."
-Stephen Fry on political correctness.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:11    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Outjo - Namibia

Places of interest in the town include the Naulila Monument, commemorating the 19th October 1914 massacre of German soldiers and officials by the Portuguese near Fort Naulila on the Kunene River in Angola. It also commemorates soldiers killed on 18th December 1914, under Major Franke, who was was sent to avenge the earlier losses. The Windmill Tower, east of Outjo, was constructed in 1900 to provide fresh water for German soldiers and their horses, as well as for the hospital. The Outjo museum is housed in the Franke Haus which was built in 1899 as the residence for the towns commanding officer. The museum houses a number of interesting articles from the area including local gemstones, a variety of antique furniture and a display about the campaign of Major Viktor Franke into Ovamboland

http://www.namibian.org/travel/namibia/outjo.html
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"A grand canyon has opened up in our world, the fissure, the crack, grows wider every day. Neither on each side can hear a word that the other shrieks and nor do they want to."
-Stephen Fry on political correctness.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:15    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Egypt under protection of the Crown

December 18th, 1914 : Great Britain placed Egypt under its protection of the Crown. The official Press Bureau read, “The suzerainty of Turkey over Egypt is thus terminated, and His Majesty’s government will adopt all measures necessary for the defence of Egypt and the protection of its inhabitants and interests.”

http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/december18th.html#1914
Zie ook http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/eg-brit.html
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"A grand canyon has opened up in our world, the fissure, the crack, grows wider every day. Neither on each side can hear a word that the other shrieks and nor do they want to."
-Stephen Fry on political correctness.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:20    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Canada at war: speeches by the Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Laird Borden before Canadian Club
Speech before the Canadian Club of Halifax, December 18, 1914


Those upon whom the duty of directing public affairs has fallen during the past four months are sensible of the tremendous responsibilities imposed by the appalling conflict which has been forced upon our Empire. They have been sustained and cheered by the support and co-operation of the whole nation. lt has not always been possible to make haste as rapidly as some would desire, but we have understood the earnestness of those who sometimes have felt constrained to urge that greater expedition should be made in sending aid to the Empire's armies.

My native province, in common with the whole Dominion, has nobly responded to the call of duty. Under the laws of Canada, our citizens may be called out to defend our own territory, but cannot be required to go beyond the seas except for the defence of Canada itself. There has not been, there will not be, compulsion or conscription. Freely and voluntarily the manhood of Canada stands ready to fight beyond the seas in this just quarrel for the Empire and its liberties. With 8,000 men engaged in garrison and outpost duty, 33,000 beyond the seas and 50,000 under arms in Canada, as many more waiting for the opportunity to enlist, and tens of thousands training in Home Guards and similar military organizations, the races which make up the population of this Dominion have shown that they are not decadent. This province has furnished a force of nearly 3,000 men for garrison and outpost duty, besides a thousand now beyond the seas in the first Expeditionary Force and another thousand now enrolled and eagerly awaiting the opportunity to go forward. Including Home Guards and other unofficial military organizations, about 120,000 Canadians are now under arms. Remember, however, that Germany's military strength can hardly be measured. The entire nation is trained to arms and her preparation for war is on a scale which it is almost impossible to estimate. Our Empire is under the temporary disadvantage of lacking such organization, and preparation on a tremendous scale is now necessary. We have been obliged to undertake it since war broke out, and it is essential and even vital to hold the enemy in check while it is being provided. I have reason to believe that the results achieved by the Allied armies for that purpose are considered satisfactory by those best qualified to judge. It would be not only unjust, cruel, and useless, but positively fatal to the success of our arms that troops should be sent into the fighting line without thorough training, necessary equipment and effective organization; and this cannot be accomplished within a brief period. No effort is being spared in Canada or elsewhere in the Empire to effect its accomplishment. There is every reason to anticipate that before many weeks our forces on Salisbury Plain will be in the fighting line, where they will discharge their duty with credit to themselves and to this Dominion. The record of South Africa inspires us with that just confidence. As soon as they are ordered to the front, a second Expeditionary Force will go forward. Thereupon, the force training in Canada will immediately be reculted to its present strength and men now waiting to enlist will thus be given their opportunity. I fix no limit on the force we shall send forward, for no man can predict with confidence what the ultimate need may be. The preservation of our Empire is worth fighting for, and Canada is prepared to send all that are necessary.

I have said that we lack military preparation on a great scale, and the reason is obvious. Our Empire has been trained in the paths of peace and the best safeguard of its existence has been found in our Navy. The British naval forces, with the powerful assistance of the allied navies, have been able not only to muzzle effectively the chief naval forces of Germany in the North Sea, but also to keep such command of the ocean as to prevent either dangerous raids or prolonged and serious interruption of commerce. Without that assistance, the task would have been infinitely more difficult, and perhaps impossible. We realize only imperfectly the immensity of the oceans and the extreme difficulty of overtaking and disposing of swift and powerful cruisers carrying out a systematic plan of raiding and marauding. There have been disasters which must always be anticipated in war. Our tribute is due to Admiral Cradock and those who went down with him, among them four young Canadians, fighting to the last against overwhelming odds. That defeat has since been amply wiped out.

Information has already been given in Parliament respecting certain steps taken by the Government during the months immediately preceding the outbreak of war, and these may be of interest to you at the moment. The Committee of Imperial Defence, as at present constituted, was established in 1904. It consists of the Prime Minister of Great Britain and of such persons as he may summon to attend it. Practically all members of the British cabinet attend its deliberations fom time to time, and usually the more important members of the Cabinet are present. In addition to these, naval and military experts and technical officers of the various departments concerned are in attendance when required. The results of the Committee's labours are embodied in a "War Book", which sets forth in great detail necessary measures to be taken upon the outbreak of war and carefully considered arrangements for carrying out these measures without delay or confusion. The work of the Committee is largely carried on by sub-committees, which are often constituted in part by persons who are not members of the general committee and who are selected for their special knowIedge of a particular subject. Among the permanent sub-committees is one called "The Oversea Defence Committee", which gives particular attention to matters affecting the defence of the Overseas Dominions.

There had been no committee in Canada charged with the same duties; and conditions made it desirable that we should be prepared for grave events which might transpire without much warning. All the innumerable contingencies arising out of war cannot be provided for; but reasonable foresight and effective preparation can guard against many of them. In addition to well-considered arrangements for the necessary mobilization of military force to defend our territory, there are many matters for which systematic and careful preparation should obviously be made in advance. The precautions which must be taken against possible surprise attack when relations with another power have become strained; the censorship of submarine cable and wireless telegraph messages: the detention of enemy ships, both public and private; the detention of British ships laden with contraband of war; necessary measures to prohibit the export of warlike stores required for our own forces and to prevent the export of any such stores for the use of the enemy; the arrest of merchant ships which are intended for conversion into warships, and of cable and other ships specially useful to the enemy; the closing of certain wireless telegraph stations and the supervision and guarding of those kept open; the preparation of secret codes and cyphers for communication of intelligence; arrangements for the transport of troops by land and by sea to guard important points; the erection of necessary additional fortifications; the establishing and buoying of war channels in important harbors; the provision of necessary patrol and lookout ships; the examination of vessels entering port and the establishment of regulations respecting their entrance and departure; regulations for the prevention of espionage and to ensure the safety of fortifications, arsenals, military and naval depots and dockyards; the preparation in advance of all the necessary Orders-in-Council and reguIations, including instructions to hundreds of officers; the preparation and transmission to important officials of sealed directions to be opened only in the event of war; and generally the co-ordination of all the activities of the various Departments of the Government so that there might be no confusion through overlapping and no disaster through omission; all this required, and it had to receive, protracted, unremitting and laborious consideration and attention in advance if we were to be reasonably prepared. Early in January of the present year I directed a conference of the deputy heads of the various Departments of the Government and instructed them to undertake the necessary preparation and to report to me from time to time. The Conference consisted of the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, the Governor-General's Military Secretary, the Deputy Minister of Militia and Defence, the Deputy Minister of the Naval Service, the Deputy Minister of Justice, the Commissioner of Customs, the Deputy Minister of Marine and Fisheries, the Deputy Postmaster-General, and the Deputy Minister of Railways and Canals, with the Director of Military Operations, Major Gordon Hall, and the Director of Gunnery, Lieut. R. M. Stevens, as Joint Secretaries. The work commenced in January, and necessary arrangements were practically completed during July. Every Department of the Government was instructed to develop its own line of action in detail, and the whole was subsequently co-ordinated and incorporated into one scheme, indicating the course to be followed by the Government as a whole upon the outbreak of war. The labours of the Committee resulted in the preparation of a "War Book", which was completed only a few weeks before this appalling struggle began. It is impossible to overestimate the advantage which resulted from the steps thus taken. While war was impending and when it broke out, measures which were immediately and urgently necessary were taken instantly and with an entire absence of confusion. Each detail had been worked out with precision and every necessary step had been arranged in advance. All details of preparation, arrangement and instruction had been systematically compiled into the "War Book", which co-ordinated the activities of the several Departments and rendered possible an effective co-operation with the Imperial authorities, which otherwise would have been exceedingly difficult if not largely impracticable. The work of the Committee was most efficiently performed, and the thanks of the country are due to all its members, especially to the Joint Secretaries, Major Gordon Hall and Lieut. Stevens.

The German people have been taught that war is a national duty and indeed a necessity of national development. According to their view, other nations had been spreading their power and influence throughout the world while the German people were engrossed in the higher considerations of philosophy and religion, so that now the German Empire must win by the sword that which it had omitted to secure before the German race was consoIidated under Prussian dominance. Their most influential writers treat all proposals to establish international courts of arbitration as designed to prevent the legitimate expansion of their Empire. In the introduction to one of his latest works, General Bernhardi, in speaking of international arbitration, uses this language:

"We Germans, therefore, must not be deceived by such official efforts to maintain the peace. Arbitration courts must evidently always consider the existing judicial and territorial rights. For a rising State, which has not yet attained the position due to it, which is in urgent need of colonial expansion, and can only accomplish it chiefly at the cost of others, these treaties therefore augur ill at once as being apt to prevent a rearrangement of power."

And again:

"If we wish to gain the position in the world that is due to us, we must rely on our sword, renounce all weakly visions of peace, and eye the dangers surrounding us with resolute and unflinching courage."

And again:

"Every State would sin against itself if it did not employ its power when the right moment has arrived."

And again:

"Germany's further development as a world-power is possible only after a final settlement with England."

Especially, the German people have been taught that the British Empire stands in their way and must be dealt with at an opportune moment as Denmark, Austria and France were in turn overthrown. Germany is, beyond question, the greatest military power in the world. The organized military forces of our Empire are absolutely insignificant in comparison; but the conditions of our existence make it necessary that Great Britain should be, beyond question, the greatest naval power. The ocean pathways are the veins and arteries of the Empire, and when these are cut or obstructed it cannot continue to exist. Naval power is not in the least essential to the national existence of Germany, yet she has proclaimed that her future is on the sea. What that betokens may be gathered from her past upon land. Notwithstanding every attempt by British statesmen to bring about a better understanding, Germany has carried out persistently and defiantly a policy which was openly put forward and heralded as a challenge to British naval power.

The Prussian military oligarchy dominates Germany, and the people have become obsessed with the religion of valour and the doctrine that might is the highest and indeed the only right. Public opinion, as we understand it, is a force almost unknown and hardly realized there. There is practically no public opinion other than the Government's opinion. Moreover, a nation that has been consolidated through war and that has been continuously victorious in its wars for more than fifty years and has astonished the world by its military prowess, a nation whose people have never experienced the horrors of invasion to which they have subjected other countries, probably becomes intoxicated with the idea of continued victory. A salutary lesson will assuredly be learned by the German people before the sword is sheathed in this struggle. We realize that a great task has been forced upon our Empire, but it has not been Iightly undertaken. Canada, in common with the other Dominions, will do her part in seeing that it is properly and throughly performed.

This appalling war could undoubtedly have been avoided if Germany had consented to the mediation which Sir Edward Grey so earnestly urged and in which all the powers except Germany were prepared to participate. At the very outset, Belgium, a small State possessing no considerable military strength, desiring merely to remain unmolested, and having absolutely no interest in the quarreI, was ruthlessly invaded by Germany and forced into war. There was no possible alternative; if Belgium resisted the German armies which invaded her territories she became involved in war with Germany; if she permitted German armies to pass unhindered through her territories for the purpose of attacking France, she necessarily became involved in war with France. The valor and heroism of the Belgian army have excited the admiration of the world, as the undeserved sufferings of the Belgian people have commanded its profound sympathy.

After Great Britain had asked from Germany the assurance which both Prussia and France had given in 1870, and which France gave in 1914, that Belgian neutrality would not be violated, inasmuch as it was guaranteed by all the great powers of Europe, contemptuous reference was made by the German Chancellor to the treaty as a "scrap of paper". That cynical and even degenerate conception reverts to standards which are beyond the limits of recorded history. Under such a misconception of public right and international duty, how is it possible for nations to deal with each other? Three thousand years ago it was considered disgraceful that a nation should violate its solemn engagements. The fundamental principle upon which the internal organization and the external relations of each nation are based is the honourable fulfilment of engagements and pledges and the assurance that they will be so fulfilled. The constitution of many countries is but a "scrap of paper". Our laws are recorded in "scraps of paper". The dealings of mankind are carried on by "scraps of paper". All our commercial fabric is founded on "scraps of paper". From Magna Carta to the British North America Act, our rights and liberties have been safeguarded by "scraps of paper". In short, the thought and the achievement of all the centuries is embodied in "scraps of paper". When terms of peace come to be considered, the Prussian cynicism touching treaty obligations must not be forgotten.

Amid all the horror and welter of this worldwide conflict we may yet discern hope for the future. It will arouse, I hope, the conscience of all the nations to bring about concerted action for the reduction of armaments and for the placing of the whole world upon what one might term a peace footing. Upon this continent there is a boundary line of nearly four thousand miles between this country and the great kindred nation to the South. That boundary is unguarded and unfortified as between the two nations, and we sleep securely without thought of war or invasion. The proposal to commemorate our Century of Peace has commanded the approval of the people and Government of Canada, and I trust it will be worthily realized.

And since this struggle began, one cannot but perceive an awakened national spirit and consciousness in this Dominion. In a young and rapidly developing country such as this, the aspirations of material prosperity are bound to impose themselves very strongly upon the imagination. To those who held aloft the lamp of idealism it sometimes seemed that the clamour of the market place, the din of the factory, and the rush of the locomotive had absorbed the minds of the people. But when the day came which searched their spirit, Canadians did not fail to remember that there is something greater than material prosperity and something greater than even life itself. The wonderful and beautiful spirit of mutual helpfulness, of desire to aid, the spirit of self-sacrifice, of patriotism of devotion, which in these latter months has inspired the Canadian people from ocean to ocean will leave an enduring mark upon our national life. It has dissolved prejudice and curbed discord and dissension. And who of you will not do reverence to the courage, the devotion and the patriotism of the women of Canada; those who with undaunted hearts but tear-dimmed eyes have seen husband, son or brother go forth to battle; those who in a thousand missions of aid and of mercy are unwearying in their infinite labours of love? Who of you will not say with me, God bless the women of Canada!

The British Empire, as presently constituted, is a very recent creation or rather evolution. The British Islands, which constitute the metropolitan state of the Empire, have no written constitution and the overseas Dominions are governed under an apparent confusion of statutes, charters, conventions and understandings. To those who do not comprehend the governing principle which pervades all this seeming confusion, the Empire seems to have no logical right to exist at all; and naturally they regard it as decadent and look for disunion and weakness in the hour of trial. But the principle of autonomous self-government, applied wherever conditions permit and to the greatest extent that they would permit, has been and is its great cardinal feature. There has been no weakness and no disunion, because the unity and strength of the Empire are securely founded upon its liberties, wherein alone enduring strength is found. Thus the dominions of the Empire, united by the tie of a common allegiance and of a common ideal, present today an unbroken front.

In this country we are a peace loving people, and great tasks lie before us in the peaceful development of our resources. We have no lasting quarrel with the German people, who have great qualities and whose achievements in every important sphere of human progress are conspicuous, although they are temporarily misled by the militarism of Prussia; but we will fight to the death against the vain attempt of an arrogant militarist oligarchy to impose upon the world its ideals of force and violence and to achieve its unworthy purpose by "blood and iron".

Source: Borden, Robert Laird. Canada at war: speeches by the Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Laird Borden before Canadian Club. [Ottawa?: Office of the Prime Minister?], 1914. Pages 17-24.

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/2/4/h4-4043-e.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:23    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Caucasus: The Frozen Inferno of Sarıkamış

(...) On 8 December, the Assistant Chief of Staff, Colonel Hafız Hakkı Bey, arrived in Trabzon on board the cruiser Mecidiye. He was sent by Enver Paşa to energize the Third Army. Hasan İzzet Paşa was planning to hold on to the defensive positions, spend the winter there and launch the offensive in spring when the weather was better. However Hafız Hakkı Bey gave instructions immediately to begin planning a new offensive. Hasan İzzet Paşa and corps commanders doubted the feasibility of this plan. In a cable dated 18 December 1914, Hasan İzzet told Enver: “We have to consider 8 or 9 days for a large scaled encircling manoeuvre. However, during this time the XI Corps, which will remain at the front, might be jeopardized. Even if we execute the manoeuvre with two corps, they will probably face difficulties against the enemy.”

Enver Paşa wanted complete annihilation of Russian forces through a winter offensive which would have an encircling manoeuvre as its main component. He decided to take charge, and left Istanbul for the Caucasian front, arriving in Erzurum on 21 December. He was accompanied by the Chief of Staff of the Turkish Army, General Bronsart von Schellendorf, his assistant Kazım Bey and the head of the Operations Office, Lieutenant Colonel Feldmann. (...)

http://www.turkeyswar.com/campaigns/caucasus1.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:25    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

President Wilson marries Edith Galt Dec. 18, 1915

On this day in 1915, President Woodrow Wilson married Edith Bolling Galt (1872-1961) at a private ceremony at the bride’s spacious Washington home. It was a second marriage for Wilson, whose first wife had died in 1914 from kidney failure. Edith, the wealthy socialite widow of a jewelry store owner, was 16 years younger than her second husband.

According to the National First Ladies’ Library, in 1916 several of Wilson’s political advisers voiced concerns that his whirlwind courtship and marriage to Edith Galt so soon after his first wife’s death would become a political liability in his reelection campaign. However, by the time of his second inaugural in March 1917, the nation’s attention had turned to a weightier matter: America’s entry into World War I, which occurred on April 6 of that year.

Her role as a first lady changed dramatically in October 1919 when Wilson, while touring the country to promote his League of Nations plan, suffered a debilitating stroke. A White House historical website describes Edith Wilson as a “secret president” and the “first woman to run the government.”

Even before his debilitating illness, Wilson liked having his wife by his side in the Oval Office, which irritated his advisers and led to charges that she held undue influence over affairs of state. As he slowly (and only partially) recovered, Edith Wilson screened his mail and official papers. During her “stewardship,” as she termed it, rumors abounded that she signed his name without consulting him. She denied such accusations, blaming them on a hostile press and the president’s political foes.

Upon Wilson’s death in 1924, some three years after the end of his second term, his widow devoted herself to compiling her late husband’s presidential papers. She lived long enough to ride in President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural parade.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1207/7429.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:28    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

TITANIC OWNERS OFFER TO SETTLE FOR $664,000
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette - Saturday 18 December 1915

New York, Dec 17 – The White Star line has agreed to pay $664,000 in settlement of all claims arising for the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912, when more than 1,5000 persons were drowned, the line announced here to-day.

Of this amount approximately $500,000 would be distributed among American claimants, $50,000 to British claimants and $114,000 would be required for interest and expenses in connection with the numerous suits.

Forty-four attorneys, representing that number of persons out of more than 60 who have filed claims against the line have signified their willingness to accept the settlement terms, according to George W Betts Jr., one of the lines attorneys.

The proposition grew out of the activities of the claimants committee appointed last summer, which carried on a long investigation and fixed the total claims at $2,500,000.

As about $500,000 would be paid directly to American claimants, Mr Betts explained that each one would receive approximately twenty per cent of his claim. Under no circumstances, he added, will the money be distributed pro rata among the claimants.

If all of the claimants, both in this country and Great Britain agree to the proposition, the White Star line will be released from all further liabilities growing out of the Titanic disaster. The offer, however, is not contingent upon its acceptance by all claimants. Mr Betts said that all who accept the proposition will receive their proper share. If any claimants do not accept, their cases will be carried on in the courts.

The agreement which calls for the money to be deposited in a New York bank is now being circulated among those having claims and must be acted upon by December 30, to become operative.

http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic_owners_settle.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:30    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

James Connolly: "Economic Conscription" (1915)
Workers’ Republic, 18 December 1915.

Of late we have been getting accustomed to this new phrase, economic conscription, or the policy of forcing men into the army by depriving them of the means of earning a livelihood. In Canada it is called hunger-scription. In essence it consists of a recognition of the fact that the working class fight the battles of the rich, that the rich control the jobs or means of existence of the working class, and that therefore if the rich desire to dismiss men eligible for military service they can compel these men to enlist – or starve.

Looking still deeper into the question it is a recognition of the truth that the control of the means of life by private individuals is the root of all tyranny, national, political, militaristic, and that therefore they who control the jobs control the world. Fighting at the front to-day there are many thousands whose whole soul revolts against what they are doing, but who must nevertheless continue fighting and murdering because they were deprived of a living at home, and compelled to enlist that those dear to them may not starve.

Thus under the forms of political freedom the souls of men are subjected to the cruellest tyranny in the world – recruiting has become a great hunting party which the souls and bodies of men as the game to be hunted and trapped.

Every day sees upon the platform the political representatives of the Irish people, busily engaged in destroying the souls, that they might be successful in hunting and capturing the bodies of Irishmen for sale to the English armies. And every day we feel all around us in the workshop, in the yard, at the docks, in the stables, wherever men are employed, the same economic pressure, the same unyielding relentless force, driving, driving, driving men out from home and home life to fight abroad that the exploiters may rule and rob at home. The downward path to hell is easy once you take the first step.

The first step in the economic conscription of Irishmen was taken when the employers of Dublin locked their workpeople out in 1913 for daring to belong to the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. Does that statement astonish you? Well, consider it. In 1913 the employers of Dublin used the weapons of starvation to try and compel men and women to act against their conscience. In 1915 the employers of Dublin and Ireland in general are employing the weapon of starvation in order to compel men to act against their conscience. The same weapon, the same power derived from the same source.

At the first anti-conscription meeting in the City Hall of Dublin we heard an employer declaim loudly against the iniquity of compelling men to act against their conscience. And yet in 1913 the same employer had been an active spirit in encouraging his fellow-employers to starve a whole countryside in order to compel men and women to act against their conscience.

The great lock-out in 1913-14 was an apprenticeship in brutality – a hardening of the heart of the Irish employing class – whose full acts we are only reaping to-day in the persistent use of the weapon of hunger to compel men to fight for a power they hate, and to abandon a land that they love.

If here and there we find an occasional employer who fought us in 1913 agreeing with our national policy in 1915 it is not because he has become converted, or is ashamed of the unjust use of his powers, but simply that he does not see in economic conscription the profit he fancied he saw in denying to his labourers the right to organise in their own way in 1913.

Do we find fault with the employer for following his own interests? We do not. But neither are we under any illusion as to his motives. In the same manner we take our stand with our own class, nakedly upon our class interests, but believing that these interests are the highest interests of the race.

We cannot conceive of a free Ireland with a subject working class; we cannot conceive of a subject Ireland with a free working class. But we can conceive of a free Ireland with a working class guaranteed the power of freely and peacefully working out its own salvation.

We do not believe that the existence of the British Empire is compatible with either the freedom or security of the Irish working class. That freedom and that security can only come as a result of complete absence of foreign domination. Freedom to control all its own resources is as essential to a community as to an individual. No individual can develop all his powers if he is even partially under the control of another, even if that other sincerely wishes him well. The powers of the individual can only be developed properly when he has to bear the responsibility of all his own actions, to suffer for his mistakes, and to profit by his achievements.

Man, as man, only arrived at the point at which he is to-day as a result of thousands of years of strivings with nature. In his stumblings forward along the ages he was punished for every mistake. Nature whipped him with cold, with heat, with hunger, with disease, and each whipping helped him to know what to avoid, and what to preserve.

The first great forward step of man was made when he understood the relation between cause and effect – understood that a given action produced and must produce a given result. That no action could possibly be without an effect, that the problem of his life was to find out the causes which produced the effects injurious to him, and having found them out to overcome or make provision against them.

Just as the whippings of nature produced the improvements in the life habits of man, so the whippings naturally following upon social or political errors are the only proper safeguards for the proper development of nationhood.

No nation is worthy of independence until it is independent. No nation is fit to be free until it is free. No man can swim until he has entered the water and failed and been half drowned several times in the attempt to swim.

A free Ireland would make dozens of mistakes, and every mistake would cost it dear, and strengthen it for future efforts. But every time it, by virtue of its own strength, remedied a mistake it would take a long step forward towards security. For security can only come to a nation by a knowledge of some power within itself, some difficulty overcome by a strength which no robber can take away.

What is that of which no robber can deprive us The answer is, experience. Experience in freedom would strengthen us in power to attain security. Security would strengthen us in our progress towards greater freedom.

Ireland is not the Empire, the Empire is not Ireland. Anything in Ireland that depends upon the Empire depends upon that which the fortunes of war may destroy at any moment, depends upon that which the progress of enlightenment must destroy in the near future. The people of India, of Egypt, cannot be forever enslaved.

Anything in Ireland that depends upon the internal resources of Ireland has a basis and foundation which no disaster to the British Empire can destroy, which disasters to the British Empire may conceivably cause to flourish.

The security of the working class of Ireland then has the same roots as the security of the people of Ireland as a whole. The roots are in Ireland, and can only grow and function properly in an atmosphere of national freedom. And the security of the people of Ireland has the same roots as the security of the Irish working class. In the closely linked modern world no nation can be free which can nationally connive at the enslavement of any section of that nation. Had the misguided people of Ireland not stood so callously by when the forces of economic conscription were endeavouring to destroy the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union in 1913, the Irish trade unionists would now be in a better position to fight the economic conscription against Irish nationalists in 1915.

The sympathetic strike with its slogan, ‘an injury to one is the concern of all’, was then the universal object of hatred. It is now recognised that only the sympathetic strike could be powerful enough to save the victims of economic conscription from being forced into the army.

Out of that experience is growing that feeling of identity of interests between the forces of real nationalism and labour which we have long worked and hoped for in Ireland. Labour recognises daily more clearly that its real well-being is linked and bound up with the hope of growth of Irish resources within Ireland, and nationalists realise that the real progress of a nation towards freedom must be measured by the progress of its most subject class.

We want and must have economic conscription in Ireland for Ireland. Not the conscription of men by hunger to compel them to fight for the power that denies them the right to govern their own country, but the conscription by an Irish nation of all the resources of the nation – its land, its railways, its canals, its workshops, its docks, its mines, its mountains, its rivers and streams, its factories and machinery, its horses, its cattle, and its men and women, all co-operating together under one common direction that Ireland may live and bear upon her fruitful bosom the greatest number of the freest people she has ever known.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/connolly/1915/12/econscr1.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:35    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

18 December 1916 → Commons Sitting

GERMANY'S PEACE PROPOSALS
.

HC Deb 18 December 1916 vol 88 c1101 1101

Mr. W. THORNE asked the Secretary for Foreign Affairs if he can make any statement about an alleged offer by the Central Powers of peace to Belgium on the following terms: That the country is to be restored to them, their independence guaranteed, and financial assistance given for its economic rehabilitation; and, in the event of these terms being refused, an intimation has been given to Belgium that the very existence of her monuments, public buildings, institutions, and towns is threatened?

Lord R. CECIL I have seen a statement to this effect in the Press, but I have not up to the present received any confirmation from the Belgian Government.

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1916/dec/18/germanys-peace-proposals
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:41    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Letter from Sigmund Freud to Karl Abraham, December 18, 1916

Vienna IX, Berggasse 19
18 December 1916

Dear Friend,

(...) My eldest is at present with the cadre in Vienna and often stays with us, he is still holding out. Ernst is in the same place on the Italian front. Oliver is now with the Engineers in Cracow, is doing his first training there, and will then come to the training school in Krems. He has settled in quite well. My son-in-law, who is in an occupation suited to him, seems to be recovering well; he is still in Hanover. The little boy is charming and amusing; if there were as much good will and understanding on the part of the Entente as there is with him, we should long since have had peace. (...)

http://www.pep-web.org/document.php?id=zbk.052.0339a
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:45    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Banknote of the Austro-Hungarian krone



Date of issue: 18 December 1916

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banknotes_of_the_Austro-Hungarian_krone
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:48    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Christmas 1916 - with the 4th Field Ambulance, A.I.F.

Private William Dalton Lycett, 2063, of the 4th Field Ambulance A.I.F. enlisted on 12th September 1914, he embarked on the 22nd December 1914 at Melbourne on the H.M.A.T. “Berrima”.

This extract is from his diary and describes his 1916 Christmas which was cold and very wet.


Monday 18th December, 1916 - Arrived at Albert between 4 and 5 a.m., told my unit was at Dernancourt, about 4 miles away, by R.T.O. Walked to Dernancourt, unit not there, on to Edge Hill, Buire, Ribemonte and Maricourt where got hold of another R.T.O who told me my unit had moved yesterday. Had walked about 10 to 12 miles. Got on train at Maricourt about 2 p.m. and got to Amiens when told no train to Vigny-Court where my unit now is until 6-7 a.m. in morning. Had difficulty getting pass into town to get a meal and feeling dead beat and worn out. In Y.M.C.A. tonight.

http://outofbattle.blogspot.com/2009/12/christmas-1916-with-4th-field-ambulance.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:51    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Wilson - peace mediator

On 18 December 1916 Wilson unsuccessfully offered to mediate peace. As a preliminary he asked both sides to state their minimum terms necessary for future security. The Central Powers replied that victory was certain, and the Allies required the dismemberment of their enemies' empires. No desire for peace or common ground existed, and the offer lapsed.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100922093900AAOzeBw
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:53    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Richard Wong

Killed on 2 March 1917, and lying now in Plot VI, Row H, Grave 25, is Private Richard Wong of the 17th Battalion (New South Wales), age 29, of Beechworth, Victoria. Wong had spent very little time with the unit before his death, having joined them in the line on 18 December 1916. Described by Corporal Henry Savage, 17th Battalion, as ‘half a Chinaman to look at but a very decent fellow’, Wong was killed by a German barrage, heralding a counter–attack on Australian units, about 500 metres up the road from the cemetery. He was buried close to the Butte in a clearly marked grave and the body moved shortly after the war.

http://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/warlencourt/warlencourt-british-cemetery.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:55    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Soviet Recognition of Finland's Independence, 18 December 1917

Finland's response to the onset of the First World War in August 1914 was somewhat apathetic. Its populace was split in its support of German or Russian forces, despite Finland forming a semi-autonomous part of the Russian Empire. Consequently only a few thousand Finnish citizens enlisted in the Russian cause.

In the wake of the February Revolution of 1917 in Russia the Finnish National Assembly demanded independence in all but name. This was rejected by Russia's Provisional Government which responded by dissolving Finland's National Assembly in July 1917. The ensuing elections did not produce the result the Russian government hoped for, with its production of a decidedly pro-German majority.

In December a full declaration of independence by the Finnish government was accepted by the new Soviet government. A formal treaty was signed between Finland and the Soviet government in October 1920.

Text of the Ems Telegram, sent by Heinrich Abeken of the Foreign Office under Kaiser Wilhelm's Instruction to Bismarck

The Soviet of People's Commissars
Petrograd
December 18, 1917
No. 101

As the answer to the appeal of the Finnish Government to recognise the independence of the Republic of Finland, the Soviet of People's Commissars, in full accordance with the principle of nations' right to self-determination, HAS DECIDED:

To propose to the Central Executive Committee that:

a. The independence of the Republic of Finland as a country is recognised, and

b. A special Commission, in agreement with the Finnish Government, comprising members of both parties, should be instituted to elaborate those practical measures that follow from the partition of Finland from Russia.

Chairman of the Soviet of People's Commissars
Vl. Ulianov (Lenin)

People's Commissars:
L. Trotski
G. Petrovski
J. Stalin
I. Steinberg
V. Karelin
A. Schlichter

The Chief of Bureau Vlad. Bonch-Bruevich

Secretary of the Soviet N. Gorbunov

http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/finland1917.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Dec 2010 23:59    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XLIV, Issue 14482, 18 December 1917





http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=PBH19171218.2.20.1
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 0:01    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Prohibition begins

Prohibition, which was authorized by the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, was submitted to the states for ratification on 18 December 1917. On 16 January 1919, the 36th state (Nevada) ratified it. Prohibition thus took effect on 29 January 1920.

http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=%20901
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 0:03    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

4 Squadron AFC

4 Squadron, the last Australian Flying Corp (AFC) Squadron to be formed during the First World War, was established at Point Cook, Victoria, in late October 1916. Fully mobilised by 10 January 1917, the unit embarked for England on 17 January, arriving at Plymouth on 27 March, and was sent for training to Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham. After familiarisation with a variety of aircraft, the squadron was equipped with Sopwith Camel fighters. In the United Kingdom the squadron was designated 71 (Australian) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (RFC), and would retain this designation until it reverted to its original title on 19 January 1918.

The squadron arrived in France on 18 December 1917 and established itself at Bruay. It was assigned to the 10th Wing of the Royal Flying Corps, and operated in support of the British 1st Army, undertaking offensive patrols and escorting reconnaissance machines. The unit’s first patrol over German lines took place on 9 January 1918, and its first air combat action occurred on 13 January 1918.

http://www.awm.gov.au/units/unit_10842.asp
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 0:05    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Newfoundland Regiment

On 18 December 1917 King George V granted the Newfoundland Regiment the use of the prefix ‘Royal’ in its title. The Royal Newfoundland Regiment was the only regiment or corps in the entire British, Dominion and Indian armies to be awarded this prefix while the war was still being fought.

http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/newfoundland-facts
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 0:07    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Robert Maxwell Dennistoun diary entry dated 18 December 1918



Transcription
The “Flu”
Wed. 18 Dec. 18-
The children arrived yesterday
from St Margaret’s School,
Waldingham. They have a
month. We are at Craven Hill
Hotel 22 Lewis/in Gardens,
Lane as/in Gate.
6 million people have died
during the last 12 weeks
of influenza and pneumonia
throughout. The world.
20 millions have perished in
the 4 ½ years by reason of the
war-
This plague has been much
more deadly than the war.
Never since the Black Death
has such a plague swept
over the world (Times).
3 million deaths in India
In Canada 108 doctors died
Ontario has 5000 dead.
It began in Spain in the

http://manitobia.ca/cocoon/launch/en/diaries/RMD/RMD_1918_1218
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 0:09    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Belgische vluchtelingen in Dordrecht

(...) Op 18 december 1918 moeten de burgemeesters inventariseren, welke ondersteuning zij hebben gegeven aan Belgische en Franse vluchtelingen. Dit moet apart worden opgegeven, omdat de Franse regering de ondersteuning vermoedelijk zal terugbetalen. (...)

http://www.wereldoorlog1418.nl/vluchtelingen/dordrecht.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 0:11    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Kroniek van Baarle in de Eerste Wereldoorlog (1918)

18 december 1918 - Door de militaire overheid werd geïnformeerd naar het gedrag van de postbeambte gedurende de bezetting. De burgemeester antwoordde dat dit gunstig was. (Gemeentearchief Baarle-Hertog; 2.073.564 Register van Briefwisseling)

http://www.amaliavansolms.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=191:09-kroniek-van-baarle-in-de-eerste-wereldoorlog-1918&catid=90:oorlog&Itemid=118
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 0:18    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

18 December 1919 → Commons Sitting → CHANNEL TUNNEL.

ADMIRALTY AND WAR OFFICE REPORTS.


HC Deb 18 December 1919 vol 123 cc655-6 655

Sir A. FELL asked the Prime Minister if he is now in a position to give the decision of the Government on the question of the Channel Tunnel; and, supposing there may be still some points to be settled, can he give an assurance that subject to these points being cleared up the Government will be prepared to give facilities for the Bill next Session?

THE PRIME MINISTER I regret that it will not be possible to announce the Government's decision before the Recess. It is, as I am sure my hon. Friend recognises, a matter of first rate importance, and requires careful and detailed examination by the expert advisers of the Government. We have only just received a report on the subject from the experts, and have had no time to consider it.

Mr. LAMBERT Are the Government opposed to this Channel Tunnel, or have not they made up their minds as to its desirability?

THE PRIME MINISTER It surely depends on expert advice as to its military and naval effects. We could not act on our own responsibility, without being assured that the security of the country would not be imperilled in the least by the construction of the tunnel, and it has to be considered very carefully. I cannot conceive of any question which ought to be examined more closely.

Mr. LAMBERT Is it not a fact that all the experts differ on this point?

Sir A. FELL Are they also considering the immense value this tunnel would be to the country in the event of any further or future war?

THE PRIME MINISTER Undoubtedly that is the strongest element in favour of the proposal; but, on the other hand, there are elements of undoubted jeopardy which we must consider very carefully.

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1919/dec/18/admiralty-and-war-office-reports
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 19:44    Onderwerp: 18 December 1917 Reageer met quote

Primary Documents - Soviet Recognition of Finland's Independence, 18 December 1917

Lenin Finland's response to the onset of the First World War in August 1914 was somewhat apathetic. Its populace was split in its support of German or Russian forces, despite Finland forming a semi-autonomous part of the Russian Empire. Consequently only a few thousand Finnish citizens enlisted in the Russian cause.

In the wake of the February Revolution of 1917 in Russia the Finnish National Assembly demanded independence in all but name. This was rejected by Russia's Provisional Government which responded by dissolving Finland's National Assembly in July 1917. The ensuing elections did not produce the result the Russian government hoped for, with its production of a decidedly pro-German majority.

In December a full declaration of independence by the Finnish government was accepted by the new Soviet government. A formal treaty was signed between Finland and the Soviet government in October 1920.

Text of the Ems Telegram, sent by Heinrich Abeken of the Foreign Office under Kaiser Wilhelm's Instruction to Bismarck

The Soviet of People's Commissars
Petrograd
December 18, 1917
No. 101

As the answer to the appeal of the Finnish Government to recognise the independence of the Republic of Finland, the Soviet of People's Commissars, in full accordance with the principle of nations' right to self-determination, HAS DECIDED:

To propose to the Central Executive Committee that:

a. The independence of the Republic of Finland as a country is recognised, and

b. A special Commission, in agreement with the Finnish Government, comprising members of both parties, should be instituted to elaborate those practical measures that follow from the partition of Finland from Russia.

Chairman of the Soviet of People's Commissars
Vl. Ulianov (Lenin)

People's Commissars:
L. Trotski
G. Petrovski
J. Stalin
I. Steinberg
V. Karelin
A. Schlichter

The Chief of Bureau Vlad. Bonch-Bruevich

Secretary of the Soviet N. Gorbunov
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 19:47    Onderwerp: 18 December 1916 Reageer met quote

The Battle of Verdun was the longest and most costly battle of the First World War. It would dominate much of the fighting of 1916, forcing France’s allies to fight battles that might otherwise not have been fought, or to alter the timing of their offensives to provide indirect aid to the French. By the end of the battle the French and Germans between them had lost close to one million men.

At the end of 1915 Verdun was in a quiet section of the western front. During the fighting in 1914 it had formed the pivot of the French line as it had bent back under the German onslaught. When the front line stabilised, Verdun found itself at the south eastern corner of the great German salient that bulged out toward Paris, while to the south east the Germans held the St. Mihiel salient. The only lines of communication into Verdun from the rest of France ran south west of the city.

The German war plan of 1914 had been designed to reduce the dangers of a two front war. At the outbreak of war, German armies had swept through Belgium and into north east France, with the aim of surrounding the French armies on the Franco-German border, thus forcing France out of the war. Only then would German armies head east to deal with the Russian steamroller. The events of 1914 had negated this plan. The German sweep through France had been stopped at the First Battle of the Marne, while the Russians had mobilised quicker than expected and threatened an invasion of East Prussia. The defeat of this invasion at the battles of Tannenburg and the Masurian Lakes had raised the profile of Field Marshal Hindenburg, the commander in East Prussia. When the German high command gathered to decide what to do in 1915, the easterners won the debate. The German armies in the west would stand on the defensive while the armies in the east would attempt to knock Russia out of the war.

This left the initiative on the Western Front with the French, still very much the senior partner on land in the alliance with Britain. The French priority for 1915 was to expel the Germans from those parts of north western France that they had conquered in 1914. Verdun was too far east to play a part in the offensives of 1915. The only role Verdun was able to play in the offensives of 1915 was as a source of artillery guns.

This was very different from the role Verdun might have been expected to play before the war. It was one of the most important fortress cities on the Franco-German border, guarding the Meuse River at the northern end of the shared border. It was surrounded by nineteen forts, of which fourteen were protected by reinforced concrete. Seven of the nineteen forts were relatively recent, having been built between 1885 and 1891. At the start of the war the forts of Verdun contained six 155mm turret mounted guns and enough other guns to equip fifty artillery batteries. In the summer of 1915 the majority of the guns of Verdun were removed to take part in the Second Battle of Champagne.

In February 1915 the garrison of Verdun contained three divisions from XXX Corps, two of which were reserve divisions (72nd and 51st), with one regular division (14th). The 37th (Algerian) Division provided the only reserve. XXX Corps had only taken over the Verdun sector in January 1916. The commander of XXX Corps, General Chrétien, had been appalled by the poor state of the defensive lines around Verdun, but arrived too late to significantly improve them.
THE GERMAN PLAN

The German plan for 1915 had been a success. In the west repeated French and British attacks on the German lines had failed. In the east a Austro-German army had broken through the Russian lines at Gorlice-Tarnow in May-June and the Russians had been forced to evacuate Poland, pulling back hundreds of miles and eliminating any immediate threat to East Prussia. In October a combined German, Austrian and Bulgarian invasion had knocked Serbia out of the war. At the start of 1916 the Gallipoli campaign ended when the final British and Empire troops were withdrawn from the peninsula. The Germans needed a new strategy for 1916.

Once again the debate would be between the westerners and the easterners. The Chief of the General Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn, was a westerner, convinced that further effort in Russia would at best be wasted and at worst ran the risk of dragging German armies ever further eastwards into the depths of Russia. He believed that the best strategy for 1916 would be an attack on the French, aimed at knocking them out of the war. With their main ally gone, the British would be forced to withdraw from the continent. Falkenhayn emerged victorious from the debate with easterners such as Hindenburg.

Falkenhayn saw Verdun as the ideal target for his great offensive. The fortress city was of great symbolic value to the French. It had been French since 1552. Prussian armies had occupied it in 1792 and in 1870 (but only after a long siege). Falkenhayn believed that the French would throw every soldier they could find into the defence of Verdun rather than let it fall into German hands. Surrounded by German artillery on three sides, the French defenders of Verdun would be walking into a deadly trap. Verdun was to be a genuine battle of attrition.

Falkenhayn gathered a force of one million men supported by 543 heavy guns (as well as the normal divisional artillery). The attack would be carried out by the Fifth Army, under the command of Crown Prince Wilhelm, the heir to the German throne, and his chief of staff, General Konstantine Schmidt. Amongst the German guns were thirteen massive 420mm guns and seventeen 305mm guns. The German artillery had 2.5 million shells at the start of the offensive, the French defenders of Verdun only 6,400 75mm shells.
NARROW FRONT EAST OF THE MEUSE – 21 FEBRUARY TO 4 MARCH

One difficulty that faced Falkenhayn was finding the right level of threat to pose to Verdun. Too much effort and the town might fall too quickly, robbing him of his battle of attrition. Not enough effort and either the French would not need to rush reinforces to Verdun in the required numbers or the German soldiers might realise that they were being used as bait. His solution to this problem appears to have been to limit the forces used in the initial assault. On 21 February only nine of the available divisions were used. Falkenhayn kept command of the reserves, possibly to prevent their being used to win too quick a victory. There was a real chance of just such a victory. The massive German build up of troops around Verdun had been achieved without alerting the French. On 21 February nine German divisions would attack three French divisions.

It had been intended to begin the battle on 12 February, but heavy snow delayed the attack until 21 February. It began with a massive artillery bombardment. Along an eight mile front north of Verdun and east of the Meuse the Germans massed 1,200 guns and eight divisions. The bombardment lasted until 4 pm on 21 February. It was followed up by a limited German infantry assault, which gained some ground, but not as much as a full blooded assault might have managed.

22 February started with another artillery bombardment. This time it was followed by a more determined infantry assault, but progress was still slow. At the end of the second day of fighting the Germans had only advanced 2,000 metres along most of the line. However, French resistance north of Verdun was in danger of collapsing. Many units lost half of their men in the first three days of the battle. Worse was to come. On 25 February Fort Douaumont, one of the more modern of Verdun’s defending forts, was captured by a single German sergeant who had found his way into the almost deserted fort through one of the embrasures.

This was as close as the first wave of attackers would get to Verdun. On 26 February the Germans paused to recover from the effort involved in five days of continuous conflict in the broken country north of Verdun. On the same day General Pétain arrived to take command at Verdun.

Pétain found a mixed situation. The Germans were only four miles from the city. One of the most modern of Verdun’s forts had fallen. The French were still badly outnumbered. On the other hand the Germans had advanced beyond the range of much of their artillery, which would take some time to catch up. The French still held the west bank of the Meuse, from where their artillery was beginning to threaten the German advance. Pétain can take much of the credit for that. One of his first actions was to take direct command of the artillery. He also realised the importance of protecting the narrow supply line into Verdun.

The most important feature of this supply line was the single road that led south west from Verdun to Bar-le-Duc. This road would soon become known as the Voie sacrée (sacred way). Pétain limited the road to lorry traffic only, and kept an entire division busy keeping the road intact.
NARROW FRONT WEST OF THE MEUSE, 5 MARCH – 8 APRIL

Falkenhayn now faced a new problem. As French resistance east of the Meuse stiffened, German casualties began to rise. From 27 February the advance stalled. Accordingly, the Germans decided to launch a new attack west of the river. After a heavy bombardment on the night of 5-6 March, the new attack began. Once again the Germans met with initial success, reaching the base of the hill of Mort-Homme, but French counterattacks prevented them from taking the crucial high ground overlooking Verdun. The most successful attack came on 20 March, when the front of the French 29th Division collapsed, but even then the Germans were unable to take advantage.
A WIDE FRONT, APRIL – JULY

In April the Germans decided to abandon the policy of narrow attacks in favour of launching an attack along the entire Verdun front. The first wide attack lasted from 9-12 April, and achieved very little, before heavy rain forced a halt to the fighting.
General Nivelle at Verdun, 1916
General Nivelle
at Verdun, 1916

By the time the fighting began again in May, Pétain had been promoted away from Verdun. He was replaced by General Robert Nivelle, who would later rise to command all the French armies. He inherited a much stronger position that Pétain had found in February. Eight French corps, containing over 500,000 men, faced night German corps. The French had developed a process of revolving divisions into the line at Verdun for short periods of time, meaning that many of their men were fresh. In contrast very few German divisions were withdrawn from the battle, so by May many were made up of a mix of battle scared veterans and new recruits.

Nivelle began at Verdun with a counterattack aimed at regaining Fort Douaumont. A French bombardment began on 17 May, nine days after an explosion had killed nearly 700 German soldiers in the fort. Under the command of General Mangin, the counterattack was initially successful. On 22 May the French recaptured the fort, but the next day the troops in the fort were forced to surrender.
Major Raynal, the defender of Fort Vaux, 1916
Major Raynal, the defender
of Fort Vaux, 1916

A major new German assault began on 1 June. This time the German aim was prepare for an attack on Verdun itself. The original idea of a battle of attrition had clearly been abandoned in favour of a serious attack on the city. Progress was slow but steady. Fort Vaux, on the east bank, came under determined assault, finally surrendering on 6 June after running out of water. This success was followed by an attack on the last ridge line between the Germans on the east bank and Verdun itself.

This began on 22 June, with a bombardment of poisoned gas. On the same day the Germans captured the village of Fleury. On 23 June a small number of German troops reached the ridgeline on the Souville heights, with at least one German soldier claiming to have glimpsed the rooftops of Verdun. However, greatest German advances had been won on a narrow front, exposing the most advanced German troops to flank attacks. The French line above Verdun held.

23 June was the nearest the Germans would come to a breakthrough at Verdun. The Battle of the Somme was about to begin, while on the eastern front the Russians had shown an unexpected resilience. A new German attack was planned for 11 July. On the same day Falkenhayn issued an order that ended major offensive action at Verdun, while allowing for an active defence. The attack of 11 July still went ahead, but it was the last German attack of the battle.

The failure of the German offensive at Verdun ended Falkenhayn’s time as Chief of the General Staff. On 29 August he resigned, to be replaced by Field Marshal von Hindenburg.
OCTOBER-DECEMBER FRENCH COUNTERATTACK

After a relatively quiet summer at Verdun, the French launched a counterattack. A prolonged artillery bombardment began on 3 October. On 22 October the French paused their bombardment. Thinking the French attack was imminent, hidden German artillery batteries opened fire on no mans land, hoping to smash the French assault, but the assault was not coming. Instead, the French renewed their artillery bombardment, hitting the hidden German batteries. Half of them were destroyed over the next two days.

The French counterattack finally came on 24 October. Six French divisions attacked seven German divisions. The Germans had suffered from nearly three weeks of intense bombardment, and their resistance was at best varied. Fort Douaumont was recaptured on the first day of the counterattack. A final French counterattack, launched on 15 December, pushed the Germans back another two miles. By the end of the battle all of Verdun’s forts were back in French hands.
CONCLUSION

Both sides suffered very heavy casualties during the ten months of the Battle of Verdun. Sources do not agree on the number of casualties suffered during the battle. In some, French losses were 61,000 dead, 101,000 missing and 216,000 wounded, a total of 378,000 while German losses were 142,000 killed or missing and 187,000 wounded, for a total of 329,000. Other sources give higher figures – French losses of 543,000 and German losses of 434,000. In either case the majority of French losses came during the first defensive period of the battle – hardly surprising at that phase lasted for five months. In neither case were the French casualties high enough to justify Falkenhayn’s initial plan.

Despite the counterattacks around Verdun, in November 1916 Joffre was replaced by General Nivelle as French Commander-in-Chief. Nivelle had made his name in the fighting around Verdun, while the failures of 1915 and the huge losses suffered at Verdun and on the Somme had seen Joffre lose much of the popularity he had gained in 1914. It would be Nivelle who would bring the French armies to the brink of collapse after the failure of his spring offensive of 1917.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 19:49    Onderwerp: 18 December 1915 Reageer met quote

On This Day - 18 December 1915

Spotlights over Paris Theatre definitions: Western Front comprises the Franco-German-Belgian front and any military action in Great Britain, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Holland. Eastern Front comprises the German-Russian, Austro-Russian and Austro-Romanian fronts. Southern Front comprises the Austro-Italian and Balkan (including Bulgaro-Romanian) fronts, and Dardanelles. Asiatic and Egyptian Theatres comprises Egypt, Tripoli, the Sudan, Asia Minor (including Transcaucasia), Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Persia, Afghanistan, Turkestan, China, India, etc. Naval and Overseas Operations comprises operations on the seas (except where carried out in combination with troops on land) and in Colonial and Overseas theatres, America, etc. Political, etc. comprises political and internal events in all countries, including Notes, speeches, diplomatic, financial, economic and domestic matters. Source: Chronology of the War (1914-18, London; copyright expired)

Asiatic and Egyptian Theatres

Turks surprised in advanced trenches at Kut, about 30 killed and 11 prisoners.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 19:54    Onderwerp: 18 December 1914 Reageer met quote

On This Day - 18 December 1914

Spotlights over Paris Theatre definitions: Western Front comprises the Franco-German-Belgian front and any military action in Great Britain, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Holland. Eastern Front comprises the German-Russian, Austro-Russian and Austro-Romanian fronts. Southern Front comprises the Austro-Italian and Balkan (including Bulgaro-Romanian) fronts, and Dardanelles. Asiatic and Egyptian Theatres comprises Egypt, Tripoli, the Sudan, Asia Minor (including Transcaucasia), Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Persia, Afghanistan, Turkestan, China, India, etc. Naval and Overseas Operations comprises operations on the seas (except where carried out in combination with troops on land) and in Colonial and Overseas theatres, America, etc. Political, etc. comprises political and internal events in all countries, including Notes, speeches, diplomatic, financial, economic and domestic matters. Source: Chronology of the War (1914-18, London; copyright expired)

Western Front

Indian troops begin an attack on the Germans round Givenchy (La Bassee); a five days' battle commenced.

French pressure towards Peronne.

Eastern Front

Galicia: Austrians recover Lupkow Pass over the Carpathians.

Naval and Overseas Operations

German cruiser "Friedrich Karl" reported lost in Baltic.

Political, etc.

Egypt: Hussein I proclaimed Sultan.

Meeting of three Scandinavian Kings at Malmo.

Great Britain: Conviction of Ahlers quashed.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 20:51    Onderwerp: Re: 18 December 1914 Reageer met quote

Peter L @ 18 Dec 2010 19:54 schreef:
On This Day - 18 December 1914

Spotlights over Paris Theatre definitions: Western Front comprises the Franco-German-Belgian front and any military action in Great Britain, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Holland. Eastern Front comprises the German-Russian, Austro-Russian and Austro-Romanian fronts. Southern Front comprises the Austro-Italian and Balkan (including Bulgaro-Romanian) fronts, and Dardanelles. Asiatic and Egyptian Theatres comprises Egypt, Tripoli, the Sudan, Asia Minor (including Transcaucasia), Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Persia, Afghanistan, Turkestan, China, India, etc. Naval and Overseas Operations comprises operations on the seas (except where carried out in combination with troops on land) and in Colonial and Overseas theatres, America, etc. Political, etc. comprises political and internal events in all countries, including Notes, speeches, diplomatic, financial, economic and domestic matters. Source: Chronology of the War (1914-18, London; copyright expired)

Western Front

Indian troops begin an attack on the Germans round Givenchy (La Bassee); a five days' battle commenced.

French pressure towards Peronne.

Eastern Front

Galicia: Austrians recover Lupkow Pass over the Carpathians.

Naval and Overseas Operations

German cruiser "Friedrich Karl" reported lost in Baltic.

Political, etc.

Egypt: Hussein I proclaimed Sultan.

Meeting of three Scandinavian Kings at Malmo.

Great Britain: Conviction of Ahlers quashed.


Bron: http://www.firstworldwar.com/onthisday/1914_12_18.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 20:54    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

@ Peter L: Graag bronvermelding bij alle geplaatste posts. Dank!
Probeer verder dubbele posts te voorkomen, alsjeblieft.

@ Finnbar: Wink
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Dec 2010 22:48    Onderwerp: 18 December Reageer met quote

Beste Collegae,

Sorry, dit had ik even over het hoofd gezien. Hieronder alsnog de bronvermelding :

http://www.firstworldwar.com/onthisday/1917_12_18.htm
http://www.firstworldwar.com/onthisday/1916_12_18.htm
http://www.firstworldwar.com/onthisday/1915_12_18.htm
http://www.firstworldwar.com/onthisday/1914_12_18.htm

Groeten

Peter L
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