February 28, 2011

Frank W. Buckles, The Last American Veteran Of WWI Dies At Age 110
— DrewM

And then there were none.

Mr. Buckles, who was born by lantern light in a Missouri farmhouse, quit school at 16 and bluffed his way into the Army. As the nation flexed its full military might overseas for the first time, he joined 4.7 million Americans in uniform and was among 2 million U.S. troops shipped to France to vanquish the German kaiser.

Ninety years later, with available records showing that former corporal Buckles, serial No. 15577, had outlived all of his compatriots from World War I, the Department of Veterans Affairs declared him the last doughboy standing. He was soon answering fan mail and welcoming a multitude of inquisitive visitors to his rural home.

"I feel like an endangered species," he joked, well into his 11th decade. As a rear-echelon ambulance driver behind the trenches of the Western Front in 1918, he had been safe from the worst of the fighting. But "I saw the results," he would say.

With his death, researchers said, only two of the approximately 65 million people mobilized by the world's militaries during the Great War are known to be alive: an Australian man, 109, and a British woman, 110 .

It sounds like Mr. Buckles had quite the life, he actually spent most of WWII in a Japanese prison camp.

When I was a kid in the 70's and 80's, WWI vets seemed so few and ancient even back then. It's hard to believe that kids today must feel that way about WWII vets.

The march of time and all of that.

Posted by: DrewM at 05:11 AM | Comments (138)
Post contains 285 words, total size 2 kb.

1 Honor our veterans, all of them. They've fought the fight for our freedom.

Posted by: Bulldog in Kansas at February 28, 2011 05:14 AM (z1C58)

2

kid's today don't even know what WW 1 was about. They just know its the reason World War 2 is called World War 2.

 

It's a shame people know very little about the First War and how it changed the world forever. The events of that war are still with us today.

Just look at the middle east which was arbitrarily carved up out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire.

WW2  gets more attention because of the scope and scale, but it's impossible to understand the 20th century without understanding the First World War.

Posted by: Ben at February 28, 2011 05:16 AM (wuv1c)

3 Yeah, saw that today. 

I have a friend who fought at the battle of the budge in 44 and he just had a heart attack.  His war stories are unbelievable.  He's 86 still smokes a pack a day!

Posted by: Kemp at February 28, 2011 05:16 AM (JpFM9)

4 Yep, the passing of another age and milestone. When I posted this this morning someone replied that the UK still had two left.

Posted by: Vic at February 28, 2011 05:17 AM (M9Ie6)

5 Rest in peace, Sir. It is amazing how few WWII vets are left, as well. The people who know of real tyranny are slowly passing from the earth, leaving us with a bunch of spoiled kids who believe that having to show I.D. to vote is 'tyranny.' *sigh*

Posted by: In Exile at February 28, 2011 05:18 AM (8qbfK)

6 @Bulldog

Well said.

These men deserve our gratitude for their sacrifice. Too few Americans appreciate that what we have today is as a result of what these men did for us.

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo (NJConservative) at February 28, 2011 05:18 AM (LH6ir)

7 I still have my Dad's WW2 diary.  Pretty cool shit.  At the start of the war he was 25 and a Captain in the Army.  How about that responsibility!  They  moved them up quick, because there were so few officers.

Posted by: Kemp at February 28, 2011 05:19 AM (JpFM9)

8 Posted by: Ben at February 28, 2011 10:16 AM (wuv1c)

Who's the fossil!

Hey, did you see Justin Bieber's new haircut.

Posted by: If you are stupid and ignorant, thank a (union) teacher at February 28, 2011 05:20 AM (LH6ir)

9 Godspeed, Mr. Buckles.

Posted by: Andy at February 28, 2011 05:20 AM (5Rurq)

10 It's particularly amazing given the treatment the Nips gave him in WWII.  I heard an interview with him last year and he still had it all together.

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at February 28, 2011 05:21 AM (y3wz3)

11 I wonder if that there will be any mention of how there was a draft, the "shredding of constitutional rights", and war protests against the Wilson adminstration...

No no, that was only done in Vietnam War, riiiight...

Posted by: Tom in Korea at February 28, 2011 05:22 AM (+gX1+)

12
Hell, his honor is in surviving a Jap concentration camp, not outliving all the other WW1 vets.

Posted by: moi at February 28, 2011 05:22 AM (Ez4Ql)

13 Ten years ago, my late father's 102nd Infantry pals were still having reunions. To my knowledge, there's now only a handful of guys left.

Posted by: Soap MacTavish at February 28, 2011 05:23 AM (vbh31)

14 Well done, Mr. Buckles.  They don't make a lot like you nowadays, but then they never have.

Posted by: logprof at February 28, 2011 05:25 AM (2ZkRZ)

15 It's hard to believe that kids today must feel that way about WWII vets.

Please.  I'm pretty sure they don't waste time feeling anything about WW2 vets.  You'd be lucky if they could tell you who was on which side.

Posted by: FUBAR at February 28, 2011 05:26 AM (McG46)

16 Does the current generation even know what WW I, WW II, Korea, and Vietnam were about ?  If history is taught in schools today they probably blame all wars past and present on Bush, Cheney, and Palin. The problem with a lot of the little whiney ass libs is they don't study history, thus doomed to repeat the past mistakes...IE: OBAMA!

Posted by: Jimmy Genttemann at February 28, 2011 05:27 AM (SZy+Y)

17 Here's a vid where he is still fighting for a WWI memorial...at age 108.

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at February 28, 2011 05:27 AM (y3wz3)

18 110? How many 60 year olds are thinking now- Hell I've got to have enough savings to last me another fifty years.

Posted by: polynikes at February 28, 2011 05:29 AM (R9YVs)

19 How many 60 year olds are thinking now- Hell I've got to have enough savings to last me another fifty years. Posted by: polynikes at February 28, 2011 10:29 AM (R9YVs) Only the wildly optimistic ones

Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2011 05:33 AM (0GFWk)

20 It makes me sad when these people pass.

I think our best is in the past. With the Old Breed indeed.

Well done Sir. We have the Watch.

Posted by: Zakn at February 28, 2011 05:34 AM (zyaZ1)

21 110? How many 60 year olds are thinking now- Hell I've got to have enough savings to last me another fifty years.

My healthcare plan will fix that problem.

Posted by: Barry O. at February 28, 2011 05:35 AM (MMC8r)

22

Does the current generation even know what WW I, WW II, Korea, and Vietnam were about ?

The current adminstration doesn't even know.

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at February 28, 2011 05:35 AM (B+qrE)

23 Godspeed, Frank.  Thank you so much for your service - may we not let your sacrifice be in vain! 

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at February 28, 2011 05:35 AM (9hSKh)

24 18 110? How many 60 year olds are thinking now- Hell I've got to have enough savings to last me another fifty years.

I don't know about the current 60 year olds but I read a link at insty a while back where in ten years 80 will be the new 60.

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at February 28, 2011 05:36 AM (y3wz3)

25 The 1st World War is on that list of Wars that should never have been fought.

Posted by: Holger at February 28, 2011 05:36 AM (YxGud)

26 I was watching an episode of I Shouldn't Be Alive this weekend. Family got caught out in the AZ desert for 3 days. 115-118 degrees. I thought of the men at Peleliu.

Posted by: Zakn at February 28, 2011 05:37 AM (zyaZ1)

27 25 The 1st World War is on that list of Wars that should never have been fought.

Posted by: Holger at February 28, 2011 10:36 AM (YxGud)

Just shows how effective the .32ACP really is.  Two rounds killed ten million people.

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at February 28, 2011 05:38 AM (y3wz3)

28

When I was a kid in the 70's and 80's, WWI vets seemed so few and ancient even back then. It's hard to believe that kids today must feel that way about WWII vets.

My thoughts exactly. When I am long gone from this earth there will be people lamenting the last of the Gulf War vets passing while at the same time worried about sending their kids off to some other foreign land (and hopefully coming home intact).

Posted by: jimbro at February 28, 2011 05:38 AM (dNk+K)

29 Something else this shows is just how young our country is.

When this man was growing up it was the soldiers that fought in the Civil War he had to look up too. For them it was the soldiers that fought in the war of 1812 and already we have the connection between generations to the Revolutionary War.

Posted by: Buzzsaw at February 28, 2011 05:39 AM (tf9Ne)

30

The 1st World War is on that list of Wars that should never have been fought.

Bumbling ineptitude on all sides.  Read Tuchman's The Guns of August for just how quickly things can go sideways.  And then think about how some think we are so much more in control of events today.

Another lesson:  The Serbs--they are a problematic people.

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at February 28, 2011 05:40 AM (B+qrE)

31 Does the current generation even know what WW I, WW II, Korea, and Vietnam were about ? The current adminstration doesn't even know. Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at February 28, 2011 10:35 AM (B+qrE) The Admin might not, but those of us serving do.

Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2011 05:43 AM (0GFWk)

32 Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at February 28, 2011 10:40 AM (B+qrE) 1918 = The Guns of August 2011 = The Nukes of August (G-d forbid) I salute the life of Frank Buckles. RIP.

Posted by: J.J. Sefton at February 28, 2011 05:44 AM (UlUS4)

33

It's a shame people know very little about the First War and how it changed the world forever. The events of that war are still with us today.

That war was an absolute tragedy. It resulted in Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, all of their attendant murder victims, as well as all the victims of communist regimes and revolutions. It broke France's spirit, it bankrupted Britain and was the beginning of the end of the British Emipire. The Ottoman Empire was broken up and its constituencies were redrawn for the benefit of the European powers resulting in continuous ethnic strife to this day. The same problems were repeated with Austria-Hungary in Eastern Europe and with all the territories acquired in Africa.

Sad part is that economic realities that were the root cause of the war could not be denied as Europe eventually became a common economic market dominated by Germany.

Posted by: Ghost of Lee Atwater at February 28, 2011 05:44 AM (JxMoP)

34 He probably lived so long due to the drug he was on. It's called "Charlie Sheen."

Posted by: Empire of Jeff at February 28, 2011 05:44 AM (TATbF)

35 RIP.

Posted by: Whatever at February 28, 2011 05:45 AM (L5sNt)

36 I am proud to call Frank Buckles and Hershel "Woody" Williams fellow West Virginians.  True patriots.

Posted by: Proud at February 28, 2011 05:46 AM (YcXTT)

37 25 The 1st World War is on that list of Wars that should never have been fought.

Not only that, but the 2nd World War followed the 1st World War like night follows day, thanks to all sorts of errors by the Allies. 

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at February 28, 2011 05:47 AM (9hSKh)

38 Not only that, but the 2nd World War followed the 1st World War like night follows day, thanks to all sorts of errors by the Allies. Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at February 28, 2011 10:47 AM (9hSKh) Like the Second Gulf War followed the Frist?

Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2011 05:49 AM (0GFWk)

39
kid's today don't even know what WW 1 was about. They just know its the reason World War 2 is called World War 2.

The soldiers in WWI walked real fast. I guess the world got lazy afterward.

Posted by: Ed Anger at February 28, 2011 05:49 AM (7+pP9)

40 Drew - you should add a snippet of Buckles' Memorial Day letter to the American People. It is very humbling. God has brought another Hero home.

The following is a letter from Frank Buckles to the American Veterans Center and National Memorial Day Parade on Memorial Day, 2009.

I was born in 1901 during the McKinley Administration in the heartland of America. I was thirteen when World War I broke out in Europe. For me the decision to join the service was an easy one. The hard part was finding someone who’d let me join.

I was just 16 and didn’t look a day older. I confess to you that I lied to more than one recruiter. I gave them my solemn word that I was 18, but I’d left my birth certificate back home in the family Bible. They’d take one look at me and laugh and tell me to home before my mother noticed I was gone.

Somehow I got the idea that telling an even bigger whopper was the way to go. So I told the next recruiter that I was 21 and darned if he didn’t sign me up on the spot! I enlisted in the Army on the 14th of August 1917. As a 16-year-old boy, you think you’re invincible and I wanted to go where the action was.


Posted by: momma at February 28, 2011 05:51 AM (penCf)

41

The 1st World War is on that list of Wars that should never have been fought.

Not only that, but the 2nd World War followed the 1st World War like night follows day, thanks to all sorts of errors by the Allies. 

on the upside(or downside depending on your view) the second world war ended Germany's chance at being a Superpower. Had Germany not fought these wars, it would have taken control of mainland europe economically and demographically.  Even after being totally destroyed by 1945 and split into two nations, it became the largest economic power in Europe again in a little over a decade. The 20th century would have been Germany's century in europe had it not fought these wars. Not only did they lose massive amounts of men, material, money, scienctists, and the jewish population, but it also lost it's faith in itself. Germany is a modern day basket case. It's a powerful nation who hates itself.

The Wars prevented Germany from ever realizing its full potential.

Posted by: Ben at February 28, 2011 05:52 AM (wuv1c)

42 Not only that, but the 2nd World War followed the 1st World War like night follows day, thanks to all sorts of errors by the Allies. 

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at February 28, 2011 10:47 AM (9hSKh)

Wars can always be traced back to a series of mistakes and miscalculations, not unlike those currently being generated by Our Feckless Leader.


Posted by: ontherocks at February 28, 2011 05:52 AM (HBqDo)

43 More from link at #40:

But that’s what makes America special – as much as we want to avoid war, we’re ready to sacrifice everything if that’s what it takes to make sure the bad guys don’t win. America’s entry into the war was decisive. Just 19 months after the first Yanks arrived, the guns fell silent.
...

America goes to war to free, to liberate, to protect, and to bring justice to bear. I hope this Memorial Day, you take the time to thank the veterans you meet for their service to this country – the sacrifices that they have made to preserve your freedom.

May God bless you and God bless America!


Posted by: momma at February 28, 2011 05:53 AM (penCf)

44 My GG was a WW1 vet. never talked about it. Like I was going to ask for stories as a 5 year old. I begged my Mom to have him tell me stories, but back then it wasn't talked about.

He did do little strange things. He'd watch us play war in the neighborhood from his porch, and offer strategies. how to use cover, how to use flanking fire. I didn't quite get it till I was older, and he was long gone.

I realized something when I was watching Saving Private Ryan and comparing/contrasting to period film. You didn't have to show anything graphic not because they couldn't do it, it was because everyone knew what it looked like. Go Watch the Longest Day, or Porkchop Hill. It's not graphic because it was shared societal experience.

Now, you have to show people getting sent to the hell of blown to pieces because outside of the Warrior class, it's not a known thin after korea.

Posted by: Zakn at February 28, 2011 05:53 AM (zyaZ1)

45 And the Serbs and Bosnia are still in the news with the same kind of shit that started off that war.

Posted by: nickless at February 28, 2011 05:54 AM (MMC8r)

46 Screw the troop.

Posted by: Daily Kos at February 28, 2011 05:55 AM (xCLB3)

47 I disagree that wwII was inevitable after wwI. If any thing from wwI caused wwII was that it was that carnage that led to decisions of appeasement that led to wwII.

Posted by: polynikes at February 28, 2011 05:55 AM (R9YVs)

48 WW2 was fought because WW1 wasn't won. It's a sad sad fact. 100 million people perished because the shit didn't get figured out

Posted by: Zakn at February 28, 2011 05:56 AM (zyaZ1)

49 15 It's hard to believe that kids today must feel that way about WWII vets.

Please.  I'm pretty sure they don't waste time feeling anything about WW2 vets.  You'd be lucky if they could tell you who was on which side.

Pfft, "vets"; good riddance. Just brown baby-killing imperialist scum. Our Sociology professor told me all about those rube tools.

Posted by: College-Educated Youngin' at February 28, 2011 05:57 AM (cv5Iw)

50 Posted by: If you are stupid and ignorant arrogant, thank a (union) teacher at February 28, 2011 10:20 AM

Fixed!

Posted by: huerfano at February 28, 2011 05:58 AM (2pEj7)

51

@ Ed Anger

  Go back and read my comment at 211 in the Headlines thread. I should have put it up sooner.

Posted by: PoconoJoe at February 28, 2011 06:01 AM (iU7pf)

52 it's impossible to understand the 20th century without understanding the First World War.

Heck, people then didn't understand what WW1 was about.

But, if you really want, you can trace its roots all the way back to the middle ages- when Germany (then: the Germanies) was (were?) kept fractious and antagonistic towards each other.  Once they got big enough not to be Europe's battle-ground, but were still basically the only place available for open warfare, WWI was kind of set- in some form, or other, if not necessarily the specific way it happened.

As some of my friends occasionally say: "In Europe, they think 100 miles is a long way.  In America, we think 100 years is a long time."

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 06:05 AM (8y9MW)

53 I agree lots of things were done badly at the end of WW1 and in between the wars that helped bring about WW2.  But one factor never gets enough credit, I don't think:  German militarism and expansionism. 

The Wars prevented Germany from ever realizing its full potential.

Posted by: Ben at February 28, 2011 10:52 AM (wuv1c)

Yet.  They dominate the continent now, economically and population.  There's a huge economic crisis, and Germany feels like they're getting screwed.  There's a huge immigrant problem, and Germany is started to resent them.  It's almost like the EU stabbed them in the back.

Posted by: FUBAR at February 28, 2011 06:06 AM (McG46)

54 Rest well, Mr. Buckles.

Posted by: huerfano at February 28, 2011 06:08 AM (2pEj7)

55 But, if you really want, you can trace its roots all the way back to the middle ages- when Germany (then: the Germanies) was (were?) kept fractious and antagonistic towards each other.  Once they got big enough not to be Europe's battle-ground, but were still basically the only place available for open warfare, WWI was kind of set- in some form, or other, if not necessarily the specific way it happened.

As some of my friends occasionally say: "In Europe, they think 100 miles is a long way.  In America, we think 100 years is a long time."

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 11:05 AM (8y9MW)

Diplomacy, by Henry Kissinger.  Sounds like you've read it.

Posted by: FUBAR at February 28, 2011 06:08 AM (McG46)

56

This hero signed up to go overseas and fight for his country at age 16, but today you are expected to provide health insurance for your 26 year old 'children.'

The world has truly gone awry.

Posted by: Mel at February 28, 2011 06:19 AM (OXBrh)

57

Posted by: Buzzsaw at February 28, 2011 10:39 AM (tf9Ne)

Yes! I always try to tell people that you are closer to history than you think.

Hell, when my mom was first in Nursing, there were still Civil War Vets around. And it easily goes back, as you noted.

Or just for a fast point. My best friend and I saw the movie "Tora Tora Tora" when it came out. Turns out his old man had been at Pearl Harbor when the attack happened. I hadn't known that, and he told us some pretty interesting stories about the bombing and more interesting the aftermath.

And even more, I met a woman, when I was quite young, who remembered when she was very young going to dances at a Cavalry Fort in Tucson, Az. And that fort closed down in the 1890's.

So in a way, I'm connected to well over 100yrs of history.

Always talk to the old folks. They have a lot to tell.

Posted by: HH at February 28, 2011 06:20 AM (6oDXl)

58 RIP, Mr. Buckles, and God bless you for your service.

Posted by: MWR at February 28, 2011 06:21 AM (4df7R)

59 My maternal grandfather was an Irishman who during WWI was conscripted into the English army at age 16. My mother was just showing me his medals the other day. When he was discharged it was back to being treated like shit by the Brits. Then he got involved with the early founders of the IRA and was thrown out of Ireland.

Posted by: JWF at February 28, 2011 06:25 AM (1l37M)

60

In December 1917, as his Army detachment steamed for Europe on the British liner Carpathia, Mr. Buckles said, crewmen shared stories of the grim dawn less than six years earlier when their ship had been the first to reach survivors of the Titanic.

Wow. And he saw Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics. RIP Mr. Buckles.

Posted by: Schwalbe : The at February 28, 2011 06:25 AM (UU0OF)

61 Posted by: FUBAR at February 28, 2011 11:08 AM (McG46)

Actually, I haven't.  I'm just an occasional, amateur student of History who particularly likes the Middle Ages and the evolution of war (things like: for a long time after the adoption of the cannon and "hand-gun" by the Europeans, bows (especially Welsh Longbows) and siege-engines such as trebuchet were preferred as both more reliable and more accurate. 

But any serious study of such things also leads to some of the politics of the day, too.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 06:28 AM (8y9MW)

62

OT: RE the sidebar link about my beloved NH preparing to kick the cap-n-tax law to the curb.  GO STATE LEGICRITTERS!  WOOT! 

You can read a bit more about the vote and legislation in question at NH's <I>Union Leader</I>.

Posted by: MWR at February 28, 2011 06:30 AM (4df7R)

63

And again, HTML fail.  I do not get along with Rich Text.

Posted by: MWR at February 28, 2011 06:32 AM (4df7R)

64 The New Hampshire thing is threadworthy.

Posted by: FlaviusJulius at February 28, 2011 06:36 AM (qIHlG)

65 RIP Corporal Buckles and thank you.

Posted by: harleycowboy at February 28, 2011 06:37 AM (wSTfB)

66

My mom lost her first husband in WWII and my father married her in 1946. I think she stayed single for 10 months. I was telling her the other day that although she had lived through the depression in the rural south, had been through WWII with a loss and had moved some obscene number of times as  military wife, she had lived and prospered at the peak of America. She has experienced the golden age. It's all downhill from here--or appears to be.

Posted by: dagny at February 28, 2011 06:38 AM (02DI/)

67
  My dad (aka my role model) was at Guadalcanal,and I used to pester him  for war stories. He would never say anything, just give me "the Look" when I got too obnoxious. It wasn't until my tour was done, that one weekend he and my uncle-who survived Omaha Beach--got to talking about their experiences. What those two endured made the shit I saw seem like a Sunday picnic. Yet it was like pulling teeth to get them to relate the events.

  Maybe they WERE the Greatest Generation. And they left us, among the mall-rat shitbags, the newest version.  I wore the uniform with PRIDE, yet when I see these young men and women serving today, I feel humbled. It would be the greatest honor to wear it again with these people.

  Just my couple cents worth.

Posted by: irongrampa at February 28, 2011 06:39 AM (ud5dN)

68 IMDB has a lot of old TV series posted.

Posted by: FlaviusJulius at February 28, 2011 06:40 AM (qIHlG)

69

She has experienced the golden age. It's all downhill from here--or appears to be.

It doesn't have to be that way.  But we have to do some serious political and cultural cranial/rectal removal exercises.  And soon.

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at February 28, 2011 06:40 AM (B+qrE)

70 I drug my kids over to my mom's retirement village to meet and have their picture taken with one of the Berlin airlift pilots before he died.

Posted by: dagny at February 28, 2011 06:41 AM (02DI/)

71 AllenG, no longbows please.

My grandfather employed the very Cockney Thos. Higginbotham VC, a veteran of the Second Boer War. Higginbotham had stood his ground as his regiment broke about him, becoming the standard on which they rallied. His investiture with the Victoria  Cross was witnessed by Young Winston, who inquired to know whence came such steadfastness.

"Sorr," he replied, "I coona move. I'd shit meself."

Posted by: comatus at February 28, 2011 06:43 AM (W5ilH)

72

I agree lots of things were done badly at the end of WW1 and in between the wars that helped bring about WW2.  But one factor never gets enough credit, I don't think:  German militarism and expansionism. 

The pigheadedness of Kaiser Billy was something to behold, looking back at it with 20/20 hindsight.

Posted by: Curmudgeon at February 28, 2011 06:45 AM (ujg0T)

73

But, if you really want, you can trace its roots all the way back to the middle ages- when Germany (then: the Germanies) was (were?) kept fractious and antagonistic towards each other.  Once they got big enough not to be Europe's battle-ground, but were still basically the only place available for open warfare, WWI was kind of set- in some form, or other, if not necessarily the specific way it happened.

Ever read any of those "What If" counterfactual history theories? One that interested me was the theory on what would have happened had Arminius not destroyed the Roman Legions in the Teutoberg Wald. This guy's theory was that Rome would have conquered the rest of Germany, eventually transmitting Roman civilization to all of Germany and resulting ultimately in a common German nation that would have developed hundreds of years sooner than what actually happened, which would have allowed them time to mature as a nation in a similar manner as England and France and probably eliminating WWI.

Another interesting one was what if the Germans hadn't tinkered with the Schlieffen plan or what if the British had passed on entering the war. This one basically speculated that the war would have ended very quickly, that the EEC would have been created decades earlier, that the inept French state would not have lingered on for another twenty years, that the British Empire would not have dissolved, that America would not have developed into the preeminent world power by 1945, no Russian Revolution, no Nazi Germany, etc.

Posted by: Ghost of Lee Atwater at February 28, 2011 06:45 AM (JxMoP)

74 AllenG, no longbows please.

Well, it was really the Welsh Archers and the paradigm shift in warfare they represented (an actual professional soldier- among the first of their kind).

Besides, every so often there's a new technology that just blows the old stuff out of the water.  On occasion, it's even the first generation of that new technology- but not normally.

There was a time when the sword was the height of military technology.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 06:47 AM (8y9MW)

75 I am just old enough to remember the passing of the last Civil War veteran (a drummer boy who lived to a grand old age, IIRC).  Same sorts of sentiments.

Posted by: Roger at February 28, 2011 06:49 AM (tAwhy)

76

or what if the British had passed on entering the war.

When the Kaiser and his minions chose to build up a navy and antagonize the British, driving them into alliance with France, I think that was a given as far back as 1904.

Posted by: Curmudgeon at February 28, 2011 06:51 AM (ujg0T)

77

Yet.  They dominate the continent now, economically and population.  There's a huge economic crisis, and Germany feels like they're getting screwed.  There's a huge immigrant problem, and Germany is started to resent them.  It's almost like the EU stabbed them in the back.

 

On the population and economic issue. German domination on those fronts was inevitable. However, if you look at Germany's population today 81 million , and compare it to pre WW1 and pre WW2,  67 million and 87.1 million respectively, you will see that They were easily on pace to be a nation of over 100 million people. It would have made them only the second European nation to have that many citizens(russia being the other).

Also, if you look at the pre-ww1 germany, you see that they lost Alsace Loraine and its vast mineral resources, parts of Poland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania, Russia, Belgium and all of Danzig.

Had Germany maintained that, it wouldn't just be the economic leader of Europe, it would have ruled europe economically.

The first and second war ended any chance Germany had of being the unquestioned leader of Europe. Now it is just the rich uncle who funds Europe while France and England lead.

 

This is a good thing, in part, because England and France share more interests with us that Germany. Germany is naturally much closer to russia whereas France and England are much closer to us(and I don't mean in terms of distance)

On the downside, the wars destroyed europe's spirit as can be seen in their weakness and stagering population decline.

Posted by: Ben at February 28, 2011 06:51 AM (wuv1c)

78 Posted by: Ghost of Lee Atwater at February 28, 2011 11:45 AM (JxMoP)

Do you ever read Eric Flint?  His Ring of Fire series (started with the novel 1632) is remarkably good.  I've heard good things about some of his other stuff as well.  He mostly does alt-history stuff.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 06:52 AM (8y9MW)

79

Germany is naturally much closer to russia whereas France and England are much closer to us(and I don't mean in terms of distance)

I don't see that at all.  There is no greater myth than Franco-American affinity.  And Germany and Russia have never gotten along.

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at February 28, 2011 06:54 AM (B+qrE)

80 Rest in peace, sir, and thank you for your sacrifice.

Posted by: Miss'80sBaby at February 28, 2011 06:56 AM (q8u+l)

81

Ever read any of those "What If" counterfactual history theories?

I love those. But to me, and maybe just because it's in a more historical time, is "What If" we were thrown back at Normandie.

That would have changed a lot of things.

And remember, even Ike had prepared a statement about that eventuallity.

So that is really close to home.

Posted by: HH at February 28, 2011 06:57 AM (6oDXl)

82 May he rest in peace. In gratitude for him and other veterans. Thank you.

Posted by: ChristyBlinky at February 28, 2011 06:57 AM (oTjfX)

83 The only reason people are living to 110 is... Obamacare. And you reichwingers want to take that away?

Posted by: Soothsayer al dente at February 28, 2011 06:59 AM (uFokq)

84 I recently saw a documentary on an archeological team that was excavating trenches in Flanders.  Yes, archeological.  The show was very well done but th thing that stuck with me the most was a commentary by the professor in charge at the end.  He noted that the last of the shell-shocked survivors had died only a couple of years before.  Imagine that.  From the war to the 2000s spent in a mental hospital as a result of his service. Even more haunting was his  commentary that we now stand on the cusp of the divide between living memory and history.  With the death of Mr. Buckles, we are virtually there. 

Posted by: pep at February 28, 2011 07:00 AM (GMG6W)

85 On the downside, the wars destroyed europe's spirit as can be seen in their weakness and stagering population decline.

Which means we're getting close (on a historical scale) to when the next big empire shift will come.  If you look at it, one of the things that spelled the doom of Rome was that its citizenry (and its ruling class) became tired of "constant wars."  Power shifted from Rome to the ME (more or less, mostly modern day Turkey), until they, too "tired of war" and were taken over by howling barbarians.

That shifted power back to Europe (with a brief layover in the Arabic lands) and then into America.  Now, America and Europe are "tired of war."  So either we get our heads out of our collective orifii and realize that the entire march of human history has been: prepare for war, fight a war, recover from war.  Rinse, repeat.  Or "Western Civilization" falls and is replaced by something else.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 07:01 AM (8y9MW)

86

So either we get our heads out of our collective orifii and realize that the entire march of human history has been: prepare for war, fight a war, recover from war. 

Of course, if you prepare for it properly, you can deter it, or at least fight it in a more limited fashion. See Cold War. Whatever blunders the US made, I can't think of any outcomes better than the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

Posted by: Curmudgeon at February 28, 2011 07:03 AM (ujg0T)

87 True story:

About twelve years ago, I worked at a VA hospital, and one of the patients was a 98 year old WOMAN.  If you're familiar with VA hospitals at all, you know that women inpatients are pretty rare, let alone ones who are 98 years old!

Anyway, her connection to the VA system was that she was a nurse during WWI.   Even twelve years ago WWI vets were as rare as hen's teeth. . .let alone FEMALE vets.

Shockingly, not only was she fairly mentally alert (she knew where she was and what was happening to her), but she was actually discharged (ie alive) from the hospital.

Even more shockingly, she had two older siblings, aged 100 and 102 who were both alive!

Posted by: looking closely at February 28, 2011 07:05 AM (KNy97)

88 Posted by: Curmudgeon at February 28, 2011 12:03 PM (ujg0T)

Absolutely true.  And there were a great number of wars the Persians never had to fight.  Also the Romans.  Same was true of the Ottomans.

But, eventually, someone is going to call your bluff- and when they do, you either have to be prepared (in which case, you weren't bluffing) or you lose.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 07:09 AM (8y9MW)

89

 Rinse, repeat.  Or "Western Civilization" falls and is replaced by something else.

Good question. Do you want to be the "Light", or do you want to live in darkness?

Not an easy choice.

Holding the light can bring a lot of enemies out of the dark.

Posted by: HH at February 28, 2011 07:14 AM (6oDXl)

90

But, eventually, someone is going to call your bluff- and when they do, you either have to be prepared (in which case, you weren't bluffing) or you lose.

Quite true. And it is sad to watch the Obamunists, the heirs of the nuclear freezeniks and Sandinista fellaters of 2-3 decades ago, make us weaker and less prepared daily.

Posted by: Curmudgeon at February 28, 2011 07:16 AM (ujg0T)

91 I have a copy of this book personally autographed by a man named Paul J. Murphy.

My wife worked with his wife (Mary Lou) at a school in our district.  The two would find a "deserted part of the building" to eat lunch together.  At the time, they were the only two conservatives in the building.

Mary Lou has long since retired.  Her last year was 2004.  I met her when she advertised a pickup for sale.  She told me the truck was not for sale to "just anybody", and I'd have to meet her husband to get approval.

Got that.  Part of the deal, though, was that I part with a couple of my bumper stickers.

When we've lost all the Frank Buckles and Paul Murphys, the world will be a lonely place.

Posted by: jwb7605 at February 28, 2011 07:17 AM (Qxe/p)

92 My wife is 30 and she couldn't tell you who fought in the Gulf War.

Posted by: Truman North at February 28, 2011 07:24 AM (G5JPI)

93

My wife is 30 and she couldn't tell you who fought in the Gulf War.

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nickalas?

Posted by: Ben at February 28, 2011 07:25 AM (wuv1c)

94 May he rest in peace at last!

When I was a kid in California in the '50s, there were lots of WWI veterans around, and it seemed like almost everyone's father or uncle had served in WWII. 

Noting that Buckle was captured by the Japanese during WWII, I recall that there were several men in our town (one a boyhood friend of my Father) , and a nurse, who had been prisoners of the Japanese in the Philippines -- their attitude towards everything Japanese (or even Chinese) was as uniformly hostile as my thoroughly Unreconstructed Southern grandmother who (as a child) had seen her house burned down by Freedmen, Scalawags and Carpetbagger during Reconstruction.

Posted by: CatoRenasci at February 28, 2011 07:36 AM (b0qmU)

95 As the old-timers, vet or civilian, of that different age of American freedom die, so will that different kind (a truer kind) of freedom.  The public school system has done the job that the socialists intended. (Just try to convince the younger crowd that true freedom means one has the freedom to fail also.)  The political system is in a shambles.  And, I'm sure, after this brave gentleman died, the historians geared up to re-write the history he saw.  It's all so very sad.

Posted by: Soona at February 28, 2011 07:45 AM (efdtN)

96 Doggone it! Looks like those pesky Somali Pirates have bagged themselves another boatload of 'tards. Danish government wrings hands and thinks positive thoughts.

Posted by: maddogg at February 28, 2011 07:45 AM (OlN4e)

97 Posted by: maddogg at February 28, 2011 12:45 PM (OlN4e)

I say again, any private boat of any seaworthy size should really be allowed to mount some real weapons.  Even if they're 19th century Gating guns or something.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 07:48 AM (8y9MW)

98 92 My wife is 30 and she couldn't tell you who fought in the Gulf War.

That was so long ago, but I do remember when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor - November 11th. 

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at February 28, 2011 07:51 AM (9hSKh)

99

Do you ever read Eric Flint?  His Ring of Fire series (started with the novel 1632) is remarkably good.  I've heard good things about some of his other stuff as well.  He mostly does alt-history stuff.

Thanks for the tip, I'll have to check those out.

I mostly enjoy historical fiction and have recently read/been reading some stuff by Bernard Cornwell, namely The Saxon Stories and the Grail Quest novels which of course has piqued my interest in the Dark Ages, the Hundred Years' War, and <cough> longbows <cough>. What I like most about historical fiction is that I invariably get curious and go pick up other books and read about what actually happened.

Posted by: Ghost of Lee Atwater at February 28, 2011 07:54 AM (JxMoP)

100 Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 12:48 PM (8y9MW)

They haven't touched any Israeli ships. Probably because the Israelis are always thinking positive thoughts and concentrating on the end times, when we will all have pet unicorns and there wil be peace on earth.

It has nothing to do with the automatic weapons that all Israeli ships carry.

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo (NJConservative) at February 28, 2011 07:54 AM (LH6ir)

101 Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo (NJConservative) at February 28, 2011 12:54 PM (LH6ir)

Or the fact that a far greater percentage of Israelis have had actual military training (aren't all their males required to do at least one tour of service?).

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 07:56 AM (8y9MW)

102 That was so long ago, but I do remember when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor - November 11th. 

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at February 28, 2011 12:51 PM (9hSKh)

 

And if, at the beginning of WWII, the 57 states hadn't risen up and crushed Nigeria, we'd be living in the dark ages. 

Posted by: Soona at February 28, 2011 07:56 AM (efdtN)

103 The Imperial War Museum linked the story. I have many complaints about modern Britain, but their respect for WWI vets was not one of them. While we had fewer soldiers fight in WWI, I still wish more emphasis had been placed on what men like Mr. Buckles did over there. Our contribution was huge but it's been largely forgotten.

Posted by: Miss'80sBaby at February 28, 2011 07:59 AM (q8u+l)

104 Too bad that Danish family didn't have a full magazine of smart diplomacy. That shit will fix anything. Now the guys get to watch the women raped along with the children prior to their execution or their exchange for cash.

Posted by: maddogg at February 28, 2011 07:59 AM (OlN4e)

105 Posted by: Ghost of Lee Atwater at February 28, 2011 12:54 PM (JxMoP)

The thing about Ring of Fire is that it's very well researched- both in the politics and tactics of the day.  Then it inserts 20th Century (well, barely 21st Century, really) West Virginian coal miners into the 30 years' war.

I pretty well hate Mr. Flint's take on politics (seems pretty committed lefty) in 1632, but he seems to figure out that all the socialist-lite stuff that Democrats openly espouse can only come about when there's some amount of stability and opportunity- and you tend to have to use Conservative methods to get there. 

He never quite seems to make the intuitive leap to figuring out that this means that Conservatives are a better safeguard of liberty, but you take what you can get.

And the description of what 20th century Americans do to 17th Century Thuringia is pretty cool.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 08:01 AM (8y9MW)

106 Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 12:56 PM (8y9MW)

Unless they get a religious exemption -- and that is actually a big problem, and getting bigger.

Four light machine gun mounts: port, starboard, bow and stern. Each ship would only have to carry two guns and a few thousand rounds of ammo. Hire a couple of young marines who want to see the world, and your ship would be safe.

Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo (NJConservative) at February 28, 2011 08:01 AM (LH6ir)

107

This is a good thing, in part, because England and France share more interests with us that Germany. Germany is naturally much closer to russia whereas France and England are much closer to us(and I don't mean in terms of distance)

On the downside, the wars destroyed europe's spirit as can be seen in their weakness and stagering population decline.

Posted by: Ben

Ben, my grandfather was a soldier in WWI (in the Rainbow Division, which had a whole 'nuther meaning now as opposed to then).  He died before I was born, but my mother told me that he always thought the Germans were more like us than the British or the French.  The British were personally filthy, and the French were sneaks, cowards and backstabbers.  His son (my uncle) toured France and Germany with 3rd Army in WWII, and came to the same conclusion with respect to the French. My uncle also saw one of the Concentration camps, and pretty much had nothing good to say about the Germans.

And now I work for a French company, and  have pretty much been beaten into thinking just like them.  Reality works. 

With regards to "Europe's spirit", I advise watching "The Americanization of  Emily".  James Garner has a little speech about how wonderful Europe is (was), and it is still funny today.

Sick philosophy had a lot more to do with rotting the "spirit of Europe" than the horrificness of WWI and WWII.  In fact, those things are inextrcably intertwined.

Posted by: Reader C.J. Burch writes.... at February 28, 2011 08:01 AM (usS2T)

108 "And if, at the beginning of WWII, the 57 states hadn't risen up and crushed Nigeria, we'd be living in the dark ages. "

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACIST!!

Posted by: Columbia Sociology Professor at February 28, 2011 08:02 AM (nd0uY)

109 Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo (NJConservative) at February 28, 2011 01:01 PM (LH6ir)

How in God's name do you approve a religious exemption against serving in the Israelite Israeli army?  Or is my irony meter just broken?

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 08:04 AM (8y9MW)

110 Posted by: CharlieBrown'sDildo (NJConservative) at February 28, 2011 01:01 PM (LH6ir) How in God's name do you approve a religious exemption against serving in the Israelite Israeli army? Or is my irony meter just broken? Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 01:04 PM (8y9MW) No your irony meter is not broken. Some Religious Jewish Sects in Israel do try to get, and successfully, out of Military Service. But by no means all.

Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2011 08:09 AM (0GFWk)

111 Or is my irony meter just broken?

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 01:04 PM (8y9MW)

You just confuse the secular state with a religious one.  Religious exemptions have long been given to get out of the IDF - for girls or for guys who "study".

Posted by: Henry Harold Humphries - you can call me 'H' at February 28, 2011 08:09 AM (Ikk5M)

112

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 01:04 PM (8y9MW)

He's right. It is a huge source of resentment in Israel

Posted by: maddogg at February 28, 2011 08:09 AM (OlN4e)

113

For Ben:

Lt. Cmdr. Charles E. Madison (James Garner): You American haters bore me to tears, Ms. Barham. I've dealt with Europeans all my life. I know all about us parvenus from the States who come over here and race around your old Cathedral towns with our cameras and Coca-cola bottles... Brawl in your pubs, paw at your women, and act like we own the world. We over-tip, we talk too loud, we think we can buy anything with a Hershey bar. I've had Germans and Italians tell me how politically ingenuous we are, and perhaps so. But we haven't managed a Hitler or a Mussolini yet. I've had Frenchmen call me a savage because I only took half an hour for lunch. Hell, Ms. Barham, the only reason the French take two hours for lunch is because the service in their restaurants is lousy. The most tedious lot are you British. We crass Americans didn't introduce war into your little island. This war, Ms. Barham to which we Americans are so insensitive, is the result of 2,000 years of European greed, barbarism, superstition, and stupidity. Don't blame it on our Coca-cola bottles. Europe was a going brothel long before we came to town.

Posted by: Reader C.J. Burch writes.... at February 28, 2011 08:09 AM (usS2T)

114 I pretty well hate Mr. Flint's take on politics (seems pretty committed lefty) in 1632, but he seems to figure out that all the socialist-lite stuff that Democrats openly espouse can only come about when there's some amount of stability and opportunity- and you tend to have to use Conservative methods to get there. 

snip

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 01:01 PM (8y9MW)

Eric is a card carrying communist. But he's really a very nice man and tempers his political beliefs with reality.  Please buy a copy of the first Ring of Fire anthology...I could use some royalties.

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at February 28, 2011 08:11 AM (4yjiA)

115

Sick philosophy had a lot more to do with rotting the "spirit of Europe" than the horrificness of WWI and WWII.  In fact, those things are inextrcably intertwined.

 

Liberal/socialist ideas are what has kept Europe in a constant grind.  I don't see any end to it either.  There will be another European war soon which will match the "have nots" against the "haves".  The out-of-control ME population there will be the spark. 

Posted by: Soona at February 28, 2011 08:12 AM (efdtN)

116 You just confuse the secular state with a religious one. Religious exemptions have long been given to get out of the IDF - for girls or for guys who "study". Posted by: Henry Harold Humphries - you can call me 'H' at February 28, 2011 01:09 PM (Ikk5M) Yes or as many secular Israelis refer to it: As a bribe to the religious parties to vote the "right" way on other issues.

Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2011 08:14 AM (0GFWk)

117 You just confuse the secular state with a religious one. Religious exemptions have long been given to get out of the IDF - for girls or for guys who "study". Posted by: Henry Harold Humphries - you can call me 'H' at February 28, 2011 01:09 PM (Ikk5M) Yes or as many secular Israelis refer to it: As a bribe to the religious parties to vote the "right" way on other issues. Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2011 01:14 PM (0GFWk) It's the old: You scratchie my back and I scratchie your back

Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2011 08:15 AM (0GFWk)

118 My grandfather was a WWI veteran, a sailor. According to my grandmother, he had seen a lot of combat; his ship had been sunk, and he had a terrible burn scar on his back. Although he would tell my brother and me all kinds of stories, none of them were about his war experiences. I love him and miss him, and it's hard to believe all of them are gone, now.

Posted by: troyriser at February 28, 2011 08:16 AM (mU1zA)

119 Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at February 28, 2011 01:11 PM (4yjiA)

If you are, in fact, Eric Flint, you need to reclaim that series back from all the co-writers and amateurs. It started out so well but has gotten ruined by all the distractions from the co-writers.

Posted by: Vic at February 28, 2011 08:17 AM (M9Ie6)

120 I'm not Eric Flint.  I have a story in the first anthology.

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at February 28, 2011 08:17 AM (4yjiA)

121 Yes or as many secular Israelis refer to it: As a bribe to the religious parties to vote the "right" way on other issues.

Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2011 01:14 PM (0GFWk)

Although, service by religious Jews is eclipsing that of secular Israelis, now.  Lots and lots of non-religious Jews get out of military service by all sorts of excuses.  Many of them have to do with claiming to be gay or otherwise secually screwed up (as far as I'm aware) which is pretty funny as Israel was cited by the anti-DADT people as an army that has incorporated openly gay combat troops ... but the reality is much different than those people would portray.

Posted by: Henry Harold Humphries - you can call me 'H' at February 28, 2011 08:18 AM (Ikk5M)

122 Although, service by religious Jews is eclipsing that of secular Israelis, now. Well I wouldn't go that far. And I also pointed out it was NOT all the religious Sects.

Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2011 08:22 AM (0GFWk)

123 Well I wouldn't go that far.

Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2011 01:22 PM (0GFWk)

Neither would I, but there was an article about this not more than a couple of weeks ago.

Posted by: Henry Harold Humphries - you can call me 'H' at February 28, 2011 08:33 AM (Ikk5M)

124

"Another lesson:  The Serbs--they are a problematic people."

 They suck balls.

Posted by: Ernie McCracken at February 28, 2011 08:58 AM (jmf9+)

125 Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at February 28, 2011 01:11 PM (4yjiA)

You're in the Gazette?  Or Ring of Fire?

Some Religious Jewish Sects in Israel do try to get, and successfully, out of Military Service.
Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2011 01:09 PM (0GFWk)

I find that absolutely hilarious.  Considering the fact that the Secular was so intertwined with the Religious (indeed, the Jewish law was given to Moses by God (and if you ever need to fall asleep, just read the books of Leviticus and Numbers)), it's funny to me that you could be a devoted scholar of Hebrew theology and not accept that part of your duty is to fight in the army.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 09:07 AM (8y9MW)

126 Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 02:07 PM (8y9MW)
First Ring of Fire anthology.

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at February 28, 2011 09:26 AM (4yjiA)

127 Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at February 28, 2011 02:26 PM (4yjiA)

I do have that (I think... I know I did...) which story?

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at February 28, 2011 09:33 AM (8y9MW)

128 My grandfather fought with the 5th Marines in WWI, had a fling in France with somebody named Leila, was mustard-gassed at Alsace Lorraine, came home and fathered 5 kids and named one of the Leila. He was always a bubble off plumb, and did some very odd things, never held a steady job but made ends meet. We didn't find out about the Leila thing until he died and we found some old journals he had kept. Neither did we know he had been highly decorated for running into no-man's-land and rescuing several marines who had been badly wounded. He just didn't talk about any of it. He's been gone since the early 80's but, wow. Sometimes I'm amazed at what those old guys could and did do.

Posted by: tcn at February 28, 2011 09:41 AM (DjPot)

129

Rest in Peace Cpl Buckles.  With your passing, your personal book closes.  What thinks you have seen in your years - from McKinley to WWI to Jesse Owens to Los Banos and finally the quentisential American - a farmer.  And along with your passing, a chapter in American history closes shut, that of World War I.  God bless sir and thank you.

And Quilly, which story was yours?  Yes Eric Flint can be someone fun to hang with and talk about many different things.  Luckily he insists on sitting outside to smoke those cigars.  Dr. Travis Taylor is another good person to talk to.

Posted by: Anna Puma at February 28, 2011 09:41 AM (6iSRq)

130

This will drive you crazy:

I remember talking to a native German a few years ago, who was visiting my workplace on business. She was pretty young, but old enough to be a college grad, and sent overseas for her company. She had been born in the former East Germany, but had moved to Munich to get her job.

I asked her how that whole reunification thing had worked out, economically and other wise. I had spoken to a different (and older) pair of Germans about it, under similar circumstances, about 10 years previous, and those guys seemed pretty worried about meshing the very disparate economies, and about the huge tax levies that were going to pay for it. They wondered how we handled having economies like Mississippi and Texas within the same economic system.

The kid wouldn't have even been able to stand there if not for reunification, but had virually no idea about what I was talking about. She barely seemed to realize that reunification had even happened.

Posted by: Optimizer at February 28, 2011 09:42 AM (2lTU+)

131

When I was a kid in the 70's and 80's, WWI vets seemed so few and ancient even back then. It's hard to believe that kids today must feel that way about WWII vets.

Let's keep in mind the numbers. There were far more WWII vets than WWI vets. Practically every male of the right age was in WWII in the US. My father (and a lot of other guys) volunteered because you had to assume you'd be drafted, and there was some small level of control over your fate if you signed up on your own. (He was able to get into the AAC, for example. He didn't know how to swim, and didn't like the idea of sitting in a foxhole, so he ended up piloting a B-24.) In contrast, the were quite a variety of reasons by which you could declare yourself exempt from being drafted in WWI.

Anyway, the WWI vets were relatively few in number, even back then. The deal with the WWII vets today is very different.

Posted by: Optimizer at February 28, 2011 09:55 AM (2lTU+)

132

Another interesting one was what if the Germans hadn't tinkered with the Schlieffen plan or what if the British had passed on entering the war. This one basically speculated that the war would have ended very quickly, that the EEC would have been created decades earlier, that the inept French state would not have lingered on for another twenty years, that the British Empire would not have dissolved, that America would not have developed into the preeminent world power by 1945, no Russian Revolution, no Nazi Germany, etc.

The Schlieffen Plan was entirely misconcieved. France wasn't a threat to Germany. Russia was. If they'd reversed the Schlieffen plan, concentrating their main punches at the Tsar and operating a defensive front in the Rhine-Alsace, they could have held the line against the Frogs until hell froze over. No invasion of Belgium, so no British entry, no blockade of Germany, no submarine warfare, no American entry. The Italians probably stay out as well.

Russia folds by '16, and the three Kaisers make a reasonable peace. France, left alone, negotiates. Hell, without a major German offensive on the Western Front, there's no Verdun, and France comes out of the war the way the Egyptians did from the Yom Kippur farce: beaten, but with "honor redeemed".

The British Empire is untouched, and the Japanese don't get to gobble up German colonies with Allied approval. Their conflict with China remains localized, something the Brits and Yanks mediate respectfully, as Teddy Roosevelt did in 1906.

Of course, their might have been a Revolution in Russia anyway, but absent the Germans dispatching Lenin to St. Petersburg like a sealed bullet, the Bolshies would have had their work cut out for them. A democratic or constitutional monarchist Russia: no gulags, no gleeful spreading of the communist bacillus to the Third World. No Korea or Vietnam.

But those Germans couldn't let Napoleon's ghost go, so...

Posted by: Andrew the Noisy at February 28, 2011 09:55 AM (rJWpY)

133

Uh clean up and a re-do?  How the heck did I confuse Ringo with Flint?  Geez, off to reading the Twillight pablum until I learn better.  Nevermind that last paragraph on my previous post.

Posted by: Anna Puma at February 28, 2011 09:59 AM (6iSRq)

134 Go to your well deserved rest Brave Warrior

Wish this war was taught much more nowadays then it is

Posted by: Defector at February 28, 2011 11:59 AM (BxxIm)

135 My son and I met him a few years ago in Winchester. It was quite an honor and something we'll always remember.

Posted by: joh at February 28, 2011 01:18 PM (JEvSn)

136 Just think when he was a doughboy in  WW I such things like the IRPLANE and TANK were just being tried out as weapons of war

Posted by: Spurwing Plover at February 28, 2011 05:43 PM (vA9ld)

137

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