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Armistice Day & the Resurrection of the Old Lie

Kit Knightly

The mental scars passed down by our great-grandfathers are still raw to the touch. To truly honour their memory, we must never let new liars get away with telling old lies.

“Trauma” is a relatively new term in our language. From the ancient Greek “traûma” (τραῦμα) meaning damage or wound, it was first used in English in medical texts of the late 17th century. Physical traumas can be so devastating they cause the body to go into shock, organs shut down. Systems collapse. You die.

There comes a point where a stress is simply too much for the the body, or mind, to handle.

It wasn’t until decades after Freud first posited his theories on psychiatry that the idea of psychological trauma was described. It had always been present, recognised, but never understood. Shakespeare and Dickens wrote about it. It had a dozen names in as many languages. Surivors of railway accidents had “railway spine”, US Civil War veterans had “soldier’s heart”. French physicians diagnosed Napoleon’s soldiers with “nostalgia”, while Spanish doctors refered to men being estar roto…broken. Modern armies call it “combat fatigue”.

Soldiers in World War I called it shell shock.

The stress and fear and death and disease and rain and mud and blood and rats and shit and guns and shells. And no sleep and no food and no choice. It broke men. Thousands of them, millions.

That was over a hundred years ago, today.

Shared Scar-Tissue

This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped (its) shells, were destroyed by the war.”Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

There was a generation, of every nationality imaginable, who were victims of one of the greatest crimes in history. Today they are all gone. The last veteran of World War I died nearly ten years ago. The last of the “heroes, fit for homes” passing, one hopes, to a kinder world. Where their stresses are eased, and their persecutors judged. The oldest of human desires. The soul’s greatest wish. The last of the broken men, fixed for eternity. They deserve it.

But still, we’re here. And we remember. Why?

Jung theorised that people are joined beyond the physical boundaries of reality. Each person has a mind and thoughts and ideas and dreams as an individual….there are also collective archetypes. The group mind. Water, Shadow, the Tree of Life. Shared ideas, known by instinct, understood by everyone.

Logic would suggest a group mind is as liable to break as an individual. A shared consciousness can be traumatized as much as a private one. We can see that in our own recent history. America’s national consciousness was broken by the JFK assassination, then further fractured by Vietnam. Japan has never recovered from Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Russians carry the starvation and suffering of the siege of Leningrad in their very bones.

You can see World War One through this lens: A global trauma, species wide. We all felt it, we all feel it still. An old wound that refuses to heal.

I studied First World War history at secondary school, and then in more detail at college. I have seen the Great War documentary series and countless others like it. I have read soldiers diaries and letters home. I have digested Regeneration, Paths of Glory, King and Country and Oh, what a lovely war!….all of which I highly recommend.

But, for me, none of them compare to my first experience of WWI – Blackadder Goes Forth.

I’ll admit, that seems flippant and silly. But, as a child who barely understood the idea of death or the concept of war, it was an object lesson in loss. As pure and sharp as a psalm or a sonnet or a fable.

They were Blackadder, and Baldrick, and George. They made me laugh…and then they were gone.

There is something strong in the simple horror of four frightened men, going over the top, to what they know is almost certain death. There’s power in showing us characters we’ve shared laughs with getting cut down, for no reason at all.

In its own subtle way, Blackadder is a distillation of the impact that the “Great War” had on the world. Impacts felt to this day, by all of us.

When George says “Sir…I’m scared sir.”…we feel his fear, and the fear of the million of young men like him. The junior officers, the younger sons of wealth. A hundred-thousand fools of a hundred-thousand families who weren’t wise, or lucky, enough to join the clergy. Young men who truly believe the lies that all Empires tell their soldiers: WE are in the right. WE use our power for the good of all. WE must have control, because only we can be trusted with it. Our cause is just. God is on our side. Freedom, family and love are the preserves of our side alone.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

When Baldrick asks “Why can’t we just stop sir? Why can’t we all just say ‘no more killing let’s all go home!’? Why would it be stupid just to pack it all in, sir? Why sir, why?” he’s expressing confusion and anger beyond his ability to understand. A stupid man, but decent and honest. Abused by authority he trusted and losing faith in all the systems of society he never questioned before. A miniaturised social revolution, mirroring the collapse of the Russian monarchy and the rise of Communism.

When Captain Darling laments the loss of his future, his job and his fiancée and his cricket club…we feel a pull. A black hole in our collective souls where a million happy lives might have been.

Who knows what we lost?

What undiscovered artists were blinded by gas? What brilliant scientists were picked off by snipers? Or record-breaking athletes blown apart by landmines? How many great unwritten novels shivered out of existence thanks to typhoid or dysentery? We’ll never know.

The tragedy doesn’t have to be huge to be felt.

On a smaller scale, there were smiles and kisses and dreams extinguished. Sons were never born. Daughters never held. Fiancées never married. Christmases and birthdays and summers…ruined. Forever. Millions upon millions upon millions.

And we know it. We all know it, in our gut.

Blackadder was written by, and for, a generation who weren’t born when World War I ended – whose parents weren’t born when World War I ended. It was released to mark the 70th anniversary of Armistice Day. I was less than ten when I watched it for the first time. I was less than two when it was first on television. But I understood.

In a profoundly dishonest society, the shared grief of World War I is one of the few things we all know the truth of. One of the few things we are all honest about. Because it’s important. Because it’s a wound too deep to ignore, a betrayal too lasting to be forgiven.

The Great War was sold to the British public as a just war. Men were sent over to France and Belgium to curb “German aggression and Imperial ambitions”. Every generation since has known that to be an absurd lie.

In the 200 years preceding 1914, British armies had painted a quarter of the world red with blood. We were an Empire, the greatest in human history. A “democratic” Empire where less than 20% of the population could vote. The sun never set on Britain, and yet millions lived in darkness.

It wasn’t just an Empire of bullets and banks, either, but also of marriages. Empress Victoria had spread her (half-German) children, and their watery blood, all across the Royal houses of Europe. The German Kaiser was a cousin of our King who was a cousin of the Russian Tsar. They were all the same, from the beards on their faces to the blood on their hands. Mirror images of each other. Dueling Empires, throwing men into the furnace to fuel their conquests.

Britain was not fighting for values, merely playing the grand chessboard into a horrific stalemate. Every school child has been taught that for decades.

We know that British generals were as callous as they were incompetent as they were out of touch. That when General Melchett looks at the wrong side of a map or Field Marshall Haig sweeps toy soldiers into a dustpan, that we’re only just to the satire side of reality.

Field Marshall Haig, after all, was borderline mad man. He was nicknamed “the Butcher of the Somme”, by his own men. Even Winston Churchill – that gin soaked purveyor of slaughter – thought Haig was too cavalier with the lives of the men in his charge. Butcher Haig was a monster. We’ve been taught that all our lives.

Trench warfare was a hell on Earth. Conditions beyond human imagining punctuated by events of such brutality as to tip-toe the line between tragedy and farce. Events like the Battle of Loos, where 8000 British soldiers died in 4 hours, cut down by machine guns. The Germans didn’t lose a single man.

It was all such a bloody waste. Everyone knows that, has always known that. Nobody ever questioned it.

Until now.

Reinventing the Past

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”George Orwell

In 2014, to mark the centenary of the start of the war, then-Education Secretary Michael Gove criticised schools for showing Blackadder as part of WWI education.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Gove lamented the “left-wing myths” propagated by Blackadder and Oh, what a lovely war!, claiming they denigrated “British heroes” who fought valiantly in a “just war”.

Gove praised the “rehabilitation” of Field-Marshall Douglas Haig and objected to the portrayal of Britain’s war efforts as a “misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite”.

Later that year, David Cameron attempted to take the censor’s black pen to the history books in the most inappropriate way imaginable – in a letter to the Unknown Soldier. He hit all the same talking points as Gove did, more cloying, less didactic, equally dishonest. Praising the sacrifice of lives for a “just cause” and warning of the “darkness” of the world that might have existed if we had lost. He later repeated those sentiments in an equally abhorrent setting – a speech at a military cemetery in Mons.

In September 2013, Priest and academic Nigel Biggar wrote an article in Standpoint magazine criticising modern historian for refusing to attribute blame for WWI where it belongs…namely, the Germans.

In February of 2014 the BBC aired The Necessary War, a documentary in which historian Max Hastings strongly disagrees with what he calls the “Blackadder view of history” – the idea World War I was all a waste of time, fought for no reason.

In an article of August 2013, Professor Gary Sheffield used the exact same phrase: It is time to ditch the Blackadder view of history…Britain was right to fight Imperial Germany in 1914.

There was a general, establishment-backed, push to revisit the First World War, to reinvent it in the public imagination as something more akin to the way most people think of World War II. A battle against evil, a victory for the light, won at great cost.

What’s reassuring, to anyone of sense, is just how badly these efforts failed. Gove was ridiculed in the comments and called out in the media. An open letter, signed by dozens of public figures, castigated Cameron for his tasteless attempts to rewrite history. Even the Guardian contributed.

What’s troubling, to all of the same people of sense, is the motivation behind the push in the first place.

Why would the British government, and wider state as a whole, want people to change their attitude to World War I? Why now?

Is it simply that authoritarian governments require the state to be seen as above reproach?

Is it a manifestation of a compulsive need to exert control over narrative, which goes hand in hand with attaining power?

Or is there a more pragmatic reason behind it?

The More Things Change…

Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.Hermann Goering

It’s important to remember the truth of the Great War.

Not the muddy, bloody, rotting, mangled truth of no-mans-land.

The more distant, ephemeral truth. The part of the war we don’t think about when we’re wearing our poppies or laying our wreaths – it didn’t need to happen.

People could have stopped it…but didn’t.

And when I say “people could have stopped it”, I don’t mean Field Marshall Haig or Kaiser Wilhelm or Winston Churchill or Emperor Franz-Josef. I mean people like you and me. Ordinary people could have stopped the war.

The elites may have wanted the war, they may have started the war, they may have profited from the war…but ordinary people supported the war. Ordinary people gave white feathers to young men, bullied the pacifists and the conscientious objectors. Ordinary people encouraged their sons and husbands and brothers to enlist. Because they were told to, and never thought to question it. Because they bought into the pro-war propaganda without ever examining it.

Because it never occurred to them that they were being lied to.

They weren’t stupid or primitive. They possessed all the same faculties we do. They just existed in a system that denied them both the agency to control their world, and the information to understand it. They believed in their system because they were told there was no alternative.

The world is very different now.

In the last hundred and four years we have made strides previously unimagined. Television and flight and space and the internet. The world was turned from black-and-white to colour. We live in a “now” where bowler hats are extinct, penny-farthings are hilarious and telephones can be kept in our back pockets…but the most important change is the free availability of information.

Ordinary people in the early 20th century didn’t have access to the same resources of knowledge or communication that most British people do today. That awareness, that inter-connectedness, is the reason we’re not at war with Syria right now. Possibly the reason the world isn’t a collection of glowing ashes.

Public intelligence, informed citizens, are a vital limit on the ability of the powerful to pursue their agenda.

That is part of the reason powerful interests want to re-invent World War I, they want to – as Orwell said – destroy us by removing our understanding of our own history.

The lasting legacy of World War I is a decreased trust in authority. A race memory of a lie that killed fifteen million people whilst enriching a few hundred. A deep trauma that proves, beyond doubt, that we are children of a father who does not love us. A wound, unaddressed and unhealed in the century since.

The world is very different now. But it’s also just the same.

Our increasingly authoritarian system of government needs a biddable underclass, people who can be bullied and manipulated into acting against their own interests. Lemmings happy to be herded off cliffs, with broad smiles on their faces.

That’s what pro-World War I propaganda is about…not a war in the past, but a war in the future. The NEXT war. The one they want to be able to sell us, in the same way, when the time comes.

That struggle is behind countless issues to this day. Lowering standards of education. Increased poverty. Debt. Starvation. Racism. Censorship. These are not accidental by-products of greed or corruption or incompetence…but deliberate policy choices. Required ingredients for the type of social structure that has existed for 90% of human civilisation – a system of peasants and kings.

They want a people who pay their meat tax, work their zero hours contracts, and don’t trust the unions. People who hate the people they’re told to hate and don’t mind being spied on. People who believe everything they read in the papers and do what they’re told. Just like in the good old days.

They want people to forget the past mistakes wrought by a complacent, ill-informed populace. They want us to forget the crimes of their past, so they can condemn us to repeat them.

Remember that, next time you share an anti-Assad meme on Facebook, or nod along in horror at the “crimes” of China or “human rights abuses” in Venezuela.

Look at these images, and ask yourself if we’re moving in the right direction:

WW1 propaganda poster, c. 1916.

Cover of the National Review, August 2016

We need to be vigilant, to remember who we are, and how we got here. Because it could all happen again.

But only if we let it.


Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”George Santayana

Today, the world is as close to 1914 as at any other point in the last 100 years. An old power is crumbling, its time is over, and a dying Empire lashes out. Feverishly grasping at fraying threads of power. An old lion, roaring the last of his energy into an angry denial of his own mortality.

There is a fizz of war in the air, a barely controlled chaos on the verge of cutting loose and destroying us all. A very real possibility of a war that could traumatize the world forever, or leave no one behind to remember.

If we can examine our own past, look at our traumas honestly, perhaps we can stop history repeating itself.

I will leave you with this passage, from the novel All Quiet on the Western Front:

Tjaden reappears. He is still quite excited and again joins the conversation, wondering just how a war gets started.

“Mostly by one country badly offending another,” answers Albert with a slight air of superiority.

Then Tjaden pretends to be obtuse. “A country? I don’t follow. A mountain in Germany cannot offend a mountain in France. Or a river, or a wood, or a field of wheat.”

“Are you really as stupid as that, or are you just pulling my leg?” growls Kropp, “I don’t mean that at all. One people offends the other

“Then I haven’t any business here at all,” replies Tjaden, “I don’t feel myself offended.”

“Well, let me tell you,” says Albert sourly, “it doesn’t apply to tramps like you.”

“Then I can be going home right away,” retorts Tjaden, and we all laugh, “Ach, man! he means the people as a whole, the State” exclaims Müller.

“State, State” Tjaden snaps his fingers contemptuously, “Gendarmes, police, taxes, that’s your State; if that’s what you are talking about, no, thank you.”

“That’s right,” says Kat, “you’ve said something for once, Tjaden. State and home country, there’s a big difference.”

“But they go together,” insists Kropp, “without the State there wouldn’t be any home country.”

“True, but just you consider, almost all of us are simple folk. And in France, too, the majority of men are labourers, workmen, or poor clerks. Now just why would a French blacksmith or a French shoemaker want to attack us? No, it is merely the rulers. I had never seen a Frenchman before I came here, and it will be just the same with the majority of Frenchmen as regards us. They weren’t asked about it any more than we were.”

“Then what exactly is the war for?” asks Tjaden.

Kat shrugs his shoulders. “There must be some people to whom the war is useful.”

“Well, I’m not one of them,” grins Tjaden.

“Not you, nor anybody else here.”

“Who are they then?” persists Tjaden. “It isn’t any use to the Kaiser either. He has everything he can want already.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” contradicts Kat, “he has not had a war up till now. And every full-grown emperor requires at least one war, otherwise he would not become famous. You look in your school books.”

“And generals too,” adds Detering, “they become famous through war.”

Even more famous than emperors,” adds Kat.

“There are other people back behind there who profit by the war, that’s certain,” growls Detering.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.


  1. Unless the person who declares war is willing to put himself and his sons on the front line – then maybe war should never be declared (that is you Mr T Blair and you Mrs M Thatcher). Both Andrew and Harry served their country and have probably seen the horrors that war can bring to someone else’s family. The bbc documentary on ww1 paints an intriguing picture that was mounted on the lives or people who felt compelled to sign up. I cant imagine the emotions that they would have been going through.

  2. On this topic, readers may enjoy a piece of mine done some while back. I think it captures things well:


    Kit Knightly, I share the honor of having been banned twice by The Guardian.

    It truly is a hopelessly one-sided and publication which does poor reporting and non-stop advocacy.

    Here’s my favorite example (of many) which shows how absurd The Guardian gets:


    • mark says


      You really shouldn’t criticise the lofty moralising of the self righteous hacks at the Fraudian. I wouldn’t be surprised if you hurt their feelings. Good fun though.

  3. DunGroanin says

    The narrative controllers have no believable plots left – they spent yesterday bigging up mass murder in the trenches a hundred years ago, using their big mediaguns. Yeah your great-grandpa died in the war to end all wars? Asked Dumbledowningbore and his sidekick & heir, Dansnowflake-r-us.

    Yet the worm-tongues didn’t ask- why did your grandpa die in the next one? And how come your father was in Suez and Malaysia and Kenya and Northern Ireland terrorising civilians? How come you fought in Afghanistan and Iraq? Why are your kids champing at the bits to get into Iran? Or Africa? Or South America or RUSSIA? None of THEM have ever threatened to invade Britain!

    Proud to have fought and get crippled got the ribbon, the medal, the hat. Keep marching, marching, marching.

    Let spiderman fireplace salesman Williamson glory in your salutes, all you military family folk, who relish travelling the world and terrorising it’s inhabitants.

  4. John2o2o says

    Yes, I had forgotten how moving the final scenes of Blackadder Goes Forth were.

    I can still remember the old soldiers selling poppies in the 1970s when I was a young boy. The spirit then was “never again”, not “lest we forget”. Those men had seen the war and it’s brutality first hand. More British soldiers were killed in that war than in the second. Personally I now keep a low profile at this time of year. I don’t like the way that this sad day has been hijacked by arms manufacturers and war mongers in recent years.

    The problem today is that people have forgotten the savagery of war. The appalling war virgin Julia Hartley-Brewer was apparently trying to score political points yesterday by criticising Jeremy Corbyn’s dress sense at the Cenotaph, but worse, derided Corbyn supporters as his “Leftie ant-war chums”. (Is she pro-war?!) This woman clearly has zero appreciation of the brutality and pointlessness of war.

    Armistice Day is not a celebration of war. Like a virgin Hartley-Brewer almost seems to want to experience war just to know what it feels like. Can we not send her to Libya or Iraq? Maybe she would like a holiday in Gaza?

    I know empty people like her are not worth paying too much attention to, but they have influence and to some extent reflect the tone of their political masters. It is heartening to know that Gove and Cameron were criticised for their stance on the war, but worrying that one of these is still in government and that the other is apparently keen to return.

  5. Jamien Bailey says

    Poem to General Douglas Haig, Senior officer in charge of the British forces in WW1

    Haig, you died at the side of you bed,
    Luxury denied, to the lions you lead,

    Stupidity, arrogance, incompetence thrives,
    In one who has who wasted so many lives.

    Not for naught were you the one,
    Named as, “The butcher of the Somme”.

    As Churchill’s bitter words attest,
    “Haig blocked the guns with brave men’s breasts”.

    Of all the donkeys best forgot,
    You brayed the loudest of the lot.

    • mark says

      Haig has been demonised over the bloodbath of WW1 but this is probably at least partly unfair. He believed what he was doing was correct, that he was prosecuting the war in the right way and doing his best. His attitude was that he was fighting against a superbly trained and disciplined army and winning would take more than a glorious cavalry charge on a sunny afternoon. He could only succeed in a brutal war of attrition by wearing down the opposing army in large scale bloody battles of trench warfare. The Somme Battle, for example, inflicted hundreds of thousands of casualties and wore down the German Army. He is criticised for dismissing tanks as “toys”, but he used all the tanks he could lay his hands on, and he may have been downplaying their importance on security grounds. He is accused of lack of empathy and indifference to huge losses, and of persisting in what appeared to be futile attacks. There is probably some merit in these arguments but you have to see the broader picture as well. He did not have the benefit of hindsight, and was in a similar position to General Grant in the US Civil War. The same criticism has been directed at him. He fought a war where new technology and mass mobilisation made casualty lists in the tens of millions inevitable. Efforts to find a cheap and easy alternative to the Western Front stalemate, for example the Gallipoli Campaign, were also bloody failures. It is difficult to see what else he could have done. WW2 was only decided by a war of attrition of a more colossal scale, this time on the Eastern Front.

  6. The author would do well to research the “Berlin to Baghdad Railway” to be used by Germany to import oil to be refined for combustion engines !

    There is a little doubt that the UK & US business interest was to stop Germany from being able to compete in the ongoing industrial revolution of the time.

  7. Michael McNulty says

    Like a lot of other women my grandmother lost her father in WWI when she was a young girl, then lost her husband in WWII when she was a young mother. When she died not too old at 82 all she had to her name was a few quid in her purse to pay a couple of bills. So much for her sacrifice at losing the two men most important in her life. The British state and those it really serves have always been just b*s****s.

      • RealPeter says

        When I clicked on the link, I just got a black screen with a message saying the video was not available.

    • mark says

      Yes, my granddad lost his brothers in the war, right at the end in 1918, having joined up in 1914. One of them was killed on the last merchant ship to be sunk by a U boat a few days before the end of the war. The U boat hit a mine on the way home and was lost with all hands. He was being evacuated after being heavily wounded. His younger brother died of wounds a short time before. Before he died, the younger brother spoke of guilt and having a bad conscience because of all the men he had killed. He was 21 and had been in the army for nearly four years. They had both fought on the Somme as machine gunners. The circumstances make it all the more poignant. They probably didn’t ask many questions about what they were doing. They just walked out of the factory they were working in in 1914, with two bob in their back pockets and their hands out for a rifle, or in their case a machine gun. Like millions of others.

      I gave some money to Help For Heroes but didn’t get a poppy. There are some dubious elements to the Poppy Appeal. Something like £40 million of the money raised seems to go on administration and bureaucracy. This is about a quarter of it though I’m not sure of the figures. It is supported by British Aerospace and the rest of the arms industry. It has given implicit support to recent military adventures in the Middle East and there is a jingoistic element that may or may not be intentional. But there has been criticism of Help for Heroes has well. There have been instances of money being siphoned off and stolen, and some HFH money has been used to cover cutbacks in state funding for services’ facilities.

      I also dislike the narrative that they died fighting for our freedom and democracy and so on. However much their loss and their memory should be respected, that is clearly untrue. Wilhelmine Germany had many faults and failings, but in many respects it wasn’t very different from contemporary Britain, with a lot of the same issues and problems.

      I think the Russians are on to something with their “Immortal Regiment” commemorations. This honours the memory of the dead without some of the dubious elements you see over here.

      • Tom says

        I knew a member of the Dublin Fusiliers, who always said that he hoped he never killed any Germans. They didn’t actually see the Germans, but had to fire their Lee Enfields high in order to reach them. He said he fired his deliberately very high, so as not to be effective. “They (the Germans) were only following orders, like us” .

        This man realised he was just cannon fodder and that he had been lied to, later in life.

  8. Makropulos says

    Yes I noticed the relentless glorification of WW1 and disparagement of any critical view. And what a susprise that that vicious phony left Standpoint magazine should take a prominent position here. Blackadder Goes Forth was magnificent and this clip says more about class relations than anything else I’ve seen:


    Note Melchett’s patronising “praise” of the working class….just before he punches Baldrick.

  9. The Anglo Zio Capitalist Oil War (popularly known as WW1) which started with a British expedition to the Iraqi oil port of Basra in 1914, continues in Syria, Iraq and Yemen to this day — with BP hoping, at the end of the ongoing slaughter, to re-emerge in its original role of British Persian Oil Company. But things are not going too well for the AZC and its ISIS mercenaries in Syria:



    On Thursday, November 8, in the dark of night, a team of Syrian Army commandos landed outside the ghost town of Hameema northeast of the city of Palmyra. Their mission was to free 19 Druze women and children who were abducted by the ISIS hyenas 3 months ago. There was a genuine fear that the terrorists were going to kill them due to a stalemate in negotiations between the Russian Reconciliation Group operating out of Humaymeem Airbase and representatives of ISIS.

    The intelligence was crucial to this operation which, if it had failed, would have resulted in the mass execution of all the civilian hostages. As a note, my source in Damascus told me that their deaths would have been particularly dreadful since the spokes-rat for the terrorists made it very clear to the Russians that the terrorist group considered the Druze a hostile and impious population who deserved nothing better than being burned to death.

    Overhead, Russian surveillance aircraft hovered over Hameema collecting information which was relayed quickly to the Syrian Army commandos below. All the commandos were trained in Semferopol by Speznaz Special Forces and all spoke Russian. One of the difficulties in tracking the hostages was the exasperating habit of the terrorists in moving hostages frequently between [NATZO occupied] Iraqi territory and [NATZO occupied] Syrian territory. [ISIS moves unharmed around the U$ Military Camp at Al Tanf] ”

    Lest we forget. The AZC invaded the Afrikaner Republics of South Africa in 1899, under the British Liberal regime which introduced Military Conscription and invented the Concentration Camp to get their greedy grasping hands on the Republic’s gold and diamond mines. The AZC opened WW1 with an invasion of Basra to get their greedy, grasping hands on Mesopotamian Oil, and ended WW1 with an invasion of Palestine to set up “Dear Lord Rothschild’s” National Home for the Jews. The AZC is still carrying on, unchanged and unashamed — in Iraq, in Sudan, in Somalia, in Libya, in Syria and in Yemen. It had hoped to partition Syria for an expanded Greater Israel; these hopes were dashed but the AZC still hopes to regain control of Persian oil for BP. And now the AZC have set their sights on Russian oil, Russian gas, Russia’s gold and diamond mines, Russia’s timber and agricultural land, with an unremitting propaganda campaign against “Putin’s bellicose nation” — like the unremitting British Foreign Office propaganda against “German Militarism” in the years prior to Britain declaring official war on Germany and Turkey in 1914. Lest we forget.

    • QuietRebel says

      The media makes the entire Syrian war about the “evil Assad”, but they never mention the minorities such as the Druze who are under threat from our so called “freedom fighters”. The media claims that it broadens are perspective, but in reality is forcibly narrows our perspective

      • mark says

        Britain is one of the biggest state sponsors of terrorism on the planet. It has sponsored the Syrian terror groups, Al Qaida, ISIS, and the 57 varieties of Jihad, to the tune of about £3 billion under the guise of “humanitarian aid.” This has gone to people who film themselves beheading 12 year olds, mutilating corpses and eating parts of dead bodies, executing prisoners, and putting women and children in cages to be used as human shields. Nice to know that taxpayers’ money is being put to good use instead of being wasted on things like the NHS. A lot of it has gone on a big propaganda machine to produce bogus videos of “bombed hospitals” and gas attack hoaxes to justify aggression against Syria. The fraudulent “White Helmets Heroic Rescue Organisation” has a press and PR office of ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY PEOPLE. This was set up in Turkey by the British mercenary leader Le Mesurier. The SAS was active in Turkey and Jordan training these terror groups long before the fighting began in 2011. The “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” was set up by MI6 to churn out anti Syrian propaganda. It is a one man band, a Syrian shopkeeper living in a terraced house in Coventry, who hasn’t been to Syria for 20 years and phones up his mates for third hand atrocity stories, peddled to complicit and credulous media hacks who treat his pronouncements like holy writ. This will probably blow up in our faces again soon (literally) like Libya did. The Manchester Arena bombing, where 22 teenage girls were blown to bits, was the handiwork of MI6’s pet terrorists in the Libya Islamic Fighting Group. What goes around, comes around.

  10. Oxford Historian’s 43-episode BBC series plots the road to World War One


    Wake me up when Prof.MacMillan’s 43-part series comes to Industrial Rivalry, the Middle East, Oil, BP, “Dear Lord Rothschild” and his National Home for the Jews. I fell asleep during one of her previous hour-long TV Lectures on The Causes of WW1, so might have missed her discussion of these causes.

  11. The AZC Army of Occupation in Iraq (Bush/B.Liar’s so-called “Coalition of the Killing”) is likewise failing. The new Iraqi govt has unleashed its Iraqi Popular Resistance Force and foiled an attempt by NATZO’s ISIS mercenaries to sneak back into Syria.


    “Al Masdar News BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:20 P.M.) – Iraq’s Hashd Al-Sha’abi (var. Popular Mobilization Units) foiled a new attack by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) to push from Al-Anbar to Syria’s Deir Ezzor province.”

  12. Hugh O'Neill says

    Thanks, Kit for noting the Orwellian shift in the WWI narrative (who controls the present, controls the past etc).
    Concerning national trauma, you referred to JFK’s assassination: “America’s national consciousness was broken by the JFK assassination, then further fractured by Vietnam…” I would like to think that most Offguardian readers have read James Douglass’ “JFK & The Unspeakable. Why he died and why it matters” published by Orbis books, whose CEO is one Robert Ellsberg, son of Daniel.
    In a private letter to a friend (long before he was elected President) JFK wrote: “War will continue until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today”. Such pacifist views however had to kept firmly under wraps since otherwise he would have been unelectable. He had some understanding of the rules of the game, but was quite unprepared for the treachery of the CIA and stupidity and insubordination of his Joint Chiefs of staff. On the successful resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis, instead of celebrating, his generals were howling mad that they had been cheated out of their nuclear war and that Khrushchev (Hitler) had been appeased, just as at Munich. All military minds simply regurgitate propaganda slogans, the wrong lessons from History and corrupted ideologies (more stupid than evil?). Aware of their anger, JFK remarked to his brother that “Tonite would be a good nite to go to the theater” in a black humorous reference to the assassination of Lincoln. Whatever the man’s failings are claimed (by his killers) to be, there can be no denying his courage. He knew that his greatest enemy was his own generals and CIA, and in fact RFK warned Mikoyan of this likelihood of a military Coup d’Etat. The rest is propaganda…I make no apologies for banging on about JFK: if the Establishment could get away with his murder these last 55 years, what hope is there that anyone can learn from History, where History itself is a lie?

    • mark says

      JFK was also trying to prevent Israel from producing nuclear weapons at the time. There is plausible speculation that this was the real reason for his murder.

      • Hugh O'Neill says

        Good point, Mark. There are many who despise JFK even today because of his Humanity. Much mention is made of the AZC implying that Zionists are masters of propaganda, kleptocracy, Uber-Menschism (have I just invented a new word?): MSM, CIA, Pentagon, Wall Street, MIC, Big Oil are all part of “The Unspeakable”. Little known is that Germany (as part of Holocaust Reparations!) built 7 Dolphin Class (nuclear weapons capable) for free for the Israelis. When I mentioned this to a Canadian Navy captain, he accused me of lying. I asked him for his email address and sent him the link: it was in some Navy News! Doh!

        • mark says

          These are very sophisticated submarines, non nuclear, but they work off fuel cell technology. They are designed to carry nuclear cruise missiles. There was some speculation that Syria had sunk one and that an extra one had been supplied as a replacement, though I think that’s doubtful. Like all Israel’s weapons, F35s, Arrow Missiles, Merkava tanks, etc. they were all supplied to Israel completely buckshee. The Israeli taxpayer didn’t have to put his hand in his pocket for a single shekel. The cost to the goy taxpayer in Germany ran into several billions. Germany itself now has only 4 old submarines.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        JFK had told Ben-Gurion flat out that Israeli nukes were unacceptable. An he was toying with doing away with the Federal Reserve. More than enough ‘antisemitism’ to have him marked for death.

  13. A bombshell prediction from Rev.Nasr’Allah on South Front in today’s Saker Vineyard. The Leader of Hezb’Allah, whose judgment on various struggles in the Arab Resistance to the AZC has been sound in the past, declares that Yemen, like Syria, is winning against NATZO and The Jihadis. The Rev claims that Uncle $cam is desperate and will sue for a ceasefire after the AZC has called on their mercenaries (F UK Z U$A and K$A) to make a last, all-out effort to crush Yemen in the coming month.

    Armistice Day recalls the end of the Second Anglo Zio Capitalist War 1914-1918, an AZC Resource War to take over the oil wells of the Middle East. The First AZC Resource War was a British invasion to take over the gold and diamond mines of the Afrikaner Republics, 1899. Yemen is the latest AZC war, both for oil and to apply a choke-hold on trade routes of upcoming rivals Russia and China. If Rev.Nasr’Allah is right, Yemen may be A War Too Far:

    “Nasrallah to Yemenis: ‘US/Saudis have failed, victory closer than ever before’

    source: http://middleeastobserver.net/nasrallah-to-yemenis-us-saudis-have-failed-victory-closer-than-ever-before/

    Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has urged Yemenis to remain steadfast and hold firm to their battle fronts and positions, as the Saudi-Emirati-American coalition has “failed” in the country, and that ‘victory was closer than ever before’.

    Nasrallah called for caution in relation to the recent call by the United States for warring sides to end the conflict, warning that it could be a ploy or time-buying measure. If it was indeed a serious call, Nasrallah said that it has come about due to the steadfastness and perseverance of the Yemenis, and not due to anti-Saudi back clash from the Khashoggi saga, nor the sudden awakening of world conscience towards the ‘four years-long massacre of the Yemeni people’.

    Source: Al-Manar Tv” Date: 10 November, 2018


    “… However, what is strange about this world, is that it [the World] does not take notice of, nor is it astonished by, the daily images of the heinous massacres in Yemen. (The World’s) conscience was not moved by the Yemeni children – the United Nations itself .. are speaking of 14 million people threatened with starvation, and this figure may have risen in recent days. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have been infected by cholera, and the world is silent.

    But now the world has begun to talk, the Americans have begun speaking, the Europeans have begun speaking … it is good that we hear American, European, and UN statements, calling for the cessation to the fighting and a stop to the war. … The world has been seeing the children, the immense massacres, bombardment and killing on a daily basis for four years. Why did the world only now say that this war must stop? ..

    Simply and frankly, because the Yemenis remained steadfast in this battle. This is a huge lesson. …. If this call for ending the war is serious, then the aim of it will be to rescue the Saudis and Emiratis, more than it is about rescuing the Yemenis. Because this coalition failed to invade the north (of Yemen), and failed to administer the south, and they are losing both the north and south of Yemen. The north due to the steadfastness (of Yemenis) and military failure, and the south because of the popular movement (of Yemenis) and administrative and political failure.

    What matters for us is that this war and fighting ends.

    What is interesting though is that (the Americans) said (the war must end) within one month. Why one month? Why not now? Why not immediately?! …

    _On (the occasion) of Martyr’s Day, _ I say to my brothers in Yemen to remain patient and keep preserving in your fight, and hold firm to your weapons, fronts and positions. … The Yemeni are persevering and producing a military miracle, a military legend.”

  14. Robbobbobin says

    “Ordinary people gave white feathers to young men, bullied the pacifists and the conscientious objectors. Ordinary people encouraged their sons and husbands and brothers to enlist. Because they were told to, and never thought to question it. Because they bought into the pro-war propaganda without ever examining it.”

    At the beginning of the First World War my maternal grandfather was a Warrant Officer stationed at an Army training camp, in charge of preparing the surge of cannon fodder for the fun times to come. Originally an apparently quite a sensitive but highly committed soldier, by early 1916 he had become so distraught at seeing the utter destruction of a multitude of compatriots he felt he had personally sent into battle, many in close-up as they returned broken and discardable, he walked out of the camp gates one evening and did not return until the following morning, whereupon he was court-martialled for absence without leave. Given the pressing need for functional Human Resource he received few sanctions, the most important of which seems, in his mind, to have been the permanent cancellation of his own despatch to the front, scheduled for later that year: he was to remain in his original post for the rest of the war. Shortly afterwards he applied for and received a brief leave of absence to visit his families of marriage and birth and, particularly, to see his new born daughter, my mother. He never spoke publicly about where he went or what he did during his overnight absence from the camp, although the reason for it was briefly mentioned at his trial. After the visit, on his way back to the camp, he got off the train and went to a secluded spot in a park he known as a child. There he sat down, wrote a little note, which he placed into a copy of the Rubáiyát of Omar Kháyyam, then put a Webley into his mouth and shot himself in an attempt to blow his brains out. He was only partially successful and a walker later discovered him while investigating the sound of drunken moaning from behind some bushes, when blood made it clear that alcohol was not the cause. He survived in the same state until the following day, when he finally died. In the note he explained that although his intended action might cause passing hurt to some that he loved, it was far better than saddling them forever with the shame of the despicable living presence of someone who had been such a failure as a son, as a husband, as a man and as a soldier.

  15. Kenric Ashe says

    More accurate to say we’re not at *overt* war with Syria right now? 🙂

    • Thanks Kit, but the Brits have been involved in Syria from the start. And all the other MENA wars.

      • Kenric Ashe says

        Kit? Elentis, did you mean to post your reply elsewhere? Because my name is Kenric. If you meant to reply to me, I’m quite aware of the history. The distinction I’m making is how they don’t call it war anymore. Everything is covert and disguised as “humanitarian intervention”, though obvious to anyone who pays attention what it really is.

  16. Kathy says

    The fields of poppies glowing red a tribute to the millions dead.

    Somnferum fall asleep.

    Convincing a whole generation that there is no other way but war is a spell of mass delusion. An act of hypnotism. The manufacturing of events to create a war scenario. Creating a narrative spreading propaganda demonizing the enemy to make them appear subhuman .What is it that wipes the collective memory of so many to the loss and futility of war over and over again. Why do so many allow themselves to be so misled. The first world war was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Yet it was closely followed by world war 2. The pain and loss of the first world war was still so raw for so many people at the time of the second. The effects of both these wars have shaped us all and the psychological repercussions are still being felt and played out. As the article suggests. A deep trauma passed down. Yet people still allow themselves to be manipulated and lied to. Bush and Blair still managed to convince such a large proportion of the population that their war was just. And god and right was on their side. In hindsight the truth is always exposed and inevitably shows all war is avoidable. The real reason to remember {The lest we forget and do it again} has been forgotten and deliberately down graded by the war wagers. It is this message we need to hold on to and remember. We need to state. Not in my name. Never again. We will not forget.

    • Hugh O'Neill says

      Kathy. I wonder what proportion were convinced that the invasion of Iraq was just? Blair nevertheless disregarded all opposition and the only man who had the courage to speak true was Robin Cook, who strangely died not long after. Likewise the earlier strange ‘suicide’ of David Kelly (Lest we forget!). When Cameron later tried to drum up support for bombing Syria, the public made their opposition clear to their MPs, and Cameron did not wish to end up like the Living Dead TB. Anytime TB dares show his face in public, we reach for the Holy Water, garlic and crucifix.
      I rather suspect that if a genuine opinion poll were ever run, then there would be massive opposition and it is for that reason, such honest polls will not happen. The MSM – particularly the BBC – will grandiosely reassure the masses that the war remains popular and few people then wish to stand out from the majority – just as Goering said.
      But then again; what would I know? We voted with our feet and shook the dust of Blighty off our shoes. Thanks, TB.

      • Kathy says

        I do agree with you.
        It is true that a vast amount of people did and do not want war. Our voices do not seem to count for much when the agenda is set. But as you say a poll would not be taken or if it was. It would undoubtedly be falsified. We should remember Kelly and Cook and all the people who die in {mysterious} ways because they appose an agenda.

        In the early days of the Iraq war I happened to be on a train and over heard a young man excitedly telling fellow passengers how he was joining up to do something with his life. He sounded so full of pride. He told people listening that where he was from in Liverpool all his fiends were into drugs and on the dole etc but that he was making something of his life and was off to war. It was heart breaking to hear him talk. I have often thought about him and how he is now. If he even made it home again. It is this level of delusion I am thinking of really. The one that blinds young men and women and convinces them that killing or being killed, Maiming and being maimed is an honorable act. That they will still volunteer to become canon fodder for manipulative lying leaders because they feel there life has so little meaning. The stigma of a life’s worth and what society constitutes as a life worth living. All life should be held as sacred and all should be validated regardless of status. Yet the state manages to convince so many that their lives are of such little consequence.

      • John2o2o says

        I agree with most of your points, including your point about David Kelly.

        However, I don’t think that Robin Cook’s death was suspicious!

        There were many opponents to Tony’s war. George Galloway was expelled from the labour party for his opposition to it and the US tried to silence him by falsely accusing him of taking bribes. George’s appearance before the US senate committee in his own defence in 2005 is one of the finest performances ever made by a British politician.

  17. Cherrycoke says

    From this German, who loves Blackadder, a heartfelt thank you to Kit Knightly. I never would have thought that in my lifetime the West could revert to the kind of propaganda exemplified by the cover of the National Review (which to me seems to be closer to Goebbels, Streicher or Taubert than to the anti-German propaganda of the Great War). Since Ukraine it seems, all bets are off.

  18. Einstein says

    Yeh, the British government sold WWI to the people and drowned them in propaganda, just like they’re trying to do now against Russia.
    The irony is Serbia, on “our” side started the war and fired the first shot.
    The Austrians retaliated; the Russians supported the Serbs so Germany supported Austria, so France supported Russia. We joined in when the Germans used Belgium as a stepping-stone to get at France. The truth is the military and industry were itching for decades to take Germany down a peg.
    It’s no different now.
    The American military and industrial corporations – and banks – are itching to take China down a peg and punish Russia for being too “independent” (sic).
    The historians now say that, even in WWII, the Americans, strongly encouraged by the British, who wanted the Americans to join them, pushed Japan into war by blockading it.
    It seems it was never any different.

    • No Serbia did NOT start the war! The warm-up to the war was the [Great Powers manipulated] Balkan wars of 2011-13. Next step was ‘an incident’ – Serbia’s archduke was shot by a paid jewish ‘anarchist’ Josep Princip from Thessaloniki, the same city that produced the Great Power puppets the Young Turks, recruited and funded by Mazzini’s Grand Orient Lodge opened in Thessaloniki for this purpose: to bring down the Sublime Porte and lay the ground for the secular ‘Turkish’ revolution that took place during and in the wake of the [planned Great Power war aim] destruction of the Ottoman Empire….along with the [Great Power war aim] destruction of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the German empire and the Russian empire. Thus ALL impediments in eastern Europe and the NW near east were removed for the Anglo-American and French empires, with Italy tagging along. It took another 9 years for the territories of these former empires to cease war and sort themselves out, right up to 1927.

      Do you understand? WW1 continued for another 7-9 years depending on location in eastern Europe.

      This is not but plain fact once you progress beyond 6th form school book narratives. The trenches of France were almost a sideshow.

  19. More than One Hundred Years of Social-Treason… of the treason of the Labour and Socialdemocratic Parties of Europe and their infiltrated, leftist and anti-marxist Second International. A treason that opened the door to one of the biggest imperialist slaughters ever, communist revolution, civil wars, the IIWW and much more… even, directly, to the globalist immigrationism that is taking the world back to slavery… History repeats itself… MORE THAN A HUNDRED YEARS OF TREASON AND FARCE…!!!

  20. wardropper says

    I understand that the Kaiser and the Tzar were actually cousins, and were beseeching each other by telegraph not to let war happen.
    But it was all out of their hands…
    And it still is.

    • @War Dropper: “I understand that the Kaiser and the Tzar were actually cousins, and were beseeching each other by telegraph not to let war happen.”

      But not so The Third Emperor-Cousin, Anglo Zio Capitalist tool King George V to his Foreign Minister Lord Grey:

      “Grey, you’ve got to get us into this war!”. Mammonite England’s King of Kings, Lord Rothschild, had spoken; so we had to get into that war, had to destroy Germany as an Industrial-Military rival, had to take over the Ottoman oil fields for Rothschild’s BP oil company, had to take over Palestine for Rothschild’s pet project — a National Home for the Jews. Twenty million people died because King George V said to his Foreign Minister, “Grey, you’ve got to get us into this war”.

      And boy, did the AZC make a killing — the fabled oil wealth of Mesopotamia fell into their lap without having to pay a penny for the military exercise or shed a drop of their Lordly blood.

      • wardropper says

        I, too, meant to point to the fact that the strongest impetus for that war was VERY close to home, and not merely due to the evil plans of foreigners…

  21. softech Steve Abbott says

    It is curious, that we allow those who profited by the lie, to reinforce the lie by the most barbaric of judicial traditions from our early history. We know, and I would maintain knew at the time, that WW1 was fought for the most ridiculous of reasons, and that among our elite, were those who were to profit from it, an who ensured that it was fought.

    How many of us were not appalled in early British or European history lessons, at the concept of “trial by ordeal”, or of “trial by combat”? These were concepts that we thought, for enlightened youth of our age, were less intellectually supportable, than .than… well, there was no comparably ridiculous example of stupidity.

    This being so, how did we allow those same elites who profited from the war, to impose the same principles at Versailles, to affix blame, dismemberment, and decades of impoverishment, upon the declared losers of that combat?
    Why would I bring this up now? Well, because at Versailles we imposed the seeds of injustice, that then led to the supposedly “just war”, and when we allowed Churchill, of all people to write 6 volumes of his own history, we propagated the lies… the false beliefs in the justice of our own wars, on into the future.

    The propaganda that we welcomed in my youth, feeds directly into the propaganda of today. The belief that if we go to war, our national cause must be just, and therefore our soldiers will only do honourable and just things while abroad, makes it easy to close our eyes to the scale of the crimes that we commit… through giving carte blanche to our leaders.

    True justice would require the punishment of the leaders of the winning faction, to be punished before the leaders of the losing factions, and that their offspring be moved to the tail end of the bread lines that result, not because of the guilt of the offspring, but because of the injustice of their being immune to the depradations visited upon the true victims of their parents’ wars.

    • wardropper says

      Good questions.
      The answer is that greed for power is blind, deaf and unbelievably stubborn, and it sweeps aside all else in its path.

      • One can also say the Power of Greed or the Greedy Great Powers…….and more than mere greed and money, private agendas.

  22. Milke Leach says

    “Blackadder was written by, and for, a generation who weren’t born when World War I ended – whose parents weren’t born when World War I ended”.
    Not necessarily – my father fought in WW1 and I’m four months younger than Richard Curtis. Sometimes it’s closer than you think.
    I like to think, in Dad’s place, I’d have had the moral courage to be a conchie – but who knows?

  23. wardropper says

    And today I switched on the BBC World Service, only to hear a step-by-step account of the hypocritical “elite” setting wreaths upon the Cenotaph, watched by millions of other hypocrites, who neither remember anything of those catastrophic four years, nor know anything about the psychopathic impulses guiding those who engineered them.

    Particularly galling was the decadent, and obsolete, tone of the narrator – a tone obviously taught at the journalism schools of the establishment elite, and maintained, willy-nilly, through countless decades – not, I might add, in order to make sure we never forget the sacrifice of untold numbers of soldiers (they were propagandized into believing that God would ensure their safety, because they were British/American/Australian/Commonwealth citizens), but to make sure we never forget the fabulous hushed tones of the latest Richard Dimbleby clone, in preparation for the NEXT global war to profit the elite.

    Finish off with “The Last Post”, just to take us back 100 years, and our tears will be duly jerked by the sheer, wonderful nostalgia of it all…

    There are many, including my now-deceased parents and grandparents, who would be horrified to read what I have just typed, but we can safely assume that they simply knew no better.

    Today, we do know better. A LOT better, and the BBC needs to catch up with 2018, where we no longer relish the destruction of human life.

  24. Yes that Blackadder episode was sensitively put together. And where will todays whipping up of hysteria end up….civil war in the USA….or 6 out of ten conscription age adults in UK being educated by the government and media in how to hate the Russians …after Brexit maybe the state of the economy could the Chinese with successful OBOR become a similar object of hysteria….the USA has aleady declared that space must become a battlefield to protect their interests…..AI automonous robots are being designed and programmed that can be put on the battlefield…

    “There’s a certain irony in the CEOs of robotics and AI companies warning of the dangers of the very same technologies they themselves are building. They implore countries to “double their efforts” in international negotiations and warn that “we do not have long to act.” (Scharre is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and author of the forthcoming book Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War.)

    in other words we must do it and we will…in the name of this capitalistic system society….

    ….the increase of private militaries such as Academy ….which countries exactly are supplying Isis and terrorists…..etc etc

  25. mark says

    The First World War was a complete disaster, particularly the way it ended, which sowed the seeds for Hitler and WW2.

    Bismarck said that if war started, it would be the result of “some damned foolish business in the Balkans”, which were “not worth the bones of a single German soldier.” If he had been in power, he would certainly have stopped it. Instead, the suicidal leadership of all the combatants were pursuing ignoble aims whilst professing noble motives. France wanted revenge for the defeat of 1870. Germany was worried about the economic growth of Tsarist Russia. Italy wanted to grab territory from Austria. Japan wanted to seize German Pacific colonies. Britain was concerned about Germany’s economic and military strength. Russia wanted to divert attention from its internal problems by uniting the country against an external enemy. There was all the usual mendacious propaganda guff about German militarism and making the world safe for democracy, though at the time Germany was more democratic than Britain. A higher percentage of German men had the vote than in Britain because of property qualifications.

    By 1916, there was a bloody stalemate and growing exhaustion. The most likely outcome was a messy negotiated peace with no winners or losers. But America entered the war and changed the balance of power, prolonging the war and ensuring an eventual German defeat. This was trumpeted as an idealistic crusade to make the world safe for democracy. In actual fact it was all driven by Wall Street bankers, who by 1916 had lent Britain and France $5,500 million, and Germany a mere $27 million. In the event of a German victory, which was still a possibility, they would lose their money. And $1 million was a lot of money in 1916.

    So there was no negotiated peace in 1916. America encouraged British/ French intransigence in rejecting German peace feelers. The war was fought to the finish and ended in complete German defeat. If the war had ended in 1916 it would not have been all sweetness and light afterwards. Quite likely Europe would have remained unstable for some time to come. But there would probably have been no Bolshevik Revolution, no Hitler and no WW2. Instead, Germany, Austria and Hungary were broken and humiliated. Their economies were ruined and they descended into chaos and civil war. Borders were redrawn with little attention to the wishes of the inhabitants, or common sense. Hungary, for example, lost 60% of its territory and most of its resources. 7.5 million Hungarians lived in the Hungary that was created, with 4.5 million more as sullen repressed minorities in Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Poland. A new war was all but inevitable.

    In the aftermath of the war, Americans in particular realised how much they had been lied to, and how much blatant profiteering had taken place on the part of bankers and industrialists. Politicians and ordinary people tried, and to some extent succeeded, in enacting neutrality legislation. The whole idea was to take the profit out of war, to the extent that even bankers and industrialist became ardent pacifists (because there was no money in it for them.)
    Arms manufacture and the arms trade were to be state monopolies, so there was no private profit.
    A ban on loans to combatant powers, to prevent a recurrence of the 1916 situation.
    A ban on travel by US citizens to war zones, to avoid Lusitania type incidents and the ensuing agitation for war.
    In the event of war, incomes would be limited to $10,000 a year. Everything above that taxed at 100%. That was still a lot of money then to all but millionaires.
    Dividend payments to be frozen for the duration. Return on capital to be strictly controlled, and taxed at 100% above a certain level.
    An immediate closure of all financial markets for the duration. Prices and wages to be strictly controlled. Rationing. More taxes to pay for the war.
    A conscription board to ensure that the privileged elite could not avoid service. And the first in line for a uniform and a rifle would be unemployed stockbrokers and bankers, or their children if they were too old. There would be no Bill Clinton Light Infantry, with people like Bush/ Cheney/ Bolton avoiding service.

    That could still be a blueprint for today. Take the profit out of war, and the billionaires and the politicians they own would become overnight fanatical pacifists.

  26. “It was all such a bloody waste. Everyone knows that, has always known that. Nobody ever questioned it.”

    William F. Engdahl has questioned it, in his book “A Century of War”. Engdahl caught my attention by remarking that the first British expedition of WW1 was not sent to help “poor brave Belgium” but to capture rich Mesopotamian oilport Basra for the Rothschild oil company BP (British Persian in those days). And the last, under Allenby, was sent not to help our beleaguered ally France but to capture Palestine for “Dear Lord Rothschild” to set up his National-Home-for-the-Jews project.

    “”Control the oil and you control entire nations,” said Kissinger. Oil is an instrument of world domination in the grip of the Anglo-American empire. Century of War is a gripping account of the murky world of the international oil industry and its role in world politics. William Engdahl takes the reader through a history of the oil industry’s grip on the world economy. His revelations are startling. A thin red line runs through modern world history, covered in oil and blood. This book is not for the faint of heart, but for those who can see beyond the daily media manipulation of reality that is called news.”

  27. Yonatan says

    The descendants of the bloody-handed bastards who sent the military to die, for their own enrichment and vanity, are still with, still sending flag-waving, poppy-wearers off to kill and off die (much cheaper than being wounded, and so much more glorious).

    Let’s have a monument to those who made their riches, or extended them. Let’s see their names proudly displayed for the bit they did in the Glorious War.

  28. Gwyn says

    It’s sickening to see the ruling classes lining up on Remembrance Day, all dressed up in black, paying ”tribute” to all those who died in wars started by the ruling classes themselves.

    • Loverat says

      An interesting morning. Walking up to the train station to catch a train to see a relative.

      Who should I nearly bump into but Jo Johnson, my MP and recently resigned minister – walking down the road. I guess his car was taken away and forced to use public transport. I think he was on his way to our town’s marking of the end of WW1. I’ve written to him a few times about our support for Al Qaeda and White Helmets in Syria but got no sense from him.

      I was tempted to engage with him suggesting that the best way to pay respect for lives lost is not by obligatory poppy wearing or minutes silence – but just stop waging war on other nations. He looked rather distracted so I let him go.

      • Badger Down says

        A railway station. When did that change?

  29. There has been a shift in the UK Labour Party to a proposed rational way of discussing and solving international conflict; rather than obsolete warlike solutions. But the enlightened movement in the US is still inward thinking. There are no declared policy aims from Sanders, Warren and Cortez about the wars America has waged since 1945. It is time to speak out and build an international peace movement.

    • mark says

      Sanders and Pocahontas have always been enthusiastic cheerleaders for the military industrial complex and its adventures abroad. Cortez is already backtracking on Palestine and she’s only been elected 5 minutes. The Democrats have no leaders, no policies, and might as well rename themselves the We-Hate-Trump Party. Congress will shortly become a laughing stock with people like Maxine Waters on the Finance committee. At this rate, Trump will probably win again in 2020. They abandoned ordinary working people years ago. All the Democrats really care about is lining their own pockets and toilets for trannies.

  30. BigB says

    The idea of a group mind is not so ridiculous: it is the idea of the individuated mind that is problematic. What is an individual mind? What is a ‘person’?

    What stupid questions: we all know the answers. They are culturally given and inherited. It is unquestionably socially agreed: I exist (‘ego cogito’). [The Cartesians and the Sartreans might want to argue about the definition of the ‘cogitans’ – other than that, it’s a pan-historic, pan-cultural Given – the fundamental Folk Psychology]. Culture is built on the foundation of the individual and their rights.

    Let’s agree brain and mind are not synonomous? Then what is the individual mind?

    Let’s skip several hundred pages of Being and Nothingness: and work from the maxim “existence precedes essence”. This begs the ens causa sui question: how is essence (mind (not a direct synonym – but good enough)) created? By reflection on experience? This is the ‘phenomenological ontology’ (his subtitle) …big words that mean we define ourselves, and our projects. But how? How do we define ourselves?

    “Life has no meaning a priori … It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.”

    There is only one way to define anything: with language. Perhaps we can agree: mind is psycho-linguistically mediated and constructed? We may have our own syntax or ‘sub-dialect’: but who created the language? Is it our own (Wittgenstein warned against ‘private languages’). No, it’s culturally and socially constructed, and shared. The basic concepts are cultural universals. So perhaps we can see, mind develops in interaction and relations – it is inter-relational and not individual? The emergent person, with their own mind, is in fact a social artefact …a radical constructivism: not an ‘individual’? The social aspect has been developing since deep evolutionary time: mind and language are synchronic and diachronic …that is they are co-evolutionary. The ‘individual’ facticity is a personalised syntax and ontogenic time and date stamp of a cultural experience (variously referred to as Dasein or Sartre’s ‘human-reality’).

    Hardly a philosophical proof, but if you can see where I am coming from …here is the nub. Who controls the sources of information, historicity, and nationalistic narrative of a shared culture? Not me or you, the possessing classes possess the lingo too. Not totally, we can and do choose to disagree, but those who do not question are caught by the linguistic short and curlies …prone to inherit the constructed fiction and identify with it – as their own. They, unfortunately, are our ‘Toy Soldiers’.

    We only inherit and internalise the totemic values, and symbolised and ritualised ceremonies in as much as we refuse to question. We don’t have to call it a phenomenological reduction, but that is what it is. By reducing and rejecting the inherited narratives and values, they can be replaced by humanist values of peace and interconnectedness. As Sartre said, with radical freedom comes radical responsibility. We choose for each other when we choose life and peace.

    We just need to tip the imperial war cultural scales in our favour.

    • BDBinc says

      Absolutely Big B a collective consciousness .
      Life has a priceless value, it is its meaning, its the biggest of the big.
      God is Life. they are one in the same there is no grumpy judgmental old man inn the clouds waiting to condemn .

      We just need to be in peace.
      Its simple each one of us need to be in peace.

      • BigB says

        Collective consciousness(es) describe the world as-it-presents, the discursive and conceptual world we describe every day. Collective consciousness creates wars. What is a ‘nationalism’, ‘the Party’, or the personality cult of the charismatic ‘Leader’? Are these not forms of collective consciousness? Think of any group: they have their own cultural icons, performative rites, shared historicism. collective psychological and physical territory, and an inclusive ideology of belonging. For the psychological demarcation of every ingroup: there is automatically and axiomatically the excluded, contradistinct and antagonistic outgroup. Tensions may be latent, but it does not take much for one conceptual group model to start to vilify another conceptual group model …and, BOOM! A physical or psychological turf war erupts. Even modern communication anti-theory has a root metaphor of ARGUMENT IS WAR (it can’t be called a theory, it just evolved ad hoc. Few have yet tried to improve it. George Lakoff and Josef Miterrer would be examples of those who have). Why not DIALOGUE IS PEACE?

        If you need examples of how collective conceptual consciousness (CCC) leads to at least linguistic embattlement, we have the overt historicism of 40,000 years of supposed intellectual maturity to choose from.

        Intelligent design of communications and community building might look something like: metalanguage analysis into how one language creates bifurcation (the problem transcends individual language systems; dialects exacerbate the problems of sectarianism and internal fissure; but this is a universal human problem not limited to the local or national colloquium …or even international inter-colloquial rivalries). It may be noted from the outset that the current binary language-function rarely produces cohesive and coherent CCCs. CCCs themselves tend toward internal fissure and factionalisation. New subgroups and heterogeneous factionalised sects appear automatically and axiomatically entailing fragmentary outgrouping. There are two main outcomes to posit from this: a faux unification of fragmented groups against a common threat = Fascism. Or a biddable, atomised, community of reactionary individualism (an ‘individuum’) …prone to infiltration by corporatism = inverse totalitarianism = Fascism.

        I propose that individuation entails CCC (through the psychological need to belong and identify with an ersatz immortal cause = heroification). CCCs then entail war or Fascism, or war and Fascism …some choice?

        So’ going back to my original proposition: where is my mind? What is the individual mind? Where is it, in my brain? Does the processual individuation of society entail Fascism and/or war? After 4,000 years of Western philosophy that has done little more than assertively reify and apotheose (metaphysicalise) the same old Cartesian Folk Psychologism …are these not questions of relevance?

        What if the ultimate propagandising is the propagandising of individuation? How can a true humanism arise from an self-fractured individuum? So many questions…

  31. John A says

    I read an article in a Norwegian publication from yesterday ‘forskning.no’ (research norway) headed ‘Can Norway, Finland and Sweden together scare Russia from attacking us?’
    What is most remarkable about the ridiculous article is that it takes as plain fact that Russia does want to attack the Nordic countries. (Note NATO has just completed the biggest military exercise since WW2 in northern Norway close to the Russian border) and that contrary to the Norwegian constitution that bars any foreign power from installing permanent bases in Norway (passed after WW2 and the horrors of German occupation), the US now has permanent bases in Norway without any parliamentary amendment to this constitution.
    The problem is that the Nordic mainstream media run scare stories about eastern neighbours (Russia shares borders with Norway and Finland) and the governments investing ridiculous amounts in defending against a non existent threat, while at the same time leaving the back door utterly unguarded allowing the US to walk in, establish bases, organise mega military exercises and render these countries (ditto rest of Europe) colonies in all but name of the US and bombarded with neoliberalism, globalism and privatisation and all the other horrors of financialising everything.
    Despite the disaster that has been rail privatisation in Britain, Norway is now going down the same route, including granting franchises to Go-Ahead, that run the terrible Thameslink, Southern and Southeastern train companies around London to the misery of millions of commuters.

    • Francis Lee says

      Yes, what has happened to these Nordic nations. They rush to join NATO on a cock-and-bull story of ‘Russian Aggression’ peddled by a venal and bought media and all they have achieved is to make themselves targets for Russian short-range missiles in the event of a war, which in part was of their making – stupidity doesn’t come near to explaining it. Like children they been frightened by the would-be bogeyman (Russia) and have run to mummy (NATO). NATO is no so much about protection it is a protection racket.

      • John A says

        The CIA assassinated Palme and Anna Lindh in Sweden pour encourager les autres and ensure all future Swedish politicians toe the line, while stuffing the pockets of ex Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen and later ex Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg with gold to provide incentives for future Danish and Norwegian politicians to know that being a good boy/girl will bring pre-heaven rewards.
        Tony Blair is a mega millionaire, the Obamas got mega multimillion advances for books nobody will care about. Nowadays bribes are post-office. Look at Osborne, never spent a day as a journalist but suddenly editor of the London Standard while pulling down 650K for one day a week with BlackRock, not to mention other sinacures. Quite simply. Oppose us, we’ll kill you, reward us, we’ll reward you in spades down the line.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        For the parasites to pillage countries and destroy societies they require the acquiescence or at least non-resistance of the detested proles. The preferred methods of gaining that support are bribery, lying and fear and hate-mongering to garner the votes of the worst, stupidest and most ignorant in society. While ‘The Enemy Within’ are popular scapegoats, with relentless hate-mongering against unions, environmentalists, the poor, welfare recipients, uppity females, Moslems, phony ‘antisemites’, gays etc, the best ‘enemies’ are foreigners. Particularly if they are easily recognisable as ‘different’, hence the rising frenzy of hatred in the West being fomented against China. It will lead to our self-destruction, already certain thanks to deliberately worsened ecological devastation, but highly likely to be brought forward by thermo-nuclear war, caused by relentless, psychopathic, Western aggression.

    • Jon the norwegian says

      Well, on one side, the could-have-been Nordic Union would have been a rather formidable economic and industrial block (in a regional sense) with oil on the shelf, finnish and swedish industry, and a claim on the whole enchilada from the wester tip of Greenland, to the inner crevices of the Baltics. Add on an uniform lutheran work ethic, and you are doomed to get some results.

      In my more conspiratorial mood, I guess there is good reason for Germany to make sure this never happen, but rather coerce these coutries into EU at any, any cost.

      Norways status as a vasall of the Empire is probably just a natural result of the blocks in WW2. There has been a direct uplink from Norway to Pentagon and Langley since the upstart of NATO. However… the local powerplayers during the cold war was, in hindsight, quite pragmatic, and I bet you there was a lot more covert communication between Norway and USSR than we are told.

      Sadly, todays players in Norway are influenced by the neocons, and yesteryears cold warriors are probably rolling in their graves.

  32. ZigZag Wanderer says

    It’s not often that I regurgitate something deeply unpleasant from my own private memory hole.

    I just did that ….. thanks Kit .

  33. Fair dinkum. says

    Another two great novels that describe the horrors of WW1 are ‘Fly Away Peter’ by David Malouf and ‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks.
    Both of them should be required reading at secondary schools.

  34. I recommend reading: Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War.
    Book by Gerry Docherty and James MacGregor. Hidden History uniquely exposes those responsible for the First World War. It reveals how accounts of the war’s origins have been deliberately falsified to conceal the guilt of the secret cabal of very rich and powerful men in London responsible for the most heinous crime perpetrated on humanity. .. Google Books.


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