Posted on November 10, 2013
For last few years I have been obsessed with studying wars. The Falklands War, Cold Wars, World Wars, Civil Wars, you name it, I can’t get enough of it. I think the reason for my fascination stems from all the lies and propaganda that goes with them, with politicians using them whenever possible, as a form jingoism to get the masses on side to believe that governments and aristocrats loved these brave and fearless men, when in the majority of cases, they did not give a damn about the mass slaughter they were inflicting on their own people as well as the enemy.
If people were to dig out their history books and read about what happened in the First World War they would be absolutely aghast at how young British men and women were treated in the name of King and Country. 80 per cent of the soldiers massacred in World War One were poverty stricken young men who were not represented at all in British society and were just swept up to be used as cannon fodder in the misery of the Somme.
These weren’t all strapping young lads who couldn’t wait to fight for the King, many of them were malnourished poverty stricken men from the slums who were thrown into Hell on earth purely as territorial cannon fodder. 703,000 British service men and women were killed and 1,663,000 were wounded. Tens of thousands of them didn’t even have the chance to become heroes because they were dead the second they went over the top. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like to board a train knowing that you are, barring a miracle, going to die.
However, try to imagine, as an 17 year old (my son’s age) watching all the mortally wounded getting off a train that you are about to board to face the same consequences. Terrifying is not a strong enough word. When remembering the dead and the great victories, we should also remember the great British fuck ups that caused the loss of so many innocent lives.
General Haig condemning innocent young men to certain death in WWI, selling the Czechs down the river in attempt to avoid war against the Nazi’s, the shameless support in the 1930’s from the aristocracy towards British, Italian, Spanish and German fascists via The Mail and the Rothermere family, the Winston Churchill strategic master-stroke in Gallipoli, the Bloody Sunday debacle that turned Londonderry and Belfast into IRA recruiting centres that resulted in bombings throughout Britain, sending the armed services to a dubious war in the Falklands on a reclaimed cruise ship (the Canberra) and landing craft with a fucked gearbox, and finally, a war in Iraq on the back of Tony Blair’s unforgivable and preposterous lies. And still our government fancied more carnage by interfering in Syria.
For every brave soldier who wanted to fight, there was a soldier who really didn’t want to or believe in it, but they were still sentenced to death in the most hideous, rat invested circumstances as many of their masters dictated proceedings from their stately homes. In total 8.5 million died in WWI and a staggering 50-70 million in WWII in circumstances so barbaric that it offers no comprehension.
Incredible that it takes a letter from a 93 year old to tell the real truth of the misery of war and how politicians glamorise it for populist reasons. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/08/poppy-last-time-remembrance-harry-leslie-smith
RIP to every serviceman from every country who thought they were dying for the better cause rather than a jolly jamboree of political point scoring by world leaders installed by corporations to feign remorse as they lay Poppies for the Rupert Murdoch TV cameras this Sunday.