Posted by: Dr Churchill | September 10, 2017

What Would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 32)

Those days, Winston Churchill was thinking of war, with the gathering storm fiercely illuminated in his mind, as he set out to learn all he could about military and foreign affairs.

And yet he still thought about how to avert the looming clouds of war from forming above Europe’s and England’s head.

It was at moments like these that the words from the poem of A. E. Housman’s: ‘A Shropshire Lad,’ kept running through his head:

“On the idle hill of summer,
Sleepy with the sound of streams,
Far I hear the distant drummer
Drumming like a noise in dreams.

Far and near and low and louder,
On the roads of earth go by,
Dear to friends and food for powder,
Soldiers marching, all to die.

East and West on fields forgotten
Bleach the bones of comrades slain,
Lovely lads and dead and rotten;
None that go return again.

For the calling bugles hollo,
High the screaming fife replies,
Gay the files of scarlet follow:
Woman bore me, I shall rise.”

The British Parliament was not in session, but Wilson Churchill remained in London throughout the hot weeks of August, studying military tactics and naval battles assidiously, devouring documents and picking the brains of General Wilson, the Director of Military Operations, and Sir Edward Grey, the Foreign Secretary. Sir Grey, the Foreign Secretary, and Winston Churchill, often met in the late afternoon, and strolled across the park together towards the Royal Automobile Club for a swim in the big pool, so they had ample time to talk in private…

Churchill did not suffer from timidity and before a fortnight had passed he was offering advice to both General Wilson and General Grey of the High Command. He soon began to bombard the whole of the British Cabinet with suggestions and directives signed “W.S.C.” The first of these was entitled Military Aspects of the Continental Problem Memorandum by Winston Churchill.

This outline suggested that the War Office took too sanguine a view of the potential resistance of the French Army. Winston Churchill prophesied that by the twentieth day the French would be “driven from the line of the Meuse and will be falling back on Paris and the South.”

He then went on to say that he believed by the fortieth day — the Germans would be extended at full strength, both internally, and on their war fronts, and that if the French Army had not been squandered — the Allies should be able to execute their main bold counterstroke.

At the time, and as Churchill surely expected — General Wilson, referred to the document as “ridiculous and fantastic” a “silly memorandum” but subsequent historical events, and the fighting on the French front during the war, proved that Winston Churchill was spot-on and absolutely right.

As a matter of fact, the Battle of the Marne, was lost by Germany on the forty-second day,

Winston’s passionate concern with the German menace, induced the Prime Minister to invite him to join the Committee of Imperial Defense. This was virtually an Inner Cabinet. Its members consisted of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the War Minister, Lord Haldane. The Committee met on 23 August to consider what action Britain would take if France were attacked. And at this particular meeting it was disclosed that a vital and astonishing difference of opinion existed between the War Office and the Admiralty. Lord Haldane, as War Minister, had built up an Expeditionary Force to go abroad as soon as war started. Plans had been drawn up in conjunction with French staff officers for British troops to strengthen the French left wing, as rapidly as possible.

 

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Incredible as it may seem, there had been no joint consultation with the Navy, and the Admiralty had made no plans for conveying the Force across the Channel. In fact, the Admiralty did not want an army sent across the Channel. The sailors were certain that the Navy could handle the situation alone. They would sink the German Fleet, and blockade the German ports, and soon the whole conflict would be over. This was the
gist of the remarks made at the meeting by the Admiralty spokesman who urged that Lord Haldane’s Expeditionary Force be abandoned and that the Army concentrate its attention on small raids on the German coast in conjunction with the Navy.

 

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Needless to say Lord Haldane left the meeting greatly perturbed. He could expect no help from his colleague, Reginald McKenna, the First Lord of the Admiralty, for although McKenna had courageously pressed for a full-blooded naval programme, he supported the Admiralty view as far as strategy was concerned. It was clear to Haldane that McKenna must be removed to another office, and a new First Lord appointed. He wrote
to the Prime Minister a strong letter: “I have after mature consideration come to the conclusion that this, in the existing state of Europe, is the gravest problem which confronts the Government today; and that, unless it is tackled resolutely, I cannot remain in office. Five years’ experience of the War Office has taught me how to handle the Generals and how to get the best out of them; and I believe that the experience makes me the best person to go to the Admiralty and carry through, as thorough a reorganization there, as I have carried out at the War Office. In any event, I am determined that things at the Admiralty shall not remain any longer as they are.”

 

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Haldane was a man of great intellect and broad vision. He had done a brilliant job in reorganizing the Army along modern lines. He was admired by his colleagues and respected by his opponents. He was a lifelong Liberal and a close friend of Asquith. He was eager to take on the Admiralty job…

But, history was made when Winston was selected for the job. Who knows what made Asquith choose Churchill instead?

Of course there is no doubt that Asquith was deeply impressed by Winston’s dynamic ability. He always read his memoranda carefully; they were unfailingly concise and well-written, which appealed to his legal mind.
This is what Winston wrote about the appointment: “I believe I owed the repeated advancements to great offices which he accorded me, more to my secret writing on Government business than to any impressions produced by conversations or speeches on the platform or in Parliament.”

 

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Besides, Asquith was amused by Winston Churchill whom he often referred to as “my right honourable and picturesque colleague.” There were several strong arguments in Winston Churchill’s favour. First, the Admiralty might be induced to accept the policy of the War Office, if someone other than the War Minister took on the job. Second, it would be an advantage to keep the First Lord in the Commons. Third, Asquith undoubtedly felt that it was wise to keep the rebellious Churchill fully occupied and using his energies constructively. Finally, Lloyd George had always urged Asquith strongly, to appoint Winston Churchill in the cabin.

The Prime Minister invited the two Ministers to join him on a holiday in Scotland. Winston Churchill arrived two days before Haldane and on the second afternoon, as they were leaving the golf course, Asquith suddenly asked him if he would like to go to the Admiralty. “Indeed I would” replied Winston. The Prime Minister then said that they must discuss the matter with Haldane, when he arrived the following day. It must have been an extraordinary meeting, with Asquith sitting as the imperturbable judge, and Haldane and Churchill, advancing with all their skill and forensic ability the reasons why each considered himself the right man for the job.

 

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Haldane gave an account of it in a letter to Sir Edward Grey: “Asquith asked me to see him first alone, and then with Winston. I did so without mincing matters. Winston was very good, reasoned that if he went there in the Admiralty, he would work closely with me at the War Office, in the spirit of his father, who had always said that there ought to be a common administration. I felt, however, that, full of energy as he is, he does not know his problem or the vast field of thought that has to be covered. Moreover, though I did not say this to him, I feel that it was only a year since he had been doing his best to cut down mechanized armies, and that the Admiralty would receive the news of his advent with dismay; for they would think — wrongly or rightly — that as soon as the financial pinch begins, to come eighteen months from now, he would want to cut down. He is too apt to act first and think afterwards, though of his energy and courage one cannot speak too highly.”

Several days later the Prime Minister wrote to Haldane that he had decided in favour of Churchill: “The main and, in the longer run, the deciding factor with me in a different sense, has been the absolute necessity for keeping the First Lord in the Commons.”

Churchill was overjoyed with the appointment. Now he was sure of his mission. When he was undressing for bed, on the night Asquith had first suggested the Admiralty to him, he picked up the Bible from his table and opened it at random.

His eyes fell on the following passage: “Hear, O Israel, Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven.”

“A people great and tall, and children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak? Understand therefore this day, that the Lord thy God, is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face; so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the Lord has said unto thee.”

To Winston Churchill’s strongly Christian and deeply religious, mind and heart, it seemed “a message full of reassurance, hope, and promise.”

 

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Churchill threw himself into his new job heart and soul. Like the other Government departments which he had controlled, the Admiralty at once felt the impact of his powerful personality. He began by heightening the drama of an already dramatic situation. First of all he ordered that Naval Officers, as well as resident clerks, must remain on duty all night at the Admiralty so that if a surprise attack came, not a moment would be lost in giving the alarm. Second, he gave instructions for a huge chart of the
North Sea to be hung on the wall of his room. Every day a staff officer marked the positions of the German Fleet with appropriate flags as well as latitudinally and longitude correct positions.

This is how Churchill put it: “I made a rule to look at this chart once every day when I first entered my room. I did this less to keep myself informed, for there were many other channels of information, than in order to inculcate in myself and those working with me a sense of ever present danger. In this spirit we all worked.”

Winston Churchill’s overall commission was to put the Fleet into “a state of instant and constant readiness for war” in case we are attacked by Germany. Behind these broad instructions two immediate tasks confronted him: First, to set up a Naval War Staff, such as the Army possessed, which would give all its time to the study of strategy and tactics; second, to maintain close co-operation with the War Office and concert the fighting plans
of the two services.

Churchill at once put himself in touch with Lord Fisher, that brilliant, explosive, astonishing old man of seventy-one, who had recently retired as First Sea Lord and was regarded by many as “the greatest sailor since Nelson.” Lord Fisher was living in retirement in Italy. He had burning black eyes, a rugged face and a fiery temperament. The passion of his life was the Navy, and in this field he was a genius. When he first joined the service in 1854 the Navy’s ships still carried sails, many had no auxiliary-
steam and none had armour. He grew up in a period of change and was fascinated by the amazing new developments. When he became First Sea Lord himself, the changes came fast and furiously and soon the British Fleet was far ahead of all others in modern and efficient design. Lord Fisher scrapped dozens of ships which he declared could “neither fight nor run away.” He reorganized the Navy’s educational system, introduced the
submarine, and replaced the Battle Fleet’s twelve-inch guns with thirteen point fives, the biggest naval artillery cannons ever tried to be placed onboard the Royal Nay up to his days as the First Lord of the Admiralty.

Of course by being an agent of change and by carrying out these seismic changes ‘Jackie’ Fisher made many enemies who called him names and also undermined his work. Does that remind you of anything going on today with President Donald Trump?
Lord Fisher was called: “Ruthless, relentless and remorseless,” and these were the kindest were words that he often repeated proudly, and in jest when asked to describe himself. Yet through his terrific drive, unsurpassed industry, and his pig-headedness, he struck at his opponents savagely. He branded as traitors those who opposed him either secretly or openly, and boasted childishly that ‘their wives should be widows, their children fatherless, and their homes a dunghill. This threat was not altogether meaningless for he ruined the professional career of more than one officer, who opposed his policies. Those in Fisher’s favour were described as being “in the Fish-pond,” and woe betide those who were not. Needless to say, Fisher’s enemies grew in number. His chief adversary was Lord Charles Beresford, the Commander-in-Chief of the Channel, or principal, Fleet. Soon the Navy was divided into two camps Fisher’s men and Beresford’s men and every sort of intrigue and warfare was carried on between the two rival sections. The final result was Fisher’s resignation. Nevertheless when 1914 came it was
the ships that Fisher and the First Lord, McKenna, had built between the years 1906 and 1911, in the face of Winston Churchill’s powerful opposition — that were ready to face the enemy.

Winston Churchill, had first met Sir John Fisher, as he was then, in Biarritz in 1907. They had talked far into the night and although the young man did not agree with the old man’s belief in the necessity for a large Navy, they recognized each other as kindred spirits; they were unconventional, forceful and daring. And what more — they both liked a storm…

Churchill now sent for Lord Fisher who acceded and accepted the appointment, and swiftly came home from Italy, and the two men spent three days discussing naval problems. Fisher’s ideas were as vehement, as brilliant and stimulating as ever. He impressed Churchill so deeply that the latter toyed with the idea of reappointing him First Sea Lord then and there. If Fisher had dropped the slightest hint, Churchill would have spoken, but for the moment the thought passed.

Nevertheless, Lord Fisher became Winston Churchill’s inspiration and ally. From then on the old man bombarded the young First Lord with dozens of forceful, amusing and valuable letters which arrived at the Admiralty fastened together, sometimes with a ribbon, sometimes with a pearl pin. The letters began breezily: ‘My beloved Winston’ and ended ‘Yours to a cinder’, ‘Yours till hell freezes’, or ‘Till charcoal sprouts’. ‘Alas,’ wrote
Winston in The World Crisis, ‘there was a day when hell froze and charcoal sprouted and friendship was reduced to cinders; when “My beloved Winston” had given place to “First Lord: I can no longer be your colleague.”

Meanwhile, with Lord Fisher’s unofficial aid and backing, Winston set about to learn his business and do his job. Out of two years and nine months that remained before war was to begin, he “spent” nearly eight months afloat in the Admiralty yacht Enchantress. He visited every important ship. At the end, “I knew what everything looked like and where everything was, and how one thing fitted into another. I could put my hand on anything that was wanted and knew the current state of our naval affairs.” Indeed, Winston not only worked for the Navy, he lived for it. His sense of drama was deeply stirred, for he saw beyond the ships themselves to the broad horizon.

The following extract from The World Crisis reveals how romantically he visualized the charge that had been entrusted to him:

“Consider these ships, so vast in themselves, yet so small, so easily lost to sight on the surface of the waters. Sufficient at the moment, we trusted, for their task, but yet only a score or so. They were all we had. On them, as we conceived, floated the might, majesty, dominion and power of the British Empire. All our long history built up century after century, all our great affairs in every part of the globe, all the means of livelihood and safety for our faithful, industrious, active population, depended upon them.
Open the sea-cocks and let them sink beneath the surface as another Fleet was one day to do in another British harbour far to the North, and in a few minutes, half an hour at the most, the whole outlook of the world would be changed. The British Empire would dissolve like a dream; each isolated community struggling forward by itself; the central power of union broken; mighty provinces, whole Empires in themselves, drifting hopelessly out of control, and falling prey to strangers; and Europe after one sudden convulsion passing into the iron grip of the Teuton and of all that the Teutonic system of Totalitarianism meant.”

With this conception of the Navy’s great role it is not surprising that Churchill was thrilled by his task. He kept his promise to Haldane and worked in the closest co-operation with the military experts. The War Minister quickly overcame his disappointment at not being appointed to the Admiralty himself, and soon wrote to his mother: “Winston and L.G. dined with me last night, and we had a very useful talk. This is now a very harmonious Cabinet. It is odd to think that three years ago I had to fight
these two for every penny for my Army Reform. Winston is full of enthusiasm about the Admiralty, and just as keen as I am on the war staff. It is delightful to work with him. L.G. has also changed his attitude and now is very friendly to your bear, whom he used to call the Minister of Civil Slaughter.”

Lloyd George, however, did not share Winston’s emotional excitement over the danger of Germany. Winston thrived on the drama. He flung himself into the preparations with grim determination but at the same time with a certain exhilaration. Lloyd George, on the other hand, was not convinced that war was inevitable. He insisted that every effort should be made to placate Germany; to remove her grievances, and to try to arrive at a sensible understanding about armaments. He impressed Sir Edward Grey with his arguments and an unofficial emissary was sent to Berlin to contact the Kaiser and pave the way for serious conversations.
The basis of the British point of view was quite simple: Britain had no objection to German military strength or German colonial expansion; but if Germany insisted on rivalling British sea-power, on which the whole security of the British Island depended, a dash would indeed come. The Kaiser sent word that he would be glad to discuss the problem with the British Government, and consequently Lord Haldane was sent to Berlin.

 

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While Haldane was on his mission Churchill went to Glasgow to inspect some shipbuilding works on the Clyde. He picked up an evening newspaper and read a speech by the Kaiser to the Reichstag announcing large increases both in the Army and the Navy. Once again Churchill felt a sensation of approaching danger. A sentence which particularly struck him was this: ‘It is my constant duty and care to maintain and to strengthen on land and water, the power of defence of German people, which has no
lack of young men to bear arms.

Winston Churchill’s ire was roused. He decided that someone should speak publicly, speak plainly and speak now. Consequently he spoke himself in Glasgow the following day saying: “This island, has never been, and never will be, lacking in trained and hardy marines bred from their boyhood up to the service of the sea.”

The Germans did not object to this warning. After all it was tit for tat. But what enraged them was the opening paragraph of Winston’s address: “The purposes of British naval power are essentially defensive. We have no thoughts, and we have never had any thoughts of aggression, and we attribute no such thoughts to other great Powers. There is, however, this difference between the British naval power and the naval power of the great and friendly Empire of Germany. The British Navy is to us a necessity and, from some points of view, the German Navy is to them more in the nature of a luxury. Our naval power involves British existence. It is existence to us; it is expansion to them. . . .’

The word “luxury,” it appeared, had an unfortunate significance when translated into German. “The luxus Flotte,” wrote Churchill, “became an expression passed angrily from lip to lip all the way to the ears of the Kaiser himself.” But the Germans were not only angry — they were shocked. The Kaiser regarded young Churchill as a personal friend. After all, the latter had twice been the monarch’s guest at maneuvers in 1906 and 1909; besides, the Crown Prince had been a fellow visitor with Winston at a weekend house party, and they had even had a pillow fight together. Winston had been one of the leaders of the pacifist wing in England, and had always spoken kindly of Germany. The Kaiser had been delighted when he read of the appointment, and had interpreted it as a triumph for the pro-German element in England. It was as rude an awakening as Lloyd George’s Mansion House speech.

The English were unpredictable indeed…

Winston Churchill’s speech was not only criticized in Germany but also was hugely criticized back at home.

The Government considered it precipitous and rash, and the Tories went around saying, “What can you expect from a fellow like that?” Haldane, however, returned from Germany and declared that it had helped rather than hindered. It had emphasized the very points he had been making. However, as far as the Germans were concerned, it failed to produce the desired result. Germany continued her naval programme and in March Churchill declared that Britain would build two more ships than she had the previous year. He made one more conciliatory gesture: “Suppose we were both to take a naval holiday in 1913 and introduce a blank page into the book of misunderstanding.” This proposal was received by Germany in icy silence. Churchill returned his attention to preparations for war.

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One of Winston’s first tasks at the Admiralty was to create a Naval War Staff in the face of stiff naval opposition. The professional sailors declared that a War Staff would undermine and divide the all-powerful authority of the First Sea Lord, diminishing rather than increasing efficiency. Fisher wrote to a friend on the 7th of November, 1911: “The argument for a War Staff is that you may have a fool as First Sea Lord, and so you put him in commission, as it were.” Churchill, however, had agreed to set up the new Staff and he pushed ahead with his task despite the fact that the First Sea Lord resigned, and the Second, and Third Sea Lords, had to be replaced.

Haldane helped him to work out the plans for the organization but when Winston announced his startling intention of bringing the Naval War Staff directly under himself, a politician, rather than under the First Sea Lord, a sailor, Haldane objected stoutly and won his point.

Despite this concession, many admirals were still far from satisfied. Even though the new body was under the direction of the First Sea Lord they felt that the Chief of the Naval Staff was bound to clash in authority with his superior. Lotd Fisher advised Winston to overcome the difficulty by declaring that the First Sea Lord would automatically become Chief of the Naval Staff, but Churchill did not accept his suggestion. Time proved Fisher right but it was not until Winston had left the Admiralty and Jellicoe had become First Sea Lord that the two offices were combined. Since Lord Fisher’s position was completely unofficial he had no power to alter decisions of high policy. He therefore concerned himself with influencing appointments. Who, for instance, was to command the principal Fleet when war broke out?

Fisher was an ardent supporter of Jellicoe and argued his case strongly with Winston. The latter acted on his recommendation and some idea of Fisher’s triumphant satisfaction may be gleaned from a letter he wrote to a friend: “My two private visits to
Winston were fruitful. I’ll tell you the whole secret of the changes to get Jellicoe Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet prior to October 1914, which is the date of the battle of Armageddon. He will succeed Callaghan automatically in two years from December 1911, so will have all well in hand by the before-mentioned date. “Nunc Dimittis.” Everything revolved around Jellicoe.”

“Nunc Dimittis” indeed, because Lord Fisher’s forecast of the beginning of the war, coming to be correct within two months, gives some idea of the shrewd judgment of the old man.

About the same time that Churchill appointed Jellicoe, he picked the youngest Flag Officer in the Fleet for his private secretary. This was the same naval officer who had moved his gunboat up the Nile in support of the Cavalry Lancers in their charge against the Mahdi’s Dervishes at Omdurman, of Sudan, and indeed it was the same young man who had thrown overboard from the railings, a bottle of champagne towards Winston who caught it from the shore and promptly drunk it with his fellow soldiers. His name was David Beatty, and before World War I had ended, he had succeeded to Jellicoe’s command.

Lord Fisher approved of Beatty, but he did not approve of several other important appointments that Churchill made on his own initiative. In fact, he was furious. He wrote to Winston in heated indignation and announced that their relations were at an end: “I consider, you have betrayed the Navy by these three appointments, and what the pressure could have been to induce you to betray your trust, is beyond my comprehension.”

With that he packed his bags and left for Naples, Italy to vacation at his Mediterranean villa…

Winston behaved almost like a jilted lover, a lovelorn suitor, or like an abandoned fiancé waiting at the altar… He immediately started sending a stream of seriously strong and emotionally charged letters begging Fisher to return. Then he badgered him with requests for his advice on this matter and that, and got other people to do the same.
Fisher remained obdurate. Finally Churchill went after him. It so happened that the Prime Minister had agreed to accompany Winston through his tours throughout
the Mediterranean sea in the Admiralty yacht with the object of visiting Kitchener in Egypt, where the latter was serving as British Agent and Consul-General, and talking over problems of strategy. When the conversations finished, Churchill headed for Naples, and Asquith reinforced all of the various stratagems, and Winston Churchill’s pleas, for the old man to return. Still Lord Fisher remained adamant. Then Churchill employed feminine subtlety. On Sunday morning they all went to the English service. In the middle of the sermon the chaplain looked at Fisher, and said solemnly: “No man possessing all his powers and full of vitality has any right to say: “I am now going to rest, as I have had a hard life,” for he owes a duty to his country and fellow men.” With this last straw, finally Lord Fisher relented, and returned to England, and the powerful, official combine, went into action once again.

Considering the fact that both men were pugnacious, opinionated and autocratic — some  quarrels were to be expected. What is surprising however, is the unusual feat that their alliance worked as well as it did.

The two most formidable decisions taken by the Churchill-Fisher combine, were first, to advance the navy’s guns, from the thirteen-point-five-inch gun to the fifteen-inch, and second, to change the entire Navy over from coal to oil.

These innovations took place during 1912-13. At this time a fifteen-inch gun had not even been designed. Yet there was no time to test it. A valuable year would have been lost. On the other hand, if the ships would not stand the stress of these guns firing their hell heaving blazes — the British Royal Navy, could have become a ghastly fiasco. However, the experts all assured Churchill that the gun would work well with the ships, and declared that they were ready to stake their professional careers upon it; and Lord Fisher urged Churchill forward with passionate insistence. “What was it that enabled Jack Johnson to knockout his opponents?” he argued. “It was the Big Punch. Winston went ahead with the changes, and as the Germans were soon to learn — the result was more than satisfactory.”

The new guns led to the change-over from coal to oil. Striking power, Fisher declared, was not enough. Speed was absolutely essential, and ships run with diesel oil, gave a large advantage of speed and maneuverability through reaching flank speed way faster, over those that were sailing with coal. Furthermore they had another greater advantage, because they could be refueled, at sea through the oilers. Of course, the obvious disadvantage, and serious drawback to the whole idea of modernizng the fleet, was the fact that Britain produced coal and not oil, and all the Coal industrialists as well as the politicians from the coal producitng regions, along with the moneyed Colliers, and their wealthy Bankers, were agitating against the “Change.”

Still, Churchill as the First Lord of the Admiralty, listened to all the sides politely, and pondered over the difficulties, of the “Change,” while once again Lord Fisher pressed him furiously on. In order to  deflect unwanted attention, and in order to manage the whole “Change” of the fleet’s “energy dynamics” affair diplomatically — Winston set up a Royal Commission on Oil Supply and appointed the old man Fisher, as it’s chairman. The final outcome was foresworn to come in his favor and thus Winston’s foregone conclusion of modernization of the Fleet, came through, and was soon followed by a long term contract with the Anglo-Persian Oil Company which, for an initial investment of 2,000,000, later increased to 5,000,000, secured the necessary oil and gave the Government a controlling share in oil properties which increased their value many hundred-fold over time. Indeed in 1951 this same winsome British interest became the subject of dangerous controversy…

Because the new guns and the change-over to oil, involved enormous expense. Winston Churchill’s Naval Estimates presented to the Cabinet at the end of 1913 were the highest in British history, and the highest in the world. The figure was over 50,000,000 pounds. The Cabinet gasped, and for the first time since Lloyd George and Churchill had been colleagues in the same Government, they found themselves desperately opposed to one another. Each threatened to resign unless the other gave way…

The relationship between Lloyd George and Churchill altered during the years 1911 and 1912. The two men remained staunch friends but the political affinity ended. No longer did they fasten on their armour and walk out to do battle on the same ground. They stood firmly together over the Agadir incident, but when the crisis faded, Churchill was a different man.

He could not turnback to domestic affairs. His interest in reform the local insurance or the homefront banking system, had evaporated. And indeed, he no longer found it amusing to bait the Lords, the rich landlords, or the errant banker-wankers.

Yet Lloyd George had the opposite reaction…

As soon as the Agadir incident’s German scare, and the threat of imminent war, had passed — he returned eagerly to the battle on the home front. How could the destruction of war compare for excitement with the construction of peace?
As Chancellor of the Exchequer he had a finger in every pie, and 1911-12 were full years. They were the years of the stormy Parliament Bill, of the railway strike, the dock strike and the coal strike, and indeed were the years of growing violence in the suffrage movement; of a new Home Rule Bill and of a Welsh Disestablishment Bill; and most importantly of all — the years of Lloyd George’s greatest triumph the National Health Insurance Act. This was the first step towards the NHS, the Health Service that exists in Britain today and its initiation aroused as much furious opposition among the doctors and the Tories as its successor did in 1946. The Insurance Act operated by both
employers and employees contributing to weekly “stamps.” Punch ran a cartoon with an angry Duchess exclaiming: “What! Me lick stamps!” and a correspondent, in a letter to the Daily Mail, declared: “If the Insurance Bill becomes law it will be advisable for us to leave England.” Does that remind you of anything going on today, when upon the huge electoral victory and the convening of the Trump administration — all the shallow & errant celebrities of Hollywood along with the doyens of television, and all that flimsy entertainment culture, threaten to leave the Country, yet stay back to enjoy the economic surge, the increases in national security, and the national pride advancements, made possible only through his steady hand.

Still back in the day, Lloyd George was puzzled and a little irritated that Winston was unable to arouse any enthusiasm over these exciting measures. He told Mrs Masterman that Churchill was taking “less and less part in home politics, and getting more and more absorbed in boilers.”

This was true of Winston…

Indeed, he could never take up a subject without overflowing, and focusing into it to an exclusive degree, thus solving intractable problems that had bedeviled other lesser leaders for decades. He stayed with the problem and it’s potential solutions, far longer than any other man and he also worked more than any living breathing soul. Sadly this was a fact, which most of his colleagues objected strongly, exactly because they were the lesser men, who preferred the banter and the good times at the Public house or at the Parliament’s club rooms, to the lonely pursuits of one’s study hall rigors. As it turns out, even Lloyd George complained, that Winston would bear down on him saying: “Look here, David, I want to talk to you,” and then he would “declaim for the rest of the morning about his blasted ships.”

Lloyd George once told him in a reproving voice: “You have become a water creature Winston. Do You think we all live in the sea? Why are all your thoughts devoted to sea life, fishes and other aquatic creatures? You seem to forget that most of us live on land.”

But Winston helped significantly, and also worked hard, on the Insurance bill. Indeed he worked the subject, and spoke to people about it tirelessly, and he succeeded, and thus the friendship survived, while each man marched along his own particular path. Lloyd George still regarded the landed proprietors of the large estates, as sworn enemies of society. One time, he declared: “The land, is still shackled with the chains of feudalism, and he began to formulate a Land Act that would revive agriculture; fix rents and tenures; tackle housing and promote slum clearance.
He announced, that “The squire is God, the parson, the agent, the gamekeeper — these are his priests. The pheasants, the hares these are the sacred birds and beasts of the tabernacle.” Lloyd George was just getting under way when the “Marconi scandal” broke, which, as it turned out, proved no scandal at all. Much like the Russia, Russia, Russia, cries of the deluded Mass Media of the United States today — back then it was all Marconi this, and Marconi that, and it all ended up, being a rather wet squib. The whole story, was that the Tories claimed that Lloyd George, and two other Liberal Ministers, had used inside knowledge to gamble in Marconi wireless company shares and their insider trading had returned sizable profits.
The House of Commons set up an inquiry which found that (a) the Ministers held very few shares, (b) they had indeed made themselves a nice fat loss, and not a profit. They had done nothing dishonourable, and the worst they could be accused of was stupidity and indiscretion, if they had had prior knowledge of the stock movements and couldn’t see their way straight to put it to their advantage… Imagine that… The liberals rigging the system, and then falling foul of it. It’s a bit like the story of Hillary Clinton rigging the elections with the help of the DNC, and their head, one non entity from Florida, named Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who couldn’t see a scandal she wouldn’t pipe smoke.  These fine specimen’s of corrupt politicians, with the help of the Obama administration, had rigged the Elections of 2016 tight, in favor of the Deplorable Queen Hillary Clinton, and then suffering from a serious case of premature ejaculation, had pulled the trigger early and had wasted their ammunition by stealing the primary from uncle Dufus Bernie Sanders, thus attacking their own loyal sheepdog, and then were left naked for the General Election. So as the general election of 2016 rolled over, the corrupt Dems were found, bent over, with their panties down around their ankles, and here comes the big white hunter… and the rest is History.

Still in the days of the non existent Marconi scandal — Winston stood by Lloyd George
firmly, and honorably throughout the whole ordeal. And when it was over, and the winds had shifted — the National Liberal Club gave a fancy dinner in honor of the three pilloried Ministers. As usual, Winston arrived at the club late, found the door locked, and had to climb through the pantry window, to gain admittance. He made it on time to miss the food, but he still had ample drink, and gave a dramatic and rousing speech, declaring that these men “had been vilely and damnably ill-treated in our cause, and for our sake. The whole agitation, had been concocted by the polecats of politics.”

Same as today’s agitation about the Russia – Russia – Russia fake news scandal about the rigged elections is an attempt by the Democrats to cover their own Election Rigging machinations that cost them dearly, and will continue to cost them as more and more cases of Electoral fraud committed by the Democrats in States like New Hamshire, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and California. These Election rigging scandals of 2016, are uncovered daily now and they are going to determine the elections of 2018 and beyond… These political polecats of today, like the Obama and the Clinton corruption machinists of the Democratic party, are dangerous because they do the bidding of our enemies that seek to tear us apart.

Yet back in the British Politics of England’s pre-war days, the friendship between these two leaders of men, Loyd George and Winston Churchill, continued steadfastly, in spite of vicissitudes and differing opinions. Then came Winston’s huge Naval Estimates, and for the first time LG’s loyalty underwent a severe strain. Lloyd George needed all the revenue he could raise for his social reforms, and he didn’t want to spend it adrift at sea, equipping the greatest fleet in the World — the Royal Navy, especially in what he now regarded as becalmed weather…

Besides, he did not believe in big ships.

He took the view, which had some important naval support, that destroyers and light cruisers were just as effective as dreadnoughts and far less costly. Also, Winston had made a bargain with him over expenditure, and had not kept it. Winston, on the
other hand, refused to budge. “L.G. is accustomed to deal with people who can be bluffed and frightened, but I am not to be bluffed and frightened.” he told a friend. “He says that some of the Cabinet will resign. Let them resign…”

As the weeks passed, the situation became more and more critical for neither man would give way. Each said he would rather resign. Early in January Lloyd George gave an astonishing interview to the Daily Chronicle, calling for a reduction in armaments on the grounds that the international sky had never been “more perfectly blue.” Lord Riddell, a newspaper proprietor who was a close friend of both, recorded the following excerpts
in his Diary: 17 January, 1913: Lloyd George said: “The P.M. must choose between Winston and me … We now ascertain for the first time that Winston has exceeded the estimates by no less than 5,000,000 quid. That is gross extravagance … I am not a “little Navy” man. I don’t want to reduce the Navy. I only want reasonable economy. I am not fighting about that.”

LG went on: “Winston says he can make no more reductions. The truth is he is not a
Liberal. He does not understand Liberal sentiment.”

On 18th of January: Winston Churchill said: “I don’t know how long I shall be here at the Admiralty. The position is acute. I cannot make further economies. I cannot go back on my public declarations. L.G. will find the Cabinet with me. The P.M. is committed to the expenditure up to the hilt. I can make no further concessions. I cannot agree to the concealment of the actual figures. I think, I know the English people. The old Cromwellian spirit still survives. I believe I am watched over. Think of the perils I have
escaped.”

Lord Riddell then inserted in the diary: “L.G., as I have already recorded, believes the same about himself. If there is a row it will be interesting to see which guardian angel is stronger.”

Churchill played every card he possessed. He let it be known that: “My resignation would be accompanied by that of all four Sea Lords.” He also allowed a rumour to spread that he was considering rejoining the Conservative Party, and he hinted at a compromise with the Tories over Home Rule. The Liberals took fright and a few weeks later Winston and Lloyd George reached a compromise which, although it saved L.G.’S face, was, in fact, a triumph for Winston. The latter agreed to knock 1,000,000 off, from his 52,000,000 Bill; and Lloyd George agreed to remain in the Government.

A politician can afford to be hated by the Opposition; but he cannot run the risk of alienating too many members of his own side. Churchill was still vehemently distrusted by the Tories. Although they approved of his naval programme — they continued to regard him as unscrupulous and dangerous. Until the moment he had become First Lord of the Admiralty he had opposed the Naval Estimates; now, they said, when he thought
he could reap personal glory he was in favour of them. The magazine “World” called him a “boneless wonder” for his change of policy. An epithet which Winston was to employ effectively against Ramsay MacDonald some years later.

Churchill ignored the Tory attack, but he regarded the rising feeling against him among the Radical section of his own party with concern. The Radicals objected strongly to his increased naval expenditure. More and more it was being said that he was ‘not a Liberal. Largely to appease Radical sentiment Winston decided to fling himself into the Irish con-
troversy. The Asquith Government was dependent on the votes of the eighty-four Irish Nationalist Members of Parliament for its majority; consequently it had pledged itself to introduce a Home Rule Bill This Bill was popular with the Radicals, so Churchill took up the cause.

For over thirty years the passionate affairs of Ireland, with their almost insuperable difficulties, had occupied the attention of successive British Governments. The Catholic South did not wish to be ruled from Westminster despite the fact that they were represented in the Westminster Parliament by their eighty-four Members; they insisted that Dublin should have its own Parliament, and furthermore, and here the insoluble element came in, that Dublin should rule a united Ireland including the Protestants of the North. Ulster rebelled furiously. “Home Rule” they declared, was “Rome rule.” They loudly emphasized their “Loyalty” to British authority, culture, and nationhood of the United Kingdom.

It is important to recall that many years before Winston came to Parliament, in the latter years of his life Gladstone the most effervescent of Prime Ministers, twice attempted to bring in a Home Rule for Ireland, but on both occasions he was defeated in Parliament. Lord Randolph Churchill had played a strong and leading part in the opposition, declaring that “Ulster will fight; and Ulster will be right.”

Then for some years the “sleeping dog” slept fitfully, but then came the elections of 1910 which gave Asquith’s Liberals a majority only with the votes of the eighty-four Irish Nationalists. The price demanded of him was a third attempt at a Home Rule Bill. At once
the Irish question was brought into the arena of Party politics. The Liberals drew up the Bill, yet the Conservatives opposed it to a man. It did not come to pass…

Now Winston Churchill played a leading part in the controversy, and in one of the most brilliant performances of his career, piloted the second reading of the Bill through the House of Commons. When Lord Randolph Churchill’s dictum was flung back at him — Winston denounced it, as one dictum, from which “every street bully with a brickbat and every crazy fanatic fumbling with a pistol, may draw inspiration,” having finally attained his political maturity, he no longer felt that he needed to defend his stepfather. Especially having by now found out who his real father was, and also having properly seen the cracks in Sir Randolph’s reasoning… due no doubt to his step father’s diseased and syphilitic brain.

Yet this clarity of realizations, didn’t stop Winston from falling prey to the dark forces in February of 1912, when he plunged into the hornet nest itself headlong, by making a daring speech in Belfast, the capital of Ulster. The Irishmen refused to let him speak in the Ulster Hall, saying they would smash up the meeting, so he hired a marquee and addressed a huge open air meeting. Ten thousand troops were sent out to keep order, and the story was circulated that: “If Mrs Churchill had not accompanied her husband, the “Orangemen,” would have thrown Winston Churchill into the river.”

Indeed there were many serious plots against his life as assassination attempts were made, yet they were all thwarted by the overwhelming show of force, from the deployment, of the Ten Thousand troops, all armed with bayonet rifles, itching to shoot to kill, as they eagerly pushed the protesters back through their bayonets… But Winston Churchill was unafraid of taking extraordinary risks. He thrived in these, and since he believed that he was somehow watched and protected through his abundant “Faith” in Christ, the Redeemer — he survived this journey into the valley of death, and into the arms of his haters, quite well.

At the same time, the House of Commons was also the scene of wild confusion. Once a debate grew so stormy that an Ulsterman picked up the Speaker’s manual on parliamentary procedure and flung it at Winston’s head. It reached its target and Churchill had to be restrained by force from returning the blow. The next day the offender apologized handsomely and Winston assured him that: “I have not, nor have I, at any time, any personal feelings in the matter, and if I had any personal feelings, the observations I thought proper to address to the House, would have effectually removed them.”

The strife of party politics in Westminster was steadily fanning the flames of Irish discord. In the middle of 1912 Bonar Law, the Conservative leader, made an astonishing declaration which amounted to an incitement to civil war. “Ireland is two nations. The Ulster people will submit to no ascendancy, and I can imagine no lengths of resistance to
which they might go in which they would not be supported by the overwhelming majority of the British people.”

Meanwhile, Sir Edward Carson, a former Conservative Minister and now the accepted leader of the Northern Irish, was making fiery speeches in Belfast. In the summer of
1913, Carson held a monster rally and opened enlistments for the “Ulster volunteers” and by the end of the year the volunteers had grown to one hundred thousand men. “Gun running” in open and full defiance of the law, began to take place. Before the winter was over, rifles and ammunition were being offered only too willingly, by Germany, trying to split the United Kingdom apart. This is the same tactic that is employed by Germany today when they aim to split Scotland and Northern Ireland from Great Britain and from the United Kingdom on the issue of BREXIT, hoping to force back the hand of the British voters to the fanged hands of the Berlin Brussels totalitarian European Union combine, ruled by the deep state fascists of Germany’s old men who were once part of the Hitler youth, and still harbor the same faulty ideology of “Deutchland-Uber-Alles.”

It is worth recalling that Deutschland Über Alles (Germany Above All Else) was Germany’s National Anthem from 1922-1945, when she was under the German Socialist Party leadership of one Adolf Hitler…

Yet back to our protagonist now, one of the most extraordinary aspects of his turmoil was that while Churchill was playing a leading role on the Home Rule side, his most intimate friend, F. E. Smith, was a prominent figure on the Ulster front of Northern Ireland. As it was back then, that F.E. was Sir Edward Carson’s right hand man, and he was making vehement speeches to the Northerners of Ulster, to hold their ground whatever the price might be. Looking back at these events now — it is perplexing “How the friendship of the two men survived such a crisis.” Because what is most perplexing, is that one is driven to the conclusion that neither was emotionally involved in the affair, but both were playing politics, and thus both remained true friends, but unalloyed politicians. However, in this instance, it was only Winston who secured his main objective, because in the heat of the Irish controversy, his Naval Estimates for the Royal Fleet’s improvements, were all passed by the House of Parliament, with surprisingly little opposition from any quarters since everyone was lost in the Irish debacle…

Yet in March of 1914, the Irish events began to move towards a climax. PM Asquith forced the Irish Nationalists in the House of Commons to agree to a plan which would enable the Northern Counties to vote themselves out of the Home Rule Bill until two British General Elections had taken place. If the Conservatives won either of these, they could amend the Bill to their liking. The Tories, however, turned down the idea flat, and a few days later Churchill, who had worked hard for the Clause excluding Ulster, made a speech at Bradford in which he said: “There are worse things than bloodshed . . . We are not going to have the realm of Britain sunk to the condition of the Republic of Mexico.”

Then he made a move which nearly had fatal and terrible consequences. In collaboration with his friend and colleague, Colonel Seely, who had succeeded Haldane as Secretary of State for War, he worked out a plan by which the British Army would occupy all munition dumps and arsenals, and all strategic positions in Ulster. A flotilla was ordered to Lamlash where it lay ready to transport troops to Belfast, if the railways refused to carry them.

Churchill declares in his book, “The World Crisis” that this scheme was evolved to protect the Army stores in Northern Ireland, in case civil war broke out at the same time that war with Germany was declared. However, many historians do not accept this version, any more than the Tories did at the time.

One historian, Halev describes the move as “nothing less than a plan of campaign against Northern Ireland.” Needless to say, the action aroused a storm of fury. The British Army contained many officers and men of Ulster origin. General Gough, in command of a cavalry brigade at the Curragh in Ireland, resigned rather than carry out the order, and was immediately replaced. The following day Lloyd George spoke warningly: “We are confronted with the gravest issue raised in this country since the days of the Stuarts. Representative government in this land is at stake … I am here this afternoon on behalf of the British Government to say this to you. They mean to confront this defiance of popular liberties, with a most resolute, unwavering determination whatever the hazard may be.”

But during the twenty-four hours following Clough’s resignation nearly all the British officers of the two cavalry brigades at the Curragh had resigned in sympathy with the General. Asquith saw that the Government was facing a large-scale mutiny unless an immediate retraction was made. He announced in Parliament that a military campaign against Ulster had never been intended. General Gough was hurriedly reinstated and given a written assurance by War Minister Seely that Ulster would not be coerced by force.

These actions were described in the Unionist Press as a “complete surrender” and, although they pacified the Conservatives, they threw the Liberal Party into a storm of anger. Northern Ireland, declared the Liberals furiously, must be made to comply. The Prime Minister had now jumped from the frying pan into the fire. In a prevaricating speech he told the House of Commons that the pledge given to Gough had not received
the assent of the Cabinet. Then, in order to produce a scapegoat, he accepted Colonel Seely’s resignation and took over the War Office himself.

PM Asquith’s parliamentary statement about Gough, was in effect a repudiation of the promise that Seeley had given to the General, but the latter was not “officially” informed of what had happened and calmly remained at his post. Thus the almost unbelievably muddled events of March 1914 dragged on. A month later forty thousand rifles and a million cartridges were distributed throughout Northern Ireland. They had come from
Hamburg and the rifles were all German manufacture “Mausers.”

This is similar to today’s “Troubles” in America where the agents of our Enemies, are paying and arming the domestic terrorist groups like “Antifa” and others, and how George Soros, the Wall Street financier of Hillary Clinton and of the Obama regime, and their dastardly company are paying folding money to all the no good idiots, who are masquerading as virulent and violent demonstrators, destroying property and trashing America with money that originates from Beijing, in order to cause mayhem, that will tear us apart, and to force division through race, creed, ideology, and to perhaps effect secession of the Western states from the Union of these sacred United States. And even though we remain United, one has to admit that the salubrious criminal combine of the Dems, with the BLM, the Antifa, and the Militant Jihadist front covering for the Feminists, and for the Women — all combine to do the work of the Enemies of our Country that seek to tear us apart for their own benefit. And they may not be successful right now, but at the very least, they have managed to undermine the work and the strength of the Federal government, and they have fostered troublesome divisions throughout the land, as they are quietly arming North Korea with Nuclear weapons and advanced ICBM Missile systems that target American cities and American naval bases like Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, and Guam, all around the Pacific, that the resurgent Chinese are now seeing as their own exclusive zone of influence — in order to be able to ostensibly claim “deniability” when the nuclear missiles start flying from Pyongyang and the Third World War starts in earnest…

And it is beyond anyone’s comprehension, why the Democrats have aligned themselves with the Islamics as Hillary Clinton and Obama did to their own chagrin. Now they must rue the day they chose to campaign with the representatives of Islam against the wishes of the vast Christian sentiment this Civilized American Christian nation carries i the folds of our Hearts. Indeed all American understand that Christianity and Western Civilization  is what makes our Republic what it is and if we can keep it — it would largely be dependent upon our Christian beliefs…

This has to be true as we are daily reminded of the dastardly designs of our enemies that spread terror like they did on 9/11 and in so many other instances of hatred and naked religious intolerance and abuse of our freedoms.

We have zealous enemies and are all fanatical zealots of hate, rancor, and self abuse.

Add to that the Arabs who have been financing and executing a huge building program of mosques and medresses across America, with the stated aim of having upwards of 100,000 mosques built all across our Christian country, and they also do this by recruiting Islamic terrorists and other hapless females in order to cow us into submission, and thus enforce Sharia law in the United States regardless of the caveats of the Constitution that were placed there for exactly that purpose. And of course they also finance Islamic Terrorism worldwide, that is also seeking to destroy American military might, in their cultural zones of influence, under the hope of recreating the infamous Islamic Caliphate that will launch us all back into the Stone Age of the Flat Earth believers, of women being treated the same as barnyard animals, and of all infidel females being enslaved and treated as sex slaves, traded in bazaars, and in the courtyards of the mosques… As for the LGBT and various effeminate men and the butch lesbian women, the Islamic leaders say that gay people do not exist in Islamic countries. Maybe Islam does not see gay people, because they have been eliminated, decapitated, or been thrown from the roof, and stoned on the public streets, and in the public squares of the villages, the towns, and the cities, of this amazing religion of Peace, that makes whole classes of different people disappear…

But we digress, because we are all well aware of the shortcomings, and the plans of our enemies, and of the designs they have against America, and against the whole of the Christian Western Civilization World. And unlike the Clinton/Obama Democrats that were all appeasing these hateful enemies of our country — we now recognize the threat and at the very least the current administration of President Donald Trump, will no doubt manage to squash like mosquitos, all of these dark forces of the evil religion of Islam, that preaches hate and murder, while at the same time masquerading as the religion of Peace.

 

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If anything President Trump will outwit all of these inimical fascist idiots, and with the help of many sufficiently intelligent military men of note, such as General Mattis, and all the others who work with him in the White House — we could clearly say, as President Donald Trump said today about our enemies, same as back in the day Winston Churchill had written in his book “The World Crisis” that: “It is astonishing, that high German Intelligence agents reported, and German statesmen believed, that England was paralysed by warring factions, and drifting towards civil war, and thus need not be taken into account as a factor, in the European situation.”

Yet it was in the European Continent, and specifically in the Balkans, and not in England, that the situation was spiraling fast downwards amidst fractious infighting and division. And if we come to be intellectually curious and visionaries, and we look at the European continent as a whole, in an imaginary and fantastical sense, as a Union of federated nation states — then we can detect a distinct pattern. Because as the European Union of today seems to represent and want to appear under that image of a quasi benevolent European Union under Germany — then we can see both the First and the Second World War, as in some way being the Civil Wars of the European Continent, and then spilling outside to include old England too…

Regardless the continental issues, at the time, the English King summoned a conference of the leaders of the two factions vying for supremacy o the issue of Ireland, to meet and come together at the Buckingham Palace to resolve the issue, but after three days of negotiations, amidst all day and all night meetings, a mutually acceptable impasse was the only thing that was reached.

Both parties were gutted, and the participants heartbroken, but the news of the failed resolution also caused distant heartbreak, and violent rioting broke out in Dublin, where thousands of men started flocking to join the Irish Nationalist Volunteers…

Then suddenly an event occurred in the Continent, which swung British attention from the anxieties of Ireland, and riveted it permanently on the European scene.

 

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On June 28th 1914, Franz Ferdinand the Archduke of Austria, and Sophie his young wife, were touring the Balkan capital of Bosnia, Sarajevo, in an open car, with surprisingly little security, when Serbian paid terrorist Gavrilo Princip shot them both at close range causing their death and tearing the fabric of Peace in Europe, by adding a horrible tear in the space time continnium of our Peaceful Universe, and unleashing the demonic forces of war and bloodshed.

These are the “predawn” events of what came to be called the First Great War. Known to us today as World War version One…

In this event that is widely acknowledged to have sparked the outbreak of World War I, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was shot to death, along with his wife by a paid Serbian terrorist on the high street of Sarajevo, Bosnia, on the overly hot day of June 28th, of 1914.

 

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It is telling that many years earlier, the great Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck, the man most responsible for the unification of Germany in 1871, was quoted as saying towards the end of his life, that: “One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.”

History went on exactly as he had predicted…

The archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand, traveled to Sarajevo in June 1914 to inspect the imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Ottoman territories in the turbulent Balkan region, that were annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908 to the indignation of Serbian nationalists, who believed they should become part of the newly independent and ambitious Serbian nation. The date scheduled for his visit, June 28, coincided with the anniversary of the First Battle of Kosovo in 1389, in which medieval Serbia was defeated by the Turks. Despite the fact that Serbia did not truly lose its independence until the Second Battle of Kosovo in 1448, June 28th was a day of great significance to Serbian nationalists, and one on which they could be expected to take exception to a demonstration of Austrian imperial strength in Bosnia.

June 28th was also Franz Ferdinand’s wedding anniversary. His beloved wife, Sophie, was now firmly and openly by his side traveling together in Bosnia — something she could not do in Austria, as a former lady-in-waiting. Indeed back home, she was denied royal status in Austria, due to her birth as a poor Czech aristocrat, and so denied were the couple’s children. In Bosnia, however, due to its status in limbo, since it was an annexed territory — Sophie could appear beside the Archduke, at all official proceedings.

 

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On June 28th 1914, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were touring Sarajevo in an open car, with surprisingly little security, when Serbian terrorist Nedjelko Cabrinovic, threw a bomb at their car. Luckily, the bomb overshot the cabin, and hit the back and rolled off the rear of the vehicle, and fairly harmlessly exploded. There was of course a wounded officer, and some bystanders who were near the blast, but the Royal couple escaped unharmed.

 

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What processed them to continue touring that day is beyond me and apparently beyond anyone else’s comprehension in the Quiet Services of Intelligence, Military, or State Security. Still the lucky couple thought that they had escaped the assassination and erroneously reasoning that nobody gets killed twice n the same day — they went on with their planned appearances, as if they were invincible.

Yet the fates had decreed otherwise, because later that day, on the way to visit the hospital where the bomb blast injured officer was treated — the archduke’s procession took a wrong turn at the junction of Appel quay & Franzjosefstrasse, where one of the bomber’s terrorist cohorts, the 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, happened to be loitering on a street corner, whereupon seeing his opportunity, he seized his gun and fired into the open car, shooting Franz Ferdinand and Sophie at point-blank range on the chest.

 

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The terrorist Princip, that after long diligence of many years, today we have come to know that he was an unwitting cog in the German military machine, and in the pay of their agents working quietly in Serbia. It was these German agents that had recruited and had paid the terrorist leader Nedjelko Cabrinovic who had paid, armed, and trained the hapless Princip. Still on this day of the double imperial assassination, Gavrilo Princip, saw his bullets lodged squarely in the chest of the Archduke and staining crimson the blue tunic of the Archduke and the dress of his wife, and he then turned the gun on his head, but was prevented from shooting himself and thus committing suicide, by a bystander who threw himself upon the young assassin and disarmed him. Immediately an angry mob of bystanders and onlookers attacked Princip, who was subsequently subdued, and wrestled away by the police.

Meanwhile, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie lay fatally wounded in their open limousine, as it rushed towards the hospital in order to seek help and medical treatment, but upon arrival they were both pronounced dead…

 

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The assassination of Franz-Ferdinand and Sophie set off a rapid chain of events, since Austria-Hungary, like many other countries around the world, blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the question of Slav nationalism once and for all.

 

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As Russia supported Serbia, an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm, that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention – which would likely involve Russia’s ally, France, and possibly Britain as well. On July 28th the Austro-Hungarian empire declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe’s great powers collapsed.

 

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Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had all lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun in earnest.

Because back then, similarly to what is going on today — Serbia and Bosnia were seething, while the multiethnic City of Sarajevo was readying to receive the Austrian Archduke for a visit to his newly acquired subjects…just four weeks prior to this, an angry young Serbian nationalist man, who was strongly ideologically charged, had assassinated the heir to the Austrian throne.

Of course if on the 24th of July the Austrians had not sent Serbia the ultimatum which amounted to annexation — things might have taken a different turn and Peace could have endured for a few more months, if not years.

As things stood now — the curtain rose for another Great War — what is today known as the carnage of World War I.

 

To be continued:


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