The Last Cards

In the spring of 1918, the Germans launched Operation Michael, a well designed offensive against the Allies, specifically designed to knockout the British Expeditionary Force in France. It was assumed, correctly, that the British were exhausted from the previous year’s battles. The Germans had close to a million fresh troops from the Eastern Front to throw at the British. The plan was to punch a hole in the lines and then surround the BEF in Flanders.

After the war, historians would call the German offensive the “final card” in the story of the Great War. The Germans had run out of options for winning the war. This was their last card they could play in order to go to the peace table as an equal. This spring offensive was going to be the great last gamble to force the Allies to the peace table and get a good deal from the process. If it failed, then all would be lost as the German people, as well as the German army, were close to collapse.

The funny thing about this phase of the war is that in retrospect, there was no way this could work as the Germans imagined. They had developed new tactics for punching through the lines and avoiding the meat grinder offensives of the past, but they lacked the mobility to exploit it. The role of cavalry had yet to be replaced by tanks and and armored personnel carriers. A retreating Allied army would have to be chased on foot and the German Army was starving.

One of the great things about the First World War is it has something for everyone. The Marxists had their take. The fascists, of course, had their interpretation. Americans have largely forgotten about it because we have been taught that history started in 1938. The lesson I have always thought most important is that old ideas, old ways of doing things and old systems for organizing people do not go away quietly. They have to be broken on the wheel of reality, before they are consigned to the past.

By the Battle of the Frontiers, the military planners on both sides should have known there would be no quick end to the war as the technology had outstripped their military strategies. Machine guns made cavalry useless. Barbed wire and trenches made infantry useless. The only result from an attack would be thousands instantly killed or wounded, with maybe a small advance into enemy territory. Yet, they continued doing what they were doing, battle after battle for four years.

Another lesson of the Great War is that as the old system or organizing Europe murdered itself, it often looked strong, when it was crumbling. The Russian Czar appeared to be fully in control of his country, at least to outsiders, until the moment his train to Petrograd was stopped by a group of disloyal troops. The German offensive in 1918 had General Haig, the commander of the BEF, convinced they should sue for peace as the Germans were too strong to resist. Six months later, the German Army was broken at the Second Battle of the Marne in August 1918.

All of this came to mind reading this story about how Brussels is ordering the British press to stop reporting Muslim terrorism. They issued a report basically ordering the British government to pass new laws to control the press. They make “23 recommendations for changes to criminal law, the freedom of the press, crime reporting and equality law.”  It’s as if they are unaware that Brexit happened. Instead, they are just going about their business as if the events happening outside their windows are not happening at all.

The EU, of course, is a solution to the past. More precisely, it is what the Europeans wish they had done before the Great War, believing it would have prevented all of it. Like all solutions to past mistakes, it is wildly miscast for the present. That does not bother the Eurocrats. They are convinced their way is correct and they run forward, head down, into the block wall of reality. It is precisely this sort of stuff that led a majority of Brits to vote their nation out of the project, but facts and events play no role in EU thinking.

Like the military planners during the Great War, the modern Eurocrats have no compassion for their people. They are just resources to be used for the project. The reason the press reports on Muslim terrorism, is because Europe now has a serious exploding Mohamed problem. That problem was created by the EU and its member governments, specifically the Germans. That’s of no concern to the EU. The project must continue, regardless of the body count.

I like comparing the present to the period before the Great War because the points of comparison are many, even if we live in a technological age that feels like a world away. The people in charge of the world a century ago were just as certain as today’s rulers. They clung just as hard to their modes of thought, their plans for the future and their organizational methods. They were wrong about most everything and they murdered 17 million people learning this lesson, not including what came next as a result of their errors.

That of course is why stories like that one out of Brussels gets my attention. The utter lack of regard for the people, the blind fidelity to a way of viewing the world, is always at the core of large scale human suffering. Whether it is the French Revolution or the Great War, the story is always the same. The people in charge were wildly mistaken and it is their people who paid the price. Looking around at our callous and detached rulers, one can’t help but feel a sense of foreboding.

It will not end well.

 

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Solomon Honeypickle IV
Guest
Solomon Honeypickle IV

But it will end, and soon.

Also, first!

Toddy Cat
Guest
Toddy Cat

“The utter lack of regard for the people, the blind fidelity to a way of viewing the world, is always at the core of large scale human suffering” Very true, and of course, this was at the heart of Communism’s massive body count of between 60 – 100 million dead. Human beings were always just fodder for The Plan, and any setbacks were ascribed to “Wreckers”, “Traitors”, and “Capitalist Roaders”; to ascribe any blame to the ideology itself was totally out of bounds, which is why Communism could never really be reformed, only collapse. Since our own ruling class is… Read more »

Samuel Adams
Guest
Samuel Adams

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to rewire or do an end around on heuristics that evolved for a completely different set of circumstances. In business, it is why companies fail. Everyone just tries to do the same thing…only harder, but never see that the problem is new and “harder” is just a faster path to demise.

Striver
Guest
Striver

The monarchy of that time were the equivalent of the Cloud People of today, and the Russian Czar family in particular. They thought that the existing order is the only one possible, natural and perpetual, like gravity, and would go on forever and always. Instead, the tender-aged princesses ended up getting their introduction to sexuality from a rough version of Kama Sutra drawn on the walls of the outhouse they shared with their Red Guards in the period leading to their execution, and featuring their mother and Rasputin in the main roles. So much for the “gravity”. But the real… Read more »

J Clivas
Guest

Do you include the British monarchy in your analysis?

Striver
Guest
Striver

All these monarchies were united in their complete disregard for the lives of their subjects. The British Royals didn’t seem to have any problem with sending millions into the WWI grinder, even watching their mid-nobility sacrifice themselves there needlessly. They were all playing the same game of expansionism. Also, consider them wasting tens of thousands of troops to snuff out the Boers, only to abandon that project later on with what seemed like little remorse. Even today, how can they look upon what’s happening to their nation and think “Yep, everything is splendid, the country is on the right course!”.… Read more »

Solomon Honeypickle IV
Guest
Solomon Honeypickle IV

Uh, the “royals” didn’t (and don’t) have any authority to send troops anywhere; during the period being discussed.

Samuel Adams
Guest
Samuel Adams

Never been much on royalty (obviously). But frankly, the British royals seem more will to insist on putting themselves in harm’s way pari passu with their subjects.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

I cannot guess the motivations of those leaders from a century ago, but I am certain that the EU leadership of today is in it for themselves. They have found themselves in a position where they reap huge personal wealth simply by getting up in the morning (tax free, I might add), and little accountability or expectations, other than to move the EU project along. In this case, an entire culture and civilization is being sacrificed so a powerful and privileged few can afford vacation villas and wine cellars.

Worldly Wiseman
Guest
Worldly Wiseman

I think, in this case, the EU is just trolling the british. They are gone now and I look at it as just the beginning of the long negotiation process . In this age of social media there is no way to conceal the identities of exploding Muhammad’s.

Sir Worldly Wiseman
Guest
Sir Worldly Wiseman

We seem to be running an imbalance between the kinds of new media required to disseminate information and the kinds of new media required to undo the cowardice and malaise of nigh a hundred years of programming. The young men who were convinced of the inevitability of fighting in the Great War may have had less information than we do, but I’m not convinced they had less agency. I hope I’m wrong.

Fuel Filter
Guest
Fuel Filter

There’s an article at Front Page Mag today that likens the EuroWeenie elite’s attitude and role with the moslum problem with the mayor and city council in the movie “Jaws” and their greed for tourist dollars powering their denial of the Great White shark in their waters.

It’s an apt analogy.

I still think Germany will lead the way in yet another European war, either by scaremongering with NATO about Russia (remember, Merkel is also fully behind the EU army plans now being formalized) or civil war(s) fostered by her suicidal open-door immigration policies.

Damn right this will not end well.

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest
Karl Horst (Germany)

@ Fuel Filter – It’s funny you mention “Jaws”. I heard several colleagues at work today discussing a tragedy about another refugee boat that capsized in the Mediterranean. Someone made some comment that it was unfortunate the waters were not shark infested, as it would have been nature’s way of solving the problem. Cruel, but true. But to your point, we simply don’t have the military to start a war. Our military is no longer well trained, it’s too small and badly funded. We spend only 1.2% of GDP on defense and most of the military hardware we build is… Read more »

Marina
Guest
Marina

I remember when George Bush was invading Iraq a decade ago and liberals were ragging him for not bringing in more foreign allies. The impression I got is that there just weren’t many European countries capable of getting involved in a foreign campaign. The armies weren’t there for us to have as allies.

Warren
Guest
Warren

“One must also realize that serving in the German military is generally looked down upon. With declining youth demographics and relatively good job opportunities, recruiting will be a significant challenge.”

What you don’t think staffing the military with young energetic immigrant males who would love access to weapons and training and who have a history of solidarity would be a nice safe civilizing influence. I mean it worked ok for the Romans didn’t it?

UKer
Guest
UKer

In the UK a recent story was that finding school cadets for the army now involves trying to attract muslim kids. Indeed there was a picture of a schoolgirl in a hijab and camo gear at some kids’ military parade.

So it is not just that the establishment here that looks down on our military, our military itself is trying to get everyone to look down on them by recruiting from among people who sometimes are determined to bring the west down.

I mean, what could go possibly go wrong training some of these people to use weapons, explosives and fight?

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest
Karl Horst (Germany)

In case you missed it, this is classic Brussels nonsense: “In a written statement to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI): “The Government is committed to a free and open press and does not interfere with what the press does and does not publish, as long as the press abides by the law.” – The ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, intolerance and racial discrimination. I feel so much better we have a group of ‘experts’ in this sort of thing. We… Read more »

UKer
Guest
UKer

Two notes on this. First, I am reading Barbara Tuchman’s excellent recounting of the buildup to, and the opening events, of the Great War, called appropriately ‘The Guns Of August.’ The book recounts splendidly the to-ing and fro-ing, the anxieties, the uncertainties and the blind ignorances as nation after nation readied for a war they all saw as inevitable. It is such a fascinating story that it would make a splendid TV series. My favourite part so far is the bit about the somewhat indifferent Belgian army of 1914 which would bear the brunt of the initial German assault and,… Read more »

Toddy Cat
Guest
Toddy Cat

Tuchman is entertaining, and generally accurate, but be careful – she was a moderate lefty, and sometimes she got a little…creative.

Member

I just finished Tuchman’s “The Proud Tower,” about the state of Europe immediately prior to World War II. It’s very illuminating. (And you’re right, Tuchman’s lefty bias shows through. But it’s still worth reading.) What struck me most about the book was her discussion of anarchist terrorism, a phenomenon which has been largely memory-holed, at least in popular history. I had heard of it in passing, of course, but was unaware of the sheer scale of the problem until reading Tuchman’s account. The anarchist terror threat actually had a lot of parallels to present-day Islamic terrorism, and had security officials… Read more »

Major Hoople
Member
Major Hoople

Tuchman was pretty inaccurate on the lead up and causes of WW1. The best account I’ve seen is Stephen Kotkin’s biography of Stalin. Tim

Major Hoople
Member
Major Hoople

Edited: Short take is that no one sleepwalked into war, nor was it inexorable. It was chosen by leaders who believed it would be a short affair and offer them solutions to domestic or international problems. Fools, then as now, rule. Tim The first volume of Kotkins Stalin bio is a great read btw.

thor47
Guest
thor47

Like all solutions to past mistakes . . .
All government solutions are to past mistakes; that is, an attempt to make whatever it was work like it was supposed to work in the beginning. ( The danged unicorns and fairies never cooperate, and won’t come to work on Friday.) If clearheadedness, foresight, and a connection to reality was involved, it wouldn’t be government, would it?

joe
Guest
joe

“history is the story of selfishness and stupidity”. I think the best meaning of the word “stupid” is: willful ignorance. Our elites have become willfully ignorant in their pursuit of their selfish agendas. They HAVE TO ignore reality because reality is overdue to correct their thievery.

I hope it will be like the french revolution, with the selfish and stupid elites beheaded, unfortunately the young are so indoctrinated they will probably destroy factories, capitalists and farmers – then put (D)irtbag lawyers in charge. .

Christopher S. Johns
Guest
Christopher S. Johns

The EU has always been an illusion, premised as it is on the US and NATO providing for its security. If Trump should win and NATO reconfigured or abolished, the Europeans will need to concoct their own security arrangements, which of necessity would require German rearmament (under the EU banner, of course, but rearmament just the same) on a scale commensurate with the defense of the European “homeland.” This is a prospect that few Europeans have even considered, much less acquiesced to.

Worldly Wiseman
Guest
Worldly Wiseman

I think it is more likely that EU without the british will come to some kind of agreement with Russia. Business community never warmed up to the idea of sanctions against Russia . The EU army (like the most of EU) is just a giant racket for defence companies. Sometimes the French get the upper hand and other times the germans. The benefits of having an EU army are the same ones US is having with NATO – one who controls it is going to be making the standards and the list of preferred companies for purchasing military kit.

Christopher S. Johns
Guest
Christopher S. Johns

Yes, a German-Russian rapprochement is certainly a possibility, but whether the EU as it currently stands could accommodate such an arrangement is highly uncertain. The former Soviet bloc states might have a qualm or two.

Worldly Wiseman
Guest
Worldly Wiseman

Chech republic and Slovakia are already on board . There is an article in today’s Financial Times explaining the recent changes in their posture. It’s behind a paywall so I cannot provide a link. Hungarians also have strong business ties with Russia . The Baltic states have no say in the matter . That leaves Poland. True they are still having nightmares that the Russians are coming to get them. Are they going to defy the rest or will they be a good team players? Much will depend on the EU – Britain negotiations given that there are a lot… Read more »

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest
Karl Horst (Germany)

German industry is actively engaged with the old bloc countries; Poland, Czech, Croatia and Hungary are very active business partners. In fact many of the American companies that have started coming here to avoid paying US corporate taxes, are well established with these same countries. So it makes perfect sense from the globalist perspective, these countries will want to participate to ensure the economic benefits for their citizens.

Member

The bureaucrats in Brussels will be the last to be killed when the Islamists take over. Or so they hope.

Christopher S. Johns
Guest
Christopher S. Johns

Considering that Molenbeek, the most radicalized Islamist slum in Europe, is nestled right in the heart of Brussels, it would seem that that hope is a rather extreme example of wishful thinking.

alzaebo
Guest
alzaebo

I’ve read that if you’re white, you better not be on the street in Brussels downtown after 5 p.m., when the government offices close.

Ganderson
Guest
Ganderson

Hmmm… I thought it was Rosengård!

Notsothoreau
Guest
Notsothoreau

I like Lyn MacDonald’s books on WWI. I understand Christopher Clarks “The Sleepwalkers” is good but still on my wish list.

But more to the point, this discussion reminds me of the #NeverTrumps. What could be more delusional than to think they can step right in after Hillary is elected?

alzaebo
Guest
alzaebo

The conservatives’ idea that we’ll drug test ourselves to freedom?

Heck, to the young, all this Banana Republic stuff will be normal.
How will they ever regain something they’ve never known?

Lorenzo
Guest
Lorenzo

“Sleepwalkers” is very good, as is David Fromkin’s “Europe’s Last Summer” . Both are better researched than anything Tuchman wrote on the subject.

Ganderson
Guest
Ganderson

Lieutenant George: Great Scott sir, you mean, you mean the moment’s finally arrived for us to give Harry Hun a darned good British style thrashing, six of the best, trousers down?

Captain Blackadder: If you mean, “Are we all going to get killed?” Yes. Clearly, Field Marshal Haig is about to make yet another gargantuan effort to move his drinks cabinet another six inches closer to Berlin.

Jeb
Guest
Jeb

Deny everything, Baldrick.

Ganderson
Guest
Ganderson

No it isn’t,!!!

LetsPlay
Member
LetsPlay

Z, you have truly nailed this one spot on! I really like your statement “They were wrong about most everything and they murdered 17 million people learning this lesson, not including what came next as a result of their errors.” The only edit I would offer is that because of their arrogance and stupidity, these people did not learn a damn thing. They were responsible for the murder of so many by being so wrong. Stupidity in the extreme. And now their ancestors are repeating the same as if it was part of their DNA. It needs to be excised,… Read more »

LetsPlay
Member
LetsPlay

Regarding my comment about Putin and Brussels, I was referring to the worthless bureaucrats who continue with the stupid thinking that is addressed in this article. The “esteemed” Council Against Racism and Intolerance has issued a diktat to Britain in an effort to censor the press regarding reporting of crimes perpetrated by Muslim terrorists, or Muslims in general. I had to search quite a bit to find the particulars of the so-called “recommendation”. If you care to see what glorious work these pieces of excrement spend their days producing, check out their site at: https://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/default_en.asp The “Report” can be found… Read more »

Drake
Guest
Drake

In 1918, the Germans tried to do what they should have done in 1914 / 15. I have a feeling that by the end of this war, some Europeans will try doing what they should have been doing for the past few decades – keep the Muslims out / expel the ones already there. After all, they did just that from 732 until about a century ago.

Al from da Nort
Guest
Al from da Nort

In an interesting twist, WWI was the violent end of the non-consensual multi-ethnic empire as a political structure in the West. Today the cloud People are determined to re-create this very political structure in opposition to their own nations by importing what they evidently think (if they do think) will be other subject nations. I guess they also think that it will work better this time since they are in charge. Then the claim to rule was based on heredity plus limited franchise parliamentary democracy (Even Russia had the State Duma, for a while.). Today it is based on credentials… Read more »

The Usual Suspect
Guest
The Usual Suspect

You are partially right with your statement “It will not end well”
More to the point.. “It will not end,” period.

The Usual Suspect
Guest
The Usual Suspect

Your nearly correct when you say “It will not end well”
More to the point, “It will not end” period.

Dana
Guest
Dana

It will end, as do all socialist regimes, in the killing fields

LetsPlay
Member
LetsPlay

How come there are never any “killing” fields filled with the killers? Instead we have Staling, Mao, Marcos, and others enshrined as hero’s. Sick. Just sick.

John B
Guest
John B

“The EU, of course, is a solution to the past. More precisely, it is what the Europeans wish they had done before the Great War, believing it would have prevented all of it. ”

Yes indeed, because the EU is designed to achieve what WWI & II could not, a Europecruled by Germany.