This may be the best War of the Worlds movie ever made, and it's barely three minutes long. And it's not exactly doing HG Wells per se. It's a trailer for or clip from The Great Martian War 1913-17, which concerns "the catastrophic events and unimaginable horrors of 1913-17, when Humankind was pitted against a savage Alien invasion." The video seems to use a mix of reenactors, period film, and f/x. (SLVimeo) [more inside]
On this day one hundred years ago, Imperial German soldiers who had peacefully arrived in the Belgian city of Leuven (Fr: Louvain), having taken hostages and accepted the parole of its mayor on behalf of its citizens, without warning set fire to the city and massacred its inhabitants forever altering the city, its university's library, and the course of the war.
Belgian Judicial Report on the Sacking of Louvain in August 1914 The destruction and rebuilding of the Louvain Library: claim and counterclaim
The history of soccer in the First World War — which began in earnest 100 years ago this month — is a history of two worlds in unresolvable tension. It’s the story of a failed metaphor. Soccer in Oblivion.
First world war – a century on, time to hail the peacemakers "On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, we should remember those who tried to stop a catastrophe" [more inside]
"The Wall Street Journal has selected 100 legacies from World War I that continue to shape our lives today." You can sort according to your interest via the tabs at the top of the page. [Previously]
The BBC will be covering World War One in great detail over the next four years. They've already started, with podcasts, interactive guides, online courses, programs new and old plus much, much more. Perhaps it's best to start at the beginning, with Professor Margaret MacMillan's Countdown to World War One (podcast link) or the account of her fellow historian Christopher Clark, Month of Madness. Of course, how the war started is still contested by historians, as recounted in The Great War of Words. The latter two are also part of the main WWI podcast. Or you can dive into the Music and Culture section, go through an A-Z guide or look at comics drawn by modern cartoonists.
14-18 NOW is a project commissioning contemporary artists to commemorate the centennial of the First World War and explore its resonance and effects today. For three summers (2014, 2016, and 2018), the organization is presenting a summer season of events. This summer's opening act was curated by Billy Bragg at Glastonbury; live performances can be found on the site. Other events include a radio series of essays on the theme of Goodbye to All That, cartoons, recreating Dazzle Ships, and letters to an unknown soldier (including the opportunity to write your own).
From his time in Cairo, Lawrence was aware of the extravagant promises the British government had made to Hussein in order to raise the Arab Revolt: full independence for virtually the entire Arab world..............His first act of sedition — and by most any standards, a treasonous one — was to inform Faisal of the existence of Sykes-Picot.....The True Story of Lawrence of Arabia . Previously and Previously
One hundred years ago today, an age came to an end and a terrible war was spawned. On June 28, 1914, 20-year-old Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, Duchess of Hohenberg Sophie, in the city of Sarajevo. This triggered a diplomatic crisis which metastasized into the first World War.
Operation War Diary is the newest crowdsourced science effort from Zooniverse, cataloging WWI British soldiers' war diaries from the Western Front. Participants can help tag dates, locations, people, and events from 1.5 million pages of war diaries from the Western Front. Entries range from the uneventful (October 24 | PONT DU HEM | 5:30 am | Occupied same position. Did not fire all day) to the eventful (A & B cleared the village and the regiment eventually captured the convoy in the wood about a mile on after it had been headed back by a returning movement of 12th Lancers. In all 200 prisoners). [more inside]
Melting glaciers in northern Italy reveal corpses of WW1 soldiers In the decades that followed the armistice, the world warmed up and the glaciers began to retreat, revealing the debris of the White War. The material that, beginning in the 1990s, began to flood out of the mountains was remarkably well preserved.
Dancing over the Edge: Vienna in 1914. Österreich (Austria) was one of the cultural and political Centres of modern Europe a hundred Years ago. Vienna - the Capitol of the big Austro-Hungarian-Empire and Home to the longest running imperial Family the Habsburgs. Just in 1913 Hitler, Trotsky, Tito, Freud and Stalin (previously on MeFi) all lived in Vienna.
For over a year, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has been digitizing old photos from its far-reaching library and putting them on a Tumblr called The Digs. [more inside]
World War I in Color is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
"Technically it’s not a book at all: The Great War is actually one continuous drawing, a 24ft-long panorama narrating the British forces’ experience of 1 July 1916, spatially and chronologically, from orderly morning approach to chaotic battlefield engagement to grim aftermath. There are no boxes of text or speech bubbles, no individuated characters, instead Sacco portrays a mass event in painstaking, monochrome, almost technical detail. It’s like a cross between Hergé and the Chapman brothers; the Bayeux Tapestry as a silent movie." -- Cartoonist Joe Sacco's latest project, The Great War is about one particular day in the War: 1 July, the start of the Battle of the Somme. [more inside]
Warning! The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased, entry for the United States of America
In 1914, Captain Robert Campbell was taken captive by the German Army. In 1916, he got word that his mother back in England was dying. He was given a laissez-passer to visit her on condition that he return to captivity as soon as practicable. An officer and a gentleman, he did exactly that. [more inside]
"It’s not often that one finds buried treasure, but that’s exactly what happened in Wayland High School’s History Building as we prepared to move to a new campus. Amidst the dusty collection of maps featuring the defunct USSR, decades-old textbooks describing how Negroes are seeking equality, and film strips pieced together with brittle scotch tape, was a gray plastic Samsonite briefcase, circa 1975."
Pitch Battles: How a paranoid fringe group made musical tuning an international issue.
The petition had its origins in one of the strangest conflicts to have overtaken classical music in the past thirty years, and many of these luminaries were completely unaware of what they’d gotten themselves into. The sponsor of both the petition and the conference that featured Tebaldi was an organization called the Schiller Institute, dedicated to, among other things, lowering standard musical pitch. ... But behind this respectable front lurks a strange mélange of conspiracy, demagoguery, and cultish behavior. At its founding in 1984, its chairman Helga Zepp-LaRouche laid out the Institute’s role in surprisingly apocalyptic termsOriginally published at The Believer.
The Poet-King Of Fiume
There is no decent way of containing the excesses of Gabriele d'Annunzio's lives. It would astonish his contemporaries to discover that he is now only faintly remembered outside Italy. Even within Italy, though firmly entrenched in the literary canon, he is most commonly recalled with a sort of collective cringe. For once upon a time, in the fervid fin de siècle - for reasons variously literary, political, military and, not least, sexual - he was one of the towering figures of European culture. Think Wilde crossed with Casanova and Savonarola; Byron meets Barnum meets Mussolini - and you would have some of the flavours, but still not quite the essence, of this extraordinary, unstoppable and in many ways quite ridiculous figure. The Pike - A Review [more inside]
Trench Talk now entrenched in the English Language - Military historian Peter Doyle and Julian Walker, an etymologist at the British Library, have written Trench Talk about how words from the first World War have become part of everyday English. [more inside]
Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, a podcast in which writer and game designer Robin D. Laws (Hamlet's Hitpoints, The GUMSHOE system) and game designer and writer Kenneth Hite (Tour De Lovecraft, GURPS Horror) (previously) talk about stuff. Stuffs include: Why vampires are assholes and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, stopping WWI and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Margaret Atwood and the difference between a mystic and an occultist, why no invented setting is as interesting as the real world and Woodrow Wilson, Gencon and sundry RPGs, Neil Armstrong, HP Blavatsky and theosophy, the ebook prcing settlement, what big publishing could learn from RPG publishers, and the many crazy fictional possibilities of Charles Lindbergh and his UFO investigating chums, and Dungeons and Dragons edition wars and Aliester Crowley.
The WMD was discovered, quite by chance, lying by the side of a Bridgeville road in late July by a Delaware state trooper on an unrelated callout. Jutting out of the ground, the 75mm shell was encrusted in barnacles and pitted with rust; barely recognisable as a munition at all. The trooper called in his find and a military team took the bomb to Dover Air Force Base for disposal. As with most conventional rounds, a small charge was placed on the side of the shell and detonated to trigger the vintage munition’s own explosive. But something went wrong, and the bomb failed to explode. When the two staff sergeants and technician walked over to inspect the failed detonation, they found a strange black liquid seeping out of the cracked mortar. Given that the shell had been under the sea for the better part of fifty years, the men thought little of the foul-smelling substance until hours later, when their skin began to erupt in agonising blisters. All three were rushed to Kent General hospital, where two were released later after minor treatment. A third, more seriously injured serviceman was transported to Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, where he remained in serious but stable condition with what were only described as “burns or blisters” in a statement issued by the Army later that week. A scientific team were sent to Dover to collect soil samples from the area. The results were clear: the shell had been filled with mustard gas.
Director and/or star of many of the greatest films ever made including The Great Dictator (2:05:16) [Globe scene and the eternally goosebump providing Final speech], The Immigrant (20:01), The Gold Rush (1:11:49), City Lights (1:22:40), Modern Times (1:27:01), and Monsieur Verdoux (1:59:03), Charlie Chaplin's movies have entered the public domain in most countries. Below the fold is an annotated list of all 82 of his official short and feature films in chronological order, as well as several more, with links to where you can watch them; it's not like you had work to do right? [more inside]
Paul Fussell, author of The Great War and Modern Memory and winner of the first National Critics Award for Criticism, but who is probably best known for writing Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, is dead. [more inside]
A great deal of poetry was written about the Great War, much of it by soldiers in the trenches. Two period books of World War I poetry and poets are The Muse in Arms and For remembrance, available in a variety of formats at archive.org. There is also The First World War Digital Poetry Archive which mostly has things from the most well-known authors, but many of these are available as scans of the original documents. (The interface is a little iffy on the DPA; click on a person, then use the search for "any poem" to get a full listing of what's available)
Florence Green, the last know WWI veteran, passed away today. She was two weeks away from her 111th birthday. [more inside]
The remarkable occurrences of which I am about to write were related by certain French persons of sound sense and unimpeachable veracity, who happened to be in Berlin a few weeks before the outbreak of the European War. The Kaiser, the most superstitious monarch who ever sat upon the Prussian throne, sternly forbade the circulation of the report of these happenings in his own country, but our gallant Allies across the Channel are, fortunately, not obliged to obey the despotic commands of Wilhelm II, and these persons, therefore, upon their return to France, related, to those interested in such matters, the following story of the great War Lord's three visitations from the dreaded ghost of the Hohenzollerns.From "Wilhelm II and the White Lady of the Hohenzollerns," by Katharine Cox, as reproduced in S. Mukerji's charmingly digressive Indian Ghost Stories.
Welcome to the Birmingham Small Arms & Military Bicycle Museum. Always wanted to bicycle with your rifle? Observe the 1942 BSA military Mk. V Roadster. Also featuring the "Airborne", the Airborne folding Paratrooper, the Peugeot Captain Gerard folding bicycle, the Lady Back tandem model T64 with Watsonian sidecar and, many more. See the many vintage posters and learn the exciting history of the soldier-cyclist.
R.I.P., Frank Buckles, last American World War I veteran, who just passed away at 110 years old. Previously.
Walter Breuning reminisces about his life in three centuries. As the oldest man in the world and in celebration of his 114th birthday on September 21, Mr. Breuning agreed to this exclusive interview. Questions were gleaned via the internet from individuals around the world.
Beans are bullets. Potatoes are powder. An exhibition of food posters from the National Agricultural Library.
Dream Voices: Siegfried Sassoon, Memory and War: artifacts, manuscripts, and illustrations from the diaries and notebooks of the World War I poet, currently on display at Cambridge University Library (exhibition blog), with an accompanying Picasa gallery, and audio slideshow from the BBC.
"During World War I, the [US] Army lost 7 million person-days and discharged more than 10,000 men because they were ailing from STDs. Once Penicillin kicked in in the mid-1940s, such infections were treatable. But as a matter of national security, the military started distributing condoms and aggressively marketing prophylactics to the troops in the early 20th century." [more inside]
The moving finger writes and having writ, moves on. From the Globe and Mail website: "John Babcock, Canada’s last known First World War veteran, has died, the Prime Minister’s Office said Thursday. Mr. Babcock was 109. In a statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he is deeply saddened to learn of Mr. Babcock’s death. He said that because Mr. Babcock was Canada’s last living link to the First World War, it marks the end of an era. Mr. Babcock joined the military at the age of 16, but because of his age he wasn’t allowed on the frontlines." I could link to bazillions of relevancies but really, so can you. It's all over Canadian news websites. But perhaps just this. Gone west. Rest in Peace, sir. Lest We Forget.
The Rhode Island School of Design has a set of beautiful designs for dazzle ship camouflage. Dazzle Camouflage was a way to confuse submarine operators as to the heading and speed of warships, so that they could not effectively fire torpedoes to sink them. Certainly a lot more colorful than today's camo! (previously)
When Pope Benedict XV called for a cease fire over the Christian holiday of Christmas the high command on both sides of no man's land called it "impossible". But the men in the icy muck and mire of Flanders decided for themselves what was possible, what was not possible. The future held millions of dead and wounded but the season motivated the British (along with some French and Belgians) and the Germans to shake off the traditional definitions of enemies and allies. [more inside]
"It is the business of educated people to speak so that no-one may be able to tell in what county their childhood was passed." Despite efforts by Victorians to eradicate them, dialects of English in Great Britain continue to vary greatly, much to the consternation of many traditionalists. But a recently acquired archive is giving new insight into old dialects--some of which no longer exist. Recorded in a WWI prisoner of war camp on shellac disks, the archive was part of an effort by German linguists to study regional variation in the English language. A report by PRI's The World includes a brief synopsis--and a powerful rendition of a beloved Scottish ballad by a homesick soldier.
On July 4, 1916, Gussie and Addie Van Buren set out from New York on two Indian Model F motorcycles. Though it was well before the creation of an interstate highway system, they reached San Francisco on September 2 and Southern California on September 8. [more inside]
From the Prints & Photographs Division Library of Congress - browse through more than 1900 World War I posters. You can also search or look by subject heading. [via] [more inside]
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