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WSJ on WWI (I)

发表于 6-26-2014 17:17:46 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
The theme of the book review section (every Saturday) of Wall Street Journal on June 21, 2014 is “World War I; A century later.”

(1) This is a survey, an overview. Browse through it quickly. Statistics will come in other articles of this series.

Margaret MacMillan, The War That Made Our Our World. In many ways, the Great War is the defining conflict of the modern era. Understanding its consequences can help us toward a more peaceful future.
(“Graves in the north of France and Belgium and war memorials across the US bear witness to the 53,000 American soldiers who died”)

Excerpt in the window of print:
(a) Traditional regimes collapsed and were replaced by new political orders.
(b) A smaller Russia, waning empires and new states such as Yugoslavia and Iraq.


(a) “Before 1914, Russia was a backward autocracy but was changing fast. Its growth rate was as high as any of the Asian tigers in the 1960s and 1970s; it was Europe's major exporter of food grains and, as it industrialized, was importing machinery on a massive scale. Russia also was developing the institutions of civil society, including the rule of law and representative government.

(b) "The end of hostilities in 1918 also brought the challenge, one we still face, of how to end wars in ways that don't produce fresh conflict. The first World War didn't directly cause the second, but it created the conditions in which it became possible. President Wilson was for a peace without retribution and a world in which nations came together for the common good; his opponents, such as Sen Henry Cabot Lodge [R-Mass], thought that only a decisive victory over Germany and its allies would lay the groundwork for a lasting peace. They may have been right. Certainly after 1918, Germany's right-wing elites and many ordinary Germans persuaded themselves that Germany hadn't really lost the war.

"In fact, Germany had been defeated on the battlefield in the summer of 1918, and, as its allies fell away, a panicked German high command had demanded that the civilian government in Berlin ask for an armistice. The war had stopped before Germany itself was invaded, however, so few Germans behind the lines experienced defeat firsthand. The German army had marched home in good order. 'We greet you undefeated,' said the German president, while members of the high command such as Gen. Erich von Ludendorff hastened to spread the poisonous myth that the army had been stabbed in the back by traitors at home, whether Jews, socialists or liberals.

"As a result, the Treaty of Versailles—which imposed a whole range of penalties on Germany, from the loss of territory to reparations for war damage—was widely held by Germans to be illegitimate. The promise to break it apart became an important part of the Nazis' appeal. In World War II, President Franklin D Roosevelt [1913-1920 when he was nominated by Democrats for vice president, who had been in Wilson's government as assistant secretary of the Navy, was determined that this time there should be no doubt about the outcome of the war. The Allied policy for the Axis powers was a straightforward 'unconditional surrender.'

(c) “The French [After World War I] felt they had sacrificed much—the country had lost 40% of its industrial capacity and suffered the highest proportion of casualties of all the powers—and gained little. To their east, the French saw a Germany relatively unscathed by war, with a larger economy, and a bigger population.

(a) photo legend: “A raiding party from the Scottish Rifles waits for the order to attack, near Arras, France, March 24, 1917. One captain said, ‘The waiting was always the hardest part of all.’ National Library of Scotland”

raiding party (n): "(military) a group of people who together carry out a raid"

(b) “A hundred years ago next week [June 28, 1914], in the small Balkan city of Sarajevo, Serbian nationalists murdered the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and his wife. People were shocked but not particularly worried. Sadly, there had been many political assassinations in previous years—the king of Italy, two Spanish prime ministers, the Russian czar, President William McKinley. None had led to a major crisis.”
(i) Umberto I of Italy
(1844-1900; King of Italy 1878-1900; section 2.4 Assassination: by the Italo-American anarchist Gaetano Bresci)
(ii) List of Prime Ministers of Spain
(Antonio Cánovas del Castillo (1828-1897; PM the six time 1895-1897; shot dead by Michele Angiolillo, an Italian anarchist); José Canalejas y Méndez (1854-1912; PM 1910-1912; fatally shot by Spanish anarchist Manuel Pardiñas); Eduardo Dato e Iradier (1856- 1921; PM the third time 1920-1921; assassinated by three Catalan anarchists)
(iii) Alexander II of Russia
(18181-1881; czar 1855-1881; section 3 Assassination)

(c) “And then, as the guns were falling silent, a new pestilence struck humanity in the shape of a virulent influenza.”

1918 flu pandemic (January 1918-December 1920)  Wikipedia

(d) World War I “resulted in a smaller Russia and Germany and wound up the great multinational empires of Austria-Hungary and the Ottomans. New countries appeared on our maps, with names such as Yugoslavia and Iraq.”
(i) Treaty of Versaille (signed June 28, 1919) dictates that Germany cede Eupen-Malmedy to Belgium, cede Alsace-Lorraine to France (which Germany acquired in 1871), recognize the independence of Czechoslovakia and Poland, split Upper Silesia between the two new nations, and cded a few more to Poland. This was the only territorial changes of treaty.
(ii) As for Russia. “After the Central Powers launched Operation Faustschlag [German for ‘fist punch’; Feb 18-Mar 3, 1918; also known as the Eleven Days War; against Russia; Result: decisive Central Powers victory] on the Eastern Front, the new Soviet Government of Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany on Mar 3, 1918.” Wikipedia.  In the treaty Russia ceded huge territories and population to Central Powers, but Treaty of Versaille required Germany to cough them up. View only the top map in Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
(signed at Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, Belarus); section 4.2 Territorial cessions in eastern Europe: The occupation of Western Russia ultimately proved a costly blunder for Berlin as over one million German troops lay sprawled out  * * * all idle and depriving Germany of badly needed manpower in France; section 5 Lasting effects: Although most of Ukraine fell under Bolshevik control and eventually became one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union, Poland and the Baltic states emerged as independent countries)
(iii) German English dictionary
* faust (noun feminine): “fist”   (Harvard University’s president is Drew Faust. Dictionary of American Family Names, published by Oxford University Press, says the surname was “presumably a nickname for a strong or pugnacious person.”)
* schlag (noun masculine): “blow, hit”
(iv) “Ukraine was recovered in 1919, during the Russian Civil War.”  Encyclopaedia Britannica
(v) Brest-Litovsk, a section in Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Encyclopaedia Britannica, undated.
www.britannica.com/EBchecked/top ... 42043/Brest-Litovsk
(vi) wind up (vt): "to bring to a conclusion : END"
www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ wind up

(e) “Thirty-seven thousand Finns (out of some 3 million) died in a civil war in the first months of 1918, while in Russia, as many as a million soldiers and many more civilians may have died by the time the Bolsheviks finally defeated their many opponents.
(i) Finland’s parliament declared independence on Dec 6, 1917, which was quickly recognized by Russian SFSR (Soviet Federative Socialist Republic). Finnish Civil War ensued (Jan 27-May 15, 1918).
(ii) Finland
(section 2.4 Civil war and early independence: Whites prevailed over Reds)

Reds = Social Democrats; Whites = non-socialists

(f) “The German and Austrian monarchies were also overthrown, to be succeeded by shaky republics.”
(i) German Revolution of 1918–19
("lasted from November 1918 until the establishment of the Weimar Republic" [1919-1933] on August 11, 1919, when the Weimar Constitution was adopted at Weimar)

In fact the revolution effectively ended when Spartacist uprising (Jan 4-15, 1919; in Berlin) was suppressed.
(ii) To make the long story short, from the ashes of Austria-Hungary arose First Austrian Republic (1919-1933). Fast forward: Hitler annexed Austria in 1938, which became part of Third Reich; Vienna fell on Apr 13, 1945 to Soviets, giving rise to the Second Austrian Republic (1945- present).

(section 8 Dissolution)

(g) “China, too, had been an ally, supplying more than 100,000 laborers for the Western front. Two thousand of them lie buried in France.”

Chinese Labour Corps
(recruited by the British government in World War I; 140,000 men; section 5 Casualties: around 2,000 men died, most from the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu pandemic)

(h) “By the end of the war, the US was the world's largest manufacturer and had the largest stock of gold to back its dollar. Its navy rivaled the British, up until then the world's biggest.
(i) Peter Marsh, US Manufacturing Crown Slips. Financial Times, June 21, 2010
(“The US became the world’s biggest manufacturer in the late 1890s, edging the then-incumbent – Britain – into the number two position”)
(ii) China as the world’s biggest manufacturer by values added (thus excluding values of parts imported) (2011- )

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