Saturday, May 14, 2016

The World Crisis by Winston S. Churchill (1911-1918)

This book contains 840 small print pages. It, of course, is well written as only Churchill could do. Trying to absorb the contents and avoiding eye strain, it took over one month to finish reading. It was recommended reading by Marc Johnson, one of my favorite lecturers in my OLLI classes. It covers the years leading up to the First World War and the war years until it ended at the 11th hour of the11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The difference between this conflict and the Second World War is that in the 1940’s significant advances had been achieved in the weaponry which was not available. Airplanes were mostly of the observation type and tanks were not introduced until the war was in its final stages. This was a brute force, savage waste of manpower, with one side or the other sending thousands across desolate landscape and being killed my machine guns, artillery and poison gas. All told over 20,000,000 casualties, either on the ground or in the sea. An incredible wastage of an entire generation of all countries involved. In the years leading to the war Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty. His responsibility was to assure the British fleet was superior to that of Germany. In that he was eminently successful. The last years he became the Minister of Munitions with responsibility for supplying all necessary to support the military. It is not my intent to record the events of these years, only a serious reading can accomplish that. This is not the first time I have read about this war but it was the most thorough. As one battle blends into another the sickening waste of lives is all pervasive. The Germans, until the end, had a favorable advantage in casualties of two to one. One short sentence by a German soldier says it all. He kept his machine gun sweeping the field cutting down scores of men. Wasting the lives so frivolously is a violation of the word civilization. Jack B. Walters May 14, 2016

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