Friday, July 01, 2005

History Friday.

I know, I have stolen this from Weasel but it's July 1st and I really felt I had to write.
I've taken an interest in history since before I can remember and have studied/taught the stuff since I was 11. There are some dates you just cannot forget.
July 1st 1916 was the first day of the battle of the Somme. The Somme is a river in Northeastern France and was the scene of the greatest tragedy in British military history. Over 60,000 men were killed or wounded in one day. These men walked into the fire of German machine guns. Estimates vary but it has been said that as many as 20,000 men died within the first hour.
The numbers and scale of this battle (which lasted until November18th of that year) have always shocked and apalled me. The tactics of the generals, based upon the notion of 'throwing more men into the fray', horrified me. The bravery of the troops amazed me.
The result of the slaughter? A stalemate on the battlefield but arguably the end of British optimism about the Great War. Nothing was ever the same again.
Weasel, apologies for nicking your idea.

1 comment:

weasel said...

Also the anniversary of Gettysburg. Onward the 20th Maine; busy saving the union while the New Yorkers were kvetching about how rural Pennsylvania was, and how you couldn't get the NYT :)

Steal away; I was certain actually that you had posted something almost identical about the Somme not too long ago but a quick scan of your achives came back empty. Hmmm.