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  • Baby Face Günter in Saverne January 8, 2018

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Baby Face Günter in Saverne

    A delicate occupied zone with an unfriendly population. Think US Marines patrolling in southern Afghanistan or Israeli troops walking through a Palestinian village. That is challenging enough. But could we make it a little more interesting for, say, an HBO series? Why not, for example, put the occupying troops under the control of a young […]

    Romanian Military Make-Up December 27, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Romanian Military Make-Up

    An oft quoted fact about the Great War is that the Romanian Army in 1916, when it bravely but foolishly entered that conflict, ordered its soldiers not to wear makeup. But is this unlikely sounding detail true? Did Romanian soldiers routinely wear mascara and the like? And did their generals try and control the practice? The claim about Romanian […]

    WW1 Christmas Pics December 26, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    WW1 Christmas Pics

      There follow some WW1 Christmas pictures from the British press. Most soldiers, naturally, served in the ‘holidays’. Here is a British sailor on HMS Jupiter The gifts are given out in the trenches This being Britain there were lots of silly Christmas parties with the awkward but ritualistic mixing of the classes. Rather you than […]

    The Prince of Peace in a World at War December 25, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Prince of Peace in a World at War

    Happy Christmas to all readers and their families: originally published in the Graphic.

    And If Your Sister Was About to Be Raped…? September 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    And If Your Sister Was About to Be Raped...?

    When the insufferable Lytton Strachey was asked, in WW1, what he would do if he saw a German trying to violate his sister, he responded ‘I would try and get between them.’ Strachey gave this answer in a legal setting. He wanted to be certified as a pacifist and Beach was curious about the question, […]

    Letter from the Enemy August 23, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Letter from the Enemy

    Beach ran across this very sad piece in the Dundee Evening Telegraph (8 Oct 1915), 4. It is perhaps not remarkable that an enemy soldier honour the body of a fallen foe: who is it who says that you can best measure relations in a war not by how soldier treat their enemies alive but […]

    Myths of Twentieth-Century History August 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Myths of Twentieth-Century History

    Seven twentieth century myths follow. Any other contributions or angry rebuttals, drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com Great War: A Disaster Waiting to Happen, 1914 The Great War was going to happen sooner or later because two countries, Germany and France, wanted it. However, the consensus that the Great War would have inevitably led to the ‘breaking […]

    Kitchener Survives: The Insurance Policy July 27, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Kitchener Survives: The Insurance Policy

    The claim that Lord Kitchener had survived death seems to have been well established by December 1916. By 1917 the story rumbled through the spring and summer building up a head of steam until it quite unexpectedly entered the real world. In early September 1917 Lloyds opened an insurance policy, really a bet, that Kitchener […]

    WW1 Rumours June 7, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    WW1 Rumours

    Here are some more in the rumours series. Tales of international and sometimes local politics that relate or that are easily connected to the events of WW1. Beach did these at the same time as rumours for WW2 (another post another day). No question, WW1 rumours or those that the press deign to publish are […]

    Kitchener’s Sword June 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Kitchener's Sword

    Beach has previously celebrated the (entirely unrealistic) myths about Kitchener’s survival from a shipwreck in June 1916. There were a number of theories: namely that the Germans had got him; that Kitchener had been kidnapped in Russia or was secretly helping the Russian army reorganise (perhaps he was killed in the revolution?); or some version […]

    Kitchener Survives: Friend of a Friend May 15, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Kitchener Survives: Friend of a Friend

    One of the great British catastrophes of the Great War was the death of Lord Kitchener on the HMS Hampshire in the North Sea 5 June 1916, not a month before the Battle of the Somme began. Kitchener, famous  as British Secretary of War was a ruthless and effective warleader and understandably British public opinion […]

    Image: The Tsarina and the Prostitutes November 24, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Image: The Tsarina and the Prostitutes

    This photograph is one of the most iconic from the Great War in Russia. Tsarina Alexandra and her two elder daughters, Olga and Tatiana, were photographed in 1914 in nurses uniform as hostilities began. Nor was this an empty boast, a bit of easy propaganda for Russia’s rulers. Alexandra and especially Olga and Tatiana worked for […]

    Gaelic-Speaking Russians in 1914 September 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Gaelic-Speaking Russians in 1914

    One of the most interesting myths to come out of First World War Britain was the tall tale of the Russian soldiers with ‘snow on their boots’. The story, which emerged as the war began in Aug and Sep 1914, was that thousands of Russian soldiers had been rushed to the UK. They were there […]

    Foch and the Twenty Year Armistice: A Myth? July 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Foch and the Twenty Year Armistice: A Myth?

    It is one of the most famous sentences of the twentieth century. Marshal Foch on being told of the final conditions of the Paris Peace Conference stated: ‘This is not a peace treaty, it is an armistice for twenty years’ (Ce n’est pas une paix, c’est un armistice de vingt ans). The Oxford Dictionary of […]

    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans June 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans

    You’ve all had that awful sinking feeling. You’ve prepared your masterful attack with a vast army across the entire front and then some fool goes and misplaces the map: and next thing you know the scrap of paper ends up in the hands of your opposite number, in the enemy  high command. There must be […]

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