Thursday, February 23, 2017

WW1 - Verdun

I've previously posted on Verdun, asking if France itself died on that battlefield. For roughly all of 1916, the French fought nonstop at Verdun to hold the old fort. It was a battle meant to bleed them dry. It was also a battle won by the French and lost by the Germans not for what they did at Verdun, but for the colossal sacrifices the Brits made at the Somme.

The Wikipedia sections are pretty terrible. Verdun was not just to bleed the French white. Please read books on the planning involved and strategy. Verdun was planned because Ludendorff was the German leader desperately searching for a final big victory. This search would become more frantic as the war dragged on and Russia was knocked out but America was still slow to get men over to the continent or even commit them to fighting.

There were talks between the two sides to end hostilities, but the missing piece for the Central Powers was the big win to then point to and proclaim the upper hand. The Allies were just waiting the Central Powers out, starving them as much as possible, and hoping America would arrive with fresh meat.

Verdun was that chance for a big victory. A win at Verdun would allow for the Germans to sit in a prime position to threaten Paris. The French did have mutinies on their hands in 1917, and this all would have been far more precarious for the Allies and France specifically if the Germans had won at Verdun. America would not enter the war until 1917, when President Wilson who ran on a platform of 'He kept us out of the war', would enter the war immediately after his inauguration.

The war would drag on for two more years, killing millions more and destroying the sociopolitical infrastructure of Europe. There are still bodies at Verdun one hundred years later. Do not forget these men. There are cemeteries that honor the dead, but no cemetery for old Europe itself. A hundred years ago, Verdun was over but the world was still waiting.


Anonymous said...

I thought the attack on Verdun was the brainchild of Erich von Falkenhayn. His failure led to his replacement by Hindenburg later in 1916.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Correct. I should have said "German High Command was..." as the German high command wanted a knockout blow to the West to then settle the talks. Falkenhayn to Ludendorff, they shared the same view.

Anonymous said...

I Should have added in that first comment that I have enjoyed these posts as they have come out, especially the accompanying photos.

amadis said...

There was no big victory to be had - no decisive battle. There was no geographic value to a victory at Verdun - only the damage inflicted on the French army as an organisation (helped by the French who in 1917 they also pursued their own "decisive battle" in the disastrous Nivelle Offensive). Victory in 1918 was a result of the Allies abandoning the desire to win a single decisive battle and instead winning lots of smaller battles in a continuous advance - i.e. abandoning the dream of tactical victory for the development of the operational art of war.

High Arka said...

Verdun is one of the most beautiful battles in an already beautiful historical moment. So many Europeans killing each other in the service of pure honor and valor, eliminating millions of young men who might've later stood against integration and world government. What better way to discredit nationalism and dismantle the settlement of the third world? All loyal shabbos goys out there should ensure that their fellow Privileged White Europeans properly honor and never forget the gloriousness of such grand moments in history. If nothing else, war trivia is a slightly more intellectual pastime than sportsball (although sportsball should also remain a focus).