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The Guns of November 2018

Written By: - Date published: 5:38 pm, November 10th, 2018 - 188 comments
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On 11 November 1918 the guns fell silent across Europe’s slaughter. In “The Guns of August,” Barbara Tuchman described how that dreadful war started by accident. Daniel Ellsberg warns us now that accidents could happen again, this time in the nuclear age. Ellsberg says first strike is America’s policy, making accidental nuclear winter all the more likely.

We have just returned from the Labour  party conference through North Otago, staying near Kurow, home of the three wise men responsible for Labour’s 1938 ground-breaking Social Security Act, and visited Waimate, Norm Kirk’s home town where he is buried. War memorials in each of those small settlements revealed long lists of names of those who left and never came back. Museums in both towns showed they were still remembered.

Just last week the neocon John Bolton visited Vladimir Putin in Moscow to give notice that the United States was unilaterally withdrawing from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Treaty set up by Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev. Part of the deal then was that NATO would not move eastwards from Germany. Now American missiles are on Russia’s border and as the United States puts more money into “modernising” its nuclear arsenal the warning time for Russia is measured in seconds rather than minutes. Russians are not fools and unlike the United States are used to their territory being invaded, but they know that nuclear war means winter for the world, not just for the invaders.

Also last week the United States imposed further sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, aiming to reduce them eventually to zero, although a number of countries were initially exempted. America’s aim is regime change, just like 1959 when Mossadegh was ousted for daring to take control of Iran’s oil back from the British.

The United States National Defense Strategy 2018 states:

Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.
China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing
features in the South China Sea. Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors. As well, North Korea’s outlaw actions and reckless rhetoric continue despite United Nation’s censure and sanctions. Iran continues to sow violence and remains the most significant challenge to Middle East stability. Despite the defeat of ISIS’s physical caliphate, threats to stability remain as terrorist groups with long reach continue to murder the innocent and threaten peace more broadly.
While full of lies and half-truths, in effect this statement is a declaration of war by the United States on Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. Certainly that is how the Russians and the Iranians perceive it. “The Americans are preparing war, we are preparing for war” is how Andrei Belousov, a senior Russian diplomat, put it last week.
And the real reason is the same as it was throughout most of the twentieth century – oil.  Donald Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy calls for the US to assert “energy dominance.” The effects of this doctrine are already clear – climate change denial, massive coal and oil production, and interference internationally with Russia and Iran.
The signs are ominous. Just like in 1914, we may be sleepwalking into catastrophe. Earlier this year, the Doomsday clock was set at two minutes to midnight  by the Society for Atomic Scientists. That was  before Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris climate change accord and the INF nuclear treaty. This is the closest it has been since 1953 at the height of the Korean War when General MacArthur wanted to nuke North Korea.
New Zealand Labour has a proud tradition of opposition to nuclear weapons and nuclear war. Norm Kirk sent the frigate Otago into the French nuclear test zone at Mururoa. David Lange  against all advice from officials stopped the US nuclear armed and powered  ships entering our ports and ended the ANZUS treaty. Helen Clark refused to join the United States-led coalition of the willing in Iraq, a decision that in my opinion cost her any chance of becoming the Secretary of the United Nations while Hillary Clinton was a candidate for the Presidency.
With the neocons back in charge as they were in 2003,  is United States actions that are leading us to the brink. We have a proud tradition of speaking up against the powerful in the past. Its time to do it again.


188 comments on “The Guns of November 2018 ”

  1. Poission 1

    Role-playing Nato forces launched a single medium range nuclear missile, wiping Ukrainian capital Kiev from the map. It was deployed as a signal, a warning that Nato was prepared to escalate the war. The theory was that this ‘nuclear signalling’ would help cooler heads to prevail. It didn’t work.

    By 11 November 1983, global nuclear arsenals had been unleashed. Most of the world was destroyed. Billions were dead. Civilisation ended.,,,,

    …..Although the secret US presidential report on Able Archer 83 wasn’t published until 1990, within months of the exercise, the first hints of trouble were reaching British intelligence. Both Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Reagan were shocked when they discovered that the Soviets believed they would authorise a first-strike attack.


    • Sabine 1.1

      the answer to that was this…..

      this movie scared us witless, one traumatized generation in England and Europe.

      • Exkiwiforces 1.1.1

        It’s a good movie and probably more realistic than the Yank one. The DS used this movie on my CBRND Recon Argent and detection Cse to give as us students an understanding what a pre attack and post attack would look like, along with all the usual scientific footage from the 50’s and early 60’s Nuclear Tests and including the Australia DSTO simulated nuclear strike in the Jungle using a shit load of TNT in the northern Qld in the 60’s. If you are wondering about the simulated Jungle one, the Jungle has still not fully recovered since the test.

        • Sabine

          Tschernobyl in Europe. 1986, i was 18. T’was a grand time to be young. We were all scared that we would get accidentally nuked.
          We did not care about the Yanks or the Ivan, when they drop the bomb everyone dies.

          • Exkiwiforces

            I’ve heard some interesting stories from Brit service personal in the British Sector and West Berliners of the relaxed, almost Bohemian lifestyle in Berlin until the wall came down.

            I was a little bit younger than you, but it was carefree lifestyle that I enjoyed in the 80’s until about 87- 89 and then it changed for the worst when everyone’s attitude went Sth or Nth depending on one POV with some becoming total wankers as well.

            • Sabine

              we knew that we would be dead, dead, dead, if anyone of thise arses were just to snooze the wrong way.

              I had Yankees tell me that they are here (occupied germany) to safe us from the Russians. We girls – 15 at the time, just laughed at them and told them that when the Russians start marchin the Americans would be running for the next airfield to be shipped home. That attitude of ours gave them a big sad. But for all intent and purposes it was true. Germany was/is the buffer zone.

              • Morrissey

                Same thing in Japan, Sabine. The U.S. forces, still there after seventy years, are generally held in contempt by the locals.

                • D'Esterre

                  Morrissey: “The U.S. forces, still there after seventy years…”

                  Yup. US forces still occupy Japan, Guam, South Korea. Also Phillipines, until the locals threw ’em out. Though they’re back again, I hear. Not seen by many people there as a welcome move, either, I believe.

                  • Morrissey

                    I think it’s more of a job creation scheme than anything else. Like so much in the U.S. military, it’s just massive, inefficient, misdirected government welfare.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      There is that. There’s also the fact that Japan, Korea & Phillipines still feel the need to ensure protection against re-emergence of traditional Chinese regional hegemony. The yanks are a handy protection scheme. Always pays to factor in both sides of an issue.

                    • D'Esterre

                      Morrissey: “I think it’s more of a job creation scheme than anything else.”

                      Very likely. But my impression is that many Phillipines citizens would prefer them to set their schemes up in the US of A.

              • Exkiwiforces

                There was a running joke with some of the British Armoured and Mech Infantry Units within the BAOR that they kept a timetable of the ferries running out Belgium and Holland if they failed to stop the Warsaw Pact Forces within 72hrs.

              • D'Esterre

                Sabine: “Germany was/is the buffer zone.”

                Germany remains occupied territory. Europe in toto remains occupied, come to that.

                The threat of invasion is west to east, not the other way about. It was ever thus.

                At the end of WW2, the division of Germany was agreed at Yalta. The Russians have long departed: it’s instructive to note that the US has not. We have family in that part of the world: they do not like the continued US occupation.

                Stalin is supposed to have said: “never again on Russian soil”. Thus the USSR took into its purview all those countries which had been either allies of, or collaborators with, Nazi Germany. Poland was a collaborator with the Third Reich; right up until uncle Adolf marched his troops across the border in 1939.

                • joe90

                  Poland was a collaborator with the Third Reich;


                • Stuart Munro

                  So Molotov Ribbentrop never happened eh.


                  Ten points for revisionism.

                  • D'Esterre

                    Stuart Munro: “Ten points for revisionism.”


                    Take note of the chronology. Minus five points for lack of knowledge of this history.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Yeah you’re misrepresenting it as usual.

                      Poland didn’t cooperate militarily with Nazi Germany.

                      Russia did.

                      D fail for dishonesty.

                    • D'Esterre []

                      Stuart Munro: “Poland didn’t cooperate militarily with Nazi Germany.”

                      That’d have come as a surprise to the Czechs. Go look at the history of pre-war annexations of Czech territories by Poland. Which of course delighted uncle Adolf, because it spread the blame over Czech partition, and made Poland an accomplice of Nazi Germany, an accusation that Warsaw found difficult to deny.

                      “Russia did.”

                      As it happens, I didn’t say anything about Russia – the USSR, as that polity then was. However. If you’re claiming that Poland didn’t collaborate militarily with Nazi Germany, you’d be obliged to make the same claim about the USSR. The same conditions pertained, after all, that is, pacts of non-aggression.

                      Although in fairness all round, the Molotov-von Ribbentrop pact mandated the USSR taking back from Poland territory it regarded as Russian, and previously taken by Poland. The Polish-German pact contained no such provisos, secret or otherwise.

                • SHG

                  Poland was a collaborator with the Third Reich

                  Oh please, it was Reich legal doctrine that Poland did not exist. That it had NEVER existed. Any agreement with the soon-to-be former administration of the General Government was just a ruse and not worth the paper it was written on.

                  If you want your mind really blown, I recommend Snyder’s “Black Earth”.

                  • D'Esterre

                    SHG: “Poland did not exist. That it had NEVER existed.”

                    No kidding… Yet here we had uncle Adolf signing a non-aggression pact with Poland. Mighty peculiar behaviour on his part, were that so. Don’t you think?

              • In Vino

                Yep, that is what the Marshall plan was for. Build up West Germany and Japan as strong economic buffers against the USSR.

                • D'Esterre

                  In Vino: “that is what the Marshall plan was for. Build up West Germany and Japan”

                  Actually, the Marshall Plan was only for Europe. There were aid programmes in Asia, but they were not part of the Marshall Plan.

                  Japan and Germany remain occupied, of course.

          • joe90

            I recall my mum bawling during the Cuban crisis.

            Later, she said she was convinced at the time that herself and her young family were were all going to die in a nuclear conflagration.

            • Exkiwiforces

              I’ve got two books about the Cuban Crisis from British POV, one on a Pilot in Bomber Command and the other from a Military/Government POV all by the author who was the Pilot in the first. Anyway they going to my wet/ cyclone season reading.

              The Brits slowly had all of its Bomber Command V SQN’s stood up including the Tactical Bombers of RAFG aka the Canberra’s in Germany armed ready to be launched.

              The scary thing or funny thing depending on one’s POV, was that old Harold what’s his name said “We must do this very quietly as not to alarm or panic the British people and especially the press as it would be bad for the moral and we must act if it isn’t going to happen. We must keep claim and carry on as usual like we did during the war.”

              A real typical British understatement.

              • D'Esterre

                Exkiwiforces: “I’ve got two books about the Cuban Crisis…”

                Chomsky’s account is worth a read. I was a teenager in a Catholic school at that time. I vividly recall what we were told. It wasn’t until I read Noam Chomsky that I understood the truth. As opposed to the pro-western – and in my world pro-Catholic – propaganda to which we were subjected. Here’s a piece by Chomsky a few years ago, from the Guardian:


                This isn’t the account I first read, but it covers the same ground. It’s good to see that there was a time when the Guardian printed articles of this sort, as opposed to the propaganda in which it now seems to specialise.

            • veutoviper

              I also remember my mum doing the same. Why?

              Because she, I and my father had just arrived in San Francisco by sea from NZ – on our way to Washington DC for a NZ government posting. LOL

              Decisions were made that we would continue on to Washington DC and my mother was convinced that we would all die and we would never see my brothers (older and remained in NZ for education/work etc) and wider families ever again. It was quite all quite dramatic at the time – meaning her reactions as much as the seriousness of the Cuban situation. LOL.

              Needless to say, we all survived but it was quite an ‘interesting’ time to arrive in DC. Instead of earthquake practices, we had ‘Nuclear Shelter practices’ at school! Luckily, we rented a house immediately across the road from my high school which had an enormous underground shelter that also catered to the local community, so my Mum would have been in the same one as me. Not sure that I would have liked that at the tender and sensitive age of 14 years old at the time, LOL.

              • Dennis Frank

                You must be a year older than me. I listened to it on the evening news as it happened – not by intent but because the radio was on most of the time in our family. Kids learn via emotional intelligence more than anything else, I suspect, and the subtext in the tone of the newreader made it clear that nuclear war was on the cards.

                Nevertheless, life went on as usual. The crisis was Oct16-28, ending the day of the new moon. Just another instance of what was once known (via lunatics), from folk wisdom, people crazier around the full moon. I often hear loud music in the neighbourhood when the full moon comes friday or saturday night. Hormones flowing faster..

                • veutoviper

                  “… because the radio was on most of the time in our family”

                  Same with my family in my earlier years here in NZ – including being subjected to many hours of Parliament on radio in particular. My training in parliamentary procedures, etc started very young. LOL!

                  In Washington DC (for almost 7 years) it was TV that was on rather than radio, and the real thing – compulsory (US) civics education, many visits to Capitol Hill, the White House, etc, and going to high school and university with offspring of various US high political rollers. It was a very privileged couple of years in some respects, but both my parents came from families who had struggled hard during the depression here in NZ where they both had had to leave school early to work to help support their families, but pushed themselves to go to night school to continue their education. So their feet were very firmly planted on the ground and woe betide me if I showed any expectations of privilege etc. The hammer fall was pretty swift and hard. I might not have appreciated it at the time, but the lessons learnt have stood me in good stead in my adult life.

                  Re the full moon, I am one of those who react in the way you say. Loud music!

          • Incognito

            The 80s in (some parts of) Europe did have this feeling of a distant threat that could quickly escalate into imminent and unescapable danger.


            • Exkiwiforces

              One of my favourite songs from the 80’s. Just love that sexy German voice of hers, well most German female or Nordic female voice with the odd English speaking lead female singers.

              • Incognito

                Nina Hagen?

                • Exkiwiforces

                  The band was called Nena and the lead singer was called Gabriele Susanne Kerner (Nena). Actually I prefer the original video clip, as short’ve gets the point of song across quite well, as the young snappers of today probably won’t understand the meaning of the song with the updated video clip?


                  Nina Hagen is of the German Punk Rock era of the mid to late 70’s if my memory serves me right?

                  • Tricledrown

                    She lived in Wanaka for a while

                  • Sabine

                    Daughter of Artists and Singer. He father lost his east german citizen ship due to unruly behaviour 🙂 and she followed him ti Hamburg. In east germany she was an actress and singer. Her Grandfather died in a Concentration Camp for the crime of being a jew.

                    She is a national treasure. And still busy, with voice overs, activism and such.

                    Nena is the sugar coated version of Nina. 🙂 Both are good. Nena still works, she did a lot of stuff for kids, voice overs and books. Also still very active.

                    • Incognito

                      Nina (not Nena) and Herman Brood; now that brings back memories …

                    • Exkiwiforces

                      There was a lovely concert with Nena and Kim Wilde plus a few others from the 80’s on YouTube or parts of that concert. Yes I’ve heard Nena is still very active in quite a few ways.

      • SHG 1.1.2

        My brain is still scarred from seeing this in the eighties.

    • Wayne 1.2

      I was attached to the British army in 1983 (as a reservist). One large scale war-game had a typical scenario of the Soviet Army attacking West Germany. The actual reason for the start of the war was implausible, but that didn’t matter in the way the war-game unfolded once hostilities started.

      Because I was a “spare”, I was part of the Soviet Army in the role of commanding a tank corp. Because I was an intelligence officer, I knew a lot about the Soviet order of battle. Anyway those of us who were the war gamers for the Soviet side were successful in our armoured thrust. We simply had too many tanks, too much artillery and too much air cover. The game was called off after two days when it became clear the only way we could be stopped was by NATO using nuclear weapons. As I recall, the nuclear part of the scenario was tactical nuclear weapons being fired on the Soviet Army rear echelon areas in eastern Europe. But it would have been several Hiroshima sized missiles. I recall them being the Pershing II.

      I am pretty sure it is not the war-game referred to above, but apparently the result of our war-game was not that unusual.

      As I understood it, these war-games were the reason why NATO never ruled out first use. NATO wanted the USSR to know that if they ever attacked western Europe with massive conventional forces, then nuclear weapons might be used. That was supposed to be the deterrent.

      It probably still is NATO doctrine, even though the Russian Army is only a fraction (probably less than 50%) of the Soviet Army of the 1980’s.

      • Poission 1.2.1

        As I understood it, these war-games were the reason why NATO never ruled out first use. NATO wanted the USSR to know that if they ever attacked western Europe with massive conventional forces, then nuclear weapons might be used. That was supposed to be the deterrent.

        It probably still is NATO doctrine, even though the Russian Army is only a fraction (probably less than 50%) of the Soviet Army of the 1980’s.

        The soviet and russian doctrine (as it stands) was to allow a nuclear attack on Rodina (to prevent accidental responses) and to ensure that revenge would be total and complete ie the dead hand mechanism.

        By guaranteeing that Moscow could hit back, Perimeter was actually designed to keep an overeager Soviet military or civilian leader from launching prematurely during a crisis. The point, Zheleznyakov says, was “to cool down all these hotheads and extremists. No matter what was going to happen, there still would be revenge. Those who attack us will be punished.”…

        Given the paranoia of the era, it is not unimaginable that a malfunctioning radar, a flock of geese that looked like an incoming warhead, or a misinterpreted American war exercise could have triggered a catastrophe. Indeed, all these events actually occurred at some point. If they had happened at the same time, Armageddon might have ensued.

        Perimeter solved that problem. If Soviet radar picked up an ominous but ambiguous signal, the leaders could turn on Perimeter and wait. If it turned out to be geese, they could relax and Perimeter would stand down. Confirming actual detonations on Soviet soil is far easier than confirming distant launches. “That is why we have the system,” Yarynich says. “To avoid a tragic mistake. ”


        • Wayne

          Generally agree with that. As soon as either side used nukes, who knew where it would end?

          For NATO, both then and now, the uncertainty as to whether they would use nukes to stop a conventional attack, was supposed to deter such an attack.

          The whole point of MAD (due to the unpredictability of escalation) was to stop anyone even thinking of starting any sort of attack against each other, that is a Warsaw Pact or NATO ally. They did not stop “proxy wars”.

          • Morrissey

            As soon as either side used nukes….

            “Nukes.” Interesting to see how you trivialize those monstrous weapons with that cute name.

            You seem to be in favour of this whole terror system. I’m not at all surprised.

            • Wayne

              I do think that it has prevented WW3. The major powers have not dared to provoke each other, at least to date.

              However, I also think it is a dangerous way to prevent global war. It only has to fail once for civilisation to be destroyed. As bad as WW1 and WW2 were, they did not destroy human civilisation.

              So at some point we need a better way. The world would have to become as united as Europe is today for that to be the case (to denuclearise). Fundamentally the US, Europe, China and Russia have to totally trust each other, or at least trust each other a lot more than they do today. Global war can only occur between the great powers, so it is they who have to settle.

              But I do reckon we could do more. For instance, parliament could establish an institute like the Oslo Peace Research Institute. The Norwegian parliament did that in 1959. Our key goal has to be to facilitate better relations between the US and China.

              • KJT

                Or. All countries are democratic.

                Where ordinary people have power, like the Swiss, we do not vote to commit suicide in front of machine guns, over other peoples arguments, or to help the USA get cheap oil.

              • Dennis Frank

                Yeah, I could support that. Essential to design the thing to be non-partisan. If it was just a leftist thing all we’d get would be pontificating, sloganeering, Jungian projection, etc. So the focus would have to be how to design for geopolitical collaboration: use the UN as role-model for what doesn’t work, create a task force within the institute to come up with a better design.

                Conceptual stuff like triangulation is also essential. Intellectuals are big on analysis but small on problem-solving. So I’d create a team to work on the basis of traditional power games (balance of deterrence type stuff, ideology, trade agreements etc) and another team to do lateral thinking – which is what generates progress. I shouldn’t have to say this, but it would have to recruit lateral thinkers with an impressive track record. I have to state the obvious because if politicians were involved in establishing the institute, they would deselect lateral thinkers so as to produce failure.

          • Ad

            Nor did it stop proliferation.

          • In Vino

            Wayne, I was in England in 1977, and I happened to read a copy of New Statesman (I think..) which blew apart all the current bullshit that was being spewed about the capabilities of the Russian army with all its tanks.
            “3 Days and they will be on the banks of the Rhine,” the tabloids thundered at the time.
            Absolute bullshit.
            Fact is, about one third of those tanks were needing service and incapable of serious action. (Knowing how our NZ Forces are, that would be realistic, would it not?)
            Secondly, the troops in Eastern Europe were occupation forces, not invasion ones.
            There was actually no likelihood of Russia attacking the West, nor is there now

        • Exkiwiforces

          I’ve read a few de-class files and a few books on the former Chief of Staff of the German NVA and the former Soviet Chief of Staff.

          It makes for some interesting reading IRT Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary from a Soviet POV as the Soviets consider them so unreliable that they believe they would turn against them if war broke out, thence some of the will equip and well trained Soviet units were based in those countries. The East Germans could’ve really gone either way as a number of them want to re take the lost Eastern Provinces that were lost to Poland after WW2 and then were others who want to link up with NATO and turn around attack the Soviets.

        • joe90

          And despite all the hardware, Stanislav Petrov avoided the unthinkable.


          • Poission

            Petrov was highly aware that Cold War tensions were acute, as USSR fighters had shot down a Korean airliner on Sept. 1. But he was completely shocked when the warning siren began to wail and two lights on his desk console began flashing MISSILE ATTACK and START. “Start” was the instruction to launch, irreversibly, all 5,000 or so Soviet missiles and obliterate America. A new, unproven Soviet satellite system had picked up a flash in Montana near a Minuteman II silo. Then another — five, all told. Petrov recalls his legs were “like cotton,” as they say in Russian. He stared at the huge electronic wall map of the United States in terror and disbelief. As his staff gawked upward at him from the floor, he had the thought, “Who would order an attack with only five missiles? That big an idiot has not been born yet, not even in the U.S.”

            cant really say that his last thought still holds.

  2. Ad 2

    “If blood be the price of your accursed wealth,
    Good God we have bought it fair.”

    So the union banners said.

    It would be useful to see the Prime Minister, head of our armed forces, and Governor General issue more than the usual bromides about peace being more than the absence of war and warnings about democracy.

    But we shall see cavalcades, hear carillions, and memorialise carnage. We shall salute, and set flowers.

    I demand a better dividend for the dead.

  3. Jum 3

    I don’t believe war ever happens by accident; there is always an end goal.
    And, it’s always power, control, greed.

  4. BM 4

    Meh, if it happens, it happens.

    The stong will adapt and survive, the weak will perish.

    • Exkiwiforces 4.1

      And what happens if the other side prevails and the West losses, then what? With or without using a 1st or 2nd strike option.

      • BM 4.1.1

        No idea, if we die, we die, worrying and stressing about hypothetical situations that are completely out of your control is utterly pointless and mentally damaging.

        • Exkiwiforces

          Clearly you haven’t worked in a CBNRD Planning or Operations cell CBNRD during CPX? Because there is a even chance that little old NZ may come out relatively unscathed, apart from the effects of a nuclear winter.

          For your information I have PTSD, major depression, anxiety from my 20 plus yrs of service both in th NZ Army and Commonwealth Airforce as a Tankie and in a Ground Defence Role (Airforce Infantryman).

          • patricia bremner

            Hi ExKiwiforces. Please know there are plenty of people wishing you well, and understanding not all damage is visible.
            Sofa warriors!! They think they are superior, in fact they are sure of it .
            You keep well, day by day.

            • Exkiwiforces

              Again, thank you for those kind words Patricia. My GP is ex-Army and it appears he’s added Sth atm after I was informed that appt on Tuesday morning has been canceled, so not a good day until I found a bottle of L&P to mix with a bottle of Pimm’s and no I haven’t gone over the dark side (upper class twit/toff).

          • KJT

            I’m not surprised.

            I sailed with many in my early days at sea, who had been in the WW2 convoys; and the like.

            Every one of them was “shell shocked” in one way or another. Days and weeks of, waiting for the torpedo, does that to people.

            A toll of warfare that is often hidden.

            We all like to think we are tough, but only the unthinking and totally callous can come out of those sort of experiences, unscathed.

            You have my sympathy and regard, also.

        • Tricledrown

          Banal Meathead.
          In your case logic rules your head emotionally vacant.
          Look up your prognosis BM.
          That’s why you are so Dogmatic!

    • patricia bremner 4.2

      And you are “strong” Right BM? Or just bloody minded.

    • Antoine 4.3

      @BM, revolting comment, dial it back a bit


    • Ed 4.4

      What a repulsive comment.

    • Old German joke from the 30s:

      What is an Aryan? He is blonde like Goebbels, tall like Hitler, lithe like Goering.

      As for BM? He probably has bone spurs.

    • So where are T. rex and Megalodon now?

    • D'Esterre 4.7

      BM: “The stong [sic] will adapt and survive, the weak will perish.”

      Nope. We’re all in this together. A nuclear conflict is an equal-opportunity event: the strong and the weak alike will perish.

  5. Jum 5

    There’s nothing weak or strong about BM; he’s/she’s just a construct.

  6. greywarshark 6

    Tyrant: a ruler who has unlimited power over other people, and uses it unfairly and cruelly: (Cambridge) (For the pedants; ‘almost’ unlimited power.) Where does that leave us physically and mentally? The product of a rich, uncaring, self-centred, human society that has lauded a code that has been mendacious from the start but enabled capital accretion beyond the imaginations of earlier kingdoms.

    Epitaph on a Tyrant
    W. H. Auden, 1907 – 1973

    Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
    And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
    He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
    And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
    When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
    And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

  7. Morrissey 7

    Never mind the guns of November; what
    about the cudgels of December?

    In late 1918, after the war had ended, New Zealand and Australian soldiers rounded up more than one hundred boys and men in the Palestinian village of Surafend, near Gaza, then methodically clubbed them to death. After that, the ANZAC soldiers burned the village to the ground.

    General Allenby called these ANZAC troops “cowards and murderers”.

Far from apologizing for the massacre, the RSA ran poems in its magazine praising it.



    • Ed 7.1

      The 7th November is not remembered with affection by the people of Samoa.


    • Dennis Frank 7.2

      Allenby was just doing his patrician thing. Policy was to avoid punishing the Arabs for crimes committed against Allied troops. Kiwis, less cowed by paternalism, motivated by natural justice, disagreed. Obviously it was overkill, but their solidarity and the solidarity of the OZ contingent with them, meant that Allenby could not impose punishment for the response to the shooting of the kiwi by the Arab thief. Impressive tribal solidarity from the Anzacs. Tough outcome for the Arab tribe.

      • Morrissey 7.2.1

        Kiwis, less cowed by paternalism, motivated by natural justice, disagreed.

        “Motivated by natural justice”, were they? Do you think that the man who shot Trooper Lowry in that scuffle was amongst the more than one hundred unarmed men and boys that they clubbed and bayoneted to death in that village?

        Obviously it was overkill,

        When exactly, according to your finely calibrated moral gauge, does a mass killing become “overkill”? Was it okay for these brave soldiers to kill half a dozen Arabs in their quest for “natural justice”? Twelve Arabs? Twenty? When does it become “overkill” in your book?

        …but their solidarity and the solidarity of the OZ contingent with them, meant that Allenby could not impose punishment for the response to the shooting of the kiwi by the Arab thief. Impressive tribal solidarity from the Anzacs.

        Impressive, all right. The RSA was still publishing humorous poems about it a generation later.

        Tough outcome for the Arab tribe.

        You complacent, condescending, depraved halfwit.

        • Dennis Frank

          Obviously you are incapable of seeing things thro the eyes of the kiwis involved. You also seem to lack the intellect to grasp that the group belief system conditions the world-view of members, and apply that universal element of social psychology to the situation.

          Toss around a few red herrings for the purpose of distraction, in the hope that readers get confused, then you resort to name-calling, in order to demonstrate to readers that you haven’t evolved past the mental age of college kids. Pathetic. Try growing up instead, huh?

          • Morrissey

            Obviously you are incapable of seeing things thro the eyes of the kiwis involved.

            I’ve never been involved in a gang-killing, a pogrom, or the mass killing of more than one hundred helpless men. Nor have I been involved in arson. So you’re right: I can’t see things through the eyes of mass murderers, or “the kiwis” as you call them in this instance.

            You also seem to lack the intellect to grasp that the group belief system conditions the world-view of members, and apply that universal element of social psychology to the situation.

            I understand it perfectly well. Unlike you, I don’t approve of it or excuse it.

            Toss around a few red herrings for the purpose of distraction, in the hope that readers get confused,

            That’s the purpose of a red herring, of course: to distract and confuse. But where have I done that in this case?

            then you resort to name-calling…

            No, I called you out for what you are, viz., complacent, condescending, and—worst of all—depraved.

            • Ed

              I thought the views as expressed by Mr Frank were history.
              Sadly not.

              • Dennis Frank

                I’m puzzled that you both think I’m condoning what they did. I was careful to phrase my comment to avoid creating that impression. Apparently neither of you noticed. I understand that sometime people read meanings into language used that aren’t actually there, but it is irritating and indicates a sloppiness in the attention of the reader.

                And I am not a mister. I decided more than half a century ago that anyone still using 19th century titles in the 20th was behaving inappropriately, and I would reject that behaviour henceforth. If you really want to be old-fashioned, why not wear a wig (normal for males in the 18th)?

                And Morrissey, try to understand that misrepresenting people is both unethical and offensive. Best to abandon that habit.

                • McFlock

                  You know the old line: “if you’re not with us, then you’re a depraved genocidal monster who will suck hitler’s cock in hell”.

                  Some self-professed lefties don’t really do nuance.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Yeah, weird stuff, eh? Thing is, nuances are where all the action is most of the time. They often operate like signposts, signalling where the most significant factors are in the deep context of any situation.

          • Gabby

            Murder’s murder franky.

      • WeTheBleeple 7.2.2

        “Impressive tribal solidarity”

        What a complete fuckwit you warmongering POS.

        • Dennis Frank

          I’ve already cited Archie Baxter as the appropriate male role model of that era, weren’t you paying attention? And really, are you so ignorant of history as to be unaware that such tribal solidarity was normal for the time, and often resulted in such outcomes? How the hell do you expect people to avoid repeating history if they don’t learn the lessons it produces?? Interpreting what I wrote as coming from a warmonger is elementary textual misreading – caused by jungian projection, I suspect.

          • WeTheBleeple

            You’ve stated very clearly what you are impressed by.

            You can now attack me as ignorant. But there it is.

            • Dennis Frank

              I became non-violent in 1964, adolescent emergence. Just to elaborate, I was impressed that the Anzac solidarity across the three brigades stationed outside that village was unanimous. Nobody weaseled out & told the rep from the patriarchy whodunnit. Allenby was pissed off by that.

              • Morrissey

                I became non-violent in 1964,

                ??? A non-violent supporter of the massacre of unarmed villagers. So you would not have wielded a club or a rifle-butt, you would have just quietly supported the murderers. Solidarity.

                Nobody weaseled out & told the rep from the patriarchy whodunnit. Allenby was pissed off by that.

                Mass murder as an exercise in class solidarity. They really showed that stuffy old patriarchy didn’t they. What heroes. What solidarity.

                • RedLogix

                  Dennis is making perfectly sensible point; re-litigating the past through the lens of the present is fraught with mis-understandings. We lack the context and sensibilities of the era and get into trouble.

                  • Morrissey

                    re-litigating the past through the lens of the present is fraught with mis-understandings.

                    So the people living in 1918 would have approved of what General Allenby called “cowards and murderers” sealing off a village, clubbing more than one hundred of its inhabitants to death, then burning all its buildings to the ground.

                    Got it.

                    • Ed

                      Yes all those conscientious objectors cheered at the news of the mass clubbing.
                      Dennis Frank has made a hole.
                      He should stop digging.

                    • RedLogix

                      At no point did Dennis say he approved of the murders. It’s so obvious that it was a cowardly and reprehensible act that it just doesn’t need saying.

                      But understanding why it occurred requires better than simplistic name calling. It requires that we acknowledge a grim truth … that put in their time and place … we were all capable of joining into the madness of that day.

                • Dennis Frank

                  Again, you seem to be intent on reading stuff into what I wrote. Why? What they did was so wrong that I saw no need to condemn it: it was obvious!! I did consider calling it genocide, but thought that was normally used for politically-driven mass killings.

                  What I was trying to do was explain how they saw the situation at the time as justifying their behaviour. The historical account explained their grievances. Retalation for the killing by the thief of one of them triggered the mass reaction. Typical mass psychology behaviour. It’s important to understand crowd psychology. It can still produce death outcomes, even in civilised countries. Evasion of the learning is unwise.

                  • In Vino

                    Dennis, I like your reasoned response. Morrisey I normally like your stuff, but beware of “angry old man syndrome.” Your anger appears to be on the increase. (I am also old, and feel that same anger.)

                    • Morrissey

                      Fair comment, my friend. I read a lot of things into Mr Frank’s comments that were not there. I’ll make a formal apology to Dennis in Open Mike in a few minutes.

          • Gabby

            The Trotsker would admire your perfumed disdain of primitives franky.

  8. One Two 8

    11h 11d 11m


  9. Ad 9

    Excellent memorial mass this morning at Balmoral, followed by superb armed forces commemoration at Auckland War Memorial Museum and 17,000 little white crosses.

    Beautifully done all round.

    • Anne 9.1

      Glorifying war? Beautifully done it may have been but I’ll pass thank-you.

      Edit: oh and btw, my father fought in both World Wars – the first under the British Flag and the second he was an officer under the NZ Flag. I suspect he would not agree with you.

      • Ad 9.1.1

        No form of war was glorified at either service.
        I suspect your father and I would get on better than you did.

        • Anne

          I suspect your father and I would get on better than you did.

          He came to loath and despise the way ordinary people (on both sides I suspect) were used and abused and sacrificed by power hungry state officials in pursuit of honour and glory for themselves. He lost mates and I don’t think he ever forgave the powers that be for that.

          He always maintained: the reason why some soldiers etc. did very brave things and were presented with awards was because they were too dumb to realise how much danger they were in. Anyone with any brains wouldn’t be so stupid as to do them in the first place.

          OK, before someone goes ballistic with rage, it was his idea of a joke. Plenty of people burst into laughter including and old family friend who was a reasonably prominent Navy Commander in his day.

  10. AB 10

    Trotter is good on this topic:
    “…allowing the people to know the truth about World War I seems to be as impossible as ever. Instead, New Zealanders are treated to the wicked conflation of the humanity and valour of the men who took Le Quesnoy with the purposes of the war itself. ”
    Certainly, the ahistorical nature of so much of the ‘commemoration’ gets pretty irritating. And that’s not a problem that is likely to be solved by letting Peter Jackson anywhere near it.

    • KJT 10.1

      Note the returning soldiers from WW2, came back to “make a land fit for heroes”.
      Not spivs, war profiteers and ripoff merchants. Those people were despised during the wars.

      Organizing the welfare State, workers rights, pensions, free health care and education and the concept of a fair go.

      Peter Jackson’s, and our Governments since 1984, repudiating these principles, are really a kick in the guts for those troops.

  11. Ed 11

    World War 1 was not a fight for liberty.
    It was a slaughterhouse fought over Empire.

  12. mauī 12

    This celebration and remembrance of war by the media is very fitting given their ongoing ratcheting up of conflict with Russia.

    • joe90 12.1

      Russia were all in but when the going got tough, they threw the towel in, welshed on previous commitments and coughed up reparations.


      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1

        WTF are you talking about?

      • Ed 12.1.2

        Your hatred of Russia is unbelievable.
        The overthrow of the Imperialist Czarist regime by the soldiers and workers the country of Russia – you describe as above.
        Showing your 28 years…..

        You might want to look at the Soviets made from 1941 and 1945 in defence of the Motherland against the Nazis.
        The UK would be speaking German today were it not for the heroics of the Russian people.

        Your ignorance of history is noted.

        • joe90

          You haven’t a fucking clue so you make shit up.

          edit: oh, the falling out among the thieves who conspired to roll over Europe, enslave entire populations and then divvy up the spoils.

        • Exkiwiforces

          Crossing the channel is not for the faint hardened, Hell even D Day almost went tits up three times, first Omaha Landing was almost a complete balls up, two; Hans Von Luck’s 21st Panzers almost got on the Beach between the two the British/ Canadian Beachheads and thirdly a channel storm came rolling just after they completed both Mulberry Harbours in which the one in the US sector was completely destroyed and one in the British sector so badly damaged they had use sections from the destroyed one in the US sector. That’s before we add in Herr Hitlers mishandling of his Panzers and not listening to his Generals on the ground as his Generals knew they had only one shot at throwing the Allies of the Beaches. They came close twice in Italy only for the lack of combat power mainly Panzers and Infantry.

          The last one to ever mount a successful invasion of the British Isles was the Saxons in 1066 and before that the Romans. Everyone since then either had a channel storm to contend with or the Royal Navy or a both until the advent of AirPower which stopped Herr Hitler and even if he did achieve it the Home Fleet and Force H from Gib of the RN/ Commonwealth Navies would’ve live to Nelson’ motto. If you don’t know what I mean read up the battle of River Plate or the operations of the RN/Commonwealth Navies in the Pond (The Med) especially the Cruisers and Destroyers off Crete trying extract the British Commonwealth Forces, at Toburk supporting the Australian Division or the siege of Malta.


          And the actual planned Op Sealion

          • Antoine

            > The last one to ever mount a successful invasion of the British Isles was the Saxons in 1066 and before that the Romans

            What about William of Orange


            • Exkiwiforces

              I believe William of Orange (King Billy) was “invited over” to head off the Micks, but if you were a Catholic and the then head of the Crown/ State was a Catholic (A Stuart) then you probably would call it an invasion?

              A couple of Maritime books and History books i have say he was “invited over”, but then again Wikipedia says otherwise about King Billy and it also mentions the “formal invitation” and what is now called the “Glorious Revolution”. I think comes down to how one interprets the wording/ meaning and personal views as both POV’s are quite valid.


              • In Vino

                Oh, for heaven’s sake Antoine. It was the Saxons under King Harold who ruled England until 1066 until the NORMONS invaded and King William the Conqueror took over. If you are going to constantly try to quibble here, please try to get at least a few things right.

                • halfcrown

                  You are right Vino It was the Normans that invaded Saxon England
                  led by a guy known as William The Conqueror
                  Harold the Saxon King had an eye out for him like in it. at a place called Battle where the Battle of Hastings took place.

              • Stuart Munro

                Yeah – James seems to have been a controlling asshole. William had had some positive experience of democrats – the DeWitts – and recognized the strategic value of a land without neighboring enemies. So England and William traded up – and the crown became a proper late monarchy (except to the Irish), notionally active in the public interest. This was a step further than most European countries got until 1848, so while a lot of it was only symbolic it was still a considerable step up.

                • Exkiwiforces

                  Yes, King Billy was a breath of fresh air to the British Crown and no doubt we would probably both agree that if James had stay on throne, the UK could’ve been facing another civil war or a Revolution like the French one.

        • Stuart Munro

          Much of it wasn’t so much heroics as command level incompetence. Shooting retreaters and insisting on counterattacks regardless of circumstances meant Russia’s losses were much higher than they would have been under better command.


          It’s true that the UK have some reason to be grateful, but they and the Americans paid and supplied Russia on a large scale. A German invasion of England would not have secured the resources or supplies Germany required to continue their war. German losses on the Eastern front were unsustainable even before they had to retreat

          Your ignorance of history is practically total, which is why you are such a pushover for Putin’s weaksauce propaganda.

          • RedLogix

            Or maybe just consult wikipedia:



            80 percent of all German military casualties occurred on the Eastern Front.


            Most westerners are indeed totally ignorant of the immense losses on both sides. The German Army was chewed up and defeated by the Russians; if this were not the case the Normandy Invasion would have stood zero chance of success.

            The Russians lost at least 14% of their population, possibly as high as 19%. Essentially a large fraction of men from 15 to 40 were gone; leaving a whole generation of women to rebuild their shattered nation. Absolutely Stalin’s monstrous purges of his armed forces in the years immediately before the war contributed hugely to the incompetence and demoralisation of the Russian forces.

            But ultimately when it came to defending their homeland no-one can doubt for one instant the desperate, brutal and grimly heroic efforts of the Russian people and their critical role in defeating the Nazis.

            • KJT

              I remember the statistic. The Russians killed four German soldiers for every one killed by the West, combined.

              Russian casualties were uncountable, but also much higher than the West.

              • RedLogix

                Here’s the thing. On Armistice Day there were celebrations and dancing in the street in the West. In Russia … and I have seen the photographic evidence of this first hand …. there was mostly crowds of mostly exhausted, grieving women looking as if they’d passed through hell and wondering why they had to now keep living.

                The photos I saw are among the most moving things I’ve ever seen; even as I type this the memory bring tears back.

                • Gabby

                  I hope their lack of joy was not noted by the authoritehs reddy. That wouldn’t have gone down too well.

                  • RedLogix

                    Stalin came to richly deserved death, in his own office, of a stroke. He lay there dying all day because his own staff, who knew something was wrong, were too terrified of him to enter the room without permission.

                    People around here drop terms like ‘vile’ and ‘depraved’ like confetti. It’s not until you understand at the two great monsters of the 20th century, Mao and Stalin, do you have any real sense of what these words can mean.

              • joe90

                The POW numbers tell the story; at the end of the war, the Allies held over twice as many German prisoners of war as the Soviets – 7.7 millions versus 3.1 million.


          • Ed

            Ironic that as the message ‘Lest we forget’ rings out, you continue to seek war with Russia,

            You should have joined Blair and Cameron at the Cenotaph.
            They’re your sort of leader.

            • Stuart Munro

              There’s more than a little irony in your pretentions to pacifism together with your running dog support of Putin’s invasions and murders.

              Actually no, I never supported Blair and Cameron.

              But if think you get to make up shit like that about me, well, as a supporter of Assad and Putin you might as well support Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot. Come clean Ed – you’re not fooling anyone.

          • joe90

            Shooting retreaters

            Stalin’s barrier troops executed 157,593 Red Army soldiers for cowardice and nearly half a million were sent to penal battalions, where the majority perished.

            • Stuart Munro

              Military history buffs often wonder why Germany attacked – with the benefit of hindsight it looks to have been particularly foolish.

              But Russia had performed very poorly in WW1, and their recent humiliation in Finland led the Germans to believe that they had not improved. Initial results were promising, with divisions surrounded and eliminated. Russian command and logistics were so messed up that the typical 1941 T34 went into action with only one round for its main gun.

              Russian command was on a par with the aggressive incompetence of those who commanded the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli. Typical estimates of what Russian losses would have been under better command are half to a third of what they actually suffered – and that’s probably conservative.

              Talking up the heroism of troops sent to die in this fashion does not, to my mind, exculpate those who sent them. Nor can Russia, as Nazi Germany’s betrayed ally claim much credit for defending itself strenuously.

              • RedLogix

                Military history buffs often wonder why Germany attacked – with the benefit of hindsight it looks to have been particularly foolish.

                It’s a good question; at least another major reason was Stalin’s massive purges of the armed forces from 1937 onward. Virtually all of the generals and competent military leaders were either killed or removed to the gulags. Hitler rightly calculated this would hugely diminish Russian military effectiveness; and consequently Russian losses were appalling.

                What he didn’t count on was the ordinary Russian people resisting so bitterly in the defense of their homeland.

                • Stuart Munro

                  I think it may’ve been partly that the ordinary troops faced a Xenophon’s situation – their commanders weren’t going to get them out of any hole, so they had to learn the skills they needed quick smart or die. The loss of commanders may even have been an asset – they certainly didn’t do them much good in Finland, and they were equally effective in the first Chechen war.

                  Germany’s military was built around rapid warfare – engaging at advantage or going around. The lengthening supply and repair chains (aircraft often had to be trucked back to Germany for example) hit them every bit as hard as the notorious weather.

                  Russia probably needed to move to a posture of defensive attrition, or even mobile retreat. There were few usuable resources for advancing German forces to make use of, excepting the railways. Suggesting retreat to Stalin was suicidal however.

              • Exkiwiforces

                If Herr Hitler left it to has Generals, and hadn’t interfered from the start it could been a very different outcome.

                The Generals and the Chief of Staff to the OKH knew that Moscow had to be the Germans Centre of Gravity, with other advances into Western Russia as secondary objectives. As Moscow was the heart and Soul with all Command and political decisions were made in Moscow by Stalin.

                The Military case for investing Moscow was and is from my POV quite sound. As it could’ve done untolded damage to Stalin and his leadership group, the Red Army still had a lot White Russians in it, who still loyal to Czars. The bulk of the then Red was Deployed in Western Russia and still hadn’t fully modernise and the political commissars didn’t help either.

                Herr Hitlers decision to go after economic targets half though the opening stages of the campaign in Russia and on to 1942, was only doing to end badly the Germans. But in saying that Germans still had all the cards in their hand until after the Battle of Kursk.

                When one reads all of the Operations plans for The Battle of France, The Med/ Africa and the Eastern Front. Herr Hitler sticks his bloody fingers in parts when he should’ve had. Like stopping the Panzers short of the Channel ports, diverted the Luffwaffe from bombing the Airfields and Aircraft factories during BoB, delaying The Russia Campaign to 1942 IOT secure the Southern Flank fully aka the Med or the British Pond especially when Malta was weak until early to mid 1942 as it was the Brits CoG for the Pond and finally two Herr Hitlers biggest cock ups in Russia turning Panzer Armies Sth for the Ukraine instead of Moscow when they broke through the final Russian Army Reserves at (can’t remember the place) as the bulk the Russian Army was in the Ukraine (not really Stalin’s finest hour either) as Russians believe that was the Germans CoG at the time or hard press in the Nth.The 1942 summer offensive in Southern Russian and the investment of Stalingrad.

                Finally the Germans treatment of the Ukrainians and White Russians who hated Russia even more than the Germans combined was missed opportunity there. Further info on that can be gotten from that awful book of his.

                • Ed

                  Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad is the best book I’ve read on the Eastern Front.

                • Stuart Munro

                  I’ve heard a few proponents of the Moscow option – but they don’t seem to address the peculiarity of Russia’s having had two historical capitals, which, like the Green co-leadership, renders the loss of one less than catastrophic.

                  For my part I’d’ve suggested the southern oilfields should have had priority – that would have improved German supply and thus mobility, while decreasing Russia’s. In the event it seems objectives were a bit confused.

                • Exkiwiforces

                  I recommend reading Werner Haupt 4 books- 3 on the Army Groups from 1941- 45 and his other on the The Assault on Moscow which I don’t have.

                  This one is a “What If” had Herr Hitler didn’t turn the Panzers south towards the Ukraine, but had continued IAW the OKH Operations Order for Op Barbarossa and Army Group Centre’s OPORD and it’s Battle Plan IAW with the fall of Somlensk as the Russians had committed the last of it’s available reserves due pressures else where. The book “Hitlers Panzers East”, by R.H Stolfi.

                  And Thomas L Lentz books especially PanzerTuppern Vol 1 and 2.

                  A number of German Generals and Staff Officers had trained in Russia during the 20’s and 30’s. During their time in Russia they knew the Communist Party Leadership Group was highly centralised, in that orders or decisions made came from the top down and the Political Commissars had the power to overrule any decision which was to have disastrous effects in the coming war. This is before we start about Stalin’s Military Purges and again they had disastrous effects on the Army and Airforce.

      • D'Esterre 12.1.3

        Joe90: “Russia were all in but when the going got tough, they threw the towel in….”

        Nope. Russia withdrew from the war because of the revolution.

        • Dennis Frank

          Yes. The truth of that became clear to me when I finally got around to investigating the Bolshevik takeover (in the mid-’80s) and read all the key texts.

          I also recall reading years ago that the gun emplacements around Auckland harbour originated prior to WWI as the result of paranoia about the invasion threat posed by the Tsar, which surprised me. Think it was in either tourist brochures onsite or the commemorative plaques put up by Council.

          • Ed

            Paranoia about Russia.
            Sounds like Mr Munro

            • Stuart Munro

              It’s not paranoia when they are a genuine threat Ed.

              This is not long after a Czarist fleet fired in error on British trawlers on the Dogger Bank. This vagrant fleet was on its way to reinforce the Russian forces at Port Arthur – but having soured relations with the British territories in that incident, it found bunkering and resupply a considerable challenge.

              The incident caused many British territories to look to their coastal defenses, but the Russian fleet was sunk without loss by Japanese forces at Tsushima, and wandering aggressive fleets did not recur, so batteries were not kept up.

              The loss of the fleet caused a level of discontent with the government that probably contributed to revolutionary sentiment, as well as determining that it was Japan rather than Russia that occupied Korea and expanded into Manchukuo.

              This was the so-called ‘short victorious war’.

              • McFlock

                Funnily enough I read an article that mentioned how part of the Nazi invasion of Norway was temporarily turned back by shore defenses that had some of their most palpable hits struck by the original Whitehead torpedo, fired by cadets.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Yup – down here in Dunedin we have a disappearing gun from that era – not a war winner, but something that would have made using the harbor a costly proposition for a hostile fleet.

                  Most of Germany’s successes in Europe had to do with fighting nations that were not fully mobilized. Norway is tough ground, and but for the threat of the Scharnhorst keeping the British navy away it’s questionable whether Weserübung could have succeeded at all. The environs of the heavy water plant certainly remained contested for a long time, and the escape of the government and royal family meant that Germay’s occupation never turned Norway into anything resembling a reliable ally or friendly territory for Hitler.

    • marty mars 12.2

      Remembering those that have died actually. Pity your empathy circuits have fried and you no longer care about people who died in that war. Many do and find people with your view repulsive.

      • mauī 12.2.1

        I think you would find most New Zealanders wouldn’t have the foggiest about WWI or feel any connection to it through family.

        The fact that many New Zealand towns have a memorial to those lost in it but still these memorials go largely unnoticed and uncared for by the public says it all.

        • marty mars

          lol do you actually live in this country mate cos that is just absolute bullshit.,

          • greywarshark

            That remark by maui is too generalised but it has happened. Here is one example. There was a great fuss over on the West coast about a supermarket some years ago, that i think had been funded by Maori interests, having taken away Memorial Gates from their site because they wanted to put the supermarket entry there.

            This was given a bad rap and the Mayor hopped on his white horse and rescued these precious relics. Story was however, that the gates had rusted, needed repair, and had been taken down and stored for some time, in the yard behind a business. The local Historical Society went hysterical because they had been at the exact point that the men left in 1915. There was no reason they could not have been put up at another place further along the road to allow this new business, and new amenity to the district, to operate effectively. After all the people hadn’t cared enough to maintain the original site.

            There is a lot of hoo-hah talked in NZ of our concern about war and the returned, which people attend annually. But then we don’t pay much attention to the everyday needs of service people still alive with gratitude and respect. Too late for the dead; we should show we care and remember by acting to assist veterans and as we remember make some effort to prevent war.

        • joe90

          Fordell, Waverly, Maxwell, Waitotara, Patea, Kakaramea, Hawera, Stratford, Toko, Normanby, Rahotu, Okato…..

          • mauī

            Yes, and about the last thing to come to mind when you mention those places is a relationship to WWI.

            • marty mars

              That’s the problem with the YouTube generation – no attention span unless directed towards self. I’ll watch the trailer and now I don’t need to see the movie. No wondé the world is fucked.

            • joe90

              Cenotaphs stand in all those places, some with dozens of names, some with just a handful, and those names are still present or remembered, in those communities.

        • KJT


          Still have the family photos.

          Including my grandfather, who was training at Mission bay to be a pilot. Fortunately for him, and us, he was young enough for the war to end, before he was sent to the front. A new pilots survival, was measured in weeks.

          My mothers uncles, who lived in the old family home, but were never the same again, after serving in Europe.

          The war memorial at the school gate, with over a hundred names from the district, in a town of four hundred.

          Most New Zealanders have someone in their family history. Children, at least those I know, go to ANZAC parades, not to glorify war, but to remember all the people, not much older than them. Who never came back.

  13. Sanctuary 13

    Let me see… Maudlin sentimentality, self serving militarism and a hopelessly inaccurate and misleading presentation of history… Yup, another end of WW1 event.

    Apparently a nationality that didn’t exist in 1914 called “Kiwis” “flocked to the colours”. Such was the enthusiasm of men in New Zealand to fight for thier country there was no need to introduce conscription in 1916 for the 110,000+ men who could read the newspapers and had decided it was rather better idea if they stayed home, thank you very much… Oh wait.

    Those that then reluctantly went to fight because they had to “sacrificed themselves for us”, a reason which always draws puzzled looks when you try to explain why New Zealand decided that this “sacrifice” took the form of invading Turkey(!) via the Aegean sea, followed by fighting the (morally indistinguishable from the British Empire) German Empire in Flanders on behalf of the French because, ummm, the Germans had invaded Belgium, a country chiefly known for waffles, chips and beer, and is 18,000 kilometres away.

    The reality is the first 14-20,000 volunteers who made up the Gallipoli contingent were the redneck desperadoes who had formed the backbone of “Massey’s Cossacks”, the reactionary rural types who were the strike breakers in 1912-13. They were NOT “Kiwis” they were BRITISH SUBJECTS AND DAMN PROUD OF IT who believed in all that Empire bullshit enough to go off and get the Turk’s to give them the fate so many of them so richly deserved.

    Everyone else stayed at home until they were forced to go because despite what the media would have the public believe, NZ before the Great War didn’t consist of one big happy community sitting around campfires singing “Rule Britannia” and listening to the selected reading of Rudyard Kipling before saluting the Union jack and having a cold bath to ward off impure thoughts.

    The great War was an enormous tragedy because it was the ultimate betrayal by a ruling class that demanded unquestioning loyalty and respect and trust and repaid it with venal incompetence and an utter failure to assume responsibility at every level and every strata for it’s decisions. The lesson of WW1 is to NEVER again trust the military leadership to run a war, to ensure politicians are in complete control at all times of the gun fighters and to ensure those politicians are held responsible by the voters.

    Not this bullshit maudlin nationalism and bullshit worship of the military we see nowadays at these celebrations. I mean, “We will remember them” Really? Will we? What does that phrase even mean??

    • Anne 13.1

      I think your detail and my ‘summing up’ @ are one and the same thing.

      • In Vino 13.1.1

        My feeling is that current ‘remembrance’ is now glorification, because the futility of WW1 and cynical politics are never mentioned. Only the salute to heroism matters now, and that is dangerous. We will soon have a society happy to repeat the stupid mistake.

  14. Ed 15

    Mike Treen.

    “In 1918 Labour Party Leader, Robert Semple, said: “If I were in Ireland, I would be a Sinn Feiner; if I were in Germany, I would be a Sparticist; if I were in Russia, I would be a Bolshevik”.

    But that new world did not happen. Capitalist rule was stabilised temporarily, and the world ended up plunged into a world depression, from which fascism and a new world war emerged. Since World War Two, millions more people have died in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, countless other nations in Africa and the Middle East, because capitalism depends on resource extraction. This system must control the natural wealth of the planet and the labour resources of the world for the benefit of a tiny minority of super billionaires who own and control this economy for their private benefit.

    That system must be overthrown. We need to go back to the anti-war and socialist ideals of the founders of the labour movement to find a new/old way forward.”

    • joe90 15.1

      Semple was the party president.

    • Tricledrown 15.2

      You are living in lala land if you think that’s going to happen.
      From Silo views to the real world where very few people hold your views less than 1200 in NZ. Not many more in the world. Trade is associated with civilization going back to the beginning of mankind, it brings people closer together.

  15. KJT 16


    “In 1918, after four years of slaughter, deprivation and hardship, the Central Powers of Austro-Hungary and Germany were rocked by strikes and mutinies. In February, a naval mutiny broke out at Kotor and sailors shot their officers; by October, the Austro-Hungarian army had collapsed from mass desertions and political upheaval. Soon afterwards a mutiny by German sailors at Kiel merged with other uprisings and quickly escalated into a full-scale rebellion against the imperial state, sparking the abdication of the German Kaiser and the proclamation of a workers’ republic on 9 November 1918.

    Preferring peace to full-scale revolution, an armistice with the Allied powers was signed two days later, on 11 November 1918. Working-class revolt had helped to end the First World War.”

    And steps were taken, in New Zealand also, to ensure that soldiers and workers were unable to have a direct say in going to war, since.

    “Fear of working-class resistance strengthened the apparatus of state surveillance. Meetings of radicals were secretly attended by police and fortnightly reports were sent to Police Headquarters. Detectives in each district systemised this work by compiling an index of individuals who had ‘extreme revolutionary socialistic or IWW ideas’. This signaled the formation of New Zealand’s first ‘Special’ Branch and laid the groundwork for all future spy agencies in New Zealand. The unrest unleashed in the final months of the war directly influenced the monitoring of dissent in New Zealand for years to come”.

    Anyone who thinks the SIS, is there to monitor “outside enemies” is being naive. Even our last major military exercise was not about defending us, or helping an invaded ally. It was about suppressing a “rebellious population”.

    • greywarshark 16.1

      Yes I noticed this – it seemed like a declaration.

      our last major military exercise was not about defending us, or helping an invaded ally. It was about suppressing a “rebellious population”.

      Tuhoe I think, were a practise run.

  16. Ed 17

    Neil Clark

    “In 2013, the much-loved WW2 veteran and Labour activist Harry Leslie Smith said that he would be wearing a poppy for the last time.

    “I will no longer allow my obligation as a veteran to remember those who died in the great wars to be co-opted by current or former politicians to justify our folly in Iraq, our morally dubious war on terror and our elimination of one’s right to privacy,” he declared.

    It’s clear that an increasing number of Britons think like Harry.

    This is not because they don’t want to honor the brave soldiers who died in action, but because they don’t support the new wars of aggression that the current British Establishment wants Remembrance events to legitimize. For it to survive and regain the widest possible public support, the Festival of Remembrance must be saved from neo-con militarism and return to being the less-hyped but less hypocritical commemoration it was in the 1970s. That means saying no to arms company and neo-con involvement, no to censoring anti-war verses, but a very big yes to “Never Again.”

    • KJT 17.1

      It is possible to honour the bravery of soldiers, while still deploring the self serving lunacy and jingoism, of the idiots, on both sides, who thought war was a good idea.

  17. Kay 18

    The ultimate outcome of any war isn’t the land gained, the leadership overthrown, governments toppled. It’s the dead, injured, homeless, refugees, orphans and traumatised. It’s the front line Soldiers (professional, volunteers or conscripted), and of course civillians, who always pay the heaviest cost as ‘collateral’ damage.

    And for what in the end? Wasn’t WW1 the ‘War to end all Wars? My grandparents – civillian collateral damage in WW2 Europe, left as homeless, stateless, traumatised for life refugees along with millions of others would beg to differ. The however many we’re up to Syrian refugees would beg to differ. Obviously lessons from history are never learnt, and I know from experience that as the intergeneration trauma of WW2 is still going on, the trauma of Syria and all the other war zone will be around for decades to come.

    And @Sabine 1.1- Threads screened on TV here at the time too. I was in my teens, it freaked a lot of people out as well! It also didn’t help being made to go and see “The Day After” for 4th Form English then discuss it in class the next day. To use the word traumatised isn’t an exaggeration. Many of us were having nightmare for a long time over that.

    • WeTheBleeple 18.1

      Hell yeah.

      NZ citizens should take a class action against NZ Govt and mainstream media for filling our childhood’s with unnecessary fear.

      Absolutely over the top. For what?

  18. RedLogix 19

    The Great War is a wound in time, a great upheaval (including the Spanish Flu epidemic which it enabled) that at the distance of 100 years we struggle to grasp in all it’s living horror. We struggle to bridge this distance in time with the proper response.

    But in the immediate aftermath of WW1&2 the leaders of the world, having seen what hell looks like, on both occasions had a moment of sanity. The League of Nations and United Nations both arose from a profoundly felt impulse to never see such a catastrophe again.

    This is perhaps the best way to remember all the grim sacrifice of those wars; let us try to recreate those cold moments of clarity and humanity, when the survivors looked at what they had done and were humbled into attempting something better. We’ve had the lesson pounded onto us twice already … do we need a third round?

    • Dennis Frank 19.1

      We, in the sense you’re using it, refers to everyone and I’m not as confident in the wisdom of the crowd as I was, in respect of war. Everyone does not read history. Everyone therefore cannot be assumed to have learnt the lessons from it.

      In this respect video games are relevant. Younger generations are likely to get more learning about the good/evil axis from them than from movies (Hollywood propaganda) or books (mostly don’t read them anymore) or oldies (mostly dead or ignored). The downside is that the traditional binary gets recycled: obvious goodies & obvious baddies. In the real world, evil usually wears a cloak, because it is more successful when unrecognised. So the best learning source would be sophisticated designs in which skill is required to unmask players & agents in order to win.

      However wars aren’t usually the result of everyone: they result from the competing of the top players on the global stage. In our globalised era, geopolitics is where to look for the causative factors. Since wars are normally still between nations, the UN’s role in peace-keeping is marginal. Peace nowadays derives from how the top players see their common interests converging and collaboration on emerging common ground is crucial to limiting competition for power. Currently, the triangulation of Russia, China, & the USA is our primary focus on that..

      • RedLogix 19.1.1

        There’s quite a bit in that response. Agreed that most people, despite turning out in masses at Anzac memorial services, have not learned the lesson. Why not?

        I think part of the answer is our extremely bad habit of dividing the world into good and evil people. Us = goodies, Them = baddies. This works as a central plot device in the Lord of the Rings (or almost any work of fiction that expounds on the nature of good and evil) … but it’s the wrong mode for real life. In the real world we are all capable of good and evil; we are all a confounding muddle of both. Until we confront, accept and understand this, we’re prone to being manipulated into charging off to war.

        I come from a small family; my mother’s auntie was married to a WW1 serviceman. We have his war diaries which detail how he survived virtually all the major battlefronts. It’s typically dry and not especially evocative unless you read between the lines a bit. I was about 12 or so and we were having a family dinner, Christmas probably. My father by way of conversation asked uncle something about his wartime life. Auntie froze for moment, it was clearly an uncertain topic.

        Then after a pause, and I recall the words as they were said yesterday “Any man who goes to a war is a fool. No-one has need to seek it, the real war can only be fought in your own heart”. Afterwards my auntie told my mother, these were the only words he ever said in all their life together.

        Not understanding this, the moment our leaders tell us that we are at war with ‘Oceania’ … we will tribally band together and hate all Oceanians.

  19. Ed 20

    George Galloway speaks truth to power.
    He starts speaking at 2.40
    World War I slaughter was a clash of Empire.

    • Morrissey 20.1

      Thanks, Ed.

      A few years ago on Radio Vile, that moron Sean Plunket had a drunken swing (figuratively speaking) at Galloway, who when informed that a moron in the Antipodes had been speaking moronically about him, immediately challenged Plunket to back up his moronic allegations with at least one item of evidence.

      Plunket failed to provide that evidence, of course.

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