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1914 Evening

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Aug 2014, 17:30

 Fig.1 Screengrab from a news report style presentation on why Britain went to war 100 years ago / at midnight tonight.

I stumbled upon all of this quite by chance. Who'd imagine the BBC Parliamentary Channel would produce an evening of documentaries, talks and lectures. Former foreign secretaries reflect on the important role Edward Grey in 1914 took to keep Britain out of a continental conflict. I hope it's all on the iPlayer as every word is worth sharing. 

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Why did Britain go to war in 1914? In 100 words

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A handful of belligerent political leaders, primarily in Berlin, but also in Vienna, exploited the murder of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand to pursue their long held belief in Germany’s need for a world policy ‘Welpolitik’, even the right to world power ‘Weltmachtstellung’. Their machinations, deviousness, obfuscations and at times ineptitude and delusions, led Britain’s leaders, reluctantly, in August 1914, once all efforts at mediation had failed, and enough of Britain’s divided Cabinet could unite after Germany’s invasion of Belgium, to enter a state of war when Germany failed to respond to Britain’s 4th August ultimatum.

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New blog post

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 20 Jun 2012, 07:04

DSC04786.JPG

I came across this on the rear page of 'World War' a partwork pubished in 1936/1937. I was struck by its clarity. This is an age where the 'working man' left school age 14. My grandfather started work the day of his birthday having got through 'Standard 7' the term before. He had the mind, he survived the First World War as a machine gunner, transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and qualified as a Fighter Pilot and went on to be a Regional Manager for the North Eastern & then Scottish & Newcastle Breweries. But he always deeply regretted not having a more enduring education. At least he saw his daughter through Durham University with an M.A.

Is this what the OU offers? To man and woman alike? This chance to 'engage the brain'?


 

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First World War recalled

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 6 Mar 2012, 08:30
My son is off to Ypres.

We live in East Sussex 11 miles from the coast. The school go every year. My Grandfather, a Corporal in the Machine Gun Corps, served between April 1915 and Christmas Day 1917 surviving Arras, the Battle of the Sommes and the 3rd Battle of Ypres or 'Paschendaele'.

I interviewed John Arthur Wilson (1896-1992) at length, recording it all onto Broadcast audio tape, though very regretfully not onto video as had I done so I have little doubt his content would have been repeatedly used, from joining up to training, first casaulties, billets, rations, the Vicker's Machine Gun, desertion, and mud, the guns, every kind of projectile identifable by the noise it made and of course every fatality along the way, but not him, not a scratch, despite repeatedly being put into the most dangerous spots. Or even trwnsfering to the Royal Flying Corps where things wouldn't exactly be much safer.

All this with some of his photographs at www.getjackback.wordpress.com.

Meanwhile I have dug out a set of my 32 copies of 'World War' published in 1934, edited by H G Wells and full of gruesome photographs of bodies in various stages of decomposition.

'Will the War change Britain?' asks H.G.Wells in an article he wrote in 1914 and republished here. He correctly suggested that there would be a rapid advancement in the machinery of war.

Come August 2014 there'll be some fuss made about the centenary of the First World War. Buy before then in Lewes some fuss will be made about the 750th Anniversary of the Battle of Lewes after which the Monarch had am elected parliament foisted on them.
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