Monday, 11 November 2013

No, it's just Armistice Day

I don't suppose that there was very much else I could Blog about today was there?

I'll start with a question... When did the War that we call Great War, The War to End all Wars, World War 1 and/or the 1914-1918 War finish?

Hands up if you said the 11th November 1918... No, don't be shy, you can think that, it's perfectly OK, loads of people do in fact.  But lots of people are wrong.

If you've got a war memorial near you, go and have a quick look now.  In fact, take some Brasso with you and give it a bit of a going over, but try and get there before Eleven O'Clock (Blogger's note, yes, I know this Blog doesn't come out until lunchtime), there's a possibility that there might be some people there around then, and you don't want people reporting your guerrilla polishing spree to the authorities.

What does it say the dates are?

1914-1918? - Really? Oh, that sort of took the wind out of my sails a bit if I'm honest... Although, I kind of get it, most of the memorials commemorate local people who have died, and people stopped dying en-masse in 1918 (Not everyone... Just people who were fighting in the war, otherwise the world would be even more over-populated than it is now.)

Ok, let me direct you to a particular War Memorial, the one in the Lych Gate at my local church.

It plainly says at the top, For God, King and Country 1914-1919.  Which is slightly more correct, kind of...

On the 28th. June 1919, exactly five years after Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, assassinated Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and started the whole thing off, the Treaty of Versailles was signed which 'Ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers'

So, 1914-1919?.. Great...

But no, the treaty didn't come into effect until January 1920.

Right, so 1914-1920? Yes? Actually still no, there were a fair old number of treaties signed between the various combatants during 1920 - The combined Allies, Hungary, The Ottoman and German Empires to name a few (Did you know that the Germans even had an Empire? If they'd won World War 1 would we now have an International Death-Star instead of the International Space Station? - These are all important questions you know) But, Turkey, dear plucky little Turkey, didn't stick to the treaty that they signed, and continued to be at war with us until a separate treaty came into force in 1924.

The 1914-1918 war actually lasted from 1914-1924 then?  Well, kind of, but still no.  (You know where this is going right?)

There's a country that is famous for being late for every major military engagement that it's ever been involved in that it didn't actually start, can you guess which one I'm talking about?

If you said America, and in fairness who wouldn't have said America? You can have a cookie, in this instance you're wrong, but still have a cookie, because I thought it was funny. (They signed a treaty with Germany in 1921 that ended the war for them)

I'm talking about Greece.  Greece only joined the Great War in 1917 for some fairly complex geographical reasons, and when the time came to 'Divvy-up' Eastern Europe between the allied forces with the Treaty of Sevres in 1920, they didn't sign it.  So, the war between Greece and the Ottoman Empire (or Turkey, as we like to call it now) is still ongoing, technically. But if I were you, I still wouldn't go shooting at any Turkish people you bumped into on a busy shopping street in Athens - I mean, you probably wouldn't get into a lot of trouble, but it's still generally regarded as bad-form.

So, if you wanted to take things literally, you could say that the correct date for War Memorials should be 1914 - TBA because it's still in progress.  Again, you'd be within your rights (if you were completely bloody mental that is) to take an angle-grinder and smooth out the 1918 or 1919 or 1921 on your nearest memorial and you could print out this Blog as evidence to back up your thinking.

Seriously though, don't... people get twitchy when you start mentioning defacement of national monuments, I think they can still hang you for that, or shoot you at the very least.  People would get upset at you. Even if you know the difference between 'Romanes Eunt Domus' and 'Romani Ite Domum'

But no-where near as upset as they get when you choose not to wear a poppy, especially if you're on television...

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