Saturday, 31 March 2012

A new world burns

On 28th June 1914 a Austrian Archduke next in line to the throne and his wife were shot dead by a Serbian terrorist, now I did not witness this event and normally would likely have never heard about it, unfortunately, over years alliances had been made and tension had built; the Austrians had been waiting for a reason to take on Serbia and they had been given one. Unfortunately Russia mobilised in support of the Serbs which led to the involvement of Germany and France and less than two months after the fatal assassination the world was plunged into the First world war. It spread quickly, young men were sent to fight, sent to die and those who didn’t were killed by their own for cowardice; I watched it unfold, I saw the death toll rise, saw the evil that men did without conscience and for the first time I felt sick, I was sickened by the what the world had become, by what humanity was capable of and I was sickened by myself, for the first time I thought about what I did, what I had done and I decided it was time to change. Change was not easy, I had spent years watching people struggle with change, fight against it and now I was suffering my own battle against it. When I couldn’t stand my own demons any longer I joined up to fight some.
The battle of the Somme began July 1st 1916 and I along with many came face to face with some of the heaviest German fortification; the battle was bloody and savage, there were 65,000 British casualties alone on the first day and the battle did not give up until late October. Rain washed away the blood and pain of the men who had died, those who had come so close to losing everything, by that time there were 400,000 British casualties and 200,000 French and only a small amount ground had been gained for such a huge loss of life. I continued to fight, in those days you did not abandon your country. In 1918 when there seemed no end, hope came, thousands had been lost trying to advance upon the Germans and little to no ground had been gained and when, on the 21st March the Germans launched a 6,000 gun barrage and gas attack leading to 350,000 casualties new troops were rushed in from across the channel, America finally joined the war. The first great war ended late November 1918 when the only German who had kept fighting finally surrendered leaving the world in devastation. It was now time to start the return to a normal life, to start to rebuild and recover and I was right in the middle of it. 

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