Sunday, April 15, 2007

A dark anniversary indeed

It nearly went by me, but our Hoosier correspondent reminds us that today is the 90th anniversary of the Nivelle Offensive, or the battle of the Chemin des Dames, the riding preserve of the French royal women in the l7th and l8th centuries. This was one in the series of "surefire breakthroughs" on the western front after September l9l4, coming between First Ypres(l9l4, the smash-through to Calais and Dunkirk), Second Ypres(l9l5, gas) Verdun l9l6(let's bleed the French white), the Somme(l9l6, take some pressure off the French)and 3rd Ypres/Passchendaele(knock out the Uboat ports), the spring l9l8 German all-out offensive and Meuse-Argonne. But it wasn't just your garden-variety offensive--its first days of unabated slaughter ended in widespread mutinities that affected nearly all of the French army on the western front. It was key to the launching of the British 3rd Ypres and made the US entry all the more urgent. You might find some good material for the final in the IHT writeup, which you can find by clicking here.

4 comments:

LaPopessa said...

I am intrigued by a thought. Any predictions on how things would have worked out had Wilson kept to his promise and the US had stayed out of this conflict?
- Would the end have been a more equitable truce as the fight bleeds both sides into negotiations?
- Would the regal houses of Europe managed to cling to power for a few more decades?
- And of course, the big question - would a more equitable truce have led to conditions making the rise of Hitler impossible, i.e., did the US, in a way, help create the environment for the rise of National Socialism?

german said...

i think a solid economic base would have prevented the conditions that allowed hitler to rise topower. i suppose if the letter of wilsons words would have been followed then the repayments would not have stranggled the life out of the economy.
i do think germany would have won eventually i think the spring offensive would have given hope and falkenberg and ludendorf would have found a way through. the bleeding of the french white did work since they were defeated as an offensive threat and i doubt they would have continued

buckarooskidoo said...

I don't know about the German victory...the German homefront was collapsing even in the spring of l9l8--food riots, political unrest, hints of mutiny. Maybe the German military would've staggered on, but the homefront was in extremis, probably unable or unwilling to go on. Of course, there's no saying that the other belligerents weren't in the same situation...

i do think woodrow wilson ruined the peace by making too many promises he only assumed he could keep....

german said...

yeah that might be wishful thinking but i do like the small progress they made at the start of 17 and 18 and it is true i think all the natons were on the brink of economic ruin. i wonder just how bad of shape britian would have been if us would have stayed completely a true neutral and did not trade with them