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.