I was questioning whether or not to do this, but on the advice of @byzantinefox and @bantarleton, I’ve decided to make a post addressing the events portrayed in the film. I’m not a film critic or scholar (my wondertrev buddy @twoquickdeaths could probably say more about those aspects of it than I could), but I am a history major with a great interest in the First World War. Hence, I will be addressing the events of the film, their historical context, and the way they are portrayed. WARNING: Spoilers below!
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC. August 2014. [Part 2 & End]
(1) A French Foreign Legion soldier during a patrol between Bambari and Bria on Aug. 23.
French Foreign Legion soldiers are searching for armed people who fired on their positions on Aug. 26.
French Foreign Legion soldiers on a patrol.
A French Foreign Legion Captain is trying to keep the Christian population calm after an altercation with Muslims on Aug. 17.
A French Foreign Legion soldier is firing at an enemy position.
An exhausted French Foreign Legion soldier is taking rest after a patrol on Aug. 19.
With his photographs, Elias isn’t claiming to explain what happened in the Central African Republic. “It’s really about the way 20 men live in a section of the French Foreign Legion. It’s intemporal. I wasn’t interested in the fights, the war. I was interested in their private lives — in the times in-between.”
Elias has continued to follow these men, spending Christmas with them. In August, he will visit them again at their base in Nimes, France. “Again, I will be looking for photographs that show their lives; I’ll be looking for the human side.“
This type of edged weapon, called a hunting sword, was often carried by hunters and soldiers in the 1700s. James Monroe carried this sword while serving in the Third Virginia Infantry.
This musket was used by Monroe during the Revolutionary War. It is composed of elements from several different versions of French military and civilian muskets, encompassing years of manufacture from 1717 to 1777. The features of the musket indicate considerable alteration, it is uncertain whether this occurred during the Revolutionary War or at another time. The initials “JM” and “1776” are carved into the stock.
Germans Begin General Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line
French troops greeting French civilians left behind by the Germans in Noyon, within a half hour of its liberation on March 18. The French flag flying was likely kept in hiding for over two years of German occupation.
March 16 1917, Noyon–Since early February, the Germans had been preparing to shorten and strengthen their lines by willingly evacuating a large salient between Arras and the Aisne, surrounding but far larger than the ground lost on the Somme last year. They had made sure that the Allies would not be gaining any ground of much use, however, destroying all the infrastructure and buildings they could find, damming rivers, leaving booby traps and fouling wells. Anyone who could be useful for the war economy was taken further behind German lines, leaving the French with children, the elderly as additional mouths to feed.
Many Allied commanders had realized the Germans were planning a retreat by early March, and it had become increasingly obvious in the past few days. Even Nivelle had realized what was going on by the 15th. The Germans abandoned the front lines in the wee hours of the 16th, leaving the French to face empty trenches. The Allies soon followed, but could not maintain the same pace over ground that had been wrecked by years of fighting and deliberate German scorched-earth policies. Nevertheless, the few soldiers still left who had fought in the first months of the war, it felt like August or September of 1914 again; no longer stuck in trenches, they were moving over open country. Cavalry commanders were excited at the prospect of chasing down the retreating Germans, though a lack of forage and water ultimately prevented the cavalry from being effective.
Nivelle had refused to believe that the Germans would give up this ground; Noyon lay only 40 miles from Paris. The politician George Clemenceau would exhort the readers of his paper: “Monsieurs, les Allemands sont toujours en Noyon.” (Monsieurs, the Germans are still in Noyon.) When Noyon fell two days later, Nivelle supposedly cabled Clemenceau, telling him “Monsieur, les Allemands ne sont plus en Noyon.” (Monsieur, the Germans are no longer in Noyon.)
French civilians pass a British CMP (Corps of Military Police) despatch rider of Nº 6 Beach Group in La Brèche d'Hermanville, Normandy. 6 June 1944.
The Nº 6 Beach Group was a unit of the British Army during the Second World War. It was responsible for organising the units landing on Sword Beach in the Normandy landings on D-Day, 6 June 1944. The Beach Group was tasked with establishing dumps of equipment and supplies including ammunition, petrol and vehicles. The Group controlled all policing and unloading in the eastern flank of the Normandy invasion area.
Nº 6 Beach Group also included units of the Royal Engineers, Royal Army Service Corps, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Army Medical Corps, Military Police and the Pioneer Corps. The HQ of the beach group moved to Lion-sur-Mer on 12 June 1944. (wikipedia)
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA. Sarajevo. November 21, 1994. The 1992-95 Bosnian war was the first conflict that Anja Niedringhaus covered. Here, a French UN soldier and a woman give first aid to a Bosnian soldier shot by a bullet on the so-called Sniper Avenue.
Amfréville, 8 June 1944: a group of French commandos fraternize with civilians. (Left to right:) Ptes Poli, Guyard and Zivohlava, the latter wearing the 1942 parachutist’s sleeveless oversmock; Mme Nicole, M Potel, Mme Lefevre; Ptes Floch and Gabriel, and (right rear) Sgt Lanternier (see also page 3). Unlike many British commandos on D-Day, who removed their unit insignia, all wear ‘FRANCE’ and 'No 4 COMMANDO’ titles and the Combined Operations patch on their sleeves, and their distinctive cap badge. By now the unit had received No.4 rifles and spike bayonets - though Pte Guyard has somehow picked up a Russian Mosin-Nagant carbine - perhaps from a member of one of the German Ost-Batalillonen? (IWM B 5280)
Photo & caption festured in Opsrey Elite • 142 No.10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 1942-45 Britain’s Secret Commando by Nick van der Bijl BEM
In 1916 German workers were putting in fourteen-hour days and, according to official German counting, 121,114 Germans had starved to death, up from 88,232 in 1915 – deaths the Germans attributed to the British blockade.
But it was also the result of a decline in Germany’s farm production because men and horses had been taken from farms for the war effort. During 1916, food riots had occurred in approximately thirty German cities. And premature frosts came that killed the potato harvest.
The winter of 16/17 would be known as the Turnip Winter. And short of coal like the French, German civilians were shivering in their homes.
Cartoon from the Western Mail - 29 December 1916
[National Library of Australia]
FRANCE. Lyon. June 7, 2016. Anti-terror police officers and volunteer “victims” take part in an anti-terrorism exercise at the UEFA EURO 2016 fan zone in Place Bellecour. The UEFA EURO 2016 soccer championship will run from June 10 to July 10, 2016, in France.