world war i: the home front

What if, when Petunia Dursley found a little boy on her front doorstep, she took him in? Not into the cupboard under the stairs, not into a twisted childhood of tarnished worth and neglect–what if she took him in?

Petunia was jealous, selfish and vicious. We will not pretend she wasn’t. She looked at that boy on her doorstep and thought about her Dudders, barely a month older than this boy. She looked at his eyes and her stomach turned over and over. (Severus Snape saved Harry’s life for his eyes. Let’s have Petunia save it despite them).

Let’s tell a story where Petunia Dursley found a baby boy on her doorstep and hated his eyes–she hated them. She took him in and fed him and changed him and got him his shots, and she hated his eyes up until the day she looked at the boy and saw her nephew, not her sister’s shadow. When Harry was two and Vernon Dursley bought Dudley a toy car and Harry a fast food meal with a toy with parts he could choke on Petunia packed her things and got a divorce.

Harry grew up small and skinny, with knobbly knees and the unruly hair he got from his father. He got cornered behind the dumpsters and in the restrooms, got blood on the jumpers Petunia had found, half-price, at the hand-me-down store. He was still chosen last for sports. But Dudley got blood on his sweaters, too, the ones Petunia had found at the hand-me-down store, half price, because that was all a single mother working two secretary jobs could afford for her two boys, even with Vernon’s grudging child support.

They beat Harry for being small and they laughed at Dudley for being big, and slow, and dumb. Students jeered at him and teachers called Dudley out in class, smirked over his backwards letters.

Harry helped him with his homework, snapped out razored wit in classrooms when bullies decided to make Dudley the butt of anything; Harry cornered Dudley in their tiny cramped kitchen and called him smart, and clever, and ‘better ‘n all those jerks anyway’ on the days Dudley believed it least.

Dudley walked Harry to school and back, to his advanced classes and past the dumpsters, and grinned, big and slow and not dumb at all, at anyone who tried to mess with them.

But was that how Petunia got the news? Her husband complained about owls and staring cats all day long and in the morning Petunia found a little tyke on her doorsep. This was how the wizarding world chose to give the awful news to Lily Potter’s big sister: a letter, tucked in beside a baby boy with her sister’s eyes.

There were no Potters left. Petunia was the one who had to arrange the funeral. She had them both buried in Godric’s Hollow. Lily had chosen her world and Petunia wouldn’t steal her from it, not even in death. The wizarding world had gotten her sister killed; they could stand in that cold little wizard town and mourn by the old stone.

(Petunia would curl up with a big mug of hot tea and a little bit of vodka, when her boys were safely asleep, and toast her sister’s vanished ghost. Her nephew called her ‘Tune’ not 'Tuney,’ and it only broke her heart some days.

Before Harry was even three, she would look at his green eyes tracking a flight of geese or blinking mischieviously back at her and she would not think 'you have your mother’s eyes.’

A wise old man had left a little boy on her doorstep with her sister’s eyes. Petunia raised a young man who had eyes of his very own).

Petunia snapped and burnt the eggs at breakfast. She worked too hard and knew all the neighbors’ worst secrets. Her bedtime stories didn’t quite teach the morals growing boys ought to learn: be suspicious, be wary; someone is probably out to get you. You owe no one your kindness. Knowledge is power and let no one know you have it. If you get can get away with it, then the rule is probably meant for breaking.

Harry grew up loved. Petunia still ran when the letters came. This was her nephew, and this world, this letter, these eyes, had killed her sister. When Hagrid came and knocked down the door of some poor roadside motel, Petunia stood in front of both her boys, shaking. When Hagrid offered Harry a squashed birthday cake with big, kind, clumsy hands, he reminded Harry more than anything of his cousin.

His aunt was still shaking but Harry, eleven years and eight minutes old, decided that any world that had people like his big cousin in it couldn’t be all bad. “I want to go,” Harry told his aunt and he promised to come home.

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aries - you have to tear down your own walls first; love isn’t the kind to bleed through the cracks. she wants an ocean. give in.

Leo - i hope one day you can break free from your glass house.

Sagittarius- your love has thawed the ice in me; one day the sea levels will rise to drown my coastlines, and I will welcome your waves with all the love my arms can carry.

Taurus - i saw you in a dream once. i used to hold you when you would cry, but i know she’s stitched your wounds and you’re not crying anymore. i hope you’ve found your peace.

Virgo - they told you all roads lead home, but i know you lost yourself somewhere across the Atlantic when you left everything for something you weren’t sure you even wanted. i don’t know who you are anymore, but i hope you find it– whatever it is.

Capricorn - do you still see me in your skylines? i’ve forgotten what it’s like.

Gemini - they say you have another face hidden somewhere beneath your dress, but i’ve never known anyone who so unapologetically belonged to themselves. but tell me, are you really at war with the world? or is it all just a front? will you ever be caught late at night taking your mask off? i wonder what you think when you’re alone.

libra - i caught you once with your face in a book– did you ever catch me looking?

Aquarius - i worry about the way you love, but i envy it, too. there is beauty in always giving, but there is a loneliness so deep in loving what cannot be returned.

cancer - you are the light in every room, you are the beacon in every storm. you are my manna from heaven, you are the house that keeps me warm.

Scorpio - there are cobwebs in the corner where you used to sit, but sometimes I still see your footprints in the dust. you have a way of haunting the people you loved.

Pisces - your words are featherlight, but your actions are made of iron. one day I pray you learn the weight of what you have done.

—  the signs as I have loved them // mh
My tunic is rotten …
We are lousy, stinking, ragged, unshaven and sleepless. Even when we’re back a bit we can’t sleep for our own guns. I have one puttee, a dead man’s helmet, another dead man’s gas protector, a dead man’s bayonet. My tunic is rotten with other men’s blood, and partly splattered with a comrade’s brains. It is horrible, but why should you people at home not know? Several of my friends are raving mad. I met three officers out in No Man’s Land the other night, all rambling and mad. Poor Devils!
— 

  Lieutenant John Raws, Australian 23rd Battalion, during the Battle of Pozieres, 4 August 1916.

Adrian Hill - Pozières An Australian Episode, c1917.

“Polish Fairytales”

“The true patriot is one who is not satisfied with everything in their homeland, a man who wants and fights for it, that it was better.” -Charles Dickens

Text at the last panel is a poem by Władysław Bełza. It’s a poem children learn to recite at school. 

Who are you?
A little Pole.

What’s your sign?
A White Eagle.

Where do you live?
Between my kin.

In what country?
On Polish soil.

What is this land?
It’s my homeland.

How was it gained?
With blood and scars.

Do you love her?
With all my heart.

And what do you believe in?
I believe in Poland.

What are you to her?
Her graceful child.

Do you owe her something?
I owe my life.

♩ EMILIE AUTUMN; STARTER SENTENCES. ♩

all these starters are from the 2012 album ‘Fight Like A Girl’!

  • ❛ My heart is a weapon of war. ❜
  • ❛ My voice is my weapon of choice. ❜
  • ❛ There is no such thing as justice. ❜
  • ❛ All the best that we can hope for is revenge. ❜
  • ❛ I’m giving you a head start. ❜
  • ❛ I fight like a girl. ❜
  • ❛ We are under attack. ❜
  • ❛ It’s so easy to kill. ❜
  • ❛ It’s time for war. ❜
  • ❛ It’s time for blood. ❜
  • ❛ It’s time for TEA!
  • ❛ How did I get myself into all of this mess? ❜
  • ❛ We never will forget, and no, we will not forgive. ❜
  • ❛ How do we change our world to what we want it to be? ❜
  • ❛ How do we move beyond all of this misery? ❜
  • ❛ One foot in front of the other foot. ❜
  • ❛ I’ve been in chains since I was nothing but a kid. ❜
  • ❛ Now that we have it, how will we make use of it? ❜
  • ❛ I used to have a home, now I don’t even have a name. ❜
  • ❛ How do I get these memories out of my fucking head? ❜
  • ❛ But just because we live does not mean that we’re alive. ❜
  • ❛ Heaven help us, where do we begin? ❜
  • ❛ Start at the beginning, finish at the end. ❜
  • ❛ Someday we will meet again. ❜
  • ❛ Hell is empty… and all the devils are here. ❜
  • ❛ She speaks to me in noises I don’t understand. ❜
  • ❛ It’s time to show our strength. ❜
  • ❛ The wheels are turning. ❜
  • ❛ We’ve tried to fight this, but we can never win. ❜
  • ❛ At least I have my wits. ❜
  • ❛ One man’s trash is another’s treasure. ❜
  • ❛ I am a scavenger. ❜
  • ❛ It isn’t your diamonds that I’m after. ❜
  • ❛ Why should we waste them? ❜
  • ❛ I will be waiting. ❜
  • ❛ If I burn, so will you. ❜
  • ❛ I could bargain but I’d lose. ❜
  • ❛ There are two sides to every story… except for this one! ❜
  • ❛ It’s not over 'til it’s over, and it’s never over. ❜
  • ❛ Step right up! ❜
  • ❛ If you’re willing to be thrilled, this is a hell of a ride. ❜
  • ❛ Grab another cup of tea, and follow me. ❜
  • ❛ Now, has anybody any clever questions for your guide? ❜
  • ❛ There’s a bloody pill for everything nowadays! ❜
  • ❛ How big is a lady’s brain? ❜
  • ❛ This seems just a bit inhumane. ❜
  • ❛ What will I remember? ❜
  • ❛ What will I forget? ❜
  • ❛ What will I regret? ❜
  • ❛ Is the future mine? ❜
  • ❛ Where’s my second chapter? ❜
  • ❛ Take this bloody pill and make it quick. ❜
  • ❛ Be careful what you say. ❜
  • ❛ You no longer rule your body. ❜

A first-generation Cuban, I grew up feeling that my family had been Cuban for generations. Some years ago, a Cuban friend of mine, upon meeting my mother, asked me about her accent. “What accent?” I asked in surprise. Sure, I had grown up with stuffed grape leaves alongside plátanos chatinos, but our soul had never been anything but Cuban. My mother, like my father, was a Sephardi Jew from Turkey. She was so “Cuban” in my eyes that it had never occurred to me that she spoke Spanish with an accent.

Of a Sephardi family, she had come to Cuba when she was around ten and had adopted Cuba as her homeland. Likewise, my father had come to Cuba during World War I and had become totally “Cubanized.” Rarely did my parents speak of Turkey, for it didn’t hold fond memories for them. Although Turkey had been home to Sephardi Jews for centuries, it had never been a welcoming place for them. A resolution to survive compelled my father and my uncle to leave Turkey at the start of World War I. The Turks had been known to place young Jewish men in the front lines, and my father and uncle were not prepared to die. They set out on a ship for the United States, but at its long stopover in La Habana, they had so fallen in love with the friendly people, the beauty, the warmth, and the similarity of Spanish to Ladino that they had decided to make Cuba their home.


As my father passed through the immigration line, he even gained the “Cubanized” last name of “Levis.” Apparently, the immigration officer had not been able to read his papers clearly and had mistaken the name “Levy” for “Levis”; this was only the symbolic beginning of my father’s attachment to Cuba. For my mother’s family, it had also been a question of survival. Opportunities for jobs and business had not been rampant for the Jews, and so my maternal grandfather had set out for Cuba with dreams of financial success. When he had saved enough money, he sent for his family. And so, the Cuban roots for both my parents had been planted….

—  “My Cuban Story,” Ester Levis Levine, in Taking Root (2002)
Perfect

author: chrevastan
word count: 1196 (oneshot)
characters: Steve Rogers x Reader (F)
warnings: None. Just a load of fluff.
insp: Perfect - Ed Sheeran
A/N: I just realized I haven’t written a Steve oneshot. Also, I wanted to write some pointless fluff. That’s all. Oh, I may have snuck a FRIENDS reference somewhere. Points to the person who finds it. Permanent tag list and drabble requests for Bucky or Steve are open!

Originally posted by your-kylie-me


It was just another typical Friday night in the tower.

When you weren’t sent on missions, you liked curling up on your favorite couch with a book and a blanket draped over your lap. This evening, you were reading Clint’s worn out copy of The Return of the King when you heard the door open. You looked up to see the love of your life padding into the room with his leather-bound sketchpad tucked under his arm. Steve was clad in a form fitting black v-neck and some navy blue sweats but he was still easily the most gorgeous man you’ve ever laid eyes on.

“Hey.” you hum as he makes his way towards you, dipping low enough to give you a quick peck on the lips.

“Hey.” he answers in a low voice and smiles. “Busy?”

“Not really.” You sit up, placing the book down on the coffee table. Even though the couch was big enough to seat you both comfortably, Steve settled close to you and brought your feet up to rest on his lap. He began to stroke your legs over your soft blanket and you sighed at the comforting touch. “That feels nice.”

“Yeah?” Steve smiles bashfully before taking his sketchpad. He gives it a thoughtful look before handing it to you hesitantly. “I want to show you something…” you note the sudden change in his tone. He sounded a mixture of shy and anxious.

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General George S. Patton’s dog on the day of Patton’s death on December 21st, 1945-

Tatonk:

General George Patton led U.S. armies in World War II. He was notorious for his strong opinions and inability to avoid controversies. In life he was called “Old Blood and Guts.” His death has been a subject of mystery and intrigue. Although his commanding style was domineering, some might say bullying, and he had some definite anger management issues, General Patton was a devoted dog lover. He bought the first of many Bull Terriers for his daughters just after World War I. Although Tank turned out to be totally deaf, he always somehow knew when General Patton was to arrive home and met him at the front door. He bought the famous Willie in 1944 and wrote about him: “…my bull pup … took to me like a duck to water. He is 15 months old, pure white except for a little lemin on his tail which to a cursory glance would seem to indicate that he had not used toilet paper…”. Willie was devoted to the General and followed him everywhere. General Patton doted on Willie and even threw a birthday party for him. The general wrote in his diary on July 15th, 1944: “Willie is crazy about me and almost has a fit when I come back to camp. He snores too and is company at night”. Sadly, one day before Patton was to return to the United States in December, 1945, he was involved in an automobile accident which broke his neck and he died a few days later. Willie was sent home to live out the rest of his life as the beloved dog of a fallen warrior with the General’s wife and daughters. This picture of Willie, a lost little dog, was taken a few days after the General’s death as preparations were made to send home his effects.

Cartoonist Bill Mauldin wrote: “Beside him, lying in a big chair was Willie, the bull terrier. If ever dog was suited to master this one was. Willie had his beloved boss’s expression and lacked only the ribbons and stars. I stood in that door staring into the four meanest eyes I’d ever seen.”

By RHP

4

New Guinea during World War I — The Battle of Bita Paka and the Siege of Toma,

While World War I typically brings up scenes of trench warfare from the Western Front. However World War I was fought by people from all over the world on battlefields all over the world. Before World War I, New Guinea was divided in two, the northern half controlled by Germany, the southern half British (administered by Australia). The islands of New Guinea were especially important for Germany because they were home to many supply and communications stations for the German East Asiatic Squadron, a fleet of cruisers which harassed Allied shipping in the Pacific and Indian Ocean throughout the war. 

As soon as the war began, the Australian government and military began planning for an operation to seize New Guinea. It would become the first independent Australian military operation and result in the first Australian casualties of the war. The operation was conducted by the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, consisting of 3,000 soldiers and sailors. Australia was quickly able to seize most of New Guinea without resistance, however at a radio station at a small village called Bita Paka on New Britain Island was a force of 61 German soldiers and 240 native police who were determined to fight.

On September 11th, 1914 a force of 500 Australian soldiers approached Bita Paka intent on capturing the radio station. There they were met by the German and native soldiers who fought a retreating skirmish, until eventually the settled into trenches and fortifications. The Germans had intended to draw the Australians into a trap, a  pipe mines which were to be detonated when the Australians advanced across a road. However the Australians were able to locate and disable the mine, foiling the German plans. 

With superior numbers, the Australians were able to quickly outflank and overwhelm the German lines. The Germans retreated 19 miles through the dense jungle to the village of Toma, hoping to hold out until the East Asiatic Squadron arrived with reinforcements. However, the Australians would follow them with a 12 pounder artillery piece and commence bombardment of the village.  Most of the native soldiers fled in panic, convincing the Germans to surrender. One German officer named Hermann Detzner escaped into the jungle with 20 native soldiers, where he spent the rest of the war in hiding.  At the end of the operation six Australian soldiers were dead and four wounded. The Germans suffered 1 German officer dead, 30 native soldiers killed, and 11 wounded. 

A Merlin Recovery Pack

- for dexterandsaracen, and anyone else suffering after the finale.

BLOGS

PLAYLISTS

FICS

For A Thousand Years  [E] [15312]

Merlin has lived for almost longer than he can remember. He works day-to-day in a coffee shop, when one day the magic in the air shifts and the lake of Avalon boils. The Once and Future King is returning.

(Un)like any other [E] [20681]

It could have been the classic scene: Running into each other, knocking coffee over, buying the bloke a fresh coffee and with a bit of luck, getting laid. But then the girl had pulled Merlin’s jeans up and revealed an artificial leg.

Finding Home [E] [7857]

When Gaius retires a new physician takes over and quickly kicks Merlin out of his room and takes it for himself. Arthur finds Merlin sleeping in the stables…and it’s winter.

Nerf Wars [T] [1839]

For the prompt: I came home to a Nerf gun on the front porch and a note that says ‘Here is your weapon. I have one too. Good luck. xo’ AU

To Let Lie What’s Done [T] [1434]

Arthur is not Merlin’s to have, not after the way Merlin failed him so completely at Camlann.

Post-it Note Romance [M] [9963]

Merlin has never had a secret admirer before so he’s fairly certain this one has the wrong guy.

Hopeless Wanderer [E] [18553]

Merlin has been wandering the world for hundreds of years alone; one day a young blond man moves into the flat upstairs. But does Arthur remember? Post S 5 reincarnation fic. Spoilers.

A makeshift “chalet” created by French soldiers near their network of trenches during World War I. The trenches unexpectedly became a key feature of the western front and dominated the fighting, killing millions. Soldiers assigned to the smelly, muddy, and vermin-infested trenches often did whatever they could to add a touch of home to their environment.

anonymous asked:

How sexist is the Fire Nation? It's interesting to see how they have female soldiers in the main islands, but don't have any on the invasion forces. This seems to be a reference to Total War, World-War-style societies, where women and old men held the Home Front, and these were pretty sexist societies... although much less sexist than even a few decades before.

Tbh I hadn’t quite thought about it that way. I had thought about the fact that I can’t name any high-ranked women in the army, though. You have a great point with that, though. I do reckon the Fire Nation was progressing in regards of equality for the sexes, but they’re not 100% there yet by ATLA’s time.

Goddammit, I know I’ve ranted about the softcore sexism in the Fire Nation before, but I can’t find the post. Linking you to it would have been a lot more useful than going on about it again, but what the heck. I guess I’ll have to do it again after all! :’D Brace yourself! Long post!

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anonymous asked:

Im in need for the seeker trine taking in stray neutral seeker younglings (almost like child/preteen in human terms?), and they just preen and clean the young among the rest of the decepticon seekers. None of the decepticon dares to touch them, in fear that some feral seeker going at their throat. What kind of guardians would SS/TC/SW be with some lost seeker femmeling, whos scared and lost durning the war.

Skywarp brings a little seeker back from the front, not because this is a thing he typically does, but because “by primus your paintjob is absolutely hideous and I refuse to let one of us fly in ZEBRA PRINT”

So he takes her home to get her an actual decent color while he orders someone to find him who’s been painting the newer batches of seekers and why in the many conquered worlds they aren’t just doing greys anymore, and either he or TC realizes….wow. They are….really really young on the front line, huh. That kinda sucks, but well, it’s war right?

So she’s like “am I supposed to go….back to the front now?” and they’re just like “naw naw naw wait a bit just chill out here you’re like 12″ and then a month goes by and they’re just like “okay fuck it she’ll be like a secretary or something we like her too much she gets to live”. Starscream isn’t really happy about this at first but like…..secretary, Star, someone who does your work for you and can’t say no, plus she’s like, 12. She’s so little. Give her a pat on the head as you send her off with a datapad Shockwave needs to see.

And then Skywarp is like “well she needs friends” and starts…..randomly grabbing the really really small ones from the front lines until they have a small army of tiny seekers who are all like, 12. Starscream finally gives in and says they can have this small posse, but ONLY if all of them are painted in zebra print. Skywarp doesn’t speak to him outside of work for a month.

The Star Spangled Man

(A missing scene from Special Relationship)

a birthday gift for @agentkarnstein

happy happy (belated) birthday Minty! I hope you had a wonderful day and that this year is a fantastic one :D

As always, scotch performed its duty as social lubricant admirably, and it wasn’t long before Peggy was laughing along with Steve’s old unit as if she had been part of it herself. The Howling Commandos, as they had once been known, regaled her with their wildest tales behind enemy lines until she was in stitches.

There was one story, though, she was dying to hear, but every time she brought it up, someone would glance at Steve, wince, and quickly change the subject.

So the minute Steve excused himself, she turned to the rest of the men and whispered, “So what is up with the whole ‘Captain America’ thing?”

They all exchanged glances, and Peggy rolled her eyes. “Oh come on! Whenever I ask Steve about how it started, he just blushes, says he’s going to kill Barnes, and changes the subject. I want to know where the name came from.”

Barnes leaned forward, forearms resting on his legs. “Okay, but you can’t tell him we told you. He hates it when we bring it up, especially in front of his girlf—” he cleared his throat as Peggy glared at him and corrected, “—his colleagues.”

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I’ve just stumbled across this marvelous thing!

There’s lots of interesting stuff (food for thought?) here, starting with official recognition that the number of people living alone had risen - and that some of those people were men. (Foyle’s War fan fiction authors, please take note.) What leapt out at me, though, is a single word in the section on points changes:

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4

PAKISTAN. Islamabad. January 24 & 25, 2014. Portraits of Afghan child refugees. For more than three decades, Pakistan has been home to one of the world’s largest refugee communities: around 1.6 million of Afghans who have fled the repeated wars and fighting their country has undergone.

(1) Abdulrahman Bahadir, 13. “I wanted to show the outside world what I see every time I meet these children, their stunning eyes and their tough life standing together in front of my lens.”

(2) Afghan refugee Naseebah Zarghoul, 6, poses for a picture on Jan. 24, 2014. “I want these beautiful children to be remembered by their names not as displaced Afghan refugees.”

(3) Laiba Hazrat, age 6. “Simple things make them so happy, playing with anything that comes their way. They adapt with the minimum and they honestly look like the happiest children.”

(4) Akhtar Babrek, age 13. “The hard life they live is so obvious to see in their faces. Their beauty is mixed with the rough life condition they endure everyday.”

Photographs: Muhammed Muheisen/AP

Ever think about magnitude heroism?

Green Arrow guards Star City, Flash protects Central City, and Supergirl looks after Keystone City, among others.

And then you have Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta, who left her home with the Amazons to protect humanity and end The War.  Diana is the kind of hero who other heroes look up to.  She sets the bar so high.  Imagine having her on your team!  Imagine knowing that she is out there fighting incomprehensibly difficult battles, just so you can have the opportunity to fight the smaller but equally meaningful battles on the home front. 

I love that she’s such a force of good in the world that even other heroes might be tempted to say they’re not heroic, not compared to her.  We all know they still are.  Their heroism is a different method, but it’s still so important.

Magnitude heroism doesn’t mean only the biggest battles matter; it means every battle matters to someone, whether that someone is entrenched in a war or suffering back home.  It means there is a need for heroes on all fronts.  Proportionality keeps the world spinning.  Someone has to fight for the every day, for the little things. 

Every act of kindness is a step towards a better world, and every failure is a collective set back.  Heroes take it all personally because they value everyone.  Even the way they treat their enemies is a testament to who they are.  They aren’t excessive; they’re just.  They make mistakes – we couldn’t emulate them if they didn’t – but they also acknowledge, accept, and grow from their mistakes.  And they keep making them.  Because that’s what you do: you keep living, even when you know you’re going to mess up.

And hey, even Diana does little acts of kindness, and other everyday heroes step up to save the world.  Big magnitude heroes are mentors for smaller magnitude heroes.  They’re people who work at a higher level inviting you to join them.  That doesn’t mean they force you to shoulder the weight of the entire world; they provide an example of carrying on against staggering odds, an example one can emulate by applying it at the right scale.  These are people who face proportionately difficult challenges and still insist on trying to do good.

Diana is a hero among heroes.  I feel like a lot of heroes need her.  And I know a lot of us need heroes of every order.

2

The Irish Situation

Pictured - Posters advocating for and against Home Rule in the lead up to World War I.

The unprecedented impact of the Great War on civilian populations led to hunger, death, and unrest on the home of fronts of the warring power.  Outside Imperial Russia, however, armed revolution did not take place before 1918, with one exception: Ireland. 

Ireland was a nation deeply split before the beginning of the war, which deepened divisions and is perhaps the most significant event in the island’s history.  Before the war began Britain had had to divert garrison troops to Ireland, which became a hotbed of dissent in rows between Irish Nationalists, who wanted self-rule, and Irish Unionists, who wanted Ireland to remain fully part of Great Britain. 

To quell unrest, the British parliament created the Third Home Rule Bill in 1912, which promised a measure of Irish self-government.  However, the issue of Home Rule created even more tension, as Irish Unionists, particularly in the northern province of Ulster, protested.  “Home Rule is Rome Rule!” went one Unionist slogan, claiming that Irish self-governance would give too much power to the Catholic Church.  Determined to prevent the passage of Home Rule at any cost, Unionists formed the first paramilitary group in 20th century Ireland, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a militia that threatened rebellion against Britain. 

The UVF smuggled weapons in Britain and began training in case of civil war.  In response, Irish Nationalists formed their own militias, under the auspices of the revolutionary movement the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB).  This lead to the creation of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, two armed groups opposed to the Unionists.  Towards the summer of 1914, civil war in Ireland looked a real likelihood.

The British government had its hands tied, especially when British officers stationed in Ireland refused to confiscate weapons from the UVF, with whom they sympathized.  Now faced with the chance of civil war and military mutiny, the British government pledged not to fight the Unionists.  Forced to play its hand, it could no longer implement Home Rule.  When the war began, the British Liberal government suspended the enactment of the Home Rule Bill til the end of the conflict.

Not all Irish Nationalists advocated military rebellion.  Most, in fact, preferred the route of constitutional independence, and wanted to wait for the end of the war to see Home Rule implemented.  John Redmond, the head of the Irish Volunteers, supported Britain’s war effort and called for Irish Volunteers to join the British Army.  The 10th (Irish) Division, which saw service at the Somme, was largely composed of Irish Nationalists (fighting alongside its sister formation, the Unionist 36th (Ulster) Division, which was formed of the old UVF).

Most Irish Volunteers answered Redmond’s call, except for a minority in the Irish Republican Brotherhood, as well as the pro-independence leftist party Sinn Féin. 180,000 Irishmen joined the British Army from 1914 to 1916, but as the war of attrition set in some Irish began to worry about conscription. Meanwhile, the rump of the Irish Volunteers who had refused to answer Redmond’s call to arms continued to train throughout Ireland, lead by romantic idealists and Marxists like Pádraig Pearse and James Connolly, who believed that a “blood sacrifice” could awaken the Irish independence movement. 

They saw their chance in the spring of 1916.  With Britain tied down with the war, they planned an uprising on Easter week.  Sir Roger Casement, a consul for the British government but an Irish revolutionary, had managed to get a promise from Germany for 20,000 rifles (captured from the Russians at Tannenberg in August 1914), plus ammunition for them, and ten machine guns, smuggled to the Atlantic coast on-board the disguised German freighter Libau. However, although the Irish Republican leaders were brave and motivated, the organization for the Rising was a disaster.  The Libau was caught by the Royal Navy on April 21, and Roger Casement (who lost his title) was captured and tried for treason.  Britain was aware that a rebellion loomed around Easter week from the capture of Casement and Libau, and from intercepted radio transmissions from Germany.  Surprise was gone, and so were the promised rifles.  However, Pearse only delayed the plan for one day, scheduling the Rising for April 24, when Irish Volunteers would be called to take up arms and take to the streets to throw off British rule.

Keeping Morale Up in Salonika

A poster advertising the 27th Division’s horse show.

July 23 1917, Salonika–The Allied troops around Salonika, far from home, suffering from malaria, and with little action on the front since May, faced a growing morale problem.  This was especially true for the French.  Strict censorship had prevented news of the mutinies from reaching Greece (beyond possible word of mouth), the soldiers did learn of their effects–most notably, a new, more generous leave policy.  This was obviously difficult to extend to the Army of the Orient, which caused discontent and even a brief mutiny on July 16.  Although it was soon broken up and around ninety mutineers arrested, Sarrail recognized that morale was a growing problem.

Leave was difficult to grant because it took so long to get back to France by sea, and doing so meant traveling through U-boat hunting grounds in the Aegean.  However, with King Constantine’s abdication and Greece’s subsequent entry into the war, her railroads and ports were now fully available.  On July 23, Allied transports began using the port of Itea, in the Gulf of Corinth.  A much shorter sea voyage, to Taranto and the Italian railroad network, was now available, making the granting of leave (and the movement of troops in general) much more feasible.

The British attempted to keep their morale up in the meantime through a variety of diversions.  The 28th Division kept a pack of beagles, which had the run of the front, often crossing over into the Bulgarian lines.  The Bulgarians always graciously returned the beagles to the British without incident.  The 27th Division held an impressive horse show lasting from July 23rd to the 25th, under the protection of Allied air cover.  Sarrail himself even attended the final day of the festivities.

Today in 1916: Failed British Attack on Pozières Ridge
Today in 1915: Fighting Dies Down Around Mt. San Michele After Most Italian Gains Reversed
Today in 1914:  Austrian Ultimatum Delivered to Serbia

Sources include: Alan Palmer, The Gardeners of Salonika.