Thursday, November 11, 2004

World War One and other Random Notes

Another day of light blogging.

I have had too many things to do. I have been taking care of my wife, who has a cold. I am filling out an application at the last minute for some funding. Too many stupid hoops to jump through

I am also giving a paper next week on how the republican attitude of French bureaucrats affected the integration of Alsace after World War One. Good stuff, although it is heavy on legislative proposals and administrative reports. One interesting mistake that the bureaucrats made: they mistook the self- dissolution of the parliament (Landtag) of Alsace-Lorraine as a sign that they did not want any regional political powers. In truth, the deputies were kicking out the members who had been appointed by the Empire.

Claire remind us that it is Armistice/remembrance/Veterans' Day (or whatever they call the end of WWI). Le Monde has a review of literature, films and other memorials (en français) that have kept the memory of the war alive despite the passing of the poilus. Deutsche Welle has this review (in English), which adds that this is also the day of Polish Independence. As soon as I can get some links, I will post something about the Thiepval Project, a British venture at the site of the Battle of the Somme. If you are looking for a film, I would recommend Bertrand Tavernier's Capitaine Conan, which takes place in the east just at the end of the war. I posted a few days ago about the passing of the poilus.

One of my favorite books about WWI is Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory . Fussell argued that the experience of WWI influenced how modern war--and modernity in general--are understood. WWII, for instance, was largely described in the language invented during WWI. I wonder whether Fussell's assertion is no longer applicable. Warfare is no longer about the hard slog or the mass armies, but the use of precision, technology, and training. The (First) Gulf War has been used to describe Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Yes, there are features of contemporary warfare that still resemble WWI, but the language of warfare has changed.

Who won on whose coattails? It appears that President Bush, rather than earning capital in the election, has outstanding debts. He may not get the guest worker program he wanted (one policy of his that I liked), and his choice for party chairman may get the snub because his sexual orientation is under question. However, the Europeans should hold their laughter: Germany has the Partei Bibeltreuer Christen (in English), its own attempt at fundamentalist politics. You can see their site here (auf Deutsch).

Finally, Fafnir explains "leprechaun science", which is more valid than the theory of evolution.


At 1:21 PM, Blogger chlgeorge said...

Sorry I deleted that post in an habitual spring cleaning session. I'm still in the same place though so never fear. :) I hope your wife feels better soon.

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Nathanael said...

She felt a little better, but I kept her out late last night and she is a little tired. As per the changing blog titles and addresses, I have discovered that blogrolling is an excellent tool.


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