As expected, the hundredth anniversary of the start of the first world war is being used as an excuse by the government to re-write history and to create some sort of feel-good, Olympic-style, propaganda which, Tories hope, will result in electoral reward. (First world war abridged, 13/08/13) We now learn that the chair of the advisory board thinks the time is ripe for a new assessment of the "bungling generals leading brave soldiers" idea; ironically, only a few weeks ago we were informed that the discussions whether to "celebrate 8 August 1918" were ongoing, the reason being, not because it was the date of the penny-dropping for the military leaders, but because it was a "black day" for the German army according to Ludendorff. (Next year, let`s remember a world war, not a British conflict, 23/07/13) Perhaps not all proverbial "donkeys" but it wasn`t until the fifth year of conflict that the generals realised surprise was a key to victory, and could well result in much less slaughter of our soldiers. Silence and night movement of troops, plus the absence of the usual pre-battle bombardment, actually caught out the Germans, and played a crucial role in the ensuing forward movement.
Re-writing history to suit the ideological and nationalistic wishes of a government still willing to listen to military chiefs who think Afghanistan can be conquered, the Taliban defeated, and nuclear weapons essential in their "war against terrorism", must be opposed. The government`s idea of commemoration of war does nothing for international harmony, serves only to provide numerous excuses for political posturing, and, therefore, can only be supported if it refuses to celebrate "victory", but instead accepts the historical fact that in 1914, the British volunteers, convinced as they were by the government propaganda that the war would be "over by Christmas", were sent to their deaths by the incompetence of the military high command.