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It was another world...
Posted by: Dale Franks on Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How long ago was 1914? Not just in years, but in cultural values? By way of a partial answer, I give you the following example from Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. This example concerns the German cruiser Emden, under the command of 41 year-old Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander) Karl von Müller. When the war started, the Emden immediately embarked on a brief but spectacular career as a commerce raider in the Pacific.

In seventy days, from 14 Aug-9 Nov 1914, the Emden sank 16 British merchant ships, 1 Russian cruiser, and 1 French Destroyer. No seamen ever taken from any ship he destroyed were harmed. He was scrupulous in delivering captives to port at the first opportunity. When one British Merchant ship was about to be sunk with explosives, he sent German seamen over to the ship to retrieve the British captain's harmonium before sinking the merchantman.

As a result, the London Daily Chronicle wrote of the Emden:
The Emden's company have proved their gallantry. We admire the sportsmanship of their exploits as much as we heartily wish that the ship may soon be taken.
Taken, in fact, the Emden soon was. On 9 Nov 1914, as Müller approached the Cocos Islands, a sharp cable operator sounded the alarm. As it happened, an Australian convoy was within 50 miles of the Cocos, and the Australian cruiser Sydney was dispatched to intercept the Emden. The Sydney was 3 knots faster, 2,000 tons heavier, and had bigger guns. Two and a half hours later, the Emden was driven into a reef, a burning wreck.

The Daily Telegraph eulogized the Emden as follows:
It is almost in our heart to regret that the Emden has been captured or destroyed. The war on the sea will lose some of its piquancy, its humour and its interest now that the Emden is gone.
It was far different world in 1914. And in some ways, a far better one.
 
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The story of the Emden doesn’t end there. I’m recalling from memory so I might get a detail or two wrong.

The crew was being held captive in Singapore when they managed to escape, privateer a sailing ship (naming it the Emden II) and sailed back to Germany unharmed.
 
Written By: Hansmeister
URL: http://
I’m not sure that’s correct. "A detachment of the crew which had gone ashore was missed, and escaped to Germany under the leadership of Emden’s first officer Kurt von Mücke."

KvKptn Müller was taken to England, and due to ill health, was repatriated to Germany in Oct 1918. I don’t know of any escape of the Emden’s crew from Signapore.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
It was far different world in 1914. And in some ways, a far better one.

I doubt it.

but That would be a killer opening statement for the movie’s turn to the non-naval aspects of World War I, where the 12 million casualties in four years begin.
Don’t think there was much chivalry down in the pits with the TB and the mustard gas.

Not to get Marxist on you, but I think the naval fights were so decorous because they naval officers were all the same bunch of inbreeding aristocrats.


 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Yeah. Fleet Street newspaper offices were just filled with inbred aristocrats.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
An idle curiosity: is Alfred Thayer Mahan listed in the index or bibliography of that book?
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Yes. Both Influence and On Naval Warfare.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Don’t think there was much chivalry down in the pits with the TB and the mustard gas.
Christmas truce of 1914.

Too bad the Germans didn’t shoot Lenin instead of shipping him into Russia.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Ah, the good old days! When gentlemen dressed for dinner and fought in a chivalrous manner, dying gallantly and with a kind word for their worthy foe. Meanwhile, the workers, coughing from TB or silicosis, watched their wives die from puerperal fever giving birth to their eighth child, all of whom had bad teeth and rickets. The illiterate midwife, wiping her unwashed hands on her bloodstained apron, said it was God’s will.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Timactual let’s tone down the Marxist rant, there... by this time the Germ Theory of Disease was well known. And I’m not entirely sure that Medical Practices had become so expensive that mid-wifery was the EXCLUSIVE paractice of the low-uh claaassses. In short the Edwardian gentleman or Lady probably didn’t have access to health care too far beyond the workers. The TB point is well-taken.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
When gentlemen dressed for dinner and fought in a chivalrous manner, dying gallantly and with a kind word for their worthy foe. Meanwhile, the workers, coughing from TB or silicosis, watched their wives die from puerperal fever giving birth to their eighth child, all of whom had bad teeth and rickets. The illiterate midwife, wiping her unwashed hands on her bloodstained apron, said it was God’s will.
So it was impossible to solve the problems in the 2nd and 3rd sentences without making the 1st sentence impossible?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
"Timactual let’s tone down the Marxist rant,"

What’s Marxist about reality? Reality is what cxaused Marxism. Miserable conditions for the lower classes were not a Marxist invention. There is plenty of non-Marxist literature on the subject.

"by this time the Germ Theory of Disease was well known"


So? Infection and disease accounted for a quite large percentage of deaths in WWI. Knowing the theory and actually being able to do something about it are different things. Why do you think life expectancy was much lower back then?

"I’m not entirely sure that Medical Practices had become so expensive "

Expense is not the only factor; there weren’t that many doctors or hospitals, which was not necessarily that bad as there wasn’t much they could really do. They may have been able to diagnose, but treatment for many things was mostly palliative. I seem to have heard a story about the son of a US president who got a blister playing tennis, then died when it got infected. True or not, it was plausible.

"So it was impossible to solve the problems in the 2nd and 3rd sentences without making the 1st sentence impossible?"

Not necessarily, but romanticizing the era, or warfare in the good old days, sits poorly with me.

"The war on the sea will lose some of its piquancy, its humour..."

I know little about war at sea, but if it is anything like war on land any "piquancy" or "humour" exists mostly in the minds of those who have little experience of it, and it is certainly outweighed by the less pleasant aspects.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Reality is what cxaused Marxism."

Stupidity caused Marxism. There never was an excuse for it.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
I shall rephrase; reality is what caused some people to embrace Marxism.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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