November 11th today: a public holiday here in France. It is good and right that we remember all those who have died or been injured in wars. Ironic though, that we remember on the day when "The War to end all Wars" ended. Huh, fat chance. How many wars have there been since then? When are stupid, greedy politicians, religious leaders, powerbrokers and fanatics going to learn that nothing is achieved through armed conflict apart from misery and destruction? Imagine how much could be achieved and produced if all the investment of time and money poured into "defence" were channelled into science, eduaction, research and manufacture...

I said it was possible it would be as now because of the non-durability of dictatorships. They all fall to be replaced, Europe may have had that and come out all the closer. But WW2 turned out as it did and Europe too k the course it did and there we, the speculation of historian's whose view I was spouting aside.

None taken. Off to fix a problem created by living in the South of France! Windscreen Wiper mechanism hasn’t been used regularly since…May or June. Coming out of the car wash yesterday and a quick flick with the wipers resulted in them stuck in the mid ships position!

Brian, your points are noted. However, Heroes never mentioned by me, brave yes. Never feel afraid of giving back to me. I note that some feel you are a bully. Not I sir. My “little boats” did many varied roles ranging from war (now called conflict) to disaster relief in the Caribbean and evacuation of UK nationals. By the way I didn’t join to fight. I joined for the Rum, Bum and Backy.
I do think your feeling that Europe would be as it is now if we hadn’t got involved to be slightly insulting and belittling of those who fell. However, as previously mentioned, you can say these things in safety and without fear of persecution because of their sacrifice.

Vic, irony noted by the way.

Vic, it deeper now after 2 weeks of digging 8 hours a day! OH has arms like a Bulgarian wrestler!..

Excuse me Martin? I had the first few years of my life in bombed out Cologne. We lived off camp because my mother, manageress of the NAAFI, and I followed my father out there. He was a sapper, no just RE but literally, not one of the people defusing ordnance but recovering explosives. He had also been one of the British contingent sent to Japan immediately after they capitulated and saw Nagasaki from within the nuclear destruction. In other words, like many US and UK troops directly exposed to serious radiation.

I am not singing his praises, I could not stand the man, but from the time he left the army he marched with CND, did anything to express his opinion against all wars and generally speak his truth on the matter. As he said, the majority who fell were not brave at all. They were under orders or faced prison or worse for refusing the call up, field execution for not obeying orders and probably the majority were scared out of their skins. Yes, there were a few heroes. The majority of those who received medals and higher commendations were senior officers of whom very few saw any kind of front line. The majority of those who were heroes were usually overlooked.

As for your evaluation of my living room life, sorry to tell you I have been in Iraq, well Kurdistan part, and Lebanon working during their wars and several countries with terrorist activities that might normally be classified as war. I have been in conflict zones and behind lines. As for protection, the luxury was never extended to me. I am not important, just a researcher. So tell me about my living room and how many wars your little boats drifted into. I normally would not mention it, but you provoked it; it is not boasting but part of my work with children I signed contracts to do. I chose because I needed the income. Those that gave their lives did not have that option. In short, do not tell people who and what they are. You get back what you give out.

As for your interpretation of what freedom cum democracy is, you had better get reading. Start with finding out about the Treaty of Versailles that Norman told of and then work forward. As for what you said to Chris, yes Germany was defeated but had it gone otherwise and they had occupied the British Isles, there is a 50:50 chance that by now things might have been much as they are now. Historically dictatorships do not have long lives and it may well have been the EU by another route and name. We may well have been living here much as we are now. Look at history realistically with all dimensions and not glorified facts and like many other people you will wonder when we actually will see democracy that was promised to us but is as yet to be delivered.

Chris, your living in France and the EU. Is this not a result of armed conflict releasing a country and achieving betterment?

Thankfully Brian, those that gave, and continue to give, their life through service in our armed forces, and those that supported them, enable you and others to have the freedom to openly express their thoughts in this way. It’s very easy to stand back and make such statements from the comfort of your living room or fly in to some unfortunate country with protection and the knowledge you will be flying out at a given date. These brave people didn’t and don’t have that luxury.

The worst thing was the incredibly moronic Treaty of Versailles that even the press recognised as the start to a new War, often described as a continuation of WW1 after a 20 year truce![](upload://eyDV5q5PI3cYsaxsT5tSoQayfPa.jpg)

This topic comes up a lot at this time of year. I discuss it with my friends, colleagues, and former army buddies. I can’t say that I have noticed any particular uptick in the glorification of war on television - but if I was in charge of programming I would include more documentaries and panel discussions to coincide with Armistice Day. One I watched recently was The Last Day of World War 1 presented by Michael Palin ( ) - It isn’t a well known fact but there were thousands of casualties between 5am when the armistice was actually signed - and made public - and 11am when it came into effect. While people in London and Paris were already celebrating peace, young men were still being sent into harms way. There’s a lot in this documentary to qualify it as anti-war, not least a fact that has stuck in my mind - and one I was reminded of while attending the Armistice Day ceremony yesterday in Rochechouart. While there are reasonably accurate figures for the number of Commonwealth and American troops killed and injured on the last day, we may never know how many French soldiers died. This is simply because all French casualties on the 11th were “backdated” to the 10th - so that the general public (and the military) would never become aware of the reckless stupidity with which lives were squandered for absolutely no purpose right up until the closing seconds of the conflict.

I have just completed our WW1 Centennial Pack, and have spent days, not hours working through the topic, so whilst not claiming military expertise in any way one thing comes over loud and clear, which was the close to imbecilic 'leaders' of the day - on all sides, both miliary and civilian.

As we all know WW1 led directly to WW2, which proves the maxim (forgive me if slightly misquoted as I have seen it appear in several forms) 'Those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to make the same mistakes again'.

Out of the hundred or so books, both contemporary to the times I have read and studied over the past 12 months, I have to recommend one that is about War in general it is called 'The Guinness Book of Military Blunders' by Geoffrey Regan ISBN 0-85112-961-7. Not just the Great War but all wars. The anecdotes are funny, sad, but above all highlight the stunning disregard for the fighting troops of Politicians and Generals.

Needless to say very few of these ever got into any area of physical danger.

Unlike others I am sorry but I believe we MUST remember, if only we would learn at the same time.

I'm very much with you Sandra and Brian. I am disturbed by some of the glorifiocation of the militray and of warfare in TV programmes around the Remembrance ceremonies. Remember the dead by all means, but don't glorify senseless warfare. For example, is the mess in Iraq any better than what went before? And how about those 3 Marines who murdered a helpless Afghan prisoner? Makes me sick...

The poppy is entirely about the first European Civil war. I'm sure that lots of Shia really welcome the departure of Saddam now that thanks to our interference the Salafists are free to attack whomsoever does not come up to their standards of Islam. The poppy sells short all those young man and women who have been sacrificed in useless wars since 1945. Do you really think that 400plus deaths in Afghanistan will have the least effect when the West leaves that benighted country?

You make a very good point about how many since WW2 Chris and that is so well glossed over that politicians should shame themselves for their role in that. I too believe that the many wars preceding WW1 should also be included symbolically. The twentieth century was a different time to the other, earlier wars and thus ways of making the gesture of remembrance became easier.

I am an avid pacifist and do not believe in the glorification of war under any circumstances. My reason is partly because my father was in the occupation forces in Germany, from a few months old I had a German child minder until I went to a German nursery and then began primary school in that country. When I arrived in England I more or less spoke the language I had learned out and at home English. I was bullied, beaten and even some teachers simply let it go. For them I was something akin to a defector to the enemy I image. The war was over, the people I knew had been good to me and so I did not understand. I returned there later in life, a large part of my life is German. My son is German, his children too. So as I grew older I had my personal view of life that found war and probably all things military rather alien. I grew to be a pacifist.

I wore a white poppy a few times, but the abuse showered on me for doing so has prevented me wearing or acknowledging any form of remembrance day since. For all of that, it should and must be remembered and those who died in any war must be honoured for being sacrificed by those who led their nations into war as part of the collective shame of our human race because we cannot coexist peacefully. Our presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens and whoever else it may be may have fine words to shower on those who march away to die doing the will of those leaders, in other words be sacrificed for them.

the poppy is not about the First World War, although that is how it started. It is about remembering those who were killed in wars. It is not about Germany. And, er, quite a lot of that BAD MILITARY STUFF actually ends up producing good things. Not only no HItler, no Saddam Hussein, but democracy, human rights and the rule of law, but hey, girls going to school

I went to buy something today that had been advertised on Anglo Info - I was wearing a poppy. The seller was a young German woman and having chatted about other things I then asked her if she found today difficult being in France. She said that she didn't as she now knew that the atrocities of war hadn't been her fault. She had, however, lived here earlier in her life when she was fifteen and said that she had found it so difficult then that she had returned to live in Germany as the other school children hadn't had any empathy at all.

I don't know how it could be achieved, and obviously we should never forget those who died and who were injured but surely at some stage we have to stop perpetuating the memories of awful days with countries who are now with us in a combined European Union.