The Aneurin Great War Project: Timeline

Part 11 - Versailles and After, 1919-Today


Copyright Notice: This material was written and published in Wales by Derek J. Smith (Chartered Engineer). It forms part of a multifile e-learning resource, and subject only to acknowledging Derek J. Smith's rights under international copyright law to be identified as author may be freely downloaded and printed off in single complete copies solely for the purposes of private study and/or review. Commercial exploitation rights are reserved. The remote hyperlinks have been selected for the academic appropriacy of their contents; they were free of offensive and litigious content when selected, and will be periodically checked to have remained so. Copyright © 2018-2019, Derek J. Smith.






First published 09:00 BST 30th July 2014. This version 09:00 BST 1st May 2019 [BUT UNDER CONSTANT EXTENSION AND CORRECTION, SO CHECK AGAIN SOON]




This timeline supports the Aneurin series of interdisciplinary scientific reflections on why the Great War failed so singularly in its bid to be The War to End all Wars. It presents actual or best-guess historical event and introduces theoretical issues of cognitive science as they become relevant.




Author's Home Page

Project Aneurin, Scope and Aims



Part 1 - (Ape)men at War, Prehistory to 730

Part 2 - Royal Wars (Without Gunpowder), 731 to 1272

Part 3 - Royal Wars (With Gunpowder), 1273-1602

Part 4 - The Religious Civil Wars, 1603-1661

Part 5 - Imperial Wars, 1662-1763

Part 6 - The Georgian Wars, 1764-1815

Part 7 - Economic Wars, 1816-1869

Part 8 - The War Machines, 1870-1894

Part 9 - Insults at the Weigh-In, 1895-1914

Part 10 - The War Itself, 1914

Part 10 - The War Itself, 1915

Part 10 - The War Itself, 1916

Part 10 - The War Itself, 1917

Part 10 - The War Itself, 1918



The Timeline Items


1920 [8th May-8th May 1940] Costa Rica, 1871-2018 [III - The Quiet Time, 1920-1940]: [Continued from 27th January 1917] We presently have nothing at all to say about the five Costa Rican presidents who served between 1920 and 1940 [sub-thread continues at 8th May 1940 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1921  The British architect Sir Reginald Blomfield [Wikipedia biography] designs the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, to sit astride the Menin Road out of Ypres. [See next 1927 (24th July)] [THREAD = FORMALISED REMEMBRANCE]


1922 [15th April] The Teapot Dome Scandal: A Senate Committee  is set up to investigate alleged irregularities in the leasing of the Teapot Dome Oil Field, Wyoming, by Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall [Wikipedia biography] to businessman Harry Sinclair [check him out]. The investigation concludes that the lease terms were overly favourable to Sinclair, by virtue of bribes paid to Fall.


1923  As part of the post-war sanitisation of the Verdun battlefields, work begins on the Douaumont Ossuary. [See next 1932 (7th August)] [THREAD = FORMALISED REMEMBRANCE]


1924  The British author C. E. Montague [Wikipedia biography] publishes "Disenchantment", in which he presents his WW1 memories as 16 individually themed essays. For example, on the "duty of lying" he notes [heavily abridged] ..[.


"To fool the other side has always been fair in a game. Every fencer or boxer may feint. A Rugby football player 'gives the dummy' without any shame. In cricket a bowler is justly valued the more for masking his action. In war your licence to lead the other fellow astray is yet more ample. [...] In war you have to 'play to win' [...] Hence your immortal right to fall on your enemy where he is weak, to start before he is ready, to push him out of the course, to jockey him onto the rails [...] The only new thing about deception in war is modern man's more perfect means for its practice. [...] To match the Lewis gun [...] he has to his hand the newspaper Press, a weapon which fires as fast as the Lewis itself, and is almost as easy to load ..." (pp104-106).


1924  The British author Ford Madox Ford [Wikipedia biography] publishes "Some Do Not", the first of four linked novels later (1928) to be republished as "Parade's End", a fictionalised account of his WW1 experiences on the Western Front.


1925 [12th March] The Chinese Civil War [I - The Death of Sun Yat-Sen]: [New sub-thread] The Premier of the Beiyang Republic's Kuomintang (KMT) administration Sun Yat-Sen [check him out] dies in Beijing aged 58 years. His death ushers in a period of multipolar provincial civil wars which continue to the present day [2018] in the stand-off between mainland China (the People's Republic of China) and Taiwan (the Republic of China). One of Sun's lieutenants, the aforementioned Chiang Kai-Shek, has good contacts in Moscow and has used his position as Director of the Whampoa Military Academy to build what is in effect the KMT's military wing. The Russians take advantage of these good relations by establishing the Sun Yat-Sen Chinese University [Wikipedia briefing], where, between late 1925 and the mid-1930s, Chinese students such as Wang Ming [check him out] and his 28 Bolsheviks learned Marxism-Leninism  [sub-thread continues at 1st June 1925 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = THE NEVER-ENDED CHINESE CIVIL WAR, 1900-ONGOING]


1925 [1st-4th June] The Chinese Civil War [II - Shore Parties at Shanghai]: [Continued from 12th March 1925] Following local anti-Western rioting in Shanghai, American, British, and Italian shore parties are landed to stabilise the situation.  There will be many similar demonstrations and interventions during this particular summer [sub-thread continues at 9th July 1926 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1926 [9th July-29th December 1928] The Chinese Civil War [III - The Northern Expedition]: [Continued from 1st June 1925] Chiang Kai-Shek leads the 100,000-strong Kuomintang (KMT/GMD) Army northward from its bases in Canton Province in south-eastern China, heading ultimately toward Beijing via Shanghai (coastal route) and Changsha (inland route), scattering provincial warlords along the way. Chiang's army does not know it yet, but it has over twenty years of fighting still to come [sub-thread continues at 21st March 1927 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]



1927 [21st-27th March] The Chinese Civil War [IV - The Nanking Incident]: [Continued from 9th July 1926] Chiang Kai-Shek's Kuomintang (KMT/GMD) Army conducts a surprise attack on the American, British, and Japanese consulates in Nanking/Nanjing [Google maps], and reportedly tries to blame the attacks on its Communist Party of China (CPC) members. Western and Japanese warships respond with artillery fire from their gunboats on the Yangtse [sub-thread continues at 22nd March 1927 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = 20TH CENTURY BLACK OPS]


1927 [22nd March] The Chinese Civil War [V - Marines Reinforce Shanghai]: [Continued from 21st March 1927] Smedley Butler [check him out] receives reinforcing elements of the "China Marines", the 4th Marine Regiment [Wikipedia briefing], and deploys them to defend Shanghai's international settlements [sub-thread continues at 11th April 1927 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = 20TH CENTURY BLACK OPS]


1927 [11th April] The Chinese Civil War [VI - The Asiatic Squadrons]: [Continued from 22nd March 1927] Today's edition of the New York Times reports the present strength of the U.S. Navy's Shanghai-based Asiatic Squadron as six cruisers, 15 destroyers, and eight gunboats - Britain, by comparison, has 76 ships in theatre and Japan 49 (Roehner, 2014). The exploits of the six gunboats in Admiral Yates Stirling's [check him out] Yangtse River Patrol will be fictionalised in Robert Wise's (significantly underrated) 1966 movie "The Sand Pebbles" [YouTube Trailer] [sub-thread continues at 12th April 1927 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]





1927 [12th April] The Chinese Civil War [VII - The Shanghai Massacre]: [Continued from 11th April 1927] Now strongly established in Shanghai, Chiang Kai-Shek's Kuomintang (KMT/GMD) Army conducts a surprise purge of its Communist Party of China (CPC) members, long remembered by those on the receiving end as the "April 12th Incident" [Wikipedia briefing]. Estimates of Communist casualties range from several hundred to several thousand [sub-thread continues at 1st August 1927 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1927  [24th July] The Menin Gate Memorial is formally unveiled. It contains the names of 55,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers missing in action on the Ypres sector, and therefore without known grave [an overflow of 35,000 further names had to be commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial a few miles out of town - Ed.]. A ceremony of remembrance has taken place every evening since (save during the German occupation of WW2) [YouTube video]. Still unwilling to mince his words, Siegfried Sassoon dismisses it in his 1928 poem "On Passing the New Menin Gate" [full text online] as a "sepulchre of crime", which the Dead - were they able - would "deride". [THREAD = FORMALISED REMEMBRANCE]



1927 [1st-5th August] The Chinese Civil War [VIII - The Nanchang Uprising]: [Continued from 12th April 1927] Having regrouped following the split from Chiang Kai-Shek's Kuomintang (KMT/GMD) Army earlier in the year [see 12th April 1927], CPC forces under Zhou En-Lai [check him out] temporarily occupy Nanchang. It is the first full-scale mobilisation of a CPC army, and henceforth they will fight under the People's Liberation Army (PLA) [Wikipedia briefing] banner [sub-thread continues at 1st October 1927 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


######1927 [1st October] The Chinese Civil War [IX - U.S. Recognises Chiang Kai-Shek]: [Continued from 1st August 1927] The U.S. State Department recognises Chiang Kai-Shek as the legitimate government of China [sub-thread continues at 15th November 1927 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


######1927 [15th November-1938] The Chinese Civil War [X - The 1927-1938 German Military Mission]: [Continued from 1st October 1927] Having severed his links with Moscow Chiang Kai-Shek accepts a military advisory mission from Berlin, headed initially by Max Bauer [check him out]. The Germans duly settle in at the Whampoa Military Academy and start to mould the Nationalist Army along Prussian lines, complete with German uniform [Wikipedia briefing and several interesting images]. Following the death of Max Bauer in 1929, Hermann Kriebel will take over until 1930, and he will be followed by Generals Wetzell (1930-1934), von Seeckt (1934-1935), and von Falkenhausen (1935-1938). German influence is such that between 1927 and 1931 Germany will supply 37% of the KMT's arms imports, and by the mid-1930s they have entire divisions (88th Division and others) in German uniforms, doing German drill, equipped with German equipment, and singing fusion marching songs [YouTube one now]. The mission is continued until around 1938. For further details we recommend Robyn Rodriguez' (2011 [full text online]) dissertation entitled "Journey to the East: The German Military Mission in China, 1927-1938" [sub-thread continues at 10th February 1929 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1928 Siegfried Sassoon publishes "Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man", the first instalment of an anonymised WW1 autobiography.


1928  Work begins on the Thiepval Memorial to a design by Sir Edward Lutyens [see 1918]. [THREAD = FORMALISED REMEMBRANCE]


1928  The British author Edmund C. Blunden [Wikipedia biography] publishes "Undertones of War".


1928  Writing under the pseudonym Mark Seven, Max Plowman publishes "A Subaltern on the Somme", an account of his WW1 experiences on the Western Front. The work is matter-of-factly anti-war, containing rueful observations rather than complaints, as follows. On censoring his troops' mail .....


"Censoring letters is an unpleasant, impertinent duty, to be hurried over and treated as formally as possible. By constant repetition it becomes a deadly bore. [...] The writer is in the pink, in spite of everything: a condition he hopes is mutual. He believes there's a war on, so we must keep smiling. Hopes and fears for leave are always expressed, and promises of battle souvenirs are usually remembered. There is the inevitable P.S.: 'The cakes were all right, but a bit smashed, and I'd like some Woodbines" (p30).


On press euphemism ...


"This place is beginning to show what the newspapers describe as 'a certain amount of liveliness'. (Why 'liveliness'? Deathliness would be truer)" (p98).


On tanks ...


"The lecture on Tanks was a little disappointing. We were all agog to hear about these new land-caterpillars that, according to the papers, have done such marvellous things in the recent push on the Somme. [...] But the Tanks officer put rather a damper on our hopes [explaining] that tanks have to go very carefully, or they get stuck in T-places where communication trenches join the line. He also said they were quite vulnerable underneath and on top [... also that] with the winter coming on their general deployment would probably be delayed till the spring" (pp121-122).


On the proper "fighting spirit" ...


"Yesterday the whole battalion marched out to a quarry not far from here and, in the natural amphitheatre, heard a lecture by a Scottish officer on  'The Spirit of the Bayonet'. From a purely military standpoint it was excellent. Why, indeed, should we spare a fat German just because he throws up his hands and shouts 'Kamerad', when, as the lecturer says, if we let him live he may become the father of ten more Huns? Killing is the job for infantrymen, and if we don't like killing, why did we join the infantry? The bayonet is the logical conclusion of all fighting" (p120).


On the impossible possibility of just getting up and walking away ...


"We seem to be here under the constraint of some malevolent idiot. In this sunshine it seems impossible to believe that at any minute we in this trench, and they in that, may be blown to bits by shells fired from guns at invisible distances by hearty fellows who would be quite ready to stand you a drink if you met them face to face. What base, pathetic slaves we are to endure such idiocy!" (p172).


And finally on why, deep down, men like war, and are therefore the authors of their own misfortune ...


"The great seductive enjoyment of war, outside the infantry ranks, is the sense of power it confers. By means of finely adjusted guns and the use of high explosives, the maximum of effect can be produced by the minimum of effort. [...] Every sport, if you come to analyse it, depends largely upon its power of producing a big effect with apparently small cause, whether the power resides in the ace of hearts, the thickness of a cricket bat, or the responsiveness of a golf ball to fine timing. In war this apparent disproportionate relation between cause and effect, which confers its flattering and enjoyable sense of power upon the player, is seen at its highest. Hence, from this standpoint, war is king of sports" (p190).


1928  The British playwright Robert C. Sherriff [Wikipedia biography] stages the play "Journey's End" [Wikipedia synopsis], a fictionalised account of his WW1 experiences on the Western Front. R.H. Mottram publishes "Ten Years Ago: Armistice and Other Memories".


1929  The German author Erich Maria Remarque [Wikipedia biography] publishes the novel "Im Westen nichts Neues" [In English as "All Quiet on the Western Front"], a fictionalised account of his WW1 experiences in the German Army on the Western Front. David Jones, survivor of Mametz Wood, enjoys the book but declares he can do better. Robert Graves [Wikipedia biography] publishes "Goodbye to All That", a memoir of his WW1 experiences on the Western Front. The British author Henry W. Williamson [Wikipedia biography] publishes "The Wet Flanders Plain", a memoir of a 1927 battlefield tour of the Ypres Salient. His account includes the following observations ...


"Those at home, sitting in arm-chairs and talking proudly of Patriotism and Heroism, will never realise the bitter contempt and scorn the soldiers have for these and other abstractions; the soldiers feel they have been betrayed by the high-sounding phrases that heralded the War, for they know that the enemy soldiers are the same men as themselves, suffering and disillusioned in exactly the same way" (p17).


On surviving ...


"I must return  to my old comrades of the Great War - to the brown, the treeless, the flat  and grave-set plain of Flanders - to the rolling, heat-miraged downlands of the Somme - for I am dead with them, and they live in me again" (p19).


And on why wars happen at all ...


"Wars are economic in origin, the mass of each people being cohered and controlled by emotional slogans which are hostile to the truly peaceful lover of his country; the matured stupidity called patriotism is but a glossy light of selfishness, most evident among those with commercial power, hating their rivals in commercial power, and 'giving their young men to the War" (p32).


1929  Writing anonymously as "Private 19022", the Australian author Frederic Manning [Wikipedia biography] publishes "The Middle Parts of Fortune", a fictionalised account of life and death on the Western Front. The following year this work will be republished as "Her Privates We" with its field expletives deleted, death being somehow less offensive to public taste than a bit of effing and blinding. Manning will not be identified as author until 1943, and the full strength original will not be re-available until 1977.


1929 [10th February] The Chinese Civil War [XI - CPC Capital at Ruijin]: [Continued from 15th November 1927] PLA Generals Zhu De and Mao Zedong set up a CPC stronghold/capital in the city of Ruijin in Jiangxi Province [Google maps] [sub-thread continues at 28th July 1930 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1930  Siegfried Sassoon [see 1915 (29th May)] now publishes "Memoirs of an Infantry Officer", the second instalment of his anonymised WW1 autobiography.


1930 [28th-31st July] The Chinese Civil War [XII - The PLA Captures Changsha]: [Continued from 10th February 1929] PLA forces capture Changsha [Google maps], with Westerners being evacuated by gunboat. USS Palos [Wikipedia shipography] takes some casualties [sub-thread continues at 15th December 1930 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1930 [24th August] Erich Remarque's novel "All Quiet on the Western Front" [see 1929] is turned into a movie by Lewis Milestone for Universal Pictures. It wins the Best Picture Oscar for that year, and will go on to be described as "one of the most powerful anti-war statements ever put on film" [source]. [See next 1933 (10th May)]


1930 [15th December] The Chinese Civil War [XIII - The Margetts Briefing]: [Continued from 28th July 1930] A routine G-2 briefing by the U.S. Military Attaché in Beijing (in post 1929-1932) Nelson E. Margetts [no convenient biography] gives insight into the intelligence collection system at the time, thus ...


"The US embassy in China receives reports from consuls all over China who in turn are kept informed by various Americans and friendly Chinese. In addition, arrangements have been made so that 'Standard Oil' agents from all over China report on political and military affairs to this office. [signed] Nelson E. Margetts, Military Attaché" (Roehner, 2014, p191).


[Sub-thread continues at 24th March 1931 ...] [THREAD = THE SH APING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1931 [24th March] The Chinese Civil War [XIV - War Without Mercy]: [Continued from 15th December 1930] Chiang Kai-Shek orders that Communists are henceforth to be referred to as Chi-Fei [=red bandits], and all prisoners executed without trial (Roehner, 2014) [sub-thread continues at 18th September 1931 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]



1931 [18th September] The Chinese Civil War [XV - The Mukden Incident]: [Continued from 24th March 1931] Japanese soldiers detonate a charge on the South Manchuria Railway near the town of Mukden [=modern Shenyang], and blame it on local Chinese dissidents [sub-thread continues at 19th September 1931 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1931 [19th September-27th February 1932] The Chinese Civil War [XVI - Japanese Invasion of Manchuria]: [Continued from 18th September 1931] Using the Mukden Incident as pretext Japan sends troops in a lightning advance along the 730-mile long South Manchuria Railway [Wikipedia briefing and map], until she occupies most of that province. Chinese resistance is patchy and disjointed thanks to the patchwork of regional warlords [sub-thread continues at 7th November 1931 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]



######1931 [7th November] The Chinese Civil War [XVII - Chinese Soviet Republic Formed]: [Continued from 19th September 1931] Now tolerably well-established south of the Yangtse in Jiangxi and neighbouring provinces, the CPC declares the region a Soviet Republic. Mao Zedong is elected Chairman of the new republic's Central Executive Committee, and Zhou En-Lai is made Commander-in-Chief of the PLA [sub-thread continues at 28th January 1932 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1932 R.H. Mottram [see 1928] publishes "Through the Menin Gate", an anthology of autobiographical essays and battlefield vignettes. His views on the inevitability of casualties is necessarily bleak [heavily abridged] ...


"The ordinary ranks of platoons went on fatigues every day, especially at night, amid a hail of bullets and unceasing, persistent, carefully registered bombardments against which no protection, and at that time little effective retaliation, was possible. There were always casualties. [...] By the end of 1915 it was possible to lose a whole platoon in raiding the German trenches, or even in doing nothing whatever, without affecting the War in the slightest, except slow up, very temporarily, local initiative" (pp109/123).


######1932 [28th January-3rd March] The Chinese Civil War [XVIII - The Japanese Capture Shanghai]: [Continued from 7th November 1931] Being careful to avoid the Western settlement, the Japanese Army, supported by carrier-based air attacks, mounts a major five week offensive against the Nationalist Army in Greater Shanghai [sub-thread continues at 16th October 1934 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1932 [4th March] The Pecora Hearings [I - Senator Norbeck Chairing, 1932]: [New sub-thread] Authorised on 4th March 1932 by the Senate Banking and Currency Committee, chaired by Senator Peter Norbeck [Wikipedia biography], and taking testimony from 11th April under NYC lawyer Ferdinand Pecora [Wikipedia biography], the task of the Pecora Commission Hearings [Wikipedia briefing] is to investigate the causes of the 1929 Great Crash. A number of sharp practices, at or beyond the limits of legality, are uncovered, resulting in the framing of the Glass-Steagall Act [see 16th June 1933] and the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [see 6th June 1934] [sub-thread continues at 5th June 1933 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = STOCK MARKET AND FINANCIAL SHARP PRACTICE]


1932 [1st August] The Thiepval Memorial is formally dedicated by Edward, Prince of Wales. It contains the names of 72,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers missing in action on the Somme battlefields. [THREAD = FORMALISED REMEMBRANCE]


1932 [7th August] The Douaumont Ossuary [see 1923] is formally dedicated by President Albert Lebrun. By now its cellars contain the bones of 130,000 French and German war dead collected from across the Verdun battlefield [see the bones], whilst it upper hall contains dedication plaques lit through stained glass. The tower contains a single large "death bell", which is sounded every evening [video] to call the ghosts to prayer. [THREAD = FORMALISED REMEMBRANCE]


1933 Drawing on his WW1 experiences in the RWF, Frank Richards [Wikipedia biography] publishes "Old Soldiers Never Die".


1933 [10th May] For daring to speak openly of the horrors of war, Erich Remarque's Im Westen nichts Neues [see 1929] is declared "degenerate" literature by the new Nazi regime, and publicly burned.


1933 [5th June] The Pecora Hearings [II - Senator Fletcher Chairing, 1933-1934]: [Continued from 4th March 1932] Following FDR's inauguration 4th March 1933, the Senate Banking and Currency Committee continues its enquiries under a new Chair, Senator Duncan Fletcher [Wikipedia biography]. Here are two of the main misdeeds under investigation ...


CAMEO - LIBBY-OWENS-FORD GLASS COMPANY: Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass [Wikipedia briefing] was formed by merger in 1930 and provided industrial glass to such projects as the windscreens of the Ford Model A motor car and the windows of the Empire State Building. In the present context we note them merely as the unwitting vehicle of an illegal Stockmarket "Pool" involving Henry Sinclair, Walter P. Chrysler, and Joseph P. Kennedy. The pool bought "buy options" on the stock and then subtly spread rumours that the company would make a fortune making beer bottles once Prohibition ended. The stock duly peaked at $37 per share, the pool sold out, and the stock then dropped to $21 when the rumours proved inconsequential. The syndicate cleared an estimated $395k, of which Joseph Kennedy's share was $66k.


CAMEO - THE NATIONAL CITY BANK: The Committee subpoena'd Charles E. Mitchell [Wikipedia biography], Chairman of National City Bank [Wikipedia briefing], because of "its recognised leadership in the orgy of speculation which led to the business collapse". Mitchell revealed a number of just-not-illegal transactions during the Crash, but the real damage had been done by an accumulation of questionable lending schemes all through the 1920s. Mitchell duly resigned in disgrace (but comfortable disgrace). More recent scholarship suggests that Federal Reserve Bank policies did far more damage.


The hearings will continue until 4th May 1934 - see final report [sub-thread continues at 16th June 1933 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = STOCK MARKET AND FINANCIAL SHARP PRACTICE]


1933 [16th June] The Pecora Hearings [III - The Glass-Steagall Act, 1933]: [Continued from 5th June 1933] The Pecora Hearings have now been making the front pages for over a year, and remedial law-making is already moving apace, including the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [this sub-thread, IV], and the Banking Act of 1933, the central thrust of which is to separate commercial banking and investment banking into separately accountable corporations, bound by rules of governance appropriate to each. The act will eventually be repealed 1999, and that repeal is widely believed to have contributed to the Great Crash of 2008 [sub-thread continues at 6th June 1934 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = STOCK MARKET AND FINANCIAL SHARP PRACTICE]


1934 [6th June] The Pecora Hearings [IV - The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)]: [Continued from 16th June 1933] In an attempt to fight financial fraud President [F. D.] Roosevelt sets up the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [Wikipedia briefing]. He then cleverly ensures that it is fit for purpose by including both a cop and a robber - Ferdinand Pecora and Joseph Kennedy - amongst its first board of five commissioners [end of The Pecora Hearings sub-thread]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = STOCK MARKET AND FINANCIAL SHARP PRACTICE]


1934 [16th October-22nd October 1935] The Chinese Civil War [XIX - The Long March]: [Continued from 28th January 1932] Facing a concerted offensive by the Nationalist Army, the PLA abandons the Jiangxi Soviet and falls back into the more remote western and north-western Chinese provinces [Wikipedia route map and briefing]. It will be a 4000-6000-mile ordeal [estimates vary], but thanks to the leadership of Mao Zedong and Zhou En-Lai the CPC and the PLA retain their identity and long-term purpose. More importantly, during their year in the wilderness Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalists and the Japanese make such a slaughterhouse of the eastern provinces that Communism is suddenly seen as China's salvation and not its downfall  [sub-thread continues at 10th October 1936 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1935 [8th February 1935] The Philippines in Transition [II -   The 1935 Commonwealth] [Continued from 1st June 1903] Having been under discussion in Congress for three years a new Constitution finally comes into force on the Philippines, giving them back their own presidency. Elections take place 17th September and the honour goes to President[1935-1944] Manuel Quezon [Wikipedia biography] [sub-thread continues at UNDER CONSTRUCTION ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1936 [4th February] The Avoidance of Peace (WW2) [The Gustloff Assassination]: Angered by what he perceived as "the terrible situation of the Jews in Germany" and firmly convinced "that the disgrace of the Jewish people could only be washed away by blood", a Croatian Jewish student named David Frankfurter [see own entry] seeks out and shoots dead Wilhelm Gustloff [Wikipedia biography], the Nazi Party political agent for Switzerland at his home in Davos.[THREAD = WAR BY CALCULATED PROVOCATION (WW2)]


1936 [29th July] At the inaugural meeting of a lobbying and fund-raising group known as The Focus [see own entry], Sir Robert Waley-Cohen [see own entry] passes the hat around a conclave of wealthy Jews to help Winston Churchill through a financial sticky patch, in return for which Churchill - henceforth a bought man - has to turn his famous oratory against those who would appease Germany.


1936 [10th October] The Chinese Civil War [XX - Parademarsch in Nanking]: [Continued from 16th October 1934] The Nationalist Army stages a major march past in Nanking, giving pride of place to their Krupp artillery and goose-stepping infantry [YouTube it now (ignore the soundtrack - not original)] [sub-thread continues at 7th July 1937 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]



1937 [20th May] The Spanish Civil War [George Orwell Wounded]: [Continued from UNDER CONSTRUCTION] Presently manning the International Brigade trenches around Huesca, Spain, and having unwisely allowed himself to be silhouetted against the first glow of dawn, up-and-coming British novelist George Orwell [check him out] is shot full through the throat by a Nationalist sniper, and survives with not much more than a croaky voice for a couple of weeks [the bullet nicked his oesophagus, but managed to miss windpipe, carotid arteries, jugular veins, and spine - Ed.]. While recuperating he has time to catch up with the newspapers, and is horrified to find that what the newspapers are saying bears no resemblance to what he has seen with his own eyes, thus ...


"It was in Catalonia [...] that for the first time in his life he saw newspaper articles that bore no relation to the known facts, read accounts of battles where no fighting had taken place, saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and first suspected that, as he later put it, 'the concept of objective truth was falling out of the world'" (Taylor, Introduction to 2013 Kindle edition).




1937  [??th June] The British author David Jones [Wikipedia biography] publishes "In Parenthesis", a fictionalised account of his WW1 experiences on the Western Front. His account of the minutes before going over the top is probably the best available ...


"He found him all gone to pieces and not pulling himself together nor making the best of things. When they found him his friends came on him in the secluded fire-bay who miserably wept for the pity of it all and for the things shortly to come to pass and no hills to cover us. [...] After a while he got his stuff reasonably assembled, and '45 Williams was awfully decent, and wipe every tear, and solidified eau-de-cologne was just the thing so that you couldn't really tell, and doubled back along, with the beginnings of dawn pale on the chalky deep protected way, where it led out to the sunken road, and the rest of the platoon belly-hugged the high embankment. [...] But four o'clock is an impossible hour in any case. They shook out into a single line and each inclined his body to the slope to wait" (pp153-154).


At this juncture, the Germans - past masters of the spoiling barrage, and with all the natural assembly points well known


"Seven minutes to go ... and seventy times seven times to the minute this drumming of the diaphragm. From deeply inward thumping all through you beating no peace to be still in and no one is there not anyone to stop can't anyone - someone turn off the tap or won't any one before it snaps. [...] He's getting it more accurately now and each salvo brackets more narrowly and a couple right in, just as 'D' and 'C' are forming for the second wave. Wastebottom married a wife on his Draft-leave but the whinnying splinter razored diagonal and mess-tin fragments drove inwards and toxined underwear. He maintained correct alignment with the others, face down, and you never would have guessed. [...] Talacryn doesn't take it like Wastebottom, he leaps up and says he's dead, a-slither down the pale face - his limbs a-girandole at the bottom of the nullah, but the mechanism slackens unfed and he is quite still which leaves five paces between you and the next live one to the left. Slide over a bit toward where '45 Williams, and use all your lungs: Get ready me china-plate - but he's got it before he can hear you, but it's a cushy one and he relaxes to the morning sun and smilingly, to wait for the bearers" (pp156-158).


1937 [7th July] The Chinese Civil War [XXI - Japanese Invade China]: [Continued from 10th October 1936] Having again engineered an inflammatory border incident the Japanese Army moves south out of occupied Manchuria against the Nationalist Chinese forces and soon occupies Beijing and Shanghai, forcing the Nationalists back toward their capital in Nanking [see next entry]. The war will go on - lurching from one massacre to the next - as part of WW2 until 2nd September 1945. Western franchises and their protecting units stay neutral within their enclaves to start with, and in many cases now simply trade with the Japanese Army instead of the Nationalists (Roehner, 2014) [sub-thread continues at 23rd September 1937 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1937 [23rd September] The Chinese Civil War [XXII - The Rape of Nanking]: [Continued from 7th July 1937] Pushing inland from Shanghai, the Japanese Army quickly takes Nanking, the next city upstream, and inflicts bloody retribution on the civilian population there [YouTube the newsreel (Japanese)] [YouTube Chinese Cinema RECOMMENDED]. An estimated 42,000 civilians are collateraled one way or another, bringing the total civilian casualties in the offensive so far to around 300,000. The KMT administration has already fled much further upstream to Chungking [Google maps], and the Nationalist Army now fights a rear-guard action to join them. Chungking will remain the Nationalist capital throughout WW2. The issue of the systematic massacre of civilians is presently being openly debated on YouTube, with accusations of Chinese exaggeration and image fakery from the Japanese, and of Japanese apologetics and cover-up from the Chinese - check it out with keyword 南京入城 [sub-thread now skips WW2 and continues at 14th February 1945 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1938  R.H. Mottram publishes "Journey to the Western Front Twenty Years After".


1938  Drawing on his WW1 experiences as a Medical Officer in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers, J.C. Dunn [Wikipedia Biography] publishes "The War the Infantry Knew". Here are some indicative passages. Firstly concerning snipers (and how much sympathy they could expect if captured alive) ...


"The German snipers observed and fired from under the eaves of houses, so it was most difficult to locate them. When a parapet was blown in by a shell, or when a trench caved in [...] the sniper looked out for the repair or rescue party. [...] Snipers covered their working parties; worse still, they covered attacks, preventing our then lining the parapet until the attackers were close up. Only in the dark could food and ammunition be brought up, and the wounded and dead be taken down. [... Then the suspicion arose] that there was a sniper behind us, so Stanway, who had several snipers to his credit, took out a few men to make a search. While they were halted beside a large strawrick one of the men noticed some empty German cartridge cases at his feet. On thrusting their bayonets into the rick the party was rewarded by a yell and a German coming out headlong. Inside was a comfortable hide, having openings cleverly blocked with straw, and a week's supply of food. The sniper could come out at night for exercise and water. Only his carelessness with his used cartridges cost him his life, for he was finished there and then" (pp83-84).


On the deterrent value of dead bodies ...


"The Hun is trying to get in his dead near his trenches. We try to prevent him, it's good for him to see how many there are" (p89).


On rivalry between units ...


"Two good stories of the shoot came round to us after relief. While our guns were giving the Prussians opposite us hell, the Saxons opposite the Middlesex applauded the hits. Later they shouted across, 'We are being relieved by Bavarians tonight. Give us some time to get out then shoot the bastards" (p113).


And finally on the inequality of the contest between man and machine ...


"This has been an uncommonly active tour, our casualties greatly exceed the weekly average. Dewhurst, returning off leave, met his Company stretcher-bearers carrying down one of the dead; following them was a man with something in a sand-bag. As money, letters, and other personal possessions were taken off the dead and sent home, Dewhurst asked, 'Are these his effects?' 'No, Sir, it's his pal'; for of a second victim of the same shell only parts of two limbs could be found" (p179).


1938 [7th-10th November] The Avoidance of Peace (WW2) [The Vom Rath Assassination and Kristallnacht]: German-born of immigrant Polish parents, 17-year-old drop-out Herschel Feibel Grynszpan [Wikipedia biography] shoots and kills diplomatic clerk Ernst vom Rath [Wikipedia biography] inside the German Embassy in Paris. When the news breaks in Germany there follows a 48-hour orgy of street revenge known as Kristallnacht [Wikipedia briefing]. [THREAD = WAR BY CALCULATED PROVOCATION (WW2)]


1940  The British neurologist Emanuel Miller [Wikipedia biography] edits "The Neuroses in War", a collection of papers by neurologists with experience as WW1 Medical Officers on the broad topic of "war neurosis".


1940 [8th May-1st March 1948] Costa Rica, 1871-2018 [IV - The Calderón/Picado Years]: [Continued from 8th May 1920] Rafael Calderón [check him out] is elected president of Costa Rica. To the limit allowed by the nation's coffee growing oligarchy he adopts a more progressive economic policy, thereby becoming one of Latin America's first socially concerned presidents. He will be replaced in 1944 by Teodoro Picado [check him out] [sub-thread continues at 1st March 1948 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1941 [2nd July] Warner Brothers release the Howard Hawks movie "Sergeant York", starring Gary Cooper. The movie is an eponymous biography of Alvin York [see 1917 (5th June)], the most decorated U.S. serviceman of WW1, and relates how he was converted from conscientious objector to expert sniper. The movie was the highest grossing release of 1941, and is in its own way a masterpiece of militaristic propaganda. The essence of this conversion is conveyed in an exchange between York and his Battalion commander, Major Buxton (played by Stanley Ridges). Here is our transcript ...


YORK:                         "Private York reporting, Sir."

BUXTON:                                "Yes, York: at ease. York, Captain Danforth has just handed me a report concerning you, made by your Company Sergeant."

YORK:                         "Yes, Sir?"

BUXTON:                   "You have a very excellent camp record."

YORK:                         "Mighty glad to hear that, Sir."

BUXTON:                   "You applied for exemption, I believe, as a conscientious objector?"

YORK:                         "Yes, Sir."

BUXTON:                                "Well I think we can disregard that. York, Sergeant Parsons recommends your promotion to the rank of corporal with special detail as an instructor in target practice. Captain Danforth and I heartily approve."

DANFORTH: "I congratulate you, York."

YORK:                                     [UNEASY] "Well I'm much obleeged to you, Major Buxton, Captain Danforth. Well I'll learn them fellers to shoot the best I can, like I already done Pusher and Bert - I mean Privates Ross and Thomas, Sir - but, well, I don't wanna be no corporal."

DANFORTH: "What's that?"

YORK:                         "I said I don't wanna be no corporal."

DANFORTH: "Why not?"

BUXTON:                   "Wait a minute, Captain, let him talk ..."

YORK:                         "Well you see, er ..."

BUXTON:                   "Is it because of your religious convictions, York?"

YORK:                                     "Yes, Sir. That's it. You see I believe in the Bible, and I'm a-believin' that this here life we're living is something the Lord done give us. And we gotta be a-livin' it the best we can. An' I'm figurin' that killing other folks ain't no part of what He was intendin' for us to be a-doin' here."

BUXTON:                   "Well yes, in a way I agree with you."

DANFORTH: "York - with your permission, Major."

BUXTON:                   "Certainly, Captain. Sit down, York."

DANFORTH: "You say you believe in the Bible?"

YORK:                         "Yes, Sir."

DANFORTH:             "Well I do too. But do you believe that the Bible means that a man shouldn't fight for what he believes to be right?"

YORK:                         "Well it done said: 'Blessed are the peacemakers'."

DANFORTH:             "Yes, I know, but you remember that verse - I think it's in Luke - where he says: 'He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one'?"

YORK:                                     "He said that to Peter, but he done stop Peter from using the sword. He said: 'them that lives by the sword will be a-perishin' by the sword'. I read that further on."

DANFORTH: "Yes, I remember, but ..."

BUXTON:                   "Go ahead, Captain."

BUXTON:                                "But according to Saint John he said 'My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world then would my servant fight'."

YORK:                        "That's just the point, Captain. He done said that his kingdom were not of this world, and that made it different."

***** FADE IN THE MUSIC ["My Country, 'Tis of Thee"]

DANFORTH: "Yes, but ..."

BUXTON:                                "Just a moment, Captain. [HE GIVES YORK A BOOK] York, you ever read this?"

YORK:                        "History of the United States'. [FLICKS THROUGH] Sure is a lot of writing! [NOTES ONE PAGE IN PARTICULAR] Daniel Boone!"

BUXTON:                                "Yeah - You know about him?"

YORK:                                     "Everybody down our way knows about Daniel Boone! First man into the Valley of the Three Forks."

BUXTON:                                "He was quite a man! One of the greatest. That book's full of great men. York, what do you suppose that Boone was looking for when he went out alone into the wilderness?"

YORK:                                     "I never thought much on it."

BUXTON:                                "Was he looking for new lands?"

YORK:                                     "Might be."

BUXTON:                                "Maybe. Maybe for something more? Something that a man just can't see with his eyes or hold with his hands? Something that some men don't even know they have until they've lost it?"

YORK:                                     "Yes, Sir."

BUXTON:                   "To be free. That's quite a word, freedom. I think that's what he wanted. I think that's what sent Boone into your Tennessee country."

YORK:                         "Is that what this here book's about?"

BUXTON:                                "Yes - that's the story of a whole people's struggle for freedom. From the very beginning until now. For we're still struggling. It's quite a story, York. How they all got together and set up a government. Whereby all men were pledged to defend the rights of each man, and each man to defend the rights of all men. We call it a government of the people, by the people, and for the people."

YORK:                         "Well I never knowed it was all written down ..."

BUXTON:                   "You're a religious man, York ..."

YORK:                         "Yes, Sir."

BUXTON:                   "You want to worship God in your own way."

YORK:                         "Yes, Sir."

BUXTON:                   "You're a farmer."

YORK:                         "Yes, Sir."

BUXTON:                                "You want to plough your fields as you see fit, and raise your family according to your own likes. And that's your heritage. And mine. Every American's. But the cost of that heritage is high. Sometimes it takes all that we have. Even our lives. How are you going to answer that, York?"

YORK:                         "Well you done give me a powerful lot to be a-thinkin' about."

BUXTON:                   "Take your time

YORK:                         "If I could only get home

Back in them hills

BUXTON:                   "What would you do?"

YORK:                         "I could figure somethin' out."

BUXTON:                   "All right, take ten days furlough

YORK:                         "You mean I can go home?"

BUXTON:                   "Report to me as soon as you get back"


1944 [1st July-15th March 1945] Guatemala, 1898-2018 [II - The 1944 Guatemalan Revolution]: [Continued from 8th February 1898] Having suffered the dictatorial excesses of Jorge Ubico for well over a decade, a 31-year-old army officer named Jacobo Árbenz [check him out] leads a military coup against him. Árbenz declines to stand in the presidential elections later in the year, and the new broom presidency goes to the progressive socialist Juan Arévalo [check him out] [sub-thread continues at 15th March 1945 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1944 [1st-22nd July] The Bretton Woods Conference: The Bretton Woods Conference [Wikipedia briefing] took place in summer 1944 at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, and was attended by 730 delegates representing all 44 Allied nations. Its purpose was to prepare an international protocol to align the monetary policies of the individual states, thereby bringing the stability needed to permit the flow of war recovery loans foreseen under the Marshall Plan [see own entry]. Amongst the structures put into place over the ensuing months were the International Monetary Fund (IMF) [check them out] and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) [check them out].


1944 [6th July] Churchill Goes Biological (Perhaps): According to some tellings of the story, Winston Churchill, worried at the success of the ongoing German flying bomb offensive, orders an anthrax pellet attack on Germany. A more measured explanation of the available minutes is given by Lewis (1982 [full text online]), who recognises that Britain's CBW research was not for first use - see also the companion entry for Porton Down, which reports the same conclusion.


1945  The British physician Charles M. Wilson [by now Lord Moran - Wikipedia biography] publishes "The Anatomy of Courage", in which he sets out "to find how courage is born and how it is sustained in a modern army of a free people" (ix). In this quest he draws on his WW1 experiences as Medical Officer with 1st Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, from which we have selected the following insights. Firstly, concerning courage in general ...


"My job as a medical officer was to value the assets of the battalion - to take stock - to guard against depreciation. [...] I realised that I must live with the men, watch them, listen to them, get to know them, be their friend. I began to divide them into types. There seemed to be four degrees of courage and four orders of men measured by that standard. Men who did not feel fear; men who felt fear but did not show it; men who felt fear and showed it but did their job; men who felt fear, showed it, and shirked" (pp4-5).


On cowardice he points out (Chapter 2 generally) that it is not the same thing as fear, rather it is the dysfunctionality which results when fear is allowed to get the upper hand. On shell shock in particular he distinguishes between "emotional shock" and "commotional shock". The former is a state of extreme fear reasonably occasioned by the horrors of combat and threatening therefore to reduce the sufferer's combat effectiveness. The latter is acute where the former is chronic and insidious, resulting usually from a near-miss experience with a lot of bang but (luckily) with little physical injury.


1945 [14th February (expired 1979)] The Chinese Civil War [XXIII - Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship]: [Continued from 23rd September 1937] Mao Zedong and Stalin sign a treaty promoting economic, cultural, and political ties between their respective nations [sub-thread continues at 1st October 1949 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1945 [15th March-15th March 1951] Guatemala, 1898-2018 [III - The Arévalo Years]: [Continued from 1st July 1944] With a thumping mandate from the 1944 elections (he got 86% of the vote), President Arévalo pursues a left of centre programme of national redevelopment, complete with social reforms, minimum wage schemes, and literacy programmes. He also permits the re-establishment of the Communist Party in Guatemala on 28th September 1947, which raises temperatures in Washington. Indeed he crosses swords more than once with U.S. Ambassador Richard Patterson [check him out], who finds even his mild socialism too much to handle. He stood aside in the 1950 presidentials, and was duly replaced by Jacobo Árbenz [sub-thread continues at 15th March 1951 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1948 [1st March-8th May 1958] Costa Rica, 1871-2018 [V - The Figueres/Ulate Years, 1948-1958]: [Continued from 8th May 1940] Costa Rica's 1948 presidential elections witness a contest between Rafael Calderón [check him out] going for a second term after four years out of office, and Otilio Ulate [check him out]. Ulate scores a clear win with 55% of the vote, but Calderón refuses to accept the result, alleging vote-rigging. The incumbent President Picado [check him out] still has three months to run of his four year term in office, but his attempts to find a successor are interrupted by an armed uprising by a junta led by left-winger José Figueres [check him out], who is duly proclaimed Provisional President on 8th May 1948. There follows a period of out-and-out civil war during which Figueres forces through no less than 834 reforms, completely modernising the country. He then steps down 8th November 1949 in favour of the 1948 President-Elect Ulate, who then serves a full term to 1953. Figueres is then rewarded with a term with democratic mandate between 1953 and 1958 [sub-thread continues at 8th May 1958 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]



1949 [8th June] Inspired in part by Jack London's (1908) "The Iron Heel" [see 24th August 1908], the British novelist George Orwell [check him out] publishes "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (Orwell, 1949 [Kindle; full text online; Wikipedia synopsis]), regarded by many as the class-defining dystopian novel. The work is noteworthy in the present context (a) for depicting a world of endless war, (a) for showing how black becomes white as soon as a savvy enough government says that it is, (a) for depicting a world of endless surveillance and the instant and merciless repression of dissent, (a) for a world in which history is constantly being selectively edited so as to justify the present (the hero of the work is employed doctoring back numbers of The Times), (a) for inventing the syntax and vocabulary of an entire new language - "Newspeak" - specifically designed to make the other five sound natural and unthreatening. Here are some of Orwell's handiest new words ...


Doublethink: To so train a population's memories that a new and officially promoted reality emerges. Often involves holding "simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them".

EXAMPLE: To be told that the chocolate ration has just been raised to 20 grammes a week, when yesterday it had been thirty grammes a week. For additional examples, just turn on your fucking television.

Duckspeak: To quack like a duck, that is to say, to speak without engaging your brain, as when reciting official government mantras.

Ministry of Love: The Gestapo on steroids (and then some); keepers of the dreaded Room 101, wherein you will learn to Doublethink, for they know - better than you know it yourself - what really scares you.

Ministry of Truth (Minitrue): The Ministry of Propaganda. Works to the dictum IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. Scriptwriters for the ubiquitous telescreens. [In 2018 we might perhaps rename it the Ministry of Unfake?]

Ministry of Unfake: Just made it up.

Newspeak: See the entry for "Nineteen Eighty-Four".

Room 101: See Ministry of Love.

Thoughtcrime: Dissent.

Thought Police: Those within the Ministry of Love charged with fighting Thoughtcrime; who came - invariably at night - and disappear not just you, but all reference to you.





######1949 [1st October] The Chinese Civil War [XXIV - People's Republic of China]: [Continued from 14th February 1945] Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China [YouTube the newsreel], thus bringing to an end the mainland phase of the Chinese Civil War, and turning it into a stand-off between the CPC and the KMT across the Straits of Taiwan, as it still is today [October 2018] [sub-thread continues at 10th December 1949 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1949 [6th October] The 1949 Mutual Defense Assistance Act: President Truman signs the Mutual Defense Assistance Act into law, thus authorising the United States to supplement its diplomacy "by furnishing military assistance to foreign nations". Insofar as this Act will henceforth be applied to Latin America, it helps expand the School of the Americas [check it out] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1949 [10th December 1949] The Chinese Civil War [XXV - Nationalists Evacuate Mainland China]: [Continued from 1st October 1949] With the KMT administration and the Nationalist Army evacuating a bridgehead opposite the island of Taiwan, Chiang Kai-Shek flies out to safety. Henceforth - and increasingly during 2018 - the Straits of Taiwan will become a promising no-man's-land for WW3 [end of The Chinese Civil War sub-thread; narrative continues as The Cold War ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1951 [15th March-17th June 1952] Guatemala, 1898-2018 [IV - Árbenz Takes Over]: [Continued from 15th March 1945] Following a clear victory in the 1950 presidentials (with 60% of the vote) Jacobo Árbenz is sworn in as president [sub-thread continues at 17th June 1952 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1952 [17th June-18th June 1954] Guatemala, 1898-2018 [V - The 1952 UFCO Expropriations]: [Continued from 15th March 1951] As the centrepiece of his economic policy, President Árbenz signs off the "Decree 900" Agrarian Reform Law [Wikipedia briefing]. One of the targets of this new law is the United Fruit Company (UFCO) [check them out], in that they are regarded (with no little justification) by Árbenz as little better than a bunch of slave owners who have brought mediaeval feudalism into the 20th Century. He duly begins compulsory purchases of UFCO land (about one twelfth of their three million acres, only some 5% of which was actually planted anyway).


ASIDE: Árbenz had devised the fiendishly clever plan of setting high rates of compulsory compensation, but assessed against the previous year's tax returns. So if you had been deliberately under-declaring your value, then you had been too clever for your own good. UFCO, who had last valued their land at $627,572, now decided that it had really been worth some $16 million. It would be interesting to know whether UFCO was contributing more to the Guatemalan economy of the mid-20th-Century than Amazon and Starbucks do for the economy of Britain in 2018. If anyone out there can do this sum please contact the author.


In August 1952 the Wrigley Gum Company likewise felt the sting of compulsory purchases of its chicle - edible rubber - plantations, and retaliated by stopping buying Guatemalan chicle altogether [sub-thread continues at 18th June 1954 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1954 [18th June-2nd March 1958] Guatemala, 1898-2018 [VI - The 1954 Coup]: [Continued from 17th June 1952] This nowadays-openly-confessed CIA-managed coup - codenamed Operation PBSUCCESS [Wikipedia briefing] - deposes President Árbenz  [check him out] and replaces him with U.S.-compliant front man Carlos Castillo Armas [check him out], whom the CIA has been cultivating of late in neighbouring Honduras.


ASIDE: The CIA's professed motivation for engineering this coup is set out in the State Department White Paper entitled "Intervention of International Communism in Guatemala" (Department of State, August 1954 [full text online]). This document directly addresses the United Fruit Revenge meme, characterising the entire story as Communist propaganda, and rather haughtily dismissing the suggestion as absurd. Instead, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles proudly claimed that the United States had brought Árbenz down in order "to inspire men everywhere". One recent recruit to the CIA's Miami Station was David Morales [check him out], believed by many to have been in Dealey Plaza on 22nd November 1963, and their man in Guatemala City was master of the false trail narrative Birch O'Neal [check him out].


Castillo Armas crosses the border 18th June 1954, preceded by a fifth column of saboteurs, covered by his own private U.S.A.F. wing (reportedly four F-47N Thunderbolts and a P-38L Lightning), with the U.S. Navy standing by, prevented from receiving United Nations help by the stonewalling of U.N. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jnr., and - above all - pre-legitimised by an ongoing programme of CIA disinformation. Árbenz resigned on 27th June 1954 and took protective exile in the Mexican Embassy. The ensuing 1954 elections returned Castillo Armas as a dictator (only one candidate), whereupon he carried out a stringent and not infrequently bloody purge against Árbenz' network of political and trade union supporters. At the same time, the CIA fabricated documentary evidence of black doings on Árbenz' part during his administration in order to minimise world sympathy for his case. Castillo Armas then repealed the Agrarian Reform Law and freed up the exportation of unrefined oil. He will be assassinated 26th July 1957, and - strangely - eulogised as "a great loss ... to the entire free world" [sub-thread continues at 2nd March 1958 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1958 [2nd March-1st July 1966] Guatemala, 1898-2018 [VII - Ydígoras and the Coup, 1958-1966]: [Continued from 18th June 1954]  Following the assassination of President Castillo Armas on 26th July 1957 elections are held and on 2nd March 1958 Miguel Ydígoras [check him out] takes over. His administration is troubled internally by problems of corruption and the MR-13 [check them out] left-wing insurgency, and externally by both the Bay of Pigs Invasion [see 17th April 1961] ...


ASIDE: Readers are reminded that it was to Guatemala that CIA operative George de Mohrenschildt [check him out] came on his mysterious 1961 walking tour - just as the Bay of Pigs affair was degenerating into a military and political fiasco.


... and the Cuban Missile Crisis [see 16th October 1962]. Ydígoras is eventually couped by President[1963-1966] Enrique Peralta Azurdia [Wikipedia biography] on 31st March 1963. This latter coup is U.S.-sponsored, and personally authorised by JFK. In the ensuing 1966 elections Peralta Azurdia is defeated by President[1966-1970] Cesar Mendez [Wikipedia biography] [sub-thread continues at 1st July 1966 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1958 [8th May-8th May 1978] Costa Rica, 1871-2018 [VI - More Quiet Years, 1958-1978]: [Continued from 1st March 1948] We presently have nothing to say about the five presidencies between 1958 and 1978 [sub-thread continues at 8th May 1978 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]



1961 [27th December]         The British broadcaster Charles Chilton [Wikipedia biography] produces the radio feature "The Long Long Trail", a history of the Great War gleaned from the songs of the time [Archive broadcast and documentary - DATED, BUT PRICELESS].


1962 [20th August] The Venezuelan Dispute [VII - A Belated Appeal is Lodged] [Continued from 3rd October 1899] Long disgruntled at the judgement of the 1899 arbitration Tribunal, and knowing now that the Orinoco Basin is one of the planet's largest oilfields, and advised therefore by some very pushy oil exploration companies, the Venezuelans lodge a late appeal at the United Nations against the 1899 decision [sub-thread continued at 17th February 1966 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1963 [19th March] Charles Chilton's "The Long Long Trail" [see 27th December 1961] is restaged for the theatre by the Joan Littlewood Theatre Workshop under the title "Oh, What a Lovely War".


1964 [30th May] The BBC air the first of an award-winning 26-part TV documentary "The Great War". The lead narrator is Michael Redgrave, and the lead author is the historian John Terraine.


1966 [17th February] The Venezuelan Dispute [VIII - The Geneva Agreement] [Continued from 20th August 1962] At U.N.-brokered talks in Geneva between Britain, British Guiana [due to become Guyana in three months], and Venezuela the centuries-old issues of the Schomburgk Line [<=this sub-thread, I thru VII] are resurrected. As in 1899, an arbitration panel - known in this instance as the "Mixed Commission" - is set up and given four years to look into the matter. The full text of the agreement is available on the United Nations website [check it out]. Talks are accompanied by regular bloodshed incidents in the border area [sub-thread continued at 18th June 1970 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


"By early 1982 there were at least 300 Israeli advisers in Guatemala"

(Rubenberg/New York Times, 1986),

1966 [1st July-14th January 1986] Guatemala, 1898-2018 [VIII - Twenty Murderous Years, 1966-1986]: [Continued from 2nd March 1958] President Mendez' administration becomes the target of so many left-wing rebel groups (such as the Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes (FAR) [check them out]), that there is a parallel "dramatic expansion" of the United States' military presence in Guatemala. The American forces are commanded, until his assassination 16th January 1968, by Colonel (U.S. Army) John D. Webber, Jnr. [check him out]. The battle against the insurgencies continues under the administration of President[1970-1974] Carlos Arana [Wikipedia biography], who is credited with some 20,000 insurgents systematically "disappeared". Arana's successor President[1974-1978] Kjell Laugerud [Wikipedia biography] continues the crackdown in like vein (1974 also marks Israel taking over as Guatemala's arms supplier), to the extent that in 1977 even the Carter administration thought fit to criticise his human rights abuses. In 1978, the murderous counterinsurgency is continued by President[1978-1982] Fernando Lucas García [Wikipedia biography], until he himself is couped 23rd March 1982 by President[1982-1983] Efraín Montt [Wikipedia biography], who was then himself couped 8th August 1983 by President[1983-1986] Óscar Mejía Víctores [Wikipedia biography]. Between 1954 and 1984, the successive Guatemalan administrations, with CIA help and (after 1974) Israeli arms, have reportedly executed some 100,000 Guatemalan insurgents (Rubenberg, 1986).


A STRANGE THOUGHT: The Guatemalan population at the time was some four million people, so there is actually a valuable psychological datum here - if you kill one fortieth of a hostile population it shuts the rest up. The population of the American colonies in 1776 was some two and a half million people. So to put things in proportion the British would have had to hunt down and execute 62,500 Continental "insurgents" to have reliably kept control of the Americas (it would not be politically correct to call them "farmers" any more, although this, factually, just like the Guatemalans, is what they would have been).


For further details we recommend Rubenberg's (1986 [full text online]) article entitled "Israel and Guatemala: Arms, Advice, and Counterinsurgency" [sub-thread continues at 14th January 1986...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1969 [10th March] The British film director (later Sir; later Lord) Richard Attenburgh [Wikipedia biography] turns Joan Littlewood's "Oh, What a Lovely War" into an award-winning movie.


1970 [18th June] The Venezuelan Dispute [IX - The Port of Spain Protocol] [Continued from 17th February 1966] After a year of talks, the Final Report of the 1966 Mixed Commission is published. In short there has been no substantive progress, and so the parties merely agree to a 12 year moratorium, to expire in 1983. The political parties within Guyana start blaming each other for their intransigence [sub-thread continued at 18th June 1983 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1978 [8th May-8th May 1990] Costa Rica, 1871-2018 [VII - Rowdy Neighbour Years, 1978-1990]: [Continued from 8th May 1958] We turn now to the three Costa Rican presidencies between 1978 and 1990, who are noteworthy in the present context because they each have some degree of contact with events in Nicaragua to the north. The first is President[1978-1982] Carazo [Wikipedia biography], who is in power at the time (Nicaraguan) President Somoza [Jnr.] [check him out] is overthrown by the Sandinistas [check them out] and the Contras [check them out] are created by the United States to redress the balance. The second is President[1982-1986] Monge [Wikipedia biography], who is in office at the time (Nicaraguan) President Daniel Ortega [check him out] comes to power. He also witnesses the first two years of the Iran-Contra Affair [check it out]. And the third is President[1986-1990] Óscar Arias [check him out], who is in power at the end of the Iran-Contra Affair, and who so effectively reduces regional tensions that he is awarded the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize [sub-thread continues at 8th May 1990 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1979 [16th January-1st April] The Islamic Revolutions, 1979-Ongoing [The Ayatollah Takes Iran]: [Continued from UNDER CONSTRUCTION] Having faced political and civil unrest since late 1977, and with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini [check him out] (presently in exile in Paris) acting as a focal symbol for that unrest, the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza [check him out] finally decides that his health (cancer) and affairs of state have got out of control and flees into exile himself (an unwelcome guest in most places he will die in Egypt 27th July 1980). The rump government immediately invites Khomeini back to Tehran, and on 30th-31st March 1979 a national referendum is held on whether to remain a kingdom or become an Islamic Republic. The voting is 98% in favour of the latter and Khomeini becomes de facto Supreme Leader the following day [sub-thread continues at 4th November 1979 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1979 [4th November-20th January 1981] The Islamic Revolutions, 1979-Ongoing [U.S. Embassy Hostages]: [Continued from 16th January 1979] Having been in office six months, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini [check him out] accepts post facto a student activist occupation of the American Embassy in Tehran, in which 52 American diplomats and staff are held hostage for 444 days. On 24th April 1980 President Carter authorises a special airborne snatch operation codenamed Eagle Claw [Wikipedia briefing], but it is aborted with casualties following aircraft breaking down and colliding in a sandstorm [sub-thread continues at UNDER CONSTRUCTION ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1980 [22nd September-20th August 1988] The Iraq-Iran War: Fearing that the newly formed Islamic Republic of Iran [see 16th January 1979] is intending to turn its Shi'ite regions against it, the Ba'athist government of Iraq launches a attack across the Shatt Al Arab waterway 22nd September 1980. Despite Iraq's predominance in armour the front soon bogs down, and both sides end up accepting a United Nations brokered peace 20th August 1988. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1982  The British historian Colin Hughes [no convenient biography] publishes "Mametz", a long-overdue history of the 38th (Welsh) Division's part in the taking of Mametz Wood, 5th-14th July 1916. We have already included a number of excerpts from this work in the entries for July 1916 and shall consider that story told. However his inclusion of testimony of a certain Corporal Hetschold of the Lehr Regiment gives a detailed first-hand account of what it was like to be buried alive in a collapsing dugout [sufferers from claustrophobia, feel free to skip this bit] ...


"In the dug-out in which I was, 100 comrades soon gathered. It was a strong dug-out but after a short barrage it also gave way. First an entrance collapsed and many suffocated. Then a shell landed in the middle and we were thrown hither and thither. As we came to our senses again, there was a dud shell sticking out from under the framework of the dug-out. We all took fright but it did not explode. We breathed again. But then the next followed immediately. A fearful rending, all the candles were out, shouts and groans. I can still breathe, I hear my comrades calling 'The long gallery is smashed in right up to us; we must get out!' I see two boots, pull hard and manage to free a comrade, who was already dead. But we can do nothing for the others; four metres of earth lie on them. I shudder. There is no escape here. As we make for the second entrance, the next shell smashes in. We are buried alive" (pp149-150).


1982 [21st December] The Boland Amendment: Representative Edward P. Boland [Wikipedia biography] sponsors an amendment to the 1983 Appropriations to ban Congressional funding of CIA and DoD operations in Nicaragua [Wikipedia briefing]. It passes 411:0. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1983 [18th June 1983] The Venezuelan Dispute [X - Impasse] [Continued from 12 years before] At the end of the 12 year moratorium the Venezuelans decide not to extend it, and simply resurrect their original 1899 claim. Interactions between the two parties are closely monitored by a U.N. Secretary General's representative [sub-thread continues at 6th September 2011 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1985  [7th July] Concerned that there was no 38th (Welsh) Division monument, the South Wales branch of the Western Front Association start a fund-raising campaign. The result, formally dedicated 7th July 1987, will be Y Ddraig Goch [= "The Red Dragon"] [Wikipedia briefing]. Appropriately enough, this memorial is placed facing Mametz Wood, the sight of the Division's first blooding [see 5th July 1916], on the "cliff" opposite the south eastern corner of the wood known as the "Hammerhead". [THREAD = FORMALISED REMEMBRANCE]


1986 [14th January to date] Guatemala, 1898-2018 [XI - A New Beginning, 1986-2018]: [Continued from 1st July 1966]   We presently have nothing to say about the ten presidencies between 1986 and 2018. In 2018 Guatemala repaid 70 years of thinly documented cooperation with Israel by being one of the first to recognise the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem [end of Guatemala, 1898-2018 sub-thread]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1986 [1st December] The Tower Commission: President Reagan commissions Senator John Tower [Wikipedia biography] to investigate the part played by National Security Council (NSC) staff in the Iran-Contra Affair [check it out]. The commission will produce its report 27th February 1987, and to the extent that he is criticised therein Reagan addresses the nation 4th March 1987 and takes it on the chin - YouTube it now.


1987 [5th May] The Walsh Commissions: Following the publication of the findings of the Tower Commission [see 1st December 1986], Congress convenes two further investigations of the Iran-Contra Affair [check it out], one in the Senate under Senator Daniel Inouye [Wikipedia biography] and the other in the House under Representative Lee H. Hamilton [Wikipedia biography]. The Lead Counsel for both investigations is Lawrence Walsh [Wikipedia biography], and there are minor differences in the respective terms of reference. Both commissions will take evidence until 6th August 1987 and present a single composite report in November [full text online - FASCINATING STUFF]. Seven members unwilling to countersign to the majority conclusions are allowed to append a minority conclusion to reflect their areas of protest.


1990 [8th May to date] Costa Rica, 1871-2018 [VIII - Modern Times, 1990-2018]: [Continued from 8th May 1978]  We presently have nothing to say about the eight presidencies between 1990 and 2018 [end of Costa Rica, 1871-2018 sub-thread]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1998 [8th August] The Hawaiian Annexation [XV - The Hawaiian Patriotic League]: [Continued from 4th July 1898] The Hawaiian Patriotic League was originally formed in 1893 to protest the annexation process. It was then largely lost in the mists of time until resurrected in the 1990s in the run-up to the Centenary remembrances of the annexation. Described now as "a small but vocal native sovereignty movement" (New York Times), ethnically aware Hawaiians begin demonstrations and symbolic actions [check one out] aimed at raising ethnic pride and awareness. To avoid accusations of lack of patriotism and insufficient respect for the Stars and Stripes, the line is usually taken - especially by Native Hawaiian veterans - that they are American and patriotic, but looking forward to the restoration of the kingdom. The Hawaiian Royal flag was trooped around Oahu during Centenary week [read the Honolulu Star-Bulletin report] [sub-thread continues at 8th November 1999 ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


1999 [8th November] The Hawaiian Annexation [XVI - Larsen vs. The Hawaiian Kingdom]: [Continued from 8th August 1998] A test case is brought forward by a Native Hawaiian named Lance Paul Larsen [no convenient biography] against the Kingdom of Hawaii in the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. Unfortunately it was in due course ruled an empty plaint in that it did not also cite the United States as co-defendant [click here for the full legal reasoning] [sub-thread continues at 1st October 2018]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


2000 [1st May] Rioting protestors deface the Whitehall Cenotaph with the text "Why glorify war!"


2001 [29th March] "127 Illuminated Windows": See the Glossary entry for The E-Team.


2001 [31st March] "Quick Click": See the Glossary entry for The E-Team.



2003 [4th February] Jeremy M. Glick [no convenient biography], son of WTC1 (64th Floor) victim Barry H. Glick, bravely agreed to air his grief 4th February 2003 in front of Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, and was ruthlessly belittled for daring to take an anti-Establishment stand - YouTube his humiliation now. Glick later explained that his shredding had not been much of a surprise, because he had studied Reilly's interrogation methods on videotape beforehand. Even so, the interview is far from being a reasoned First Amendment exchange of opinions, but rather precisely targeted televisual Orwellian propaganda.


2011 [6th September] The Venezuelan Dispute [XI - Offshore Oil] [Continued from 18th June 1983] Guyana makes an application [full text online] to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to extend its offshore drilling area. Strictly speaking this cannot be considered, being rendered ultra vires by the ongoing Esequiba border dispute. Venezuela accordingly counter-claims. Nevertheless over the coming months Guyana go their own way and award offshore drilling licences in the very waters the U.N. cannot guarantee are theirs [sub-thread continues at 10th October 2013]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


2013 [10th October] The Venezuelan Dispute [XII - Offshore Oil Again] [Continued from 6th September 2011] The Venezuelan Navy detain a Guyanan licenced oil exploration vessel in waters they claim are theirs. Still going their own way, Guyana awards an oil exploration licence to Exxon Corporation in early 2015 [sub-thread continues at 27th May 2015]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


2015 [27th May] The Venezuelan Dispute [XIII - Exxon Drillson] [Continued from 10th October 2013] Exxon find oil in the Stabroek Block, offshore the Esequiba Delta and the Venezuelan Navy intensify patrols into the disputed area [sub-thread continues at 30th January 2018]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


2018 [30th January] The Venezuelan Dispute [XII - The U.N. Gives Up] [Continued from 27th May 2015] The U.N. Secretary General publishes his assessment of recent events [full text online] and more or less washes his hands of the whole affair, recommending that the matter is taken to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Or settled the old-fashioned way [end of The Venezuelan Dispute sub-thread? OF COURSE NOT]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]


2018 [1st October] The Hawaiian Annexation [XV - The Hawaiian Social Media Rebellion]: [Continued from 8th November 1999] At the time of writing there exist a few FaceBook accounts pressing for Hawaiian de-annexation. Every posting will, of course, be carefully screened by USCYBERCOM [Wikipedia briefing], and counter-postings made by a dedicated and coordinated team of trained shills if and when necessary. Mahalo! [(provisional) end of The Hawaiian Annexation sub-thread]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]




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Project Aneurin, Scope and Aims



Part 1 - (Ape)men at War, Prehistory to 730

Part 2 - Royal Wars (Without Gunpowder), 731 to 1272

Part 3 - Royal Wars (With Gunpowder), 1273-1602

Part 4 - The Religious Civil Wars, 1603-1661

Part 5 - Imperial Wars, 1662-1763

Part 6 - The Georgian Wars, 1764-1815

Part 7 - Economic Wars, 1816-1869

Part 8 - The War Machines, 1870-1894

Part 9 - Insults at the Weigh-In, 1895-1914

Part 10 - The War Itself, 1914

Part 10 - The War Itself, 1915

Part 10 - The War Itself, 1916

Part 10 - The War Itself, 1917

Part 10 - The War Itself, 1918