The Aneurin Great War Project: Timeline

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

 

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, Derek J. Smith.

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\derek\website-on-a-stick\prydain-fawr.gif

 

 

First published 09:00 BST 30th July 2014. This version [2.0 Copyright] 09:00 BST 5th April 2018  [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.

 

 

UPWARD

Author's Home Page

Project Aneurin, Scope and Aims

Master References List

 

BACKWARD IN TIME

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

 

FORWARD IN TIME [UNDER CONSTRUCTION]

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

Part 11 - The Poetry and the Science, 1919 to date

 

The Timeline Items

 

1895  John Browning [1883<=>1899] unveils the M1895 Colt-Browning machine gun [Wikipedia factsheet] and James Paris Lee [<=1888] does likewise with the M1895 Lee Navy Rifle [Wikipedia factsheet]. Both weapons take a relatively small 6mm [= .236"] high velocity jacketed round. Around the same time, with the latest upgrade to its M1892 rifle [<=1892], the Winchester Repeating Arms Company [1883<=>1899] uses DuPont No2 smokeless propellant. Around the same time the Royal Small Arms Factory [1888<=>1904 (1st January)], Enfield, replaces the Lee-Metford Rifle [<=1888] with the Magazine Lee-Enfield (MLE) Rifle [Wikipedia factsheet=>1899 (10th November)], a sturdy, accurate, and ergonomically easy to use weapon chambered for a .303" jacketed round, and with easy to clean square-cut rifling. [THREAD = WW1 SMALL ARMS]

 

1895  The German Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt [Wikipedia biography=>1902 (Borchardt)] takes up a position in Cairo to help catalogue the Egyptian Museum collection. [THREAD = PRE-WW1 INTELLECTUAL RIVALRY]

 

1895  Headed now by Arthur Chamberlain [Grace's Guide biography=>1897] George Kynoch and Company [1888<=>1897] starts to develop explosives factories at Arklow [map, etc.=>1917 (21st September)], Ireland, and Shell Haven Creek [map, etc.], Essex. Around the same time the directors of the Tredegar Ironworks [1891<=>1900 (23rd October)] start to open up new colliery workings - the Mclaren Colliery ["Welsh Coal Mines" Heritage factsheet] - at Abertysswg/Pontlottyn [map, etc.], at the head of the Rhymney Valley. [THREAD = THE WW1 FINANCIAL AND ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES]

 

1895  This year's catalogue from Sears, Roebuck, and Company [<=1893] runs to 532 pages, allowing the company to turn over USD750,000. Around the same time the tobacco company W. D. and H. O. Wills [1826<=>1901] starts including collectable "cigarette cards" in its products [they're still collectible - browse them on eBay]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

ASIDE - CIGARETTE CARDS IN WW1: For an instant introduction to smoking in general in WW1 we recommend Langley (2013 online). For cigarette cards in particular see the online WW1 card museum here. For the use of cigarette cards as propaganda see 1914 (2nd September [ASIDE]).

 

1895 [31st January] The Norddeutscher-Lloyd Line's [1881 (2nd April)<=>1897 (4th May)] SS Elbe [1881 (2nd April)<=>sinks this day] is in collision with a freighter in the North Sea and sinks in less than 20 minutes. Only one lifeboat gets away, carrying just five passengers and 15 crew. The remaining 349 passengers and (unknown) crew drown. The freighter is subsequently judged at fault for the accident for having nobody on watch at the time. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1895 [20th February] Gentleman Cadet [Sir]1953 Winston L. S. Churchill [henceforth simply Winston Churchill] [Wikipedia biography=>1898 (3rd July)] graduates as Second Lieutenant in the 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars [<=1881 (1st July)]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1895 [24th February] The Cuban War of Independence [I - The Initial Uprising]: [New sub-thread] Cuban nationalists stage uprisings across the Spanish possession of Cuba. Spain responds by greatly reinforcing its forces on the island [sub-thread continues at 1897 (10th October) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1895 [March] Seeing is Believing [XXXV - Early Motion Pictures (Paul and Acres)]: [Continued from 1894 (21st November)] The British instrument maker Robert W. Paul [Wikipedia biography=>1896 (20th February)] collaborates with the photographer Birt Acres [Wikipedia biography=>20th June] to produce the 35mm "Paul-Acres Camera". It will be a short-lived partnership, however, breaking up in the summer when Acres obtains patents in his sole name [sub-thread continues at 20th June ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

******  THE UNCONSCIOUS MIND STARTS TO BE RECOGNISED  ******

1895 [??th April] Hysteria [V - Freud and Breuer (1895)]: [Continued from 1887 (28th December)] Sigmund Freud [1891<=>24th July] and Josef Breuer [<=1885 (??th October)] publish "Studien über Hysterie" [in English (1909) as "Studies in Hysteria"], in which they clearly describe how unsavoury memories can be denied access to a person's consciousness, with a number of predictable undesirable consequences. The book begins with several now-famous case histories, not least Breuer's patient Anna O [<=1880 (??th October)] and Freud's patient Elisabeth von R [see Companion Resource]. Breuer then provides 60 pages on the possibility of ideas "inadmissable to consciousness" (p304) and Freud then provides a further 60 pages on how to get patients to locate their hurtful but unverbalised memories and then "giving utterance to them with an expression of affect" (p368) [continues at 1905 ...]. [THREAD = WW1 MILITARY MEDICINE AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE]

 

1895 [23rd April] HMS Vernon [Shore Establishment] [1876 (26th April)<=>1899 (20th October)] relocates to Portchester Creek, on the northern shore of Portsmouth Harbour [continues at 1904 (HMS Ariadne) ...]. [THREAD = THE WW1 SUBMARINE NAVIES]

 

1895 [27th May] The armoured cruiser HMS Terrible [Wikipedia shipography=>1899 (13th March)] is launched at J. and G. Thomson [1888 (20th October)<=>1897], Clydebank. She will be fitted with 48 Belleville high pressure tubed boilers [Wikipedia factsheet] and it is hoped she will prove capable of 25 knots [continues at 1899 (13th March) ...]. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES]

 

1895 [20th June] Seeing is Believing [XXXVI - Early Motion Pictures ("Opening of the Kiel Canal")]: [Continued from 1894 (21st November)] The Kiel Canal [<=1887] is formally opened, saving a day's steaming for vessels in transit from the North Sea to the Baltic. Acres [March<=>1896 (20th February)] films the proceedings, and duly incorporates the footage into an 18-second current affairs reel under the title "Opening of the Kiel Canal" [IMDB entry; see it at British Film Institute (registration required)] [sub-thread continues at 10th August ...]. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES] [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1895 [1st July] The British Liberal Unionist1 Member of Parliament Joseph Chamberlain [Wikipedia biography=>29th December] (Birmingham West) takes post as Colonial Secretary, and sets about strengthening the British Empire. His thinking in this is that "it is not enough to occupy great spaces of the world's surface unless you can make the best of them". [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1ASIDE: The Liberal Unionists were a short-lived centre-right break-away faction of the ancestral Liberal Party, who sided for conscientious reasons with the Conservative Party on the question of Irish Home Rule [1893 (4th September)<=>1904 (2nd December)].

 

**********  "AS OLD AS CINEMA ITSELF"1  **********

1895 [10th August] Seeing is Believing [XXXVII - Early Motion Pictures (Gaumont)]: [Continued from 20th June] The French inventor Léon E. Gaumont [Wikipedia biography=>1901 (27th September)] founds a company to produce and distribute films [sub-thread continues at 26th August ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1ASIDE: Company slogan.

 

1895 [6th July] Cardiff Docks [IX - Queen Alexandra Dock Authorised]: [Continued from 1887 (24th August)] The Bute Docks Bill, 1894, is assented by Parliament and arrangements are put in hand to fund the construction of a large new dock at Cardiff [continues at 1907 (13th July) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1895 [13th July-7th August] In this year's General Election the Independent Labour Party [Wikipedia factsheet=>1900 (26th February)] fields 28 candidates but to no great effect. [THREAD = THE WW1 WORKING CLASS SOLDIER]

 

1895 [16th July] As authorised by the Telegraph Act 1892 [<=1892 (22nd March)] the British Post Office opens its new trunk telephone service. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1895 [17th July-uncertain] The Empire of India Exhibition: After 16 months in construction, London's 94-metre [=308 feet] Great Wheel [Wikipedia wheelography] opens for business as part of a larger celebration of all things Indian at Earl's Court. It will stay open until 1906, but will lose its height record when the Paris wheel opens in 1900. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

******  MORE ON THE FREUDIAN UNCONSCIOUS  ******

1895 [24th July] The Case of Irma's Injection: Sigmund Freud [??th April<=>23rd September] wakens and remembers a curious dream he has had the night before. He writes it down quickly [Wikipedia full text online]. It apparently concerns the giving of an injection to an hysteria patient of his, one Emma Eckstein [case "Irma"] [Wikipedia biography], following a failed experimental surgical procedure by his friend Wilhelm Fliess [<=1887 (28th December)]. Freud's interpretation of the dream is that it represents a symbolic fulfilment of his own need to be free of feelings of guilt at having been peripherally associated with a case of medical malpractice. The event is noteworthy in the present context because it helps crystallise Freud's thoughts on the clinical and theoretical significance of dream content [=>1899 (4th November)]. [THREAD = WW1 MILITARY MEDICINE AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE]

 

1895 [25th August] The new Adams Hydroelectric Power Plant [Wikipedia factsheet] at Niagara Falls is ceremonially switched on. As at Ames [<=1891 (21st June)] the plant uses water-driven turbines to spin ten Westinghouse Electric Company [<=1891 (21st June)] A.C. Alternators, each producing 3.7MW. Adams will remain in service until 1961 and is nowadays a U.S. National Historic Landmark. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1895 [26th August-September] Seeing is Believing [XXXVIII - Early Motion Pictures (Joly versus the Phantascope)]: [Continued from 10th August] On 26th August the French inventor Henri Joly [Wikipedia biography], funded by the phonograph manufacturer Charles Pathé [Wikipedia biography=>1896 (28th September)], files for a patent on a movie camera. He then reportedly produces a demonstration reel entitled "Le Bain d'une Mondaine" [in English as "Lady Takes a Bath"; we have been unable to confirm this work]. Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic the American film technicians Thomas Armat [Wikipedia biography=>1896 (23rd April)] and Charles Francis Jenkins [Wikipedia biography=>1896 (23rd April)] exhibit a projector named the "Phantascope" [Wikipedia factsheet] at a September industrial fair in Atlanta, GA [sub-thread continues at May ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

**********  IMPORTANT WW1 TECHNOLOGY  **********

======  WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY  ======

======  WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY  ======

======  WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY  ======

1895 [??th September] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XII - The Villa Griffone Transmissions]: [Continued from 1894] A 19-year-old Italian inventor named Guglielmo Marconi [Wikipedia biography<=>1896 (30th March)] successfully sends a Hertzian wave wireless transmission over a distance of two kilometres. He will file for a British patent in his system in 1896, and over the closing years of the century will refine the technology to transmit over ever greater distances [continues at 1896 (30th March) ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

**********  HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT NEUROPSYCHOLOGY  **********

**********  HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT NEUROPSYCHOLOGY  **********

**********  HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT NEUROPSYCHOLOGY  **********

1895 [23rd September] Locating Brain Function [IV - Freud (1895/1950)]: [Continued from 1891] Sigmund Freud [24th July<=>1899 (4th November)] remarks to a colleague that he is accumulating papers on an important new theory. In the event however the manuscript is put in a drawer and forgotten about, not being discovered until 1950. It is then edited and published posthumously as "Entwurf einer wissenschaftlichen Psychologie" [in English (the same year) as "Project for a Scientific Psychology"]. The technical significance of "the Project" is that it grounds both conscious and unconscious mental processing in the same sorts of underlying nerve circuitry. In fact the book contains three simple hand-drawn nerve net sketches (respectively, Figures 13, 14, and 15) [see one now] which are not dissimilar to those subsequently popularised in the textbook memory theory of the 1950s1,2,3. See the Companion Resource [scroll to <Freud's Project>] for further details. [THREAD = WW1 MILITARY MEDICINE AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE]

 

1ASIDE: Readers are reminded that at this moment in time Freud is NOT YET FAMOUS and NOT YET A PSYCHOANALYST. He is a neurologist, and a good one at that, with no little skill in the neuropsychology of aphasia [<=1891], psychiatry [<=1885 (??th October)], and neuropsychology [the present work]. The psychosexual side of his theories is still being developed in rather obscure publications and personal correspondence, and will not be formally published until 1900, and then only in German [=>1899 (4th November)]. It is only when "Interpretation of Dreams" is translated into English in 1911 that the world pricks up its ears.

 

2ASIDE: The doyen of neuronally grounded memory theory in the 1950s was the Canadian neuropsychologist Donald O. Hebb [Wikipedia biography=>1949], so much so that to this day  the generic name for artificial intelligence circuitry is the "Hebbian Net" [Wikipedia factsheet].

 

3ASIDE - THE SCIENTIFIC VALUE OF SCRIBBLES: Freud did not draw many diagrams but when he did they deserve close scrutiny - see the listing in the Companion Resource [scroll to <Freud's Diagrams and Illustrations>].

 

**********  FIRST FREE CINEMA SHOW  **********

**********  PROJECTORS REPLACE PEEP SHOWS  **********

**********  PROJECTORS REPLACE PEEP SHOWS  **********

**********  PROJECTORS REPLACE PEEP SHOWS  **********

1895 [28th September] Seeing is Believing [XXXIX - Early Moving Images ("Sortie de l'Usine")]: [Continued from 20th June] Having acquired the patent rights to Bouly's [<=1892 (12th February)] Cinématographe system the French phonograph manufacturers Auguste Lumière and his brother Louis Lumière [joint Wikipedia biography] (usually simply the Lumière Brothers [=>1st November]) exhibit a 46-second demonstration reel entitled "Sortie de l'Usine Lumière de Lyon" [in English as "Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory"; Bing it now]. Unlike the Kinetoscope, the film is projected onto a screen rather than viewed through an aperture, and thus can be viewed by more than one person at a time. The venue on this occasion is a trade exposition held at Le Ciotat, 10 miles east of Marseilles [sub-thread continues at 1st November ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

**********  THE FIRST PAYING CINEMA SHOW  **********

1895 [1st November] Seeing is Believing [XL - Early Moving Images (The Skladonowskis Branch Out)]: [Continued from 28th September] No longer content to remain magic-lantern operators the Skladonowski Brothers [<=1879] use a movie projector of their own invention - the "Bioscope" [Wikipedia generic factsheet] - to show films they have been producing themselves to a paying Berlin audience. Each reel last around six seconds and is projected with live mood-music onto the viewing screen from behind. As things will turn out, however, they will be unable to compete with the technology about to be revealed by the Lumière Brothers [28th September<=>27th December] and their portfolio is soon relegated to second division venues such as fairgrounds and provincial village halls [sub-thread continues at 27th December ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1895 [??th December-1896 (28th January)] The Fourth Anglo-Ashanti War: This two-month raid by Gold Coast British forces into the neighbouring Ashanti Kingdom is an attempt to forestall French and German ambitions in the region. It is fought between a small British column under Sir Francis Scott [no convenient biography] and the Ashanti defenders of Kumasi, their capital. A young [Sir]1922 Robert Baden-Powell [1st Baron Baden-Powell]1929 [Wikipedia biography=>1899 (13th October)] gains rough country experience commanding a contingent of native scouts. The outcome is that Ashanti is formally declared a British protectorate on 16th August 1896. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1895 [24th December] Upon the death of Edward J. Harland [<=1889 (19th January)] his fellow-shareholder William J. Pirrie [1st Viscount Pirrie]1921 [<=1870 (27th August)] takes over as Chairman of Harland and Wolff [1889 (19th January)<=>1899 (14th January)], Belfast. He will hold the post until 1924. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1895 [27th-28th December] Seeing is Believing [XLI - Early Motion Pictures (The French Counterattack)]: [Continued from 1st November] On 27th December the Lumière Brothers [1st November<=>1896 (15th March)]) stage a private demonstration of their Cinématographe system to an invited audience of leading Parisian impresarios including the Theatre Robert-Houdin's Méliès [1888<=>1896 (May)] and the Musée Grévin's Reynaud [<=1892 (28th October)], raising intense commercial interest. The following day they repeat the demonstration for the public, to similar acclaim. The Lumières will now spend much of 1896 on a world demonstration tour [sub-thread continues at 1896 (20th February) ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1895 [29th December-1896 (2nd January)] The Jameson Raid: This five-day raid by Cape Colony into neighbouring Transvaal is an attempt to destabilise Kruger's [1880 (13th December)<=>1896 (3rd January)] government there by recruiting the Uitlander [=>1899 (30th May)] population there against the establishment Afrikaners. It is fought between a small Cape Colonist column under Sir John C. Willoughby [no convenient biography] and Sir Leander S. Jameson [Wikipedia biography] and a Transvaal militia force who have already learned that they were coming.

 

GEOPOLITICAL BACKGROUND: The British South Africa Company (BSAC) [Wikipedia factsheet] was established in 1889 to exploit mineral resources in Britain's possessions in southern Africa. Its CEO was the Kimberley-based diamond miner Cecil J. Rhodes [Wikipedia biography=>1899 (14th October)]. To protect its workings (and the Kimberley stretch of the Cape Town-Bulawayo railway) this company maintained a "private army" based in the Pitsani Strip [modern Lobatse [map, etc.]] in Bechuanaland [modern Botswana], a mere 130 miles west of Pretoria [maplink at 1899 (12th October)]. Rhodes is also Prime Minister of Cape Colony and has been liaising more or less closely with Britain's recently appointed Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain [1st July<=>1899 (7th August)]

 

In the event the Cape Colonists are driven off in disarray and a number of the ringleaders jailed. The incident is noteworthy in the present context for the ensuing diplomatic backlash [=>1896 (3rd January)] and Boer preparations for a defensive war [=>1899 (12th October)]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  THE PUTEAUX 75 FINALLY GETS ITS RECOIL SYSTEM  **********

**********  THE PUTEAUX 75 FINALLY GETS ITS RECOIL SYSTEM  **********

**********  THE PUTEAUX 75 FINALLY GETS ITS RECOIL SYSTEM  **********

1896  The "Puteaux 75" Project [V - The Deville-Rimailho Recoil System]: [Continued from 1894 (15th October)] The French artillery officers Charles Étienne Sainte-Claire-Deville [<=1891] and Émile Rimailho [Wikipedia biography] finally resolve the leaks in the Deport long-recoil system under development for the Puteaux 75 project. The resulting "Deville-Rimailho Long-Recoil System" progressively absorbs the backward reaction of the gun barrel during the acceleration of the projectile with minimal effect on the positioning of the gun carriage as a whole, thus not needing re-aiming after each shot, THUS ALLOWING CONTINUOUS ACCURATE FIRE. [continues at 1897 ...]. [THREAD = WW1 ARTILLERY]

 

1896  The Krupp Company [1894<=>1904] buys up the shipbuilder Germaniawerft [no convenient factsheet=>1906 (4th August)], Kiel. [THREAD = THE WW1 SUBMARINE NAVIES]

 

1896  The Mauser Company [1871 (2nd December)<=>1898 (5th April)] releases its C96 Pistol [Wikipedia factsheet], a semi-automatic pistol soon to be commonly known as the "Broomhandle Mauser". It will be produced mainly in 7.63mm and 9mm calibre. [THREAD = WW1 SMALL ARMS]

 

1896 [3rd January] The Kruger Telegram: Kaiser Wilhelm II [1888 (15th June)<=>next entry] approves1 a personal telegram [full text online] to the president of the Transvaal, Kruger [1895 (29th December)<=>1899 (30th May)], congratulating him on defeating the Jameson Raid [<=1895 (29th December)]. Seeing this as flagrant interference, the British press responds with anger and incredulity. [THREAD = WW1 WAR FEVER]

 

1ASIDE: The Kaiser will later explain that he signed a prepared text with no few reservations, but that he had been advised to do so by his senior officials on the basis that the wording, on balance, was no more inflammatory than the Jameson incursion had been illegal. Readers may like to compare the diplomatic exchange which followed Britain's Prince Charles' remarks about Russia's President Putin in the 2014 Ukraine Crisis [hundreds of online reports to choose from]. Career diplomats will no doubt assure us that such interventions are a valuable, albeit heavy-handed, weapon in the diplomatic armoury.

 

1896 [3rd January] Kaiser Wilhelm II [preceding entry<=>1897 (6th June)] receives a technical appraisal from Alfred von Tirpitz [1889 (1st August)<=>1897 (6th June)] concerning the potential expansion of the German battlefleet. The Kaiser, however, noting the ongoing crisis in South Africa, continues to sympathise with Friedrich von Hollmann [1890 (22nd April)<=>1897 (6th June)] in the latter's liking for a cruiser fleet to fly the German flag worldwide. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES]

 

**********  ZIONISM TAKES OFF  **********

**********  ZIONISM TAKES OFF  **********

**********  ZIONISM TAKES OFF  **********

**********  ZIONISM TAKES OFF  **********

**********  ZIONISM TAKES OFF  **********

1896 [1st February] Zionism Pre-WW1 [VIII - Der Judenstaat Published]: [Continued from 1894 (undated)] Having pondered the problem of European anti-Semitism Theodor Herzl [1894 (15th October)<=>10th March] now publishes "Der Judenstaat" [in English (the same year) as "The Jewish State"], in which he argues for the creation of a Jewish state either in Argentina or (preferably) Palestine. The work is a sell-out1 [sub-thread continues at 10th March ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1ASIDE: Less so, reportedly, with the Jewish upper class, who (presumably) see Jew-instigated social discord as likely to be bad for business (Klinger, 2010 online).

 

1896 [??th February] In an attempt to ingratiate his regime in the eyes of the Russians, Prince Ferdinand I of Bulgaria [1887 (7th July)<=>1908 (5th October)] rededicates his Roman Catholic two-year-old son Boris [III of Bulgaria]1918 [Wikipedia biography=>1918 (3rd October)] into the Russian Orthodox faith. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  "BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON" [Psalm 137]  **********

1896 [14th February] The Hungarian journalist and campaigner against anti-Semitism Theodor Herzl [Wikipedia biography] publishes "Der Judenstaat" [in English (the same year) as "The Jewish State"], in which he argues for the creation of a Jewish state either in Argentina or (preferably) Palestine. He spends the next five years unsuccessfully trying to buy the latter from the Ottomans. His efforts mark the beginning of modern "Zionism" [Wikipedia factsheet]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

ASIDE: Zion was the name of the Palestinian mountain on which stood the Jebusite fortress captured by the Israelites under David I of Israel [Wikipedia biography] in around 1003BCE and then incorporated as Mount Zion [Wikipedia factsheet] into the developing city of Jerusalem. When the Israelites were subsequently sent into exile in Babylonia, Zion became a natural focus for Zionism, the struggle one day to return.

 

1896 [20th February] Seeing is Believing [XLII - Early Motion Pictures (Paul's "Theatrograph")]: [Continued from 1895 (27th December)] Following the break-up of their partnership both Paul [1895 (March)<=>21st March] and Acres [<=1895 (20th June)] continue to manufacture cinematographic equipment and produce content to help keep them earning. Paul's projector becomes the "Theatrograph" [Wikipedia factsheet] and Acres' becomes the "Kineopticon" [no convenient factsheet]. The magician "David Devant" [Wikipedia biography] will obtain one of the first units and incorporate it into his act at Maskelyne's [<=1894 (1st April)] Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. Méliès [1895 (27th December)<=>May] will do likewise at the Theatre Robert-Houdin in Paris [sub-thread continues at March ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1896 [March] Seeing is Believing [XLIII - Early Motion Pictures (Hepworth Studios)]: [Continued from 20th February] The British film technician Cecil M. Hepworth [Wikipedia biography] and (his cousin) Monty Wicks [no convenient biography] set up a film processing laboratory in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, and start producing films taken on location and on a stage built in his back garden. They take these to market under the banner Hepworth Studios [Wikipedia factsheet=>1899 (November)] [sub-thread continues at 15th March ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1896 [10th March] Zionism Pre-WW1 [IX - A Political Sponsor Sought]: [Continued from 1st February] Recognising that ideas as profound as his will need powerful backers Theodor Herzl [1st February<=>1898 (31st October)] has for a while been seeking political sponsorship. He is helped in this endeavour by a chance meeting with the aforementioned William Hechler [1894 (undated)<=>1898 (15th October)], who, having chanced upon a copy of Der Judenstaat [<=1st February], has sought him out with a view to cooperation. They spend time cultivating Hechler's contacts in diplomatic circles, and putting out feelers to the Ottoman government offering to buy Palestine from them [sub-thread continues at 1898 (15th October) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1896 [15th March or hereabouts] Seeing is Believing [XLIV - Early Motion Pictures (Smith)]: [Continued from March] George A. Smith [1894 (June)<=>November], the proprietor of the St. Ann's pleasure garden in Hove, travels to Leicester Square, London, to catch the Lumière Brothers [<=1895 (27th December)] demonstration show, and resolves to add films of his own production to his own magic lantern show [sub-thread continues at 25th March ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1896 [18th March] [Sir]1898 Horatio H. Kitchener [Baron Kitchener of Khartoum]1898 [1st Earl Kitchener]1914 [Wikipedia biography=>1898 (2nd September)] leads a British-Egyptian offensive into the Sudan. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1896 [21st March] Seeing is Believing [XLV - Early Motion Pictures (Further Developments)]: [Continued from 15th March] To supplement the income from sales of his Theatrograph [<=20th February] Paul [20th February<=>1899 (12th October)] now stages the equipment's first public performance at the Olympia Theatre, Shoreditch (Rossell, 1998), the first of a series of performances at London's music halls. Not long afterward (on 9th April) the Chicago showman William N. Selig [Wikipedia biography] founds the Selig Polyscope Company [Wikipedia factsheet=>1909 (25th November)], to profit from the demand for Mutoscope material [sub-thread continues at 23rd April ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] Rossell, D. (1998). Living Pictures: The Origins of the Movies. Albany: SUNY Press.

 

1896 [30th March] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XIII - Marconi Comes to Britain]: [Continued from 1895 (??th September)] The British engineer Alan A. Campbell-Swinton [Wikipedia biography] provides Guglielmo Marconi [1895 (??th September)<=>12th December] with a letter of introduction to [Sir]1899 William H. Preece [1892 (26th November)<=>12th December]. Preece is duly impressed with the young engineer's achievements to date and places the resources of the Post Office engineering department at his disposal to develop Hertzian wave technology further. Experiments take place during the summer on Salisbury Plain [continues at 12th December ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1896 [23rd April] Seeing is Believing [XLVI - Early Motion Pictures (The Phantascope)]: [Continued from 25th March] Having recently bought out Jenkins1 [<=1895 (September)] Armat [ditto] has sold the Phantoscope patent to the Kinetoscope Company [Wikipedia factsheet], who now rebadge it as the "Vitascope" and set it to work in a New York City music hall [Wikipedia factsheet] [sub-thread continues at May ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1ASIDE: Jenkins will go on to experiment with the transmission of "motion pictures by wireless", that is to say, television, receiving a patent in this new technology in 1925 and opening a TV broadcasting station (eventually subsumed into the RCA Corporation) in 1928.

 

1896 [May] Seeing is Believing [XLVII - Early Motion Pictures (Stop Motion)]: [Continued from 23rd April] At around this time Méliès [20th February<=>24th December] turns to producing his own movies and showing them at his Théatre Robert-Houdin in Paris. In all he will make 78 reels during 1896, including the occasional advertisements and erotica. The stop trick1 - whereby the camera is paused to allow one or more elements of the objective scene to be substituted [Wikipedia factsheet] - is now one of his favourite storyboarding special effects [sub-thread continues at 28th September ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1ASIDE: There is a typical stop trick in the Edison Company's [1894 (14th April)<=>1898 (3rd July)] 1895 reel "The Execution of Mary Stuart" [Wikipedia factsheet; Bing it now] where the break allows a mannequin to be substituted for the actress just before the axe descends.

 

1896 [19th May] Upon the death of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria [<=1889 (30th January)] his rights of succession to the Austro-Hungarian imperial throne pass automatically to his oldest son Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria [1889 (30th January [ASIDE])<=>1909 (16th July)]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1896 [30th May] The French priest René F. Renou [Wikipedia biography=>1913 (2nd August)] is appointed Archbishop of Tours. Having previously served as regimental chaplain to the 88e Régiment d'Infanterie, he sets out to promote the new Saint Martin Basilica [1886<=>1918 (11th November)] as the place where God and the French military can best share their thoughts. He will hold the post for 17 years before resigning. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1896 [29th July] The Berlin-Baghdad Railway [I - Eskişehir to Konya]: [Continued from 1896 (29th July)] This 445-kilometer [= 276 miles] spur off the Istanbul-Ankara main line extends the existing European railway network to the southeast, in the direction (although this is not yet universally apparent) of Baghdad [see explanatory map] [continues at 1903 (27th July) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1896 [28th September] Seeing is Believing [XLVIII - Early Motion Pictures (The Pathé Brothers)]: [Continued from May] Having already profited from their involvement in the phonograph industry, and having acquired the designs for a movie camera [<=1895 (26th August)], Pathé [ditto] and his three brothers start expanding the family business to produce film equipment as well. Trading as Pathé Frères [Wikipedia factsheet=>1900 (14th July)] the company sets about "industrialising" [Charles Pathé's term] the entertainment industry, both producing occasional films of their own as well as distributing films made by others (having sold them the equipment needed to do so) [sub-thread continues at November ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1896 [November] Seeing is Believing [XLIX - Early Motion Pictures (Williamson)]: [Continued from 28th September] Having recently been learning from, and collaborating with, his neighbour George A. Smith [15th March<=>1899 (November)] the British chemist-turning-movie producer James Williamson [Wikipedia biography=>1900 (14th June)] shows an actuality entitled "Devil's Dyke Fun Fair" [SASE factsheet] in the Town Hall at Hove, Sussex. He will continue to produce films at a rate of two or three a year until 1910, achieving 28 titles in all [sub-thread continues at 24th December ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

**********  THE "ANGEL OF DEATH" DIES  **********

1896 [10th December] Having already accidentally seen his obituary in advance [<=1888 (12th April)], Alfred Nobel [1894<=>1902 (10th April)] dies, leaving the bulk of his fortune to establish the Nobel Prize Scheme [Wikipedia factsheet]. [THREAD = THE WW1 FINANCIAL AND ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES]

 

1896 [12th December] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XIV - The Toynbee Hall Demonstration]: [Continued from 30th March] [Sir]1899 William H. Preece [30th March<=>1897 (10th June)] organises a public demonstration of Guglielmo Marconi's [30th March<=>1897 (11th May)] (Post Office-)improved transmission system at Toynbee Hall, London. No message is sent as such, but every time Preece keys the transmitter it rings a bell on Marconi's receiver, wherever he happens to be standing in the hall. It is a major newspaper success the following morning [continues at 1897 (15th February ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

**********  THE HORROR MOVIE IS BORN  **********

1896 [24th December] Seeing is Believing [L - Early Motion Pictures ("The Haunted Castle")]: [Continued from November] Méliès' [May<=>1897 (18th April)] latest project is a three-minute Gothic horror movie under the title "Le Manoir du Diable" [In English as "The Haunted Castle"; Bing it now], complete with the Devil, bats, skeletons, spectres, and the like [sub-thread continues at 1897 (7th February) ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

**********  BRITISH SCIENTIFIC PSYCHOLOGY IS BORN  **********

**********  BRITISH SCIENTIFIC PSYCHOLOGY IS BORN  **********

**********  BRITISH SCIENTIFIC PSYCHOLOGY IS BORN  **********

1897  Following the precedent set by the experimental psychology laboratories set up by William James at Harvard [<=1875], Wilhelm Wundt at Leipzig [<=1879], and G. Stanley Hall at Johns Hopkins [<=1883], William H. R. Rivers [1891<=>1906 (3rd September)] now helps establish psychology laboratories at both University College, London, and St. John's College, Cambridge. Over the ensuing decade he and students such as Charles S. Myers [Wikipedia biography=>1915 (13th February)] and William McDougal [Wikipedia biography=>1907] will accumulate valuable data on the anatomy and physiology of perception. This development is noteworthy in the present context because all three of those named - Rivers, Myers, and McDougal - will be involved in the shellshock debate once war comes. [THREAD = WW1 MILITARY MEDICINE AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE]

 

**********  MAJOR WW1 WEAPON  **********

===== "THE FRENCH SEVENTY-FIVE" =====

===== "THE FRENCH SEVENTY-FIVE" =====

===== "THE FRENCH SEVENTY-FIVE" =====

1897  The "Puteaux 75" Project [VI - Customer Acceptance Testing]: [Continued from 1896] The French Army begins trials of the Puteaux Atelier's Modèle 1897 75mm field gun [Wikipedia factsheet]. The weapon is an enlarged version of the 57mm field gun trialled in 1891 [q.v.], but now fitted with the very excellent Deville-Rimailho hydro-pneumatic long-recoil system [<=1896]. The value of the Nordenfelt breech is that it allows a very high rate of fire, constrained mainly by the need to replenishment ammunition, and the value of the long-recoil system is that faced with all but the most demanding of targets there is no need to relay the piece after each firing. Taken together, these factors mean that the weapon can operate effectively at a hitherto unheard of fifteen aimed rounds per minute, that is to say, firing round for round with trained riflemen! It is fielded with shrapnel, melinite [<=1885], and - when authorised - gas shells. A thousand or so four-gun batteries will have been created by the beginning of WW1, and a further 17,500 guns will be produced during the war at St. Etienne and other production facilities. [THREAD = WW1 ARTILLERY]

 

WAR VIDEO: See YouTube video - note minimal movement of the carriage wheels when firing, also the long recoil, also the relatively slow return movement of the barrel. Note also the apparently effortless two-second cyclic ergonomics of the breech-man and the near-most shell-handler. This gun was a decade ahead of the competition!! See another YouTube video - as before but with commentary. Note the third man using a quadrant to check that the elevation is still correct just before each discharge.

 

**********  A WINNER OF WARS  **********

**********  A WINNER OF WARS  **********

**********  A WINNER OF WARS  **********

ASIDE - THE FRENCH SEVENTY-FIVE IN WW1: The fact that rapid accurate shrapnel fire had hitherto been unknown made it difficult to plan for: specifically it was something Alfred von Schlieffen [1894<=>1904 (ASIDE)] had never seen, and had therefore not allowed for in the Schlieffen Plan. It would prove to be an omission of historic magnitude for the new weapon was capable of engaging reserve units while they were being brought into action (that is to say, at ranges far beyond effective machine gun fire). It could, and did, stop battalions in their tracks. It could, and did, stop corps reaching their objectives on time. And, as the von Schlieffen offensive unfolded, it stopped the entire German Second Army in its tracks at the First Battle of the Marne [=>1914 (5th September)]. The rest - the entire bloody stalemate of the Western Front - is history.

 

1897  The South African teacher-choirmaster Enoch Sontonga [Wikipedia biography] sets the lyric of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika [Xhosa = "God bless Africa"] to the hymn tune Aberystwyth [<=1876] - see/hear it now. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1897  [Sir]1915 Henry J. Newbolt [1892< =>1914 (2nd September)] publishes a poem entitled "Drake's Drum" [Bartleby full text online], in which the legend is perpetuated that if there is ever again the risk of Britain being invaded by sea then the ghost of Sir Francis Drake [<=1588 (28th May)] will "quit the port of heaven" and see off the invader. Again. [THREAD = WW1 ROMANTIC NATIONALISM] [THREAD = THE WW1 MIDDLE CLASS SOLDIER]

 

1897  Vickers, Sons, and Company [1884<=>under new name] takes over the Naval Construction and Armaments Company [1888<=>1900], Barrow, acquiring thereby its subsidiary, the Maxim-Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company [<=1888], and rebranding itself Vickers, Sons, and Maxim Limited [Grace's Guide factsheet=>1899 (25th July)]. Around the same time Arthur Chamberlain [<=1895] has George Kynoch and Company [<=1895] restructured as Kynoch Limited [=>1906]. Around the same time J. and G. Thomson [<=1895 (27th May)], Clydebank, is recapitalised and restructured as the Clydebank Engineering and Shipbuilding Company [Grace's Guide factsheet=>1899 (1st June)]. Around the same time Armstrong, Mitchell, and Company [<=1882] and Joseph Whitworth and Company [Grace's Guide factsheet] merge to form Armstrong, Whitworth, and Company [Grace's Guide factsheet=>1902]. Around the same time the Hadfield Company [<=1886] expands into their new East Hecla Works at Tinsley, Sheffield, the better to profit from growing demand for their specialist steels. [THREAD = THE WW1 FINANCIAL AND ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES] [THREAD = WW1 MACHINE GUNS]

 

**********  THE MOVIES GO TO WAR  **********

**********  THE MOVIES GO TO WAR  **********

**********  THE MOVIES GO TO WAR  **********

**********  THE MOVIES GO TO WAR  **********

**********  THE MOVIES GO TO WAR  **********

1897 [25th January-7th February] The Greek-Turkish War [I - The Greek Invasion of (Ottoman) Crete]: [New sub-thread] On 25th January the Greeks land an expeditionary force under Timoleon Vassos [Wikipedia biography] on the ethnically-Greek-but-politically-Ottoman island of Crete, intending (from their perspective) to free the island by force. The forces clash on 7th February at Livadia, where the outcome is a Greek victory. News editors across the world sense the hour, and their war correspondents start to gather in the region. Among them, having equipped himself ("at considerable expense") with a movie camera and with 20 years' experience as a war correspondent / war artist for the Illustrated London News under his belt, will be the British journalist Frederic Villiers [Wikipedia biography=>18th April] [sub-thread continues at 24th March ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1897 [15th February] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XV - The Strasbourg1 Cathode Ray Tube and Oscilloscope]: [Continued from 1896 (12th December)] [Readers unfamiliar with the Edison Effect should pre-read the entry at 1880 (13th February) before proceeding] The University of Strasbourg's Karl Ferdinand Braun [1874<=>1898 (20th September)] and (his assistant) Jonathan Zenneck [Wikipedia biography=>1900 (??th May)] develop the "cathode ray tube" (CRT) [Wikipedia factsheet and image] an elongated evacuated glass bulb shaped so as to expose the chemically coated inner surface at one end to the "cathode rays" emanating from an inbuilt cold charged electrode at the opposite end. The cathode emissions - soon to be identified as electrons [=>30th April] - are focussed into a narrow beam by passing them through a charged tunnel electrode (shaped much like the barrel of a gun). The coating acts both as a conducting two-dimensional film anode and as a source of phosphorescence when electrically excited at a particular point. The team's particular genius was then to make the spot of light move across the screen, allowing the CRT to be used to good practical purpose as an "oscilloscope" [Wikipedia factsheet], that is to say, by making the fluorescing screen into a visible tracing of the wave form of an input wave. They achieve this by passing the cathode ray between two pairs of additional electrodes, one pair deflecting the emitted beam horizontally at a steady speed and the other pair deflecting it vertically according to the moment-by-moment amplitude of the input. This contrivance allows all electromagnetic waves to be seen by the naked eye as traces on the oscilloscope screen. One of the first things the team then investigates in this fashion is the rapid damping of the electromagnetic pulse produced by a spark-gap transmitter [continues at 10th May ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1ASIDE - STRASBOURG OR STRASSBURG: Strictly speaking Strasbourg is at this time in Germany, not France, having been occupied since the Franco-Prussian War [<=1870 (19th July)]. The French get it back in 1918, however, so in this resource we use the French spelling throughout.

 

1897 [4th March] Seeing is Believing [LI - Early Moving Images (New Production Companies)]: [Continued from 7th February] On 4th March William McKinley [Wikipedia biography] is inaugurated as 25th President of the United States. The proceedings are reportedly [have been unable to triangulate - Ed.] filmed by the recently formed partnership of Edward H. Amet [Wikipedia biography=>1898 (3rd July)] and George K. Spoor [Wikipedia biography]. Also this month, having recently made something of a name for himself with a novelty reel entitled "Sketching Mr. Edison", the British-born American stage-caricaturist J. Stuart Blackton [Wikipedia biography=>1898 (1st January)] teams up with conjuror Albert E. Smith [Wikipedia biography] to found the Vitagraph Company [Wikipedia factsheet=>1898 (1st January)] to produce topical shorts. In an impressive first year Blackton capitalises upon his theatrical skills with further performances to camera [no convenient video, but this 1900 reprise is indicative] [sub-thread continues at 18th April ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1897 [24th March] The Greek-Turkish War [II - The Greek Invasion of (Ottoman) Macedonia]: [Continued from 25th January] Having made promising progress against the Ottomans in Crete the Greeks now strike northward into the Ottoman-held provinces of Epirus [map, etc.] and Thessaly [map, etc.]. Outnumbered by more than 2:1, the Greeks are banking on receiving significant support from ethnic Greeks in the region. The Ottomans, however, are assisted by German advisors under the command of Wilhelm von der Goltz [Wikipedia biography=>next entry but one], who will take a very hard line with irregulars of this sort. The initial Greek offensives make limited gains but soon run out of steam [sub-thread continues at 18th April ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1897 [18th April-18th May] The Greek-Turkish War [III - The Decisive Ottoman Counterattack]: [Continued from 24th March] The Ottomans finally declare war on 18th April. On the (western) Epirus front they attack at Arta [map, etc.] and Preveza [map, etc.]. On the (eastern) Thessaly front they counterattack at Tyrnavos/Tournavos [map, etc.] on 21st April, Larissa [map, etc.] and Velestino [map, etc.] on 27th April, Farsala [map, etc.] on 5th May, Volos [map, etc.] on 8th May, and Domokos [map, etc.] on 16th May. By 18th May the Greeks are suing for peace [sub-thread continues at 21st October, but see also next entry ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  THE PRODUCERS LEARN A STRANGE LESSON  **********

**********  THE PRODUCERS LEARN A STRANGE LESSON  **********

**********  THE PRODUCERS LEARN A STRANGE LESSON  **********

**********  THE PRODUCERS LEARN A STRANGE LESSON  **********

**********  THE PRODUCERS LEARN A STRANGE LESSON  **********

1897 [18th April-18th May] Seeing is Believing [LII - The Cinema at War (The Greek-Turkish War)]: [Continued from March, but see also preceding entry] The war in Macedonia is noteworthy in the present context as the first in history to be reported by cinematographic and well as by conventional methods. The aforementioned Villiers [25th January<=>1898 (2nd September)] arriving (with his movie camera) in the port of Volos [map, etc.], about 80 miles north-north-west of Athens, on 24th April..

 

CAMEO/RECOMMENDED READING - FREDERIC VILLIERS: Although assessed by some historians as being "a notoriously self-aggrandising poseur" (Dash, 2012 online), the balance of opinion is that Villiers was genuinely the first to secure film footage from a war zone.  His story was progressively unearthed only recently by the British historian Stephen Bottomore [no convenient biography=>1898 (3rd July)] (Bottomore, 1994, 2007 online). Nor was this Villiers' last war, for by 1912 he will have "covered more campaigns than any other correspondent and seen more battles than any soldier" (Bottomore, 1994, p12).

 

Villiers' written reports were wired to London in the conventional way, but it will not be until August that - by then back in Britain - he can make any money out of his film, now edited into 13 successive reels (see the advertisement in Bottomore, 2007 op. cit., p7). And even then there is limited box-office appeal because the films lack dramatic impact.

 

HOWEVER ...

 

One of the lessons of the cinematographic coverage of the Greek-Turkish war is that truth is less visually appealing than fiction. For while Villiers has been risking his life recording the war from the actual front Méliès [1896 (24th December)<=>1898 (15th February)], recently installed in a new production facility in the eastern suburbs of Paris, has simply been reading the daily telegraph reports from the Balkans and covering the war the easy way, by restaging the juicier events using actors and scenery. His first project, under the title "Combat Naval en Grèce" [Bing it now], re-enacts a reported shelling of Preveza [maplink in preceding entry] by the Greek navy (the film is noteworthy for its use of a "rocking set" - a pivoted stage - to simulate the movement of a ship at sea). Other titles include "La Prise de Tournavos" [YouTube it now], in which two or three Turks drives a similar number of Greeks from an anonymous street barricade. Méliès also makes good propaganda out of the punishments meted out by von der Goltz [24th March<=>1915 (7th December)] against Greek terrorists/resistance fighters, with reels such as "Exécution d'un Espion"1 [IMDB entry; footage lost] and "Massacres en Crète" [IMDB entry; footage lost]. The lesson is straightforward enough ...

 

"Villiers' films were on a subject that was headline news, and yet he found them unsalable. The public wanted action, not truth. Méliès was eager to supply such action, the Greek war fakes being the first films produced in his new studio. [...] As Villiers ruefully observed: 'Barnum and Bailey, those wonderful American showmen, correctly averred that the public like to be fooled'" (Bottomore, 1994, p16).

 

The problems of filming live infantry operations have still [2015] to be fully solved (helmet-cams - YouTube example - are vivid enough but even this sort of material lacks tactical overview until a post-production narration is added) [sub-thread continues at 25th October ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] Bottomore, S. (1994). Frederic Villiers: War Correspondent. In Dixon, W. W. (Ed.), Re-Viewing British Cinema, 1900-1992. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

 

1ASIDE: The fact that this film was not entitled "Execution of a Terrorist" clearly indicates which side the rest of Europe was on.

 

**********  THE ELECTRON AND ITS NAME ARE PAIRED  **********

**********  THE ELECTRON AND ITS NAME ARE PAIRED  **********

**********  THE ELECTRON AND ITS NAME ARE PAIRED  **********

1897 [30th April] The British physicist [Sir]1908 Joseph J. Thomson [Wikipedia biography] suggests that a whole host of laboratory observations, not least the Edison Effect [<=1880 (13th February)], would be elegantly explained by accepting the existence of a negatively charged subatomic particle, small compared to the size of the smallest atom [i.e., Hydrogen]. Thomson calls the basic building blocks of matter "corpuscles", but the scientific world at large immediately recognises that George J. Stoney's [<=1891] term "electrons" would be fully appropriate. [THREAD = BASIC PHYSICS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1897  [4th May] The twin-screw passenger liner SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse [Wikipedia shipography=>sunk in action 1914 (26th August)] is launched at A.G. Vulkan [Wikipedia factsheet=>1900 (10th January)], Stettin, for service with the Norddeutscher-Lloyd Line [1895 (31st January)<=>1901 (30th March)]. She has an impressive "grand staircase", soon copied, including by the designers of RMS Titanic [=>1911 (31st May)]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

ASIDE - SS KAISER WILHELM DER GROSSE IN WW1: See the entry for the Battle of the Rio de Oro [=>1914 (26th August)].

 

1897 [10th May] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XVI - The 1897 Lavernock Transmission]: [Continued from 15th February] Assisted by his Post Office engineers Guglielmo Marconi [1896 (12th December)<=>10th June] successfully transmits Morse Code from Lavernock Point, on the coast ten miles west of Cardiff to Flatholm Island some three and a half miles out into the Bristol Channel [continues at 11th May ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1897 [11th May] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XVII - The Lodge-Muirhead Patents]: [Continued from 10th May] Having been collaborating closely of late [Sir]1902 Oliver J. Lodge [1894 (14th August)<=>1901 (3rd June)] and Alexander Muirhead [1894 (14th August)<=>1901 (3rd June)] file for a G.B. patent (eventually granted on 10th December 1897 as G.B. Patent 29069 of 1897) under the title "Improvements in Syntonic Telegraphy". Further collaborative patents follow until 1905 [continues at 4th June ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1897  [17th May] John Holland [1875<=>1900 (11th April)] finally launches his prototype submarine, and sets out to demonstrate its potential value to the U.S. Navy. [THREAD = THE WW1 SUBMARINE NAVIES]

 

1897 [4th June or hereabouts] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XVIII - Marconi's Royal Institution Demonstration]: [Continued from 11th May] [Sir]1899 William H. Preece [1896 (12th December)<=>20th July] organises a demonstration of Guglielmo Marconi's [11th May<=>20th July] (Post Office-)improved transmission system at the Royal Institution, London under the title "Signalling through Space without Wires" [continues at 19th July ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1897 [6th/15th June] German Naval Expansion [III - Tirpitz Replaces Hollmann]: [Continued from 1890 (22nd April)] Alfred von Tirpitz [1886 (3rd January)<=>1898 (26th March)] replaces Friedrich von Hollmann [<=1896 (3rd January)] as German Navy Secretary. One of his first acts (15th June) is to update his 1896 Memorandum, calling now for 19 new battleships over a ten-year timescale. Kaiser Wilhelm II [1896 (3rd January)<=>1898 (26th March)] agrees to submit this proposal to the Reichstag for funding [continues at 1898 (26th March) ...]. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES] [THREAD = WW1 WAR FEVER]

 

1897 [26th June] The German diplomat Bernhard von Bülow [Wikipedia biography=>1900 (20th June)] is appointed Staatssekretär im Auswärtigen Amt [= Secretary of State for the Foreign Affairs Office], where he pursues a vigorous Aussenpolitik [= "international/outwardly directed politics"], a policy with the central aim of turning Germany into a world player. [THREAD = WW1 WAR FEVER]

 

**********  "EACH EXPOSURE STATES A FACT"1  **********

1897 [12th July] The new Park Fever Hospital, Hither Green ["Lost Hospitals of London" factsheet] is formally opened. [THREAD = WW1 MILITARY MEDICINE AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE]

 

ASIDE - PARK HOSPITAL IN WW1: Nothing yet found.

 

1897 [19th July] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XIX - Tesla's Hudson River Transmission]: [Continued from 4th June] Nikola Tesla [1893 (29th November)<=>1898 (2nd May)] announces the recent successful transmission of a wireless telegraph message from his laboratory at Houston Street, Manhattan, to a ship in the Hudson River 25 miles [= 40km] distant [continues at 20th July ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

**********  MARCONI AND THE POST OFFICE PART COMPANY  **********

1897 [20th July] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XX - Marconi Goes Corporate]: [Continued from 19th July] Now resident in Britain and working closely with the British military establishment Guglielmo Marconi [10th June<=>1899 (12th October)] establishes the Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company [Grace's Guide factsheet=>1899 (12th October)], Chelmsford. In that the new company is also claiming all patent rights in the transmission system as it stands (including all the improvements put in place by the Post Office) the 15-month collaboration with [Sir]1899 William H. Preece [10th June<=>retires with knighthood 15th February 1899; d. 6th November 1913] and his Post Office engineers now has to be brought under a far stricter code of practice [continues at 27th August ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1897 [27th August] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXI - The Potsdam Transmissions]: [Continued from 20th July] Two Technical University of Charlottenburg researchers, Georg von Arco [Wikipedia biography=>1901 (9th March)] and Adolf Slaby [Wikipedia biography=>1901 (9th March)], use a nearby Berlin church tower as an antenna to test their latest wireless equipment. They successfully transmit to the Matrosenstation Kongsnaes [Wikipedia factsheet] installation a mile away in Potsdam. Collaborating closely with the AEG Company [1887<=>1899] they will have pushed the range up to around 40 miles by the following summer [continues at 1898 (2nd May) ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1897 [10th October] The Cuban War of Independence [II - A New Constitution]: [Continued from 1895 (24th February)] Having failed to defeat the Cuban Liberation Army by force the Spanish introduce a new constitution. It brings little improvement and Spain starts to blame the United States for covertly supporting the rebellion [sub-thread continues as Spanish-American War at 1898 (15th February) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1897 [21st October-4th December] The Greek-Turkish War [IV - The Treaty of Constantinople]: [Continued from 18th April] Peace talks between Greece and Turkey begin in Istanbul on 21st October and last until the signing of the Treaty of Constantinople [Wikipedia factsheet] on 4th December. The Greeks are allowed to retain most of pre-war Greek Thessaly, but only after payment of significant reparations. Crete remains within the Ottoman Empire [end of sub-thread]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1897 [21st October] The Müggelsee Research Station [II - A New Director]: [Continued from 1893] Upon the untimely accidental death of Johannes Frenzel [<=1893] the directorship of the Müggelsee Research Station passes to Paulus Schiemenz [no convenient biography] [continues at 1906 (1st April) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1897 [25th October] Seeing is Believing [LIII - Early Motion Pictures (The "Ambulance" Reels)]: [Continued from 18th April] The latest Vitascope reels from Heise's [<=1893 (9th May)] production unit are the two-parter "Ambulance Call" [YouTube it now] and "Ambulance at the Accident" [YouTube it now], both - because they have no alternative - carefully stage-managed documentary re-enactments1 [sub-thread continues at 27th November ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1ASIDE - REENACTMENT: Younger readers should note that it is only since the appearance of 24/7 CCTV coverage a century later that the world has grown used to seeing film of accidents as they occurred. Prior to that advance the camera could only ever capture the aftermath of accidents.

 

1897 [27th November] Seeing is Believing [LIV - Early Motion Pictures (Mitchell and Kenyon)]: [Continued from 25th October] The British photographer Sagar Mitchell [Wikipedia biography] teams up with businessman James Kenyon [Wikipedia biography] to produce films from premises in Blackburn, Lancashire. The first showing of a Mitchell and Kenyon [Wikipedia factsheet=>1899 (12th October)] reel is entitled "Blackburn Market" [not listed on IMDB or YouTube]. Later titles - both actualities and fiction - soon follow, and, thanks possibly to Kenyon's contacts among Britain's showman fraternity, return healthy profits [sub-thread continues at 1898 (1st January) ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1898  The American physicists Albert A. Michelson [Wikipedia biography] and Samuel W. Stratton [Wikipedia biography] construct a 20-integrator analog computer for the solution of complex light wave equations. [THREAD = WW1 CYBERNETICS, COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE, AND FIRE CONTROL]

 

1898  The Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler [Wikipedia biography=>1900] is appointed Medical Director at the University of Zurich's Burghölzli Clinic [1870<=>1900]. [THREAD = WW1 MILITARY MEDICINE AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE]

 

1898  The German Army introduces a new 50cm-long [=20 inches] sword bayonet. [THREAD = WW1 CYBERNETICS, COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE, AND FIRE CONTROL]

 

1898  After his contribution to the Puteaux 75 project, Émile Rimailho [<=1896] joins a new project to retrofit a Deville-Rimailho recoil mechanism to the Model 1881 155mm Howitzer [<=1881], reinventing it as the Model 1904 155mm Court-Rimailho Howitzer [=>1904]. [THREAD = WW1 ARTILLERY]

 

1898 [1st January] Seeing is Believing [LV - Early Motion Pictures ("Humpty Dumpty Circus")]: [Continued from 1897 (25th October)] The latest offering from the Vitagraph Company [1897 (March)<=>25th January] is "Humpty Dumpty Circus" [lost], a short stop-motion animation of a circus scene, complete with acrobats and exotic animals (all, reportedly, from Blackton's [1897 (March)<=>25th April] daughter's toy cupboard) [sub-thread continues at 5th April ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1898 [??th January] Ferdinand von Zeppelin [1891<=>1900] leads fellow investors in founding the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Luftschiffahrt [= "Airship Research Corporation"]. The new company's first commercial project is the LZ1 [Wikipedia airshipography=>1900 (2nd July)]. [THREAD = WW1 AVIATION]

 

1898 [15th February] The Spanish-American War [I - The USS Maine Incident]: [New sub-thread] While at anchor in Havana Harbour, Cuba, to cover U.S. interests during the Cuban War of Independence [<=1897 (10th October)], the armoured cruiser USS Maine [Wikipedia shipography] suffers a magazine explosion and sinks with the loss of two thirds of her crew. The American public are encouraged by several of their most influential newspapers to blame Spain, directly or indirectly, for the sinking and a U.S. Board of Enquiry does indeed conclude on 21st March that the fatal explosion had been the result of "a submarine mine". Sensing the likely box-office appeal Méliès [1897 (18th April)<=>1st May] goes to war again with re-enactments1 such as "Explosion du Cuirassé Le Maine" [= "Explosion on the Cruiser Maine"; footage lost], "Visite de l'Epave du Maine" [= "A Visit to the Wreck of the Maine"; footage lost], and (reportedly the maestro's favourite) "Visite Sous-Marine du Maine" [= "Underwater Visit to the Maine"; YouTube it now (Student Exercise - spot the trickery)] [sub-thread continues at 25th April ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1ASIDE: When reels such as these were exhibited in the United States they were barkered by posters explicitly blaming "the Spaniards" for blowing up their "battleship" (Bottomore, 2007 op. cit.).

 

1898 [26th March] German Naval Expansion [IV - Tirpitz Gets the Cash]: [Continued from 1897 (6th June)] Championed by Kaiser Wilhelm II [1897 (6th June)<=>15th October] and his Navy Secretary Alfred von Tirpitz [1897 (6th June)<=>30th April], but having been debated for all of five months, the German Reichstag finally passes the first of five Flottengesetze [= "Fleet Laws"], setting out the country's plans for strengthening its capital ship resources over the next six years. It approves an establishment (some of which have already been built or planned anyway) of 19 battleships (two squadrons of eight, plus a flagship and two reserves), eight coastal defence ships, and over 30 cruisers, roughly a third of which are long-range [continues at 30th April ...]. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES] [THREAD = WW1 WAR FEVER]

 

1898 [31st March-1st September] The Great Coal Strike: After six months of failed negotiations the Welsh coal miners, led by the Rhondda Member of Parliament William Abraham [Wikipedia biography] come out on strike and are then subjected to a management lock-out. After a further six months of difficult arbitration (and some very minor concessions by the coal owners) the miners are forced to go back to work [continues 24th October ...]. [THREAD = THE WW1 WORKING CLASS SOLDIER]

 

**********  MAJOR WW1 WEAPON  **********

===== THE MAUSER RIFLE =====

===== THE MAUSER RIFLE =====

===== THE MAUSER RIFLE =====

1898 [5th April] The Mauser Company [1896<=>1910] receives the official go-ahead to start producing its M98 Gewehr [YouTube tribute video - lots of detail], a 7.92mm bolt-action rifle with a five-round internal magazine. The weapon is loaded from above from a five-round stripper clip [YouTube demonstration] using a single thumb movement, and will go on to become the standard issue for the German Army throughout WW1. A factory-modified sniper version will become available in 1915. Around the same time the Austrian gunsmith Georg J. Luger [Wikipedia biography] develops a prototype semi-automatic pistol with a toggle-action [see YouTube video and slow-motion] breech and an eight-round spring-loaded magazine in the handle. [THREAD = WW1 SMALL ARMS]

 

1898 [??th April] The French General Staff adopt "Plan XIV" [Wikipedia factsheet], a strategy document on how best to conduct a war against Germany. [THREAD = WW1 GRAND STRATEGIES]

 

1898 [25th April-12th August] The Spanish-American War [II - Overview]: [Continued from 15th February] This 16-week war is fought between the U.S.A. and Spain over the former's alleged encouragement of anti-Spanish rebellion in Cuba. The main events are ...

 

The Battle of Manila Bay [=>1st May]; The Landings at Guantánomo Bay [=>6th June]; The Battles of El Caney and Las Guasimas [=>22nd June]; The Battle of San Juan Heights [=>1st July]; The Battle of Santiago Bay [=>3rd July]; The Siege of Santiago [=>1st July]

 

The overall outcome is a U.S./Cuban Republican victory. The war is noteworthy in the present context (a) for the Americans deliberately targeting their intelligence operatives on the Western Union telegraph office in Havana, so as to monitor communications between local commanders and their commanders-in-chief in Madrid, (b) as the first in a (still ongoing) series of U.S. interventions outside its own borders, and (c) for the systematic manipulation of American public opinion toward war by certain of their press barons [see cameo below] [sub-thread continues at 1st May, but see also next entry] [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND COMMUNICATIONS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

CAMEO/RECOMMENDED READING - HEARST AND THE WAR: Click here for an introduction to the role played by the press barons Joseph Pulitzer [Wikipedia biography] and William R. Hearst [Wikipedia biography=>1914 (7th March)] in at least tacitly encouraging the war during their Yellow Journalism circulation war.

 

**********  JINGOISM GOES TO SCREEN  **********

**********  JINGOISM GOES TO SCREEN  **********

**********  JINGOISM GOES TO SCREEN  **********

**********  JINGOISM GOES TO SCREEN  **********

**********  JINGOISM GOES TO SCREEN  **********

1898 [25th April]1 Seeing is Believing [LVI - The Cinema at War ("Tearing Down the Spanish Flag")]: [Continued from 1st January, but within the context of the preceding entry] On the day the U.S. declares war on Spain the Vitagraph Company [1st January<=>3rd July] starts production of what will end up as 90-second reel entitled "Tearing Down the Spanish Flag" [Wikipedia factsheet; footage lost but for the general effect see this 1899 remake courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress]. Working in a makeshift studio in a Brooklyn office block Blackton [1st January<=>3rd July] simply points his camera at a flagpole bearing a Spanish flag, sets his camera rolling, and then films that flag being taken down and replaced by the Stars and Stripes. The reel is an instant box-office triumph. Another enterprising producer, Amet [1897 (4th March)<=>3rd July], is inspired by the U.S. Navy's shelling of Spanish shore installations between 27th April and 1st May to construct an 18-by-24 feet water stage at his home in Waukegan, Illinois, on which to re-create the spectacle. Here are some of the secrets of the resulting "Bombardment of Matanzas" [IMDB entry; footage lost but see Dash (op. cit. [<=1897 (18th April)]) for an indicative surviving still] ...

 

"In miniature [Amet] ... constructed the Bay of Santiago in a tub, with all the ships participating in the action, working them up with a great fineness of detail and equipping them with guns, all to fit exactly with the pictures and descriptions in the periodicals. The models were proportioned to the lens angle to create perspective with great accuracy. Electrically controlled devices supplied waves, and push buttons controlled the guns and ship movements" (Fielding, 1972, p40).

 

Amet also produces a reel entitled "The Dynamite Cruiser Vesuvius" [IMDB entry; footage lost], featuring the operations of the "dynamite ship" USS Vesuvius2 [Wikipedia shipography] against shore installations (and when, after one particular viewing, it is pointed out that this vessel only ever operated at night he will reply with a grin that "we used moon-light film" (Bottomore, 2007 op. cit.) [sub-thread continues at 15th May ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] Fielding. R. (1972). The American Newsreel, 1911-1967. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

 

1ASIDE/RESEARCH ISSUE: This being the date of the declaration of war, no American had yet got anywhere near a Spanish flag, of course. The work must therefore be treated as depicting a symbolic desire rather than an actual past event. It is a celebration of righteous war. Whissel (2002) reminds us that circus shows of the 1890s regularly included battle reenactments, thus ...

 

"Rather than deceiving audiences, reenacted actualities were situated within a broader culture of similar popular entertainments, including panoramas, wax museums, and live reenactments, which viewers were already familiar with and from which the films' conventions were borrowed. [...] Like its predecessors, the films sought not to fool viewers but rather to impress them with the effectiveness of the illusion" (Jasen, 2011 online, pp33-34, citing Whissel, 2002). Whissel, K. (2002). Placing the spectator on the scene of history. Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, 22(3):225-243.

 

A later historian will add ...

 

"[Tearing Down the Spanish Flag was] the very first moving picture that was a picture play and that told a story in the fluid continuity of pictured pantomime ... it was an unprecedented reliance upon the intelligent ability of audiences to understand the significance of picture pantomime ... the first step toward the realisation that a new art was in hand" (Bottomore, 2007 op. cit., VI, p4).

 

2ASIDE: Vesuvius was a strange but interesting design. Classed as a monitor [definition at 1861 (25th October)] she fired 15" fin-stabilised high-brisance (a nitrocellulose-nitroglycerine mix) rounds from three fixed launching tubes sunk into the foredeck (so you had to range and traverse the entire ship before firing). Moreover, in order to avoid premature detonation these shells were fired by compressed air, so that there was no distant boom to allow those on the receiving end to take cover.

 

1898 [30th April] German Naval Expansion [V - The German Navy League]: [Continued from 26th March] Alfred von Tirpitz [26th March<=>1900 (20th June)] sets up the Deutscher Flottenverein [= "German Navy League"] [Wikipedia factsheet] to help popularise the notion that Germany's international standing is a function of the size of its navy [continues at 1899 (13th March) ...]. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES]

 

ASIDE: One of the League's accidental first steps is to create a market in glossy postcards of ships and sailors - see specimen.

 

1898 [1st May] The Spanish-American War [III - The Battle of Manila Bay]: [Continued from 25th April] This naval battle is fought for control of Philippine waters between a U.S. cruiser fleet under George Dewey [Wikipedia biography] and a Spanish cruiser fleet under Patricio Montojo [Wikipedia biography]. The outcome is a decisive U.S. victory. The battle is noteworthy in the present context because Méliès [15th February<=>1899 (November)] - who has, it will be recalled, already made three reels concerning the sinking of the USS Maine - now adds a fourth entitled "Combat Naval devant Manille" [= "Defending the Fort at Manila"; IMDB entry; footage lost] [sub-thread continues at 6th June ...] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

ASIDE: Dewey's flagship USS Olympia [Wikipedia shipography] is preserved as a museum ship at the Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, PA [museum homepage].

 

**********  RADIO CONTROL IS BORN  **********

1898 [2nd May or hereabouts] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXII - Tesla's Teleautomaton]: [Continued from 1897 (27th August)] Nikola Tesla [1897 (19th July)<=>20th September] demonstrates a radio-controlled model boat - the Teleautomaton - before a public gathering in Madison Square Gardens, New York City. It gets a mixed reception as do subsequent attempts to sell radio-controlled torpedoes to the U.S. Navy (potentially because they were already secretly on the case) [continues at 20th September ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1898 [15th May or hereabouts] Seeing is Believing [LVII - The Cinema at War (The Warwick Trading Company)]: [Continued from 25th April] Having acquired the British distribution rights to both the Edison and Lumière film catalogues, two London entrepreneurs Franck Z. Maguire [no convenient biography] and Joseph D. Baucus [no convenient biography] set up the Warwick Trading Company [Wikipedia factsheet=>1899 (12th October)] to exploit their investment. They employ as manager one Charles Urban [Wikipedia biography=>1903 (2nd August)], lately a Kinetoscope Parlour operator in Detroit, MI, but now seeking his fortune in Europe following the downturn in that industry1 [sub-thread continues at 3rd July ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] Higson, A. (Ed.) (2002). Young and Innocent? The Cinema in Britain, 1896-1930. Exeter: University of Exeter Press.

 

1ASIDE: The Kinetoscope Company had in fact suffered a double-whammy market collapse toward the end of 1895, because not only had projected movie systems rendered their peep shows old hat but even that marketplace was losing customers to the Mutoscope Company [1894 (21st November)<=>22nd June].

 

1898 [27th May] The American management consultant Frederick W. Taylor [Wikipedia biography] begins a period on site at the Bethlehem Steel Company [<=1893 (1st May)] in an attempt to improve productivity. In so doing he applies a set of principles which will later become famous as "scientific management" [Wikipedia factsheet]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1898 [6th-10th June] The Spanish-American War [IV - The Landings at Guantánomo Bay]: [Continued from 1st May] On 6th June the Americans commit a three-ship cruiser squadron led by USS Marblehead [Wikipedia shipography] under Bowman H. McCalla [Wikipedia biography] to cut the submarine telegraph cables out of Guantánomo and neutralise the Spanish shore defences in preparation for an amphibious landing. An assault force of U.S. Marines and Cuban Republicans then completes the invasion on 10th June and establishes a bridgehead perimeter from which to threaten Santiago [map, etc.], Cuba's heavily defended second city, some thirty miles to the west [sub-thread continues at 22nd June ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1898 [22nd June] The Spanish-American War [V - The Battles of El Caney and Las Guasimas]: [Continued from 6th June] These battles are fought between the American/Cuban Expeditionary Force under William R. Shafter [Wikipedia biography=>1st July] advancing out of Guantánomo Bay and Spanish outposts in villages and strongpoints in the San Juan Hills [the modern Parque Nacional de Baconao]. Despite well-organised resistance the attackers make slow but sure progress toward Santiago [sub-thread continues at 1st July ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

CAMEO - THE ROUGH RIDERS: Among the units involved in the approach fighting outside Santiago was the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry [Wikipedia factsheet] - the famous "Rough Riders" - under Leonard Wood [Wikipedia biography] and future 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt [Wikipedia biography=>10th December]. See them on (probably carefully "arranged") manoeuvres on this (1898?) Mutoscope Company [15th May<=>3rd July] reel - click here.

 

1898 [1st July] The Spanish-American War [VI - The Battle of San Juan Heights: [Continued from 22nd June] This battle is fought near Santiago, Cuba, between Shafter's [<=22nd June] U.S./Cuban corps and the Spanish garrison at Santiago under Arsenio Linares y Pombo [Wikipedia biography]. The outcome is a U.S./Cuban victory. Now a full lieutenant, John J. ("Black Jack") Pershing [1886 (30th September)<=>1916 (14th March)] leads elements of the 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiment [1877 (3rd July)<=>1913] into battle [sub-thread continues at 3rd July ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1898 [3rd July] The Spanish-American War [VII - The Battle of Santiago Bay]: [Continued from 1st July] This day-long naval battle is fought between a Spanish cruiser squadron under Pascual Cervera [Wikipedia biography] and a blockading American battleship squadron under (nominally, but not present on the day) William T. Sampson [Wikipedia biography] and (senior officer present) Winfield S. Schley [Wikipedia biography]. The Spanish are attempting to break out to the open sea, and are well aware that their strongest units - the armoured cruisers Infanta Maria Teresa [Wikipedia shipography] and Vizcaya [Wikipedia shipography=>next entry] - are going to have to do a diversionary "Death Ride" [c.f. =>1916 (31st May)] while the four other ships attempt to scatter. In the event all six Spanish ships are either sunk outright or run aground following battle damage [sub-thread continues at 1st July ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

******  "WHOEVER CONTROLS FILM CONTROLS THE FUTURE"1  ******

1898 [3rd July] Seeing is Believing [LVIII - The Cinema at War ["The Battle of Santiago Bay"]: [Continued from 15th May] Not surprisingly the destruction of the Spanish fleet gets the nascent film industry rushing for its cameras. Smith and Blackton at the Vitagraph Company [25th April<=>next entry] get their "fleet" together by gluing cut-out stills photographs to wooden bases which are then floated on a small water stage to produce "The Battle of Santiago Bay" [IMDB entry], whilst Amet [25th April<=>1900 (14th July)] uses his larger tank [ditto] to produce "Spanish Fleet Destroyed" [IMDB entry]. Both are such commercial successes that Blackton [25th April<=>1915 (14th September)] will later recall ...

 

"It was suddenly apparent that these little squares of film possessed the power to arouse public feeling to a tremendous pitch of patriotic and emotional fervour. The motion picture was no longer a pleasing novelty. Intelligently directed, it possessed hitherto undiscovered potential forces. Its latent drama could stir human emotions to their depths. It was capable of moulding and influencing the minds of people to a degree and to an extent impossible to predict, but even then dimly discernible. To thinking minds it began to loom large as an overwhelming power for good and evil" (Bottomore, 2007 op. cit.]).

 

A 27-second drive-by of the wreck of the Vizcaya  [<=preceding entry] by a Mutoscope Company [22nd June<=>1905 (3rd July)] location team is filmed on 4th July and then distributed under the title "Wreck of the Vizcaya" [YouTube it now courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress]. It shows the actual (and by then abandoned) ship and is a paradigm-setting piece of matter-of-fact documentary honesty. The Edison Company [1896 (May)<=>1900 (17th May)] then go one better still with a far more ambitious 18-minute reel entitled "The Spanish-American War" [YouTube it now], a stringing together of lesser reels of ships at anchor and under way, rear-echelon events such as river crossings and a firing squad, and the eventual victory parade, which with a bit of pruning and some interpolated interviews could go out today as a competent History Channel documentary [sub-thread continues at 1899 (30th May) ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1ASIDE: This phrase from Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's [Wikipedia biography] 1977 movie "Hitler: A Film from Germany" [Wikipedia factsheet].

 

**********  IMPORTANT ISSUE FOLLOWS  **********

**********  IMPORTANT ISSUE FOLLOWS  **********

**********  IMPORTANT ISSUE FOLLOWS  **********

**********  IMPORTANT ISSUE FOLLOWS  **********

**********  IMPORTANT ISSUE FOLLOWS  **********

ASIDE: The present author grew up with reruns of NBC's 1952-1953 TV series "Victory at Sea" [IMDB entry]. We mention this because the similarities between that documentary series and the 1898 Edison reel are compelling. You have only to watch the first 10 minutes of NBC's 26 half-hour episodes [YouTube the first 10 minutes] to realise that you are listening primarily to the verbal narrative, with the visuals thrown in for good measure; and yet if you run the whole thing again with the volume turned down the item still makes reasonable sense! Or to put it another way, the human mind seems perfectly capable of creating its own explanatory narrative should one not be provided. And to cut a long story short, students of war and peace need to look in some detail at this capability, for it promises to explain much ...

 

RESEARCH ISSUE: Unfortunately the ability of the mind to extract a unifying story from a succession of inputs - be they spoken, visual, or mixed - is far from adequately explained. Some cognitive scientists have studied the nature of a story's "gist" ...

 

CAMEO - GIST THEORY (VERBAL MATERIAL): The defining work here was carried out between 1920 and 1932 by the Cambridge cognitive scientist [Sir]1948 Frederic C. Bartlett [Wikipedia biography]. Bartlett presented subjects with one or two pages of detailed extracts from novels, and then examined what those subjects could recall after varying periods of time. Typically there remained only a more or less sketchy and more or less inaccurate "gist" version of the original, garbled, much shortened, and full of errors and confusions. For the fuller story see the Companion Resource, and study the 1920 and 1932 entries for <Bartlett>.

 

CAMEO - GIST THEORY (VISUAL MATERIAL, POLITICAL CARICATURE): To begin with, see the political cartoons of James Gillray [start at 1792 (20th April [ASIDE]) and follow the onward pointers].

 

CAMEO - GIST THEORY (VISUAL MATERIAL, THEMATIC APPERCEPTION): The defining work on the extraction of meaning from (deliberately ambiguous) line drawings was a 1935 paper entitled "A Method for Investigating Fantasies" by the Harvard University psychologists Christiana Morgan and Henry Murray, for details of which see the Companion Resource.

 

CAMEO - GIST THEORY (VISUAL MATERIAL, STATE OF THE ART): The defining work here began recently and is still ongoing. The lead author is Paul Locher [no convenient biography], the seminal paper is Locher, Krupinski, Mello-Thoms, and Nodine (2008), and the general thesis is that viewing a depictive image takes place in two distinct stages, the first a rapid holistic appraisal of the picture's "gist", and the second a slower and more exhaustive serial scanning of its detailed content. The gist processing was confirmed by exposing paintings for a mere 100 milliseconds and was enough to support a reasonably accurate estimate of what the painting was of or about. The serial scanning was confirmed using data from an eye tracking system alongside verbal report. For the fuller story see the Companion Resource, and browse outwards from the entries for <Locher>.

 

Other theorists follow seminal papers by Minsky (1975) on cognitive "frames", Rumelhart (1976) on "schemata", Schank and Abelson (1977) on "scripts", Schank (1980) on "memory organisation packets", and Kintsch (1988) on "coherent structures" in associative memory. All of these researchers hypothesise the existence of memory structures capable of momentarily linking together separate perceptual propositions to give a coherent sequential narrative, thus ...

 

CAMEO - SCRIPT THEORY: Here, for example, is how Schank and Abelson (1977) introduce the notion of scripts ...

 

"A script, as we use it, is a structure that describes an appropriate sequence of events in a particular context. A script is made up of slots and requirements about what can fill those slots. The structure is an interconnected whole, and what is in one slot affects what can be in another. Scripts handle stylised everyday situations. [...] A script is, in effect, a very boring little story. [...]

 

Minsky, M. (1975). A framework for representing knowledge. In Winston, P. (Ed.). The Psychology of Computer Vision. New York: McGraw Hill. Rumelhart, D. E. and Norman, D. A. (1976). Accretion, Tuning, and Restructuring. La Jolla, CA: University of California (Centre for Information Processing Research Report). Schank, R. C. and Abelson, R. P. (1977). Scripts, Plans, Goals, and Understanding: An Inquiry into Human Knowledge Structures. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Schank, R. C. (1980). Language and memory. Cognitive Science, 4:243-284. Kintsch, W. (1988). The role of knowledge in discourse comprehension: A construction-integration model. Psychological Review, 95(2):163-182.

 

And still other theorists look to differences in processing between the brain's left and right cerebral hemispheres ...

 

CAMEO - HEMISPHERIC DIFFERENTIATION: Readers not already familiar with "left-brain, right-brain" differences should pre-read ALL the following primers: Split Brain [Wikipedia factsheet]; Right Hemisphere Syndrome [Wikipedia factsheet; Myers and Mackisack (1990); Bicameral Mind [Wikipedia factsheet]. The defining work here was carried out between 1964 and [ongoing] by the American cognitive neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga [Wikipedia biography], and was prompted by the initial observation that strange things happened in neurological patients whose two cerebral hemispheres were surgically severed [as described in the above primers]. Accumulated research observations eventually led Gazzaniga to create his own version of a "bicameral" theory of consciousness in which our left brains are "constantly trying to find relationships between events [1] that you encounter in the world, and constantly assessing where you stand in relation to others" (Science News, 24th February 1996). For a longer introduction see the Companion Resource.

 

[1] Being able to detect "relationships between events" is, of course, the essence of narrative understanding.

 

****  VISUAL ARGUMENT IN NARRATIVE UNDERSTANDING  ****

****  VISUAL ARGUMENT IN NARRATIVE UNDERSTANDING  ****

****  VISUAL ARGUMENT IN NARRATIVE UNDERSTANDING  ****

 

As it happens, the notion of hemispheric specialisation neatly accounts for the strange ability of the mind to understand both verbal and pictorial stories. When a narrative IS provided, the left brain listens to it and the right brain passively checks that the picture sequence is broadly consistent with the words. When, on the other hand, a narrative IS NOT provided, the left-brain simply switches its attention to what the right-brain is actively telling it is going on.

 

HISTORICAL CAMEO - BOTTOMORE (1994): While we are on the subject of hemispheric differences it is worth passing on the following anecdote from the cinema historian Stephen Bottomore [<=1897 (18th April)] who took it from Winston Churchill's [1895 (20th February)<=>2nd September] 1899 memoir of his personal involvement in a cavalry charge at the Battle of Omdurman [=>2nd September]. Note the clear right-brainedness of Churchill's memory of the event ...

 

"Churchill was known in later life as a fervent cinema fan. To judge from his description of the battle, films were already a preoccupation. 'The whole scene flickered exactly like a cinematograph picture, and besides I remember no sound. The event seemed to pass in absolute silence'" (Bottomore, 1994, p20).

 

We shall be returning to the sciences of narrative cognition in due course but not before we have resurrected one of Aristotle's most powerful explanatory notions ...

 

A LITTLE DEEP PHILOSOPHY: Unluckily for those who do not like long Greek words it is not possible to resolve the issue of narrative cognition without firstly returning to the Aristotelian philosophical topic of "enthymeme" ...

 

ASIDE: We introduced the notion of enthymeme in the 335BCE entry on Aristotle's theory of rhetoric. To save back-browsing here is the Wikipedia factsheet again (if this is not enough then click here to be taken back to 335BCE for the fuller story).

 

The nature of enthymemes as truncated (and therefore subjective (and therefore unsafe)) forms of mental argument was discussed from time to time in philosophical works for two full millennia, but major psychologies of reasoning did not appear until Immanuel Kant in the 1780s [see Companion Resource] and James Mill [Wikipedia biography] in 1829. We may date modern interest in the topic to a 1958 monograph entitled "The Uses of Argument" by the (at the time) Leeds University philosopher Stephen E. Toulmin [Wikipedia biography]. Since then a wide variety of academic departments (not least Media/Cinema/Drama Studies, Linguistics, and Artificial Intelligence) have explicitly included enthymemes in their discussions. Toulmin, S.F. (1958). The Uses of Argument. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

RECOMMENDED BIBLIOGRAPHY: Canada's York University's Carol Poster [University homepage] has prepared a detailed online interdisciplinary bibliography showing the main departmental involvements and the publications within each department: check it out and note the paltry four publications from psychologists.

 

And finally, coming right up to date, the enthymeme has recently become one of the strongest candidate constructs in theories of "visual argument", such as those promoted by Harvard University's H. Nelson Goodman [Wikipedia biography], Northwestern University's Daniel J. O'Keefe [University homepage], San Francisco State University's Bill Nichols [Wikipedia biography], the University of Windsor's J. Anthony Blair [University homepage], and the University of Illinois' Cara A. Finnegan [University homepage].

 

RESEARCH CAMEO - GOODMAN (1968): In a 1968 monograph entitled "The Languages of Art" Goodman attempted to apply elements of linguistic theory to visual aesthetics. Pictures, he argues, denote their object(s) even when those objects are not specific people, places, or things. They are therefore an aspect of the cognitive processes of symbolisation and understanding. Goodman H. N. (1968). The Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.

 

RESEARCH CAMEO - O'KEEFE (1982): In a 1982 paper entitled "The Concepts of Argument and Arguing" O'Keefe suggested the criteria by which visually presented material might be further classified as argumentation [for the details see next cameo but one]. O'Keefe, D. J. (1982). The concepts of argument and arguing. In Cox, J. R. and Willard, C. A. (Eds.), Advances in Argumentation Theory and Research. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

 

RESEARCH CAMEO - NICHOLS (1991): In a 1991 monograph entitled "Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary" Nichols explores the vaguely defined differences between merely "telling a story" and "making an argument" in the medium of film documentary. He decides early on that one of the key differences is that with documentary "we prepare ourselves not to comprehend a story but to grasp an argument" (p5). The difficulty then, however, is that editorial devices - for example cutting within a scene - are quite capable of framing evidence in such a way as to force the argument in a certain partisan direction. He calls this risk the "fiction of objectivity" (p165), and, when abused, it turns an otherwise well-constructed documentary into propaganda. Nichols, B. (1991). Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

 

RESEARCH CAMEO - BLAIR (1996): In a 1996 paper entitled "The Possibility and Actuality of Visual Arguments" Blair (following O'Keefe above) argued that for a communication to be an argument it had to meet four main criteria, namely (1) that it had to be an asserted claim "that something has to be believed, or chosen, or done" (p24), (2) made for a particular stated reason, (3) to a set of intended recipients, and (4) with the sponsor(s)' intention that those recipients "accept the claim on the basis of the reason(s) offered" (p24). He then applied this analysis to visual argument, finding that with this sort of material the constituent propositions themselves are usually relatively commonplace. All that is needed for a visual communication to count as argumentation, therefore, is for it to have the necessary claims and reasons and be intentionally directed by a sponsor at an audience. This, however, will often require difficult judgement calls to be made, thus ...

 

"Asserting or claiming is the default function in spoken or written language. That is, to utter or write a declarative sentence is, in the absence of any counter-indication, to assert its propositional content. The same is not true for all visual expression. When we go to an art gallery or to the movies [...] we must infer what we can from the external and internal contextual cues. Thus the movie 'Batman' is taken to be sheer entertainment, not argumentative; whereas the movies 'Dances with Wolves' or 'JFK' [...] are dramatically structured so as to leave no doubt that they express a point of view ..." (op. cit., p27). Blair, J. A. (1996). The Possibility and Actuality of Visual Arguments. Argumentation and Advocacy, 33(1):23-39.

 

RESEARCH CAMEO - FINNEGAN (2001): In a 2001 paper entitled "The Naturalistic Enthymeme and Visual Argument" Finnegan argues that our perception of photographic material (including documentary and news) is a "potent argumentative resource" precisely because such material "leaves space for the audience to insert its own knowledge and experience". Even without words, therefore, we make presumptions of realism and assumptions as to purpose. She calls such constructions "naturalistic enthymemes". Finnegan, C. A. (2001). The naturalistic enthymeme and visual argument. Argumentation and Advocacy, 37:133-149.

 

Or to put it all another way, when all is said and done enthymemes - especially the visual ones which are off to one side in our consciousness - allow the clever communicator to pass off dubious arguments as reliable. To understand the enthymeme, therefore, is to come one step closer to a cognitive science of propaganda.

 

STUDENT EXERCISE - VISUAL ENTHYMEME

1. FROM THE AUDIENCE'S PERSPECTIVE: Take a look at this image. Beginners: What does it "say" to you? Advanced: Guided by the examples previously given [<=335BCE] state this image's argument in the P1-P2-C format of the classical Aristotelian syllogism. Then do the same for this 1914 image and for this 2015 image.

 

2. FROM THE DIRECTOR'S PERSPECTIVE: "Rescued by Rover"1 is an actual 1905 movie title. Without firstly viewing the original, create a ten-scene storyboard to match that title. Now watch the original film [link at 1905 (3rd July)] to see how close you were. Give yourself one mark for every correctly matching scene. Repeat for "The Battle of the Somme" [=>1916 (10th August)] and (as a comedy) "Shoulder Arms" [=>1918 (20th October)].

1Non-English speakers using translation software should note that Rover is a common dog's name in Britain.

 

1898 [3rd-17th July] The Spanish-American War [VIII - The Siege of Santiago and the Spanish surrender]: [Continued from preceding entry but one] The garrison at Santiago now has little choice but to hold out as long as it can and trust in diplomacy. In the event it endures a fortnight-long siege before the entire island surrenders, whereupon Vitagraph Studios [<=preceding entry] seizes the spirit of the moment by simulating the raising of the Stars and Stripes above Morro Castle, Havana, in "Raising Old Glory" [YouTube it now] [sub-thread continues at 10th December ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1898 [4th July] The SS La Bourgogne [<=1885 (8th October)] sinks following a collision off the coast of Nova Scotia. Only 70 passengers out of 506 on board (i.e., 14%) and 103 crew out of 220 (i.e., 47%) survive. Many passengers, it will subsequently be alleged, are left to swim for it by the crew for fear of overloading the lifeboats. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1898 [30th August] The Cail Company [<=1882] is recapitalised and reorganised as the Société Française de Constructions Mécaniques [Wikipedia factsheet]. [THREAD = THE WW1 FINANCIAL AND ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES]

 

1898 [1st September] Based in Bradford, the Low Moor Chemical Company [Blackwell (1987) factsheet=>1916 (21st August)] obtains a licence from the government to produce picric acid [<=1888] for military use. [THREAD = WW1 ARTILLERY]

 

**********  "NOT A BATTLE BUT AN EXECUTION"  **********

1898 [2nd September] Battle of Omdurman: This battle is fought as part of the Mahdist War [<=1881 (7th June)] between a British and Egyptian army under Kitchener [1896 (18th March)<=>1899 (12th October)] and a Sudanese Mahdist army under Khalif Abdallahi ibn Muhammad [Wikipedia biography]. Kitchener has prepared meticulously well and the outcome is a crushing defeat for the Mahdists thanks to a combination of discipline, modern rifle fire, the Maxim machine gun, and adequate field artillery. The battle is noteworthy in the present context (a) for again demonstrating the power of artillery against infantry in the open (especially when firing the new Lyddite-filled shells)1, (b) for the appearance on history's stage of a young Lancer named Winston Churchill [3rd July<=>1899 (5th May)], and (c) for a largely unsuccessful attempt by two pioneering war correspondents - the Western Morning News' John M. ("Mad Jack") Benett-Stanford [no convenient biography<=>1899 (12th October)] and the aforementioned Villiers [1897 (18th April)<=>1899 (12th October)] - to capture the proceedings on film2. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1ASIDE: Kitchener's artillery is so effective against the Mahdists that Khartoum will subsequently be described as "a victory for picric acid" (Brown, 2005,  p150            ).

 

2ASIDE: Although Villiers later claimed that "nobody else had a cinematograph with them" Bottomore (1994) credits both men with this breakthrough. Unfortunately for Villiers, who had wangled a vantage point high up on the gunboat Melik [Melik Society shipography], he lost his opportunity when the recoil of her guns tipped his camera over and broke open his film magazine. Benett-Stanford was slightly more successful, managing to film some of the preparations for battle the day before. This footage was then possibly sold on to the A. D. Thomas Company [IMDB factsheet] and incorporated into his 1898 reel "March on Omdurman and Khartoum" [IMDB entry]. Once again, therefore, the cine-correspondents learned the hard way that battles are difficult to "stage" for best visual effect. Even when a camera is in the right place shells are like shooting stars - most of the time you simply are not ready for them. Or - and this is actually an even greater problem - that which you perceive quite well with the naked eye is likely to be insignificant at best to the camera, because the camera has no fovea ...

 

REMINDER - CAMERAS ARE NOT EYES

REMINDER - CAMERAS ARE NOT EYES

REMINDER - CAMERAS ARE NOT EYES

DOUBLE ASIDE: The fovea [Wikipedia factsheet] is the human retina's central area of high resolution vision. Moreover the eyes themselves are kept pointed directly toward whatever most interests us by a frighteningly complex (and still far from understood) system of visual attention and scanning, beginning in neocortical Area #8 [Wikipedia factsheet]. To see what is involved try the following exercise ...

 

fixate on this x while moving your head up and down and side to side (few cameras are target-stabilised in this way in 2015, let alone 1898)

 

It follows that the Director and the Editor have to compensate for the new medium's  deficiencies by (a) skilfully concatenating "establishing" and background footage with a little true reality and a lot of "arranged reality", (b) providing the end product with a supporting narrative (spoken, printed, or captioned), and (c) adding appropriately enticing taglined advertisements.

 

WAR ART: Check out Edward Hale's (1899) "The Charge of the 21st Lancers". The same event is also dramatised in this YouTube video (from the 1972 movie "Young Winston" - note Churchill's signature Broomhandle Mauser [<=1896] at the end). Omdurman is also the setting for the closing chapters of one of Britain's favourite novels and films, "The Four Feathers" [=>1901 (22nd February)].

 

1898 [20th September] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXIII - The Strasbourg Transmissions]: [Continued from 2nd May] Instead of going for big sparks like Nikola Tesla [2nd May<=>1899 (17th May)], Karl Ferdinand Braun [1897 (15th February)<=>1899 (6th February)] concentrates on separating out the oscillator aspects of the transmitter circuit from the antenna aspects. The performance of the resulting "loosely coupled antenna" is so much improved that Braun foresees no problem achieving 100km transmitting ranges. Indeed before the end of the year he will have achieved a 30km1 range from Strasbourg to the nearby town on Mutzig [continues at 5th November ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1ASIDE: Although 30km is less than the range claimed by Tesla the year before [<=1897 (19th July) Braun's equipment is considerably smaller and consumes less power.

 

1898 [15th October-2nd November] Zionism Pre-WW1 [XII - Herzl Meets the Kaiser]: [Continued from 1896 (12th July)] In order to foster good relations between Germany and the Ottoman Empire Kaiser Wilhelm II [26th March<=>1899 (30th May)] has for some time been planning a state visit to Jerusalem, to take place on 31st October. The preparations for this visit have coincided with the latest appeals for assistance in obtaining a sponsor for their Jewish Palestine proposal from William Hechler [<=1896 (10th March)] and Theodor Herzl [1896 (10th March)<=>1902 (23rd October)]. Sensing an opportunity to impress both the Muslims and the Jews (and annoy the French, British, and Russians into the bargain) the Kaiser's aides offer Herzl a meeting with the Kaiser as his entourage passes through Constantinople. This meeting duly takes place 15th October and the end result is that the Kaiser agrees to promote the Zionist proposal with the Ottoman Sultan. In the end, however, the Ottomans - despite the fact that as a failing state they could well do with the money - will eventually decline the request [sub-thread continues at 1902 (23rd October) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

RECOMMENDED READING: For a fuller telling of the story here we recommend Klinger (op. cit. [<=1st February]).

 

1898 [24th October] [Continued from 31st March] Concerned at their poor performance against the coal owners in the Great Coal Strike [<=31st March] the miners of South Wales decide to improve their bargaining power by creating a coalfield-wide South Wales Miners' Federation [Wikipedia factsheet=>1910 (1st November)]. [THREAD = THE WW1 WORKING CLASS SOLDIER]

 

1898 [5th November] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXIV - The Eiffel Tower Transmission]: [Continued from 20th September] The French engineer Eugène Ducretet [Wikipedia biography] successfully transmits a wireless telegraphy signal 4km across Paris, using the Eiffel Tower as his transmitter aerial [continues at ??th December ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1898 [??th December] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXV - Marconi Goes into Production]: [Continued from 5th November] Guglielmo Marconi [1897 (13th May)<=>1900 (26th April)] opens a factory for his Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company [1897 (13th May)<=>1899 (12th October)] on Hall Street, Chelmsford [continues at 1899 (6th February) ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1898 [??th December] The French submarine Gustave Zédé [<=1893 (1st July)] takes part in fleet exercises and makes history by twice "sinking" an "enemy" battleship, once while at anchor and then again while under way. [THREAD = THE WW1 SUBMARINE NAVIES]

 

1898 [10th December] The Spanish-American War [IX - The Treaty of Paris]: [Continued from 3rd July] This peace treaty between the United States and Spain brings the Spanish-American War to a formal conclusion, with Spain handing over the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the new kid on the block. Theodore Roosevelt [<=22nd June] describes it as "a splendid little war" [end of Spanish-American War sub-thread]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1899  Encouraged by the effectiveness of lyddites [<=1888] at the Battle of Ondurman [<=1898 (2nd October)], the War Department commissions new suppliers of picric acid [<=1888] such as Read Holliday and Sons [1868<=>1915 (8th June)], Huddersfield. [THREAD = WW1 ARTILLERY]

 

1899  The Liebig Extract of Meat Company [<=1873] introduces the tradename "OXO" for its meat extract range. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1899  Having fallen out with the Winchester Repeating Arms Company [<=1895], John Browning [1883<=>1900 (16th October)] undertakes design projects for Remington [=>1906] and Fabrique Nationale in Belgium. [THREAD = WW1 SMALL ARMS]

 

1899  Howard Carter [1892<=>1907] is appointed Chief Inspector of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, to supervise the ongoing excavations at Thebes [= modern Luxor, Egypt]. [THREAD = PRE-WW1 INTELLECTUAL RIVALRY]

 

1899  Walther Rathenau [Wikipedia biography=>1914] joins the board of the family firm, AEG [1897 (27th August)<=>1903 (27th October)]. [THREAD = THE WW1 FINANCIAL AND ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES]

 

1899 [14th January] RMS Oceanic [Wikipedia shipography=>1914 (8th August)] is launched at Harland and Wolff [1895 (24th December)<=>1901 (4th April)], Belfast, for service with the White Star Line [1889 (19th January)<=>23rd November]. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES]

 

ASIDE - RMS OCEANIC IN WW1: Oceanic was converted into an armed merchant cruiser on 8th August 1914, but then lost on rocks a fortnight later.

 

1899 [6th February] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXVI - Braun's Outer Surface Conduction]: [Continued from 1898 (??th December)] Karl Ferdinand Braun [1898 (20th September)<=>1900 (??th May)] files for a U.S. patent (eventually granted 26th January 1904 as U.S. Patent 750429) under the title "Wireless Electrical Transmission of Signals over Surfaces". The grounds for the patent are the novel use of a soil-buried spark gap between two "earth plates" in a high power wireless transmitter. Braun describes the soil infill as a "semiconductor"1 and emphasises his design's reliance on the "outer surface"1 conduction of electric charge. By this he is recognising that a solid metal object (wire, sphere, cylinder, etc.) will conduct electricity only in its outer surface [because the like-charged electrons mutually repel each other], and might just as well have been hollowed out for all the difference it would make. Not long afterward Braun and his team relocate to Hamburg to continue their research in the field2 [continues at 27th April ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1ASIDE: Braun is here using the word "semiconductor" to refer to poorly conducting substances such as soil and water, NOT (in the modern sense of the word) to the one-way transmission seen in the crystal diode rectifier. The outer surface effect had been known about for some time, and is seen at work in the "Faraday Cage" [Wikipedia factsheet].

 

2ASIDE - BRAUN AND THE CRYSTAL DIODE: The Internet literature widely repeats the claim that Braun patented the crystal diode rectifier in 1899. However, we have so far been unable to track down any such patent.

 

1899 [12th February] The German-Spanish Treaty: Eager to expand its empire into the Far East Germany buys the Caroline and Northern Mariana Islands of Micronesia from Spain, administering them from the German protectorate of Kaiser-Wilhelmsland [= modern Papua New Guinea]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1899 [13th March] Having been undergoing working up trials for nearly a year HMS Terrible [1895 (27th May)<=>scrapped 1932] suffers a split boiler tube on one of her 48 Belleville tubed boilers, resulting in the death of one artificer and injury to several others. The event will be discussed in detail in Parliament, and the Hansard transcripts make interesting further reading [go there now]. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES]

 

1899 [13th March] German Naval Expansion [VI - The British Navy Estimates, 1899-1900]: [Continued from 1898 (30th April)] The British Parliament debates the proposed £28million estimates for naval works for the coming year. The Member for Northampton, Henry Labouchere [Wikipedia biography], suspects no little empire building by the navy lobby, as the following extract suggests [note the careful avoidance of the word "Germany"] ...

 

"Now, Sir, what is the main plea upon which this portentous and enormous increase is justified? The right honourable Gentleman now the Secretary for India, when he was First Lord of the Admiralty, said that we must be on an equality with any two Powers. We have gone very far beyond that at the present time. But we are very often told that one of the reasons why we ought to expend money is because France and Russia are expending money, and at least we ought to be on an equality with France and Russia combined. I wonder if honourable Gentlemen on either of these two Benches have ever taken the trouble to look into the real cost of the navies of France and Russia. In 1884 the cost of the French navy was £7,500,000. At the present time it is £12,000,000. The cost of the Russian navy in 1884 was £3,500,000. The cost at the present time is £7,000,000. That is to say, whilst since 1884 we have increased the expenditure on our Navy by £18,000,000, the united increase of the navies of France and Russia has only been £8,000,000. [...] It was argued at the commencement of this naval craze that we had been obliged to increase our Navy owing to the increase on the part of Russia, but, as a matter of fact, their increases have been due to our increases. We are putting the cart before the horse when we say that our increases have been due to theirs ..." (Hansard, 13th March 1899, 644-645).

 

In the event the financing is approved, with the overriding strategy being that the Royal Navy should be kept equal in strength to the next two rival navies combined [continues at 1900 (1st January) ...]. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES] [THREAD = WW1 WAR FEVER]

 

**********  "AND WHAT, PRAY, DOES IT THINK WITH?"  **********

1899 [16th April] [Before proceeding readers should re-familiarise themselves with the story of chess-playing automata [<=1836 (April) and follow the onward pointers]] The American writer Ambrose G. Bierce [Wikipedia biography] publishes a short science fiction story entitled "Moxon's Master" [full text online], in which he satirises the suggestion that machine intelligence is going to be anything but Satanic. Moxon is the inventor of a chess-playing automaton which, when beaten, responds by strangling its creator. [THREAD = WW1 CYBERNETICS, COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE, AND FIRE CONTROL]

 

1899 [27th April] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXVII - Bose's Improved Coherer]: [Continued from 6th February] Jagadish Chandra Bose [1894 (??th November)<=>1901 (30th September)] reads a paper entitled "On a self-recovering coherer" to the Royal Society, London, in which he reports how different metals can improve the sensitivity and usability of the existing Branly-Lodge Coherers [<=1890 (20th November)] [continues at 17th May ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS] Bose, J.C. (1899) On a self-recovering coherer and the study of the cohering action of different metals. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 65(413-422):166-172.

 

1899 [5th May] Winston Churchill [1898 (2nd September)<=>12th October] resigns from the army and on 6th July fights, and only narrowly loses, the Oldham by-election. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1899 [17th May] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXVIII - Tesla's Pike's Peak Experiments]: [Continued from 27th April] Nikola Tesla [1898 (20th September)<=>1901 (1st March)] opens a research laboratory at Colorado Springs and starts to erect a wireless transmitter station at the top of nearby Pike's Peak. Within weeks his laboratory will be generating sparks seven metres in length [see confirming image at http://www.teslauniverse.com/nikola-tesla-article-nikola-tesla-at-75]!  [Continues at 20th October ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1899 [18th May-29th July] The First Hague Congress and Convention: This ten-week international congress at den Haag, Netherlands, hammers out a code of practice governing which weapons and battlefield behaviours are "fair" and which are "cheating"1. Amongst the weapons and behaviours proscribed are poisons and gases, dum-dum bullets, the execution or mistreatment of prisoners-of-war, the collective punishment of civilians, looting, and bombing from the air [continues 1907 (15th June) ...]. [THREAD = WW1 CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS]

 

1ASIDE: A passing Martian might find it difficult to reconcile the notion that there are fair and unfair ways of killing one's enemies with the oft-quoted adage that "all's fair in love and war".

 

1899 [30th May-5th June] The Kruger-Milner Conference: Following rising tensions in the South African Republic between ethnic Boers (who have the vote) and Uitlanders [Dutch = "foreigners"; mainly British migrants attracted from Cape Colony into the Boer republics by the lure of mining riches] (who do not) the British High Commissioner for Southern Africa Sir Alfred Milner [Baron Milner]28th May 1901 [1st Viscount Milner]1902 [Wikipedia biography=>7th August]  visits President Kruger [1896 (3rd January)<=>7th August] at Bloemfontein for six days of in-the-event unsuccessful talks on the matter. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1899 [30th May or hereabouts] Seeing is Believing [LIX - Early Motion Pictures (Deutsche Bioskop)]: [Continued from 1898 (3rd July)] The German film producer Julius Grünbaum [Wikipedia biography=>1908 (27th February)] founds Deutsche Bioskop [no convenient factsheet=>1902 (18th June)]. The company's first offering is "Frühjahrparade" [in English as "Spring Parade"; no IMDB entry; no video], a record of Kaiser Wilhelm II's [1898 (15th October<=>21st November] review of his troops this Spring [sub-thread continues at 12th October ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1899 [1st June or hereabouts] John Brown and Company [Wikipedia factsheet=>1902] take over the Clydebank Engineering and Shipbuilding Company [<=1897]. Their first major contract will be for the battlecruiser HMS Inflexible [=>1907 (26th June)]. [THREAD = THE WW1 FINANCIAL AND ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES]

 

1899 [??th June] Prince Louis of Battenberg [1892<=>1902 (??th November)] is appointed Assistant Director of Naval Intelligence. [THREAD = WW1 CYBERNETICS, COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE, AND FIRE CONTROL]

 

1899 [1st July] Reflecting the different operational and organisation demands, the Royal Artillery separates out its garrison artillery (heavy, non-mobile) from its field artillery (medium, slow mobile) and its horse artillery (light, highly mobile). [THREAD = WW1 ARTILLERY]

 

1899 [25th July] HMS Vengeance [Wikipedia shipography] is launched at Vickers, Sons, and Maxim Limited [1897<=>1901 (2nd October)], Barrow-in-Furness. She has been identified as be the first modern capital ship ever to be built, armoured, armed, and engined by the same manufacturer. Her turrets are flat-faceted because her Krupp armour [<=1894] is notoriously difficult to forge to a radius. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES]

 

**********   JAPAN TAKES THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE  **********

**********   JAPAN TAKES THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE  **********

**********   JAPAN TAKES THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE  **********

1899 [7th August] The Uitlanders Crisis Again: The Conservative politician Sir Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett [Wikipedia biography=>1901 (28th March)] raises the problems of China and the Boer republics in the House of Commons. On the China question he notes ...

 

"The aggressive advance of the Russian Power upon the independence of China still continues, and the resisting power of the China Government does not increase. Russia is augmenting and consolidating her military and political strength in Manchuria, while we look on with folded arms" (Hansard, 76:60-144).

 

But perhaps all is not lost ...

 

"There has, however, quite of late appeared one ray of brightness and comfort in this ever-blackening horizon. This relief comes from the east, and not from the west. The keen and progressive people of Japan are moving for the protection of China [...]. The Japanese are doing exactly what we should have been doing for the past four years. Let us hope Her Majesty's Government at last realise that cooperation with Japan is our main lever and hope in the East" (ibid.).

 

As for South Africa, where the Uitlanders issue [<=30th May and 13th June] remains unresolved, he adds follows ...

 

"The franchise concession has been made by [Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain [1895 (29th December)<=>21st November]] the key of the position, but the difficulties of the Transvaal will be by no means settled, even if the full demands of [High Commissioner for Southern Africa Sir Alfred Milner [30th May<=>1901 (1st March)]] are accepted by the Volksraad [...]. These are details, and very important details. The main thing, however, is that Her Majesty's Government should make it plain to [President Kruger [30th May<=>12th October]] and to the Boer Executive and Volksraad - that is, to the thirty-three persons who are absolute masters of the Transvaal [...] - that no evasion or shuffling will be permitted" (ibid.).

 

Chamberlain will issue a formal ultimatum on 22nd September and it will be rejected as absolutely as might have been predicted three weeks later [=>12th October]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = HOW TO START A WAR]

 

**********  IMPORTANT WW1 TECHNOLOGY  **********

===== THE STEAM TURBINE =====

===== THE STEAM TURBINE =====

===== THE STEAM TURBINE =====

1899 [6th September] Hawthorn Leslie and Company [<=1886], Tyneside, launches its first Viper-class torpedo boat destroyer of 350 tons [Wikipedia shipography]. The ships are noteworthy in the present context for being the first to benefit from steam turbine propulsion, thereby pushing their maximum speed up to 36.5 knots. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES]

 

1899 [12th October-1902 (31st May)] The Second Boer War, 1899-1902: This war of colonial confrontation is fought between the British and the two disputedly independent "Boer Republics", namely the South African Republic [colloquially, Transvaal] under President Kruger [7th August<=>1900 (1st September)] and the Orange Free State under Martinus T. Steyn [Wikipedia biography=>1900 (18th February)].

 

WHO'S WHO AND WHERE'S WHERE:

Belmont [coordinates]: Railway halt on the Cape Town-Mafeking-Bulawayo Railway, 15 miles north of Orange River Station.

Bloemfontein [map, etc.]: The capital city of Orange Free State, with rail links westward to Kimberley, northward to Johannesburg, eastward to Durban, and southward to Noupoort and Stormberg.

British Bechuanaland [map, etc.]: The north-western, administratively British, province of what is nowadays the Republic of South Africa, including the towns of Vryburg and Mafeking.

Cape Colony [map, etc.]: The southern, administratively British, half of what is nowadays the Republic of South Africa, including the ports of (west to east) Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and East London.

Colenso [map, etc.]: Railway town on the Tugela River in Natal, 118 miles inland from Durban, and a key supply waypoint for communications with Ladysmith, 15 miles further inland.

De Aar [map, etc.]: Railway town in Cape Colony, 470 miles inland from Cape Town, and a key supply waypoint for communications with Kimberley, 120 miles further inland.

Dundee [map, etc.]: Coal-mining town in up-country Natal, some 180 miles inland from Durban.

Graspan [coordinates]: Railway halt on the Cape Town-Mafeking-Bulawayo Railway, 8 miles north of Belmont.

Jacobsdal [map, etc.]: Diamond-mining community on the Riet River about 15 miles south of Kimberley and straddling the border between the Orange Free State and Cape Colony.

Johannesburg [map, etc.]: Gold-mining town in the South African Republic/Transvaal.

Kimberley [map, etc.]: Important mining town on the northern frontier of Cape Colony, close to the border with Orange Free State. Also a junction town on the Cape Town-Mafeking-Bulawayo railway. Why important? In short, diamonds! Kimberley sits on the richest diamond reef in the world, and was (and still is) the centre of the De Beers [Wikipedia factsheet] mining empire.

Koedoesrand (Drift) [coordinates]: Mountain (with nearby Modder River crossing [coordinates]), 27 miles east of Magersfontein.

Ladysmith [map, etc.]: Local administrative town on the north-western frontier of Natal, close to the border with Orange Free State and 130 miles inland from Durban.

Lord Stanley: The soldier-politician Edward G. V. Stanley [17th Earl of Derby]1908 [Wikipedia biography=>next entry].

Mafeking [map, etc.]: Remote gold-mining town on the north-eastern frontier of British Bechuanaland, close to the border with the South African Republic/Transvaal.

Magersfontein [map, etc.]: Open land alongside the Cape Town-Mafeking-Bulawayo Railway, some five miles north of the Modder River.

Modder River [map, etc.]: A 300-mile-long tributary of the Riet River, flowing broadly westward through the towns of Paardeberg and Magersfontein to a confluence at Jacobsdal.

Natal [map, etc.]: The easternmost, administratively British, province of what is nowadays the Republic of South Africa, including the port of Durban. Nowadays formally KwaZulu-Natal.

Noupoort [map, etc.]: Railway junction town on the Port Elizabeth-Bloemfontein railway.

Orange Free State [map, etc.]: The north-central, administratively Boer, province of what is nowadays the Republic of South Africa, including the towns of Bloemfontein and Kroonstad.

Orange River [map, etc.]: A 1367-mile-long river arising in the Drakensberg Mountains west of Colenso and flowing more or less directly westward to the South Atlantic, forming as it does so the southern borders of (from east to west) Orange Free State, British Bechuanaland, and German South-West Africa.

Orange River Station: See the CAMEO at 10th November.

Paardeberg (Drift) [coordinates]: Mountain (with nearby Modder River railway crossing [coordinates]), 25 miles east of Magersfontein and two miles west of Koedoesrand.

Pretoria [map, etc.]: Capital city of the South African Republic/Transvaal.

Riet River [map, etc.]: A 180-mile-long tributary of the Vaal River arising in the south-eastern highlands of Orange Free State and flowing more or less directly westward to receive the Modder River (from the north) at Jacobsdal and then the Vaal River (also from the north) 50 miles west of Kimberley.

South African Republic/Transvaal [map, etc.]: The northernmost, administratively Boer, province of what is nowadays the Republic of South Africa, including the towns of Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Stormberg [map, etc.]: Railway junction town on the East London-Bloemfontein railway.

Tugela River [map, etc.]: A 312-mile-long river arising in the Drakensberg Mountains west of Colenso and flowing more or less directly eastward to the Indian Ocean, thus horizontally bisecting Natal.

Vaal River [map, etc.]: A 696-mile-long river arising near Johannesburg and flowing more or less directly south-westward to join the Orange River near Kimberley, forming as it does so the border between Orange Free State and the South African Republic/Transvaal.

Vryburg [map, etc.]: Railway facility on the Cape Town-Mafeking-Bulawayo , some 160 miles north of Kimberley.

 

The Imperial forces are commanded initially by Sir Redvers H. Buller [Wikipedia biography=>30th October], but serious reverses in the field in December [=>10th/11th/15th] cause him to be replaced [=>23rd December] by Sir Frederick S. Roberts ("Bobs"), Baron Roberts of Kandahar [Earl Roberts]1901 [1880 (1st September)<=>next entry] with a comparatively young Lord Kitchener [1898 (2nd September)<=>1900 (18th January)] as his Chief of Staff. The war begins with the highly mobile, highly motivated, and well-led Boer forces running all sorts of rings about the more pedestrian Imperial commanders, but then progressively sees them having to go on the defensive as the British deploy ever greater numbers against them. Here are the main events (in date order within campaign) ...

 

THE INITIAL BOER OFFENSIVE (OCTOBER 1899): The first phase of the war sees the Boers strike westward toward Mafeking and Kimberley, and eastward toward Ladysmith. The main actions under this heading are ...

 

The Siege of Mafeking, 1899-1900; The Siege of Kimberley, 1899-1900; The Battle of "Glencoe"/Talana Hill, 1899; The Battle of Elandslaagte, 1899; The Battle of Lombard's Kop, 1899; The Battles of Nicholson's Nek and Ladysmith, 1899; The Siege of Ladysmith, 1899-1900

 

THE RELIEF COLUMN PHASE: Following the initial Boer attacks the available British forces are divided into three axes of advance according to their ports of supply, as follows (from west to east) ...

 

CAPE TOWN-KIMBERLEY ADVANCE (NOVEMBER 1899-FEBRUARY 1900): This advance under Paul S. Methuen, 3rd Baron Methuen [Wikipedia biography=>10th November] is transported north-eastward out of Cape Town via the rail junction at De Aar toward the Orange River, from there to proceed via Magersfontein in an attempt to relieve the siege at Kimberley. The main actions under this heading are ...

 

The Modder River Crossing, 1899; Battle of Magersfontein, 1899; 1900; The Battle of Paardeberg, 1900; The Battle of Bloemfontein, 1900; The Battle of Sanna's Post, 1900; The Relief of Kimberley, 1900

 

THE CAPE MIDLANDS [PORT ELIZABETH/EAST LONDON] ADVANCE (NOVEMBER 1899): This advance under Sir William F. Gatacre [Wikipedia biography=>10th December] is transported northward out of Port Elizabeth and East London via the rail junctions at Noupoort and Stormberg toward the Orange River, from there to threaten Bloemfontein from the south. As we shall shortly be seeing [=>10th December], the Boers get to Stormberg first, severely delaying progress. The main action under this heading is ...

 

The Battle of Stormberg, 1899 [NB: By the time Stormberg had been retaken by the British, the Cape Town-Kimberley advance had become the main threat to Bloemfontein and the Cape Midlands advance was allowed to fizzle out.]

 

THE DURBAN-LADYSMITH ADVANCE (NOVEMBER 1899-FEBRUARY 1900): This advance under Buller himself is transported north-westward out of Durban toward Colenso, from there to organise the relief of Ladysmith. The main actions under this heading are ...

 

The Battle of Colenso, 1899; The Battle of Spion Kop, 1900; The Relief of Ladysmith, 1900

 

THE BRITISH COUNTER-OFFENSIVE (MARCH-NOVEMBER 1900): As reinforcements arrive from home the British gradually drive the Boers back into their homelands, capture their capital cities, take large numbers of prisoners of war, and eventually create pro-British replacement administrations. The main actions under this heading are ...

 

The Relief of Mafeking, 1900; The Battle of Bloemfontein, 1900; The Annexation of Orange Free State, 1900; The Capture of Pretoria, 1900; The Capture of Johannesburg, 1900; The Annexation of the Transvaal, 1900

 

THE GUERRILLA PHASE (DECEMBER 1900-MAY 1902): A significant number of Boers remain in the saddle and begin a guerrilla war. The British respond with the ominously named "Sweeping", that is to say, by adopting scorched earth tactics, systematically destroying farms and townships and confining the population in concentration camps. The main actions under this heading are ...

 

De Wet's Winter Campaign, 1900-1901; The Sweeping, 1901; The Treaty of Vereeniging, 1902

 

The overall outcome of the war is a British victory. The war is noteworthy in the present context (a) for demonstrating the relative ineffectiveness of regular infantry against highly motivated guerrillas, (b) for developments in field communications [see CAMEO below], (c) for opening a long and bitter debate as to how best (if at all) to use cavalry in the age of modern weaponry, (d) for the re-appearance in the war zone of Winston Churchill [5th May<=>15th November], this time as a war correspondent, and (e) for the by-now-inevitable camp-following of movie-makers [=>next entry]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

CAMEO - SIGNALLING IN THE SECOND BOER WAR: The war saw the British relying on the established Wheatstone Automatic telegraph. The signalling service was directed by Richard Lionel Hippisley [no convenient biography=>1908], Director of Telegraphs for the Royal Engineers. Some 18,000 miles of cable were laid during the war (Royal Signals Museum website), and despite constantly having to cope with cut wires successfully delivered 13,500,000 messages. Not that all of these arrived intacta at their destination: Philip Pienaar, one Boer telegraphist, once got "the entire plan of campaign for the next four weeks" by tapping General Hamilton's telegraph line (Pienaar, 1902, cited in Lee, 1985). The British also experimented with sending their messages in arcane languages such as Hindustani (Deacon, 1980), a ploy repeated by the U.S. Army with Choctaw in WW1 and then by the Navajo "windtalkers" in WW2 (better known, perhaps, thanks to the 2002 movie of the same name). The first theatre trialling of wireless telegraphy was by the British in 1899, although no substantive content was carried. A Boer order for six wireless sets from Guglielmo Marconi's [1897<=>23rd October] German rivals Siemens and Halske [<=1853], was impounded as contraband upon arrival at Cape Town (IEEE website). [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

CAMEO - PLAYING TO THE LARGER AUDIENCE: The war saw both the British and the Boers appealing for help from overseas. Ireland and Scandinavia are well-represented in the Boer ranks, and Canada and Australia send detachments to serve with the British.

 

1899 [12th October] Seeing is Believing [LX - The Cinema at War (The Boer War)]: [Continued from 30th May but in the context of the preceding entry] The cameramen move quickly.  A Cape Colonist himself but in Britain on business, Edgar M. Hyman [no convenient biography=>8th December] embarks for Cape Town on 23rd September, there to spend a month filming troop disembarkations. Benett-Stanford [1898 (2nd September)<=>10th November] sails for South Africa on 7th October and Dickson [1893 (9th May)<=>10th November] on 14th. They are soon joined by Joseph Rosenthal [Who's Who of Victorian Cinema biography=>8th December], Villiers [1898 (2nd September)<=>1904 (8th February)], Charles S. Goldman [Previously Goldmann; Wikipedia biography=>1900 (28th May)], [Sir?]???? Walter C. Beevor [Who's Who of Victorian Cinema biography=>10th November], and C. Rider Noble [no convenient biography=>1900 (1st September)].

 

ASIDE: For a fuller history of these arrivals see Bottomore (2007, Chapter IX [clickable at 1897 (18th April)]). For their individual affiliations see below. Beevor was a Surgeon-Major who had, a year before, taken portable X-Ray apparatus on an up-country expedition in India, and so was well qualified technically. Moreover as a serving soldier he suffered less censorship than did the civilian cameramen (albeit the hottest actions were unfilmed because his primary duty was to his wounded). For a full list of the resulting 21 R. W. Paul Company [see below] reels see Bottomore [ibid.].

 

Back in Britain, meanwhile, the British Mutoscope and Biograph Company [IMDB factsheet] (Dickson), the R. W. Paul Company [1896 (21st March)<=>20th October] (Beevor), the Warwick Trading Company [1898 (15th March)<=>8th December] (Benett-Stanford, Hyman, Rosenthal, and Goldman), and the impresario Walter Gibbons [Wikipedia biography] (Noble) put their respective editing teams on alert, and the Mitchell and Kenyon Company [1897 (27th November)<=>1900 (14th June)] starts to produce re-enacted footage from an ersatz Veldt around Blackburn, Lancashire. In the event, however, results are less than earth-shattering, as Bottomore (2007) explains ...

 

"Cameramen (and war correspondents in general) had to contend with two major difficulties in trying to report on or represent the Boer War. Firstly, there was the problem of capturing on film a mobile, fast-moving, conflict where the foe was using accurate, long-range, weaponry [...]. This problem had confronted cameramen in previous wars, but it was more acute in South Africa. Britain's enemy here were determined, skilled marksmen, using the latest artillery and rifles, and, knowing the landscape, they could find places of concealment. Many British soldiers complained that [...] they never actually saw a Boer" (op. cit., pIX.2).

 

Bottomore also notes how the War Office was concerned from the outset that the new medium was somehow more intrusive than conventional press representation had previously been, thus ...

 

"The cameramen were subject to censorship and regulation as much, if not more, than the print correspondents, and it seems to have affected the two main cameramen of the war, Rosenthal and Dickson, more than the others. [... B]oth had to obtain special passes to film and to travel. [...A] re-think about censorship of the press and visual media was going on in the British military by the middle of 1900. The first indications of this came in June, after the fall of Pretoria and its occupation. At this point, most of the journalists and cameramen left [...] being told that if they stayed, 'they would not be allowed to send any matter' [...]. Just a month later, the chief censor [Lord Stanley [preceding entry<=>1912 (27th June)]] wrote a report for [Lord Roberts [preceding entry<=>23rd December]] assessing how press censorship had fared during the war, and was not complimentary: he stated that from the start of the campaign there had been no proper regulation for either censors or correspondents, nor any uniformity for the granting of licences, nor any guidance about which newspapers were allowed to have correspondents at the front [...]. Early the following year the army produced another report about war correspondents, again with negative conclusions about film cameramen. It was written by Major W. D. Jones[1], [...] and over the following weeks the report was circulated and received comments, notably by Lord Stanley. The interesting point for our purposes is that, while Jones and Stanley disagreed about how strictly press correspondents should be controlled, they agreed that film cameramen were unwanted. [...] And they attained their wish, at least for the remainder of the [war], for no more cameramen covered [the war] after the end of 1900 [... just as it] was entering its most controversial phase - with farms being burned and civilians removed to concentration camps" (ibid., pp3-4).

 

1ASIDE: This Wiltshire Regiment staff officer was Gazetted as the British Headquarters' Press Censor on 13th October 1899; Lord Stanley - of whom much more (as by then the Earl of Derby) in due course -  arrived to oversee the process as Assistant Adjutant-General on 18th January 1900. An archive of the cuttings and notes used by Jones in preparing the report here referred to is maintained by the National Army Museum in London [check it out].

 

In retrospect [November 2015] we may see the War Office's influence in overtly propagandistic reels such as Mitchell and Kenyon's "White Flag Treachery" [IMDB entry], "Shelling the Red Cross" [IMDB entry], "A Sneaky Boer" [IMDB entry], and "Poisoning the Well" [IMDB entry], all produced back in Britain to stiffen the nation's support for the war [sub-thread continues at November ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1899 [13th October-1900 (17th May)] The Siege of Mafeking: This 217-day siege is fought out as a largely self-contained [Mafeking being the most remote of all the battlefields of the Second Boer War] defensive action within the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between a besieging Boer army under Jacobus P. Snyman [historical society biography] and the British forces in and around Mafeking under Baden-Powell [1895 (??th December)<=>17th May]. Baden-Powell has around 2300 mainly irregular and auxiliary troops at his disposal to hold a six-mile-long perimeter, but deploys them with carefully targeted aggression and no little military cunning so that the numerically superior Boers never mount an all-out attack. The eventual outcome is the successful relieving of the town on 17th May 1900 [see separate entry]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1899 [14th October-1900 (15th February)] The Siege of Kimberley: This 124-day siege is fought out as part of the Cape Town-Kimberley Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between a besieging Boer army under Cornelius Wessels [no convenient biography] and the British forces in and around the mining town of Kimberley under Robert Kekewich [Wikipedia biography]. Also present is mining tycoon-politician Cecil Rhodes1 [<=1895 (29th December)]. Hostilities begin on 12th October when Boer commandos cut the railway lines north and south of the town. Faced with superior numbers the British then gradually withdraw within a 14-mile-long defensive perimeter. Kekewich has around 3500 troops at his disposal (including irregulars and auxiliaries), but deploys them with carefully targeted aggression and no little military cunning so that the numerically superior Boers never mount an all-out attack. The eventual outcome is the successful relieving of the town by a cavalry column under [Sir]1900 John French [1st Earl of Ypres]1922 [Wikipedia biography=>21st October] (of whom much, much, more in due course) on 15th February 1900. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1ASIDE: It has been suggested that Rhodes deliberately engineered his presence at Kimberley during the siege, calculating that it would raise the town's claim to military protection. He had, during the preceding two decades been gun-running to the Matabele in return for concessions to "dig for stones", and systematically buying the silence of critics both in South Africa and back in Britain (Meredith, 2007). Meredith, M. (2007). Diamonds, Gold, and War. London: Simon and Schuster.

 

1899 [20th October] Seeing is Believing [LXI - The Cinema at War (The Battle of "Glencoe"/Talana Hill)]: [Continued from 12th October] This battle is fought as part of the Durban-Ladysmith Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between a Boer army under Lukas J. Meyer [Wikipedia biography] and a British brigade under Sir William Penn Symons [Wikipedia biography=>dies 23rd October of wounds received this day]. The Boers have crossed out of their homelands and the first British resistance is encountered at Dundee [maplink at 12th October]. The Boers assemble on Talana Hill just to the north of the town, and the British then spend the day driving them from it, but suffer such disproportionately high casualties that they are ordered to abandon Dundee and fall back on Ladysmith. The battle is noteworthy in the present context for the speed with which the R. W. Paul Company [12th October<=>10th November] releases a battle-re-enactment reel entitled "The Battle of Glencoe" [IMDB entry; footage lost] [sub-thread continues at November ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  "SIGNALLERS" BECOME "TELEGRAPHISTS"  **********

1899 [20th October] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXIX - The HMS Vernon Experiments]: [Continued from 17th May] [Sir]1906 Henry Bradwardine Jackson [Wikipedia biography=>1900 (17th March)] is given command of the Royal Navy's new technology centre at HMS Vernon [Shore Establishment] [1895 (23rd April)<=>1904 (31st March)] in order to supervise customer prototyping of the latest Marconi Company [1897 (20th July)<=>1900 (17th March)] equipment [continues at 23rd October ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

ASIDE - IMPLEMENTING NEW TECHNOLOGY: It is important to realise that the trialling of any new technology involves people every bit as much as equipment. Accordingly much of Jackson's time was spent designing job descriptions, career pathways (wig-wag "signallers" now become "telegraphists"), aptitude testing, training regimes, and the like. HMS Vernon trained selected officers and men while a separate school aboard the 1810-vintage HMS Impregnable/Caledonia [Training Ship] [Wikipedia shipography] added wireless-relevant skills to its boy cadet curriculum. A third school at HMS Ganges [Shore Establishment] [Wikipedia shipography], Felixstowe, took over from Impregnable after the latter was scrapped in 1905. We recommend Godfrey Dykes' website for the fuller detail. HMS Ganges is nowadays a heritage museum [museum website].

 

ASIDE - AN UNEXPLAINED CURIOSITY: Jackson's naval career between 1899 and 1915 makes strange reading, with regular job changes, sometimes only weeks apart, and reports of his being difficult to get on with. And yet he was a technical expert in wireless warfare and made it to Third Sea Lord in 1905 [=>1905 (7th February)] and First Sea Lord in 1915 [=>1915 (27th May)]. We presume therefore that part of his wireless expertise lay in signals intelligence [= e-spying, and how best to do it] rather than in the technicalities of ship-to-ship communication per se. See, for example, the HMS Diana intercept at 1904 (28th January).

 

1899 [21st October] The Battle of Elandslaagte: This battle is fought as part of the Durban-Ladysmith Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between a Boer army under Johannes H. M. Kock [Wikipedia biography=>dies this day] and a British cavalry column under French [14th October<=>25th October]. Elandslaagte [map, etc.] is a railway station 10 miles to the north-east of Ladysmith, and had been occupied by a Boer Kommando1 on 19th October. French has been tasked with retaking it. After an intensive firefight the outcome is a British tactical victory with both sides suffering some 250 casualties. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1ASIDE - THE KOMMANDOS: Unlike the modern word "commando", the Boer term Kommando does not in itself imply a special forces unit, but rather a battalion-sized force of irregulars drawn from a particular geographical region.

 

1899 [23rd October-4th November] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXX - The U.S. Navy Wireless Trials]: [Continued from 20th October] The U.S. Navy tests wireless communications between experimental wireless installations on USS New York [Wikipedia shipography] and USS Massachusetts [Wikipedia shipography]. Assisted by Guglielmo Marconi [12th October [ASIDE]<=>22nd November] in person the Navy's main concern is with interference between two simultaneously keyed transmitters. Marconi reassures them that the necessary system upgrades are imminent. Nevertheless no substantive contract is forthcoming from the Bureau of Equipment [continues at 22nd November ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1899 [25th October] The Battle of Lombard's Kop: Following the withdrawal from Dundee [<=20th October] this battle is fought as part of the Durban-Ladysmith Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between three British columns under Geoffrey G. Grimwood [no convenient biography], Ian Hamilton [no convenient biography], and French [21st October<=>30th October], and the Boer advanced guard presently digging in on the hills to the north and to the east of Ladysmith. The Boers are manoeuvring for tactical advantage of the approaches to Ladysmith, while the British are attempting to deny them the heights of Pepworth Hill (Hamilton) and Long Hill (Grimwood). "Just about everything that could go wrong [for the British] did" (Rickard, 2007 online), with most units getting lost in the bush during the night approach, and then getting pinned down come daybreak by fire from the heights. The outcome is that the British are driven from the field in disarray and retreat within the defences at Ladysmith. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1899 [28th October] The Australians Embark: The first of around 16,000 Australian volunteers embark for the voyage to South Africa, although in the event they will be pipped at the post by a detachment of New South Wales Lancers who had been training in Britain when war was declared and are already en route for Cape Town. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1899 [30th October] The Battles of Nicholson's Nek and Ladysmith: Following the setback at Lombard's Kop [<=25th October], these battles are fought as part of the Durban-Ladysmith Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between a Boer army under Piet Joubert [Wikipedia biography=>next entry] and Louis Botha [Wikipedia biography=>15th December] and the British forces in and around Ladysmith under Sir George S. White [Wikipedia biography=>next entry]. The Boers are already established on the heights to the north and east of the town, namely (one mile due north) Surprise Hill and Bell's Kopje, (two miles further north) Tchrengula Hill, (a mile beyond that) Nicholson's Nek, (two miles to the north-east) Pepworth Hill, (three miles further to the north-east) Long Hill, and (four miles to the east) Lombard's Kop. The British occupy a roughly circular perimeter which links together half a dozen lesser hills like beads on a string. As darkness falls on 29th October a column commanded by Frank Carleton [no convenient biography] is sent out to make its way to Nicholson's Nek, there to support an attack on the nearer heights by White's main force. Again, however, there are problems with the night manoeuvres and at daybreak Carleton has only made it as far as Tchrengula Hill, where - being overlooked from Nicholson's Nek - he has to endure 30th October under well-observed fire. White's main attack fares little better and the overall outcome is a convincing Boer victory with heavily disproportionate British casualties (400 British killed or wounded plus a further 800 taken prisoner, against 200 Boer killed or wounded). White now has little option but to man the perimeter at Ladysmith and prepare to be besieged. The final train out of the town (on 2nd November) takes with it the cavalry commander French [25th October<=>1900 (11th February)] and [another name to bear in mind] his Adjutant [Sir]1913 Douglas Haig [1st Earl Haig]1919 [Wikipedia biography=>1914 (21st August)] who can be put to better use organising the cavalry units presently arriving from Britain. Leaving siege lines to keep the defenders hemmed in, Botha now shifts mobile units toward the British railhead at Colenso, on the Tugela River 15 miles to the south, in order to forestall any relief effort [continues next entry ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1899 [30th October-1900 (28th February)] The Siege of Ladysmith: [Continued from preceding entry] This 118-day siege is the focal event of the Durban-Ladysmith Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October]. It is fought out between the Boer army under Joubert [<=preceding entry] and the British forces in and around Ladysmith under White [<=preceding entry]. White has around 8000 troops at his disposal, but they are well handled in defence and the Boers never mount an all-out attack [but see the entry for the Battle of Wagon Hill at 1900 (5th January)]. The eventual outcome is the successful relieving of the town by a column under Buller [12th October<=>15th December] on 28th February 1900. The siege is noteworthy in the present context (a) for the deployment (until their gas supplies run out) of a Royal Engineers observation balloon troop, and (b) for the public interest back home in the will-they-won't-they relief efforts. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  MOVIE CONTINUITY IS BORN  **********

**********  MOVIE CONTINUITY IS BORN  **********

**********  MOVIE CONTINUITY IS BORN  **********

1899 [November] Seeing is Believing [LXII - Early Motion Pictures (Technical Developments)]: [Continued from 20th October] The latest screening at George A. Smith's [1896 (November)<=>10th November] St. Ann's pleasure garden in Hove is a one-minute reel entitled "The Kiss in the Tunnel" [IMDB entry]. This work is noteworthy in the present context because it will in due course be identified as a successful early experiment in cinematographical (and therefore psychological) "continuity": YouTube the film now and note how three railway sequences (from Hepworth Studios [1896 (March)<=>1900 (24th January)]) have been edited around a central sequence filmed by Smith himself, to give a single coherent narrative. In France, meanwhile, Méliès [1898 (1st May)<=>1900 (15th April)] is having something of a box-office success with his first multiple-scene feature, the six-minute-long "Cendrillon" [in English as "Cinderella"; IMDB entry; YouTube it now] [sub-thread continues at 10th November ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

ASIDE - CONTINUITY ERRORS: Continuity errors in movies are nowadays so common that they have become bread-and-butter to light entertainment TV [YouTube tutorial]. RESEARCH ISSUE - CONTINUITY ERRORS: The human cognitive system is notoriously bad at detecting all but the most glaring continuity errors, as can readily be demonstrated: STUDENT EXERCISE - CONTINUITY ERRORS: Check out this self-explanatory YouTube. See also and compare STOP TRICK [=>1900 (15th April)], where similar cognitive processes are involved.

 

**********  HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT NEUROPSYCHOLOGY  **********

**********  HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT NEUROPSYCHOLOGY  **********

**********  HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT NEUROPSYCHOLOGY  **********

1899 [4th November] Locating Brain Function [VI - Freud (1899)]: [Continued from 1895 (23rd September)] Sigmund Freud [1895 (23rd September)<=>1901 (2nd January)] publishes "Die Traumdeutung" [in English (1913) as "The Interpretation of Dreams"], in which he sets out his theoretical interpretation of hundreds of dream case studies. His conclusion, in short, is that dreams typically reflect an unconscious "dream-wish" "which dates from the infantile life and is in a state of repression" (1913 Translation, p450) [continues at 1901 (2nd January) ...]. [THREAD = WW1 MILITARY MEDICINE AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE]

 

1899 [10th November-8th December] The Modder River Crossing: This river crossing under fire is fought as part of the Cape Town-Kimberley Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between Lord Methuen's [12th October<=>11th December] division and a Boer army under Piet Cronjé [Wikipedia biography=>11th December] and Jacobus de la Rey [Wikipedia biography=>11th December]. Methuen is heavily reliant on infantry and totally dependent on supply by rail, whereas the more lightly equipped Boer Kommandos fight as dragoons, that is to say, as cavalry when manoeuvring but as infantry when in action. This, together with the lack of water in (and maps of) the bush, makes Boer rail-blocks difficult to outflank. Methuen's first act is therefore to establish a forward headquarters at Orange River Station ...

 

CAMEO/RECOMMENDED READING - ORANGE RIVER STATION: Orange River Station [coordinates] was (and, as Oranjerivier, still is) a railway halt on the southern bank of the Orange River, six miles east of Hopetown, at the railway bridge on the De Aar-Kimberley leg of the Cape Town-Kimberley-Bulawayo Railway. It will soon become a tented barracks, hospital, and supply depot under the command of [Sir]1908 Henry H. Settle [Wikipedia biography]. Later in the war the facilities will be extended to include one of the largest Concentration Camps used during the "Sweepings" [=>1900 (1st September)]. There is much to be learned from Pelteret's (2008 online) virtual tour of the locality (check out especially the photograph of the blockhouse guarding the railway bridge, a fortified sentry post not at all dissimilar to those guarding the police stations and checkpoints of Northern Ireland 80 years later [check one out]). We also strongly recommend a 1996 paper by the historian Stephen M. Miller [University of Maine homepage] entitled "Lord Methuen and the British Advance to the Modder River" (Miller, 1996 online); also Smit and Janse van Rensburg's (2014 online) analysis of the influence of the terrain on the fighting.

 

Methuen's moves forward from Orange River Station on 21st November. His first objective is a Boer rail-block 15 miles up the line at Belmont [maplink at 12th October], where some 2000 men of the Kommandos of Jacobus Prinsloo [no convenient biography] and G? van der Merwe [no convenient biography] are awaiting them. When, following a pre-dawn approach, the British attack on 23rd November the Boer sharpshooters manage to inflict some 200 casualties on them. Then, under mounting pressure from Methuen's two full brigades [details in Miller (op. cit.), if interested], they simply remount and fall back to a similarly prepared position at Graspan [maplink at 12th October], eight miles further north. Again an attack has to be methodically prepared, again, when delivered on 25th November, casualties are heavy, and again the Boers simply fall back to prepared positions (at Enslin [coordinates], five miles north of Graspan). The final line of defence south of the Modder River itself (13 miles beyond Enslin) is a five-mile-wide entrenchment straddling the railway as it approaches the railway bridge. The battle here takes place on 28th November, beginning before dawn but faltering once caught in the open after daybreak. The Boers eventually withdraw, but only after inflicting some 400 British casualties. Their next stop will be at Magersfontein, five miles north of the river ... [continues cinematographically at next entry and militarily at 11th December ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

ASIDE - TACTICS, OLD AND NEW: The Boers had recently armed themselves with a consignment of Mauser M1895 [see Scarlata (2010 online) for a full run-down], which, firing smokeless rounds, was ideal for firing from concealed positions. Crucially, this weapon was already exposing serious deficiencies in British infantry tactics, thus (internal references omitted) ...

 

"At Belmont, Methuen [...] relied on the basic tenets of [...] classic nineteenth century warfare. Accordingly, he would seek to get his troops close enough to the enemy to conduct a bayonet or 'cold-steel' charge. Although [some commanders] argued that fire action was no longer just a preparation for the bayonet charge but the crux of the attack itself, most of the British Army, trained during an earlier time when rifles did not shoot as far and as accurately, when [powder smoke] obscured vision, and before magazines increased the rate of fire, relied on, as their main tactic in battle, that the charge would be preceded by volley fire. Therefore, the purpose of firepower was simply to establish a position close enough to the enemy to enable a bayonet charge to be launched. Volley fire had proven very effective in Africa and Asia [... but, i]ncreasingly, militarily critics advocated the use of independent fire. But independent fire in extended order, to be successful, required properly trained and drilled troops. Officers were less able to command the individual soldier as the firepower of weapons improved and lives extended along wider fronts. Better training and drill were needed, not only to keep up with the handling of modern and more advanced weaponry, but also to fill the gap left behind by the departure from close order which heretofore had provided good morale. This improved training was never adequately provided. No drill prepared the British troops to meet the challenge of the Boers and their new tactics" (Miller, op. cit., pp4-5 in our offprint).

 

More ominously ...

 

"For the first time, British troops in the open faced the full fire of modern weapons. The effects were devastating. No matter how good the British soldier was, he could not withstand modern firepower. The frontal assault as the main tactic for conducting a battle should have been laid to rest by the British Army at the Modder River; it was not" (ibid., p17 in our offprint).

 

Thus although the British were armed with the Lee-Metford [<=1895] and the Magazine Lee-Enfield (MLE) [ditto], which in theory were entirely comparable to the Mauser, they did not exploit the true potential of these new weapons. The Boers had also purchased some state-of-the-art Krupp field guns (although here they made the mistake of sourcing only high explosive ammunition, rather than shrapnel) and Creusot howitzers [see Hall (1971 online) for a full run-down].

 

1899 [10th November-8th December] Seeing is Believing [LXIII - The Cinema at War (Filming on the Orange and Modder Rivers)]: [Continued cinematographically from November, but in the military context of the preceding entry] The events on the Orange and Modder Rivers are scooped by Benett-Stanford [<=12th October], who has got himself embedded with the 1st Bn Northumberland Fusiliers (the ancestral 5th Regiment of Foot), part of 9th Brigade. Bottomore (op. cit.) credits him with "The Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers Digging Entrenchments" and "The Passing of the Armoured Train" [released 5th December; no clear IMDB entry; footage survives but not online as such, although possibly incorporated into the several British Pathé compilations readily available on YouTube], filmed at Orange River Station on or about 12th November. Moving forward at the end of the month with the Northumberlands' Headquarters Company he then adds "Troops Passing Over Modder River by Train" [IMDB entry; footage incorporated into this British Pathé compilation] and "Lancers Crossing the Modder River" [IMDB entry; footage incorporated into this British Pathé compilation], both available early in the New Year. Even closer to the fighting (as a serving Medical Officer with the Scots Guards, part of the Guards Brigade), Beevor [12th October<=>1900 (18th February)] was kept too busy to film during the advance out of Orange River Station (his equipment wagon would have had low priority within the Guards Brigade's impedimenta). His first offerings are therefore from the first week of December as his division crosses the Modder River. This material will go to market a month later under the titles "Bridging the Modder River" [IMDB entry], "Ambulance Crossing the Modder" [IMDB entry], "Cavalry Watering their Horses in the Modder" [IMDB entry], and half a dozen others in like vein. Hyman [12th October<=>23rd December)], meanwhile remains in Cape Town filming the comings and going there, resulting in reels such as (14th November) "Scots Guards Entraining at Cape Town Docks" [IMDB entry] and (23rd December) "The Australian Mounted Rifles Marching through Cape Town" [IMDB entry; footage incorporated into this British Pathé compilation]. Rosenthal [12th October<=>1900 (24th January)] is still en route, as is Dickson [12th October<=>1900 (24th January)], who has decided to move on from Cape Town to Durban in order to cover the Ladysmith Campaign. Bottomore explains that Benett-Stanford sent his exposed film to George A. Smith [November<=>1900 (28th February [ASIDE])] for processing, with the prints subsequently being commercially distributed by the Warwick Trading Company [12th October<=>1900 (28th May)], whilst Beevor has a similar arrangement with the R. W. Paul Company [20th October<=>15th November] [sub-thread continues at next entry ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1899 [15th November] Seeing is Believing [LXIV - The Cinema at War ("The Battle of Muswell Hill")]: [Continued cinematographically from preceding entry, but militarily from the one before that] On 15th November the Boers south of Colenso ambush a British armoured train moving up from the town of Frere [map, etc.]. This train is manned by some 120 troops, accompanied by the war correspondent Winston Churchill [12th October<=>1900 (12th February] ...

 

ASIDE: It was Churchill's second such outing, and his telegraphed account of the first was appearing in British newspapers at about the same time as the second was coming to grief.

 

However as it approaches the Chieveley railway halt  [coordinates], still seven miles south of Colenso, it runs into a Boer ambush and decides to return to Frere. The Boers, of course, have planned for exactly this eventuality and a detachment has got in behind the train and sabotaged the track. The leading wagon is derailed and the survivors set about clearing the wreckage under heavy fire, only abandoning their efforts when the wounded outnumber the able-bodied. Churchill is amongst 60 or so survivors taken prisoner. The event is noteworthy in the present context because it will be re-enacted in short order by the R. W. Paul Company [10th November<=>1900 (18th February)], and released on 9th December as "Wrecking an Armoured Train" [IMDB entry; footage lost]. The film was shot "on a siding to the north of London" (Bottomore, 2007, X, p5), leading it to be referred to by those in the know as the "Battle of Muswell Hill" [sub-thread continues at 1900 (11th February) ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

**********  AN OPPORTUNITY LOST  **********

**********  AN OPPORTUNITY LOST  **********

**********  AN OPPORTUNITY LOST  **********

1899 [21st November] The Kaiser Visits His Grandmother: Kaiser Wilhelm II [30th May<=>1900 (20th June)] attends a Windsor Castle banquet during a family visit to his grandmother Queen Victoria [1887 (20th June)<=>1901 (2nd February)]. Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain [7th August<=>1901 (25th October)] takes the opportunity of suggesting an Anglo-German Alliance of some sort. Much to Chamberlain's irritation, however, the Germans do not take up the offer (preferring instead to begin discussions on their distinctly confrontational Second Naval Bill a few days later). [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1899 [22nd November] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXXI - American Marconi]: [Continued from 23rd October] To help him expand into the American marketplace Guglielmo Marconi [23rd October<=>1900 (26th April)] founds the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company for America [Wikipedia factsheet] [continues at 1900 (8th February) ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1899 [23rd November] Upon the death of Thomas H. Ismay [Wikipedia biography] his son J. Bruce Ismay [Wikipedia biography=>1902 (1st October)] becomes C.E.O. of White Star Line [14th January<=>1901 (4th April)]. [THREAD = WW1 MILITARY MEDICINE AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE]

 

**********  BATTLE #1 IN THE BRITISH ARMY'S BLACK WEEK  **********

1899 [8th-10th December] The Battle of Stormberg: This battle is fought as part of Gatacre's [12th October<=>eventually sidelined] Cape Midlands Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between a Boer army under Jan Hendrik Olivier [no convenient biography] and Gatacre's spearhead units. The Boers have seized the town to prevent the British using the East London-Bloemfontein railway to support the main offensive out of Cape Town further west. Gatacre assembles such troops as are available (about a half brigade) but thanks to poor staff-work the outcome is an easy Boer victory and a disrupted British advance. The British casualty rate (mainly prisoners-of-war) is close on 50%. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  BATTLE #2 IN THE BRITISH ARMY'S BLACK WEEK  **********

**********  "A DRAWING-ROOM GENERAL'S MISTAKE"1  **********

1899 [11th December] The First Battle of Magersfontein: This battle is fought as part of Lord Methuen's [10th November<=>1900 (11th February)] Cape Town-Kimberley Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between a Boer army under Cronjé [10th November<=>1900 (11th February)] and De la Rey [10th November<=>1900 (1st September)] and Methuen's spearhead units, namely the Highland Brigade, the Guards Brigade, and the 9th Brigade. The Boers have established a defensive line astride the Cape Town-Mafeking-Bulawayo Railway at Magersfontein [maplink at 12th October], five miles north of the Modder River, thus ...

 

"At the insistence of General [De la Rey], the Boers decided to take up defensive positions at a line of koppies called Magersfontein. This placed them directly in Methuen's way, as the latter had to pass directly by Magersfontein via the railway line in order to reach Kimberley. The Boers, having learnt from their mistakes at Graspan and Enslin, would stay out of the koppies this time around and dig their positions in front of the  Magersfontein koppies rather than on the hilltops" (Smit and Janse van Rensburg, op. cit., p127).

 

Following the disproportionate losses fighting his way forward from Belmont to the Modder River [<=10th November], Methuen is already short of some 2000 front-line fighters (some 25% of those immediately available). He is also taken by surprise by the Boers being out in front of the heights rather than on them, with the result that his troops are still in marching formation2 when first engaged. By nightfall the British will have suffered more than a thousand casualties and are pulling back to the Modder River to await reinforcements. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1,2ASIDE/RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Methuen has been heavily criticised by historians for following outdated rules rather too inflexibly, and Magersfontein was indeed his fourth costly frontal attack in a fortnight. But the British Army's outmoded tactics were compounded in this particular offensive by a lack of reconnaissance units, as a consequence of which the assault troops were routinely never in the right place at the right time. One survivor of the battle - a "Private Smith" of the Highland Brigade's Black Watch (the ancestral 42nd Regiment of Foot) - later commemorated the battle in the poem from which this entry's headline text is taken. Here are the last four lines of that piece (note the rank-and-file's sense of betrayal for lives squandered by command error and inefficiency, something we shall be seeing time and time again in WW1 poetry) ...

 

"Why weren't we told of the trenches?

Why weren't we told of the wire?

Why were we marched up in column,

May Tommy Atkins enquire?"

 

This YouTube amateur documentary traces the ordeal of the Highland Brigade in some detail both in the local museum and on the battlefield itself. Click here to listen to the commemorative bagpipe lament entitled "The Highland Brigade at Magersfontein".

 

**********  BATTLE #3 IN THE BRITISH ARMY'S BLACK WEEK  **********

1899 [15th December] The Battle of Colenso: This battle is fought as part of the Durban-Ladysmith Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between a Boer army under Louis Botha [30th October<=>1900 (24th January)] and a British army four times its size under Buller [30th October<=>23rd December]. The Boers have dug themselves in along the northern banks of the Tugela River, blocking road and rail communication with the garrison at Ladysmith and cutting the telegraph lines ...

 

ASIDE: Colenso retained line of sight to the hills around the Ladysmith perimeter, and was therefore able to communicate with the garrison there by heliograph by day and by lamp by night.

 

Buller has resolved to cross the river under fire but although in this he has not a lot of options his frontal attack is "spectacularly inept" (Meredith, 2007), resulting in a Boer victory with massively disproportionate British casualties (1138 against 38). [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1899 [23rd December] Seeing is Believing [LXV - The Cinema at War (Lord Roberts Takes Over)]: [Continued from 15th November] Following the setbacks in Black Week [above], the British War Office appoints the veteran Lord Roberts [12th October<=>1900 (11th February)] to relieve Buller [15th December<=>1900 (24th January)] as Commander-in-Chief in South Africa (although he remains Officer Commanding for the operations in Natal). His arrival in Cape Town on 10th January will be filmed by Hyman [10th November<=>1900 (18th February)] and subsequently released as "Arrival and Reception of Lord Roberts" [IMDB entry; footage incorporated into this British Pathé compilation] [sub-thread continues at 1900 (24th January) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900  The British clergyman and Secretary of the Peace Society [<=1848] W. Evans Darby [no convenient biography] publishes "International Arbitration" [full text online], a history of humankind's various attempts to establish an international political and military peace-keeping force. [THREAD = WW1 PACIFISM AND CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION]

 

1900  Arthur Junghans [<=1875] and Thomas Haller [Wikipedia biography] merge their respective family clock-making businesses as Junghans and Haller Clockmakers. Three years later they will have grown into the largest clockmaker in the world, and two years after that [continues at 1905 ...]. Around the same time the German chemist Carl Duisberg [Wikipedia biography=>1914 (1st October)] is promoted to C.E.O. of Friedrich Bayer and Company [1863 (2nd January)<=>1914 (1st October)]. Duisberg will in due course be one of the prime movers in Germany's 1916 programme of deporting unemployed Belgian workers [=>1916 (24th October)], and also in the 1925 creation of I. G. Farben. [THREAD = THE WW1 FINANCIAL AND ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES]

 

1900  The French chemist Victor Grignard [Wikipedia biography] starts to develop processes to help synthesise organic compounds to demand. The work will eventually win for him the 1912 Nobel Prize for chemistry. [THREAD = THE INDUSTRIAL AND SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS]

 

1900  The Swiss Army tests and adopts a 7.65mm variant of Georg Luger's new pistol [1898<=>1904] designating it the Ordonanzpistole OP00. [THREAD = WW1 SMALL ARMS]

 

1900  A newly qualified physician named Carl Jung [Wikipedia biography=>1902] becomes an intern to Eugen Bleuler [1898<=>1908 (24th April)] at the University of Zurich's Burghölzli Clinic [<=1898]. His doctoral research will focus on the psychology of "occult phenomena" [continues at 1902 ...]. [THREAD = WW1 MILITARY MEDICINE AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE]

 

1900  William Beardmore and Company [1888<=>1906 (23rd June)] takes over Napier's Shipyard [Wikipedia factsheet], Govan. Around the same time Beardmore's also start to develop a site at Dalmuir on the opposite bank of the River Clyde, naming it the Naval Construction Yard [no separate factsheet=>1906 (23rd June)]. It gets its first order, for HMS Agamemnon [=>1906 (23rd June)], in 1904. [THREAD = THE WW1 FINANCIAL AND ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES]

 

1900  The Japanese academic Shunkichi Kimura [no convenient biography=>1903] takes a place on the Imperial Japanese Navy's Research Committee for Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1900  Arthur Evans [<=1894] begins excavations at the Palace of Minos at Knossos, Crete. [THREAD = PRE-WW1 INTELLECTUAL RIVALRY]

 

1900 [1st January] German Naval Expansion [VII - The Bundesrath Incident]: [Continued from 1899 (13th March)] The SS Bundesrath [no convenient shipography] is boarded off the South African coast by HMS Magicienne [no convenient shipography=>17th March] and ([deliberately too?] briefly) inspected for war contraband. Since Germany is at this time a neutral country the event has serious diplomatic consequences [continues at 20th June ...]. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES]

 

1900 [5th January] The Battle of Wagon Hill: This battle is fought as part of the Siege of Ladysmith [<=1899 (30th October)] when a force of the Boers commanded by Cornelis Janse de Villiers [no convenient biography] launches a surprise assault on Wagon Hill and "Caesar's Camp" (jointly, the Platrand [coordinates]), the two southernmost hills in the British perimeter. The defenders are commanded by [Sir]LATER THIS YEAR Ian S. M. Hamilton [Wikipedia biography=>1915 (8th March)] (whom we shall be seeing again in the Dardanelles in 1915). The attackers inflict more than 400 British casualties, and then withdraw. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Click here for an informative amateur documentary visit to the battlefield.

 

1900  [10th January] The twin-screw passenger liner SS Deutschland [Wikipedia shipography=>scrapped 1925] is launched at A.G. Vulkan [1897 (4th May)<=>1901 (30th March)], Stettin, for service with the Hamburg-America Line [1891 (22nd January)<=>1912 (23rd May)]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [13th January] The City Imperial Volunteers: The latest British volunteer corps to sail for South Africa is the City Imperial Volunteers [Wikipedia factsheet], comprising some 1400 men drawn from the banks and offices of London's financial district. Upon arrival they will be assigned to French's Cavalry Brigade [=>11th February] (it will be they, for example, who provide the escort for "Cronjé's Surrender" [=>18th February]). [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  THE "DUFFER"1 LOSES HIS LAST BATTLE  **********

1900 [24th January] Seeing is Believing [LXVI - The Cinema at War (The Battle of Spion Kop)]: [Continued from 1899 (23rd December)] This battle is fought as part of the Durban-Ladysmith Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between a Boer army under Louis Botha [1899 (15th December)<=>12th February] and a British army more than twice its size under (overall) Buller [1899 (23rd December)<=>12th February] and (5th Division) Sir Charles Warren [Wikipedia biography=>12th February]. In preparation for a major relief effort toward Ladysmith the British have decided that possession of Spion Kop is vital to crossing the Tugela River (the heights overlook the crossing place at Trichardt's Drift [coordinates]). In the event, however, a heavy overnight mist prevents Warren's assault battalions from making it all the way to the summit, and when the skies clear they find themselves overlooked and with minimal cover. They remain pinned down and taking casualties until nightfall permits the survivors to be withdrawn. Casualties are disproportionate (1500 British and 335 Boers). The relief effort is abandoned for the time being, and Warren is dismissed for bungling2. Unable to get close to the action Rosenthal [1899 (10th November)<=>11th February] contents himself with a lines of communication reel entitled "General Buller's Transport Train of Ox-Teams" [no clear IMDB entry; footage probably the final few seconds of this British Pathé compilation]. He has now been joined by Dickson [1899 (10th November)<=>28th February], whose first dozen efforts attend to similar rear echelons activities. Worthy of mention are "Operations of Red Cross Ambulances after Spion Kop" [IMDB entry; YouTube it now], filmed on the Tugela, and "On to Ladysmith" [IMDB entry], filmed at Chieveley [maplink at 1899 (15th November)]. Back in Britain, meanwhile, Hepworth Studios [1899 (November)<=>1901 (2nd February)] are putting the finishing touches to a light-hearted allegory entitled "The Conjuror and the Boer" [IMDB entry] [sub-thread continues at 11th February ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1,2ASIDE: The view that Sir Charles Warren was a bit of a duffer [idiomatic but no longer everyday English = not intellectually up to the allocated task] was unmistakably expressed by Buller in private correspondence.

 

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Click here for an informative SATV documentary visit to the battlefield.

 

1900 [28th January] The Deutscher Fussball-Bund [= "German Football Association"] [modern corporate website (it's likely to be partly concealed by the "Wir sind Weltmeister!" banner)] is founded. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [8th February] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXXII - Stone's Pure Wave]: [Continued from 1899 (22nd November)] The American engineer John S. Stone [Wikipedia biography=>1904 (23rd February)] files for a U.S. Patent (eventually granted 2nd December 1902 as U.S. Patent 714756) under the title "Method of Selective Electric Signalling". The thrust of the 45 [!!] separate points of novelty claimed is to support a "multiple inductive oscillation circuit" capable of generating a pure signal wave-form of known and controllable frequency [continues at 27th February ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

**********  ROBERTS SWINGS A PERFECT RIGHT HOOK  **********

1900 [11th-17th February] Seeing is Believing [LXVII - The Cinema at War (The Second Battle of Magersfontein and the Relief of Kimberley)]: [Continued cinematographically from 24th January and militarily from 1899 (11th December)] In the two months since the setback at the First Battle of Magersfontein [<=1899 (11th December)] the British have been progressively building up reinforcements on the Modder River, so that when Lord Roberts [1899 (23rd December)<=>18th February] arrives by train from Cape Town on 9th February he has available to him not just Methuen's [1899 (11th December)<=>18th February] 1st Division (Guards Brigade and 9th Brigade) but also [Sir]1904 Thomas Kelly-Kenny's [Wikipedia biography=>18th February] 6th Division (13th and 18th Brigades), [Sir]LATER THIS YEAR Charles Tucker's [Wikipedia biography=>18th February] 7th Division (14th and 15th Brigades) ...

 

CAMEO - 2ND BN SOUTH WALES BORDERERS: The South Wales Borderers (the ancestral 24th Regiment of Foot) recruited two "Voluntary Service" companies to fight as the 2nd Bn (the 1st Bn was stationed in India). The first of these "VSCs" is presently en route from Britain and will not be operational (with 15th Brigade) until May. The second will join them in 1901.

 

, Sir Henry E. Colvile's [Wikipedia biography=>18th February] 9th Division (Highland Brigade) ...

 

ASIDE: After its mauling on 11th December 1899 the Highland Brigade's replacement brigadier, [Sir]1901 Hector A. MacDonald [Wikipedia biography=>18th February], had simply refused to serve any longer under Methuen.

 

, and French's [1899 (25th October)<=>18th February] Mounted Division (Cavalry Brigade and two short brigades of mounted infantry) ...

 

ASIDE - MOUNTED INFANTRY IN THE BOER WAR: In order to offset the superior mobility of the Boer Kommandos, British infantry regiments were asked to train up companies of horsemen. These units fought as infantrymen, not cavalrymen - that is to say, on foot and with rifle and bayonet; they were not armed with lances or swords and executed no cavalry charges as such (they were cavalrymen without the attitude, in other words). There would be no equivalent units in the immobile war on the WW1 Western Front, but the tactical principle would be seen again (mutatis mutandis) in WW2 in the Wermacht's notion of the Panzergrenadier [comparison image], and in modern times in the APC [= "armoured personnel carrier"; comparison image].

 

, along with plentiful field and medium artillery. Roberts therefore has the luxury of being able to resource two axes of advance, namely (1) allowing Methuen's division to continue to threaten in a north-north-easterly direction along the Cape Town-Mafeking-Bulawayo railway line toward Kimberley, while (2) sending his fresh units in a surprise outflanking move to the right (soon to be named "The Great Flank March") to threaten Bloemfontein [maplink at 1899 (12th October)], the Orange Free State's capital (from where he would then be able to advance northward along the Bloemfontein-Pretoria railway line into the Transvaal). The main Boer field army on this front is presently maintaining its rail-block at Magersfontein [ditto], and would not be strong enough, Roberts calculated, to be able to divide its forces and defend Kimberley and Bloemfontein at the same time. The British attack begins late on 11th February with French's horse leading a dash eastward to seize a crossing over the Riet River ...

 

GEOGRAPHICAL ASIDE: The Magersfontein rail-block is situated five miles north of the confluence [coordinates] of the Riet (from the south-east) and the Modder (from the north-east) Rivers. Roberts was trying to get in behind those well-defended positions by crossing the Riet further to the south-east, and by then striking northward to the Modder. He had therefore assembled his fresh troops in the open country east of the railway line between Graspan [maplink at 12th October] and Enslin [ditto], from where it was a day's march eastward to the Waterval Drift [coordinates] crossing of the Riet, followed by a further 30 miles northward to the Klip Drift [coordinates] and Dekiel's Drift [coordinates] crossings of the Modder.

 

After two full days of forced marching Roberts' four divisions are strung out along a 50-mile-long arc of veldt, exhausted and logistically disorganised, but in precisely the right place tactically speaking. French's vanguard is across the Modder, Kelly-Kenny's 6th Division is close on his heels, and the 7th and 9th Divisions are holding open the lines of communication all the way back to Graspan. Roberts rests his troops on 14th February and on 15th sends French and 2000 men of his division to break through to Kimberley. At the same time, very much at risk of being surrounded should he stay at Magersfontein and Kimberley, Cronjé [1899 (11th December)<=>12th February] abandons his positions there and executes an exceptionally clever1 forced march of his own toward the Paardeberg and Koedoesrand Hills [maplinks at 1899 (12th October)], deftly putting himself astride Roberts' approach to Bloemfontein. This week-long battle is accordingly the first major British victory of the war, and one achieved by bold manoeuvre rather than by expensive frontal assault. As for the cameramen, the battle unfolds far too quickly for them to keep up, although Rosenthal [24th January<=>13th March] (having transferred from the Natal Front following the events at Spion Kop [<=24th January]) does manage to "arrange" a reel entitled "A Skirmish with the Boers near Kimberley" [IMDB entry; footage incorporated into this British Pathé compilation] [sub-thread continues at 18th February ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1ASIDE: Cronjé moved 5000 men and all the associated wagons across open country, across the rear of the cavalry en route for Kimberley and across the front of the infantry still on the Modder. The rumbling of their wagons was not heard because the British were moving transports of their own, and their dust was not spotted until the morning, by which time they were well on their way.

 

**********  ROBERTS SWINGS ANOTHER RIGHT HOOK  **********

**********  THE DECISIVE BATTLE IN NATAL  **********

**********  THE DECISIVE BATTLE IN NATAL  **********

**********  THE DECISIVE BATTLE IN NATAL  **********

1900 [12th-27th February] The Battle of the Tugela: In the month since the setback at Spion Kop [<=24th January] the British have been building up reinforcements on the Colenso Front in Natal, so that Buller [24th January<=>28th February] now has available to him Sir Cornelius F. Clery's [Wikipedia biography] 2nd Division (2nd and 4th Brigades), Arthur F. Hart's [no convenient biography] 3rd Division (5th (Irish) and 6th (Fusilier) Brigades) ...

 

CAMEO - 1ST BN ROYAL WELCH FUSILIERS: The 1st Bn Royal Welch Fusiliers (the ancestral 23rd Regiment of Foot) arrived in South Africa in mid-November 1899 and was assigned, along with three other fusilier battalions, to [Sir]1906 Geoffrey Barton's [Wikipedia biography] 6th (Fusilier) Brigade. The battalion's Commanding Officer was Charles C. H. Thorold [no convenient biography=>killed in action 24th February]. Notably it took part in the attacks north of the Tugela - see below - during which Thorold was mortally wounded.

 

, [Sir]1911 Neville G. Lyttelton's [Wikipedia biography] 4th Division (7th and 8th Brigades) ...

 

ASIDE: Readers in detail should note that Lyttelton had until very recently commanded 4th Brigade [see London Gazette of 13th October 1899], part of 5th Division, and that his advancement had at this juncture yet to be officially acknowledged [see London Gazette of 22nd March 1900].

 

, Warren's [<=24th January] 5th Division (10th and 11th Brigades), and Douglas Cochrane, 12th Earl of Dundonald's [Wikipedia biography] 3nd (Natal) Cavalry Brigade. The Boers are commanded by Louis Botha [24th January<=>11th June], and have recently reduced their numbers by some 5000 men, sent to reinforce Cronjé [11th February<=>18th February] on the Modder River.

 

GEOGRAPHICAL ASIDE: The railway town of Colenso [maplink at 1899 (12th October)] is situated a mile south of the Tugela River [ditto]. Check out both town and river on this Google Earth image, noting how the river runs east, then north, then east again, as it snakes between two significant massifs. Both of these massifs are subdivided in turn by tributary gorges and ravines, making the terrain in Natal totally different to that presently facing Roberts in Western Cape. The British were driven from the town during the Battle of Colenso [<=1899 (15th December)] and fell back to the railway halt at Chieveley [maplink at 1899 (15th November)]. The Boers have strong positions in the town and on both massifs. On their left (south of the river, east of the town) the named features include (from north-west to south-east) Hlangwane Hill [coordinates], Green Hill [coordinates], the Monte Cristo Ridge [coordinates], Cingolo Hill [coordinates] and Hussar Hill [coordinates].

 

ASIDE - DEFENDING FROM HEIGHTS: After their success in December the Boers defended from the nearest high ground, just as the Germans would do in 1914 after the First Battle of the Marne [=>1914 (10th September) [Aisne Heights] and 12th October [Messines Ridge])]. Places like Hlangwane Hill were thus the Thiepval, Vimy, and Bazentin Ridges of their day, murderously uphill in every possible sense.

 

On the Boer right (north of the river, west of the town) the named features include (from south-west to north-east) Wynne's Hill [coordinates], Hart's Hill [coordinates; the heights are to the south-east of the modern railway halt], Pieter's Hill [coordinates; the heights are to the east of the modern railway halt], and Railway's Hill [coordinates]. A large tributary gorge - the Langverwachte Spruit [coordinates; a Spruit is the Dutch/Afrikaans word for sprout, hence offspring, hence tributary waterway] - separates Hart's Hill from Pieter's Hill.

 

Buller has decided to clear the Hlangwane massif before trying to cross the Tugela, and we shall allow Winston Churchill [1899 (15th November)<=>28th February] to explain his thinking in this ...

 

"Let us now consider the Boer left by itself. It ran in a chain of sangars [= rapidly erected breastworks of stones and/or sandbags], trenches, and rifle-pits, from Colenso village, through the scrub by the river, over the rugged hill at Hlangwani, along a smooth grass ridge we called 'The Green Hill', and was extended to guard against a turning movement on to the lofty wooded ridges of Monte Cristo and Cingolo and the neck joining these two features. Sir Redvers Buller's determination was to turn this widely extended position on its extreme left, and to endeavour to crumple it from left to right" (Churchill, 1900 [Project Gutenberg full text online]; Chapter 22). Churchill, W. L. S. (1900). London to Ladysmith via Pretoria. London: Longmans.

 

The battle begins on 12th February with Dundonald's cavalry aggressively scouting up onto Hussar Hill, and elements of 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Division assembling in the valleys south of Green Hill. On 14th February the cavalry fights its way forward onto Cingolo Hill, from where its horse artillery becomes able to cover a parallel advance by the infantry. The assault proper then begins on 17th February and by mid-afternoon on 18th February 2nd Brigade has taken the Monte Cristo Ridge, 4th Brigade and 6th (Fusilier) Brigade have taken Green Hill, and the Boers are falling back across the Tugela to the heights north of the river. Realising that his troops are too exhausted to pursue them Buller cautiously mops up in their wake, not re-occupying Colenso until 19th February and not arriving at the Tugela until late on 20th. On 21st February Buller's field engineers manage to throw a pontoon bridge across the Tugela at [approximate coordinates], allowing Wynne's 11th Brigade to fan out toward Wynne's Hill and Hart's 5th (Irish) Brigade to do likewise toward Hart's Hill. However the Boers now have the advantage of the heights again and the advances soon stall. The attack is then taken up by fresh brigades on 27th February, and, after heavy fighting, 6th (Fusilier) Brigade captures Pieter's Hill, 5th (Irish) Brigade takes Railway Hill, and 4th Brigade takes Hart's Hill. Driven off by a final bayonet charge the Boers abandon their positions here and around Ladysmith and begin a 60-mile withdrawal to fall-back positions in the Biggarsberg Mountains north of Dundee [maplink at 1899 (12th October)]. The British suffer around 2300 casualties (72 of whom are from 1/RWF) during the battle, the Boers significantly fewer. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  THE DECISIVE BATTLE IN THE NORTHERN CAPE  **********

**********  THE DECISIVE BATTLE IN THE NORTHERN CAPE  **********

**********  THE DECISIVE BATTLE IN THE NORTHERN CAPE  **********

1900 [18th-27th February] Seeing is Believing [LXVIII - The Cinema at War (The Battle of Paardeberg)]: [Continued cinematographically and militarily from 11th February] This nine-day-long battle is the showdown confrontation between the British advancing out of the Northern Cape and the Boers falling back from Magersfontein and Kimberley. The commanders are Lord Kitchener [1899 (12th October)<=>20th November] and Cronjé [12th February<=>10th March], respectively.

 

ASIDE: Lord Roberts [11th February<=>10th March] had been taken ill a few days earlier and his Chief-of-Staff Kitchener was presently acting up.

 

Cronjé's Kommandos are centred around Vendusie Drift [approximate coordinates], with reinforcements approaching from both the north-east (under Jakobus F. De Beer1 [no convenient biography]) and the south-east (under politicians-in-the-field President Steyn [<=1899 (12th October)] and Christiaan R. De Wet [Wikipedia biography=>10th March]). Kitchener therefore implements a double-pincer movement. The outer pincers stay three or four miles from the river and engage the Boer reinforcements, whilst the inner pincers hug closer to the river in a bid to drive Cronjé's outposts back into his laager so as to surround them. The key to both the inner and the outer southern pincers are some heights since named Kitchener's Hill [coordinates], two miles south of Vendusie Drift. The keys to the inner and the outer northern pincers are Gun Hill [coordinates], about two miles to the north-west of Vendusie, and the Koedoesrand Ridge [coordinates], four miles to the north-east of same, where French's [11th February<=>7th March] cavalry - thanks to another highly effective forced march - has already placed itself across one the Boers' possible lines of retreat. Kitchener has available to him Kelly-Kenny's [11th February<=>10th March] 6th Division (12th Brigade and 18th Brigade [including 1st Bn Welch Regiment]) and Colvile's [<=11th February] 9th Division (Highland Brigade and 19th Brigade [including 1st Bn Gordon Highlanders and 2nd Royal Canadian Regiment]). The battle begins on 18th February - a date which will become known as "Bloody Sunday". Kitchener orders 9th Division to deploy MacDonald's [<=11th February] Highland Brigade along the southern bank of the river (thus forming the inner pincer, south) whilst Smith-Dorrien's [1879 (22nd January)<=>1914 (21st August)] 19th Brigade ("probably the finest brigade in the whole army"2) crosses to the northern bank and moves toward the Boer outer perimeter on Gun Hill and in the donga [= a deep watercourse cut into a floodplain, and hence a very handy natural trench] which drains down from it into the Modder (forming the inner pincer, north). French's cavalry is already in position (as the outer pincer, north) to provide covering fire from Koedoesrand. The right of the Highland Brigade is covered by 6th Division attacking Kitchener's Hill and the approaches to Vandenberg's Drift [coordinates], three miles past Vendusie. These manoeuvres result in a dozen or so battalion-sized firefights in which the tactical advantage is always with the well-sited Boer defenders, thus ....

 

CAMEO - 1ST BN WELCH REGIMENT ON BLOODY SUNDAY: 1/WR arrived in Port Elizabeth on 4th February and was assigned to Theodore T. Stephenson's [Wikipedia biography] 18th Brigade within Kelly-Kenny's 6th Division. On 18th February it advanced in company with 1st Bn Essex Regiment toward the kopje overlooking Vandenberg's Drift, while the other two battalions of the brigade advanced on Kitchener's Hill. These were direct attacks on experienced Boer marksmen and despite the good use of rush-and-drop tactics casualties steadily accumulate. By nightfall the battalion had suffered 78 casualties, and De Wet retained possession of Kitchener's Hill, which Kitchener had neglected to secure with sufficient strength ...

 

ASIDE: Kitchener's bungling at Paardeberg on Bloody Sunday would be conveniently forgotten when, in 1914, Britain needed a new Secretary of State for War [=>1914 (5th August)].

 

CAMEO - 2ND ROYAL CANADIAN REGIMENT ON BLOODY SUNDAY: At the Battle of Paardeberg 2/RCR was commanded by [Sir]1913 William D. Otter [Wikipedia biography] and was attached to Smith-Dorrien's 19th Brigade within Colville's 9th Division. On 18th February the battalion engaged the Boer perimeter in the region of the Gun Hill donga in a day-long firefight which cost it around 90 casualties. It was a day of deep national significance, however ...

 

"The Battle of Paardeberg was the first time men in Canadian uniform, fighting in a Canadian unit, made war overseas. It also gave Canada its first remembrance day: from 1900 until the end of the First World War, Canadians gathered not on November 11, but on February 27 - Paardeberg Day - to commemorate the country's war dead and its achievements in South Africa" (Foot, 2014 online).

 

CAMEO/RECOMMENDED READING - 1ST BN GORDON HIGHLANDERS ON BLOODY SUNDAY: At the Battle of Paardeberg 1/GH was commanded by Herbert H. Burney [no convenient biography] and was attached to Smith-Dorrien's 19th Brigade within Colville's 9th Division. On 18th February the battalion advanced around the reverse slope of Gun Hill to take position on the north-western shoulder of the Boer perimeter (i.e., to the left of the Canadians facing the donga), where they spent the day in an intense firefight with the defenders. Their exploits are meticulously explained in Chissel (2011 online).

 

One of the early historians will assess the day's events as follows ...

 

"... what happened on the morning of Sunday, February 18th, was that from every quarter an assault was urged across the level plains, to the north and to the south, upon the lines of desperate and invisible men who lay in the dongas and behind the banks of the river. Everywhere there was a terrible monotony about the experiences of the various regiments [namely] that bravery can be of no avail against concealed riflemen well-entrenched, and that the more hardy is the attack the heavier must be the repulse. [...] What had we got in return for our eleven hundred casualties? We had contracted the Boer position from about three miles to less than two [although] our shrapnel alone, without any loss of life, might have effected the same thing" (Conan Doyle, 1902 online, Chapter 19).

 

As soon as news of the Bloody Sunday losses reaches Roberts he quits his sickbed and sets out at 0400hr on 19th February with Tucker's [11th February<=>10th March] 7th Division (14th and 15th Brigades [including (although not yet at full strength) 2nd Bn South Wales Borderers]) and all available artillery. They start to arrive at Paardeberg around mid-morning, and Roberts immediately takes steps to calm things down. He is persuaded by the divisional commanders to mount no more major infantry assaults until the more or less encircled Boers have been softened up by artillery. The British bombardment begins without delay and, later in the day, Roberts invites Cronjé to surrender, but to no avail. On 20th February the encirclement is tightened and the shelling intensifies, soon killing enough of Cronjé's transport animals to render his force immobile. Unable to break out Cronjé permits De Wet to disengages and the latter then heads off upriver to Poplar Grove [maplink at 7th March] to prepare the next line of defence. On 22nd February the Royal Engineers Balloon Section gets an observation balloon into the air to improve artillery spotting, and the shelling continues, the infantry remaining on half rations to permit the logistical train to feed the guns. Finally toward dusk on 26th February 1/GH and 2/RCR are ordered to mount a pre-dawn attack on the battered Boer perimeter. This brings them within yards of the Boer perimeter, and after a two hour firefight at close range the Boers raise the white flag. It is the 19th Anniversary of the British defeat in the Battle of Majuba Hill [<= 1881 (27th February)]. The overall outcome is a decisive British victory, with 4019 Boers taken as prisoners-of-war. A few hours later Beevor [1899 (10th November)<=>13th March] is fortuitously in the right place to film Cronjé's departure under guard following the formalities, this material surviving as the R. W. Paul Company's [1899 (15th November)<=>17th May] "Cronjé's Surrender to Lord Roberts" [IMDB entry; YouTube it now]. British casualties at Paardeberg total 303/320 (sources differ) killed and 906/942 wounded (ditto). Some of the latter will become unwitting movie extras at Durban a couple of days later when Hyman [1899 (23rd December)<=>28th May] films "Arrival of Wounded at Hospital Ship" [IMDB entry; footage incorporated into this British Pathé compilation] [sub-thread continues at 28th February ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1ASIDE: The north-eastern body of Boer reinforcements were initially commanded by Ignatius S. Ferreira [no convenient biography=>killed in action 18th February 1900]. De Beer assumed command after Ferreira was mistakenly shot by one of his own sentries on 18th February.

 

2This phrase from Conan Doyle (op. cit).

 

1900 [26th-27th February] The main British socialist parties hold a joint conference at the Congregational Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, London, and agree to form a single overarching organisation capable of competing meaningfully in the electoral process. This new organisation is duly named the "Labour Representation Committee" [Wikipedia factsheet=>1906 (12th January)]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [27th February] F.C. Bayern München [= "Bayern Munich Football Club"] [modern corporate website] is founded. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [27th February] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXXIII - Murray's Printing Telegraph]: [Continued from 8th February] The New Zealand inventor Donald Murray [Wikipedia biography] files for a U.S. patent (eventually granted on 17th July 1900 as U.S. Patent 653936) under the title "Page-Printing Telegraph". The device uses a five-key 32-item codebook, but the character-to-code assignment is different to that already in use under Émile Baudot's [<=1874 (17th June)] system. With further amendments, the system will eventually be standardised at the International Telegraph Alphabet, No. 2 [continues at 17th March ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

**********  LADYSMITH GETS "FOOD AND FRIENDS"1  **********

1900 [28th February] Seeing is Believing [LXIX - The Cinema at War (The Relief of Ladysmith)]: [Continued from 18th February] With the Boers in full retreat from the Tugela River [<=12th February] the honour of actually relieving Ladysmith falls to (yet another WW1 celebrity) [Sir]1937 Hubert Gough [Wikipedia biography=>1914 (8th October)], who has been scouting ahead. Winston Churchill [1899 (15th November)<=>26th September], who was in the relief column, describes the events ....

 

"... a messenger came back from Gough with the news that the last ridge between us and the town was unoccupied by the enemy, that he could see Ladysmith, and that there was, for the moment, a clear run in. Dundonald immediately determined to go on himself into the town with [two squadrons]. He invited me to accompany him, and without delay we started at a gallop. [...] Onward wildly, recklessly, up and down hill, over the boulders, through the shrub. [...] We turned the shoulder of a hill, and there before us lay the tin houses and dark trees we had come so far to see and save. [...] Now we were all on the flat. Brigadier, staff, and troops let their horses go. We raced through the thorn bushes by Intombi Spruit. Suddenly there was a challenge. 'Halt, who goes there?' 'The Ladysmith Relief Column', and thereat from out of trenches and rifle pits artfully concealed in the scrub a score of tattered men came running, cheering feebly ..." (Churchill, op. cit., p463).

 

Buller [<=12th February] presides over a ceremonial liberation parade on 3rd March while Dickson [24th February<=>17th May] obtains the raw footage for the eventual reel "Entry into Ladysmith" [IMDB entry] [sub-thread continues at 13th March ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1This phrase from Churchill (op. cit., Chapter 22).

 

**********  "WAR FILMS AND WAR FEVER"1  **********

ASIDE - THE GOLDEN AGE OF JINGOISM: Now that the cameramen had arrived in force, and now that the British were beginning to get results, the showmen (directly) and the government (indirectly) both had something to gain from the box-office popularity of the war, thus ...

 

"In Birmingham at the beginning of March (just after the relief of Ladysmith) the Curzon Hall was twice filled with audiences, 'patriotic and imperial', singing God Save the Queen,' and throughout cheered every scene and every animated photograph of the generals and of war episodes'. On 7 April a music hall journal reported about film shows: 'The fact is, there is such a demand for war subjects that [...w]e now have portraits of our Generals galore, and it seems that the public cannot have too much of them. [...] In early May a lantern journal reported that the only word which could express the applause at films of Boer War was 'enthusiastic'. [...] The filmmaker, turned laboratory man, [George A. Smith [<=1899 (10th November)]] was asked about this time if there was a big demand for South African war films, and replied that: '... his hands were so full he hardly knew where to turn. For every film with any connection with the war the demand was enormous. President Kruger getting out of his carriage, scenes in Johannesburg, scenes of embarking and disembarking troops, of manoeuvres of cavalry and infantry, could not be developed fast enough.'" (Bottomore, op. cit., XI, p8).

 

And again ...

 

"War fever was also very apparent in places of entertainment, and [Toulmin (2006)] finds that the working class population was highly interested. Evidence suggests that only two months into the war patriotic excesses were not unusual in music halls, and one periodical reported the positive effect of the war on attendance [...]. Boer War films were increasingly being screened through the winter of 1899 to 1900, though initially there was sometimes a lack of appropriate material, so showmen often used lantern slide images of Generals and the like to show between films. [...] Perhaps the height of enthusiasm for Boer War films was in the period of greatest British success in the war, between about March and June 1900. [...] There seems to have been very little dissent from this relentless patriotic celebration of the war in moving images. The only example I have seen of any real criticism [concerns] images of Boers being scorned. One visitor to a Charing Cross theatre noted that a film of Boer prisoners was: '... greeted with a tremendous storm of yells, hoots, jeers, hisses, etc., from the [...] office boys, the yahoos, and the brainless bar-crawlers who form the vast majority of the audience. He called this jeering of the humbled enemy despicable" (ibid.,  p7).

 

In another recent analysis Popple (2002) will argue that the cinema in 1900, "as the latest form of visual culture" drew - unavoidably - on the ...

 

"... representational traditions established by the printed image, the photograph, and theatrical, music hall, and fairground performance. Photographic and cinematic images were at the heart of this representational nexus, providing a new technological iconography of the war, a new form of evidence considered far more legitimate than that of the war correspondent or the special artist. The war itself straddled the end of the old and the beginning of the new century, and marked the end of a tradition dominated by the manual transcription of information and impressions. New media based predominantly on the technologies of the camera and the telegraph altered not only the speed with which the war could be covered but also the nature of its representation. The public's appetite for these new forms of imagery and their display at traditional sites such as the music hall or the fairground is hard to quantify, particularly when one attempts to read it within the context of a popular imperial war. The demand for visual representations of the war were doubtless magnified by the distance at which the war was fought and the guerrilla nature of its prosecution" (Popple, 2002, pp13-14)

 

Popple, S. (2002). 'But the khaki-covered camera is the latest thing': The Boer War cinema and visual culture in Britain. In Higson, A. (Ed.), Young and Innocent? The Cinema in Britain, 1896-1930. Exeter: University of Exeter Press.

 

1Section heading in Bottomore (2007, op. cit., XI, p6).

 

RESEARCH ISSUE - THE GOLDEN AGE OF JINGOISM: The extent to which the 1900 war fever, fuelled partly by cinematographic censored fact and box-office fiction, contributed to the succession of crises which led eventually to the outbreak of WW1. After all, any four-year-old treated to the spectacle would be an 18- year-old when the call for volunteers next went out.

 

1900 [7th March] The Battle of Poplar Grove: Following Cronjé's [<=18th February] surrender at the Battle of Paardeberg [<=18th February] De Wet's [18th February<=>10th March] remaining Boers have fallen back to the drift at Poplar Grove [approximate coordinates], some 45 miles west of Bloemfontein [maplink at 1899 (12th October)], there to deny Lord Roberts [18th February<=>10th March] an open approach to their capital. Roberts commits Kelly-Kenny's [ditto] 6th Division and Tucker's [ditto] 7th Division to the assault here, with French's [18th February<=>1901 (30th January)] cavalry attempting yet another right-hook outflanking movement. Heavily outnumbered, the Boers wait until the last movement and then fall back toward higher ground at Driefontein [maplink at 10th March]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [10th March] The Battle of Driefontein: Having fallen back from Poplar Grove on 7th March De Wet's [7th March<=>31st March] remaining Boers have taken positions around Driefontein [approximate coordinates], some 30 miles west of Bloemfontein [ditto]. Again Lord Roberts [7th March<=>12th May] commits Kelly-Kenny's [ditto] 6th Division and Tucker's [ditto] 7th Division to the assault.

 

CAMEO - 1ST BN, WELCH REGIMENT AT DRIEFONTEIN: As at Paardeberg [<=18th February] 1/WR fought alongside 1st Bn Essex Regiment. Once again they employ rush-and-drop tactics, culminating in a successful bayonet charge. The battalion suffers some 140 casualties on the day.

 

The overall outcome of the battle is a British tactical victory, but with the usual asymmetrical casualty figures (424 British against about 100 Boers). [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [13th March] Seeing is Believing [LXX - The Cinema at War (The Entry into Bloemfontein)]: [Continued cinematographically from 28th February but militarily from 18th February] The final drive on the Orange Free State capital takes three days and is largely uncontested.  Beevor [18th February<=>27th May] records some of the ceremonial in the reel "Entry of the Scots Guards into Bloemfontein" [IMDB entry; YouTube it now], and Rosenthal [11th February<=>12th May] subsequently adds "Coldstream Guards Leaving Bloemfontein" [IMDB entry] [sub-thread continues at 15th April ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [17th March] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXXIV - Wireless in the Royal Navy]: [Continued from 27th February] [Sir]1906 Henry Bradwardine Jackson [1899 (20th October)<=>4th July] arranges for the in-other-respects obsolete light cruiser HMS Thetis [Wikipedia shipography=>4th July] to be fitted out with a wireless-room provided by the Marconi Company [1899 (20th October)<=>4th July]. She is then sent to the Indian Ocean to serve in the Second Anglo-Boer War [<=1899 (12th October)] as a floating wireless station1 in and around Delagoa Bay [= modern Maputa, Mozambique], making her the first wireless-equipped warship to serve in a combat zone. She will be joined on station by HMS Forte [no substantive shipography], HMS Magicienne [<=1st January], and HMS Racoon [Wikipedia shipography] once they have been similarly equipped. Around the same time the similarly equipped HMS Canopus [Wikipedia shipography=>1914 (7th August)] is sent to the Mediterranean to continue wireless trials there [continues at 26th April ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1ASIDE: Thetis took care of the long-distance wireless communications to the Admiralty in London, but was herself linked in to the Royal Engineers cable telegraph network ashore [<=1899 (12th October [ASIDE])].

 

1900 [19th March] The football club A.F.C. Ajax [pronounce as "eye-yaks" ;-)] [modern corporate website] is founded in Amsterdam. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [31st March] The Battle of Sanna's Post: This battle is fought as part of the post-Bloemfontein Orange Free State Campaign of the Second Boer War [<=12th October] between a Boer force under De Wet [10th March<=>1st September] and (his younger brother) Pieter D. de Wet [Wikipedia biography] and a British cavalry and horse artillery column heading for Sanna's Post/Korn Spruit [coordinates], some 20 miles west of Bloemfontein [maplink at 1899 (12th October)], commanded by Robert G. Broadwood [Wikipedia biography]. The Boers spring a successful dawn ambush, and in the ensuing firefight inflict 155 casualties on the British and capture 428 prisoners-of-war and capture 7 guns for the loss of only 8 casualties. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [1st April] In recognition of the sacrifices made by Irishmen in the Second Boer War, the Irish Guards Regiment [modern regimental website] is formed. [THREAD = WW1 ARMIES, TRADITIONS, AND TACTICS]

 

1900 [11th April] Duly impressed by its demonstrated capabilities, the U.S. Navy buys John Holland's [1897 (17th May)<=>??th December] prototype submarine, commissioning her as USS Holland. [THREAD = THE WW1 SUBMARINE NAVIES]

 

**********  SEEING SHOULD NOT BE BELIEVING  **********

**********  SEEING SHOULD NOT BE BELIEVING  **********

**********  SEEING SHOULD NOT BE BELIEVING  **********

1900 [15th April]1 Seeing is Believing [LXXI - Early Motion Pictures ("L'Homme Orchestre")]: [Continued from 13th March] The latest reel from Méliès [1899 (November)<=>1902 (8th May)] is "L'Homme Orchestre" [in English as "One-Man Band"; IMDB entry; YouTube it now (very clever!)], a 90-second masterpiece of repeated exposure and stop tricks which allows M. Méliès himself to play the conductor and all six members of an orchestra. This is followed more or less immediately by a further box-office success with a historical re-enactment entitled "Jeanne d'Arc" [in English as "Joan of Arc"; IMDB entry; YouTube it now] [sub-thread continues at 12th May  ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1ASIDE: The precise production date is lost. We show here the opening date of the 1900 Paris Expedition, which ran for six months and was particularly concerned with attracting the latest cinematographic manufacturers and demonstrations. Méliès will continue to produce until 1911. For his full filmography (highly informative) click here.

 

RESEARCH ISSUE - CONTINUITY AND THE STOP TRICK: [See firstly the comments for CONTINUITY ERRORS [<=1899 (November)]] The cognitive system was never intended to cope with trick photography, and routinely falls for stop trick transitions of the sort described above. Technically, however, stop tricks are difficult to carry off because they are often unacceptably "jumpy". It is therefore often easier to use quick cut-away-and-back edits to allow the stunt-double and similar substitutions to take place [YouTube some of the secrets].

 

**********  MARCONI'S MILESTONE WIRELESS PATENT, BRITISH  **********

**********  MARCONI'S MILESTONE WIRELESS PATENT, BRITISH  **********

**********  MARCONI'S MILESTONE WIRELESS PATENT, BRITISH  **********

1900 [26th April] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXXV - Frequency Modulation]: [Continued from 17th March] Guglielmo Marconi [1899 (22nd November)<=>1901 (23rd February)] is granted British patent 7777 (of 1900) under the title "Improvements in Apparatus for Wireless Telegraphy". The essence of his invention1 is as follows ...

 

"By combining within his apparatus two tuned circuits, one being a highly resonant closed circuit and the other an aerial circuit of good radiating characteristics, and weakly coupling the two together, a successful result was obtained, with greater range and selectivity" (Simons, 1996 online, p49).

 

The commercial value of Marconi's system is that different wireless installations can henceforth tune their transmitters and receivers to different wavelengths, thus enabling them to operate simultaneously without interference one to the other. Around the same time Marconi is also in discussions with the Royal Navy for the first tranche of shipboard wireless room equipment [continues at ??th May ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1ASIDE: Probably in truth not an invention at all but rather a consolidation of several earlier inventions, some in the public domain but others possibly not. The Marconi patents will therefore be the subject of intense patent litigation well into the 1940s.

 

1900 [1st May or thereabouts] The Hejaz Railway [I - Work Begins]: Authorised by Abdul Hamid II of Turkey [1877 (21st May)<=>1909 (31st March)] personally, and with German technical support, work begins on a railway to link Damascus to the holy city of Mecca [continues at 1908 (1st September) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [12th May] Seeing is Believing [LXXII - The Cinema at War (The Occupation of Kroonstad)]: [Continued cinematographically from 15th April and militarily from 31st March] Lord Roberts [10th March<=>17th May] force-marches a British mounted column to occupy the railway town of Kroonstad [map, etc.], 100 miles north-east of Bloemfontein [maplink at 1899 (12th October)]. Rosenthal [13th March<=>27th May] is on hand to film the ensuing formalities, the material being used a month later in "The Surrender of Kroonstad to Lord Roberts" [IMDB entry] [sub-thread continues cinematographically and militarily at 17th May ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

ASIDE - MILITARY CENSORSHIP AND PROPAGANDA, 1900: Again we need to note the value of the moving picture to those in government responsible for "selling" a war to the population at large by emphasising good news. The flip side, of course, was that mechanisms had also to be in place to prevent bad news slipping through, thus ...

 

"This film would have been shot with Roberts' and Kitchener's cooperation, and it was perfect propaganda: the British commanders leading their army, with the humbled town officials seated in a wagon. [...] Censorship and regulation seemed to stalk Rosenthal throughout this campaign. [...He] was issued with an open pass which apparently enabled him to travel freely. But this did not mean, however, that he could film freely as well. [... He] later recalled that he had to give a complete description of the film before it could be despatched home: 'I had to make a report to the censor of what I had taken. [...] If it had been found that I had mis-stated the contents of the parcel I was, according to the terms of my licence, liable to be court-martialled, just like a soldier'" (Bottomore, op. cit.,  IX, pp33-34).

 

1900 [??th May] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXXVI - The Cuxhaven Station]: [Continued from 26th April] For about a year now Karl Ferdinand Braun [1899 (6th February)<=>24th September] and his assistants Jonathan Zenneck [1897 (15th February)<=>24th September] and Mathias Cantor [no convenient biography=>24th September], have been developing an experimental maritime transmission station at Cuxhaven [map, etc.]. The better to protect his intellectual property rights Braun henceforth conducts this research under the name of the Prof. Brauns Telegraphie G.m.b.H. [no convenient factsheet], or "Telebraun" for short [continues at 4th July ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1900 [17th May] Seeing is Believing [LXXIII - The Cinema at War (The Relief of Mafeking)]: [Continued cinematographically and militarily from 12th May] Following a gradual advance along the Cape Town-Kimberley-Bulawayo railway toward Vryburg [maplink at 1899 (12th October)] the time is finally right for [Sir]1918 Bryan T. Mahon [Wikipedia biography=>1914 (21st August); we shall be hearing more about Mahon in the 1915 Gallipoli and 1916 Salonika Campaigns] to lead a 2000-strong flying column to the relief of Mafeking. The news is well received back home ...

 

"News of the relief reached London on the evening of 18 May, and the city was quickly transformed: cheering crowds appeared on the streets, flags were waving everywhere, people singing 'Rule Britannia' and 'God Save the Queen'" (Bottomore, op. cit., XI, p7).

 

Dickson [28th February<=>27th May] subsequently films Lord Roberts [12th May<=>27th May] congratulating Baden-Powell [1899 (13th October)<=>1907 (??th August)] on a masterly defence. As it happens the exhibition circuit is also about to receive copies of a battle re-enactment reel entitled "Battle of Mafeking" [IMDB entry], filmed in April in New Jersey for the Edison Company [<=1898 (3rd July)]. Also, coincidentally, the R. W. Paul Company [18th February<=>18th September] has just completed a light-hearted piece of anti-Boer mud-slinging entitled "Kruger's Dreams of Empire" [IMDB entry] [sub-thread continues at 28th May ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [27th May or hereabouts] Seeing is Believing [LXXIV - The Cinema at War (Crossing the Vaal)]: [Continued from 17th May] Having consolidated a forward base at Kroonstad [<=12th May] Lord Roberts [27th May<=>28th May] now strikes northward along the Bloemfontein-Pretoria railway into the South African Republic. His attendant cameramen film the crossing of the Vaal River on or about 27th May. Beevor's [<=13th March] material subsequently appears as "Crossing the Vaal River" [IMDB entry] whilst Rosenthal's [12th May<=>28th May] subsequently appears as "Essex Regiment Crossing the Vaal" [IMDB entry] [sub-thread continues at 28th May ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [28th May-5th June] Seeing is Believing [LXXV - The Cinema at War (Johannesburg and Johannesburg)]: [Continued from 27th May] Once across the Vaal Lord Roberts [27th May<=>11th June] advances on Johannesburg and Pretoria, occupying them on 31st May and 5th June, respectively. On 6th June both Dickson [17th May<=>1901] and Rosenthal [12th May<=>21st June] film the raising of the Union Jack for their rival sponsors. In fact the Warwick Trading Company [1899 (10th November)<=>1901 (25th February)] now has two operatives with the column, namely Rosenthal and Hyman [<=18th February], and their output also includes "Entry of Troops into Pretoria" [IMDB entry] and "The 4.7-inch Naval Gun in Action" [IMDB entry]. Now, however, the nature of the campaign changes as the Boers break their field Kommandos down into smaller Guerrilla squadrons which the British eventually succeed in chasing down one at a time. As a result most of the camera teams are soon pulled out. Warwick, for example, replaces Rosenthal with Goldman [1899 (12th October)<=>25th October], the former soon finding his way to China [=>14th June] [sub-thread continues at 14th June ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [11th-12th June] The Battle of Diamond Hill/Donkerhoek: This is the last conventional battle of the Second Boer War. It is fought at Diamond Hill/Donkerhoek [coordinates], some ten miles east of Pretoria, between Louis Botha's [12th February<=>1901 (28th February)] Boer field army and the spearhead divisions of Lord Roberts' [28th May<=>1st September] invasion army. The Boers are testing Roberts' ability to hold on to Pretoria. As usual their tactics are to hold the heights for a day and then to disengage after nightfall having inflicted disproportionate casualties (160 British against 50 Boer). [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [14th June-1901 (7th September)] Seeing is Believing [LXXVI - The Cinema at War (The Boxer Rebellion - Overview)]: [Continued from 28th May] Just as the flow of footage from the South African war is about to dry up, a new war breaks out in the Far East. This 15-month anti-Western popular uprising is an attempt to drive all things foreign out of China, including Christianity and its missionaries. Westerners seek sanctuary in the embassy quarter in Beijing, where they manage to survive a two-month-long siege by "Boxer" insurgents1 before relief arrives. The relief effort will involve an emergency Eight Nations Alliance [Wikipedia factsheet] consisting of those countries whose nationals are under specific threat, that is to say, Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United States. The cinema industry reacts quickly with its by-now-customary two-edged strategy of (1) filming such actualities as it reasonably can, and (2) making the rest up. The cameramen include Rosenthal [28th May<=>21st September] and C. Fred Ackerman [no convenient biography=>5th August].

 

CAMEO - SIR ERNEST HATCH'S FOOTAGE: It so happened that in the months prior to the uprising the British politician Sir Ernest F. G. Hatch, 1st Baronet [Wikipedia biography] had passed through the region as a cinematographic tourist, and had just returned to Britain with some 20 reels of pre-rebellion Chinese life. Although these reels contain no war-related footage Hatch's timing is superb and his material is soon on general release both in its own right and also woven into other productions as stock footage. For the fuller story see Bottomore (op. cit., Chapter 12).

 

It is the fakers who get product to market first, taking as their theme a spate of attacks over the preceding months on Western missionary stations and places of worship. Amongst the most popular works at the box-office are the Mitchell and Kenyon Company's [1899 (12th October)<=>1900 (14th July)] "Attack on a Mission Station" [IMDB entry], the Williamson Company's [1896 (November)<=>1901 (15th October)] "Attack on a China Mission" [IMDB entry; YouTube it now], and "Massacre of Christians by the Chinese" [IMDB entry] [sub-thread continues at next entry ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1ASIDE: We use the word "insurgent" with a little unease because it seems to imply an outside intervention against indigenous people, rather than an indigenous struggle against non-indigenous people (the Boxer insurgents, remember, were indigenous Chinese trying to drive Westerners from their country). Be that as it may, this is the current usage of the word - simply Google on <insurgency in> and you will be given a list of 21st Century insurgencies around the world to choose from, all by indigenous peoples against outsiders of some sort.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: We recommend the paper entitled "The China Relief Expedition" (Leonhard, (undated online).

 

1900 [14th June] Seeing is Believing [LXXVII - The Cinema at War (The Boxer Rebellion - The Siege at Peking)]: [Continued from preceding entry] In the first major action of the Boxer Rebellion the Boxers occupy all of Beijing except for the walled diplomatic quarter, trapping the Western diplomats, their staff, and around 400 troops. It will be 55 days1 before an Eight Nations relief column can be landed at Tientsin [= the modern Tianjin; map, etc.], 60 miles to the south-east, and fight its way through to relieve them [sub-thread continues at 16th June ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1WAR VIDEO: Hence the name of the 1963 Nicholas Ray/Guy Green movie "55 Days at Peking" [IMDB entry].

 

1900 [16th-17th June] Seeing is Believing [LXXVIII - The Cinema at War (The Boxer Rebellion - The Taku Bombardment)]: [Continued from 14th June] In an attempt to secure a port large enough to support its relief effort an Eight Nations fleet bombards and then storms the Taku coastal forts protecting the approaches to the port of Tientsin/Tianjin. Sensing another "Santiago Bay" [<=1898 (3rd July)] Siegmund Lubin's [Wikipedia biography=>14th July] re-enactment studio immediately launches a Liliputian fleet of its own and soon has "Bombardment of Taku Forts" [IMDB entry; Library of Congress video] out on the streets [sub-thread continues at 14th July ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [20th June] German Naval Expansion [VIII - The Second Fleet Law]: [Continued from 1st January] Taking full advantage of the German public's indignation over the Bundesrath Incident earlier in the year [<=1st January] Alfred von Tirpitz [1898 (30th April)<=>1914 (14th August:2400hr)] drafts a proposal for doubling the eventual size of the German battlefleet from 19 to 38 capital ships by 1917. The authorised number of torpedo boats doubles from 72 to 144 [continues at 1904 (21st October) ...]. [THREAD = THE WW1 SURFACE NAVIES] [THREAD = WW1 WAR FEVER]

 

1900 [20th-21st June] The Assassination of von Ketteler: At the height of the rioting and massacres a Boxer crowd assassinates Germany's Ambassador to China Clemens von Ketteler [Wikipedia biography] on the streets of Beijing. Kaiser Wilhelm II [1899 (21st November)<=>27th July] responds to the killing by ordering his Foreign Secretary Bernhard von Bülow [1897 (26th June)<=>17th October] to mount a Strafexpedition [= punishment expedition] and to see to it that Beijing is "razed to the ground" (Bottomore, 2007). On 21st June the Dowager Empress Ci Xi [Wikipedia biography=>5th August] declares war on the intruding states. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [2nd July] Ferdinand von Zeppelin [1898 (??th January)<=>1906 (17th January)] oversees the inaugural flight of his first airship, the LZ1 [1898 (??th January)<=>scrapped 1901]. The flight lasts 17 minutes, reaches a height of 1300 feet, and carries a crew of five persons. Two further flights will take place in October, but the vessel will then have to be dismantled for lack of funding. [THREAD = WW1 AVIATION]

 

1900 [4th July] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXXVII - Wireless in the Royal Navy]: [Continued from ??th May] Impressed by the trials aboard HMS Thetis [<=17th March] [Sir]1906 Henry Bradwardine Jackson [17th March<=>1902 (21st January)] now formally agrees a 14-year contract1 with the Marconi Company [17th March<=>1901 (23rd January)] to equip and to maintain wireless-rooms aboard a further 26 warships, as well as for a network of six shore stations to stay in touch with them [continues at 24th September  ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1ASIDE - PARLIAMENT AND THE MARCONI CONTRACTS: The Marconi contracts with the Royal Navy will become politically highly contentious once Parliament gets involved in considering how they should be renewed. We shall be covering this debate in due course [=>1912 (11th October) and follow the onward pointers].

 

1900 [5th July] The Thames Ironworks Football Club [<=1885 (15th June)] is rebadged as West Ham United Football Club [modern corporate website]. [THREAD = THE WW1 WORKING CLASS SOLDIER]

 

1900 [5th July] The British Parliament approves an Act establishing the component states of Australia as the Confederation of Australia, to become effective the following year [=>1901 (1st January)]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [13th July] The Battle of Tientsin: The victory at Taku [<=16th June] had only captured the port of Tientsin/Tianjin, and now the Eight Nations coalition forces move on the Boxer stronghold in the old walled city itself, some 20 miles to the northwest. The attack is commanded by the British and involves British, American, French, Japanese, German, and Russian troops.

 

CAMEO - 2ND BN ROYAL WELCH FUSILIERS AT TIENTSIN, 13TH JULY 1900: In the assault on Tientsin 2/RWF is the only British line regiment involved in the fighting and provided left flank support to a Japanese assault on the city's southern gate. The battalion suffered five killed and 19 wounded (RWF Museum factsheet).

 

[THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [14th July] Seeing is Believing [LXXIX - The Cinema at War (The Boxer Rebellion Fakes)]: [Continued from 16th June] In America Lubin [<=16th June] now starts to deliver a series of quite gory re-enactment reels, such as "Beheading a Chinese Prisoner" [IMDB entry; probably part of this YouTube compilation (note the very well-executed stop trick)] and Amet [1898 (3rd July)] adds "Execution of Six Boxers" [no IMDB entry]. In France Pathé Frères [1896 (28th September)<=>1903 (2nd August)] comes up with "An Execution in Peking" [no IMDB entry]. And in Britain the Mitchell and Kenyon Company [14th June<=> 1901 (25th February)] adds "Attempted Capture of an English Nurse and Children" [IMDB entry; probably part of this YouTube compilation] [sub-thread continues at 17th July ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1900 [17th July] Seeing is Believing [LXXX - The Cinema at War (The Boxer Rebellion - The Allied Landings)]: [Continued from 14th July] Duly recorded on film [toward the end of this YouTube compilation] the Eight Nations expeditionary force - now with around 19,000 troops either on the ground or shortly due to arrive - starts to fight its way inland from Tientsin/Tianjin en route for Beijing [sub-thread continues at 27th July ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [19th July] Sir Ivor Guest, 1st Baron Wimborne [Wikipedia biography] merges his Dowlais Ironworks [<=1871] with Arthur Keen's [Wikipedia biography] Patent Nut and Bolt Company [Grace's Guide factsheet] to form Guest, Keen, and Company [Grace's Guide factsheet=>1902]. [THREAD = THE WW1 FINANCIAL AND ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES]

 

1900 [19th July] The first line of the Paris Métro [Wikipedia factsheet] opens for passengers. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [23rd July] The Russians Invade Manchuria: Keen to open a second front against the Chinese, Russian troops cross the Amur River at Aigun, turning southward to threaten Mukden/Shenyang [map, etc.].

 

GEOPOLITICAL ASIDE - RUSSIA AND MANCHURIA: Russia had already forced the unequal Treaty of Aigun [Wikipedia factsheet] on the Chinese in 1858, transferring 230,000 square miles of southern Yakutsk to Russian ownership. The southern border of this new territory is the Amur River [map, etc.], and the Chinese province of Manchuria stretches from east to west to the south of that river. The comparatively recently established Russian stronghold at Vladivostok [map, etc.] is at the southernmost extremity of these new acquisitions, close to the borders with modern North Korea and just across the Sea of Japan from Japan. The recently completed Far Eastern section of the Trans-Siberian Railway [Wikipedia factsheet] hugs the border for its final 1000 miles.

 

The Russian invasion encounters little substantive resistance and Mukden (500 miles to the south) is occupied on 1st October. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  THE GERMANS STYLE THEMSELVES "HUNS"  **********

1900 [27th July] Seeing is Believing [LXXXI - The Cinema at War (Enter the Kaiser): [Continued from 17th July] Kaiser Wilhelm II [20th June<=>25th September] delivers a speech [clickable links below] to troops heading off for service in China, and exhorts them in very plain language to behave when they get there as did the Hun hordes of old, that is to say, to take no prisoners.

 

ASIDE: Non-native English speakers should note that the phrase "to take no prisoners" has both original-literal and everyday-figurative usages. The literal usage is that in combat no act of surrender is to be respected, that is to say, any enemy combatant who lays down his weapon, raises his hands, and calls Mercy, is to be shot or bayoneted nonetheless, despite being unarmed and having ceased to resist. In everyday English the word is used figuratively to refer to any more than normally single-minded pursuit of a non-combat objective, as in a rougher-than-normal football game, say, or a more-than-routinely dishonest stock-market manoeuvre.

 

DOUBLE ASIDE: We first raised the problems of the appropriate treatment of prisoners-of-war in the entry for the Battle of Gilboa [<=1007BCE]. The persons least likely to be taken alive seem to have been snipers [=>1938 (Dunn)].

 

The British press will note the Kaiser's words carefully, and will resurrect them - along with all their unpalatable implications - when short of newspaper propaganda taglines once WW1 gets under way. Here is Bottomore (2007) on the cinematographic aspects of the send-off itself ...

 

"... as one ship-load set off for China from the port of Bremerhaven, it was filmed by the pioneer film cameraman, Guido Seeber [Wikipedia biography]. The film survives under the title Ausfahrt der sächsischen China-Krieger zu Schiff aus Bremerhaven [IMDB entry]. [...] The film is of particular interest because the event itself (or possibly an embarkation some days earlier) has become so notorious . This is not so much because of the troop departure itself, as for the speech which the Kaiser delivered on the occasion, 27 July 1900. In words which were to haunt him, Wilhelm reminded his men of the ferocity of the Huns under Attila, implying that his modern warriors should emulate their ferocity, he exhorted his men to take no prisoners, and to build such a fearsome reputation that no Chinaman would ever again dare to even squint at a German. In the event, the German troops in China were to be every bit as violent as the Kaiser might have envisaged" (Bottomore, op. cit., XII, pp5-6).

 

CAUTION: Take care, for with highly sensitive speeches such as this there can exist a number of versions of "what was actually said", including ...

 

1.    Possibly notes from Foreign Office advisors, a prepared script, and an official ante-hoc Foreign Office communique (possibly with an official English translation).

2.    The exact words as spoken on the day (in German, of course) [full text online; YouTube it now], which may or not match the prepared script. The YouTube audio includes [at around the 108-second mark] the words "Pardon wird nicht gegeben. Gefangene werden nicht gemacht", clearly enunciated and stressed for rhetorical effect, and these two sentences do indeed translate as: "Pardon will not be given. Prisoners will not be taken".

3.    German news reporting of the speech, which may or may not contain transcription errors, and may indeed be prepared from (1) rather than (2).

4.    English news reporting of the speech, which may or may not additionally contain translation errors and accidental or deliberate mis-interpretations or gratuitous expansions.

5.    An official post-hoc Foreign Office communique (possibly with an official English translation), followed - perhaps many years later - by deliberately corrected "airbrushings" of (2) and (5).

 

For a fuller telling of the story we recommend Fuchs (1999 online).

 

A month or so later1 the commander of the German Strafexpedition [<=20th June] Alfred von Waldersee [Wikipedia biography=>25th September] is filmed departing Berlin, the material appearing under the Deutsche Mutoskop und Biograph's [IMDB factsheet] title "Abreise des Grafen Waldersee nach China" [no IMDB entry; German Early Cinema Database entry] [sub-thread continues at 14th August ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = WW1 WAR FEVER]

 

1ASIDE: The University of Cologne entry for this reel gives a being-advertised date of 29th August 1900, but the footage is probably the same as that released in the U.S. in November 1902 as "Field-Marshal Count von Waldersee" [IMDB entry].

 

1900 [5th-15th August] Seeing is Believing [LXXXII - The Cinema at War (Beijing Relieved): [Continued from 17th July] The Eight Nations expeditionary force fights breakthrough battles at Pei-Tsang/Beicang [map, etc.] on 5th August and at Yang-Tsun/Yangcun [map, etc.] on 6th August. The Russian contingent then stages an attack on the Outer City at Beijing on 10th August, but is driven back. A more coordinated attack on 14th August succeeds in pushing through to the beleaguered Embassy Quarter, raising the siege. Finally on 15th August the U.S. 6th Cavalry breaks through into the Inner City to bring Beijing as a whole under international control. Empress Ci Xi [20th June<=>22nd October] and her ministers flee inland. Ackerman [14th June<=>25th September] will arrange a re-run of the decisive attack a few days later, the material eventually appearing as "6th Cavalry Assaulting South Gate of Pekin" [IMDB entry]. Two Japanese cameramen are embedded with their Fifth Division and their material will be released on 12th October as a documentary compilation entitled "Grand Motion Picture on the Boxer Rebellion" [no IMDB entry] (Bottomore, 2007). German troops are present, but not yet at full strength [=>25th September]. The rebellion is not over, however, and there follows a period of bloody police actions to widen the corridor back to Tientsin/Tianjin and to chase down Boxer strongholds in the provinces [sub-thread continues at 1st September ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

******  "A MOMENT LATER HE'S GRABBED A PITCHFORK AND

IS PLAYING JOHNNY FARMER"1  ******

1900 [1st September] The South African Concentration Camps [I - The Maxwell Camps]: [New sub-thread] With Kruger [1899 (12th October)<=>dies in exile in Switzerland 1904 (14th July)] in self-imposed exile in Europe, strong Boer guerrilla units commanded by the likes of De La Rey [<=1899 (11th December)], De Wet [31st March<=>1901 (7th August)], and James B. M. Hertzog [Wikipedia biography] are presently nibbling away at British lines of communication. Lord Roberts [11th June<=>20th November] responds (a) by releasing some of his line infantry battalions to return to Britain, and (b) by complementing his cavalry with specially trained mounted infantry. The Boers, however, are very good at this game of cat-and-mouse and British successes are few and far between. The British government respond by having the local governor in Pretoria [Sir]LATER THIS YEAR John G. Maxwell [Wikipedia biography; reappears in Dublin at the Easter Rising =>1916 (24th April)] set up "camps for burghers who voluntarily surrender". The government also keeps the British public on-side by encouraging symbolic patriotism in every aspect of life ...

 

**********  "THE WAR IN TOYLAND"2  **********

**********  "THE WAR IN TOYLAND"  **********

**********  "THE WAR IN TOYLAND"  **********

ASIDE - THE RADICALISATION OF CHILDREN: Popple (op. cit.) rather soberingly draws our attention to the flood of pro-war artefacts appearing in everyday life, thus ...

 

"[The soap and tobacco industries] made heavy use of war subjects and military personalities to advertise their products and promote their patriotic credentials. Popular magazines were awash with war-orientated imagery, much of it meant for public display. Campaign maps, colour lithographs, special supplements, serialised commentaries [etc.] were frequent additions [...], as well as novelty articles touching on some of the more bizarre displays of patriotic fervour. One, 'The War in Toyland', outlined the extent and desirability of patriotic toys for children ..." (Popple, 2002, p17).

 

[Sub-thread continues at 20th December ...] [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1This phrase from a BBC radio retrospective [broadcast 22nd December 2015] of the War in Afghanistan [2001 - ongoing], concerning the ability of the modern Taliban to be fighters one minute and farmers the next.

 

2This phrase from Popple, p17, who takes it in turn from Banfield (1900). Banfield, A.C. (1900). The war in Toyland. Royal Magazine, 4(May-October):398-399.

 

1900 [18th September] Seeing is Believing [LXXXIII - The Cinema at War ("Army Life")]: [Continued from  1st September] The latest offering from the R. W. Paul Company [17th May<=>1902 (31st May)] is "Army Life" [IMDB entry; YouTube it now], a two-hour-long compilation (only fragments of which will survive) of scenes of army life from recruitment and training to demobilisation [sub-thread continues at 21st September ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1900 [21st September] Seeing is Believing [LXXXIV - The Cinema at War (The Russians at Port Arthur)]: [Continued from  18th September] Rosenthal [14th June<=>17th October] risks imprisonment by the Russians for surreptitiously filming dockyard facilities and fortifications at their base at Port Arthur/Lushun [map, etc.], 100 miles east of Tientsin/Tianjin across Bohai Bay, this footage subsequently appearing as "Russian Stronghold in the Far East" [IMDB entry] [sub-thread continues at 25th September ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [24th September] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXXVIII - The Cuxhaven Transmissions]: [Continued from 4th July] Karl Ferdinand Braun [??th May<=>1901 (5th August)], Jonathan Zenneck [<=??th May], and Mathias Cantor [<=??th May] successfully increase the operating range of their experimental Cuxhaven transmitting station to connect with Helgoland Island some 62km away [continues at 20th December ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1900 [25th September] Seeing is Believing [LXXXV - The Cinema at War (Von Waldersee Arrives at Tientsin): [Continued from 21st September] Von Waldersee [27th July<=>17th October] disembarks at Tientsin/Tianjin. Bottomore (2007) suggests that Ackerman [<=14th June] - who had only recently arrived himself, and who was operating with the official sponsorship of both the American and German military commands (in the latter case, with the personal approval of Kaiser Wilhelm II [27th July<=>17th October]) - would likely have filmed the disembarkation [Sub-thread continues at 1st October  ...] [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  "THE KHAKI ELECTION"  **********

1900 [26th September-24th October] The British General Election, 1900: The Conservatives get back in with a majority of 130 seats (including Winston Churchill [28th February<=>1907] at Oldham) and Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquis of Salisbury [Wikipedia biography=>1902 (11th July)] remains Prime Minister. The Leader of the Opposition Liberal Party is Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman [Wikipedia biography=>1901 (14th June)], and Keir Hardie's [1892 (26th July)<=>1906 (15th February)] Labour Party gets a second member. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [1st October] Seeing is Believing [LXXXVI - The Cinema at War (Noble)]: [Continued from  25th September] C. Rider Noble [1st September<=>1903 (2nd August)] records the departure for home of the 2nd Royal Canadian Regiment [<=18th February] [sub-thread continues at 17th October ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [16th October] John Browning [1899<=>1906] patents the mechanism for an "autoloading rifle". It will be produced in small numbers by Fabrique Nationale in Belgium under the identifier FN Browning Model 1900 Sporting Rifle [Remington Society factsheet=>1906]. Browning also produces the FN Browning Model 1900 Pistol [Wikipedia factsheet]. [THREAD = WW1 SMALL ARMS]

 

ASIDE - THE FN BROWNING M1900 PISTOL IN WW1: This is the model used to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria [=>1914 (28th June)].

 

**********  THE GERMANS GET A YOUNGER CHANCELLOR  **********

1900 [17th October] Nominated by Kaiser Wilhelm II [27th July<=>1903 (27th May)], Bernhard von Bülow [20th June<=>1905 (31st March)] replaces Prince Chlodwig of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst [<=1894 (26th October)] (retiring at 81 years of age) as Reichskanzler und preussischer Ministerpräsident [= Chancellor (of Germany) and Prime Minister of Prussia]. Von Bülow will now famously pursue a Drohpolitik, a policy of menace [drohen = "to threaten"]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [17th October] Seeing is Believing [LXXXVII - The Cinema at War (Von Waldersee Enters Beijing)]: [Continued from  1st October] Rosenthal [<=21st September] films von Waldersee's [<=25th September] ceremonial entry into Beijing, this material subsequently being catalogued at "Entry into Pekin of Count von Waldersee" [IMDB entry] [sub-thread continues at 20th November ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [22nd October] The Huizhou Uprising: As if Empress Ci Xi [5th August<=>1901 (7th September)] had not already got enough on her plate the dissident Republican Sun Yat-Sen [Wikipedia biography=>1905 (20th August)] initiates a soon-suppressed rebellion in south-eastern China. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [23rd October] Following the collapse of the Tredegar Ironworks [1895<=>1907] Bedwellty House [1826<=>1922] passes into public ownership as local government offices. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [20th November] Seeing is Believing [LXXXVIII - The Cinema at War (Kitchener Takes Command)]: [Continued from 17th October] Lord Kitchener [18th February<=>20th December] takes over from Lord Roberts [1st September<=>1912 (22nd October)]. The latter's arrival back in Britain will be greeted with no little fanfare, with highlights appearing on screen as "Return of Lord Roberts" [IMDB entry] [sub-thread continues at 1901 ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1900 [22nd November, on and off for three years] The Penrhyn Quarry Strike: This extended strike begins when the 2000 workers at the Penrhyn Slate Quarry [map, etc.], Bethesda, North Wales, down tools in protest against management orders not to collect union subscriptions on site. It then degenerates into an exercise in union-breaking and the confrontation of strikers and "scabs" [= standard English slang for workers who return to work while their fellow workers remain out on strike, thereby making martyrs of themselves in the truest sense], and their wives and children. The strike is noteworthy in the present context for submitting scabs to precisely the same verbal and physical abuse, and occasionally even murder, to which WW1 conscientious objectors will be submitted not a generation later. [THREAD = THE WW1 WORKING CLASS SOLDIER] [THREAD = WW1 PACIFISM AND CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION]

 

1900 [??th December] The British Admiralty signs a contract for its own John Holland submarine [<=1897 (17th May)], to be built under licence from Holland's Electric Boat Company by the Naval Construction and Armaments Company [1897<=>1901 (2nd October)], Barrow. [THREAD = THE WW1 SUBMARINE NAVIES]

 

1900 [20th December] The South African Concentration Camps [II - Kitchener Tightens the Screws]: [Continued from 1st September] Lord Kitchener [20th November<=>1901 (28th February)] authorises a more proactive campaign of driving Boer families from their lands and housing them instead in his nascent network of concentration camps. The thinking behind this ruling can be seen in the following 2009 analysis ...

 

"The original camps for surrendered farmers had been expanded, because Kitchener said in a 20 December 1900 cable to [the recently appointed Secretary of State for War Sir William St. John Brodrick [Wikipedia biography=>1901 (25th February)]]: 'Every farm is [...] an intelligence agency and a supply depot so that it is almost impossible to surround or catch them'. The inhabitants of these farms were largely women and children, most men being out on commando. [...] So Kitchener saw himself as solving a military problem by deporting women from their farms [...] to stop them from spying for the Boers" (source).

 

However it will not be long before the poor conditions in the camps become a concern for humanitarian campaigners back home [sub-thread continues at 1901 (30th January) ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Britain's concentration camps were mentioned repeatedly in Parliament over the ensuing six months. A list of the camps, showing the numbers "confined", was published on 22nd April 1901 (Hansard). The nub of the debates was whether women - even suspected spies - deserved to be treated as prisoners-of-war.

 

**********  THE ELECTRIC KEYBOARD IS BORN  **********

1900 [20th December] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XXXIX - Duddell's Musical Arc]: [Continued from 24th September] Having noted that electric arc lamps [<=1809 (Sir Humphrey Davy)] are prone to buzz and hum the British engineer William Duddell1 [Wikipedia biography=>1902 (9th September [ASIDE])] discovers that by adding a "shunt2 resonant3 circuit" between the positive and negative terminals thereof he is able to obtain quite pure audible tones at the resonant frequency of the shunt concerned. By then shunting a number of different resonant frequencies he is able to bring them in one by one and play a tune. He describes this arrangement as a "musical arc" [continues at 1901 (23rd January) ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1ASIDE: Duddell is presently a lecturer in electrical engineering at the City and Guilds Institute, London, and over the coming decade will become one of the world's leading authorities on the use of cathode ray oscillography for investigating very rapid events. His technical reputation will get him invited to be a technical advisor to the British and American governments during WW1. He will die - some say of overwork - on 4th November 1917. His academic obituary (Thomson, 1918) will explain his largely undocumented [i.e., top secret] contribution to the war effort this way: "When war broke out he threw all his energies into developing applications of science to military needs" (p184).

 

Thomson, J. J. (1918). Presidential address. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A:94:182-190.

 

2ASIDE - SHUNT: See definition at 1892 (22nd March [ASIDE]).

 

3ASIDE - RESONANCE (WAVE): For an object or circuit or system to "resonate" in the scientific sense is for a co-periodic [= same oscillatory speed] external energy source to excite its natural physical ability to oscillate at a particular frequency [just as a playground swing will only swing at its own pace or a tuning fork always sounds a particular tone], thereby exciting those oscillations with maximum speed and efficiency.

 

**********  BERLIN BECOME EXPERTS ON ACOUSTICS1  **********

**********  BERLIN BECOME EXPERTS ON ACOUSTICS  **********

**********  BERLIN BECOME EXPERTS ON ACOUSTICS  **********

1900 [20th December] Carl Stumpf's [1893 (18th December)<=>1914 (1st August )] psychology department is now large enough to be rebadged as the Berliner Psychologische Institut and relocated into larger premises at 95-96 Dorotheenstraße. Over the coming years the Institute will establish a world-wide reputation for experimentation into human perception, especially auditory perception. Amongst those who will join the faculty are Hans Rupp [no convenient biography=>1914 (1st August)], (1907-1900) Wolfgang Köhler [Wikipedia biography], Friedrich Schumann [Wikipedia biography], and the phoneticist-audiologist Erich Moritz von Hornbostel [Wikipedia biography=>1914 (1st August)] [continues at 1914 (1st August) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1ASIDE - ACOUSTICS IN WW1: We shall be closely monitoring developments in this area because in 1914 the technology was quickly converted to military purposes in such application areas as the detection of enemy aircraft, the location of enemy artillery batteries, and the fight against enemy tunnelling companies.

 

**********  CLASSIC OF PACIFIST LITERATURE  **********

1901 The British author John A. Hobson [no convenient biography] publishes "The Psychology of Jingoism" [Kindle edition], in which he defines jingoism as "that inverted patriotism whereby the love of one's own nation is transformed into the hatred of another nation". Much more on this in due course!! [THREAD = WW1 PACIFISM AND CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION]

 

1901 Seeing is Believing [LXXXIX - The Cinema at War (Dickson's Boer War Memoir)]: [Continued from 1900 (20th November)] Dickson [<=1900 (28th May)] publishes "The Biograph in Battle" [full text online], a memoir of his experiences filming operations in South Africa [sub-thread continues at 2nd February ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS]

 

1901  The British physicist-inventor George Forbes [1877 (24th April)<=>1902] devises a novel optical procedure for the measurement of linear range, and puts it to use in a prototype infantry rangefinder. Around the same time the British army officer A.H. Marindin [no convenient biography=>1902] also produces a prototype optical rangefinder. [THREAD = WW1 ARTILLERY]

 

1901  Cardiography [I - The Einthoven String Galvanometer]: [New sub-thread] The Dutch physician Willem Einthoven [Wikipedia biography=>1911 (15th September)] demonstrates how a string galvanometer [Wikipedia factsheet] can be used to produce a photograph of the rapidly changing electrical wave-form of the human heartbeat, that is to say, as a cardiogram-of-record (previous cardiograms merely showing the wave-form as a transient trace on a display tube). The device works by passing the current picked up from an electrode on the patient's chest through a very fine stretched filament - "the string" - positioned in a magnetic field, and then taking a photograph of the resulting micro-vibrations [sub-thread continues at 1904 (29th February) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = WW1 ARTILLERY]

 

1901  Lionel B. Holloway [no convenient biography=>1915] becomes a director of the family firm Read Holloway and Company [1899<=>1915]. [THREAD =THE WW1 FINANCIAL AND ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES]

 

1901  The German Government Arsenal at Spandau, Berlin, buys the licence to produce the Maxim Gun [<=1884]. After extensive field trials and acceptance testing the 1908 Model MG08 [Wikipedia factsheet] is accepted for deployment [see one in action]. By August 1914 about 12,000 MG08s will be available for operational usage. A lighter version of the gun - the MG08/15 - will be developed in the light of WW1 combat experience, and will contribute greatly to the German victory on the Chemin des Dames [=>1917 (16th April)]. [THREAD = WW1 MACHINE GUNS]

 

1901  W.D. and H.O. Wills [<=1895] is reincorporated as Imperial Tobacco [modern corporate website]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1901  Computerised Naval Fire Control [I - Enter Arthur Pollen]: After informal technical advice from the physicist Sir William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin [1882 (25th August)<=>d. 1907 (17th December)], the British engineer Arthur H. Pollen [Wikipedia biography=>1905] begins work on a computer-assisted naval gunnery control system. He is assisted by the mechanical engineer Harold Isherwood [no convenient biography] of the Linotype Company [continues at next entry ...]. [THREAD = WW1 CYBERNETICS, COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE, AND FIRE CONTROL]

 

1901  Computerised Naval Fire Control [II - Enter Frederic Dreyer]: [Continued from preceding entry] A Royal Navy lieutenant named Frederic C. Dreyer [Wikipedia biography=>1903] passes out top of class in his advanced gunnery and torpedo warfare course at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. His scholarship gets him posted to the gunnery school at Sheerness [continues at 1902 ...]. [THREAD = WW1 CYBERNETICS, COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE, AND FIRE CONTROL]

 

**********  MAJOR WW1 WEAPON  **********

===== THE FLAMETHROWER =====

===== THE FLAMETHROWER =====

===== THE FLAMETHROWER =====

1901  The German military engineer Richard Fiedler [Wikipedia biography] develops the "Flammenwerfer" [= "flame thrower"], a device for projecting burning petrochemicals from a nozzle [see one at work]. The German Army will have trained up and equipped 12 specialist companies in the new weapon by 1911. [THREAD = WW1 ARMIES, TRADITIONS, AND TACTICS]

 

1901 [1st January] [Continued from 1900 (5th July)] The Commonwealth of Australia formally comes into being. The new nation's first Prime Minister is [Sir]1902 Edmund Barton [Wikipedia biography]. Troops already engaged in the Second Boer War [<=1899 (12th October)] now have re-swear allegiance to Australia as a whole (rather than to their separate states as hitherto). [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT NEUROPSYCHOLOGY  **********

**********  HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT NEUROPSYCHOLOGY  **********

**********  HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT NEUROPSYCHOLOGY  **********

1901 [2nd January] Locating Brain Function [VII - Freud (1901)]: [Continued from 1899 (4th November)] Sigmund Freud [1899 (4th November)<=>1905 (1st January)] publishes "Die Psychopathologies des Alltagslebens" [in English (1914) as "The Psychopathology of Everyday Life"], in which he profiles a number of ways in which repressed mental content can induce minor everyday errors such as using the wrong word, forgetting an appointment or duty, causing an injury, etc. His point is that "unwelcome mental content" might well be "pushed away from consciousness" but is nevertheless "not robbed of all capacity to express itself" (1914 Translation, p214) [continues at 1905 ...]. [THREAD = WW1 MILITARY MEDICINE AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE]

 

********** WIRELESS OVER THE HORIZON  **********

1901 [23rd January] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XL - Wireless Goes Long-Distance]: [Continued from 1900 (20th December)] The Marconi Company's [1900 (4th July)<=>9th March] Lizard Head Wireless Station [=>12th December (ASIDE)] receives a signal from a sister station at St. Catherine's, Isle of Wight, nearly 200 miles to the east, and therefore significantly below the horizon [continues at 23rd February ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

ASIDE - THE "SKYWAVE PROPAGATION" OF HIGH FREQUENCY WIRELESS TRANSMISSIONS: The secret of long-distance wireless communication is to "bounce" your transmission off the underside of the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere, (specifically, the "ionosphere" [Wikipedia factsheet]), which acts as a reflector of sorts for electromagnetic waves of an appropriately high frequency.

 

1901 [30th January] The South African Concentration Camps [III - The Sweepings Begin in Earnest]: [Continued from 1900 (20th December)] Sir John French [1900 (7th March)<=>1903 (10th March)] conducts a sweep into the south-eastern Transvaal which nets a large number of homesteaders for the new concentration camps. Where the woman in question is married to a serving guerrilla the family is put on reduced rations [sub-thread continues at 25th February ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = TOTAL WAR]

 

1901 [2nd February] Seeing is Believing [XC - Early Motion Pictures (Hepworth Studios)]: [Continued from 1900] Hepworth Studios [1900 (24th January)<=>1905 (3rd July)] cover the state funeral of Queen Victoria [<=1899 (21st November)] with multiple cameras. They then burn the midnight oil editing together "Funeral of Queen Victoria" [IMDB entry; YouTube it now] a 15-minute documentary tribute, and running off enough prints to hit the projection houses in force the next day [sub-thread continues at 15th March ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  MARCONI'S MILESTONE WIRELESS PATENT, U.S.  **********

**********  MARCONI'S MILESTONE WIRELESS PATENT, U.S.  **********

**********  MARCONI'S MILESTONE WIRELESS PATENT, U.S.  **********

1901 [23rd February] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XLI - Frequency Modulation]: [Continued from 23rd January] Guglielmo Marconi [1900 (26th April)<=>1909 (10th December)] now crossfiles his British patent 7777 [<=1900 (26th April)] for a U.S. patent (eventually granted on 11th June 1901 as U.S. Patent 676332) under the title "Apparatus for Wireless Telegraphy" [continues at 1st March ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1901 [25th/27th February] The South African Concentration Camps [IV - Conditions Cause Concern]: [Continued from 30th January] Concerns are being widespread in Britain as to the legality, morality, and basic wisdom of the concentration camp system (as we have already seen the camps began innocently enough six months previously [<=1900 (1st September)] but then became more overtly militarised following Lord Kitchener's [1900 (20th December)<=>28th February] decision to regard civilians not already confined to the camps as militarily hostile). On 25th February Secretary of State for War Brodrick [1900 (20th December)<=>28th February] is asked in Parliament where the concentration camps are and how many people are confined in each. He replies that a full report has been called for. He is then further engaged on the issue of whether or not the inmates are prisoners-of-war, thus ...

 

"[John Dillon [Wikipedia biography=>1914 (31st August)] (Irish Parliamentary Party)] Will the right hon. Gentleman state whether the women and children in these laagers are at liberty to leave them? Are they prisoners or are they free?

 

MR. BRODRICK They are not prisoners of war.

 

MR. DILLON Are they free to leave the laagers, or are they guarded by sentries with bayonets?

 

MR. BRODRICK They come to these laagers for protection.

 

MR. DILLON Will the right hon. Gentleman assure us that no persons are inside these camps who have not come there for protection - that they have not been driven there?

 

MR. BRODRICK I have given the House all the information I can. These camps are voluntary camps formed for protection. Those who come may go." (Hansard, 89:1021-1022).

 

The Secretary of State's closing assertion may possibly have been formally true but, with their farms laid waste, few of the inmates of the camps actually had anywhere to go to! As a body, therefore, the Boer women and children were indeed de facto prisoners-of-war. In South Africa, meanwhile, the welfare campaigner Emily Hobhouse [Wikipedia biography=>17th June] has been inspecting the camps since 24th January and as her initial reports gradually become available the British Liberal and Irish Parties (both centrist) begin to bring the Conservative government under increasing political pressure on the matter [see, for example, the entry for 22nd April]. The Government responds on 27th February by instructing that the policy of keeping the families of serving Boer soldiers on reduced rations be reversed. It also more consistently follows the explanatory narrative that everything is the enemy's fault, thus ...

 

"If the British were going to imprison the Boer women and their children, they were going to have to do it within a discourse consistent with nineteenth-century ideology about gender relations: Brodrick structured it around the idea of 'protection'. By establishing the camps, the argument ran, British men were adopting the duties shirked by the unmanly Boers on commando who had 'deserted' their families, leaving them to starve" (source).

 

Britain's fledgling cinema industry unwittingly [we have been unable to demonstrate otherwise - Ed.] joins the debate by anticipating the government's 1902 argument [=>1902 (4th March)] that fewer Boers would have died had they been less averse to soap and water in their own protection2 [sub-thread continues at 28th February ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = TOTAL WAR]

 

1ASIDE: The war correspondent R. H. Edgar Wallace [Wikipedia biography=>1914 (2nd September)] was far less forgiving of Boer womanhood, seeing them as combatants in all but dress. Wallace will play a similar (and presumably well-paid) role in Britain's 1914 propaganda offensive against the Germans [=>1914 (2nd September)].

 

2ASIDE: The "smelly Boers" line of argument will be heavily emphasised in the Fawcett Commission's whitewash report [=>1902 (4th March)]. However the Mitchell and Kenyon Company [1900 (14th July)<=>6th September] is already distributing a reel entitled "Washing a Boer Prisoner in a Camp" [IMDB entry] and in April 1901 the Warwick Trading Company [<=1900 (28th May)] will re-release an 1899 farmyard reel entitled "Feeding the Pigs" [IMDB entry] under the new title "Feeding the Boers".

 

1901 [28th February] The South African Concentration Camps [V - The Middelburg Conference]: [Continued from 25th February] Lord Kitchener [25th February<=>14th June] and Louis Botha [1900 (11th June)<=>1910 (31st May)] hold a preliminary peace conference. A number of matters arising are then discussed with the respective governments and on 7th March the British offer the Boers the following in exchange for their disarming ...

 

(1) amnesty for serving Boers and repatriation of Boer prisoners-of-war.

 

(2) a new civil administration, initially British but, "as soon as circumstances permit", self-governing.

 

(3) financial assistance for distressed farmers willing to take an oath of allegiance to (2).

 

The feeling in the Boer camp, however, is that their guerrilla forces are still holding their own militarily, and on 16th March they formally decline the offer. In the House of Commons, meanwhile, Secretary of State for War Brodrick [25th February<=>22nd April] extends his answer of 25th February by adding that Kitchener has informed him "that a sufficient allowance [of rations] is being given to all families in camp, and that they are satisfied and comfortable (Hansard, 90:180). Again on 5th March that "Lord Kitchener is taking all possible steps to secure the humane treatment of refugees" (Hansard, 90:557) [sub-thread continues at 1st March ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = TOTAL WAR]

 

1901 [1st March] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XLII - Tesla's Yard Sale]: [Continued from 23rd February] The financier John P. Morgan [Wikipedia biography=>2nd March] buys out all Nikola Tesla's [1899 (17th May)<=>7th August] patents for USD150,000 [continues at 9th March ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1901 [1st March] The South African Concentration Camps [VI - The Camps Change Hands]: [Continued from 28th February] On 1st March, the recently appointed "Administrator" of the occupied Boer republics Sir Alfred Milner [1899 (30th May)<=>22nd April] formally assumes responsibility for Britain's rapidly filling network of camps [sub-thread continues at 22nd April ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = TOTAL WAR]

 

1901 [2nd March] Aged 66 years and ready to retire Andrew Carnegie [<=1892 (30th June)] does a deal with John P. Morgan [1st March<=>1902] which sees his Carnegie Steel Company [<=1892 (30th June)] and two similar companies merged as the United States Steel Corporation [Wikipedia factsheet]. Carnegie nets a personal fortune of USD226 million. [THREAD = THE WW1 FINANCIAL AND ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES]

 

1901 [9th March] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XLIII - The Arco-Slaby System]: [Continued from 1st March] Georg von Arco [1897 (27th August)<=>1903 (27th May)] and Adolf Slaby [1897 (27th August)<=>1903 (27th May)] have an article published in Scientific American in which the results of four years experimentation in wireless technology are summarised. The resulting system is considerably lighter and more easily transported than comparable equipment from the Marconi Company [23rd January<=>12th December] [continues at 3rd June ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1901 [28th March] Russia and Manchuria: The global implications of Russia's ongoing annexation of large areas of north-eastern Manchuria [<=1900 (23rd July)] are debated at length in the British Parliament. The central area of concern is as follows ...

 

"[Sir Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett [<=1899 (7th August)] (Conservative, Sheffield Eccleshall)] [...] There can be little doubt that the Russian government is now pressing upon China a convention which, if signed, would give our great rival in the Far East very important advantages over this country in regard to political power and commerce in the north-eastern portion of China. [... Indeed,] I venture to say that our position in China, and the encroachment of other Powers in that country, constitute at this moment a far graver crisis and are of infinitely more importance to this country than the South African question has ever presented. However great the mistakes that have been made in South Africa by the government - and they have been truly colossal - [...] the position in that country was never out of control. The war in South Africa has cost us five times as much money as was necessary, and ten times as many human lives as were necessary, but we have never lost control of the position [...] This same cannot be said in regard to the Far East. We are there in the presence of the greatest possible danger [...]. When Russia once obtains political and military control in Manchuria, and when the Trans-Siberian railway is completed, by which Russia can throw immense stores of munitions and hundreds of thousands of troops into Manchuria, we shall find ourselves in presence of that force majeure which it will be impossible to deal with. [...] It is not only the question of China that is at stake; it is the question of the future of Asia, and with Asia goes our Indian Empire. [...] The time has come for plain speaking in this matter. Russia respects nothing but force" (Hansard, 92:163-196).

 

Britain's response to this call for action was (a) to intensify its operations on China's southern border [=>21st June] and (b) to develop a closer military relationship with Japan [=>1902 (30th January)]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1901  [30th March] The twin-screw passenger liner SS Kronprinz Wilhelm [Wikipedia shipography=>1914 (4th September)] is launched at A.G. Vulkan [1900 (10th January)<=>1902 (12th August)], Stettin, for service with the Norddeutscher-Lloyd Line [1897 (4th May)<=>1902 (12th August)]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

ASIDE - SMS KRONPRINZ WILHELM IN WW1: Between September 1914 and March 1915 the Kronprinz Wilhelm will have a brief but successful period as a commerce raider [=>1914 (4th September)]. She was then interned in the neutral U.S.A. until their entry into the war in 1917, whereupon she was rebadged as USS Von Steuben, and served the remainder of the war as such.

 

1901  [4th April] The RMS Celtic [Wikipedia shipography=>scrapped following grounding 1928-1933] is launched at Harland and Wolff [1899 (14th January)<=>1906 (20th September)], Belfast, for service with the White Star Line [1899 (23rd November)<=>1902 (1st October)]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

ASIDE - RMS CELTIC IN WW1: Celtic served as an armed merchant cruiser until January 1916, then as a troopship.

 

1901 [22nd April] The South African Concentration Camps [VII - Mortality Statistics (Official Figures Requested)]: [Continued from 1st March] Secretary of State for War Brodrick [28th February<=>2nd May] is quizzed in Parliament as to conditions in the South African "camps of concentration".

 

ASIDE - MORTALITY STATISTICS IN PARLIAMENT: Mortality statistics and other public health issues appear frequently in the Parliamentary record, especially in times of epidemic, and it is not always easy to separate out genuine concerns as to proper emergency governance from the opportunistic scoring of party political points. Certainly the concentration camps debate is at this point in time becoming distinctly party political in nature.

 

Brodrick replies as follows ...

 

"The nature of the shelter varies according to the locality, solid buildings being used where possible. All refugees were placed on the same scale of rations on 27th February. Every provision has been made for medical attendance, and the education of the children is being conducted in sheds or marquees according to the accommodation. [Sir Alfred Milner [1st March<=>7th December]] is giving his personal attention to improving the conditions of life in these camps. Records of births and deaths are preserved, and I have telegraphed for figures" (Hansard, 92:895-897).

 

Brodrick then promises to pass on the figures for Orange River Colony as soon as he receives them from the authorities there. In the field meanwhile a number of Britain's future WW1 commanders1 are learning their trades and the construction of the 8000 blockhouses needed to protect Britain's lines of communication in South Africa is proceeding apace [sub-thread continues at 2nd May ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = TOTAL WAR]

 

1ASIDE: We have already pointed to the pre-WW1 experiences of Lord Kitchener, Winston Churchill, Sir John French, Haig, Hamilton, Smith-Dorrien, Gough, and Mahon, all holders of high office in WW1. Other names to conjure with in this respect are Plumer, Rawlinson, and Byng.

 

1901 [2nd/7th May] The South African Concentration Camps [VIII - Mortality Statistics (Numbers Start to Trickle Through)]: [Continued from 22nd April] Asked again for mortality statistics Secretary of State for War Brodrick [22nd April<=>14th June] replies as follows ...

 

"Lord Kitchener has not yet been able to forward the necessary information as regards the Orange River Colony [no longer the Orange Free State since its annexation  - Ed.], but for the Transvaal the numbers are 2840 men, 6083 women, and 14,251 children - and the deaths since the 1st January amount to 284" (Hansard, 93:407-408).

 

On 7th May he further reports the deaths of 41 men, 80 women, and 261 children in the Orange River Colony but still has no comparable figures for Natal or Cape Colony [sub-thread continues at 14th June ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = TOTAL WAR]

 

1901  [28th May] The British mining entrepreneur William Knox d'Arcy [Wikipedia biography=>1908 (26th May)] concludes an oil prospecting agreement with the Iranian government, and hires the oil engineer George B. Reynolds [no convenient biography] to oversee the drilling [continues at 1908 (26th May) ...]. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  FIRST WIRELESS VOICE TRANSMISSION  **********

**********  FIRST WIRELESS VOICE TRANSMISSION  **********

**********  FIRST WIRELESS VOICE TRANSMISSION  **********

1901 [3rd June] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony1, and Broadcasting [XLIV - Wireless Telephony Demonstrated]: [Continued from 9th March] The Brazilian priest-engineer Roberto Landell de Moura [Wikipedia biography=>1904 (11th October)] publically demonstrates the transmission of a voice signal five miles across São Paolo, Brazil [continues at next entry ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1ASIDE - WIRELESS TELEPHONY: Note that we have now introduced wireless telephony alongside telegraphy, but not yet "broadcasting". For broadcasting there is no single intended recipient of the transmission in question, all recipients need a receiver, and the technology used must at least closely approximate to a continuous wave system, that is to say, one where the continuity of human voice is not degraded in transit.

 

1901 [3rd June] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XLV - The Lodge-Muirhead Wireless Syndicate]: [Continued from preceding entry] [Sir]1902 Oliver J. Lodge [1897 (11th May)<=>1902 (14th June)] and Alexander Muirhead [1897 (11th May)<=>1902 (14th June)] file for a British patent (eventually granted on 3rd September 1902 as G.B. Patent 11348 of 1901) under the title "Improvements in Syntonic Space Telegraphy". Around the same time Lodge and Muirhead formalise their five-year-long technical collaboration by setting up the Lodge-Muirhead Wireless Syndicate. The new enterprise gradually expands the Muirhead family business at Elmer's End, South London to cope with the increased demand [continues at 5th August ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1901 [14th June] The South African Concentration Camps [IX - Mortality Statistics (The Accusation of "Barbarism")]: [Continued from 2nd May] In the House of Commons Secretary of State for War Brodrick [2nd May<=>17th June] is unable fully to explain the status and treatment of native South Africans during the ongoing clearance operations. At an after-dinner speech later in the day the Opposition leader Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman [1900 (26th September)<=>22nd December] vehemently attacks Lord Kitchener's [28th February<=>7th August] fundamental policy for managing the Boer civilian population, thus ...

 

"What is that policy? That now that we had got the men we had been fighting against down, we should punish them as severely as possible, devastate their country, burn their homes, break up their very instruments of agriculture. It is that we should sweep [...] the women and children into camps ... in some of which the death-rate has risen so high as 430 in the thousand. [...] A phrase often used is hat 'war is war', but when one comes to ask about it one is told that no war is going on, that is is not war. When is a war not a war? When it is carried on by methods of barbarism in South Africa" (Wikiquote).

 

This line of argument will be taken up in Parliament by Campbell-Bannerman's Liberal Party colleague Lloyd George [1890 (13th April)<=>17th June] three days later [sub-thread continues at 17th June ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = TOTAL WAR]

 

1901 [17th June] The South African Concentration Camps [X - Mortality Statistics (Measles in Johannesburg Camp)]: [Continued from 14th June] Secretary of State for War Brodrick [14th June<=>16th July] briefs the House on recent events in the camp at Johannesburg, thus ...

 

"The deaths at Johannesburg camp from the 1st to the 31st May amounted to six men, six women, and 68 children, and are accounted for by an epidemic of measles. There is an experienced medical officer in charge, assisted by a qualified matron and a large staff of nurses" (Hansard, 95:540-543).

 

Later in the day an Adjournment Debate on "Mortality in Camps of Detention" is opened with a statement by Lloyd George [14th June<=>18th October] detailing the Liberal Party's accusations of mismanagement in Britain's network of South African concentration camps. Here is an indicative extract from that statement ...

 

"The facts revealed by [Brodrick], which have come straight from Lord Kitchener, show that there was a state of things at Johannesburg which the Government were afraid to exhibit. [Emily Hobhouse [25th February<=>16th July]] has made some reports as to what was taking place in the best of these camps - the best equipped and the longest established - and they are sufficiently deplorable. These were camps, not of fighting men, every one of whom would pass a physical test, but of women, many of whom were in a weak condition, and of children. [...] We are told that war is war [... but w]e know perfectly well that this is the result of a deliberate policy. [...] The military authorities knew perfectly well it was to be done, and they had ample time to provide for it" (Hansard, 95:573-629).

 

Brodrick responds by placing some of the responsibility on the Boers themselves, thus ...

 

"... but my desire is to show that a large number of those individuals who are now in the camps would not be there if we could have induced the enemy to recognise their own responsibilities in the matter. I would say that a large number of these refugees are now in camp, not owing to any wish of the Government, but owing to the action of their own friends" (ibid.)

 

This debate also includes early mention of Hobhouse's recently published "Report of a Visit to the Camps [etc.]"1 [full text online] [sub-thread continues at 16th July ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = TOTAL WAR]

 

1ASIDE: This Report is dated simply "June 1901", but 17th June seems to be its first mention in Parliament. The work contains many critical observations, most of which concern poor sanitation and overcrowding encouraging endemic disease and high infant mortality. For the detailed criticisms and Hobhouse's recommendations as to remediation see the full text, pp13-15. For the remainder of the year the camp population increases gradually from around 90,000 to around 120,000, while the monthly death toll rises from around 1000 to around 3000. RECOMMENDED READING: The Hansard 95:573-629 debate runs to 19 pages of dense transcript but is well worth a look because it provides an excellent example of how, in "protecting" a civil population, non-combatants so easily suffer a greater casualty rate than those actually in the front line.

 

1901  [21st June] Tibet [I - The Initial Concern]: In a debate in Parliament the Foreign Office is asked whether it is aware that Thubten Gyatso, 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet [Wikipedia biography=>1903 (1st December)] has sent embassy to Nicholas II of Russia [1894 (1st November)<=>1904 (8th February)] apparently seeking Russian protection against British adventurism on the Sikkim-Tibet border. The Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, James Gascoyne-Cecil, [4th Marquess of Salisbury]1903 [a.k.a. "Lord Cranborne"] [Wikipedia biography=>1902 (15th May)] replies that this is indeed how things have been reported in the Russian press, but that independent confirmation is awaited. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1901 [16th/22nd July] The South African Concentration Camps [XI - The Fawcett Committee Formed]: [Continued from 17th June] In an attempt to buy itself time (for there is little doubt as to what the findings are going to be) Secretary of State for War Brodrick [<=17th June] announces the composition of a "Concentration Camp Committee of English Lady Visitors" in the House of Commons on 22nd June. It will be headed by the politically acceptable Millicent G. Fawcett [Wikipedia biography=>12th December]. Hobhouse [<=17th June] is deliberately side-lined for lacking the right sort of "impartiality" [sub-thread continues at 7th August ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = TOTAL WAR] [THREAD = HOW TO START A WAR]

 

**********  BRITISH TRADE UNIONS LOSE A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT  **********

1901  [22nd July] In the case of The Taff Vale Railway Company versus The Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants [Wikipedia factsheet] the British House of Lords rules in favour of the plaintiff and awards £23,000 damages, plus costs. At issue is the right of workers to withdraw their labour without becoming liable for the losses incurred as a result by their employer. The liberally minded in Britain are appalled, but the decision will be reversed in 1906 [continues at 1906 (28th March) ...]. [THREAD = THE WW1 WORKING CLASS SOLDIER]

 

1901 [5th August] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XLVI - Braun's Closed Oscillation Circuit]: [Continued from 3rd June] Karl Ferdinand Braun [1900 (24th September)<=>1902] files for a U.S. patent under the title "Means for Tuning and Adjusting Electric Circuits" (granted on 21st June 1904 as U.S. Patent 763345). The innovation in question is an improved "closed oscillation circuit" [continues at 7th August ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1901 [7th August] The South African Concentration Camps [XII - Another Kitchener Ruling]: [Continued from 16th July] In a proclamation delivered to De Wet [1900 (1st September)<=>1902 (15th May)] in person, Lord Kitchener [28th February<=>1st December] rules that Boers still under arms have until 15th September to surrender or else (a) be banished, and (b) have their lands sold in absentia to pay for the upkeep of their dependents in the concentration camps [sub-thread continues at 18th October ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD] [THREAD = TOTAL WAR]

 

RECOMMENDED READING: Kitchener's thinking in this is clearly set out in said communication - check it out.

 

1901 [7th August or hereabouts] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XLVII - The Wardenclyffe Transmitter]: [Continued from 5th August] Nikola Tesla [<=1st March] starts work on the Wardenclyffe Tower [Wikipedia factsheet], a proposed wireless station at Shoreham, Long Island. Tests will begin on 15th July 1903 but the equipment - basically a gigantic Tesla Coil [<=1891 (20th May [ASIDE])] - has never been given Tesla's undivided technical attention and never performs to specification. The project will be abandoned by its backers in July 1904, after which Tesla indulges in a number of late-career get-rich-quick projects. However none of these schemes work either, and he will be declared bankrupt in 1916. The Wardenclyffe Tower will be demolished in July 1917. As of 2012 local industrial heritage workers are developing a Tesla Science Centre [Wikipedia factsheet; project website] on the site [continues at 28th September ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1901 [17th August] The Factory and Workshop Act, 1901: The British Parliament passes an Act to come into effect 1st January 1902 making it unlawful to employ children younger than 12 years of age. [THREAD = THE WW1 WORKING CLASS SOLDIER]

 

1901 [6th September or hereabouts] Seeing is Believing [XCI - The Cinema at War (South Africa Again)]: [Continued from 2nd February] Today's edition of The Showman (reproduced as Plate 1 in Popple, op. cit.) carries an advertisement for the Mitchell and Kenyon Company's [<=25th February] "New Series of Boer War Films", describing them as "Startling, Realistic, Pathetic". C. Rider Noble [1899 (12th October)<=>1st October] meanwhile, summarises British frustration in a light-hearted reel entitled "In Pursuit of De Wet" [IMDB entry]1 [sub-thread continues at 27th September ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1RESEARCH ISSUE - PROPAGANDA BY RIDICULE: Compare British Pathé's (1940) cartoon "Run, Adolf, Run" [YouTube it now] and Movietone News's (1942) irreverent remix of the "Lambeth Walk" [YouTube it now] (targeting Hitler and the Nazi SS, respectively).

 

1901 [7th September] The "Boxer Protocol" Signed: After months of diplomatic negotiations Empress Ci Xi [1900 (22nd October)<=>1902 (30th January)] is persuaded to disown the Boxer movement and to allow the Eight Nations' police actions to continue without interference from her Imperial Army. She also agrees to pay war reparations of (roughly converted) 15,000 tons of silver over 40 years. Russia agrees to withdraw from Manchuria, but only once her railway is secure. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1901 [21st September] The Russians Defend their Railway: The Russian occupation of Manchuria is now extended eastward to include Jilin Province [map, etc.], professedly to protect the rail link to Vladivostok. [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1901 [27th September] Seeing is Believing [XCII - The Cinema at War (South Africa Again)]: [Continued from 6th September; browsers are reminded that since 25th February [<=q.v.] the religious, intellectual, and political left and centre-left in Britain have been campaigning against what they regard as the "barbarism" inherent in Britain's concentration camp policy against the wives and children of the Boer field forces] Today's edition of The Showman carries an advertisement for the Gaumont Company's [1895 (10th August)<=>1902 (31st May)] "Boer Atrocity" [unable to locate IMDB entry], storyboarding it as follows ...

 

"The scene is laid at a Transvaal mine, guarded by a sentinel, a Boer commandant being seen in the foreground. Three more Boers appear with a British prisoner, and on finding, on his person, a Union Jack, get furious, and after a struggle to recover it, the 'Tommy' is shot. The Boers then disperse with the exception of the sentinel. Another 'Tommy', hearing the sound of the shot, crawls up to his dead comrade and covers him with the British flag, which movement catches the eye of the Boer sentinel, who, however, is not quick enough for the Britisher, who fires with deadly effect, which arouses other Boers around; so, quick as a thought, he explodes a box of dynamite [...]. When the smoke disperses a scene of devastation is seen, which gradually is replaced by a set piece representing Britannia with a giant Union Jack in the background, which is raised, disclosing the British fleet steaming on the ocean" (reproduced in Bottomore, 2007, X, pp17-18)

 

As we shall be seeing in due course, the opening weeks of WW1 will see the science of atrocity allegation taken to new heights [=>1914 (5th August) and follow the dedicated sub-thread] [sub-thread continues at 15th October ...]. [THREAD = THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS] [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

1901  [28th September] The American businessman King C. Gillette [Wikipedia biography] founds the American [Gillette]1902 Safety Razor Company [Wikipedia factsheet]. That same day the German Werner und Mertz [Wikipedia factsheet], Mainz, register the "Erdal" leather polish trademark with the Berlin Patents Office. Their frog logo [see it now] is still [2014] in use.  [THREAD = THE SHAPING OF THE MODERN WORLD]

 

**********  TWO R.F. WAVES BETTER THAN ONE  **********

**********  TWO R.F. WAVES BETTER THAN ONE  **********

**********  TWO R.F. WAVES BETTER THAN ONE  **********

1901 [28th September] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Broadcasting [XLVIII - The Heterodyne Receiver]: [Continued from 7th August] The Canadian physicist Reginald A. Fessenden [Wikipedia biography=>1902 (6th June)] files for a U.S. Patent (eventually granted on 12th August 1902 as U.S. Patent 706747) under the title "Apparatus for Signalling by Electromagnetic Waves". What he has developed is the "heterodyne receiver" [Wikipedia factsheet], a device which works by generating two oscillatory waves and by then superimposing them to create a third1. The nature of the underlying physics is that when two R.F. waves are allowed to "interfere" with each other in this way the new wave - known as the "beat" - has a frequency which is the difference between the two original waves. Fessenden's stroke of genius then lay in arranging for the two R.F. waves to differ by a frequency in the audible spectrum (say, 1000Hz). It remains then only to add a loudspeaker device to the beating circuit for the inaudible-but-transmittable radio frequencies to have been converted into audible-but-in-itself-untransmittable sound [continues at 30th September ...]. [THREAD = WW1 SIGNALLING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS]

 

1ASIDE - WAVE INTERFERENCE AND "BEATS": Readers unfamiliar with the phenomenon of "beats" when two waves (electromagnetic, structural, fluid, or for that matter even Mexican) are superimposed will find a helpful illustrated tutorial at click here.

 

**********  HISTORY'S FIRST SEMICONDUCTOR1 PATENT  **********

**********  HISTORY'S FIRST SEMICONDUCTOR PATENT  **********

**********  HISTORY'S FIRST SEMICONDUCTOR PATENT  **********

1901 [30th September] Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony,