Sunday, November 11, 2018

My Grandpop and The Hundredth Anniversary of World War I

Cpl. James Greenlee
314th Inf., 79th Division

My grandfather, James Greenlee, fought in WWI.
 He served with distinction during the Meuse-Argonne campaign He was gassed during the Meuse action, he was commended as a runner. Running messages for his commanding officer.
Even though I knew my grandfather to be a brave man, who fought for his country,
I can't figure out with any kind of logic, why the US was involved in that war?
I don't think there are many Americans that know a damn thing about how we got into WWI, let  alone all the other wars we have fought.
We can pretty much say that World War I started the U.S Military Industrial Complex that has taken over our economy today.
If a war like WWI started today, I wonder if they could start a draft like the one we had then?
What I remember being taught about the first World War was that Archduke Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo.
That's right, some royal dude was murdered and we actually fought over that.
Makes perfect sense.. Not!
It seems that there was this telegram from the German Foreign Secretary to Mexico, offering to help Mexico get back some territory lost in the Mexican American War.
If Mexico would join up with Germany, against the U.S.
Then German U-boats started sinking U.S. ships.
After that we had to make "the world safe for democracy."
We still think we are good at that, I guess.
The wars continue.
Many countries at this time were resource poor and if they could invade and get other countries resources, so much the better.
One of  the direct consequence from WW1 was the carving up of the Middle East.
 People don't talk about it much, but it's true
It's all about oil, resources and it's still happening today.
My Grandpop, second from the left, crouching.

I doubt my Grandpop knew the insidious reasons the war even started, but I am sure he saw so many lives that were lost.
 I am also sure it affected him deeply.
World War I was supposed to be the war that ended all wars.
 It didn't.
The U.S., one hundred years later, still bombing, we are at war with at least seven countries.
Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Niger, Iraq, Syria, Yemen.
How did that even happen?
Did even one candidate running for office in this years midterm election even suggest stopping these wars, the American people have no say in?
I don't know of any candidates running on an anti war platform.
War has been normalized in this country, to the point that most people don't even think about it.
 If it's not on CNN or Fox News, then it doesn't exist.
There's nothing new there.
World War I was the first war that propaganda paid a real role.

Did my Grandpa see this?

Lucky for us, the pointy helmet Germans never made it to our shores.
I don't know what kind of a logistical nightmare it would have been?
 Weirdly enough, there was a plan to do exactly that in 1898. But they never had a Navy large enough to invade New York City or Boston,  no one took it seriously.
It was hypothetical, so that poster, is a bit off putting considering how unlikely it was.
I guess the best they could do was the telegram to try and get Mexico to join them and then sink some of our ships.
What's even stranger, is that Germany was so hell bent they were sinking boats, like the Housatonic (sounds Teutonic, but nevermind)
Anyway. the Housatonic stopped after 2 warning shots from the U-boat, The Captain from the Housatonic boarded the U-Boat and was told they were going to torpedo the boat anyway.
The sailors on board had 2 hours to abandon ship which they then got into lifeboats. They were towed by the German submarine until a British boat came along.
Really? This sounds like something out of a Peter Sellers movie. Bizarre.
 I guess my Grandpa would have known about this incident.
It's weird because they were attacking cruise ships and civilian cargo ships, it's not like they were engaging with war vessels. The Lusitania was carrying war munitions, also the Lusitania was advised to stay out of the way of the German U Boats, but ignored this advice.
It's like a  submarine going after a Carnival Cruise ship, carrying bombs and guns. I don't know what is worse?
I guess the crazy Keiser telling you to torpedo these non military ships wasn't enough to make anyone say, oh hell no!. But hey, looking at who we have for president. anything is possible.
War is so weird. I never understood it.
I am pretty sure my grandfather saw this poster.
He was one of seven children and my great grandfather was a baker.
They weren't wealthy and were probably poor.
So, he decided he'd go over there.
I was young when he passed away, on the night Kennedy was elected, he slipped on some ice and he passed away.
I have one memory of him on a ladder, painting my parents house. (He was a house painter after the war) He came down from that ladder and scooped me up in his arms.
I was only two years old, but I remember how much I adored him.
My Grandpop and his brother Charles, a paramedic in France. Both in a war that was supposed to end all wars.
They did their best and were good and honorable men.
I only wish the war they fought in really was the end of all war.

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