TMP -The World Declares War

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Remembrance Ceremony 2013

Tarvin Meeting Point took their own look at that most topical of subjects, the First World War, at their recent meeting (Thursday July 10th) The emphasis was on the causes that prompted countries to join the conflict and the effect it had on some countries and peoples far away from the Western Front.

Three dominant elements influencing the great European Powers were, the rise of nationalism, the desire to acquire and defend colonial possessions, and, the tangled web of alliances that, despite often being created for defensive reasons, proved to be an essential part of the domino effect that lead country after country to declare war.

The spark that started the conflagration, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, was a part of a volatile rise of nationalist feelings in a Balkans only recently freed from the domination of the Ottoman Empire. The willingness of Germany to invade a neutral country was another trigger, as well as a belief by some of the rulers, all descended from Queen Victoria, that cousin would surely not go to war against cousin.

The meeting also looked at some far flung areas that the wars affected. In the Pacific, a German Naval Fleet tried to race home before being defeated and destroyed in the Battle of the Falklands in December 1914, but not before it had clashed with a British Fleet off the Chilean coast a month before when 1500 British sailors had lost their lives.

Whilst colonial men of European descent volunteered in their thousands for active service, many indigenous people were confined to Labour or Pioneer Battalions and denied the right to bear arms. In East Africa a German force in what was then German East Africa kept a British Force of 40, 000 out of the main conflict by a successful guerrilla campaign that lasted until the Armistice.

The next meeting of TMP will be on Thursday July 24th and will be the summer BBQ. It is very unlikely that there will be any talk of war, a fact which will be a relief to some of the members!

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