Spectators stand upon couches, tables and chairs to get even a glimpse of the Versailles Treaty being signed, 1919
Appointment of the Polish Regency Council by the German and Austro-Hungarian authorities in Warsaw. Polish representatives wearing traditional Polish nobility costumes and Austro-Hungarian officers in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw in the procession to the St. John’s Cathedral.
The arrest of Gavrilo Princip, following his assassinating Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. Sarajevo, 1914.
At Verdun, he had found himself face to face with a young French soldier. The two boys raised their muskets and simultaneously pulled the triggers. Just before losing consciousness from his stomach wounds, Benno heard the mortally wounded Frenchman utter “Shema Yisroel,” the Jews’ holiest prayer. He had killed a fellow Jew! Profoundly traumatized, he was troubled by this episode for the rest of his life.
—Ghetto Shanghai by Evelyn Pike Rubin
In this excerpt from her memoir, Ms. Rubin, a German Jewish woman, recounts an instance experienced by her father, Benno Popielarz, as he fought for Germany in World War I.
I haven’t been able to get this story out of my head since I first read it many months ago, and it has really added a new dimension to how I think about twentieth century European Jewry, and how I think about the Jews who fought in First World War.
Anyway, just wanted to share it with you.
Unlike many other countries, the skills of nurses in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps were recognised through their status as commissioned officers. You can see the rank insignia on their shoulder straps.
They also had the best uniforms - because of their blue dresses and white veils, they were nicknamed the “bluebirds”.
(The first two pictures are of Caroline Dhavernas in “Passchendaele”)
Cause vintage WWI lesbians are the best lesbians.
Manfred von Richthofen aka “The Red Baron”, 1916
The Mad Minute
Marksmanship training in the British Army involved an exercise known as the ‘Mad Minute’ in which a soldier was expected to fire at, and hit, a 12” target 300 yards out at least 15 times. A trained rifleman could hit the target 30+ times with his Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle. At the turn of the century the British Army was the most professional in the world with each soldier trained to be an expert marksman. As such when the First World War began the average British rifleman could out shoot his German and French counterparts. At the Battle of Mons it was well documented that German infantry believed they were facing British battalions heavily equipped with machine guns rather than riflemen.
The record for the most hits on target during a ‘Mad Minute’ stood at 38 hits in 60 seconds, set in 1914 by an Instructor Sergeant Alfred Snoxall. It has not been beaten since. Hitting the target 38 times would require him to fire the 10 rounds pre-loaded in the SMLE’s magazine and then reload 6 times with 5 round stripper clips. Add onto this that the rifle was a single shot, bolt action rifle which required the user to push up and retract the bolt and then return it forward pushing a new round into the chamber, then aiming and fire. All while maintaining his cheek weld and line of sight. This means Snoxall must have averaged around 1.5 seconds per shot to hit the target 38 times in a minute. Quite a feat.
Here is a short video of a SMLE owner attempting a very fast ‘Mad Minute’, he managed to fire 10 rounds in under 10 seconds. It certainly gives you some idea of what Snoxall and other professionals could achieve.
A collage of romantic kitsch postcards that illustrated Magnus Hirschfeld’s Sexual History of the World War.