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View Full Version : Frank Buckles Stands Alone



leitmotiv
02-13-2008, 02:14 AM
http://www.newsweek.com/id/109681

joeap
02-13-2008, 03:00 AM
Well, like the article says, WWI is going to be secondhand history soon. Yet we are still living the consequences. A S! to the last of his generation, may he join his brothers in peace.

Pirschjaeger
02-13-2008, 03:13 AM
World War I has no national monument. No iconic images.

In fact, America's plans are more akin to those of its wartime enemy, Germany, whose last veteran died last month at 107 without official fanfare.

These two lines are a little misleading. In fact, I have seen many WW1 monuments and plaques here in Germany. In contrast, I've seen little in regards to WW2.

Also, I think the reason for the silence when Germany's last WW1 vet passed away was somewhat political. German politicians walk a very fine line on this topic and most would rather avoid it.

It's not correct to compare Germany and the US in this regard.

Maybe Bewolf will add to this.

Fritz

Bewolf
02-13-2008, 03:44 AM
Originally posted by Pirschjaeger:
World War I has no national monument. No iconic images.

In fact, America's plans are more akin to those of its wartime enemy, Germany, whose last veteran died last month at 107 without official fanfare.

These two lines are a little misleading. In fact, I have seen many WW1 monuments and plaques here in Germany. In contrast, I've seen little in regards to WW2.

Also, I think the reason for the silence when Germany's last WW1 vet passed away was somewhat political. German politicians walk a very fine line on this topic and most would rather avoid it.

It's not correct to compare Germany and the US in this regard.

Maybe Bewolf will add to this.

Fritz

Quite coorrect. WW1 got more monuments and plaques for a simple reason. After WW1 Germany did not see itself at fault, the same way other nations did not see it that way. Lot's of honor for the soliders back then, even in the Weimar Republic, which did in fact only made a politicall cut with imperial Germany, not a social one.
Great difference to WW2. Though there are plaques and monuments, too, they are much rarer. Often there were just lines added to already existing WW1 documents.

WW2 kinda also dragged down the memories of WW1. Moral defeat after WW2 was complete. WW2, especially after the 68 social and cultural shifts in society, was seen as a sole german fault. Everything coming beforehand, right through all of prussian history, was seen as bad, as a forerunner of what was to come in WW2. Prussian militarism was seen as the root of all evil. As such all of Germany's military past got a very very bad rep within this country.

So it's not a big wonder why the last WW1 vet died without much notion. A polititian honoring a soldier walks a thin line indeed, as politic opposition may label it "war glorification". One of the biggest PC faux pas one can make here. Also a reason for the heavy anti war stance to this very day.

That said I often got the feeling americans are kinda ignorant to their own history as well. Whenver I was over there I had a hard time finding any historic buildings. Often it appeared of homes and structures are bulldozed over for yet another super market or a suburbian area. WW2 sticks out as the exception proving the rule.

But I also may be completly wrong here. Maybe some americans could shed some more light on that?

leitmotiv
02-13-2008, 04:58 AM
Originally posted by joeap:
Well, like the article says, WWI is going to be secondhand history soon. Yet we are still living the consequences. A S! to the last of his generation, may he join his brothers in peace.

Maybe not for quite a while. He was running his cattle farm single-handed until just a few years ago, throwing bales of hay to the cows like an eighteen-yr-old. He survived 3 1/2 years of starvation in a Japanese camp in the Philippines. His only child, his daughter, was born in 1955---we dated back in the '70's. Now she is his secretary, a full-time job with all the invitations he receives, and interviews he grants. He had no hard feelings about the Germans---he was the purser on Hamburg-America liners in the '30's, rode with the finest Prussian cavalry regiment at their invitation (he was a superb horseman), and hob-nobbed with the elite on board the ships.