Liege surrendered to the Germans

August 16th, 2014

The last of the Liege forts fall.  While the city of Liege surrendered early in the battle of Liege, the Liege forts continued to fight.  They were reduced one by one using Krupp L/12 420-millimetre M-Gerät 14 Kurze Marine-Kanone and Skoda 305-millimetre Mörser M. 11 heavy artillery.

Painting the Great War: Claggett Wilson

August 15th, 2014


There are many ways to look at the horror and loss of the Great War, but one of the most visually arresting in its expression of emotion is painting.  

With millions of men and women fighting for the military of the Entente and the Allies it is not surprising that many artists would evolve from this period.  Indeed, entire books can and have been written on the subject.  But one of the greatest painters to record their experiences of war was Wilson Claggett.  

Claggett Wilson was a United States born modernist painter.  He was known as an excellent rider, and both drew and taught drawing.  From 1906-1910 he lived in France and presented his works at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux–Arts in Paris.

When the United States entered the Great War Wilson volunteered, and his knowledge of French allowed him to join the division staff of the 2nd (US) Infanrty Division.  During that time he fought near the frontlines and suffered several injuries, including a wound from mustard gas, and had extensive oppottunities to also observe the French in the last year of the war.

Clagget's art was a mixture of the horrors he saw in the trenches, and the humanity of the people fighting the war.  Paintings such as "Hospital. On the Stretcher I Lay... Great Shadows Quivered..." showed the humanity of the wounded and the results of the war, but used a bright pastel color scheme to show the duality of horror and hope many soldiers felt.  "Dance of Death" presented poignant views of the enemy dead in the American wire, and showed very little hatred of the people he faced in the trenches.  His dualism was best expressed by the painting "Rosalie, Rosalie! Rosalie is the Nickname of the French Bayonet" which made a comparison between the knickname of the French spike bayonet carried by the Mle 1886 and 1907/15 rifles, and its actual use.  The horror that Claggett saw was often cause for religious connections, as when he painted "Underground Dressing Station, The Flesh is the Thing Crucified, Pale..."

Although Claggett's wartime art is largely ignored in modern texts (his work does not show up in the standard textbook for art students by H.W. Jansen, "The History of Art") for a generation trying to understand the horrific conflict that was the Great War, Claggett's work were an important part of the international conversaion.  His works, in fact, had such an important effect on the understandings of the war that he was nominated for a Noble Peace Prize. 

The UK and France declare war on Austria-Hungary

August 12th, 2014

With the Austria-Hungary empire at war with Russia, France and the UK declare war in return.  The original causes of the war, troubles in the Balkans, have now been overshadowed by rapid responses to treaties and percieved national slights.

SMS Goeben SMS Breslau arrive in Turkey

August 10th, 2014

The battlecruiser SMS Goeben and the light cruiser SMS Breslau arrive in Turkey after avoiding the entire British Mediterranean Fleet.  The result of the humiliation would result in the Ottoman Empire entering the war on the side of the Central Powers.

The battleship König commissioned into the High Seas Fleet

August 8th, 2014

The SMS König, technically the lead ship of the  König class battleship, is commisioned into the High Seas fleet, joining her recently commisioned sister Grosser Kurfürst who commisioned just 9 days before.