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History

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About this blog

Here I'll basically be collecting random  stories, anekdotes and facts from times long past. It'll be mainly about european history, but also about folklore and mythology and anything else that comes to mind.

Entries in this blog

puk413

Kilroy was here

This blog entry will be all about a meme. A pre-internet meme as a matter of fact. It's about the meme kilroy was here popularized during the second world war.  Afbeeldingsresultaat voor kilroy was here

This is Mr. Chad who is often seen with the phrase Kilroy was here. He began his life as a character by a cartoonist and probably predates Kilroy was here. However no one knows for sure since the exact origins of the meme are unkown there are theories however and I fully encourage you to look them up and choose the one you believe. 

 

Mr Chad was something doodled by British soldiers and is often seen complaining about something. It follows a basic format being: Wot? No X. X being something to complain about not having as seen below.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Wot no leave mr chad

Story has it that when American soldiers went to brittain to train they saw this man and started using it themselves. As the war went on numerous doodles of mister Chad with the phrase Kilroy was here were seen on the western front. The drawers were often anonymous. It was a sign of hope for the soldiers, because no matter how bad it might get, Kilroy was there and he got out of it as well. 

Eventually Hitler got wind of this Kilroy and wondered who he was. Thinking it was an American secret weapon or super soldier he ordered an investigation on the subject. 

When FDR Churchill and Stalin met in Potsdam they had a VIP bathroom which only they were allowed to enter. Stalin was the first to enter and when he left he asked in russian: "Who is kilroy?" Apparently when they allies took Potsdam a soldier drew him there. 

After the war Mr. Chad was drawn on all kinds of places. People saw it as a race to quickly draw it on the most impossible of places. Reportedly Kilroy has even been on the top of Mt. Everest. Landmarks were a primary objective of these pranksters. But often when one of them approached a landmark they often discovered Kilroy had already been there. Kilroy has even been to the WW2 monument in Washington.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor kilroy was here \

He is still being spread to this day. I myself have found him numerous times, and I would like to ask you to keep an eye out, for you never know where kilroy has been.

puk413

Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1547-1619), by workshop of Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt.jpg

This guy is Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. He is the creator of the Netherlands. Back in the 1500's the Dutch decided to no longer be a part of Spain, so we rebelled. We presented the Act of Abjuration, or in Dutch: het plakkaat van Verlatinghe to the king of Spain. In it we said that if a king does not herd his sheep like a king, the people are no longer forced to see him as their king. So we decided to just not listen to him anymore. This decision plunged the Netherlands in the 80 year war against Spain. During this period of time the Netherlands were formed. First we tried to find a new king, but no one wanted a war with Spain, the strongest country at that time. So we just decided to do it ourselves and became a republic in 1581. After a while the western Netherlands, Zeeland and holland were no longer under Influence with Spain and they started to trade. This ushered in our golden age. The other provinces however, Gelre, Overijsel, Friesland, Groningen and Drente were still at war with Spain. The sea was free, but the land was still at war. This made sure the provinces, back then called the Gewesten, had conflicting interests. The gewesten at the shore wanted a better fleet to protect their trade vessels, and the land gewesten wanted a better army to fight Spain. Johan was the spokesman of Holland, and because Holland was the most important gewest back then the leader of the Netherlands. He talked with kings and queens, which for them was very odd. A regular person talking to royalty? that was unheard of. Still we did it and sucesfully at that.

After a while the western gewesten wanted peace, war is bad for trade. But the land gewesten still wanted war, they still weren't free. This is where our stadhouder maurits comes in the play

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Maurits

Maurits was the leader of the army. Maurits and Oldebarnevelt used to be great friends. However some actions taken by Oldebarnevelt angered Maurits.

 

Oldebarnevelt and Maurits debated over what to do in the Staten Generaal, our government. in the end the twelve years of treaty were declared, het twaalfjarig bestand. During these twelve years. Maurits played a foul game. He pushed the Staten Generaal to declare van Oldenbarevelt a traitor. They decapitated him a few days later. So we thanked the man that made our land with decapitation.

Maurits died some years later and in 1648 Spain finally had to give up and grant us our independence. After 80 years of fighting the Netherlands were finally free, however we had been ruling ourselves for a few decades. Some time later they gave Oldebarnevelt a statue. However it was not allowed to stand at the place it's supposed to stand because the King might not like that. Now however some historians want it to be placed at it's rightful place, on the binnenhof in the Hague, in order to finally honour the man that made our state.

 

I will flesh this part of our history out some time later. I'll probably tell something more about Maurits, and tell something about the watergeuzen, Willem van Oranje, and Alva.

 

Well I hope you liked the story of how we decided to decapitate the man that made our nation. This one might be a bit rambly, because it has been made entirely out of memory. So it might not be entirely chronological. Facts should check out though.

puk413

First gas attack

On april 22 1915 around supper the Germans first used a gas attack against the enemy during the second battle of Ypres. The gas used was chlorine gas. This gas smelled like a mixture of pepper and pineapple and tasted metallic according to the soldiers. This gas wasn't as deadly as the other gasses used during the war due to it being easily stopped by gasmasks with activated charcoal filters. However during this first attack, there was no such thing as a gas mask for the soldiers. The gas reacted with the water in the lungs and formed hydrochloric acid. This destroyed living tissue in the lungs, causing the victims to choke. 

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor First gas of ww1   

Gas being released

 

German.Diarybwcxd German posing behind victims of a gas attack

 

I'll end this entry with a diary entry of a German soldier that participated in the first chlorine gas attack and an entry of a Canadian soldier that witnessed it. I first heard the German entry in the museum In Flanders Fields in Ypres. If you're ever in the area, try and visit it. The Canadian quote is from a book "Canada in the Great World War" 

Finally, we decided to release the gas. The weatherman was right. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining. Where there was grass, it was blazing green. We should have been going on a picnic, not doing what we were going to do. …

We sent the [German] infantry back and opened the [gas] valves with the strings. About supper time, the gas started toward the French; everything was stone quiet. We all wondered what was going to happen.

As this great cloud of green grey gas was forming in front of us, we suddenly heard the French yelling. In less than a minute they started with the most rifle and machine gun fire that I had ever heard. Every field artillery gun, every machine gun, every rifle that the French had, must have been firing. I had never heard such a noise.

The hail of bullets going over our heads was unbelievable, but it was not stopping the gas. The wind kept moving the gas towards the French lines. We heard the cows bawling, and the horses screaming. The French kept on shooting.

They couldn’t possibly see what they were shooting at. In about 15 minutes the gun fire started to quit. After a half hour, only occasional shots. Then everything was quiet again. In a while it had cleared and we walked past the empty gas bottles.

What we saw was total death. Nothing was alive.

All of the animals had come out of their holes to die. Dead rabbits, moles, and rats and mice were everywhere. The smell of the gas was still in the air. It hung on the few bushes which were left.

When we got to the French lines the trenches were empty but in a half mile the bodies of French soldiers were everywhere. It was unbelievable. Then we saw there were some English. You could see where men had clawed at their faces, and throats, trying to get breath.

Some had shot themselves. The horses, still in the stables, cows, chickens, everything, all were dead. Everything, even the insects were dead.

— Willi Siebert, a German soldier who witnessed the first chlorine gas attack, wrote this account of the event for his son

The French troops “saw none of this installation of premeditated murder. Looking across to the German trenches at about five in the afternoon, they saw a series of sharp puffs of white smoke and then trundling along with the wind came the queer greenish-yellow fog that seemed strangely out of place in the bright atmosphere of that clear April day. It reached the parapet, paused, gathered itself like a wave and ponderously lapped over into the trenches.

“Then passive curiosity turned to active torment – a burning sensation in the head, red-hot needles in the lungs, the throat seized as by a strangler. Many fell and died on the spot. The others, gasping, stumbling with faces contorted, hands wildly gesticulating, and uttering hoarse cries of pain, fled madly through the villages and farms and through Ypres itself, carrying panic to the remnants of the civilian population and filling the roads with fugitives of both sexes and all ages.”

— A.T. Hunter, Canadian Soldier, who witnessed the first chlorine gas attack. 

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