05 March 2010

The Marne, 1914

I've been reading a book by Holger H. Herwig, THE MARNE, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World (2009).

Herwig is a professor of history at the University of Calgary.

A random quote. Herwig notes that although the onset of war in 1914 was cheered by crowds in the capital cities involved -- St. Petersburg, Berlin, Paris -- the countryside took matters in stride, or perhaps glumly.

"The July Crisis found the agricultural sector at a critical stage. Grain and legume fields were maturing, as were fruit orchards and vinyards. Soon, armies of farm laborers would hasten to bring in the produce before the sudden arrival of fall rains. War would mean the conscription of young male labor needed in the villages; the loss of secure urban markets; the requisitioning by the army of thousands of horses and wagons; and the likely imposition of price controls."

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