"I cannot believe the British Army will refuse to do its share in this supreme crisis . . . . The honor of England is at stake!"
|--||Gen. Joseph Joffre, French supreme commander, |
to Field Marshal Sir John French, Commanding the BEF
"Damn it, I canít explain. Tell him that all that men can do, our fellows will do."
|--||Field Marshal Sir John Frenchís reply,|
late on September 4, 1914,
the eve of the Battle of the Marne
- By age 20, Raymond Poincare (1860-1934), President of France during the Great War, had published four novels and become the youngest barrister in France, and then did his bit in uniform, serving a year in the light infantry, securing a commission as a sous lieutenant, and eventually rising to reserve captain of the 30e Bataillon de Chasseurs à pied.
- The German Army entered the Great War with some 33,000 regular officers and about 40,000 reserve officers, but upon mobilization required 119,754 officers, which meant there was a shortfall of about 42,750 right from the start of the war.
- The Austro-Hungarian Army – including the “Common” Army, the Austrian Landwehr, and the Hungarian Honved – officially spoke no fewer than ten languages due to the ethnic composition of the Empire’s recruits: German (25%), Hungarian (23%), Czech (13%), Serbo-Croatian (9%), Polish (8%), Ukrainian (8%), Romanian (7%), Slovak (4%), Slovene (2%), and Italian (1%), and had to issue mobilization orders in 14 languages, using four different scripts, Roman, Cyrillic, Turkish, and Hebrew.
- Aeronaut and daredevil Marie Marvingt (1875-1963), known as “La Fiancée du Danger – the Fiancé of Danger,” who began the war as a volunteer in the trenches with the French 42e bataillon de chasseurs à pied and later the Italian 3o Alipini, and went on to win the Croix de Guerre for an air raid on a German installation, was widely rumored to be the mistress of Ferdinand Foch, which was in fact untrue.
- The principal supplier of high quality coal for the Imperial-and-Royal Austro-Hungarian Navy on the eve of World War I was Britain, with which the Empire shortly found itself at war.
- Among the many restrictions on their private lives which they had to endure, by direct order of their Emperor, German Army officers were prohibited from dancing the Tango, which was widely considered lascivious and immoral.
- In 1914, at the outbreak of the war several battalions of British infantry were outfitted with matériel donated by the New York surplus arms dealer Francis Bannerman VI, seeking to honor his Scottish roots.
- All of the officers holding corps, army, or higher commands in the German Army in 1914 were nobles, 77 percent of them with lineages reaching back to the Holy Roman Empire, and rest with titles created since the foundation of the “Second Reich” in 1871.