Strikes and Mutiny I THE GREAT WAR Week 184

It’s 1918. The war began in 1914. There is no end in sight, and the men fighting
for both the Entente and the Central Powers are fed up. And what does that mean? It means mutiny on both sides. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to the Great War. Last week the Finnish Civil War began, and
the Ukrainian one continued. There was naval action in the North Sea and
at the Dardanelles, the Germans finally decided where their Western Front spring offensive
would take place, and British Prime Minister David Lloyd George was trying to maneuver
around Army Commander in Chief Sir Douglas Haig. Those machinations continued this week. The Allied Supreme War Council met January
31st at Versailles and ordered Haig to remain on the defensive in the west until at least
the spring. They then discussed French and British army
reserves, a fairly important issue. Lloyd George proposed an Inter-Allied Reserve
created from both French and British armies, with French General Ferdinand Foch in charge
of it. Haig had a suspicion this was another attempt
at creating an overall generalissimo, so once the politicians had approved the idea, he
asked the tricky question of who he should in that case appeal to for access to his own
reserves – his Chief of Staff Wully Robertson in London? Or a French general? It’s a pretty good point; I mean, the Commander
in Chief should have access to his own reserves, so it followed that the only way this proposed
system would work would be if the man commanding the reserves was in fact the overall commander
in France. A committee was set up to deal with this issue;
Foch was its president. Now, last week we saw Henry Wilson appointed
Chief of Staff to the new Allied General Staff in France. Wilson wanted Robertson’s power from London
reduced, so Robertson’s request to be on this reserve committee was denied. Robertson actually called the Council’s
Executive War Board “the Versailles Soviet” and said that having TWO Chiefs of staff for
one army would destroy confidence among the troops. He may be right. On the second, the council meeting will end,
after an enlargement of its powers is announced. Speaking of actual Soviets, there was a lot
going on with the Bolsheviks this week. On the 27th, they broke off diplomatic relations
with Romania. On the 29th, Bolshevik troops enter Kiev and
Odessa in Ukraine, and on the 31st, with large parts of Ukraine coming under his control,
Within two weeks the Red Navy and then the Red army will officially be formed. Thing is, on February 1st, the Central Powers
officially recognized the Ukrainian Republic. The Rada – the Ukrainian Parliament – had
voted for Ukrainian independence and a separate peace with the Central Powers, but this would
deprive Russia of a big chunk of its economic base for its claim to great power status if
it happened. This was was part of an interesting German
strategy. Foreign Minister Richard von Kuhlmann, nominally
leader of the German delegation for the ongoing peace talks between Russia and the Central
powers, had gone into the negotiations telling the German Reichstag that he would stick with
the July 1917 peace resolution formula of no annexations or indemnities (from 1914-1918). The wording around this, though, was really
vague, but that didn’t matter at first. Kuhlmann, and his Austrian counterpart Count
Ottokar Czernin, figured that if the Russian Bolshevik government turned out to be as short
lived as everyone expected, then the armistice would – as it had – detach Petrograd from
the Allies and pull the Russian soldiers home. Saying that they weren’t after annexations
and indemnities meant they could make a separate peace with Russia, but keep a free hand in
the lands they’d occupied, none of which were ethnically Russian, and sort of stage-manage
declarations of independence. So self-determination could be used to push
back Russia’s borders and create supposedly independent buffer states. Back on Christmas Day, the two had scored
a PR victory with their Christmas Declaration, which offered to negotiate a peace without
annexations or indemnities if the Allies would do likewise. This was clever, since they knew the Allies
would not accept, so there was no risk in this declaration. Thing is, though, this plan was now having
big repercussions. In Germany, High Command – the Oberste Heeresleitung
or OHL for short – had not been consulted before the declaration, and Army Chief of
Staff Paul von Hindenburg and Quartermaster General Erich Ludendorff were seriously pissed
off. We’ve already talked about the German military’s
territorial demands from the peace conference, and army representative Max Hoffmann’s unwillingness
to surrender territory that Germans had died to take. German Chancellor Georg von Hertling backed
Kuhlmann, saying that politicians were responsible for the negotiations, and the Kaiser? Well, “Wilhelm, for once asserting his rights
as an arbiter, endorsed a statement by Hertling that the Christmas declaration was a legitimate
“move in the political game”, that annexations in the east should be minimized, and that
cooperation with Austria-Hungary was of cardinal importance.” (1914-1918) So the German military and the politicians
seemed to be standing on opposite sides of the same side. There was turmoil within Germany itself this
week as well – huge workers’ strikes, first in Berlin, then Kiel, Munich, and Hamburg. More than 400,000 workers struck. Martial law was declared and the strikes soon
ended, and I’ll talk more about this in the coming weeks. Right now I need to talk about chaos within
the actual armed forces. On February 1st, there was an Austrian naval
mutiny at Cattaro. Led by two Czech socialists, 6,000 sailors
raised the red flag and announced their loyalty to Bolshevism. They did, however, play the Marseillaise rather
than the Internationale and their demands were more similar to Wilson’s 14 points
than Lenin’s decrees: national autonomy in the empire rather than independence, immediate
peace without annexations, demobilization, and better living conditions. Three battleships from the port of Pola were
dispatched to put down the mutiny, 800 mutineers were removed from their ships, 40 were tried,
and 4 executed. And to the southeast that same day, there
was a mutiny on the other side. By the Greek Second infantry regiment at Lamia. Now, this regiment was comprised of men recruited
from southern, pro-royalist, Greece, and many of its soldiers had been influenced by royalist
agitators, right? So drunk soldiers returning from their leave
during the early morning hours urged their trumpeter to play the prohibited Royalist
anthem. After that, around 1000 individuals, soldiers
and civilians, shot the electrical cables of the city, cutting power. When they ran out of ammunition, some deserted
to their villages, while others returned to the camp. The next day, the 9th Cretan Regiment arrived
to restore order. Many rioters mutinied again, fearing the repression
of the government, and some joined the “Reservists”, royalist militiamen, in open sedition. This insurgency will last nearly two weeks,
and special military tribunals will follow. 25 men will be executed. Others receive prison sentences, but soldiers
of low rank were punished with suspended sentences in order to force them to remain at the front. There was scattered action in the skies of
Western Europe this week as well. On the 26th, the Germans bombed Dunkirk, Calais,
and Boulogne. The next day the British bombed Treves and
the French bombed Metz. The 28th saw an air raid on London with 67
killed, 166 injured, and one German plane shot down. The British bombed Roulers and other aerodromes. A raid on the outskirts of London the next
day left 10 dead and 10 wounded, and on the 30th, 14 tons of bombs – 267 bombs from 31
planes – were dropped on Paris, 49 were killed and 206 injured. On the Italian Front in the field this week,
the Italians attacked the Austrians the 28th, capturing Col di Rosso and 1,500 prisoners. They captured Monte di Valbella the following
day, and stopped a strong Austrian counterattack the 31st. And that will end the week. Small actions on the battlefields of Europe,
intrigue upon intrigue among the Allied leaders, and yep, intrigue upon intrigue among the
Central Powers’ leaders too. There were strikes in Germany, and a mutiny
on each side. There was also a notable death away from the
front this week. John McCrae died January 28th in military
hospital. McCrae was a Canadian doctor who had written
a book on pathology, volunteered as a gunner when the war began, and then transferred to
the Royal Canadian Medical Corps. He was also the author of the poem “In Flanders
Fields”, which I read a couple years ago, and which I’ll now read again, as a tribute
to Dr. John McCrae. In Flanders fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row That mark out place and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders
Fields Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw The torch, be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders Fields. If you want to learn more about the situation
in Greece during World War 1, you can click right here for that. Our Patreon supporter of the week is Alexander
Schötz. Your support on Patreon mades and continues
to make this show what it is. Please consider supporting us on Patreon,
even 1$ a month can make a big difference. Don’t forget to subscribe, see you next

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. Two questions, Indy

    1. What is the significance of the Czech socialist's mutines playing the Marseillaise as opposed to the internationale, do we know why they did?

    2. Can you compare and contrast Wilson's 14 points and Lenin's decree? Both I thought called for national self-determination, better living conditions, and demobilization.

    PS: I take back what I said about St John's; they're alright over there 🙂

  2. Two of the greatest pieces of 20th Century Poetry are "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae and "Dulce et Decorum est" by Wilfred Owen. Sad neither saw the end of the war. RIP both LTC McCrae and LT Owen.

  3. Mccrea was inspired to write the poem after visiting a friend's grave. of all the great poems that came out of the war, Sasoon, Graves, housman owen and others it is one of the very few that charges the reader to stay the not break faith. and yet in a literary field littered with bitter regrets, it still stands out as the clarion call., lest we forget, lest we forget.

  4. With the John McCrae tribute I started thinking, (always dangerous, according to some) why not do a special tribute to the poets of World War I. I am talking about those who, like McCrae, died in service to their country. When I was younger I could roll off at least a half dozen soldier-poets who died during the war from Canada, the US, and Britain. I think it would be nice to include a recitation of each of their most famous poem.

  5. I wait as long as I. can before I watch these in hopes they have ads so I can watch them to help pay. Being poor sucks. Sorry guys

  6. "A committee was set up to deal with this issue [of whom General Haig should ask for access to his reserves — General Robertson, CIGS, in London or General Foch, commander of the inter-allies reserves]. Foch was its president."

    Hmm. Will the committee pick Robertson or its own president?

  7. Thank you for In Flanders Fields, still a powerful poem today. It used to be a recital standard for Canadian schoolchildren on November 11, who were taught to say it as "Take up our quarrel with the foe / To you from failing hands / We throw the torch! / Be yours to hold it high…"

  8. Aux armes, citoyens!
    Formez vos bataillons!
    Marchons! Marchons!
    Qu'un sang impur
    Abreuve nos sillons!

    (To arms, citizens!
    Form your battalions!
    March! March!
    Let impure blood
    Water our furrows!)

    Not sure that mutineers playing La Marseillaise vice The Internationale was an improvement.

  9. Thanks for making these videos, I really enjoy it.
    It's a shame that youtube push other videos over yours. I have to go to my subscribed channels to look for your new videos.

  10. In November of 2018 or at least until after the Treaty of Versailles was agreed upon 100 years ago on that day, will this channel stop posting videos?

  11. so, the alpine troops wore white overcoats and pants but wore black backpacks and black boots voiding the white camo and made an inviting target?

  12. Thank your reciting McCrae poem again. I will play it tomorrow in my English 10 class. We are 2/3rds of the way through All Quiet on the Western Front, and I've been using one WWI poem a day as we learn about the time period and its impact on the arts. Keep up the good work!

  13. "Take up our quarrel with the for"………that is the heart of it isn't it? What was the quarrel all about? Does anyone still care or even know what the fight started over, 4 years into it?

  14. Finally caught up to the present week. Wish I had known about this channel sooner, it really deserves a million subs.

  15. If you liked "In Flanders Fields" you should maybe check out this piano arrangement, it has a very beautiful yet also sad sound to it and it really matches the poem in my opinion.

  16. You guys don't have ads. Surely YouTube would not demonetize a historical history channel? That would be so arrow minded and asinine of YouTube.

  17. Hi Indy, I recommend you take a look at a book called with the German guns by Herbert Sulzbach (not a relation)… He writes his memoirs day by day

  18. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

    At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

    We will remember them.

  19. Dear
    Indy nidel and team im a very big fan of your channel. I had few questions 1 what did Field Marshal Motegomery do during ww1 and also highlight muslim indian contribution in the great war. Keep up with great job.

  20. Hi Indy and team, I love the show. Can you please elaborate on the role of British Indian troops in the Great War? Also will you be doing a series on WW2? Thanks for all the great videos!

  21. Indy and the team, a question for Out of the Trenches: as a translator and linguist, I am interested in use of languages in WWI. Most monarchs and generals at that time were highly educated and spoke several languages e.g. Nicholas II spoke Russian, French, German and English at a native level, there are lots of letters where he speaks with his future wife and Kaiser Wilhelm (WIlly) in perfect English. Did the generals of the western front communicate in English or French? What language was used in the Austro-Hungarian army, what language did the participants of the Brest-Litovsk talks use? Cheers.

  22. Indy!!! Great War team!!!!! I have a question for Out of the Trenches. How much, if they did, did the price of everyday items fluctuate during the war? Like would the prices go up or down for stuff like shoes, cloths, or even horses or cars? Thanks!

  23. It is 1918. In Flanders fields the poppies blow, and the war continues. Incredible, that millions have died, and it still goes on towards more death, more rows of crosses. Remember our war dead; veterans, from both sides; and tomorrow's children. Indy, Flo, and gang, have a happy new year. Lets pray that 1918 will be the end of all war.

  24. Comrade Indy I have 15 Jan 18 is when the RKKA Workers and Peasants Red Army was ordered formed and 23 Jan 18 was Soviet Army now Russian army day

  25. Hey Indy – I've been looking into some bizarre historical discrepancies lately and noticed your episode for the week of July 28th 1916 makes no mention of the Black Tom explosion. I am wondering if this was a deliberate or accidental omission? Do you remember seeing anything about it back in 2016? I am big into history and military history especially and I do not recall ever hearing anything about this event until recently. We were certainly not taught about it in school. I went through the comments of that episode and only one person mentioned the explosion, a comment six months ago, even though it was absolutely a major event. All in all it seems like this event just appeared out of thin air, very recently. I am curious about your thoughts on this.

  26. “In Flanders Fields” is by far my favorite poem of all time. I sang a musical arrangement of it as a solo during my senior year of high school. Thank you for reciting it once again, Indy.

  27. As a Canadian that poem gives me chills every time. We hear it in school every Nov 11 growing up, and the words seem to convey the brutality of ww1 very effectively for our young.

  28. Hi Indy love your show! I hope this question goes on out of the trenches. what can you tell us about Georgians fighting in the Russian army ?

  29. “If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep…”
    Profound words that ring oh so prophetic more than 100 years after they were written.

  30. I read "In Flanders Fields" for a class last semester as a poem choosing project, and I chose that one. Rest in peace, John.

  31. hey indy and team! im currently work on a project about close air support (cas) so i wonder if during the great war did any nation use any ground attack aircraft. maybe it could be a question on out of the trenches?

  32. "It's 2018 and the production of the Great War has been going on since 2014 and Indy rules with an iron hand… The production crew has had enough… now it's multiny!" ? ?

  33. I love this series i stumbled across it looking up gas used in ww1 I saw the out of the trench videos once I watched the first episode of the Great War I was hooked and binged watched this like a Netflix series really love the ww1 stuff you don’t hear much about it kinda like Korea if anyone could fill me in on why I would love to know

  34. I despise 'In Flanders Fields' – of course, it's a well composed poem, but I find its demand that the living carry on the quarrel and keep on killing and dying so that the dead may 'sleep' is loathsome. It's ironic that it often seems to be read as if it were a stirring anti-war poem by those who haven't internalised what the poet is actually saying – but, of course, Indy read it very well!

  35. hi indy – congrats for the whole series. one thing i want to ask, what was done with the huge amounts of pows during the war. so far you mentioned, the russion recruited czechs for their own army. but what were they doing during the cold winter and food shortage? i know that many of them replaced the workers/farmers who left for war and served at the front.

  36. I started watching this show last remembrance day and have now finally caught up to you guys, I love this show and am glad to finally be caught up with you all

  37. I just finished binge watching TGW since early January, 3 years of war in 1 month, amazing videos, thanks for spreading the knowledge of this topic!

  38. FINALLY, I'VE CAUGHT UP! Just found this channel a month ago, and I entered the "YouTube Vortex" and binged the crap out of it. 😀
    What a genuinely informative YT channel. I've learned so much. Thank You Indy. 🙂

  39. Amazing explanation of how Germans used the independence movement in Ukraine for their own needs. Knowing that, its hard for somebody to argue that Ukranian people wanted independence from Russia in the first place. They were probably largely stirred up by german-bought ukranians to do so.

  40. Intrigue upon intrigue. Very intriguing. Thanks for poem by John McCrae "In Flanders fields". Really good. I like the painting of the poppies in Flanders Fields too. 09:22

  41. Here is possibly missed fact about what song which Bolsheviks or socialists played. Indy makes a point to say “the sailors played La Marseillaise and not the internationale. However, even in Russian during the Bolshevik revolution years La Marseillaise was played everywhere, and even Russian lyrics versions were written. They liked to compare their Bolshevik “revolution” to the French Revolution and people knew the French songs but not everyone has yet heard the internationale.

  42. why did the bolshevics broke of diplomatic relationships with romania? i mean it was under occupation by the germans, wasnt it? doesnt sound logical to me…

  43. Flooded with seawater
    Littered with shells
    Bodies producing smells
    Look at where it brought her

    All in the name of war
    See the force it wields
    In the flanders fields
    Poppies grow no more

  44. What i have looking for is the numbers of mobility of armies. How much trucks did armies had in WW1? How realistic breakthroughs were after advancing 20-30 miles?

  45. If they insist, these cannibals

    On making heroes of us,

    They will know soon that our bullets

    Are for our own generals.

  46. A sailor form my hometown was shot as one of the organiser of the mutiny in the Bay of Kotor or Cattaro. His name was Antonio Grabar.

  47. Seriously with these Czechs.. they wanted their own country and recently didnt even want to live with the Slovaks in the same one.

  48. I don't know why people read, "In Flanders Fields" improperly. The poem is by far the best poem written about the war.

    Read it like this:
    In Flanders field the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place. And in the sky the larks still bravely singing fly, scarce heard amid the guns below.
    We are the Dead. Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders fields.
    Take up our quarrel with the foe: to you from failing hands we throw the torch (!); be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.

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