A Wrong Turn, a Holy Cause and Two Bullets: The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

Well it has been a busy day combining my nursing duties at home with a couple of trips in to work, the last where I did my last lecture before the Gettysburg Staff Ride which I lead on Friday.

That being said, though I have some things I am working on, including a little piece about the part of health care that no-one wants to pay for, that what happens when someone is discharged from the hospital still needing a pretty significant amount of care. I can tell you about that first hand. But I digress…

Tonight since I am too tired to put anything new out I will re-post an article from about 13 months ago about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, an act which triggered the First World War. The assassination, an act by radical Serbian nationalists killed the only man in the Austro-Hungarian Empire who might have prevented the war, and even been favorable to the Serbs. But then such is the mindset of fanatics, and don’t we have a lot of them in our world today, including non-Moslem Americans.

So anyway, I hope you like this. Have a great night.

Peace

Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

clive-uptton-the-assassination-of-archduke-franz-ferdinand

“The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history’s clock it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendor never to be seen again.” Barbara Tuchman

Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was eager to leave Sarajevo. He had opposed the empire’s annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina when it occurred in 1908 as a “needless provocation of the South Slavs” and their Russian supporters, he knew that the action was “a diplomatic time bomb that could go off at any time.”He had come to Bosnia to help win over the loyalty of the resentful populace and in a sense to consecrate Austrian rule over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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Franz Ferdinand 

The visit included military maneuvers in the western part of the province away from Serbia to be less…

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The Night the Lights Went Out in Europe: August 3rd 1914

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

Another day at home taking care of my wife following her surgery. She is doing better which is good. We also had a dear friend, her daughter and grand-daughters visit last night on their way to Georgia. It was so wonderful to see her and talk about the good times we had when I was serving as Chaplain at Fort Indiantown Gap Pennsylvania back in 1997 and 1998.

Anyway, I am preparing some new material but thought in the interest of history to continue and re-post a third article that I wrote a year ago about the outbreak of World War One.

I think this is important, first because that war still shapes so much of the world that we live in. Likewise there are the diplomatic lessons decisions of leaders who brought about a war that was in none of their nation’s long term interests.

Then there are the lessons of the military planners on all sides who envisioned a short and glorious war in which they would vanquish their enemies and be home before the leaves fall. The same leaders seemed to ignore the history of the real first modern war, the American Civil War, discounted the technological advances that made war much more lethal, and did not adjust their tactics to those facts. The result was that on the Western front the Germans, British, French and Belgians lost about 670,000 in a period of about five weeks. In the east the Russians lost 320,000 troops and the Germans about 67,000 between August 17th and September 14th, while in Galicia the Russians eliminated a third of the Austrian forces facing them, some 320,000 troops for the loss of 225,000 soldiers, while in Serbia the Austrians, who brought about the war by their harsh demands on Serbia suffered about 225,000 casualties inflicting 170,000 on the Serbs, with no gain in territory. All told nearly 1.9 million men, killed, wounded, missing or captured in just over a month of combat.

On August 3rd 1914, the leaders of Europe went to war, and the lamps went out over Europe, and much of the world.

Have a great day and never forget.

Peace

Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

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Sir Edward Grey addressing the House of Commons 

The mobilization of millions of soldiers across Europe was moving rapidly as the sun set on the night of August 2nd 1914 when the German Ambassador to Belgium Klaus Bulow-Selaske delivered an ultimatum to the Belgian government. The ultimatum gave the Belgians 12 hours to decide if they would allow the German armies free passage through the country. The Belgians, treasuring their independence and led by a truly heroic leader, the young and humble King Albert refused the German ultimatum and vowed to fight.

The next morning the British House of Commons met and for the first time since 1893 every member was present, with many spectators in attendance, Britain’s participation in a war on the European Continent in nearly 100 years was being contemplated. Britain was divided between interventionists and non-interventionists, and the pressure was on the government.

The British Foreign…

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Winston Churchill, Turkey and the High Cost of Two Dreadnoughts

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

Another manic Sunday. I am doing my best as a nurse to Judy, went in to conduct Chapel services and then came home to discover our air conditioner is not working. Fun city, temperature about 90 degrees and a heat index close to 100. Anyway, that being said I am republishing an article I wrote a year ago bout how one short-sighted decision, based on military expediency had an effect on history that still continues to this day.

Have a great day,

Peace

Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

churchill1914

One of the more interesting and overlooked factors in the days leading up to the First World War, which had significant ramifications in the Middle East involved Winston Churchill. Churchill was serving as First Lord of the Admiralty and made a decision which ensured the Ottoman Empire would be pushed into an alliance with Germany.

For many years Britain had been the chief supplier of ships for the Ottoman Navy. In fact in the years leading up to World War One the Ottomans had purchased over 40 ships from Great Britain and on August 2nd 1914 was expecting to take delivery of two, extremely modern Dreadnoughts, the Sultan Osman I and the Reshadieh. The Sultan Osman was armed with fourteen 12” guns, the Reshadiehwith ten 13” guns, making them the equal or superior to most battleships afloat. The Turkish Government had paid over 4 billion Pounds for the…

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The Beginning of the Never Ending End: August 1914

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Things have been quite busy as finally my wife Judy is out of the hospital and on the road to recovery following surgery for endometrial cancer. As such I have had little time or energy to do much new writing. However, some topics are still relevant as is this topic which I wrote about a year ago.
It is hard to believe that 101 years ago the leaders, the statesmen and the military men of Europe were about to begin a war which not only cost tens of millions of lives, spawned another world war and forever changed the world. The effects are still being felt in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

We should not forget it, nor should we forget the actions of those leaders.

Have a great night,

Peace

Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

wwimobilization

“An event of great agony is bearable only in the belief that it will bring about a better world. When it does not, as in the aftermath of another vast calamity in 1914-18, disillusion is deep and moves on to self-doubt and self-disgust.” Barbara Tuchman

On August 1st 1914 the armies of Europe were mobilizing for war. The last feeble efforts at diplomacy were failing as leaders, and diplomats sought a way out of the situation that their policies had brought about. They had allowed the military instrument to drive policy, rather than for policy to dictate how the military should be employed as an instrument of national strategy. As such they became prisoners to their military mobilization plans, all of which depended on speed in order to gain advantage over their adversaries.

The nations and militaries of Europe were devoted to the “cult of the offensive” by which…

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The Dangers of the Reductionist Religion of Fundamentalism

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

It has been a long day, going in to work, then finding out that Judy will not be released from hospital until tomorrow. So after I found that out I went an got groceries for her return, took care and played with our two Papillons and continuing to get the house ready for Judy’s return home. After that, after letting folks know what was up with Judy I went over to our favorite haunt, had some dinner and bier, before coming home to our puppies and to watching one of my favorite movies, Inglourious Basterds. So anyway, until tomorrow. Have a great night.

Peace

Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

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My friends, today will be a busy day so I wanted to share a few thoughts about religious fundamentalism in it’s various forms. Now I want to say up front this is not an attack on God or people that believe it God, or in what God they choose to believe in for either their eternal salvation or just getting through life. Instead it is some observations about fundamentalist, or absolutist belief systems that allow no room for doubt or that any other view of God might have some measure of truth and how some groups use political, police and military power, even terror to impose those views on others.

It occurred to me a few years back that many Christians, among them Evangelicals, certain Reformed types, Fundamentalists, and even some conservative Roman Catholics practice a reductionist form of the Christian faith. It is a form that woefully short changes…

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Christians and Pagans: Glad for You All

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World

I want to say thank you. In the past couple of months Judy and I have undergone a tremendous amount of stress. She was diagnosed with Endometrial Cancer at the beginning of July that was after we found that she had suspicious granular cells the same day in early May when we had to have our oldest dog, Molly put down. That scared the hell out of me, all I could think was “both of them, no!” Since then all I could think was that I had lost the dog who helped say my life after Iraq and the only woman I have ever loved who coincidentally is probably the only person who could have put up with my long-standing love affair with my other mistresses, the United State Army and Navy.

Judy went through a D & C at the end of June, actually the day of our 32nd wedding anniversary that showed the cancer. Her OBGYN immediately made a referral asking that the case be handled promptly. He did not want to take any chance that the cancer would spread. Sadly, the first surgeon we were referred to kicked the can on surgery to the end of August. That caused us after a fair amount of consternation, especially when we found out that the doctor was going to be on vacation for a good part of July and August, something that neither she or her staff told us.

That led to a lot of anxiety, and when we found that we had been lied to we went back to her OBGYN, a very wonderful doctor who referred us to another OB-Oncologist who saw us two working days from the referral and in surgery a week later. Today we got the results from the pathology that they caught things early enough, the cancer had just barely begun to spread to the muscle lining of the uterus and that with the hysterectomy that there is a 95% plus chance of a complete cure with no further treatment, just periodic monitoring to make sure nothing comes back.

During the past couple of months we have had a lot of encouragement from a lot of people, some who are Christians and other people who are not. In fact many of those who are not Christians would be considered bound for hell by many people who claim the name of Jesus. They are mostly friends from our favorite haunt, the bar at the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Virginia Beach. Most of them we have known for years. They are friends, some Christians of various denominations, but people who don’t wear their faith on their underwear. There are others who are Wiccans, Jews, Moslems, Atheists and Agnostics, straight people, as well as Gays and Lesbians, and people who still have some kind of faith but are no longer a part of any religious denomination. These are people that some pollsters refer to as the “Nones,” or no religious preference.

Some people might be offended at what I say now, but that is okay. We have been members of many churches over our lives, and yes, we still have friends from those churches who are dear friends who would do anything for anyone, showing the love of God through simple human care to anyone. We love and value those people, they are too numerous to name. At the same time as far as churches that we have been members of, that is another matter, I cannot think of a single church, chapel or congregation that has been more compassionate, caring or wonderful in their care than the people at Gordon Biersch, no church we have belonged to has ever been sop caring. Our general manager Eric was the first visitor. Our friend from the bar, Barb brought a card signed by everyone she could get, along with flowers and a gift basket. Others showed up too, including a Catholic priest who through the machinations of a corrupt bishop is currently unassigned, though his heart is all for carrying the love of Christ to people, no-matter who they are or what their faith.

I contrast this with the supposed care of some people and churches, in fact most demining the pastor of the evangelical church which first ordained me in 1991 who told a parishioner who asked how sick he would have to be to get a pastoral visit in hospital “you don’t want to be that sick.” I kid you not, the pastor joked about it in his Sunday sermon. Sadly, that is par for the course. Many of the people that we have known from churches in the area have simply said that “they would pray” even though Judy just wanted a visitor or someone to hang out with during the anxious weeks before the surgery. I value and appreciate prayer, but if someone lives within a few minute drive and can’t be bothered to stop by or even make a phone call I wonder how sincere the promise of prayer is.

I have also been blessed by my fellow faculty and staff at the Joint Forces Staff College who have helped make my life easier over the past few months, people, who like our friends at Biersch represent a wide spectrum of belief, and all want to find a way to help in some practical way. My students too, in my ethics class and Gettysburg Staff ride have been wonderful, checking on me and letting me know that they are thinking about or praying for Judy. This includes both of the Saudi Arabian officers in my ethics class, both who have checked in on me and let me know that they are praying for Judy.

That being said, our “Nones” show a better witness of Jesus than many who call themselves Christians. Maybe that is why according to so many polls and studies that so many people are fleeing the church, or organized religion in general. Many it is because they are cared for more than those who we have so often denigrated as “Pagans” than those who beat their chests about the rightness of the Christian faith and support supposedly “Christian” politicians who tell us why they should rule others who do not believe like them through the power of the government and the courts; but then when people have forgotten the basics of the love of God, all they have left to rely on is force to maintain their rule over others.

Christians and Pagans. I love them all, especially those who demonstrate the love and care of God to others, even those who they may not agree with theologically, politically or philosophically. But then doesn’t that go to the heart of the Gospel?

Anyway, hopefully Judy comes home tomorrow or no later than Sunday and we can get her back to 100% within the next few weeks.

To my readers here on the page, those who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I am grateful for your kind words, thoughts and prayers. It really does mean a lot to both of us.

Have a great night and thank you so much,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Once an Eagle: A Classic Novel of Military Life

padresteve:

Dear Friends of Padre Steve’s World

It has been another long day, thankfully my wife Judy is doing better and hopefully will be discharged from the hospital on Friday following her surgery. In her absence I have been at home with our two Papillon pups, Minnie and Izzy. Over the past couple of nights I have been doing some reflecting and in doing so have been watching the mini-series from the 1970s “Once and Eagle” which is based on the novel of the same name by Anton Myrer. The book is considered the American “War and Peace.”

I think what attracts me to the movie and the book is the sacrifice made by military spouses. When I think about all the joys, as well as the hardships, the family separations as well as sometimes my own misplaced priorities, which I see in the character of Sam Damon I again realize just how great Judy’s as well as other military spouses sacrifices are. For Judy, that has meant sharing me with the Army and the Navy for almost 34 years. Thankfully, Lord willing we are looking at retirement in about two years.

Anyway, I have two babies on me and need to close for the night. Maybe tomorrow I will put up an article that has been ruminating for the past couple of days.

Peace

Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

“This classic novel of soldiers and soldiering ranks with Red Badge of Courage and All Quite on the Western Front as time-tested epics of war and warriors.”— John W. Vessey, Jr., Gen., US Army (Ret.)

Sam Damon (Sam Elliot) cries over a fallen friend

Tonight I started watching the NBC television mini-series adaptation of Anton Myrer’s classic novel of war military life and love Once an Eagle on DVD. I had been hoping to find the series on video or DVD for years and it was released again last year. I was introduced to the book through the series which I saw in High School when it came out in 1976. Back then I never missed an episode. I found the story which weaves the life of a soldier who rises from the ranks named Sam Damon who is played by Sam Elliott and a self-serving careerist named Courtney Massengale…

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