February 28, 2011

Last WWI veteran dies

Filed under: Historic — acagle @ 9:37 am

Last living U.S. WWI veteran dies (as opposed to the last dead one, of course)

Frank Buckles, the last living U.S. World War I veteran, has died, a
spokesman for his family said Sunday. He was 110.

Buckles “died peacefully in his home of natural causes” early Sunday morning, the family said in a statement sent to CNN late Sunday by spokesman David DeJonge.

I recently wondered if there were any left from the Great War. That one got far overshadowed by WWII and it doesn’t get quite as much attention anymore. Which is too bad because it probably had more effect on world order than WWII did. A historian once said something to the effect that WWI was fought to establish a new order and WWI was fought to keep it. Dunno how accurate that was, but if you look at a map of Europe before WWI it’s hardly recognizable to most people. Most of the old monarchies were swept away in the aftermath and never recovered.

I find it interesting from a combat perspective because it was, in a way, the last war fought mostly on foot. There was little mechanization either on the ground or in the air so most ground was gained or lost based almost exclusively on infantry. On the other hand, there were the beginnings of modern weaponry and tactics that the old strategies weren’t really equipped to deal with. The machine gun was just devastating and there wasn’t much of a defense for it. Watching some footage of some of the infantry charges from that war really brings home what was meant by the term “cannon fodder”.

UPDATE: Better story here.

2 Comments

  1. Blog said “…the Great War. That one got far overshadowed by WWII and it doesn’t get quite as much attention anymore…”
    Maybe true over in the States, but here in Europe that is not the case, perhaps because the horror and uselessness of the trenches can be visited much more easily. We’ve also had the last surviving WW1 vets die in the last couple of years, see for examplesystems
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8157366.stm

    Comment by Richard Abbott — February 28, 2011 @ 10:35 am

  2. You’re right there. I think nearly all the WWI TV stuff we even get here are all Euro-made. But then, our involvement was pretty limited.

    Comment by acagle — February 28, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

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