December 03, 2014


This month, Turkey entered the war. They then preceded to loose a number of battles against the Russians in Armenia, and make no progress dislodging the British from Egypt. From their feeble results so far, even unlikely attacks such as at Gallipoli would seem to have a reasonable chance of success. The Maori contingent is to be sent to Egypt (not to Samoa).

Locally, the Australian Navy has sunk the Emden. It was a German cruiser which was sinking Allied boats in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The local papers are making a pretty big fuss about this, as it's effectively the first ANZAC success of the war. This makes it even more odd that New Zealand has no navy of her own. We had just paid for and built a new dreadnought, which we christened 'New Zealand' and sent off to the Royal Navy earlier this year. The Royal Navy promptly put it in the North Sea. The local naval conflict makes it pretty clear that the ability to put ships in local waters is important, though no one I've read has said that explicitly.

The local papers still carry at least a page of war news, but other than that they've mostly returned to local news. Which is good because an election campaign is well underway. Each day brings write ups of the efforts of Parliamentary hopefuls holding meetings and giving speeches. The contrast with our recent election is marked in terms of the role of communication technology. A lot seems to rely on how the journalists write up the events. The actual politicians, however, seem pretty familiar. Massey is a popular populist, and the Opposition doesn't look particularly likely to make much impact. The Labour party is still pretty small, but is fielding candidates. There appear to be a number of electorates where agreements have been made between the Labour and Liberal parties about which party gets to stand a candidate.

The winter is starting to slow fighting on the Western Front. The ground is frozen solid, so it is very difficult to dig into a new positions. It is also now some time since the front moved much. While I think there is an impression that either force might break the other's lines with an adequate attack, there have been some massive assaults which have failed to make much ground. The reports of the Western Front are starting to get just a hint of resignation in them.

Calculations based on German newspapers indicate at least 1 million and possibly 1.5 million German soldiers have died so far. The papers are carefully not reporting the number of allied dead.

Posted by carla at December 3, 2014 09:32 PM