Download Aircraft of World War I by Kenneth G. Munson PDF

By Kenneth G. Munson

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Sample text

There will always be incredulity: there can no longer be doubt. Now we can go even deeper in and discuss the subject at a more mature level, seeing it not as a mere detail but as an essential part of the whole scene. Thus, for example, if we look at the Western Front canvas overall, it is impossible not to be aware that a conflict that began in the relatively innocent days of 1914 ended in the grimmer, harsher days of the all-out assaults of 1918. The concept of enemy in close contact with enemy, which might mean a shaking of hands in 1914, was by this time far more likely to revolve around the mutual thrusting of bayonets.

Inspired by the occasion some of their number had painted the words ‘Merry Christmas’ on a large piece of canvas, added a doubtless unflattering drawing showing the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm, and had hoisted it up in full view of the German lines. The gesture seems to have been accepted, for there was no attempt to shoot it down. An artillery officer noted: ‘About six o’clock things went positively dead; there was not a sound. ’ There was an already well known phenomenon at that time known as ‘the goodnight kiss’; the routine last attempt at dusk by a German sniper to achieve a killing before darkness set in.

Bisley has long been famous as the place in England where national shooting competitions are held. The Illustrated London News (the British equivalent of L’Illustration) commissioned one of its artists to make a drawing of an event which it described as ‘An Anglo-German “Bisley” at the Front: a Friendly Match between the Rival Trenches’. ’ Ironically, the drawing appeared in the edition of the magazine published on 26 December. One can imagine the readers of this high-quality magazine being a little surprised at the bizarre antics of their representatives in the field.

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