Saturday, December 31, 2005

Ask him about the cemeteries Dean!

Category:  [in English]  [Photoblog]  [Freedom]  [Global Politics]

In 1966, upon being told that French president Charles de Gaulle was taking France out of the integrated military command structure of NATO and required NATO and U.S. forces and headquarters to leave French soil, - President Lyndon Johnson told Secretary of State Dean Rusk:
"Ask him about the cemeteries Dean!"

So at end of the meeting Rusk did ask de Gaulle if his order to remove all U.S. troops from French soil also included the 60,000+ soldiers buried in France from World War I and World War II.
De Gaulle never answered.

Forty one years ago, a German counter-offensive, nicknamed as the Battle of the Bulge or the von Rundstedt offensive, took the Allies by surprise near the end of European World War II.

It happened in the Belgian Ardennes from dawn December 16, 1944 till January 30, 1945. It was aimed at splitting the Allies armies in half and recapturing the port of Antwerp, the Allies' most vital supply port.

The Ardennes Offensive was actually a series of battles scattered over several hundred miles and involving more than 1 million combatants, including 500,000 U.S. troops, 500,000 Germans and about 55,000 British.
Americans suffered 76,890 casualties, including 19,000 killed and 23,554 captured.
Germans suffered about 100,000 casualties — killed, wounded or captured.

One of the Allied War Cemeteries is near the small Walloon city of Hotton. A winter February Saturday, almost 3 years ago, I drove by with my first digital cam, and I was impressed by the serenity and the solitude of the place in the fresh snow.

The photo album has been online a couple of years ago but since then it evaporated in stardust of free web hosting. On this quiet winter evening when snow is falling all over, I just felt those pictures should be online again.

For some, soldiers like these might be imperialists, for others, heroes that made a sacrifice. Looking at their gravestones, I can only observe they were just kids. Their life had barely begun and it ended abruptly in the frost and in the snow.

But whatever politics may have to say about Atlanticism, they made a darn convincing case in favor.

Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld quoting General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.
General George S. Patton

As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure
Jacques Chirac, President of France
As far as France is concerned, you're right.
Rush Limbaugh

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The Ardennes Offensive on
The Battle of the Bulge: the Ardennes Offensive
The Battle of the Bulge in Wikipedia
1944: Germany counter-attacks in Ardennes on the BBC
Veterans site of the Battle of the Bulge
La bataille des Ardennes autour de Rochefort: memories and photos (in French)
The Battle of the Bulge: tactical overview and maps
The Battle of the Bulge on The History Channel
The German Counteroffensive in the Ardennes: a very complete account by the US Army Center of Military History
The Battle of the Bulge on
The Battle of the Bulge on

Photos are copyrighted but offered free of charge as Royalty Free Stock to anybody. This includes all HTML and JavaScript to reproduce this album. The only restriction is that they can't be sold and that they are used in due respect and they can not defamate the U.S., U.K, Australian and New-Zealand military.
Zipped original photos (2MP) can be downloaded here.


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