Category Archives: War

Guinea Pig Club – Lest We Forget!

Guinea Pig Club

Hero’s One  & All

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The Guinea Pig Club, established in 1941, was a social club and mutual support network for British and allied aircrew injured during World War II. Its membership was made up of patients of Archibald McIndoe at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, Sussex, who had undergone experimental reconstructive plastic surgery, generally after receiving burns injuries in aircraft. The club remained active after the end of the war, and its annual reunion meetings continued until 2007.

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Origins

The club was formed on McIndoe’s initiative in June 1941 with 39 patients, primarily as a drinking club. The members were aircrew patients in the hospital and the surgeons and anaesthetists who treated them. Aircrew members had to be serving airmen who had gone through at least two surgical procedures. By the end of the war the club had 649 members.

The name “Guinea Pig” – the rodent species commonly used as a laboratory test subject – was chosen to reflect the experimental nature of the techniques and equipment used for reconstructive work carried out at East Grinstead. The treatment of burns by surgery was in its infancy, and many casualties were suffering from injuries which, only a few years earlier, would have led to certain death.

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The original members were Royal Air Force (RAF) aircrew who had severe burns, generally to the face or hands. Most were British but other significant minorities included Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and by the end of the war Americans, French, Russians, Czechs and Poles. During the Battle of Britain, most of the patients were fighter pilots, but by the end of the war around 80% of the members were from bomber crews of RAF Bomber Command.

Before the war the RAF had made preparations by setting up burns units in several hospitals to treat the expected casualties. At East Grinstead, McIndoe and his colleagues, including Albert Ross Tilley, developed and improved many techniques for treating and reconstructing burns victims. They had to deal with very severe injuries: one man, Air Gunner Les Wilkins, lost his face and hands and McIndoe recreated his fingers by making incisions between his knuckles.

Aware that many patients would have to stay in hospital for several years and undergo many reconstructive operations, MacIndoe set out to make their lives relaxed and socially productive. He gave much thought to the reintegration of patients into normal life after treatment, an aspect of care that had previously been neglected. They were encouraged to lead as normal a life as possible, including being permitted to wear their own clothes or service uniforms instead of “convalescent blues”, and to leave the hospital at will. Local families were encouraged to welcome them as guests, and other residents to treat them without distinction:

East Grinstead became “the town that did not stare”. The Guinea Pig Club was part of these efforts to make life in hospital easier, and to rebuild patients psychologically in preparation for life outside. There were even barrels of beer in wards to encourage an informal and happy atmosphere.

Later, many of the men also served in other capacities in RAF operations control rooms, and occasionally as pilots between the surgeries. Those unable to serve in any capacity received full pay until the last surgical operations and only then were invalided out of the service. McIndoe also later loaned some of his patients money for their subsequent entry into civilian life.

Post-war history

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The club was not disbanded at the end of the war, but continued to meet for over sixty years, offering a sense of community and practical support to former patients. Annual meetings at East Grinstead attracted visitors from all over the world. McIndoe had been elected life president at the club’s foundation: after his death in 1960, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, became president. Geoffrey Page was the first chairman.

In 2003, there were around two hundred survivors; by 2007 there were 97 (57 in Britain; 40 elsewhere in the world), their ages ranging from 82 to 102. The last annual reunion was held in 2007, and attracted over 60 attendees, but in view of the frailty of many of the survivors the decision was then taken to wind the club down.

By April 2015, there were believed to be 29 survivors.

Legacy

Sixteen members of the club wrote books about their experiences, some of them during the war. The best known, and most influential in raising public awareness of McIndoe’s work, was Richard Hillary‘s The Last Enemy, originally published in the United States as Falling Through Space (1942).

One of the local pubs in East Grinstead adopted the name “The Guinea Pig”. The pub closed in 2008 and was demolished in 2009 to make way for a social housing development named Guinea Pig Place.

The Guinea Pig Anthem

The club anthem was adapted from the World War I song “Fred Karno’s Army“, and sung to the tune Aurelia by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (best known as the tune of the popular hymn “The Church’s One Foundation“). The final line of the second verse is an example of a mind rhyme.

We are McIndoe’s army,
We are his Guinea Pigs.
With dermatomes and pedicles,
Glass eyes, false teeth and wigs.
And when we get our discharge
We’ll shout with all our might:
Per ardua ad astra
We’d rather drink than fight.

John Hunter runs the gas works,
Ross Tilley wields the knife.
And if they are not careful
They’ll have your flaming life.
So, Guinea Pigs, stand ready
For all your surgeon’s calls:
And if their hands aren’t steady
They’ll whip off both your ears.

We’ve had some mad Australians,
Some French, some Czechs, some Poles.
We’ve even had some Yankees,
God bless their precious souls.
While as for the Canadians –
Ah! That’s a different thing.
They couldn’t stand our accent
And built a separate Wing.

We are McIndoe’s army,
(As first verse)

Notable members

Popular culture

Guinea Pig Club was the title of a play centred on McIndoe’s work produced at York Theatre Royal in 2012, and featuring Graeme Hawley as McIndoe.

Joseph Randolph Richard’s novel Incendo (2015) tells the story of a badly burned pilot and his membership of the club

The Road to Mosul – The Battle for Mosul

18th October 2016

Live Coverage

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Battle for Mosul:

Operation to retake Iraqi city from IS begins

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17th October 2016

The net is slowly closing on IS and  the news today that the Battle for Mosul has began could spell the beginning of the end of these Islamic Monsters and their twisted , wicked take Islam and Sharia Law ,which in my opinion has no place in the 21s Century anyway. See Shari Law

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An Iraqi operation to recapture the city of Mosul, the last stronghold of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in the country, has started.

Artillery began firing on the city early on Monday, in a long-awaited assault from Kurdish Peshmerga, Iraqi government and allied forces.

Tanks are now moving towards the city, which has been held by IS since 2014.

The UN has expressed “extreme concern” for the safety of up to 1.5 million people in the area.

The BBC’s Orla Guerin, who is with Kurdish forces east of Mosul, says tanks are advancing on the city, kicking up clouds of dust.

As the operation began, one Kurdish general said: “If I am killed today I will die happy because I have done something for my people.”

See BBC News for full story

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The Fall of Mosul (2016) FULL DOCUMENTARY HD

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Islamic State lost over a quarter of its territory in Iraq and Syria

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The Islamic State (ISIS) has lost more than a quarter of its territory in Syria and Iraq. According to defence analyst Information Handling Services (IHS), the group’s reach has been reduced by 28 per cent since January 2015.

IHS reported that ISIS-held territory fell from 78,000 km2 to 65,500 km2 during the first nine months of this year. However, the extremist group’s losses have decreased since last-July.

This change in tempo coincided with the launch of the Turkey-baked Euphrates Shield Operation and reduced Russian airstrikes against ISIS positions in Syria.

“Last September, President Putin said it was Russia’s mission to fight international terrorism and specifically the Islamic State,” Alex Kokcharov, principal Russia analyst at IHS, said. “Our data suggests that is not the case.”

According to Kokcharov, Moscow’s top priority is to preserve President Assad’s government through military support. Putin seeks to “transform the Syrian civil war from a multi-party conflict into a binary one between the Syrian government and jihadist groups like the Islamic State; thereby undermining the case for providing international support to the opposition.”

While ISIS appears to have a short reprieve, they continue to loose strategic territory. In August, ISIS militants lost the border pocket of Manbij to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). In February, the extremist group was expelled from strategic areas in Hasakah Governorate by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and allied SDF fighters.

The Kurdish Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army have recaptured dozens of villages and towns from ISIS over the past several months.

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Living With ISIS – Documentary 2016

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Mosul

History & Background

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Mosul (Arabic: الموصل‎‎ al-Mōṣul, local pronunciation: el-Mōṣul, Syriac: ܡܘܨܠ‎, translit. Māwṣil) is a city of normally about two and a half million people (2014 est.) in northern Iraq, occupied since 10 June 2014 by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Located some 400 km (250 mi) north of Baghdad, the original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has grown to encompass substantial areas on both the “Left Coast” (east side) and the “Right Coast” (west side) as the two banks are described in the local language.

At the start of the 21st century, the majority of Mosul’s population was Arab with Arameans, Armenian, Turkmen, Kurdish, Yazidi, Shabaki and other minorities. The city’s population grew rapidly around the turn of the millennium and by 2004 was estimated to be 1,846,500. An estimated half million persons fled Mosul in the second half of 2014, and while some returned, more fled in 2015 as ISIL violence in the city worsened.

Historically, important products of the area include Mosul marble and oil.

The city of Mosul is home to the University of Mosul and its renowned Medical College, which together was one of the largest educational and research centres in Iraq and the Middle East. The University has since been closed but at the choice of the Islamic State’s leadership in Mosul, the Medical College remains open but barely functional.

Until 2014 the city was a historic centre for the Syriac orthodox church of the indigenous Arameans, containing the tombs of several Old Testament prophets such as Jonah which was destroyed by the Islamic State occupation army in July 2014.

Etymology

The name of the city is first mentioned by Xenophon in his expeditionary logs in Achaemenid Assyria (Athura) of 401 BC, during the reign of the Persian Achaemenid dynasty in this region. There, he notes a small Assyrian town of “Mépsila” (Ancient Greek: Μέψιλα) on the Tigris somewhere about where modern Mosul is today (Anabasis, III.iv.10). It may be safer to identify Xenophon’s Mépsila with the site of Iski Mosul, or “Old Mosul”, about 30 km (19 mi) north of modern Mosul, where six centuries after Xenophon’s report, the Sasanian Persian center of Budh-Ardhashīr was built. Be that as it may, the name Mepsila is doubtless the root for the modern name.

In its current Arabic form and spelling, the term Mosul, or rather “Mawsil”, stands for the “linking point” – or loosely, the Junction City, in Arabic. Mosul should not be confused with the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh which is located across the Tigris from Mosul on the eastern bank, at the famed archaeological mound of Kuyunjik (Turkoman for “sheep’s hill”). This area is known today as the town of Nebi Yunus (“prophet Jonah“) and is populated largely by Kurds, which makes it the only fully-Kurdish neighborhood in Mosul. The site contains the tomb of the Biblical Jonah, as he lived and died there, in the then capital of ancient Assyria. Today, this entire area has been absorbed into the Mosul metropolitan area. The indigenous [[Arameans] still refer to the entire city of Mosul as Nineveh (or rather, Ninweh).

The ancient Nineveh gave its place to Mepsila after the fall of the Assyrian Empire between 612-599 BC at the hands of a coalition of Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Scythians Sagartians, the Arameans largely abandoning the city and building new settlements such as Mepsila nearby.

Mosul is also named al-Faiha (“the Paradise”), al-Khaḍrah (“the Green”) and al-Hadbah (“the Humped”). It is sometimes described as “The Pearl of the North”[12] and “the city of a million soldiers”.

History

Ancient era and early Middle Ages

St. Elijah’s Monastery south of Mosul, Iraq’s oldest Assyrian Christian monastery, dating from the 6th century

The area in which Mosul lies was an integral part of Assyria from as early as the 25th century BC, and after the Akkadian Empire (2335–2154 BC) and Neo-Sumerian Empire it again became a continuous part of Assyria proper from circa 2050 BC through to the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire between 612–599 BC.

In approximately 850 BC, King Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria chose the city of Kalhu as his capital in place of Assur (Ashur), 30 km (19 mi) from present day Mosul. In approximately 700 BC, King Sennacherib made Nineveh the new capital of Assyria. The mound of Kuyunjik in Mosul is the site of the palaces of King Sennacherib and his grandson Ashurbanipal, who established the Library of Ashurbanipal.

Mosul later succeeded Nineveh as the Tigris bridgehead of the road that linked Assyria and Anatolia with the short lived Median Empire and succeeding Achaemenid Empire (546–332 BC) where it was a part of the geo-political province of Athura (Assyria).

It became part of the Seleucid Empire after Alexander’s conquests in 332 BC. While little is known of the city from the Hellenistic period, Mosul likely belonged to the Seleucid satrapy of Syria (the Greek term for Assyria), which was conquered by the Parthian Empire circa 150 BC where it once more became a part of Athura.

The city changed hands once again with the rise of Sassanid Persia in 225 AD and became a part of Assuristan (Sassanid Persian for Assyria). Christianity was present among the indigenous Assyrian people in Mosul as early as the 1st century. It became an episcopal seat of the Assyrian Church of the East in the 6th century.

In 637 (other sources say 641), during the period of the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab, the city was annexed to the Rashidun Caliphate by Utba bin Farqad Al-Salami, during the Arab Islamic Conquest, after which Assyria/Athura/Assuristan was dissolved as a geo-political entity.

9th century to 1535

Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, “Siege of Mosul in 1261–63”, Jami’ al-tawarikh, Bibliothèque Nationale de France .

In the late 9th century control over the city was seized by the Turkish dynasts Ishaq ibn Kundajiq and his son Muhammad, but in 893 Mosul came once again under the direct control of the Abbasid Caliphate. In the early 10th century Mosul came under the control of the native Arab Hamdanid dynasty. From Mosul, the Hamdanids under Abdallah ibn Hamdan and his son Nasir al-Dawla expanded their control over the Jazira for several decades, first as governors of the Abbassids and later as de facto independent rulers. A century later they were supplanted by the Uqaylids.

Mosul was conquered by the Seljuks in the 11th century. After a period under semi-independent atabeg such as Mawdud, in 1127 it became the centre of power of the Zengid dynasty. Saladin besieged the city unsuccessfully in 1182 but finally gained control of it in 1186. In the 13th century it was captured by the Mongols led by Hulegu, but was spared the usual destruction since its governor, Badr al-Din Luʾluʾ, helped the Khan in his following campaigns in Syria. After the Mongol defeat in the Battle of Ain Jalut against the Mamluks, Badr al-Din’s son sided with the latter; this led to the destruction of the city, which later regained some importance but never recovered its original splendor. Mosul was thenceforth ruled by the Mongol Ilkhanid and Jalayrid dynasties, and escaped Tamerlan‘s destructions.

During 1165 Benjamin of Tudela passed through Mosul; in his papers he wrote that he found a small Jewish community estimated as 7000 people in Mosul, the community was led by rebbi Zakhi (זכאי) presumably connected to the King David dynasty. In 1288–1289, the Exilarch was in Mosul and signed a supporting paper for Maimonides. In the early 16th century Mosul was under the Turkmen federation of the Ak Koyunlu, but in 1508 it was conquered by the Persian Safawids.

Ottomans: 1535 to 1918

In 1535, Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent added Mosul to his empire by capturing it from his archrivals — Safavid Persia.[16] Thenceforth Mosul was governed by a pasha. Mosul was celebrated for its line of walls, comprising seven gates with large towers, a renowned hospital (maristan) and a covered market (qaysariyya), and was also famous for its fabrics and flourishing trades.

Although Mesopotamia had been conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1533, gains which were confirmed by the Peace of Amasya (1555) until the reconquest of Baghdad in 1638, and the resulting treaty of the year after, Ottoman control over Mesopotamia was not decisive,and the city of Mosul was considered “still a mere fortress, important for its strategic position as an offensive platform for Ottoman campaigns into Iraq, as well as a defensive stronghold and (staging post) guarding the approaches to Anatolia and to the Syrian coast. Then with the Ottoman reconquest of Baghdad (1638), the liwa’ of Mosul became an independent wilaya.”:202 After the Peace of Amasya, the Safavids recaptured most of Mesopotamia one more time during the reign of king Abbas I (r. 1588-1629). Amongst the newly appointed Safavid governors of Mesopotamia during those years, was Qasem Sultan Afshar, who was appointed governor of Mosul in 1622.

Despite being a part of the Ottoman Empire, during the four centuries of Ottoman rule Mosul was considered “the most independent district” within the Middle East, following the Roman model of indirect rule through local notables.:203–4 “Mosuli culture developed less along Ottoman–Turkish lines than along Iraqi–Arab lines; and Turkish, the official language of the State, was certainly not the dominant language in the province.”:203

In line with its status as a politically stable trade route between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf the city developed considerably during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Similar to the development of the Mamluk dynasty in Baghdad, during this time “the Jalili family was establishing itself as the undisputed master of Mosul”, and “helping to connect Mosul with a pre-Ottoman, pre-Turcoman, pre-Mongol, Arab cultural heritage which was to put the town on its way to recapturing some of the prestige and prominence it had enjoyed under the golden reign of Badr ad-Din Lu’lu’.”203

Along with the al-Umari and Tasin al-Mufti families, the Jalilis formed an “urban-based small and medium gentry and a new landed elite”, which proceeded to displace the control of previous rural tribes. Such families proceed to establish themselves through private enterprise, solidifying their influence and assets through rents on land and taxes on urban and rural manufacturing.

As well as elected officials, the social architecture of Mosul was highly influenced by the Dominican fathers who arrived in Mosul in 1750, sent by Pope Benedict XIV (Mosul had a large Christian population, predominantly Assyrians).They were followed by the Dominican nuns in 1873. They established a number of schools, health clinics, a printing press and an orphanage. The nuns also established workshops to teach girls sewing and embroidery. A congregation of Dominican sisters, founded in the 19th century, still had its motherhouse in Mosul by the early 21st century. Over 120 Assyrian Iraqi Sisters belonged to this congregation.

In the nineteenth century the Ottoman government started to reclaim central control over its outlying provinces. Their aim was to “restore Ottoman law, and rejuvenate the military” as well as reviving “a secure tax base for the government”.:24–26 In order to reestablish rule in 1834 the Sultan abolished public elections for the position of governor, and began “neutraliz[ing] local families such as the Jalilis and their class.”:28–29 and appointing new, non-Maslawi governors directly. In line with its reintegration within central government rule, Mosul was required to conform to new Ottoman reform legislation, including the standardization of tariff rates, the consolidation of internal taxes and the integration of the administrative apparatus with the central government.:26

This process started in 1834 with the appointment of Bayraktar Mehmet Pasha, who was to rule Mosul for the next four years. After the reign of Bayraktar Mehmet Pasha, the Ottoman government (wishing still to restrain the influence of powerful local families) appointed a series of governors in rapid succession, ruling “for only a brief period before being sent somewhere else to govern, making it impossible for any of them to achieve a substantial local power base.”:29 Mosul’s importance as a trading center declined after the opening of the Suez canal, which enabled goods to travel to and from India by sea rather than by land across Iraq and through Mosul.

A coffee house in Mosul, 1914.

Mosul remained under Ottoman control until 1918 when it was taken by the British, with a brief break in 1623 when Persia seized the city, and was the capital of Mosul Vilayet one of the three vilayets (provinces) of Ottoman Iraq.

1918 to 2003

At the end of World War I in October 1918, after the signature of the Armistice of Mudros, British forces occupied Mosul. After the war, the city and the surrounding area became part of the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (1918–20), and shortly Mandatory Iraq (1920–32). This mandate was contested by Turkey which continued to claim the area based on the fact that it was under Ottoman control during the signature of the Armistice. In the Treaty of Lausanne, the dispute over Mosul was left for future resolution by the League of Nations. Iraq’s possession of Mosul was confirmed by the League of Nations brokered agreement between Turkey and Great Britain in 1926. Former Ottoman Mosul Vilayet eventually became Nineveh Province of Iraq, but Mosul remained the provincial capital.

Mosul in 1932

The city’s fortunes revived with the discovery of oil in the area, from the late 1920s onward. It became a nexus for the movement of oil via truck and pipeline to both Turkey and Syria. Qyuarrah Refinery was built within about an hour’s drive from the city and was used to process tar for road-building projects. It was damaged but not destroyed during the Iran–Iraq War.

The opening of the University of Mosul in 1967 enabled the education of many in the city and surrounding areas.

After the 1991 uprisings by the Kurds Mosul did not fall within the Kurdish-ruled area, but it was included in the northern no-fly zone imposed and patrolled by the United States and Britain between 1991 and 2003.

Although this prevented Saddam‘s forces from mounting large-scale military operations again in the region, it did not stop the regime from implementing a steady policy of “Arabisation” by which the demography of some areas of Nineveh Governorate were gradually changed. Despite the program Mosul and its surrounding towns and villages remained home to a mixture of Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmens, Shabaks, a few Jews, and isolated populations of Yazidis, Mandeans, Kawliya and Circassians. Saddam was able to garrison portions of the 5th Army within the city of Mosul, had Mosul International Airport under military control, and recruited heavily from the city for his military’s officer corps; this may have been due to the fact that most of the officers and generals of the Iraqi Army were from Mosul long before the Saddam regime era.

Coalition Invasion in 2003 to 2014

Saddam Hussein’s sons Qusay and Uday were killed in a gun battle in Mosul on July 22, 2003

When the 2003 invasion of Iraq was being planned, the United States had originally intended to base troops in Turkey and mount a thrust into northern Iraq to capture Mosul. However, the Turkish parliament refused to grant permission for the operation. When the Iraq War did break out in March 2003, US military activity in the area was confined to strategic bombing with airdropped special forces operating in the vicinity. Mosul fell on April 11, 2003, when the Iraqi Army 5th Corps, loyal to Saddam, abandoned the city and eventually surrendered, two days after the fall of Baghdad. US Army Special Forces with Kurdish fighters quickly took civil control of the city. Thereafter began widespread looting before an agreement was reached to cede overall control to US forces.

On July 22, 2003, Saddam Hussein’s sons, Uday Hussein and Qusay Hussein, were killed in a gunbattle with Coalition forces in Mosul after a failed attempt at their apprehension.[26] The city also served as the operational base for the US Army‘s 101st Airborne Division during the occupational phase of the Operation Iraqi Freedom. During its tenure, the 101st Airborne Division was able to extensively survey the city and, advised by the 431st Civil Affairs Battalion, non-governmental organizations, and the people of Mosul, began reconstruction work by employing the people of Mosul in the areas of security, electricity, local governance, drinking water, wastewater, trash disposal, roads, bridges, and environmental concerns.

Other US Army units to have occupied the city include the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 172nd Stryker Brigade, the 3rd Brigade-2nd Infantry Division, 18th Engineer Brigade (Combat), Alpha Company 14th Engineer Battalion-555th Combat Engineer Brigade, 1st Brigade-25th Infantry Division, the 511th Military Police Company, the 812th Military Police Company and company-size units from Reserve components, an element of the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade, and the 404th Civil Affairs Battalion which covered the areas north of the Green Line.

A soldier from the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, engages enemy targets with his machine gun on November 11, 2004

On June 24, 2004, a coordinated series of car-bombs killed 62 people, many of them policemen.

The memorial that stands outside the entrance to the Dining Hall on FOB Marez where the December 21, 2004 suicide attack occurred.

On December 21, 2004, fourteen US soldiers, four American employees of Halliburton, and four Iraqi soldiers were killed in a suicide attack on a dining hall at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Marez next to the main US military airfield at Mosul. The Pentagon reported that 72 other personnel were injured in the attack carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest and the uniform of the Iraqi security services. The Islamist group Army of Ansar al-Sunna (partly evolved from Ansar al-Islam) declared responsibility for the attack in an Internet statement.

U.S. Army soldiers patrol the streets of Mosul, January 2005

In December 2007, Iraq reopened Mosul International Airport. An Iraqi Airways flight carried 152 Hajj pilgrims to Baghdad, the first commercial flight since US forces declared a no-fly zone in 1993, although further commercial flight remained prohibited. On January 23, 2008, an explosion in an apartment building killed 36 people. The following day, a suicide bomber dressed as a police officer assassinated the local police chief, Brig. Gen. Salah Mohammed al-Jubouri, the director of police for Ninevah province, as he toured the site of the blast.

In May 2008, a military offensive of the Ninawa campaign was launched by US-backed Iraqi Army Forces led by Maj. Gen. Riyadh Jalal Tawfiq, the commander of military operations in Mosul, in the hope of bringing back stability and security to the city. Though the representatives of Mosul in the Iraqi Parliament, the intellectuals of the city, and other concerned humanitarian groups agreed on the pressing need for a solution to the unbearable conditions of the city, they still believed that the solution was merely political and administrative. They also questioned whether such a large scale military offensive would spare the lives of innocent people.

All these factors deprived the city of its historical, scientific, and intellectual foundations in the last 4 years, when many scientists, professors, academics, doctors, health professionals, engineers, lawyers, journalists, religious clergy (both Muslims and Christians), historians, as well as professionals and artists in all walks of life, were either killed or forced to leave the city under the threat of being shot, exactly as happened elsewhere in Iraq in the years following 2003.

In 2008, many Assyrian Christians (about 12,000) fled the city following a wave of murders and threats against their community. The murder of a dozen Assyrians, threats that others would be murdered unless they converted to Islam and the destruction of their houses sparked a rapid exodus of the Christian population. Some families crossed the borders to Syria and Turkey while others were given shelter in churches and monasteries. Accusations were exchanged between Sunni fundamentalists and some Kurdish groups for being behind this new exodus. For the time being the motivation of these acts is unclear, but some claims linked it to the imminent provincial elections which took place in January 2009, and the related Assyrian Christians’ demands for broader representation in the provincial councils.[

As was predicted by the DIA and others, Mosul was attacked on June 4, 2014 and after 6 days of fighting, on June 10, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant took over the city during the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive.[39][40][41] As of August 2014, the city’s new ISIL administration was initially dysfunctional with frequent power cuts, tainted water supply, collapse of infrastructure support and failing health care.[42]

Occupation by Islamic State (IS)

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Further information: Fall of Mosul

On June 10, 2014, Mosul was occupied by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).[43][44] Troop shortages and infighting among top officers and Iraqi political leaders played into Islamic State’s hands and fueled panic that led to the city’s abandonment. Kurdish intelligence had been warned by a reliable source in early 2014 that Mosul would be attacked by ISIL and ex-Baathists (and had informed the US and UK); however, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Defence Minister turned down repeated offers of help from the peshmerga.

Half a million people escaped on foot or by car in the next 2 days. ISIL acquired three divisions’ worth of up-to-date American arms and munitions—including M1129 Stryker 120-mm mortars and at least 700 armoured Humvee vehicles from the then fleeing, or since massacred, Iraqi army. Many residents initially welcomed ISIL and according to a member of the UK Defence Select Committee Mosul “fell because the people living there were fed up with the sectarianism of the Shia dominated Iraqi government.”

On 21 January 2015, the US began coordinating airstrikes with a Kurdish-launched offensive, to help them begin the planned operation to retake the city of Mosul.

Once home to 70,000 Arameans (Syriac) Christians there are possibly none left today in Mosul, any that do remain are forced to pay a tax for remaining Christian, and live under the constant threat of violence. The indigenous Arameans who have a history in the region dating back over 4,000 years suffered their Christian churches and monasteries being vandalised and burned down,their ancient heritage sites dating back to the Iron Age destroyed, their homes and possessions stolen by ISIL, and ultimatums to convert to Islam, leave their ancient homelands, or be murdered.

During the ISIS occupation of Mosul, phone lines have been cut by ISIL and cell phone towers and internet access destroyed.The residents of the city have been de facto prisoners, forbidden to leave the city unless they post with ISIL a significant collateral of family members, personal wealth and property. They may then leave the city upon paying a significant “departure tax” on a three-day pass (for a higher fee they can surrender their home, pay the fee and leave for good) and if those with a three-day pass fail to return in that time their assets will be seized and family will be killed.

Most female Yazidis from Mosul and the greater Mosul region (Nineveh) are imprisoned and occasionally many are slaughtered because of their resistance[61] to being sold as sex slaves.[62] The Islamic State occupiers have murdered or driven out most minority groups and converted some Yazidi males and Christians to Islam. Women are required to cover their bodies from head to foot in a strict variant of Sharia rule and men are required to fully grow their beards and hair as does the members of the Islamic State. Life in Mosul is one of violent oppression where people suspected of activism against the occupiers, resistance activities, homosexuality, promiscuity or adultery are brutally and summarily tortured and murdered.

The ISIS governor of Mosul, Alian Natiq Mabroush was killed on 18 March 2016 along with ten other jihadist leaders in a U.S. airstrike.

During the occupation residents have fought back against ISIS. In one notable incident they were able to kill five ISIS militants and destroy two of their vehicles.

Women

Women must be accompanied by a male guardian and wear clothing that covers their body completely including gloves for the hands, niqab for the head and khimar for the full coverage of the body from shoulders to feet.

According to Canadian-based NGO “The RINJ Foundation” which operates medical clinics in Mosul, rape cases in the city prove a pattern of genocide and will lead to a conviction of genocide against the Islamic State, in the International Criminal Court, a permanent international tribunal to prosecute individuals for war-time rape, genocide, crimes against humanity, and aggression.

The Islamic State was in August 2015 reported to be selling captured women and girls to sex slave traders.

Persecution of religious and ethnic minorities and destruction of cultural sites

ISIL issued an edict expelling (in effect ethnically cleansing) the remaining predominantly ethnic Assyrian and Armenian Christian Mosul citizens, after the Christians failed to attend a meeting to discuss their future status. According to Duraid Hikmat, an expert on minority relationships and resident of Mosul, the Christians were fearful to attend. Emboldened ISIL authorities systematically destroyed and vandalised Abrahamic cultural artifacts such as the cross from St. Ephrem’s Cathedral, the tomb of Jonah, and a statue of the Virgin Mary. ISIL militants destroyed and pillaged the Tomb of Seth in Mosul. Artifacts within the tomb were removed to an unknown location.

Students from Muslim minorities have been abducted.

According to a UN report ISIL forces are persecuting ethnic groups in and near Mosul. The Assyrians, Kurds, Armenians, Yazidis, Turcoman, Mandeans and Shabaks are victims of unprovoked religiously motivated murders, assaults, theft, kidnappings and the destruction of their cultural sites.

  • Mosque of the Prophet Yunus or Younis (Jonah): On one of the two most prominent mounds of Nineveh ruins, used to rise the Mosque (an Assyrian Church year of Prophet Younis “Biblical Jonah“. Jonah the son of Amittai, from the 8th century BC, is believed to be buried here, where King Esarhaddon of Assyria had once built a palace. It was one of the most important mosques in Mosul and one of the few historic mosques that are found on the east side of the city. On July 24, 2014, the building was destroyed by explosives set by forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
  • Mosque of the Prophet Jerjis (Georges): The mosque is believed to be the burial place of Prophet Jerjis. Built of marble with shen reliefs and renovated last in 1393 AD it was mentioned by the explorer Ibn Jubair in the 12th century AD, and is believed also to embrace the tomb of Al-Hur bin Yousif.
  • Mashad Yahya Abul Kassem: Built in the 13th century it was on the right bank of the Tigris and was known for its conical dome, decorative brickwork and calligraphy engraved in Mosul blue marble.
  • Mosul library: Including the Sunni Muslim library, the library of the 265-year-old Latin Church and Monastery of the Dominican Fathers and the Mosul Museum Library. Among the 112,709 books and manuscripts thought lost are a collection of Iraqi newspapers dating from the early 20th century, as well as maps, books and collections from the Ottoman period; some were registered on a UNESCO rarities list. The library was ransacked and destroyed by explosives on 25 February 2015.
  • Mosul Museum and Nergal Gate: Statues and artefacts that date from the Assyrian and Akkadian empires, including artefacts from sites including the Assyrian cities of Nineveh, Ashur, Arrapha, Dur-Sharrukin and Kalhu (Nimrud) and the Neo-Assyrian site of Hatra.Their plans for uprising were accelerated when ISIL scheduled the destruction of the al-Ḥadbā[76] Many former supporters of ISIL’s Caliphate have voiced protest against ISIL online in the aftermath of destruction of ancient cultural sites.

Detention of diplomats

Turkish diplomats and consular staff were detained for over 100 days.

Human rights

Scores of people have been executed without fair trial. Civilians living in Mosul are not permitted to leave ISIS-controlled areas. ISIS has executed several civilians that were trying to flee Mosul.

Armed opposition

The urban guerrilla warfare groups may be called the Nabi Yunus Brigade after the Nabi Yunus mosque, or the Kataeb al-Mosul (Mosul Brigade). The brigade claims to have killed ISIL members with sniper fire. In the countryside around Mosul, Kurdish and Assyrian militia have also taken up arms to resist ISIL oppression.

Mosul offensive (2016)

Demography

 

A souk (traditional market) in Mosul, 1932

During the 20th century, Mosul city had been indicative of the mingling ethnic and religious cultures of Iraq. There used to be a Sunni Arab majority in urban areas, such as downtown Mosul west of the Tigris; across the Tigris and further north in the suburban areas, thousands of Arameans, Kurds, Turkmens, Shabaks, Yazidis and Armenians made up the rest of Mosul’s population. Shabaks were concentrated on the eastern outskirts of the city.

Religion

A church in Mosul in about 1850

Mosul had a Jewish population. Like their counterparts elsewhere in Iraq, most left in 1950–51. Most Iraqi Jews have moved to Israel, and some to the United States. In 2003, during the Iraq War, a rabbi in the American army found an abandoned, dilapidated synagogue in Mosul dating back to the 13th century

Battle of Aleppo – Hell on Earth

Battle of Aleppo (2012–present)

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The Battle of Aleppo (Arabic: معركة حلب‎‎) is an ongoing military confrontation in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, between the Syrian opposition (including Free Syrian Army, Islamic Front and other Sunni militants) in partial cooperation with the Army of Conquest against the forces of the Syrian Government (supported by Hezbollah and Shiite militants ) and against the Kurdish People’s Defence Units. The battle began on 19 July 2012 as a part of the Syrian Civil War.

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The battle’s scale and importance led combatants to name it the “mother of battles”  or “Syria’s Stalingrad“. The battle has been marked by the Syrian army’s indiscriminate use of barrel bombs dropped from helicopters, killing thousands of people.

Hundreds of thousands have been forced to evacuate.

The battle has caused catastrophic destruction to the Old City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Onset

In 2011, Aleppo was Syria‘s largest city with a population of 2.5 million people. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has been described by Time as Syria’s commercial capital.  Author Diana Darke has written that

“The city has long been multi-cultural, a complex mix of Kurds, Iranians, Turkmen, Armenians and Circassians overlaid on an Arab base in which multi-denominational churches and mosques still share the space.”

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Nationwide protests against the government led by President Bashar al-Assad had occurred since 15 March 2011, as part of the Arab Spring. In Aleppo itself large protests started more than a year later in May 2012.  During this period, government-organized rallies in support of itself also occurred.

Aleppo had remained undisturbed by the 16 month long conflict till 22 July, when rebel fighters from the neighbouring villages converged and penetrated into it.

Combatants

 

At the beginning of the Battle of Aleppo, rebels reportedly had between 6,000 and 7,000  fighters in 18 battalions.

The largest rebel group was the al-Tawhid Brigade and the most prominent was the Free Syrian Army, largely composed of army defectors. Most of the rebels came from the Aleppo countryside and from towns including Al-Bab, Marea, Azaz, Tel Rifaat and Manbij. A resident of Aleppo reportedly accused the rebels of using civilian homes for shelter. On 19 November 2012, the rebel fighters—particularly the al-Tawhid Brigade and the al-Nusra Front—initially rejected the newly formed Syrian National Coalition. However, the next day the rebels withdrew their rejection.

By December, rebel fighters were commonly looting for supplies; they switched their loyalties to groups that had more to share. This new approach led to the killing of at least one rebel commander following a dispute; fighters retreating with their loot caused the loss of a frontline position and the failure of an attack on a Kurdish neighborhood. The looting cost the rebel fighters much popular support.

Islamic extremists and foreign fighters, many of whom were experienced and came from the ongoing insurgency in neighboring Iraq, joined the battle. Jihadists reportedly came from across the Muslim world. Jacques Bérès, a French surgeon who treated wounded fighters, reported a significant number of foreign fighters, most of whom had Islamist goals and were not directly interested in Bashar al-Assad. They included Libyans, Chechens, and Frenchmen. Bérès contrasted the situation in Aleppo with that in Idlib and Homs, where foreign forces were not common.

Some FSA brigades cooperated with Mujahideen fighters.

The government retained support in Aleppo. A rebel commander said, “around 70% of Aleppo city is with the regime”. During the course of the battle, Assad lost support from Aleppo’s wealthy class.  CBS News reported that 48 elite businessmen who were the primary financiers for the government switched sides.

For the first time, the Syrian Army engaged in urban warfare. They divided their forces into groups of 40 soldiers each. These were armed mostly with automatic rifles and anti-tank rockets and artillery, tanks and helicopters were only used for support. In August 2012, the army deployed its elite units. and eventually, after the rebels executed Shabiha and Zeino al-Berri, tribal leader of the al-Berri tribe, the tribe joined the fight against the rebels. The Christians supported the Army and formed militias aligned with the government following the capture of their quarters by the Syrian Army. The Christian Armenians also supported the Syrian Army. Aleppo’s Armenians say Turkey supported the FSA to attack Armenians and Arab Christians. The Armenians had a militia with around 150 fighters.

At the beginning of the battle, Aleppo’s Kurds formed armed groups, most notably the Kurdish Salahaddin Brigade, which worked with the opposition. The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) had poor relations with both sides. The PYD’s Popular Protection Committees stayed out of Arab areas and insisted the FSA stay out of the Kurdish area. They did not initially fight the Syrian Army unless attacked but later joined the opposition against pro-Assad forces. The Kurdish areas in Aleppo were mainly under PYD control. Four hundred Turkmen joined the battle under Sultan Abdulhamid Han.

Course of the battle

2012: Initial rebel attack and capture of Eastern Aleppo

 

Gunfire between rebels and security forces broke out in and around Salaheddine, a district in the city’s southwest, on the night of 19 July 2012. After one week of war, The Guardian wrote, “The US says it fears that the Assad regime is ‘lining up’ to commit a massacre in Aleppo, but it has repeated its reluctance to intervene in the conflict”.

 

Bombed out vehicles Aleppo

 

In late July and early August 2012, the FSA continued its offensive in Aleppo, with both sides suffering a high level of casualties. Rebel commanders said their main aim was to capture the city center. The rebels seized a strategic checkpoint in Anadan, a town north of Aleppo, gaining a direct route between the city and the Turkish border—an important rebel supply base. They also captured Al-Bab, an army base northeast of the city. Later, rebels attacked the air base at Minakh, 30 km (19 mi) northwest of Aleppo, with arms and tanks captured at the Anadan checkpoint. Opposition forces continued to gain territory in the city, controlling most of eastern and southwestern Aleppo, including Salaheddine and parts of Hamdaniyeh.

They continued to target security centers and police stations as clashes erupted near the Air Force intelligence headquarters in Aleppo’s northwestern district Zahraa. Rebels over-ran several police stations and posts in the central and southern districts of Bab al-Nerab, Al-Miersa and Salhain, seizing a significant quantity of arms and ammunition.

2013: Advances and counter-advances

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In December 2012, the al-Nusra Front unilaterally declared a no-fly zone and threatened to shoot down commercial aircraft, alleging that the government was using them to transport loyalist troops and military supplies. After multiple attacks on Aleppo International Airport, all flights were suspended on 1 January 2013. The following month, the rebels seized Umayyad Mosque; and during the battle, the mosque’s museum caught fire and its ceiling collapsed.

On 9 June, the Syrian Army announced the start of “Operation Northern Storm”, an attempt to recapture territory in and around the city. Between 7 and 14 June, army troops, government militiamen and Hezbollah fighters launched the operation. Over a one-week period, government forces advanced in the city and the countryside, pushing back the rebels. However, according to an opposition activist, on 14 June the situation started reversing after rebels halted an armored reinforcement column from Aleppo that was heading for two Shiite villages northwest of the city.

On 8 November, the Syrian Army started an offensive against the rebel-held Base 80, launching “the heaviest barrage in more than a year”.

Al Jazeera wrote that a government victory would cut the rebels’ route between the city and al-Bab. Two days later, Reuters reported that the rebels had regrouped to fight the Syrian army. Fifteen rebels were killed and the army recaptured the base. The following month, the army besieged the city in Operation Canopus Star. The army helicopters attacked with barrel bombs, killing more than a thousand people, according to the Free Syrian Army’s Abu Firas Al-Halabi.

2014: Syrian government encirclement of the rebels

Government forces, having lifted the siege of Aleppo in October 2013, continued their offensive in 2014. This culminated in the capture of the Sheikh Najjar industrial district north of Aleppo and the lifting of the siege of Aleppo Central Prison on 22 May 2014, which contained a garrison of government soldiers that had resisted rebel forces since 2012.

A ceasefire proposal was presented by a UN envoy in November; under the proposal the Syrian Arab Army would allow the rebels to leave Aleppo without violence and would help with their transportation. In return the militants would surrender their arms. President Assad reportedly agreed to consider taking this ceasefire plan, though no official confirmation was made.

The FSA rejected the plan; its military commander Zaher al-Saket said they had “learned not to trust the [Bashar al-] Assad regime because they are cunning and only want to buy time”.

2015: War of attrition

In early January, the rebels recaptured the Majbal (sawmills) area of al-Brej and captured the southern entrance of the stone quarries known as al-Misat, forcing government troops to retreat to the north. Rebels also seized the Manasher al-Brej area. They tried to advance and take control of al-Brej Hill, with which they could seize the military supply road running between Aleppo Central Prison and the Handarat and al-Mallah areas.

At the end of January, the rebels took control over some positions in al-Brej Hill

In mid-February, the Syrian Arab Army and its allies launched a major offensive in the northern Aleppo countryside, with the aim of cutting the last rebel supply routes into the city, and relieving the rebel siege of the Shi’a-majority towns Zahra’a and Nubl to the northwest of Aleppo. They quickly captured several villages,  but bad weather conditions and an inability to call up reinforcements stalled the government offensive.

A few days later, the rebels launched a counter-offensive, retaking two of four positions they had lost to Syrian government forces.

On 9 March, opposition forces launched an assault on Handarat, north of Aleppo, after reportedly noticing confusion in the ranks of Syrian government troops after the February fighting. Opposition sources said the rebels had captured 40–50% of the village, or possibly even 75%, while the Army remained in control of the northern portion of Handarat. In contrast, a Syrian Army source stated they still controlled 80% of Handarat.

On 18 March, after almost 10 days of fighting, the Syrian Army had fully expelled the rebels from Handarat, and re-established control of the village.

In preparation for a new offensive, the rebels heavily shelled government-held parts of Aleppo, leaving 43 civilians dead and 190 wounded on 15 June. On 17 June, rebel forces captured the western neighborhood of Rashideen from Syrian government forces. Throughout 19 and 20 June, a new round of rebel shelling killed 19 more civilians.

In early July, two rebel coalitions launched an offensive against the government-held western half of the city.  During five days of fighting, the rebels seized the Scientific Research Center on Aleppo’s western outskirts, which was being used as a military barracks. Two rebel attacks on the Jamiyat al-Zahra area were repelled. Government forces launched an unsuccessful counter-attack against the Scientific Research Center.

In mid-October, ISIL captured four rebel-held villages northeast of Aleppo, while the Army seized the Syria-Turkey Free Trade Zone, the al-Ahdath juvenile prison and cement plant.

Meanwhile, the SAA and Hezbollah launched an offensive south of Aleppo, capturing 408 square kilometres (158 square miles) of territory in one month. By late December, they were in control of 3/4 of the southern Aleppo countryside.

2016: Supply lines cut and encirclements

By 2016, it was estimated that the population of rebel-held Eastern Aleppo had been reduced to 300,000. while 1.5 million were living in government-held Western Aleppo.

In early February 2016, Syrian government forces and its allies broke a three-year rebel siege of two Shi’ite towns of Nubl and Zahraa, cutting off a main insurgent route to nearby Turkey. On 4 February, the towns of Mayer and Kafr Naya were recaptured by government forces  On 5 February, the government captured the village of Ratyan, to the northwest of Aleppo.

On 25 June, the Syrian army and allied forces began their long-awaited North-west Aleppo offensive. The ultimate goal of the offensive was to cut the Castello highway, which is the last supply route for rebels inside the city, thus fully encircling remaining opposition forces.

By late July, the military had managed to sever the last rebel supply line coming from the north and completely surround Aleppo.  However, within days, the rebels launched a large-scale counter-attack south of Aleppo in an attempt to both open a new supply line into rebel-held parts of the city and cut-off the government-held side. The whole campaign, including both the Army’s offensive and subsequent rebel counter-offensive, was seen by both sides as possibly deciding the fate of the entire war.

After a week of heavy fighting, rebels both inside and outside Aleppo advanced into the Ramouseh neighborhood, linked up and captured it. They also seized the Al-Assad Military Academy. With these advances, the rebels managed to cut the government’s supply line into the government-held part of west Aleppo and announced the Army’s siege of rebel-held east Aleppo had been broken. However, the new rebel supply line was still under Army artillery fire and being hit by air-strikes, making both sides essentially under siege. Since the rebel offensive started, at least 130 civilians had been killed, most by rebel shelling of government-held districts. 500 fighters on both sides also died, mostly rebels

Strategic analysis

Rebel forces expanded into the countryside south of Aleppo to control sections of the M4 and M5 highways, effectively blocking ground reinforcements for the Syrian Army. Before the end of 2012, the Syrian Army in Aleppo was receiving sporadic supplies and ammunition replenishment by air or via backroads.

The fall of Base 46, a large complex that reinforced and supplied government troops, was seen by experts as “a tactical turning point that may lead to a strategic shift” in the battle for Aleppo. In a November 2012 intelligence report, American publisher Strategic Forecasting, Inc. described the strategic position of government forces in Aleppo as “dire”, and said the Free Syrian Army had them “essentially surrounded”.

On 26 November 2012, rebels captured Tishrin Dam, further isolating government forces in Aleppo and leaving only one route into Aleppo.  By late January 2013 Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said all supply routes to Aleppo had been cut off by opposition forces, comparing the situation to the Siege of Leningrad.

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By late February 2013, Aleppo International Airport was almost surrounded by rebel forces. Later, the Syrian Army regained control of the strategic town Tel Sheigeb, allowing them to approach the airport. In November 2013, the Syrian Army retook the town of al-Safira. This opened a road for the government to support the besieged Kuweires Military Airbase and Aleppo Power Plant.

In February 2014, it was reported that the army planned to encircle Aleppo and impose blockades and truces. It would also try to recapture Sheikh Najjar Industrial City to rebuild the economy and provide jobs. By October 2014, the army had seized Sheikh Najjar, reinforced Aleppo Central Prison and captured Handaraat, almost besieging rebel-held Aleppo. Tensions peaked in early April 2014, when a Syrian Republican Guard officer allegedly killed a Hezbollah commander during an argument over the opposition advance in al-Rashadin,  and other pro-government militant groups sent as reinforcements, such as the National Defence Force, proved to be unreliable in combat.

Effectively cutting off access was more difficult in Aleppo because rebels controlled more terrain there than in other cities. Rebels also have a strong presence in the countryside and around the border crossings with Turkey. In April 2014 government commanders inside the city were saying that contrary to implementing such a strategy, “the best [they] can do in Aleppo is just secure … positions”.

The attempted encirclement involved the SAA’s attacks on Bustan Al-Pasha, Khalidiyyeh, the farms of Mazra’a Halabi, Al-Amariyya and Bustan Al-Qaseer .  The rebels’ strategic victory at the Siege of Wadi Deif resulted in threats to several main government supply lines. This cast doubt on government forces’ ambitions to control the road from Hama to Aleppo and the Damascus-Aleppo international road, and has been seen as a personal defeat for Syrian Arab Army Col. Suheil Al Hassan.

Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria, proposed a pause in fighting, but opinions about implementation were divided. The European Union warned that “cases of forced surrender imposed by the Assad regime through starvation sieges were labelled fallaciously as local cease-fires in the past. The Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army, which was gaining ground in Deraa province south of Damascus, warned that a freeze in fighting in Aleppo could hamper their advance, as pro-Assad forces could be redirected from Aleppo.

The Syrian government’s defeat at the Second Battle of Idlib in late March 2015, which helped expand the influence of the al-Nusra Front, forced the Islamic State (IS) to expand its attacks in central Syria after it failed to block the Raqqa highway that branches out to the Syrian army’s main supply route to Aleppo along the Khanasir-Athriya road. IS’s aim would potentially be to establish the necessary conditions to attack Idlib and al-Nusra. The March–April IS offensive in central Syria led some volunteers defending the Homs-Aleppo highway to consider deserting to defend their hometowns.

According to Jane’s Information Group, a possible offensive on Homs by both al-Nusra Front and IS working independently might force the government to move critical forces away from Aleppo to defend key supply routes.

After additional opposition gains during the 2015 Jisr al-Shughur offensive, Jane’s said it was no longer possible for the SAA to properly reinforce Aleppo, leaving their forces vulnerable to any opposition or IS offensive on the city. If opposition forces decided to capitalize on their gains and launch an assault towards Latakia, the prospect of soldiers deserting was raised because if they were not redeployed back to defend it, they could defend their own homes against any potential rebel advance.

Syrian government minister Faisal Mekdad stated in June 2015,

“All our strategic planning now is to keep the way open to Aleppo to allow our forces to defend it”.

Barrel bombs

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In 2014, the United Nations adopted Resolution 2139 which ordered the end of using barrel bombs in the battle. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights stated that the Syrian army dropped 7,000 barrel bombs in the first five months of 2015 claiming the lives of 3,000 people. Amnesty International claims that barrel bombs killed 3,000 people in 2014  Channel4 claims that videos have emerged online showing the Syrian army using barrel bombs.

The Syrian government has been alleged of using the barrel bombs several times. Some of them are:

  • According to Middle East Monitor reported the death of 14 people allegedly caused by the bombs in the Kallasa and Qasila neighbourhood of the city in June 2015.
  • CNN-IBN wrote about the government of dropping barrel bombs in July in the neighbourhood of al-Bab causing the death of 35 and injuring 50 others.
  • The BBC alleged the government of dropping the same in May, leading to the death of 72 civilians.
  • The Anadolu Agency of Turkey wrote that the bombs launched by the government forces in July killed 15 people.

However, the government has denied using barrel bombs. In an interview to BBC, President Bashar al-Assad denied using “indiscriminate weapons” like barrel bombs in the rebel held territories.

Assad said:

“I know about the army. They use bullets, missiles and bombs. I haven’t heard of the army using barrels, or maybe cooking pots.”

Destruction of heritage

Time magazine wrote,

..the ongoing devastation inflicted on the country’s stunning archaeological sites—bullet holes lodged in walls of its ancient Roman cities, the debris of Byzantine churches, early mosques and crusader fortresses—rob Syria of its best chance for a post-conflict economic boom based on tourism, which, until the conflict started 18 months ago, contributed 12% to the national income.

 

The Al-Madina Souq, a major souq (market) in Aleppo, was affected by a fire in September 2012. The Irish Times reported that around 700 to 1000 shops were destroyed by the fire, which had been caused by firing and shelling.  The following month, there were reports of the Great Mosque of Aleppo being damaged by rocket-propelled grenades. Fighting with mortars and machine guns caused damage to the main gate and the prayer hall

The attack continued in the mosque till it was repelled by the army.

The Citadel of Aleppo was damaged during Syrian army shelling.

On 2 October, Irena Bokova the Director-General of UNESCO, expressed her “grave concern about possible damage to precious sites” and requested the combatants to “ensure the protection of the outstanding cultural legacy that Syria hosts on its soil”.

She cited the Hague Convention for protecting the heritage sites.

A 2014 report by UNITAR found, using satellite images, that 22 out of the 210 examined key structures had been completely destroyed. 48 others had sustained severe damage, 33 moderate damage and 32 possible damage. The destroyed sites included the Carlton Citadel Hotel, destroyed to its foundations in a bombing in 2014, the madrasas of al-Sharafiyya and Khusruwiyah. The damage to the Great Mosque, whose minaret had been destroyed, was confirmed. According to official estimates, 1500 out of the 1600 shops in the souqs had been damaged or destroyed.

Reactions

Domestic reaction

The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, said on the occasion of the 67th Anniversary of the Syrian Arab Army in August 2012,

“the army is engaged in a crucial and heroic battle … on which the destiny of the nation and its people rests …”

Foreign reactions

  • Armenia began sending humanitarian aid to Aleppo in mid-October 2012.  The aid was distributed by Red Crescent, the Armenian National Prelacy in Aleppo, the Aleppo Emergency unit, and the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to Syria. The Governor of the Aleppo Governorate, Hilal Hial, said, “the Syrian people highly appreciate this humanitarian gesture of the Armenian people, underlining the strong Syrian-Armenian cooperation”.

 

  • The French Foreign Ministry said, “With the build-up of heavy weapons around Aleppo, Assad is preparing to carry out a fresh slaughter of his own people”. Italy and the UN peacekeeping chief also accused the government of preparing to massacre civilians.

 

  • As the battle of Aleppo started, Saeed Jalili, the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, met with Assad in Damascus. Jalili said Iran would help Assad to confront “attempts at blatant foreign interference” in Syria’s internal affairs, saying, “Iran will not allow the axis of resistance, of which it considers Syria to be an essential part, to be broken in any way”.

 

  • The Russian Foreign Ministry issued an official statement condemning the bombing that occurred on 9 September 2012, in which more than 30 people were killed. The ministry stated, “We firmly condemn the terrorist acts which claim the lives of innocent people”, on 11 September. The Foreign Ministry also called on foreign powers to pressure the armed opposition to stop launching “terrorist attacks”.

 

  • The Russian Consulate General in Aleppo suspended operations on 16 January 2013.

 

  • Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged international action, saying it was not possible “to remain a spectator” to the government offensive on Aleppo Reuters reported that Turkey had set up a base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct military and communications aid to the Free Syrian Army from the city of Adana. Reuters also quoted a Doha-based source, which stated that Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were providing rebel fighters with weapons and training.

 

 

  • The United States stated it feared a new massacre in Aleppo by the Syrian government; “This is the concern: that we will see a massacre in Aleppo and that’s what the regime appears to be lining up for”. The United States condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the government SCUD missile strikes on Aleppo in late February 2013, saying they were “the latest of the Syrian regime’s ruthlessness and its lack of compassion for the Syrian people it claims to represent”.[

 

9/11 The day that changed the World – Never Forget

September 11th 2001 attacks

 

Like millions of others the world over the 9/11 attacks were a pivotal event in my life and  I remember the details as though they happened yesterday and yes my life did change a little on that day.

Suddenly there were no boundaries and the horror of international terrorism announced itself to a disbelieving world .

At the time I was working for a publishing company based in Russell Square , central London and I had a meeting with a client in Soho. I had arranged to have an early business lunch and met the client in an Italian restaurant  in Brewer Street. After the meal I went outside to have a fag and I noticed a lot of people gathered around the windows of a pub , watching the news.

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Naturally I was curious and I walked over to see what was happening and was amazed to see the footage of the first plane hitting the  Tower. At this point it was still thought that it been a tragic accident , although no one could explain what the plane was doing flying so low and within that airspace.

As I watched with the ever increasing crowd the second plane hit and the reality of the situation changed from a plane crash to New York being under attack from terrorists. As new reports came in about the other attacks – panic seem to set in and people began to drift off and make their way home. I went  and explained what was happening to my client and we rightly called it a day. When I got back to the office everyone was standing about outside the building , amid rumours that London was under attack also and  all planes had been grounded etc. People seemed to be in a state of shock and there was real panic that London would be next and we were all sent home for the remainder of the day.

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At home I watched with horror as the truth and scale of the attacks became clear and Osama bin Laden became the instigator of a new kind of terror and the most wanted man on  planet earth. Thankfully he is now burning in the pits of hell with the legions of other Islamic extremists whom have shamed the human race with their bloodlust and brutal, twisted  ideology.

Current events although brutal and unimaginable horrific , shock and sicken us, but 9/11 was the Day the World changed forever and life would never be the same again.

London Bombs 7/7

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I was meant to be in the office on the day of the London Bombs and would have been travelling on the route & time of those trains that were bombed, but for once fate dealt me a fair hand and I was out of the office that day. The irony of my leaving Belfast to escape the slaughter of the IRA was not lost on me and here I was on the front line  again!!

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9/11~September 11th 2001-Attack on the World || Trade Center

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See Falling Man

The September 11th  attacks

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The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th, or 9/11)[nb 1] were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks consisted of suicide attacks used to target symbolic U.S. landmarks.

Four passenger airliners—which all departed from airports on the U.S. East Coast bound for California—were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists to be flown into buildings. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Within an hour and 42 minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center tower, as well as significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures.

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A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense) in Arlington County, Virginia, leading to a partial collapse in the Pentagon’s western side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, initially was steered toward Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. In total, the attacks claimed the lives of 2,996 people (including the 19 hijackers) and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage.

It was the deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers  in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed respectively.

Suspicion for the attack quickly fell on al-Qaeda. The United States responded to the attacks by launching the War on Terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had harbored al-Qaeda. Many countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded the powers of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent terrorist attacks. Although al-Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, initially denied any involvement, in 2004, he claimed responsibility for the attacks.  Al-Qaeda and bin Laden cited U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as motives. Having evaded capture for almost a decade, bin Laden was located and killed by members of the U.S. military in May 2011.

The destruction of the World Trade Center and nearby infrastructure caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan and had a significant effect on global markets, closing Wall Street until September 17 and the civilian airspace in the U.S. and Canada until September 13. Many closings, evacuations, and cancellations followed, out of respect or fear of further attacks. Cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002, and the Pentagon was repaired within a year. On November 18, 2006, construction of One World Trade Center began at the World Trade Center site. The building was officially opened on November 3, 2014.

Numerous memorials have been constructed, including the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington County, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in a field near Shanksville.

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THE SADDEST 9/11 VIDEO EVER (18+ ONLY)

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Background

Al-Qaeda

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Further information: Al-Qaeda and Jihad

The origins of al-Qaeda can be traced to 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden traveled to Afghanistan and helped organize Arab mujahideen to resist the Soviets. Under the guidance of Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden became more radical. In 1996, bin Laden issued his first fatwā, calling for American soldiers to leave Saudi Arabia.

In a second fatwā in 1998, bin Laden outlined his objections to American foreign policy with respect to Israel, as well as the continued presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War. Bin Laden used Islamic texts to exhort Muslims to attack Americans until the stated grievances are reversed. Muslim legal scholars “have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries.”, according to bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

1997 picture of Osama bin Laden

 

Bin Laden, who orchestrated the attacks, initially denied but later admitted involvement.Al Jazeera broadcast a statement by bin Laden on September 16, 2001, stating, “I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation.”

In November 2001, U.S. forces recovered a videotape from a destroyed house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. In the video, bin Laden is seen talking to Khaled al-Harbi and admits foreknowledge of the attacks. On December 27, 2001, a second bin Laden video was released. In the video, he said,

“It has become clear that the West in general and America in particular have an unspeakable hatred for Islam….It is the hatred of crusaders. Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people…We say that the end of the United States is imminent, whether Bin Laden or his followers are alive or dead, for the awakening of the Muslim umma (nation) has occurred”,

but he stopped short of admitting responsibility for the attacks.

The transcript references several times to the United States specifically targeting Muslims.

Shortly before the U.S. presidential election in 2004, in a taped statement, bin Laden publicly acknowledged al-Qaeda’s involvement in the attacks on the U.S. and admitted his direct link to the attacks. He said that the attacks were carried out because, “we are free … and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security we undermine yours.”

Bin Laden said he had personally directed his followers to attack the World Trade Center.[11][16] Another video obtained by Al Jazeera in September 2006 shows bin Laden with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, as well as two hijackers, Hamza al-Ghamdi and Wail al-Shehri, as they make preparations for the attacks. The U.S. never formally indicted bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks but he was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.

After a 10-year manhunt, bin Laden was killed by American special forces in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011.[20][21]

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after his capture in 2003

 

The journalist Yosri Fouda of the Arabic television channel Al Jazeera reported that, in April 2002, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed admitted his involvement, along with Ramzi bin al-Shibh. The 9/11 Commission Report determined that the animosity towards the United States felt by Mohammed, the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks, stemmed from his “violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel”. Mohammed was also an adviser and financier of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the uncle of Ramzi Yousef, the lead bomber in that attack.

Mohammed was arrested on March 1, 2003, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, by Pakistani security officials working with the CIA, then transported to Guantanamo Bay and interrogated using methods including waterboarding.[28][29] During U.S. hearings at Guantanamo Bay in March 2007, Mohammed again confessed his responsibility for the attacks, stating he “was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z” and that his statement was not made under duress.[24][30]

Other al-Qaeda members

In “Substitution for Testimony of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed” from the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, five people are identified as having been completely aware of the operation’s details. They are bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Abu Turab al-Urduni, and Mohammed Atef. To date, only peripheral figures have been tried or convicted for the attacks.

On September 26, 2005, the Spanish high court sentenced Abu Dahdah to 27 years in prison for conspiracy on the 9/11 attacks and being a member of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda. At the same time, another 17 al-Qaeda members were sentenced to penalties of between six and eleven years. On February 16, 2006, the Spanish Supreme Court reduced the Abu Dahdah penalty to 12 years because it considered that his participation in the conspiracy was not proven.

Also, in 2006, Moussaoui, who some originally suspected might have been the assigned 20th hijacker, was convicted for the lesser role of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism and air piracy. He is serving a life sentence without parole in the United States. Mounir el-Motassadeq, an associate of the Hamburg-based hijackers, is serving 15 years in Germany for his role in helping the hijackers prepare for the attacks.

The Hamburg cell in Germany included radical Islamists who eventually came to be key operatives in the 9/11 attacks.  Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Ziad Jarrah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and Said Bahaji were all members of al-Qaeda’s Hamburg cell.

Motives

Osama bin Laden’s declaration of a holy war against the United States, and a 1998 fatwā signed by bin Laden and others, calling for the killing of Americans,   are seen by investigators as evidence of his motivation.  In bin Laden’s November 2002 “Letter to America”, he explicitly stated that al-Qaeda’s motives for their attacks include

After the attacks, bin Laden and al-Zawahiri released additional video tapes and audio tapes, some of which repeated those reasons for the attacks. Two particularly important publications were bin Laden’s 2002 “Letter to America”,[45] and a 2004 video tape by bin Laden.[46]

Bin Laden interpreted Muhammad as having banned the “permanent presence of infidels in Arabia”.[47] In 1996, bin Laden issued a fatwā calling for American troops to leave Saudi Arabia. In 1998, al-Qaeda wrote, “for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.”[48]

In a December 1999 interview, bin Laden said he felt that Americans were “too near to Mecca“, and considered this a provocation to the entire Muslim world.[49] One analysis of suicide terrorism suggested that without U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda likely would not have been able to get people to commit to suicide missions.[50]

In the 1998 fatwā, al-Qaeda identified the Iraq sanctions as a reason to kill Americans, condemning the “protracted blockade”[48] among other actions that constitute a declaration of war against “Allah, his messenger, and Muslims.”[48] The fatwā declared that “the ruling to kill the Americans and their allies – civilians and military – is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque of Mecca from their grip, and in order for their [the Americans’] armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.”[9][51]

Bin Laden claimed, in 2004, that the idea of destroying the towers had first occurred to him in 1982, when he witnessed Israel’s bombardment of high-rise apartment buildings during the 1982 Lebanon War.[52][53] Some analysts, including Mearsheimer and Walt, also claim that one motivation for the attacks was U.S. support of Israel.[41][49] In 2004 and 2010, bin Laden again connected the September 11 attacks with U.S. support of Israel, although most of the letter expressed bin Laden’s disdain for President Bush and bin Laden’s hope to “destroy and bankrupt” the U.S.[54][55]

Other motives have been suggested in addition to those stated by bin Laden and al-Qaeda, including western support of Islamic and non-Islamic authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and northern Africa, and the presence of western troops in some of these countries.[56] Some authors suggest the “humiliation” resulting from the Islamic world falling behind the Western world – this discrepancy rendered especially visible by the globalization trend[57][58] and a desire to provoke the U.S. into a broader war against the Islamic world in the hope of motivating more allies to support al-Qaeda. Similarly, others have argued that 9/11 was a strategic move with the objective of provoking America into a war that would incite a pan-Islamic revolution.[59][60]

Planning of the attacks

ground zero and surrounding area as seen from directly above depicting where the two planes impacted the towers

Map showing the attacks on the World Trade Center (the planes are not drawn to scale)

The idea for the attacks came from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who first presented it to Osama bin Laden in 1996.[61] At that time, bin Laden and al-Qaeda were in a period of transition, having just relocated back to Afghanistan from Sudan.[62] The 1998 African Embassy bombings and bin Laden’s 1998 fatwā marked a turning point, as bin Laden became intent on attacking the United States.[62]

In late 1998 or early 1999, bin Laden gave approval for Mohammed to go forward with organizing the plot. A series of meetings occurred in early 1999, involving Mohammed, bin Laden, and his deputy Mohammed Atef.[62] Atef provided operational support for the plot, including target selections and helping arrange travel for the hijackers.[62] Bin Laden overruled Mohammed, rejecting some potential targets such as the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles because, “there was not enough time to prepare for such an operation”.[63][64]

Diagram showing the attacks on the World Trade Center

Bin Laden provided leadership and financial support for the plot, and was involved in selecting participants.[65] Bin Laden initially selected Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, both experienced jihadists who had fought in Bosnia. Hazmi and Mihdhar arrived in the United States in mid-January 2000. In spring 2000, Hazmi and Mihdhar took flying lessons in San Diego, California, but both spoke little English, performed poorly with flying lessons, and eventually served as secondary – or “muscle” – hijackers.[66][67]

In late 1999, a group of men from Hamburg, Germany arrived in Afghanistan, including Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Ziad Jarrah, and Ramzi bin al-Shibh.[68] Bin Laden selected these men because they were educated, could speak English, and had experience living in the West.[69] New recruits were routinely screened for special skills and al-Qaeda leaders consequently discovered that Hani Hanjour already had a commercial pilot’s license.[70]

Hanjour arrived in San Diego on December 8, 2000, joining Hazmi.[71]:6–7 They soon left for Arizona, where Hanjour took refresher training.[71]:7 Marwan al-Shehhi arrived at the end of May 2000, while Atta arrived on June 3, 2000, and Jarrah arrived on June 27, 2000.[71]:6 Bin al-Shibh applied several times for a visa to the United States, but as a Yemeni, he was rejected out of concerns he would overstay his visa and remain as an illegal immigrant.[71]:4, 14 Bin al-Shibh stayed in Hamburg, providing coordination between Atta and Mohammed.[71]:16 The three Hamburg cell members all took pilot training in South Florida.[71]:6

In spring 2001, the secondary hijackers began arriving in the United States.[72] In July 2001, Atta met with bin al-Shibh in Spain, where they coordinated details of the plot, including final target selection. Bin al-Shibh also passed along bin Laden’s wish for the attacks to be carried out as soon as possible.[73]

Attacks

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Flight paths of the four planes used on September 11

Early on the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 hijackers took control of four commercial airliners (two Boeing 757 and two Boeing 767) en route to California (three headed to LAX in Los Angeles, and one to San Francisco) after takeoffs from Boston, Massachusetts; Newark, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C.[74] Large planes with long flights were selected for hijacking because they would be heavily fueled.[75]

The four flights were:

  • American Airlines Flight 11: a Boeing 767 aircraft, departed Boston’s Logan Airport at 7:59 a.m. en route to Los Angeles with a crew of 11 and 76 passengers, not including five hijackers. The hijackers flew the plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m.
  • United Airlines Flight 175: a Boeing 767 aircraft, departed Logan Airport at 8:14 a.m. en route to Los Angeles with a crew of nine and 51 passengers, not including five hijackers. The hijackers flew the plane into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m.
  • American Airlines Flight 77: a Boeing 757 aircraft, departed Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia at 8:20 a.m. en route to Los Angeles with a crew of six and 53 passengers, not including five hijackers. The hijackers flew the plane into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m.
  • United Airlines Flight 93: a Boeing 757 aircraft, departed Newark International Airport at 8:42 a.m. en route to San Francisco, with a crew of seven and 33 passengers, not including four hijackers. As passengers attempted to subdue the hijackers, the aircraft crashed into the ground near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 10:03 a.m.

Media coverage was extensive during the attacks and aftermath, beginning moments after the first crash into the World Trade Center.[76]

Events

Plume of September 11 attack seen from space by NASA.[77]

At 8:46 a.m., five hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the northern facade of the World Trade Center‘s North Tower (1 WTC), and at 9:03 a.m., another five hijackers crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the southern facade of the South Tower (2 WTC).[78][79] Five hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m.[80]

Collapse of the Towers

A fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, under the control of four hijackers, crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh, at 10:03 a.m. after the passengers fought the hijackers. Flight 93’s target is believed to have been either the Capitol or the White House.[75] Flight 93’s cockpit voice recorder revealed crew and passengers tried to seize control of the plane from the hijackers after learning through phone calls that Flights 11, 77, and 175 had been crashed into buildings that morning.[81] Once it became evident to the hijackers that the passengers might regain control of the plane, the hijackers rolled the plane and intentionally crashed it.[82][83]

The north face of Two World Trade Center (south tower) immediately after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175

Some passengers and crew members who called from the aircraft using the cabin airphone service and mobile phones provided details: several hijackers were aboard each plane; they used mace, tear gas, or pepper spray to overcome attendants; and some people aboard had been stabbed.[84][85][86][87][88][89][90] Reports indicated hijackers stabbed and killed pilots, flight attendants, and one or more passengers.[74][91] In their final report, the 9/11 Commission found the hijackers had recently purchased multi-function hand tools and assorted knives and blades.[92][93] A flight attendant on Flight 11, a passenger on Flight 175, and passengers on Flight 93 said the hijackers had bombs, but one of the passengers said he thought the bombs were fake. The FBI found no traces of explosives at the crash sites, and the 9/11 Commission concluded that the bombs were probably fake.[74]

Three buildings in the World Trade Center complex collapsed due to fire-induced structural failure.[94] The South Tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m. after burning for 56 minutes in a fire caused by the impact of United Airlines Flight 175 and the explosion of its fuel.[94] The North Tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m. after burning for 102 minutes.[94] When the North Tower collapsed, debris fell on the nearby 7 World Trade Center building (7 WTC), damaging it and starting fires. These fires burned for hours, compromising the building’s structural integrity, and 7 WTC collapsed at 5:21 p.m.[95][96] The west side of the Pentagon sustained significant damage.

Security camera footage of Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon.[97] The plane hits the Pentagon approximately 86 seconds after the beginning of this recording.

At 9:42 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all aircraft within the continental U.S., and aircraft already in flight were told to land immediately.[98] All international civilian aircraft were either turned back or redirected to airports in Canada or Mexico, and all international flights were banned from landing on United States territory for three days.[99] The attacks created widespread confusion among news organizations and air traffic controllers. Among the unconfirmed and often contradictory news reports aired throughout the day, one of the most prevalent said a car bomb had been detonated at the U.S. State Department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.[100] Another jet—Delta Air Lines Flight 1989—was suspected of having been hijacked, but the aircraft responded to controllers and landed safely in Cleveland, Ohio.[101]

In a April 2002 interview, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who are believed to have organized the attacks, said Flight 93’s intended target was the United States Capitol, not the White House.[102] During the planning stage of the attacks, Mohamed Atta, the hijacker and pilot of Flight 11, thought the White House might be too tough a target and sought an assessment from Hani Hanjour, who would later hijack and pilot Flight 77.[103] Mohammed said al-Qaeda initially planned to target nuclear installations rather than the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but decided against it, fearing things could “get out of control”.[104] Final decisions on targets, according to Mohammed, were left in the hands of the pilots.[103]

Casualties

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Voices from Inside the Towers (9/11 Documentary)

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The remains of 6, 7, and 1 on September 17, 2001

The attacks resulted in the deaths of 2,996 people, including the 19 hijackers.[105] The 2,977 victims included 246 on the four planes (from which there were no survivors), 2,606 in the World Trade Center and in the surrounding area, and 125 at the Pentagon.[106][107] Nearly all of those who perished were civilians with the exceptions of 72 law enforcement officers, 343 firefighters, and 55 military personnel who died in the attacks.[108][109] After New York, New Jersey lost the most state citizens, with the city of Hoboken having the most citizens that died in the attacks.[110] More than 90 countries lost citizens in the September 11 attacks.[111] The attacks of September 11, 2001, marked it the worst terrorist attack in world history and the deadliest foreign act of destruction to life and property on American soil since the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.[3][not in citation given]

In Arlington County, 125 Pentagon workers lost their lives when Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the building. Of these, 70 were civilians and 55 were military personnel, many of them who worked for the United States Army or the United States Navy. The Army lost 47 civilian employees, six civilian contractors, and 22 soldiers, while the Navy lost six civilian employees, three civilian contractors, and 33 sailors. Seven Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) civilian employees were also among the dead in the attack, as well as an Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) contractor.[112][113][114] Lieutenant General Timothy Maude, an Army Deputy Chief of Staff, was the highest-ranking military official killed at the Pentagon.[115]

Burning towers with view from Statue of Liberty

In New York City, more than 90% of the workers and visitors who died in the towers had been at or above the points of impact.[116] In the North Tower, 1,355 people at or above the point of impact were trapped and died of smoke inhalation, fell or jumped from the tower to escape the smoke and flames, or were killed in the building’s eventual collapse. The destruction of all three staircases in the tower when Flight 11 hit made it impossible for anyone above the impact zone to escape. 107 people below the point of impact died as well.

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9/11: The Falling Man – Real Stories

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In the South Tower, one stairwell, Stairwell A, was left intact after Flight 175 hit, allowing 14 people located on the floors of impact (including one man who saw the plane coming at him) and four more from the floors above to escape. 911 operators who received calls from individuals inside the tower were not well informed of the situation as it rapidly unfolded and as a result, told callers not to descend the tower on their own.[117] 630 people died in that tower, fewer than half the number killed in the North Tower.[116] Casualties in the South Tower were significantly reduced by some occupants deciding to start evacuating as soon as the North Tower was struck.[118]

Urban Search and Rescue Task Force German Shepherd dog works to uncover survivors at the site of the collapsed World Trade Center after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

At least 200 people fell or jumped to their deaths from the burning towers (as exemplified in the photograph The Falling Man), landing on the streets and rooftops of adjacent buildings hundreds of feet below.[119] Some occupants of each tower above the point of impact made their way toward the roof in hope of helicopter rescue, but the roof access doors were locked. No plan existed for helicopter rescues, and the combination of roof equipment and thick smoke and intense heat prevented helicopters from approaching.[120] A total of 411 emergency workers died as they tried to rescue people and fight fires. The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) lost 343 firefighters, including a chaplain, two paramedics, and a fire marshal.[121] The New York City Police Department (NYPD) lost 23 officers.[122] The Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) lost 37 officers.[123] Eight emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics from private emergency medical services units were killed.[124]

Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., an investment bank on the 101st–105th floors of the North Tower, lost 658 employees, considerably more than any other employer.[125] Marsh Inc., located immediately below Cantor Fitzgerald on floors 93–100, lost 358 employees,[126][127] and 175 employees of Aon Corporation were also killed.[128] The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) estimated that about 17,400 civilians were in the World Trade Center complex at the time of the attacks. Turnstile counts from the Port Authority suggest 14,154 people were typically in the Twin Towers by 8:45 a.m.[129][130] The vast majority of people below the impact zone safely evacuated the buildings.[131]

Deaths (victims + hijackers)
New York City World Trade Center 2,606[106][132]
American 11 87 + 5[133]
United 175 60 + 5[134]
Arlington Pentagon 125[135]
American 77 59 + 5[136]
Near Shanksville United 93 40 + 4[137]
Total 2,977 + 19

Weeks after the attack, the death toll was estimated to be over 6,000, more than twice the number of deaths eventually confirmed.[138] The city was only able to identify remains for about 1,600 of the World Trade Center victims. The medical examiner’s office collected “about 10,000 unidentified bone and tissue fragments that cannot be matched to the list of the dead”.[139] Bone fragments were still being found in 2006 by workers who were preparing to demolish the damaged Deutsche Bank Building. In 2010, a team of anthropologists and archaeologists searched for human remains and personal items at the Fresh Kills Landfill, where seventy-two more human remains were recovered, bringing the total found to 1,845. DNA profiling continues in an attempt to identify additional victims.[140][141][142] The remains are being held in storage in Memorial Park, outside the New York City Medical Examiner’s facilities. It was expected that the remains would be moved in 2013 to a repository behind a wall at the 9/11 museum. In July 2011, a team of scientists at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner was still trying to identify remains, in the hope that improved technology will allow them to identify other victims.[142] On March 20, 2015, the 1,640th victim was identified. There are still 1,113 victims who have not been identified.[143]

Damage

World Trade Center site (Ground Zero) with an overlay showing the original building locations.

The Pentagon was damaged by fire and partly collapsed.

Along with the 110-floor Twin Towers, numerous other buildings at the World Trade Center site were destroyed or badly damaged, including WTC buildings 3 through 7 and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.[144] The North Tower, South Tower, the Marriott Hotel (3 WTC), and 7 WTC were completely destroyed. The U.S. Customs House (6 World Trade Center), 4 World Trade Center, 5 World Trade Center, and both pedestrian bridges connecting buildings were severely damaged. The Deutsche Bank Building on 130 Liberty Street was partially damaged and demolished some years later, starting in 2007.[145][146] The two buildings of the World Financial Center also suffered damage.[145]

The Deutsche Bank Building across Liberty Street from the World Trade Center complex was later condemned as uninhabitable because of toxic conditions inside the office tower, and was deconstructed.[147][148] The Borough of Manhattan Community College‘s Fiterman Hall at 30 West Broadway was condemned due to extensive damage in the attacks, and is being rebuilt.[149] Other neighboring buildings (including 90 West Street and the Verizon Building) suffered major damage but have been restored.[150] World Financial Center buildings, One Liberty Plaza, the Millenium Hilton, and 90 Church Street had moderate damage and have since been restored.[151] Communications equipment on top of the North Tower was also destroyed, but media stations were quickly able to reroute the signals and resume their broadcasts.[144][152]

The Pentagon was severely damaged by the impact of American Airlines Flight 77 and ensuing fires, causing one section of the building to collapse.[153] As the airplane approached the Pentagon, its wings knocked down light poles and its right engine hit a power generator before crashing into the western side of the building.[154][155] The plane hit the Pentagon at the first-floor level. The front part of the fuselage disintegrated on impact, while the mid and tail sections kept moving for another fraction of a second.[156] Debris from the tail section penetrated furthest into the building, breaking through 310 feet (94 m) of the three outermost of the building’s five rings.[156][157]

Rescue efforts

 An injured victim is being loaded into a paramedic van with the burning Pentagon in the background

An injured victim of the Pentagon attack is evacuated.

The New York City Fire Department deployed 200 units (half of the department) to the World Trade Center. Their efforts were supplemented by numerous off-duty firefighters and emergency medical technicians.[158][159][160] The New York City Police Department sent Emergency Service Units and other police personnel, and deployed its aviation unit. Once on the scene, the FDNY, NYPD, and PAPD did not coordinate efforts and performed redundant searches for civilians.[158][161] As conditions deteriorated, the NYPD aviation unit relayed information to police commanders, who issued orders for its personnel to evacuate the towers; most NYPD officers were able to safely evacuate before the buildings collapsed.[161][162] With separate command posts set up and incompatible radio communications between the agencies, warnings were not passed along to FDNY commanders.

After the first tower collapsed, FDNY commanders issued evacuation warnings; however, due to technical difficulties with malfunctioning radio repeater systems, many firefighters never heard the evacuation orders. 9-1-1 dispatchers also received information from callers that was not passed along to commanders on the scene.[159] Within hours of the attack, a substantial search and rescue operation was launched. After months of around-the-clock operations, the World Trade Center site was cleared by the end of May 2002.[163]

Aftermath

George W Bush gets a briefing on the attacks.

Immediate response

Three high-level politicians and a General, all displaying grim facial expressions, flank the main speaker.

Eight hours after the attacks, Donald Rumsfeld, then U.S. Secretary of Defense, declares “The Pentagon is functioning.”

At 8:32 a.m., FAA officials were notified Flight 11 had been hijacked and they in turn notified the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). NORAD scrambled two F-15s from Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts and they were airborne by 8:53 a.m.[164] Because of slow and confused communication from FAA officials, NORAD had 9 minutes’ notice that Flight 11 had been hijacked, and no notice about any of the other flights before they crashed.[164] After both of the Twin Towers had already been hit, more fighters were scrambled from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia at 9:30 a.m.[164] At 10:20 a.m. Vice President Dick Cheney issued orders to shoot down any commercial aircraft that could be positively identified as being hijacked. However, these instructions were not relayed in time for the fighters to take action.[164][165][166][167] Some fighters took to the air without live ammunition, knowing that to prevent the hijackers from striking their intended targets, the pilots might have to intercept and crash their fighters into the hijacked planes, possibly ejecting at the last moment.[168]

For the first time in U.S. history, SCATANA was invoked,[169] thus stranding tens of thousands of passengers across the world.[170] The FAA closed American airspace to all international flights, causing about five hundred flights to be turned back or redirected to other countries. Canada received 226 of the diverted flights and launched Operation Yellow Ribbon to deal with the large numbers of grounded planes and stranded passengers.[171]

The 9/11 attacks had immediate effects upon the American people.[172] Police and rescue workers from around the country took leaves of absence, traveling to New York City to help recover bodies from the twisted remnants of the Twin Towers.[173] Blood donations across the U.S. surged in the weeks after 9/11.[174][175]

The deaths of adults in the attacks resulted in over 3,000 children losing a parent.[176] Subsequent studies documented children’s reactions to these actual losses and to feared losses of life, the protective environment in the aftermath of the attacks, and effects on surviving caregivers.[177][178][179]

Domestic reactions

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At a joint session of Congress, President Bush pledges to defend America’s freedom against the fear of terrorism, September 20, 2001 (audio only).

Following the attacks, President Bush’s approval rating soared to 90%.[180] On September 20, 2001, he addressed the nation and a joint session of the United States Congress regarding the events of September 11 and the subsequent nine days of rescue and recovery efforts, and described his intended response to the attacks. New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani‘s highly visible role won him high praise in New York and nationally.[181]

Many relief funds were immediately set up to assist victims of the attacks, with the task of providing financial assistance to the survivors of the attacks and to the families of victims. By the deadline for victim’s compensation on September 11, 2003, 2,833 applications had been received from the families of those who were killed.[182]

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George W. Bush’s address to the people of the United States, September 11, 2001, 8:30 pm EDT.

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Contingency plans for the continuity of government and the evacuation of leaders were implemented soon after the attacks.[170] However, Congress was not told that the United States had been under a continuity of government status until February 2002.[183]

In the largest restructuring of the U.S. government in contemporary history, the United States enacted the Homeland Security Act of 2002, creating the Department of Homeland Security. Congress also passed the USA PATRIOT Act, saying it would help detect and prosecute terrorism and other crimes.[184] Civil liberties groups have criticized the PATRIOT Act, saying it allows law enforcement to invade the privacy of citizens and that it eliminates judicial oversight of law enforcement and domestic intelligence.[185][186][187] In an effort to effectively combat future acts of terrorism, the National Security Agency (NSA) was given broad powers. NSA commenced warrantless surveillance of telecommunications, which was sometimes criticized since it permitted the agency “to eavesdrop on telephone and e-mail communications between the United States and people overseas without a warrant”.[188] In response to requests by various intelligence agencies, the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court permitted an expansion of powers by the U.S. government in seeking, obtaining, and sharing information on U.S. citizens as well as non-U.S. people from around the world.[189]

Hate crimes

A fireman looks up at the remains of the South Tower

A fireman stands behind rubble

Shortly after the attacks, President Bush made a public appearance at Washington’s largest Islamic Center and acknowledged the “incredibly valuable contribution” that millions of American Muslims made to their country and called for them “to be treated with respect.”[190] However, numerous incidents of harassment and hate crimes against Muslims and South Asians were reported in the days following the attacks.[191][192][193] Sikhs were also targeted because Sikh males usually wear turbans, which are stereotypically associated with Muslims. There were reports of attacks on mosques and other religious buildings (including the firebombing of a Hindu temple), and assaults on people, including one murder: Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh mistaken for a Muslim, was fatally shot on September 15, 2001, in Mesa, Arizona.[193]

According to an academic study, people perceived to be Middle Eastern were as likely to be victims of hate crimes as followers of Islam during this time. The study also found a similar increase in hate crimes against people who may have been perceived as Muslims, Arabs, and others thought to be of Middle Eastern origin.[194] A report by the South Asian American advocacy group known as South Asian Americans Leading Together, documented media coverage of 645 bias incidents against Americans of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent between September 11 and 17. Various crimes such as vandalism, arson, assault, shootings, harassment, and threats in numerous places were documented.[195][196]

Muslim American response

Muslim organizations in the United States were swift to condemn the attacks and called “upon Muslim Americans to come forward with their skills and resources to help alleviate the sufferings of the affected people and their families”.[197] These organizations included the Islamic Society of North America, American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Council, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Circle of North America, and the Shari’a Scholars Association of North America. Along with monetary donations, many Islamic organizations launched blood drives and provided medical assistance, food, and shelter for victims.[198][199][200]

International reactions

The attacks were denounced by mass media and governments worldwide. Across the globe, nations offered pro-American support and solidarity.[201] Leaders in most Middle Eastern countries, and Afghanistan, condemned the attacks. Iraq was a notable exception, with an immediate official statement that, “the American cowboys are reaping the fruit of their crimes against humanity”.[202] While the government of Saudi Arabia officially condemned the attacks, privately many Saudis favored bin Laden’s cause.[203][204] As in the United States, the aftermath of the attacks saw tensions increase in other countries between Muslims and non-Muslims.[205]

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1368 condemned the attacks, and expressed readiness to take all necessary steps to respond and combat all forms of terrorism in accordance with their Charter.[206] Numerous countries introduced anti-terrorism legislation and froze bank accounts they suspected of al-Qaeda ties.[207][208] Law enforcement and intelligence agencies in a number of countries arrested alleged terrorists.[209][210]

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Britain stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the United States.[211] A few days later, Blair flew to Washington to affirm British solidarity with the United States. In a speech to Congress, nine days after the attacks, which Blair attended as a guest, President Bush declared “America has no truer friend than Great Britain.”[212] Subsequently, Prime Minister Blair embarked on two months of diplomacy to rally international support for military action; he held 54 meetings with world leaders and travelled more than 40,000 miles (60,000 km).[213]

Vladimir Putin and his wife attending a commemoration service for the victims of the September 11 attacks on November 16, 2001

Tens of thousands of people attempted to flee Afghanistan following the attacks, fearing a response by the United States. Pakistan, already home to many Afghan refugees from previous conflicts, closed its border with Afghanistan on September 17, 2001. Approximately one month after the attacks, the United States led a broad coalition of international forces to overthrow the Taliban regime from Afghanistan for their harboring of al-Qaeda.[214] Though Pakistani authorities were initially reluctant to align themselves with the United States against the Taliban, they permitted the coalition access to their military bases, and arrested and handed over to the U.S. over 600 suspected al-Qaeda members.[215][216]

The U.S. set up the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to hold inmates they defined as “illegal enemy combatants“. The legitimacy of these detentions has been questioned by the European Union and human rights organizations.[217][218][219]

Military operations

See also: War on Terror

At 2:40 p.m. in the afternoon of September 11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was issuing rapid orders to his aides to look for evidence of Iraqi involvement. According to notes taken by senior policy official Stephen Cambone, Rumsfeld asked for, “Best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H.” (Saddam Hussein) “at same time. Not only UBL” (Osama bin Laden).[220] Cambone’s notes quoted Rumsfeld as saying, “Need to move swiftly – Near term target needs – go massive – sweep it all up. Things related and not.”[221][222] In a meeting at Camp David on September 15 the Bush administration rejected the idea of attacking Iraq in response to 9/11.[223]

The NATO council declared the attacks on the United States were an attack on all NATO nations which satisfied Article 5 of the NATO charter. This marked the first invocation of Article 5, which had been written during the Cold War with an attack by the Soviet Union in mind.[224] Australian Prime Minister John Howard who was in Washington D.C. during the attacks invoked Article IV of the ANZUS treaty.[225] The Bush administration announced a War on Terror, with the stated goals of bringing bin Laden and al-Qaeda to justice and preventing the emergence of other terrorist networks.[226] These goals would be accomplished by imposing economic and military sanctions against states harboring terrorists, and increasing global surveillance and intelligence sharing.[227]

On September 14, 2001, the U.S. Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists. Still in effect, it grants the President the authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those whom he determined “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.[228]

On October 7, 2001, the War in Afghanistan began when U.S. and British forces initiated aerial bombing campaigns targeting Taliban and al-Qaeda camps, then later invaded Afghanistan with ground troops of the Special Forces.[229] This eventually led to the overthrow of the Taliban rule of Afghanistan on December 9, 2001 by U.S. led coalition forces.[230] Conflict in Afghanistan between the Taliban insurgency and the Afghan forces backed by NATO Resolute Support Mission is ongoing. The Philippines and Indonesia, among other nations with their own internal conflicts with Islamic terrorism, also increased their military readiness.[231][232]

Effects

Health issues

Survivors were covered in dust after the collapse of the towers.

Hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic debris containing more than 2,500 contaminants, including known carcinogens, were spread across Lower Manhattan due to the collapse of the Twin Towers.[233][234] Exposure to the toxins in the debris is alleged to have contributed to fatal or debilitating illnesses among people who were at ground zero.[235][236] The Bush administration ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue reassuring statements regarding air quality in the aftermath of the attacks, citing national security, but the EPA did not determine that air quality had returned to pre-September 11 levels until June 2002.[237]

Health effects extended to residents, students, and office workers of Lower Manhattan and nearby Chinatown.[238] Several deaths have been linked to the toxic dust, and the victims’ names were included in the World Trade Center memorial.[239] Approximately 18,000 people have been estimated to have developed illnesses as a result of the toxic dust.[240] There is also scientific speculation that exposure to various toxic products in the air may have negative effects on fetal development. A notable children’s environmental health center is currently analyzing the children whose mothers were pregnant during the WTC collapse, and were living or working nearby.[241] A study of rescue workers released in April 2010 found that all those studied had impaired lung functions, and that 30–40% were reporting little or no improvement in persistent symptoms that started within the first year of the attack.[242]

Years after the attacks, legal disputes over the costs of illnesses related to the attacks were still in the court system. On October 17, 2006, a federal judge rejected New York City’s refusal to pay for health costs for rescue workers, allowing for the possibility of numerous suits against the city.[243] Government officials have been faulted for urging the public to return to lower Manhattan in the weeks shortly after the attacks. Christine Todd Whitman, administrator of the EPA in the aftermath of the attacks, was heavily criticized by a U.S. District Judge for incorrectly saying that the area was environmentally safe.[244] Mayor Giuliani was criticized for urging financial industry personnel to return quickly to the greater Wall Street area.[245]

The United States Congress passed the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act on December 22, 2010, and President Barack Obama signed the act into law on January 2, 2011. It allocated $4.2 billion to create the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides testing and treatment for people suffering from long-term health problems related to the 9/11 attacks.[246][247] The WTC Health Program replaced preexisting 9/11-related health programs such as the Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and the WTC Environmental Health Center program.[247]

According to a new study, pregnant women living near the World Trade Center during the 9/11 terror attacks experienced higher-than-normal negative birth outcomes. The study by Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs found that these mothers were more likely to give birth prematurely and deliver babies with low birth weights. Their babies were also more likely to be admitted to neonatal intensive care units after birth (especially baby boys), according to the study led by the Wilson School’s Janet Currie and Hannes Schwandt.[248]

Economic

As shown in this table, the 9/11 attacks had a major effect on the economy of New York City (in red), compared to the United States’ economy overall (in blue).

The attacks had a significant economic impact on United States and world markets.[249] The stock exchanges did not open on September 11 and remained closed until September 17. Reopening, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell 684 points, or 7.1%, to 8921, a record-setting one-day point decline.[250] By the end of the week, the DJIA had fallen 1,369.7 points (14.3%), at the time its largest one-week point drop in history.[251] In 2001 dollars, U.S. stocks lost $1.4 trillion in valuation for the week.[251]

In New York City, about 430,000 job-months and $2.8 billion dollars in wages were lost in the three months after the attacks. The economic effects were mainly on the economy’s export sectors.[252] The city’s GDP was estimated to have declined by $27.3 billion for the last three months of 2001 and all of 2002. The U.S. government provided $11.2 billion in immediate assistance to the Government of New York City in September 2001, and $10.5 billion in early 2002 for economic development and infrastructure needs.[253] Also hurt were small businesses in Lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center, 18,000 of which were destroyed or displaced, resulting in lost jobs and their consequent wages. Assistance was provided by Small Business Administration loans, federal government Community Development Block Grants, and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.[253] Some 31,900,000 square feet (2,960,000 m2) of Lower Manhattan office space was damaged or destroyed.[254] Many wondered whether these jobs would return, and if the damaged tax base would recover.[255] Studies of the economic effects of 9/11 show the Manhattan office real-estate market and office employment were less affected than first feared, because of the financial services industry’s need for face-to-face interaction.[256][257]

North American air space was closed for several days after the attacks and air travel decreased upon its reopening, leading to a nearly 20% cutback in air travel capacity, and exacerbating financial problems in the struggling U.S. airline industry.[258]

The September 11 attacks also led to the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,[259] as well as additional homeland security spending, totaling at least $5 trillion.[260]

Cultural

The impact of 9/11 extends beyond geopolitics into society and culture in general. Immediate responses to 9/11 included greater focus on home life and time spent with family, higher church attendance, and increased expressions of patriotism such as the flying of flags.[261] The radio industry responded by removing certain songs from playlists, and the attacks have subsequently been used as background, narrative or thematic elements in film, television, music and literature. Already-running television shows as well as programs developed after 9/11 have reflected post-9/11 cultural concerns.[262] 9/11 conspiracy theories have become social phenomena, despite negligible support for such views from expert scientists, engineers, and historians.[263] 9/11 has also had a major impact on the religious faith of many individuals; for some it strengthened, to find consolation to cope with the loss of loved ones and overcome their grief; others started to question their faith or lost it entirely, because they couldn’t reconcile it with their view of religion.[264][265]

The culture of America succeeding the attacks is noted for heightened security and an increased demand thereof, as well as paranoia and anxiety regarding future terrorist attacks that includes most of the nation. Psychologists have also confirmed that there has been an increased amount of national anxiety in commercial air travel.[266]

Government policies toward terrorism

As a result of the attacks, many governments across the world passed legislation to combat terrorism.[267] In Germany, where several of the 9/11 terrorists had resided and taken advantage of that country’s liberal asylum policies, two major anti-terrorism packages were enacted. The first removed legal loopholes that permitted terrorists to live and raise money in Germany. The second addressed the effectiveness and communication of intelligence and law enforcement.[268] Canada passed the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act, that nation’s first anti-terrorism law.[269] The United Kingdom passed the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.[270][271] New Zealand enacted the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.[272]

In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security was created by the Homeland Security Act to coordinate domestic anti-terrorism efforts. The USA Patriot Act gave the federal government greater powers, including the authority to detain foreign terror suspects for a week without charge, to monitor telephone communications, e-mail, and Internet use by terror suspects, and to prosecute suspected terrorists without time restrictions. The FAA ordered that airplane cockpits be reinforced to prevent terrorists gaining control of planes, and assigned sky marshals to flights. Further, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act made the federal government, rather than airports, responsible for airport security. The law created the Transportation Security Administration to inspect passengers and luggage, causing long delays and concern over passenger privacy.[273]

Investigations

FBI

 A head shot of a man in his thirties looking expressionless toward the camera

Mohamed Atta, an Egyptian national, was the ringleader of the hijackers.

Immediately after the attacks, the Federal Bureau of Investigation started PENTTBOM, the largest criminal inquiry in the history of the United States. At its height, more than half of the FBI’s agents worked on the investigation and followed a half-million leads.[274] The FBI concluded that there was “clear and irrefutable” evidence linking al-Qaeda and bin Laden to the attacks.[275]

The FBI was quickly able to identify the hijackers, including leader Mohamed Atta, when his luggage was discovered at Boston’s Logan Airport. Atta had been forced to check two of his three bags due to space limitations on the 19-seat commuter flight he took to Boston.[276] Due to a new policy instituted to prevent flight delays, the luggage failed to make it aboard American Airlines Flight 11 as planned. The luggage contained the hijackers’ names, assignments and al-Qaeda connections. “It had all these Arab-language (sic) papers that amounted to the Rosetta stone of the investigation”, said one FBI agent.[277] Within hours of the attacks, the FBI released the names and in many cases the personal details of the suspected pilots and hijackers.[278][279] On September 27, 2001, they released photos of all 19 hijackers, along with information about possible nationalities and aliases.[280] Fifteen of the men were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt, and one from Lebanon.[281]

By midday, the U.S. National Security Agency and German intelligence agencies had intercepted communications pointing to Osama bin Laden.[282] Two of the hijackers were known to have travelled with a bin Laden associate to Malaysia in 2000[283] and hijacker Mohammed Atta had previously gone to Afghanistan.[284] He and others were part of a terrorist cell in Hamburg.[285] One of the members of the Hamburg cell was discovered to have been in communication with Khalid Sheik Mohammed who was identified as a member of al-Qaeda.[286]

Authorities in the United States and Britain also obtained electronic intercepts, including telephone conversations and electronic bank transfers, which indicate that Mohammed Atef, a bin Laden deputy, was a key figure in the planning of the 9/11 attacks. Intercepts were also obtained that revealed conversations that took place days before September 11 between bin Laden and an associate in Pakistan. In those conversations, the two referred to “an incident that would take place in America on, or around, September 11” and they discussed potential repercussions. In another conversation with an associate in Afghanistan, bin Laden discussed the “scale and effects of a forthcoming operation.” These conversations did not specifically mention the World Trade Center or Pentagon, or other specifics.[287]

Origins of the 19 hijackers
Nationality Number
Saudi Arabia

15

United Arab Emirates

2

Egypt

1

Lebanon

1

CIA

The Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) conducted an internal review of the agency’s pre-9/11 performance and was harshly critical of senior CIA officials for not doing everything possible to confront terrorism. He criticized their failure to stop two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, as they entered the United States and their failure to share information on the two men with the FBI.[288] In May 2007, senators from both major U.S. political parties drafted legislation to make the review public. One of the backers, Senator Ron Wyden said, “The American people have a right to know what the Central Intelligence Agency was doing in those critical months before 9/11.”[289]

Congressional inquiry

In February 2002 the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence formed a joint inquiry into the performance of the U.S. Intelligence Community.[290] Their 832 page report released in December 2002[291] detailed failings of the FBI and CIA to use available information, including about terrorists the CIA knew were in the United States, in order to disrupt the plots.[292] The joint inquiry developed its information about possible involvement of Saudi Arabian government officials from non-classified sources.[293] Nevertheless, the Bush administration demanded 28 related pages remain classified.[292] In December 2002 the inquiry’s chair Bob Graham (D-FL) revealed in an interview that there was “evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States.”[294] September 11th victim families were frustrated by the unanswered questions and redacted material from the Congressional inquiry and demanded an independent commission.[292] September 11th victim families,[295] members of congress[296][297] and the Saudi Arabian government are still seeking release of the documents.[298][299]

9/11 Commission

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission), chaired by Thomas Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, was formed in late 2002 to prepare a thorough account of the circumstances surrounding the attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks.[300] On July 22, 2004, the Commission issued the 9/11 Commission Report. The report detailed the events of 9/11, found the attacks were carried out by members of al-Qaeda, and examined how security and intelligence agencies were inadequately coordinated to prevent the attacks. Formed from an independent bipartisan group of mostly former Senators, Representatives, and Governors, the commissioners explained, “We believe the 9/11 attacks revealed four kinds of failures: in imagination, policy, capabilities, and management”.[301] The Commission made numerous recommendations on how to prevent future attacks, and in 2011 was dismayed that several of its recommendations had yet to be implemented.[302]

Collapse of the World Trade Center

The exterior support columns from the lower level of the south tower remained standing after the building collapsed.

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) investigated the collapses of the Twin Towers and 7 WTC. The investigations examined why the buildings collapsed and what fire protection measures were in place, and evaluated how fire protection systems might be improved in future construction.[303] The investigation into the collapse of 1 WTC and 2 WTC was concluded in October 2005 and that of 7 WTC was completed in August 2008.[304]

NIST found that the fireproofing on the Twin Towers’ steel infrastructures was blown off by the initial impact of the planes and that, had this not occurred, the towers likely would have remained standing.[305] A 2007 study of the north tower’s collapse published by researchers of Purdue University determined that, since the plane’s impact had stripped off much of the structure’s thermal insulation, the heat from a typical office fire would have softened and weakened the exposed girders and columns enough to initiate the collapse regardless of the number of columns cut or damaged by the impact.[306][307]

The director of the original investigation stated that, “the towers really did amazingly well. The terrorist aircraft didn’t bring the buildings down; it was the fire which followed. It was proven that you could take out two thirds of the columns in a tower and the building would still stand.”[308] The fires weakened the trusses supporting the floors, making the floors sag. The sagging floors pulled on the exterior steel columns causing the exterior columns to bow inward. With the damage to the core columns, the buckling exterior columns could no longer support the buildings, causing them to collapse. Additionally, the report found the towers’ stairwells were not adequately reinforced to provide adequate emergency escape for people above the impact zones.[309] NIST concluded that uncontrolled fires in 7 WTC caused floor beams and girders to heat and subsequently “caused a critical support column to fail, initiating a fire-induced progressive collapse that brought the building down”.[304]

Rebuilding

Rebuilt One World Trade Center nearing completion in July 2013

On the day of the attacks, New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani stated: “We will rebuild. We’re going to come out of this stronger than before, politically stronger, economically stronger. The skyline will be made whole again.”[310]

The damaged section of the Pentagon was rebuilt and occupied within a year of the attacks.[311] The temporary World Trade Center PATH station opened in late 2003 and construction of the new 7 World Trade Center was completed in 2006. Work on rebuilding the main World Trade Center site was delayed until late 2006 when leaseholder Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreed on financing.[312] The construction of One World Trade Center began on April 27, 2006, and reached its full height on May 20, 2013. The spire was installed atop the building at that date, putting 1 WTC’s height at 1,776 feet (541 m) and thus claiming the title of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.[313] 1 WTC finished construction and opened on November 3, 2014.[314]

On the World Trade Center site, three more office towers are expected to be built one block east of where the original towers stood. Construction has begun on all three of these towers.[315]

Memorials

The Tribute in Light on September 11, 2014, on the thirteenth anniversary of the attacks, seen from Bayonne, New Jersey. The tallest building in the picture is the new One World Trade Center.

In the days immediately following the attacks, many memorials and vigils were held around the world, and photographs of the dead and missing were posted around Ground Zero. A witness described being unable to “get away from faces of innocent victims who were killed. Their pictures are everywhere, on phone booths, street lights, walls of subway stations. Everything reminded me of a huge funeral, people quiet and sad, but also very nice. Before, New York gave me a cold feeling; now people were reaching out to help each other.”[316]

One of the first memorials was the Tribute in Light, an installation of 88 searchlights at the footprints of the World Trade Center towers.[317] In New York, the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition was held to design an appropriate memorial on the site.[318] The winning design, Reflecting Absence, was selected in August 2006, and consists of a pair of reflecting pools in the footprints of the towers, surrounded by a list of the victims’ names in an underground memorial space.[319]

The Pentagon Memorial was completed and opened to the public on the seventh anniversary of the attacks in 2008.[320][321] It consists of a landscaped park with 184 benches facing the Pentagon.[322] When the Pentagon was repaired in 2001–2002, a private chapel and indoor memorial were included, located at the spot where Flight 77 crashed into the building.[323]

In Shanksville, a permanent Flight 93 National Memorial is planned to include a sculpted grove of trees forming a circle around the crash site, bisected by the plane’s path, while wind chimes will bear the names of the victims.[324] A temporary memorial is located 500 yards (457 m) from the crash site.[325] New York City firefighters donated a cross made of steel from the World Trade Center and mounted on top of a platform shaped like the Pentagon.[326] It was installed outside the firehouse on August 25, 2008.[327] Many other permanent memorials are elsewhere. Scholarships and charities have been established by the victims’ families, and by many other organizations and private figures.[328]

On every anniversary, in New York City, the names of the victims who died there are read out against a background of somber music. The President of the United States attends a memorial service at the Pentagon,[329] and asks Americans to observe Patriot Day with a moment of silence. Smaller services are held in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which are usually attended by the President’s spouse.

Rudolf Höss – Life & Death of a Monster

Rudolf Höss

Image result for Rudolf Höss

Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Höss (also Höß, Hoeß or Hoess; 25 November 1901 – 16 April 1947)  was SSObersturmbannführer and the longest-serving commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp in World War II. He tested and carried into effect various methods to accelerate Hitler’s plan to systematically exterminate the Jewish population of Nazi-occupied Europe, known as the Final Solution.

Heydrich-Endlosung.jpg

In a February 26, 1942 letter to Martin Luther, Reinhard Heydrich follows up on the Wannsee Conference by asking Luther for administrative assistance in the implementation of the “Endlösung der Judenfrage” (Final Solution of the Jewish Question).

Image result for zyklon b

Höss introduced pesticide Zyklon B containing hydrogen cyanide to the killing process, thereby allowing soldiers at Auschwitz to murder 2,000 people every hour. He created the largest installation for the continuous annihilation of human beings ever known.

Höss joined the Nazi Party in 1922 and the SS in 1934. From 4 May 1940 to November 1943, and again from 8 May 1944 to 18 January 1945, he was in charge of Auschwitz where more than a million people were killed before the defeat of Germany.

He was hanged in 1947 following a trial in Warsaw.

Image result for rudolf höss execution

.

Rudolf Höss
SS-Sturmbannführer Rudolf Höß.jpg

Born (1901-11-25)25 November 1901
Baden-Baden, Germany
Died 16 April 1947(1947-04-16) (aged 45)
Oświęcim, Poland
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel
Years of service At Auschwitz until 1945
Rank SS-Obersturmbannführer Collar Rank.svg SS-Obersturmbannführer
Unit 3rd SS Division Logo.svg Totenkopfverbände
Commands held Commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp, 4 May 1940 – 1 December 1943, 8 May 1944 – 18 January 1945
Spouse(s) Hedwig Hensel (m. 1929)
Relations
  • Klaus Höss (son, 1930-1986)
  • Heideraud Höss (daughter, born 1932)
  • Inge-Brigit Höss (daughter, born 1933)
  • Hans-Jurgen Höss (son, born 1937)
  • Annagret Höss (daughter, born 1943

 

Life

Höss was born in Baden-Baden into a strict Catholic family. He lived with his mother Lina (née Speck) and father Franz Xaver Höss. Höss was the eldest of three children and the only son. He was baptised Rudolf Franz (or possibly Francis) Ferdinand on 11 December 1901. He was a lonely child with no playmates his own age until he entered elementary school; all of his companionship came from adults. He claimed in his autobiography that he was briefly abducted by Gypsies in his youth.

His father, a former army officer who served in German East Africa, ran a tea and coffee business; he brought his son up on strict religious principles and with military discipline, having decided that he would enter the priesthood. Höss grew up with an almost fanatical belief in the central role of duty in a moral life. During his early years, there was a constant emphasis on sin, guilt, and the need to do penance.

Höss began turning against religion in his early teens after an episode in which, he said, his priest broke the Seal of the Confessional by telling his father about an event at school that Höss had described during confession.  Soon afterward, Höss’s father died and Höss began moving toward a military life.

When World War One broke out, Höss served briefly in a military hospital and then, at age 14, was admitted to his father’s and grandfather’s old regiment, the German Army’s 21st Regiment of Dragoons. At age 15, he fought with the Ottoman Sixth Army at Baghdad, at Kut-el-Amara, and in Palestine. While stationed in Turkey, he rose to the rank of Feldwebel (sergeant) and at 17 he was the youngest non-commissioned officer in the army. Wounded three times and a victim of malaria, he was awarded the Gallipoli Star, the Iron Cross first and second class, and other decorations. Höss also briefly commanded a cavalry unit.

Nazi career

Image result for nazi flag

After Germany’s surrender in November 1918, Höss completed his secondary education and soon joined the emerging nationalist paramilitary groups, first, the East Prussian Volunteer Corps, and then the Freikorps Rossbach in the Baltic area, Silesia, and the Ruhr. Höss participated in the armed terror attacks on Polish people during the Silesian Uprisings against the Germans, and on the French nationals during the Occupation of the Ruhr. He joined the Nazi Party in 1922 (Member No. 3240) after hearing Adolf Hitler‘s speech in Munich. Höss played a leading role in at least one political assassination for which he spent six years in jail.

On 31 May 1923, in Mecklenburg, Höss and members of the Freikorps attacked and beat to death local schoolteacher Walther Kadow on the wishes of the farm supervisor, Martin Bormann, who later became Hitler’s private secretary.  Kadow was believed to have tipped off the French occupational authorities that Höss’ fellow Nazi, paramilitary soldier Albert Leo Schlageter, was carrying out sabotage operations against French supply lines. Schlageter was arrested and executed on 26 May 1923; soon afterwards Höss and several accomplices, including Bormann, took their revenge on Kadow.

In 1923, after one of the killers confessed to a local newspaper, Höss was arrested and tried as the ring leader. Although he later claimed that another man was actually in charge, Höss accepted the blame as the group’s leader. He was convicted and sentenced (on 15  or 17 May 1924 ) to 10 years in Brandenburg Penitentiary for the crime. Bormann received a one-year sentence.

Höss was released in July 1928 as part of a general amnesty and joined the völkisch Artamanen-Gesellschaft (“Artaman League“), a nationalist back-to-the-land movement that promoted clean living and a farm-based lifestyle. On 17 August 1929, he married Hedwig Hensel (3 March 1908 – 1989), whom he met in the Artaman League. Between 1930 and 1943 they had five children: two sons (Klaus and Hans-Rudolf) and three daughters (Ingebrigitt, Heidetraut, and Annegret).

Joining the SS

SS-Totenkopfverbände
SS Totenkopf.jpg

Officers cap badge of the SS-Totenkopf (Death’s head), second version used from 1934 to 1945

Höss became an SS man on 1 April 1934, on Himmler’s effective call-to-action,[15] and joined the SS-Totenkopfverbände (Death’s Head Units) in the same year. He came to admire Himmler so much that he considered whatever he said to be the “gospel” and preferred to display his picture in his office rather than that of Hitler. Höss was assigned to the Dachau concentration camp in December 1934, where he held the post of Blockführer. His mentor at Dachau was Obergruppenführer Theodor Eicke.

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1974-160-13A, Theodor Eicke.jpg

Theodor Eicke

In 1938, Höss was promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) and was made adjutant to Hermann Baranowski in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He joined the Waffen-SS wing of the SS in 1939 after the invasion of Poland. Höss excelled in his duties and was recommended by his superiors for further responsibility and promotion. By the end of his tour of duty there, he was serving as administrator of the property of prisoners.

Auschwitz command

Appointment order of Rudolf Höss as Commander of Auschwitz Concentration Camp

 

Further information: Auschwitz concentration camp
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On 1 May 1940, Höss was appointed commandant of a prison camp in western Poland, a territory Germany had incorporated into the province of Upper Silesia. The camp was built around an old Austro-Hungarian (and later Polish) army barracks near the town of Oświęcim; its German name was Auschwitz.

Höss commanded the camp for three and a half years, during which he expanded the original facility into a sprawling complex known as Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Höss had been ordered “to create a transition camp for ten thousand prisoners from the existing complex of well-preserved buildings.” and he went to Auschwitz determined “to do things differently” and develop a more efficient camp than those at Dachau and Sachsenhausen where he had previously served.

Höss lived at Auschwitz in a villa with his wife and five children.

The earliest inmates at Auschwitz were Soviet prisoners-of-war and Polish prisoners, including peasants and intellectuals. Some 700 arrived in June 1940 and were told they would not survive more than 3 months.

At its peak, Auschwitz was three separate facilities: Auschwitz I; Auschwitz II-Birkenau; and Auschwitz III-Monowitz, including many satellite sub-camps, and was built on about 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) that had been cleared of all inhabitants.

Auschwitz I was the administrative centre for the complex; Auschwitz II Birkenau was the extermination camp, where most of the killing took place; and Auschwitz III Monowitz the slave labour camp for I.G. Farbenindustrie AG, and later other German industries .

The ramp at Birkenau. Chimneys of Crematoria II and III at the horizon

In June 1941, according to Höss’s trial testimony, he was summoned to Berlin for a meeting with Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler “to receive personal orders”.

Himmler told Höss that Hitler had given the order for the final solution of the Jewish question. According to Höss, Himmler had selected Auschwitz for the extermination of Europe’s Jews, “on account of its easy access by rail and also because the extensive site offered space for measures ensuring isolation”.

Himmler described the project as a “secret Reich matter” and told Höss not to speak about it with SS-Gruppenführer Richard Glücks, head of the Nazi camp system run by the SS-Totenkopfverbände.  Höss said that “no one was allowed to speak about these matters with any person and that everyone promised upon his life to keep the utmost secrecy”. He only told his wife about the camp’s purpose at the end of 1942 since she already knew about it from Fritz Bracht. Himmler told Höss that he would be receiving all operational orders from Adolf Eichmann who arrived at the camp 4 weeks later.

Höss began testing and perfecting mass killing techniques on 3 September 1941.His experiments made Auschwitz the most efficiently murderous instrument of the Final Solution and the Holocaust‘s most potent symbol.  According to Höss, during standard camp operations, two to three trains carrying 2,000 prisoners each would arrive daily for periods of four to six weeks. The prisoners were unloaded in the Birkenau camp; those fit for labour were marched to barracks in either Birkenau or one of the Auschwitz camps, while those unsuitable for work were driven into the gas chambers.

At first, small gassing bunkers were located deep in the woods, to avoid detection. Later, four large gas chambers and crematoria were constructed in Birkenau to make the killing more efficient and to handle the increasing rate of exterminations.

Technically [it] wasn’t so hard—it would not have been hard to exterminate even greater numbers…. The killing itself took the least time. You could dispose of 2,000 head in half an hour, but it was the burning that took all the time. The killing was easy; you didn’t even need guards to drive them into the chambers; they just went in expecting to take showers and, instead of water, we turned on poison gas. The whole thing went very quickly.

Höss experimented with various gassing methods. According to Eichmann’s 1961 trial testimony, Höss told him that he used cotton filters soaked in sulfuric acid in early killings. Höss later introduced hydrogen cyanide (prussic acid), produced from the pesticide Zyklon B, to the killing process, after his deputy Karl Fritzsch tested it on a group of Russian prisoners in 1941.

With Zyklon B, he said that it took 3–15 minutes for the victims to die and that “we knew when the people were dead because they stopped screaming”.

After Auschwitz

After being replaced as the Auschwitz commander by Arthur Liebehenschel, on 10 November 1943, Höss assumed Liebehenschel’s former position as the chairman of Amt D I in Amtsgruppe D of the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt (WVHA); he also was appointed deputy of the inspector of the concentration camps under Richard Glücks.

On 8 May 1944, Höss returned to Auschwitz to supervise operation Aktion Höss, in which 430,000 Hungarian Jews were transported to the camp and killed in 56 day  between May and July. Even Höss’s expanded facility could not handle the huge number of victims’ corpses, and the camp staff had to dispose of thousands of bodies by burning them in open pits.

Capture, trial, and execution

 

Rudolf Höss at the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland, 1947

In the last days of the war, Himmler advised Höss to disguise himself among German Navy personnel. He evaded arrest for nearly a year. When captured by British troops on 11 March 1946 in Gottrupel, he was disguised as a gardener and called himself Franz Lang.

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 His wife, who feared that her son, Klaus, would be shipped off to the Soviet Union to be imprisoned or tortured, had told the British where he was. The British force that captured Höss was led by Hanns Alexander, a young Jewish man from Berlin who was forced to flee to England with his entire family during the rise of Nazi Germany.

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Höss initially denied his identity until Alexander noticed his wedding ring and demanded to inspect it. Höss refused to remove it, claiming it was stuck. But when Alexander threatened to cut his finger off, Höss removed the ring. It had the names Rudolf and Hedwig inscribed inside. After being questioned and beaten with axe handles by the soldiers, Höss confessed his real identity.

Rudolf Höss appeared at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg on 15 April 1946 where he gave a detailed testimony of his crimes. He was called as a defense witness by Ernst Kaltenbrunner‘s lawyer, Dr. Kauffman.

The transcript of Höss’ testimony was later entered as evidence during the 4th Nuremberg Military Tribunal known as the Pohl Trial named for principal defendant SS-Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl. Affidavits that Rudolf Höss made while imprisoned in Nuremberg were also used at the Pohl and IG Farben trials.

In his affidavit made at Nuremberg on 5 April 1946 Höss stated:

I commanded Auschwitz until 1 December 1943, and estimate that at least 2,500,000 victims were executed and exterminated there by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed to starvation and disease, making a total of about 3,000,000 dead. This figure represents about 70% or 80% of all persons sent to Auschwitz as prisoners, the remainder having been selected and used for slave labor in the concentration camp industries.

Included among the executed and burnt were approximately 20,000 Russian prisoners of war (previously screened out of Prisoner of War cages by the Gestapo) who were delivered at Auschwitz in Wehrmacht transports operated by regular Wehrmacht officers and men. The remainder of the total number of victims included about 100,000 German Jews, and great numbers of citizens (mostly Jewish) from Holland, France, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Greece, or other countries. We executed about 400,000 Hungarian Jews alone at Auschwitz in the summer of 1944.

On 25 May 1946, he was handed over to Polish authorities and the Supreme National Tribunal in Poland tried him for murder. His trial lasted from 11 to 29 March 1947. During his trial, when accused of murdering three and a half million people, Höss replied, “No. Only two and one half million—the rest died from disease and starvation.”

Höss was sentenced to death by hanging on 2 April 1947. The sentence was carried out on 16 April next to the crematorium of the former Auschwitz I concentration camp. He was hanged on a short drop gallows constructed specifically for that purpose, at the location of the camp’s Gestapo. The message on the board that marks the site reads:

This is where the camp Gestapo was located. Prisoners suspected of involvement in the camp’s underground resistance movement or of preparing to escape were interrogated here. Many prisoners died as a result of being beaten or tortured. The first commandant of Auschwitz, SS-Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Höss, who was tried and sentenced to death after the war by the Polish Supreme National Tribunal, was hanged here on 16 April 1947.

Höss wrote his autobiography while awaiting execution; it was published in 1956 as Kommandant in Auschwitz; autobiographische Aufzeichnungen  and later as Death Dealer: the Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz (among other editions).

Höss on the gallows, immediately before his execution

The location where Höss was hanged, with plaque

After discussions with Höss during the Nuremberg trials at which he testified, the American military psychologist Gustave Gilbert wrote the following:

In all of the discussions, Höss is quite matter-of-fact and apathetic, shows some belated interest in the enormity of his crime, but gives the impression that it never would have occurred to him if somebody hadn’t asked him. There is too much apathy to leave any suggestion of remorse and even the prospect of hanging does not unduly stress him. One gets the general impression of a man who is intellectually normal, but with the schizoid apathy, insensitivity and lack of empathy that could hardly be more extreme in a frank psychotic.

Four days before he was executed, Höss acknowledged the enormity of his crimes in a message to the state prosecutor:

My conscience compels me to make the following declaration. In the solitude of my prison cell I have come to the bitter recognition that I have sinned gravely against humanity. As Commandant of Auschwitz I was responsible for carrying out part of the cruel plans of the ‘Third Reich’ for human destruction. In so doing I have inflicted terrible wounds on humanity. I caused unspeakable suffering for the Polish people in particular. I am to pay for this with my life. May the Lord God forgive one day what I have done.

Shortly before his execution Höss returned to the Catholic Church. On 10 April 1947, he received the sacrament of penance from Fr. Władysław Lohn, S.J., provincial of the Polish Province of the Society of Jesus. On the next day the same priest administered to him Holy Communion as Viaticum

Handwritten confession

The original affidavit, signed by Rudolf Höss, is displayed in a glass case in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. The photo displayed with the affidavit shows Hungarian Jewish women and children walking to one of the four gas chambers in the Birkenau death camp on 26 May 1944, carrying their hand baggage in sacks.

Dates of rank and awards

Höss’s SS-ranks
Date Rank
20 September 1933 SS-Anwärter (candidate)
1 April 1934 SS-Mann (Private)
20 April 1934 SS-Sturmmann (Lance corporal)
28 November 1934 SS-Unterscharführer (Corporal)
1 April 1935 SS-Scharführer (Sergeant)
1 July 1935 SS-Oberscharführer (Staff Sergeant)
1 March 1936 SS-Hauptscharführer (First Sergeant)
13 September 1937 SS-Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant)
11 September 1938 SS-Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant)
9 November 1938 SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain)
30 January 1941 SS-Sturmbannführer (Major)
18 July 1942 SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant colonel)
Awards and decorations

holocaust

See The Holocaust

Battle of Bosworth 21 August 1485

Battle of Bosworth Field

Tomorrow marks the five hundred and thirty first anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth and the end of the  War of The Rose’s and for me and many a fascinating period of British/French history.  At the end of day  King Richard III lay dead ,  Plantagenet rule came to a bloody, brutal  end and the rise of the “sexy” Tudors has began.

As a lover of all things history , especially British/Irish/Roman I have always been fascinated by the key players in the ruthless War of the Rose’s and the sheer brutality of the murder’s they perpetuated  and casual deceit they used to forward their quest for the crown of England/Wales. Going against the grain of popular opinion I have always had a soft spot for Richard, regardless of the various murders he has been associated with , not least of all the Prince’s in the Tower. He only ruled for a short term and yet he will go down in history as a giant of British Royalty  and the last Battle King of England

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The Battle of Bosworth Field (or Battle of Bosworth) was the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century. Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians.

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Their leader Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, by his victory became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty. His opponent, Richard III, the last king of the House of York, was killed in the battle. Historians consider Bosworth Field to mark the end of the Plantagenet dynasty, making it a defining moment of English and Welsh history.

Richard’s reign began in 1483. At the request of his brother Edward IV, Richard was acting as Lord Protector for his son Edward V. Richard had Parliament declare Edward V illegitimate and ineligible for the throne, and Richard took it for himself. Richard lost popularity when the boy and his younger brother disappeared after Richard incarcerated them in the Tower of London, and Richard’s support was further eroded by the popular belief that he was implicated in the death of his wife. Across the English Channel in Brittany, Henry Tudor, a descendant of the greatly diminished House of Lancaster, seized on Richard’s difficulties so that he could challenge Richard’s claim to the throne.

Henry’s first attempt to invade England was frustrated by a storm in 1483, but at his second attempt he arrived unopposed on 7 August 1485 on the southwest coast of Wales. Marching inland, Henry gathered support as he made for London. Richard mustered his troops and intercepted Henry’s army south of Market Bosworth in Leicestershire. Thomas, Lord Stanley, and Sir William Stanley brought a force to the battlefield, but held back while they decided which side it would be more advantageous to support.

Richard divided his army, which outnumbered Henry’s, into three groups (or “battles”). One was assigned to the Duke of Norfolk and another to the Earl of Northumberland. Henry kept most of his force together and placed it under the command of the experienced Earl of Oxford. Richard’s vanguard, commanded by Norfolk, attacked but struggled against Oxford’s men, and some of Norfolk’s troops fled the field. Northumberland took no action when signalled to assist his king, so Richard gambled everything on a charge across the battlefield to kill Henry and end the fight. Seeing the king’s knights separated from his army, the Stanleys intervened; Sir William led his men to Henry’s aid, surrounding and killing Richard. After the battle, Henry was crowned king below an oak tree in nearby Stoke Golding, now a residential garden.

Henry hired chroniclers to portray his reign favourably; the Battle of Bosworth was popularised to represent the Tudor dynasty as the start of a new age. From the 15th to 18th centuries the battle was glamorised as a victory of good over evil. The climax of William Shakespeare‘s play Richard III provides a focal point for critics in later film adaptations. The exact site of the battle is disputed because of the lack of conclusive data, and memorials have been erected at different locations.

In 1974, the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre was built on a site that has since been challenged by several scholars and historians. In October 2009, a team of researchers, who had performed geological surveys and archaeological digs in the area from 2003, suggested a location two miles (3.2 km) southwest of Ambion Hill.

 

Background

Further information: Wars of the Roses and Princes in the Tower
Map of England showing the locations of towns and battles. Bosworth is in the centre, northwest of London.

During the 15th century, civil war raged across England as the Houses of York and Lancaster fought each other for the English throne. In 1471, the Yorkists defeated their rivals in the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury. The Lancastrian King Henry VI and his only son, Edward of Lancaster, died in the aftermath of the Battle of Tewkesbury. Their deaths left the House of Lancaster with no direct claimants to the throne. The Yorkist king, Edward IV, was in complete control of England.

He attainted those who refused to submit to his rule, such as Jasper Tudor and his nephew Henry, naming them traitors and confiscating their lands. The Tudors tried to flee to France but strong winds forced them to land in Brittany, then a semi-independent duchy, where they were taken into the custody of Duke Francis II.

Henry’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, uncle of King Richard II and father of King Henry IV. The Beauforts were originally bastards, but Henry IV legitimised them on the condition that their descendants were not eligible to inherit the throne. Henry Tudor, the only remaining Lancastrian noble with a trace of the royal bloodline, had a weak claim to the throne, and Edward regarded him as “a nobody”.

The Duke of Brittany, however, viewed Henry as a valuable tool to bargain for England’s aid in conflicts with France and kept the Tudors under his protection.

Edward IV died twelve years after Tewkesbury on 9 April 1483.

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His twelve-year-old elder son succeeded him as King Edward V; the younger son, nine-year-old Richard of Shrewsbury, was next in line to the throne. Edward V was too young to rule and a Royal Council was established to rule the country until the king’s coming of age. The royal court was worried when they learned that the Woodvilles, relatives of Edward IV’s widow Elizabeth, were plotting to seize control of the council.

Having offended many in their quest for wealth and power, the Woodville family was not popular. To frustrate the Woodvilles’ ambitions, Lord Hastings and other members of the council turned to the new king’s uncle—Richard, Duke of Gloucester, brother of Edward IV. The courtiers urged Gloucester to assume the role of Protector quickly, as had been previously requested by his now dead brother.

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Arms of Earl Rivers

On 29 April, Gloucester, accompanied by a contingent of guards and Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, took Edward V into custody and arrested several prominent members of the Woodville family. After bringing the young king to London, Gloucester had two of the Woodvilles (Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers and Richard Grey) executed, without trial, on charges of treason.

On 13 June, Gloucester accused Hastings of plotting with the Woodvilles and had him beheaded. Nine days later, Gloucester convinced Parliament to declare the marriage between Edward IV and Elizabeth illegal, rendering their children illegitimate and disqualifying them from the throne. With his brother’s children out of the way, he was next in the line of succession and was proclaimed King Richard III on 26 June.

The timing and extrajudicial nature of the deeds done to obtain the throne for Richard won him no popularity, and rumours that spoke ill of the new king spread throughout England. After they were declared bastards, the two princes were confined in the Tower of London and never seen in public again.

Discontent with Richard’s actions manifested itself in the summer after he took control of the country, as a conspiracy emerged to displace him from the throne. The rebels were mostly loyalists to Edward IV, who saw Richard as a usurper. Their plans were co-ordinated by a Lancastrian, Henry’s mother Lady Margaret, who was promoting her son as a candidate for the throne. The highest-ranking conspirator was Buckingham. No chronicles tell of the duke’s motive in joining the plot, although historian Charles Ross proposes that Buckingham was trying to distance himself from a king who was becoming increasingly unpopular with the people.

Michael Jones and Malcolm Underwood suggest that Margaret deceived Buckingham into thinking the rebels supported him to be king.

A blond woman with rosy cheeks holds a white rose. She wears a gilded black shawl over her head, and a red robe trimmed in white spotted fur.

Elizabeth of York: rumours of her marriage launched Henry’s invasion.

The plan was to stage uprisings within a short time in southern and western England, overwhelming Richard’s forces. Buckingham would support the rebels by invading from Wales, while Henry came in by sea. Bad timing and weather wrecked the plot. An uprising in Kent started 10 days prematurely, alerting Richard to muster the royal army and take steps to put down the insurrections. Richard’s spies informed him of Buckingham’s activities, and the king’s men captured and destroyed the bridges across the River Severn. When Buckingham and his army reached the river, they found it swollen and impossible to cross because of a violent storm that broke on 15 October.

Buckingham was trapped and had no safe place to retreat; his Welsh enemies seized his home castle after he had set forth with his army. The duke abandoned his plans and fled to Wem, where he was betrayed by his servant and arrested by Richard’s men. On 2 November 1483, he was executed.

Henry had attempted a landing on 10 October (or 19 October), but his fleet was scattered by a storm. He reached the coast of England (at either Plymouth or Poole), and a group of soldiers hailed him to come ashore. They were, in truth, Richard’s men, prepared to capture Henry once he set foot on English soil. Henry was not deceived and returned to Brittany, abandoning the invasion. Without Buckingham or Henry, the rebellion was easily crushed by Richard.

The survivors of the failed uprisings fled to Brittany, where they openly supported Henry’s claim to the throne. At Christmas, Henry Tudor swore an oath to marry Edward IV’s daughter, Elizabeth of York, to unite the warring houses of York and Lancaster.

Henry’s rising prominence made him a great threat to Richard, and the Yorkist king made several overtures to the Duke of Brittany to surrender the young Lancastrian. Francis refused, holding out for the possibility of better terms from Richard.  In mid-1484, Francis was incapacitated by illness and while recuperating, his treasurer, Pierre Landais, took over the reins of government. Landais reached an agreement with Richard to send back Henry and his uncle in exchange for military and financial aid. John Morton, a bishop of Flanders, learned of the scheme and warned the Tudors, who fled to France.

The French court allowed them to stay; the Tudors were useful pawns to ensure that Richard’s England did not interfere with French plans to annexe Brittany.

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Anne Neville

On 16 March 1485, Richard’s queen, Anne Neville, died  and rumours spread across the country that she was murdered to pave the way for Richard to marry his niece, Elizabeth. The gossip alienated Richard from some of his northern supporters,  and upset Henry across the English Channel. The loss of Elizabeth’s hand in marriage could unravel the alliance between Henry’s supporters who were Lancastrians and those who were loyalists to Edward IV.

Anxious to secure his bride, Henry assembled approximately 2,000 men and set sail from France on 1 August.

Factions

Two men in armour stand opposite each other. They wear crowns and hold swords in their hands. Above the man on the left is a flag of a white boar and a white rose. Above  the man on the right is a flag of a red dragon and a red rose. Above and between the two roses is a white rose superimposed on a red rose.

A stained-glass window in St. James Church, Sutton Cheney, commemorates the Battle of Bosworth and the leaders of the combatants, Richard III (left) and Henry VII (right).

By the 15th century, English chivalric ideas of selfless service to the king had been corrupted.

Armed forces were mostly raised through musters in individual estates; every able-bodied man had to respond to his lord’s call to arms, and each noble had exclusive authority over his militia. Although a king could raise personal militia from his lands, he could only muster a significantly large army through the support of his nobles. Richard, like his predecessors, had to win over these men by granting gifts and maintaining cordial relationships. Powerful nobles could demand greater incentives to remain on the liege’s side or else they might turn against him.

Three groups, each with its own agenda, stood on Bosworth Field: Richard III and his Yorkist army; his challenger, Henry Tudor, who championed the Lancastrian cause; and the fence-sitting Stanleys.

Yorkis

Small and slender, Richard III did not have the robust physique associated with many of his Plantagenet predecessors. However, he enjoyed very rough sports and activities that were considered manly. His performances on the battlefield impressed his brother greatly, and he became Edward’s right-hand man.

During the 1480s, Richard defended the northern borders of England. In 1482, Edward charged him to lead an army into Scotland with the aim of replacing King James III with the Duke of Albany. Richard’s army broke through the Scottish defences and occupied the capital, Edinburgh, but Albany decided to give up his claim to the throne in return for the post of Lieutenant General of Scotland. As well as obtaining a guarantee that the Scottish government would concede territories and diplomatic benefits to the English crown, Richard’s campaign retook the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, which the Scots had conquered in 1460.

Edward was not satisfied by these gains, which, according to Ross, could have been greater if Richard had been resolute enough to capitalise on the situation while in control of Edinburgh. In her analysis of Richard’s character, Christine Carpenter sees him as a soldier who was more used to taking orders than giving them. However, he was not averse to displaying his militaristic streak; on ascending the throne he made known his desire to lead a crusade against “not only the Turks, but all [his] foes”.

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Duke of Norfolk

Richard’s most loyal subject was John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk.  The duke had served Richard’s brother for many years and had been one of Edward IV’s closer confidants. He was a military veteran, having fought in the Battle of Towton in 1461 and served as Hastings’ deputy at Calais in 1471.

Ross speculates that he may have borne a grudge against Edward for depriving him of a fortune. Norfolk was due to inherit a share of the wealthy Mowbray estate on the death of eight-year-old Anne de Mowbray, the last of her family. However, Edward convinced Parliament to circumvent the law of inheritance and transfer the estate to his younger son, who was married to Anne. Consequently, Howard supported Richard III in deposing Edward’s sons, for which he received the dukedom of Norfolk and his original share of the Mowbray estate.

Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland, also supported Richard’s seizure of the throne of England. The Percys were loyal Lancastrians, but Edward IV eventually won the earl’s allegiance. Northumberland had been captured and imprisoned by the Yorkists in 1461, losing his titles and estates; however, Edward released him eight years later and restored his earldom.

From that time, Northumberland served the Yorkist crown, helping to defend northern England and maintain its peace.  Initially the earl had issues with Richard III as Edward groomed his brother to be the leading power of the north. Northumberland was mollified when he was promised he would be the Warden of the East March, a position that was formerly hereditary for the Percys.

He served under Richard during the 1482 invasion of Scotland, and the allure of being in a position to dominate the north of England if Richard went south to assume the crown was his likely motivation for supporting Richard’s bid for kingship. However, after becoming king, Richard began moulding his nephew, John de la Pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln, to manage the north, passing over Northumberland for the position. According to Carpenter, although the earl was amply compensated, he despaired of any possibility of advancement under Richard.

Lancastrian

Henry Tudor was unfamiliar with the arts of war and a stranger to the land he was trying to conquer. He spent the first fourteen years of his life in Wales and the next fourteen in Brittany and France.  Slender but strong and decisive, Henry lacked a penchant for battle and was not much of a warrior; chroniclers such as Polydore Vergil and ambassadors like Pedro de Ayala found him more interested in commerce and finance.  Having not fought in any battles ] Henry recruited several experienced veterans on whom he could rely for military advice and the command of his armies.

 

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John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, was Henry’s principal military commander. He was adept in the arts of war. At the Battle of Barnet, he commanded the Lancastrian right wing and routed the division opposing him. However, as a result of confusion over identities, Oxford’s group came under friendly fire from the Lancastrian main force and retreated from the field. The earl fled abroad and continued his fight against the Yorkists, raiding shipping and eventually capturing the island fort of St Michael’s Mount in 1473. He surrendered after receiving no aid or reinforcement, but in 1484 escaped from prison and joined Henry’s court in France, bringing along his erstwhile gaoler Sir James Blount. Oxford’s presence raised morale in Henry’s camp and troubled Richard III.

Stanleys

In the early stages of the Wars of the Roses, the Stanleys of Cheshire had been predominantly Lancastrians.  Sir William Stanley, however, was a staunch Yorkist supporter, fighting in the Battle of Blore Heath in 1459 and helping Hastings to put down uprisings against Edward IV in 1471.  When Richard took the crown, Sir William showed no inclination to turn against the new king, refraining from joining Buckingham’s rebellion, for which he was amply rewarded. Sir William’s elder brother, Thomas Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley, was not as steadfast. By 1485, he had served three kings, namely Henry VI, Edward IV, and Richard III. Lord Stanley’s skilled political manoeuvrings—vacillating between opposing sides until it was clear who would be the winner—gained him high positions;  he was Henry’s chamberlain and Edward’s steward.

His non-committal stance, until the crucial point of a battle, earned him the loyalty of his men, who felt he would not needlessly send them to their deaths.

Even though Lord Stanley had served as Edward IV’s steward, his relations with the king’s brother, the eventual Richard III, were not cordial. The two had conflicts that erupted into violence around March 1470.  Furthermore, having taken Lady Margaret as his second wife in June 1472, Stanley was Henry Tudor’s stepfather, a relationship which did nothing to win him Richard’s favour. Despite these differences, Stanley did not join Buckingham’s revolt in 1483. When Richard executed those conspirators who had been unable to flee England,  he spared Lady Margaret. However, he declared her titles forfeit and transferred her estates to Stanley’s name, to be held in trust for the Yorkist crown.

Richard’s act of mercy was calculated to reconcile him with Stanley, but it may have been to no avail—Carpenter has identified a further cause of friction in Richard’s intention to reopen an old land dispute that involved Thomas Stanley and the Harrington family. Edward IV had ruled the case in favour of Stanley in 1473, but Richard planned to overturn his brother’s ruling and give the wealthy estate to the Harringtons. Immediately before the Battle of Bosworth, being wary of Stanley, Richard took his son, Lord Strange, as hostage to discourage him from joining Henry.

Crossing the Channel and through Wales

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The attacking force consisted of around 500 exiled Welsh and Englishmen. The history of one “John Major” (published in 1521) said Charles VIII of France had granted Henry 5,000 men of whom 1,000 were Scots, headed by Sir Alexander Bruce. No mention of Scottish soldiers was made by subsequent English historians.  After the battle, Bruce was given an annuity of £20 by Henry for his “faithful services”.

How many Frenchmen actually sailed is unknown, but the historian Chris Skidmore estimates over half of Henry’s armed fleet. The Crowland Chronicler also recorded that Henry’s troops were “as much French as English”. Many of these French mercenaries were from the garrison of Phillipe de Crevecoeur, Lord of Esquerdes. Commynes recorded that these included:

“some 3,000 of the most unruly men in Normandy”.

This is partly the reason why they were taken up the coast of Wales, under Henry’s stern command, keeping them well apart from the Welsh soldiers under Rhys’ command.

Henry’s crossing of the English Channel in 1485 was without incident. Thirty ships sailed from Harfleur on 1 August and, with fair winds behind them, landed in his native Wales, at Mill Bay (near Dale) on the north side of Milford Haven on 7 August, easily capturing nearby Dale Castle. His long awaited arrival had been hailed by contemporary Welsh bards such as Dafydd Ddu and Gruffydd ap Dafydd as the true prince and “the youth of Brittany defeating the Saxons” in order to bring their country back to glory.

Mill Bay had been chosen as it was completely hidden from view and there was no resistance by the cohort of Richard’s men stationed at Dale where Henry and his men spent the first night.

In the morning they marched to Haverfordwest, the county town of Pembrokeshire, 12 miles away and were received “with the utmost goodwill of all”. Here, the Welshman Arnold Butler (who had met Henry in Brittany) announced that “the whole of Pembrokeshire was prepared to serve him”. Butler’s closest friend was Rhys ap Thomas. That afternoon, Henry and his troops headed north towards Cardigan and pitched camp “at the fifth milestone towards Cardigan” where they were joined by Gruffydd Rede with a band of soldiers and John Morgan of Tredegar. The following day, 9 August, they passed through Bwlch-y-gwynt and over the Preseli mountains and to Fagwyr Llwyd south of Cilgwyn.

Richard’s lieutenant in South Wales, Sir Walter Herbert, failed to move against Henry, and two of his officers, Richard Griffith and Evan Morgan, deserted to Henry with their men.

However, the most important defector to Henry in this early stage of the campaign was probably Rhys ap Thomas, who was the leading figure in West Wales. Richard had appointed Rhys Lieutenant in West Wales for his refusal to join Buckingham’s rebellion, asking that he surrender his son Gruffydd ap Rhys ap Thomas as surety, although by some accounts Rhys had managed to evade this condition. However, Henry successfully courted Rhys, offering the lieutenancy of all Wales in exchange for his fealty.

Henry marched via Aberystwyth while Rhys followed a more southerly route, recruiting 2,000 Welshmen en route to swell Henry’s army when they reunited at Cefn Digoll, Welshpool,  thus ensuring that the majority of Henry’s army in the ensuing battle would be Welsh. By 15 or 16 August, Henry and his men had crossed the English border, making for the town of Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury: the gateway to England

 

March through Wales, to Bosworth Field.

Since 22 June 1485 Richard had been aware of Henry’s impending invasion, and had ordered his lords to maintain a high level of readiness. News of Henry’s landing reached Richard on 11 August, but it took three to four days for his messengers to notify his lords of their king’s mobilisation. On 16 August, the Yorkist army started to gather; Norfolk set off for Leicester, the assembly point, that night. The city of York, a traditional stronghold of Richard’s family, asked the king for instructions, and receiving a reply three days later sent 80 men to join the king. Simultaneously Northumberland, whose northern territory was the most distant from the capital, had gathered his men and ridden to Leicester.

Although London was his goal, Henry did not move directly towards the city. After resting in Shrewsbury, his forces went eastwards and picked up Sir Gilbert Talbot and other English allies, including deserters from Richard’s forces. Although its size had increased substantially since the landing, Henry’s army was not yet large enough to contend with the numbers Richard could muster.

Henry’s pace through Staffordshire was slow, delaying the confrontation with Richard so that he could gather more recruits to his cause. Henry had been communicating on friendly terms with the Stanleys for some time before setting foot in England,  and the Stanleys had mobilised their forces on hearing of Henry’s landing. They ranged themselves ahead of Henry’s march through the English countryside,  meeting twice in secret with Henry as he moved through Staffordshire.

At the second of these, at Atherstone in Warwickshire, they conferred “in what sort to arraign battle with King Richard, whom they heard to be not far off”.  On 21 August, the Stanleys were making camp on the slopes of a hill north of Dadlington, while Henry encamped his army at White Moors to the northwest of their camp.

Battlefield map. Three white boxes are across the top; arrows extend downward from the left two, labelled "Norfolk" and "Richard III", but not from the right one, "Northumberland". Two red boxes are at mid-left: the smaller is "Henry", and the larger, "Oxford" has an arrow going right and then reversing up. Two stationary blue boxes near the bottom are labelled "Lord Stanley" and "William Stanley".

Early battle (a scenario based on historical interpretations): elements of Richard’s army charged down Ambion Hill to engage Henry’s forces on the plain. The Stanleys stood at the south, observing the situation.

On 20 August, Richard reached Leicester, joining Norfolk. Northumberland arrived the following day. The royal army proceeded westwards to intercept Henry’s march on London. Passing Sutton Cheney, Richard moved his army towards Ambion Hill—which he thought would be of tactical value—and made camp on it.  Richard’s sleep was not peaceful and, according to the Croyland Chronicle, in the morning his face was “more livid and ghastly than usual”.

Engagement

Battlefield map. Red, white and blue boxes converge to the centre of the map. Richard charges into Henry. William Stanley advances to Henry's rescue. Richard fights to his death. Northumberland and Lord Stanley remain stationary.

Late battle (a scenario based on historical interpretations): Richard led a small group of men around the main battle and charged Henry, who was moving towards the Stanleys. William Stanley rode to Henry’s rescue.

The Yorkist army, numbering about 10,000 men, deployed on the hilltop  along the ridgeline from west to east. Norfolk’s group (or “battle” in the parlance of the time) of spearmen stood on the right flank, protecting the cannon and about 1,200 archers. Richard’s group, comprising 3,000 infantry, formed the centre. Northumberland’s men guarded the left flank; he had approximately 4,000 men, many of them mounted.  Standing on the hilltop, Richard had a wide, unobstructed view of the area. He could see the Stanleys and their 6,000 men holding positions on and around Dadlington Hill, while to the southwest was Henry’s army.

Henry had very few Englishmen—fewer than a thousand—in his army. Between three and five hundred of them were exiles who had fled from Richard’s rule, and the remainder were Talbot’s men and recent deserters from Richard’s army. Historian John Mackie believes that 1,800 French mercenaries, led by Philibert de Chandée, formed the core of Henry’s army .  John Mair, writing thirty-five years after the battle, claimed that this force contained a significant Scottish component, and this claim is accepted by some modern writers,  but Mackie reasons that the French would not have released their elite Scottish knights and archers, and concludes that there were probably few Scottish troops in the army, although he accepts the presence of captains like Bernard Stewart, Lord of Aubigny.

In total, Henry’s army was around 5,000 strong, a substantial portion of which was made up by the recruits picked up in Wales. Rhys ap Thomas’s Welsh force was described as being large enough to have “annihilated” the rest of Henry’s force.

In their interpretations of the vague mentions of the battle in the old text, historians placed areas near the foot of Ambion Hill as likely regions where the two armies clashed, and thought up possible scenarios of the engagement. In their recreations of the battle, Henry started by moving his army towards Ambion Hill where Richard and his men stood. As Henry’s army advanced past the marsh at the southwestern foot of the hill, Richard sent a message to Stanley, threatening to execute his son, Lord Strange, if Stanley did not join the attack on Henry immediately. Stanley replied that he had other sons. Incensed, Richard gave the order to behead Strange but his officers temporised, saying that battle was imminent, and it would be more convenient to carry out the execution afterwards.

Henry had also sent messengers to Stanley asking him to declare his allegiance. The reply was evasive—the Stanleys would “naturally” come, after Henry had given orders to his army and arranged them for battle. Henry had no choice but to confront Richard’s forces alone.

Well aware of his own military inexperience, Henry handed command of his army to Oxford and retired to the rear with his bodyguards. Oxford, seeing the vast line of Richard’s army strung along the ridgeline, decided to keep his men together instead of splitting them into the traditional three battles: vanguard, centre, and rearguard. He ordered the troops to stray no further than 10 feet (3.0 m) from their banners, fearing that they would become enveloped. Individual groups clumped together, forming a single large mass flanked by horsemen on the wings.]

The Lancastrians were harassed by Richard’s cannon as they manoeuvred around the marsh, seeking firmer ground. Once Oxford and his men were clear of the marsh, Norfolk’s battle and several contingents of Richard’s group, under the command of Sir Robert Brackenbury, started to advance. Hails of arrows showered both sides as they closed. Oxford’s men proved the steadier in the ensuing hand-to-hand combat; they held their ground and several of Norfolk’s men fled the field.

Recognising that his force was at a disadvantage, Richard signalled for Northumberland to assist but Northumberland’s group showed no signs of movement. Historians, such as Horrox and Pugh, believe Northumberland chose not to aid his king for personal reasons. Ross doubts the aspersions cast on Northumberland’s loyalty, suggesting instead that Ambion Hill’s narrow ridge hindered him from joining the battle. The earl would have had to either go through his allies or execute a wide flanking move—near impossible to perform given the standard of drill at the time—to engage Oxford’s men.

At this juncture Richard saw Henry at some distance behind his main force. Seeing this, Richard decided to end the fight quickly by killing the enemy commander. He led a charge of mounted men around the melee and tore into Henry’s group; several accounts state that Richard’s force numbered 800–1000 knights, but Ross says it was more likely that Richard was accompanied only by his household men and closest friends.

Richard killed Henry’s standard-bearer Sir William Brandon in the initial charge and unhorsed burly John Cheyne, Edward IV’s former standard-bearer,  with a blow to the head from his broken lance.  French mercenaries in Henry’s retinue related how the attack had caught them off guard and that Henry sought protection by dismounting and concealing himself among them to present less of a target. Henry made no attempt to engage in combat himself.

Oxford had left a small reserve of Pike-equipped men with Henry. They slowed the pace of Richard’s mounted charge and bought Tudor some critical time. The remainder of Henry’s bodyguards surrounded their master and succeeded in keeping him away from the Yorkist king. On seeing Richard embroiled with Henry’s men and separated from his main force, William Stanley made his move. He led his men into the fight at Henry’s side. Outnumbered, Richard’s group was surrounded and gradually pressed back.

Richard’s force was driven several hundred yards away from Tudor, near to the edge of a marsh. The king’s horse lost its footing and toppled into it. Richard gathered himself and rallied his dwindling followers, supposedly refusing to retreat:

“God forbid that I retreat one step. I will either win the battle as a king, or die as one.”

In the fighting Richard’s banner man—Sir Percival Thirlwall—lost his legs but held the Yorkist banner aloft until he was killed.

Polydore Vergil, Henry Tudor’s official historian, recorded that

“King Richard, alone, was killed fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies”.

Richard had come within a sword’s length of Henry Tudor before being surrounded by Sir William Stanley’s men and killed. The Burgundian chronicler Jean Molinet says that a Welshman struck the death-blow with a halberd while Richard’s horse was stuck in the marshy ground.

It was said that the blows were so violent that the king’s helmet was driven into his skull. The contemporary Welsh poet Guto’r Glyn implies the leading Welsh Lancastrian Rhys ap Thomas, or one of his men, killed the king, writing that he “killed the boar, shaved his head”.

The identification in 2013 of King Richard’s body shows that the skeleton had 10 wounds, eight of them to the head, clearly inflicted in battle and suggesting he had lost his helmet. The skull showed that a blade had hacked away part of the rear of the skull.

Richard’s forces disintegrated as news of his death spread. Northumberland and his men fled north on seeing the king’s fate, and Norfolk was killed.

Post-battle

 

Against a background of cheering men, an armoured man on the left hands a crown to a mounted armoured man on the right.

Finding Richard’s circlet after the battle, Lord Stanley hands it to Henry.

After the battle, Richard’s circlet was found and brought to Henry, who was crowned king at the top of Crown Hill, near the village of Stoke Golding. According to Vergil, Henry’s official historian, Lord Stanley found the circlet. Historian Stanley Chrimes and Professor Sydney Anglo dismiss the legend of the crown’s finding in a hawthorn bush; none of the contemporary sources reported such an event.

Ross, however, does not ignore the legend. He argues that the hawthorn bush would not be part of Henry’s coat of arms if it did not have a strong relationship to his ascendance.[120] In Vergil’s chronicle, 100 of Henry’s men, compared to 1,000 of Richard’s, died in this battle—a ratio Chrimes believes to be an exaggeration.

The bodies of the fallen were brought to St James Church at Dadlington for burial. However, Henry denied any immediate rest for Richard; instead the last Yorkist king’s corpse was stripped naked and strapped across a horse. His body was brought to Leicester and openly exhibited to prove that he was dead. Early accounts suggest that this was in the major Lancastrian collegiate foundation, the Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady of the Newarke.

After two days, the corpse was interred in a plain unmarked tomb,  within the church of the Greyfriars. The location of Richard’s tomb was long uncertain, as the church was demolished following its dissolution in 1538.

On 12 September 2012 archaeologists announced the discovery of a battle-damaged skeleton suspected to be Richard’s in the remains of his burial church in Leicester.  On 4 February 2013, it was announced that DNA testing had conclusively identified (“beyond reasonable doubt”) the remains as those of Richard. On Thursday 26 March 2015, these remains were ceremonially buried in Leicester Cathedral. On the following day the new royal tomb of Richard III was unveiled.

Henry dismissed the mercenaries in his force, retaining only a small core of local soldiers to form the “Yeomen of his Garde“,  and proceeded to establish his rule of England. Parliament reversed his attainder and recorded Richard’s kingship as illegal, although the Yorkist king’s reign remained officially in the annals of England history. The proclamation of Edward IV’s children as illegitimate was also reversed, restoring Elizabeth’s status to a royal princess.

The marriage of Elizabeth, the heiress to the House of York, to Henry, the master of the House of Lancaster, marked the end of the feud between the two houses and the start of the Tudor dynasty. The royal matrimony, however, was delayed until Henry was crowned king and had established his claim on the throne firmly enough to preclude that of Elizabeth and her kin.

Henry further convinced Parliament to backdate his reign to the day before the battle, retrospectively enabling those who fought against him at Bosworth Field to be declared traitors. Northumberland, who had remained inactive during the battle, was imprisoned but later released and reinstated to pacify the north in Henry’s name. The purge of those who fought for Richard occupied Henry’s first two years of rule, although later he proved prepared to accept those who submitted to him regardless of their former allegiances.

Of his supporters, Henry rewarded the Stanleys the most generously.  Aside from making William his chamberlain, he bestowed the earldom of Derby upon Lord Stanley along with grants and offices in other estates.  Henry rewarded Oxford by restoring to him the lands and titles confiscated by the Yorkists and appointing him as Constable of the Tower and admiral of England, Ireland, and Aquitaine.

For his kin, Henry created Jasper Tudor the Duke of Bedford. He returned to his mother the lands and grants stripped from her by Richard, and proved to be a filial son, granting her a place of honour in the palace and faithfully attending to her throughout his reign. Parliament’s declaration of Margaret as femme sole effectively empowered her; she no longer needed to manage her estates through Stanley.

Elton points out that despite his initial largesse, Henry’s supporters at Bosworth would only enjoy his special favour for the short term; in later years, he would instead promote those who best served his interests.

Like the kings before him, Henry faced dissenters. The first open revolt occurred two years after Bosworth Field; Lambert Simnel claimed to be Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick, who was Edward IV’s nephew. The Earl of Lincoln backed him for the throne and led rebel forces in the name of the House of York.

The rebel army fended off several attacks by Northumberland’s forces, before engaging Henry’s army at the Battle of Stoke Field on 16 June 1487.  Oxford and Bedford led Henry’s men,[137] including several former supporters of Richard III.  Henry won this battle easily, but other malcontents and conspiracies would follow.

A rebellion in 1489 started with Northumberland’s murder; military historian Michael C. C. Adams says that the author of a note, which was left next to Northumberland’s body, blamed the earl for Richard’s death.

Legacy and historical significance

Contemporary accounts of the Battle of Bosworth can be found in four main sources, one of which is the English Croyland Chronicle, written by a senior Yorkist chronicler who relied on second-hand information from nobles and soldiers.

The other accounts were written by foreigners—Vergil, Jean Molinet, and Diego de Valera. Whereas Molinet was sympathetic to Richard ,  Vergil was in Henry’s service and drew information from the king and his subjects to portray them in a good light. Diego de Valera, whose information Ross regards as unreliable,  compiled his work from letters of Spanish merchants.  However, other historians have used Valera’s work to deduce possibly valuable insights not readily evident in other sources

Ross finds the poem, The Ballad of Bosworth Field, a useful source to ascertain certain details of the battle. The multitude of different accounts, mostly based on second- or third-hand information, has proved an obstacle to historians as they try to reconstruct the battle. Their common complaint is that, except for its outcome, very few details of the battle are found in the chronicles. According to historian Michael Hicks, the Battle of Bosworth is one of the worst-recorded clashes of the Wars of the Roses.

Historical depictions and interpretations

 

An armoured and mounted man leads a small party, similarly dressed in mediaeval attire, along a road.

Newport History Society re-enacts Henry’s march through Wales to Bosworth Field during the battle’s quincentenary celebration.

Henry tried to present his victory as a new beginning for the country; he hired chroniclers to portray his reign as a “modern age” with its dawn in 1485. Hicks states that the works of Vergil and the blind historian Bernard André, promoted by subsequent Tudor administrations, became the authoritative sources for writers for the next four hundred years.

As such, Tudor literature paints a flattering picture of Henry’s reign, depicting the Battle of Bosworth as the final clash of the civil war and downplaying the subsequent uprisings.  For England the Middle Ages ended in 1485, and English Heritage claims that other than William the Conqueror‘s successful invasion of 1066, no other year holds more significance in English history. By portraying Richard as a hunchbacked tyrant who usurped the throne by killing his nephews, the Tudor historians attached a sense of myth to the battle: it became an epic clash between good and evil with a satisfying moral outcome.

According to Reader Colin Burrow, André was so overwhelmed by the historic significance of the battle that he represented it with a blank page in his Henry VII (1502).  For Professor Peter Saccio, the battle was indeed a unique clash in the annals of English history, because

“the victory was determined, not by those who fought, but by those who delayed fighting until they were sure of being on the winning side.”

Historians such as Adams and Horrox believe that Richard lost the battle not for any mythic reasons, but because of morale and loyalty problems in his army. Most of the common soldiers found it difficult to fight for a liege whom they distrusted, and some lords believed that their situation might improve if Richard was dethroned.

According to Adams, against such duplicities Richard’s desperate charge was the only knightly behaviour on the field. As fellow historian Michael Bennet puts it, the attack was “the swan-song of [mediaeval] English chivalry”. Adams believes this view was shared at the time by the printer William Caxton, who enjoyed sponsorship from Edward IV and Richard III. Nine days after the battle, Caxton published Thomas Malory‘s story about chivalry and death by betrayal—Le Morte d’Arthur—seemingly as a response to the circumstances of Richard’s death.

Elton does not believe Bosworth Field has any true significance, pointing out that the 20th-century English public largely ignored the battle until its quincentennial celebration. In his view, the dearth of specific information about the battle—no-one even knows exactly where it took place—demonstrates its insignificance to English society. Elton considers the battle as just one part of Henry’s struggles to establish his reign, underscoring his point by noting that the young king had to spend ten more years pacifying factions and rebellions to secure his throne.

Mackie asserts that, in hindsight, Bosworth Field is notable as the decisive battle that established a dynasty which would rule unchallenged over England for more than a hundred years.

Mackie notes that contemporary historians of that time, wary of the three royal successions during the long Wars of the Roses, considered Bosworth Field just another in a lengthy series of such battles. It was through the works and efforts of Francis Bacon and his successors that the public started to believe the battle had decided their futures by bringing about “the fall of a tyrant”.

Shakespearian dramatisation

William Shakespeare gives prominence to the Battle of Bosworth in his play, Richard III. It is the “one big battle”; no other fighting scene distracts the audience from this action, represented by a one-on-one sword fight between Henry Tudor and Richard III. Shakespeare uses their duel to bring a climactic end to the play and the Wars of the Roses; he also uses it to champion morality, portraying the “unequivocal triumph of good over evil”.

Richard, the villainous lead character, has been built up in the battles of Shakespeare’s earlier play, Henry VI, Part 3, as a “formidable swordsman and a courageous military leader”—in contrast to the dastardly means by which he becomes king in Richard III. Although the Battle of Bosworth has only five sentences to direct it, three scenes and more than four hundred lines precede the action, developing the background and motivations for the characters in anticipation of the battle.

 

A moustached man—dressed in white stockings, puffed breeches, and a red robe—props himself up with his left arm on a bed. His eyes are wide and his right hand raised, palm open towards the front. A suit of armour lays on the floor at the foot of his bed.

Richard III, Act 5, scene 3: Richard, played by David Garrick, awakens after a nightmare visit by the ghosts of his victims.

Shakespeare’s account of the battle was mostly based on chroniclers Edward Hall‘s and Raphael Holinshed‘s dramatic versions of history, which were sourced from Vergil’s chronicle. However, Shakespeare’s attitude towards Richard was shaped by scholar Thomas More, whose writings displayed extreme bias against the Yorkist king.

The result of these influences is a script that vilifies the king, and Shakespeare had few qualms about departing from history to incite drama.  Margaret of Anjou died in 1482, but Shakespeare had her speak to Richard’s mother before the battle to foreshadow Richard’s fate and fulfill the prophecy she had given in Henry VI.

Shakespeare exaggerated the cause of Richard’s restless night before the battle, imagining it as a haunting by the ghosts of those whom the king had murdered, including Buckingham. Richard is portrayed as suffering a pang of conscience, but as he speaks he regains his confidence and asserts that he will be evil, if such needed to retain his crown.

The fight between the two armies is simulated by rowdy noises made off-stage (alarums or alarms) while actors walk on-stage, deliver their lines, and exit. To build anticipation for the duel, Shakespeare requests more alarums after Richard’s councillor, William Catesby, announces that the king is “[enacting] more wonders than a man”. Richard punctuates his entrance with the classic line, “A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”

He refuses to withdraw, continuing to seek to slay Henry’s doubles until he has killed his nemesis. There is no documentary evidence that Henry had five decoys at Bosworth Field; the idea was Shakespeare’s invention. He drew inspiration from Henry IV‘s use of them at the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403) to amplify the perception of Richard’s courage on the battlefield.

Similarly, the single combat between Henry and Richard is Shakespeare’s creation. The True Tragedy of Richard III, a play earlier than Shakespeare’s, has no signs of staging such an encounter: its stage directions give not a hint of visible combat.

 

A view from the back of a stage. Two unkempt actors enact a sword fight for the audience. Men dressed as soldiers lounge and drink behind the props.

The Battle of Bosworth Field, a Scene in the Great Drama of History, illustrating Beckett’s mocking of Victorian attitude towards history

Despite the dramatic licences taken, Shakespeare’s version of the Battle of Bosworth was the model of the event for English textbooks for many years during the 18th and 19th centuries. This glamorised version of history, promulgated in books and paintings and played out on stages across the country, perturbed humorist Gilbert Abbott à Beckett.  He voiced his criticism in the form of a poem, equating the romantic view of the battle to watching a “fifth-rate production of Richard III“: shabbily costumed actors fight the Battle of Bosworth on-stage while those with lesser roles lounge at the back, showing no interest in the proceedings.

In Laurence Olivier‘s 1955 film adaptation of Richard III, the Battle of Bosworth is represented not by a single duel but a general melee that became the film’s most recognised scene and a regular screening at Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre. The film depicts the clash between the Yorkist and Lancastrian armies on an open field, focusing on individual characters amidst the savagery of hand-to-hand fighting, and received accolades for the realism portrayed.

One reviewer for The Manchester Guardian newspaper, however, was not impressed, finding the number of combatants too sparse for the wide plains and a lack of subtlety in Richard’s death scene. The means by which Richard is shown to prepare his army for the battle also earned acclaim. As Richard speaks to his men and draws his plans in the sand using his sword, his units appear on-screen, arraying themselves according to the lines that Richard had drawn. Intimately woven together, the combination of pictorial and narrative elements effectively turns Richard into a storyteller, who acts out the plot he has constructed.

Shakespearian critic Herbert Coursen extends that imagery: Richard sets himself up as a creator of men, but dies amongst the savagery of his creations. Coursen finds the depiction a contrast to that of Henry V and his “band of brothers”.

The adaptation of the setting for Richard III to a 1930s fascist England in Ian McKellen‘s 1995 film, however, did not sit well with historians. Adams posits that the original Shakespearian setting for Richard’s fate at Bosworth teaches the moral of facing one’s fate, no matter how unjust it is, “nobly and with dignity”.  By overshadowing the dramatic teaching with special effects, McKellen’s film reduces its version of the battle to a pyrotechnic spectacle about the death of a one-dimensional villain.  Coursen agrees that, in this version, the battle and Richard’s end are trite and underwhelming.

Battlefield location

Richard’s Field
A clearing sparsely surrounded by trees and bushes. A gravel-lined spot is at the centre, sporting a stone with flowers lain in front of it. On the left stands a flagpole, whose flag lies unfurled.
Rectangular plaque containing "Richard the last Plantagenet King of England was slain here 22nd August 1485"
The memorial and its plaque

Officially the site of the battle is deemed by Leicestershire County Council to be in the vicinity of the town of Market Bosworth.  The council engaged historian Daniel Williams to research the battle, and in 1974 his findings were used to build the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and the presentation it houses. Williams’s interpretation, however, has since been questioned. Sparked by the battle’s quincentenary celebration in 1985,  a dispute among historians has led many to suspect the accuracy of Williams’s theory.  In particular, geological surveys conducted from 2003 to 2009 by the Battlefields Trust, a charitable organisation that protects and studies old English battlefields, show that the southern and eastern flanks of Ambion Hill were solid ground in the 15th century, contrary to Williams’s claim that it was a large area of marshland.

Landscape archaeologist Glenn Foard, leader of the survey, said the collected soil samples and finds of medieval military equipment suggest that the battle took place two miles (3 km) southwest of Ambion Hill (52°34′41″N 1°26′02″W),  contrary to the popular belief that it was fought near the foot of the hill.

 

Bosworth Battlefield true location

Historians’ theories

The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (popularly referred to as “English Heritage”) argues that the battle was named after Market Bosworth because the town was the nearest significant settlement to the battlefield in the 15th century.

As explored by Professor Philip Morgan, a battle might initially not be named specifically at all. As time passes, writers of administrative and historical records find it necessary to identify a notable battle, ascribing it a name that is usually toponymical in nature and sourced from combatants or observers. This official name becomes accepted by society and future generations without question.

Early records associated the Battle of Bosworth with “Brownehethe”, “bellum Miravallenses“, “Sandeford” and “Dadlyngton field”. The earliest record, a municipal memorandum of 23 August 1485 from York,  locates the battle “on the field of Redemore”. This is corroborated by a 1485–86 letter that mentions “Redesmore” as its site.

According to historian Peter Foss, records did not associate the battle with “Bosworth” until 151

Foss is named by English Heritage as the principal advocate for “Redemore” as the battle site. He suggests the name is derived from “Hreod Mor“, an Anglo-Saxon phrase that means “reedy marshland”. Basing his opinion on 13th- and 16th-century church records, he believes “Redemore” was an area of wetland that lay between Ambion Hill and the village of Dadlington, and was close to the Fenn Lanes, a Roman road running east to west across the region.

Foard believes this road to be the most probable route that both armies took to reach the battlefield. Williams dismisses the notion of “Redmore” as a specific location, saying that the term refers to a large area of reddish soil; Foss argues that Williams’s sources are local stories and flawed interpretations of recor

Moreover, he proposes that Williams was influenced by William Hutton‘s 1788 The Battle of Bosworth-Field, which Foss blames for introducing the notion that the battle was fought west of Ambion Hill on the north side of the River Sence. Hutton, as Foss suggests, misinterpreted a passage from his source, Raphael Holinshed‘s 1577 Chronicle. Holinshed wrote, “King Richard pitched his field on a hill called Anne Beame, refreshed his soldiers and took his rest.” Foss believes that Hutton mistook “field” to mean “field of battle”, thus creating the idea that the fight took place on Anne Beame (Ambion) Hill. To “[pitch] his field”, as Foss clarifies, was a period expression for setting up a camp

 

Side view of a building, which has a small tower on the left side: tombstones lie in rows on plots in front.

St James the Greater, Dadlington: the dead of Bosworth Field were buried here.

Foss brings further evidence for his “Redemore” theory by quoting Edward Hall‘s 1550 Chronicle. Hall stated that Richard’s army stepped onto a plain after breaking camp the next day. Furthermore, historian William Burton, author of Description of Leicestershire (1622), wrote that the battle was:

“fought in a large, flat, plaine, and spacious ground, three miles [5 km] distant from [Bosworth], between the Towne of Shenton, Sutton [Cheney], Dadlington and Stoke [Golding]”.

In Foss’s opinion both sources are describing an area of flat ground north of Dadlington.

Physical site

English Heritage, responsible for managing England’s historic sites, used both theories to designate the site for Bosworth Field. Without preference for either theory, they constructed a single continuous battlefield boundary that encompasses the locations proposed by both Williams and Foss.

The region has experienced extensive changes over the years, starting after the battle. Holinshed stated in his chronicle that he found firm ground where he expected the marsh to be, and Burton confirmed that by the end of the 16th century, areas of the battlefield were enclosed and had been improved to make them agriculturally productive. Trees were planted on the south side of Ambion Hill, forming Ambion Wood. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Ashby Canal carved through the land west and south-west of Ambion Hill. Winding alongside the canal at a distance, the Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway crossed the area on an embankment.

The changes to the landscape were so extensive that when Hutton revisited the region in 1807 after an earlier 1788 visit, he could not readily find his way around

 

A pyramidal stone structure stands in a small clearing surrounded by small trees and bushes. The structure, enclosed by a fence, has an opening in the front.

Richard’s Well, where the last Yorkist king supposedly took a drink of water on the day of the battle.

Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre was built on Ambion Hill, near Richard’s Well. According to legend, Richard III drank from one of the several springs in the region on the day of the battle. In 1788, a local pointed out one of the springs to Hutton as the one mentioned in the legend. A stone structure was later built over the location. The inscription on the well reads:

“Near this spot, on August 22nd 1485, at the age of 32, King Richard III fell fighting gallantly in defence of his realm & his crown against the usurper Henry Tudor.

The Cairn was erected by Dr. Samuel Parr in 1813 to mark the well from which the king is said to have drunk during the battle.

It is maintained by the Fellowship of the White Boar.”

Northwest of Ambion Hill, just across the northern tributary of the Sence, a flag and memorial stone mark Richard’s Field. Erected in 1973, the site was selected on the basis of Williams’s theory.  St James’s Church at Dadlington is the only structure in the area that is reliably associated with the Battle of Bosworth; the bodies of those killed in the battle were buried there.

The rediscovered battlefield and possible battle scenario

The very extensive survey carried out (2005-2009) by the Battlefields Trust headed by Glenn Foard led eventually to the discovery of the real location of the core battlefield.  This lies about a kilometer further west than the location suggested by Peter Foss. It is in what was at the time of the battle an area of marginal land at the meeting of several township boundaries. There was a cluster of field names suggesting the presence of marshland and heath. Thirty four lead round shot  were discovered as a result of systematic metal detecting (more than the total found previously on all other C15th European battlefields), as well as other significant finds,  including a small silver gilt badge depicting a boar. Experts believe that the boar badge could indicate the actual site of Richard III’s death, since this high-status badge depicting his personal emblem, was probably worn by a member of his close retinue.

A new interpretation   of the battle now integrates the historic accounts with the battlefield finds and landscape history. The new site lies either side of the Fenn Lanes Roman road, close to Fenn Lane Farm and is some three kilometers to the southwest of Ambion Hill.

Bosworth Battlefield (Fenn Lane Farm)

Based on the round shot scatter, the likely size of Richard III’s army, and the topography, Glenn Foard and Anne Curry think that Richard may have lined up his forces on a slight ridge which lies just east of Fox Covert Lane and behind a postulated medieval marsh. Richard’s vanguard commanded by the Duke of Norfolk was on the right (north) side of Richard’s battle line, with the Earl of Northumberland on Richard’s left (south) side.

Tudor’s forces approached along the line of the Roman road and lined up to the west of the present day Fenn Lane Farm, having marched from the vicinity of Merevale in Warwickshire.   The Stanleys were positioned on the south side of the battlefield, on rising ground towards Stoke Golding and Dadlington. The Earl of Oxford turned north to avoid the marsh (and possibly Richard’s guns). This manoeuvre put the marsh on Oxford’s right. He moved to attack Norfolk’s vanguard. Norfolk was subsequently killed.

Northumberland failed to engage, possibly due to the presence of the Stanleys, whose intentions were unclear, or due to the position of the marsh (or for both reasons). With Richard’s situation deteriorating, he decided to launch an attack against Henry Tudor, which almost succeeded, but the king’s horse became stuck in the marsh, and he was killed. Fen Hole (where the boar badge was found) is believed to be a residue of the marsh. When Richard began his charge, Sir William Stanley intervened from the vicinity of Stoke Golding. It was here, on what came to be known as Crown Hill (the closest elevated ground to the fighting), that Lord Stanley crowned Henry Tudor after Richard was killed.

Bosworth Battlefield actual site

The windmill close to which the Duke of Norfolk is said to have died (according to the ballad “Lady Bessy”) was Dadlington windmill. This has disappeared but is known to have stood at the time of the battle, in the vicinity of Apple Orchard Farm and North Farm, Dadlington. A small cluster of significant finds was made in this area, including a gold livery badge depicting an eagle. The windmill lay between the core battlefield and Richard’s camp on Ambion Hill and the rout of Norfolk’s vanguard was in this direction. This also accounts for the large number of dead in Dadlington parish, leading to the setting up of the battle chantry there.

Historic England have re-defined the boundaries of the registered Bosworth Battlefield to incorporate the newly identified site. There are hopes that public access to the site may be possible in the future.

William Frederick “Billy” McFadzean VC – Lest We Forget

William Frederick “Billy” McFadzean VC (9 October 1895 – 1 July 1916) was born in Lurgan, County Armagh. From Ulster, he was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

 

William McFadzean
McFadzeanVC.jpg

William McFadzean as shown on a mural in Cregagh, Belfast
Nickname(s) Billy
Born 9 October 1895
Lurgan, County Armagh
Died 1 July 1916 (aged 20)
Thiepval, France
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1914 – 1916
Rank Rifleman
Unit 14th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles
Battles/wars World War IBattle of the Somme
Awards Victoria Cross

Private Billy McFadzean 36th Ulster Tribute

Details

McFadzean was a 20-year-old rifleman in the 14th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles, British Army during the First World War. On 1 July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme near Thiepval Wood, France, a box of hand grenades slipped into a crowded trench. Two of the safety pins in the grenades were dislodged. McFadzean threw himself on top of the grenades, which exploded, killing him but injuring only one other.

His citation read:

No. 14/18278 Pte. William Frederick McFadzean, late R. Ir. Rif.

For most conspicuous bravery. While in a concentration trench and opening a box of bombs for distribution prior to an attack, the box slipped down into the trench, which was crowded with men, and two of the safety pins fell out. Private McFadzean, instantly realising the danger to his comrades, with heroic courage threw himself on the top of the Bombs. The bombs exploded blowing him to pieces, but only one other man was injured. He well knew his danger, being himself a bomber, but without a moment’s hesitation he gave his life for his comrades.

McFadzean’s father was presented with his son’s VC by King George V in Buckingham Palace, London on 28 February 1917.

His Victoria Cross is displayed at The Royal Ulster Rifles Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

McFadzean played rugby for Collegians RFC.[ He was also a member of the East Belfast Regiment of the Ulster Volunteers and the Young Citizens Volunteers

Billy Mcfadzean

Legacy

Private McFadzean was remembered in song:

Let me tell you a story of honour and glory
Of a young Belfast soldier Billy McFadzean by name
For King and for Country Young Billy died bravely
And won the VC on the fields of the Somme
Gone Like the snowflake that melts on the river
Gone like the first rays of days early dawn
Like the foam from the fountain
Like the mist from the mountain
Young Billy McFadzean’s dear life has gone
Now Billy lies only where the red Flanders poppy
In wildest profusion paints the field of the brave
No piper recalling his deeds all forgotten
For Billy McFadzean has no known grave
Chorus
So let us remember that brave Ulster soldier
The VC he won the young life that he gave
For duty demanding his courage outstanding
Private Billy McFadzean of the U.V.F.

 

…………………..

Thiepval Memorial – Lest We Forget!

Thiepval Memorial

 

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The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme is a war memorial to 72,195 missing British and South African servicemen, who died in the Battles of the Somme of the First World War between 1915 and 1918, with no known grave. It is near the village of Thiepval, Picardy in France. A visitors’ centre opened in 2004.

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Location

The Memorial was built approximately 200 metres (220 yd) to the south-east of the former Thiepval Château, which was located on lower ground, by the side of Thiepval Wood. The grounds of the original château were not chosen as this would have required the moving of graves, dug during the war around the numerous medical aid stations.

Design and inauguration

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Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the memorial was built between 1928 and 1932 and is the largest Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing in the world. It was inaugurated by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) in the presence of Albert Lebrun, President of France, on 1 August 1932.

The unveiling ceremony was attended by Lutyens.

The memorial dominates the rural scene and has 16 brick piers, faced with Portland stone. It was originally built using French bricks from Lille, but was refaced in 1973 with Accrington brick.

The main arch is aligned east to west.The memorial is 140 feet (43 m) high, above the level of its podium, which to the west is 20 feet (6.1 m) above the level of the adjoining cemetery. It has foundations 19 feet (5.8 m) thick, which were required because of extensive wartime tunnelling beneath the structure.

It is a complex form of memorial arch, comprising interlocking arches of four sizes. Each side of the main arch is pierced by a smaller arch, orientated at a right angle to the main arch. Each side of each of these smaller arches is then pierced by a still smaller arch and so on.  The keystone of each smaller arch is at the level of the spring of the larger arch that it pierces; each of these levels is marked by a stone cornice.

This design results in 16 piers, having 64 stone-panelled sides. Only 48 of these are inscribed, as the panels around the outside of the memorial are blank.

More succinctly, according to the architectural historian Stephen Games, the memorial is composed of two intersecting triumphal arches, each with a larger central arch and two smaller subsidiary arches, the arches on the east-west facades being taller than those on the north-south, and all raised up from what is loosely a square four-by-four tartan grid plan. The main arch is surmounted by a tower. In the central space of the memorial a Stone of Remembrance rests on a three-stepped platform.

The memorial represents the names of over 72,000 officers and men (see below), and Lutyens’s ingenious geometry arises out of the attempt to display these names in compact form, rather than in the more usual linear form seen in the very long and much lower memorials to other vast First World War battles such as Loos, Pozières and Étaples.

Inscriptions

The inscription of names on the memorial is reserved for those missing, or unidentified, soldiers who have no known grave. A large inscription on an internal surface of the memorial reads:

Here are recorded

names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields July 1915 February 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their

comrades in death.

On the Portland stone piers are engraved the names of over 72,000 men who were lost in the Somme battles between July 1915 and March 1918. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission states that over 90% of these soldiers died in the first Battle of the Somme between 1 July and 18 November 1916. The names are carved using the standard upper-case lettering designed for the Commission by MacDonald Gill.

Over the years since its inauguration, bodies have been regularly discovered on the former battlefield and are sometimes identified through various means. The decision was taken that to protect the integrity of the memorial as one solely for those who are missing or unidentified, that if a body were found and identified the inscription of their name would be removed from the memorial by filling in the inscription with cement. For those who are found and identified, they are given a funeral with full military honours at a cemetery close to the location at which they were discovered. This practice has resulted in numerous gaps in the lists of names.

On the top of the archway, a French inscription reads: Aux armées Française et Britannique l’Empire Britannique reconnaissant (To the French and British Armies, from the grateful British Empire). Just below this, are carved the years 1914 and 1918. On the upper edges of the side archways, split across left and right, is carved the phrase:

“The Missing … of the Somme”.

Also included on this memorial are sixteen stone laurel wreaths, inscribed with the names of sub-battles that made up the Battle of the Somme in which the men commemorated at Thiepval fell. The battles so-named are Ancre Heights, Ancre, Albert, High Wood, Delville Wood, Morval, Flers–Courcelette, Pozières Wood, Bazentin Ridge, Thiepval Ridge, Transloy Ridges, Ginchy, Guillemont,

Notable commemoratees

Seven Victoria Cross recipients are listed on the memorial, under their respective regiments.

All British unless otherwise noted:

Also commemorated are:

Anglo-French memorial

Cross of Sacrifice and British (left) and French (right) graves by the memorial

The Thiepval Memorial also serves as an Anglo-French battle memorial to commemorate the joint nature of the 1916 offensive. In further recognition of this, a cemetery, Thiepval Anglo-Frenchy Cemetery, containing 300 British Commonwealth and 300 French graves lies at the foot of the memorial. Most of the soldiers buried here – 239 of the British Commonwealth and 253 of the French – are unknown, the bodies having been reburied here after discovery between December 1931 and March 1932, mostly from the Somme battlefields but some from as far north as Loos and as far south as Le Quesnel.

The British Commonwealth graves have rectangular headstones made of white stone, while the French graves have grey stone crosses. On the British headstones is the inscription “A Soldier of the Great War/ Known unto God”. The French crosses bear the single word “Inconnu” (‘unknown’). The cemetery’s Cross of Sacrifice bears an inscription that acknowledges the joint British and French contributions:

That the world may remember the common sacrifice of two and a half million dead, here have been laid side by side Soldiers of France and of the British Empire in eternal comradeship.
— Thiepval Anglo-French Cemetery Cross of Sacrifice inscription

Ceremonies and services

Each year on 1 July (the anniversary of the first day on the Somme) a major ceremony is held at the memorial.

There is also a ceremony on the 11 November, beginning at 1045 CET.

Battle of the Somme 141 days of Hell

The Battle of the Somme

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Real  Footage & Tribute to those who died

The Battle of the Somme (French: Bataille de la Somme, German: Schlacht an der Somme), also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of upper reaches of the River Somme in France.

It was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front; more than one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

1,000,000 Killed & Wounded

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The French and British had committed themselves to an offensive on the Somme during Allied discussions at Chantilly, Oise, in December 1915. The Allies agreed upon a strategy of combined offensives against the Central Powers in 1916, by the French, Russian, British and Italian armies, with the Somme offensive as the Franco-British contribution. Initial plans called for the French army to undertake the main part of the Somme offensive, supported on the northern flank by the Fourth Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).

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When the Imperial German Army began the Battle of Verdun on the Meuse on 21 February 1916, French commanders diverted many of the divisions intended for the Somme and the “supporting” attack by the British became the principal effort.

 

Map of the Battle of the Somme, 1916.svg

The first day on the Somme (1 July) saw a serious defeat for the German Second Army, which was forced out of its first position by the French Sixth Army, from Foucaucourt-en-Santerre south of the Somme to Maricourt on the north bank and by the Fourth Army from Maricourt to the vicinity of the AlbertBapaume road.

 Battle of the Somme 1st July 1916

The first day on the Somme was also the worst day in the history of the British army, which had c. 57,470 casualties, mainly on the front between the Albert–Bapaume road and Gommecourt, where the attack was defeated and few British troops reached the German front line. The British troops on the Somme comprised a mixture of the remains of the pre-war regular army, the Territorial Force and the Kitchener Army, which was composed of Pals battalions, recruited from the same places and occupations.

The battle is notable for the importance of air power and the first use of the tank. At the end of the battle, British and French forces had penetrated 6 miles (9.7 km) into German-occupied territory, taking more ground than in any of their offensives since the Battle of the Marne in 1914.

The Anglo-French armies failed to capture Péronne and halted 3 miles (4.8 km) from Bapaume, where the German armies maintained their positions over the winter. British attacks in the Ancre valley resumed in January 1917 and forced the Germans into local withdrawals to reserve lines in February, before the scheduled retirement to the Siegfriedstellung (Hindenburg Line) began in March. Debate continues over the necessity, significance and effect of the battle.

Battle of the Somme
Map of the Battle of the Somme, 1916.svg
Battle of the Somme 1 July – 18 November 1916
Date 1 July – 18 November 1916
Location Somme River, north-central Somme and south-eastern Pas-de-Calais Départements, France
50°1′N 2°41′E / 50.017°N 2.683°E / 50.017; 2.683Coordinates: 50°1′N 2°41′E / 50.017°N 2.683°E / 50.017; 2.683
Result Inconclusive, see the Aftermath section
Belligerents
 British Empire

France

 German Empire
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom Douglas Haig
France Ferdinand Foch
United Kingdom Henry Rawlinson
France Émile Fayolle
United Kingdom Hubert Gough
France Joseph Alfred Micheler
German Empire Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria
German Empire Max von Gallwitz
German Empire Fritz von Below
Strength
13 British, 11 French divisions 1 July
51 British, 48 French divisions July–November
10 12 divisions 1 July
50 divisions July–November
Casualties and losses
794,238[1]

British losses 481,842, French losses about 250,000

537,918

German losses 236,194

Battle of the Somme

 

Lord Kitchener’s Call of Duty 1914 – Your Country Needs You!

Lord Kitchener Wants You was a 1914 advertisement by Alfred Leete which was developed into a recruitment poster. It depicted Lord Kitchener, the British Secretary of State for War, above the words “WANTS YOU”.

Kitchener, wearing the cap of a British Field Marshal, stares and points at the viewer calling them to enlist in the British Army against the Central Powers. The image is considered one of the most iconic and enduring images of World War I.

A hugely influential image and slogan, it has also inspired imitations in other countries, from the United States to the Soviet Union

                                                                 Lord Kitchener Wants You
30a Sammlung Eybl Großbritannien. Alfred Leete (1882–1933) Britons (Kitchener) wants you (Briten Kitchener braucht Euch). 1914 (Nachdruck), 74 x 50 cm. (Slg.Nr. 552).jpg

“Britons: Lord Kitchener Wants You. Join Your Country’s Army! God save the King.”
Language English
Media watercolour; print
Release date(s) 1914
Country United Kingdom

 

Development

Prior to the institution of conscription in 1916, the United Kingdom relied upon volunteers for military service. Until the outbreak of the First World War, recruiting posters had not been used in Britain on a regular basis since the Napoleonic Wars. UK government advertisements for contract work were handled by His Majesty’s Stationery Office, who passed this task onto the publishers of R. F. White & Sons in order to avoid paying the government rate to newspaper publishers.

As war loomed in late 1913 the number of advertising contracts expanded to include other firms. J. E. B. Seely, then the Secretary of State for War, awarded Sir Hedley Le Bas, Eric Field, and their Caxton Advertising Agency a contract to advertise for recruits in the major UK newspapers. Eric Field designed a prototype full-page advertisement with the Coat of Arms of King George V and the phrase “Your King and Country Need You.”

Britain declared war on the German Empire on 4 August 1914 and the first run of the full-page ran the next day in those newspapers owned by Lord Northcliffe.

 

Eric Field’s original design that caught the attention of Lord Kitchener

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Prime Minister of the United Kingdom H. H. Asquith had appointed Kitchener as Secretary of State for War. Kitchener was the first currently serving soldier to hold the post and was given the task of recruiting a large army to fight Germany.

Unlike some of his contemporaries who expected a short conflict, Kitchener foresaw a much longer war requiring hundreds of thousands of enlistees. According to Gary S. Messinger, Kitchener reacted well to Field’s advertisement although insisting “that the ads should all end with ‘God Save the King’ and that they should not be changed from the original text, except to say ‘Lord Kitchener needs YOU.'” In the following months Le Bas formed an advisory committee of ad men to develop further newspaper recruiting advertisements, most of which ran vertically 11 inches (28 cm), two columns wide.

Kitchener poster by Alfred Leete.jpg

Alfred Leete, one Caxton’s illustrators, designed the now-famous image as a cover illustration for the 5 September 1914 issue of London Opinion, a popular weekly magazine, taking cues from Field’s earlier recruiting advertisement.  At the time, the magazine had a circulation of 300,000.  In response to requests for reproductions, the magazine offered postcard-sized copies for sale. The Parliamentary Recruiting Committee obtained permission to use the design in poster form.

A similar poster used the words “YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU”.

Kitchener, a “figure of absolute will and power, an emblem of British masculinity”, was a natural subject for Leete’s artwork as his name was directly attached to the recruiting efforts and the newly-forming Kitchener’s Army.

Sir Hedley Le Bas was the founder of the Caxton Publishing Company Limited

Le Bas of Caxton Advertising (for whom Leete worked) chose Kitchener for the advertisement because Kitchener was “the only soldier with a great war name, won in the field, within the memory of the thousands of men the country wanted.”

Kitchener made his name in the Sudan Campaign, avenging the death of General Gordon with brutality and efficiency. He became a hero of “New Imperialism” alongside other widely regarded figures in Britain like Field Marshal Wolseley and Field Marshal Roberts.

Kitchener’s appearance including his bushy mustache and court dress jacket was reminiscent of romanticized Victorian era styles. Kitchener, 6 ft 2 in (188 cm) tall and powerfully built, was for many the personification of military ethos so popular in the present Edwardian era. After the scorched earth tactics and hard-fought victory of the Second Boer War, Kitchener represented a return to the military victories of the colonial era.

The fact that Kitchener’s name is not used in the poster demonstrates how easily he was visually recognized.  David Lubin opines that the image may be one of the earliest successful celebrity endorsements as the commercial practice expanded greatly in the 1920s.[20] Keith Surridge posits that Kitchener’s features evoked the harsh, feared militarism of the Germans which bode well for British fortune in the war.

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Hampshire at anchor

Kitchener would not see the end of the war; he died onboard HMS Hampshire in 1916.

Original versions by Alfred Leete

Alfred Leete in uniform, c. 1916

See Below for more details on Alfred Leete.

 

The 5 September 1914 London Opinion magazine cover that inspired the posters. The caption reads “Your Country Needs YOU”

The  Britons (Lord Kitchener) Wants YOU  poster dating from September 1914

The “Britons (Lord Kitchener) Wants YOU” poster dating from September 1914

 

“He is not a great man, he is a great poster.”

Margot Asquith

 

Leete’s drawing of Kitchener was the most famous image used in the British Army recruitment campaign of World War I. It continues to be considered a masterful piece of wartime propaganda as well as an enduring and iconic image of the war.

Recruitment posters in general have often been seen as a driving force helping to bring more than a million men into the Army. September 1914, coincident with publication of Leete’s image, saw the highest number of volunteers enlisted.

The Times recorded the scene in London on 3 January 1915; “Posters appealing to recruits are to be seen on every hoarding, in most windows, in omnibuses, tramcars and commercial vans. The great base of Nelson’s Column is covered with them. Their number and variety are remarkable. Everywhere Lord Kitchener sternly points a monstrously big finger, exclaiming ‘I Want You'”.

One contemporaneous publication decried the use of advertising methods to enlist soldiers:

“the cold, basilisk eye of a gaudily-lithographed Kitchener rivets itself upon the possible recruit and the outstretched finger of the British Minister of War is levelled at him like some revolver, with the words, ‘I want you.’ The idea is stolen from the advertisement of a 5c. American cigar.”

 

Although it became one of the most famous posters in history, its widespread circulation did not halt the decline in recruiting.

This 30-word poster was an official product of the Parliamentary Recruitment Committee and was more popular contemporaneously.

The use of Kitchener’s image for recruiting posters was so widespread that Lady Asquith referred to the Field Marshal simply as “the Poster.”

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The placement of the Kitchener posters including Alfred Leete’s design has been examined and questioned following an Imperial War Museum publication in 1997. The War Museum suggested that the poster itself was a “non event” and was made popular by postwar advertising by the war museum, perhaps conflating Leete’s design with the so-called “30-word” poster, an official product from the Parliamentary Recruitment Committee.

The 30-word design was the most popular recruitment poster at the time having been printed ten times the volume of Leete’s image. Leete’s image has been praised for being more arresting while his accompanying text is also far less verbose. The official wording, taken from a Kitchener speech, may seem more fitting for a character in a Henry James novel.

The 30-word recruiting poster was developed as Britons’ collective hopes of the war being over by Christmas were dashed in January 1915 and volunteer enlistments fell. A 2013 book researched by James Taylor counters the popular belief that the Leete design was an influential recruitment tool during the war. He claims the original artwork was acquired by the Imperial War Museum in 1917 and catalogued as a poster in error.[8]

Though the image of Kitchener (Britain’s most popular soldier) inspired several other poster designs, Taylor says he can find no evidence in photographs of the time that the Leete poster was used, although a photograph from 15 December 1914 taken at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway station in Liverpool clearly depicts Leete’s depiction among other recruiting posters.[8][34]

The effectiveness of the image upon the viewer is attributed to what E. B. Goldstein has called the ‘differential rotation effect.’ Because of this effect, Kitchener’s eyes and his foreshortened arm and hand appear to follow the viewer regardless of the viewer’s orientation to the artwork.[35][36][37] Historian Carlo Ginzburg compared Leete’s image of Kitchener to similar images of Christ and Alexander the Great as depicting the viewer’s contact with a powerful figure.[38] Pearl James commented on Ginzburg’s analysis agreeing that the strength of the connotation lies with a clever use of discursive psychology and that art historical methods better illuminate why this image has such resonance.[39] The capitalized word “YOU” grabs the reader, bringing them directly to Kitchener’s message.[20] The textual focus on “you” engages the reader about their own participation in the war.[40] Nicholas Hiley differs in that Leete’s portrayal of Kitchener is less about immediate recruiting statistics but the myth that has grown around the image, including ironic parodies.[13][41] Leete’s Kitchener poster caught the attention of a then eleven-year-old George Orwell, who may have used as it the basis for his description of the “Big Brother” posters in his novel 1984.

In 1997 the British Army created a recruiting ad re-using Leete’s image substituting Kitchener’s face with that of a British Army non-commissioned officer of African descent. Leete’s image of Kitchener is featured on a 2014 £2 coin produced by sculptor John Bergdahl for the Royal Mint.

The coin was the first of a five-year series to commemorate the centennial of the war. Use of Leete’s image of Kitchener has been criticized by some for its pro-war connotation in light of the human losses of the First World War and the violence of Kitchener’s campaign in Sudan. In July 2014, one of only four original posters known to exist went to auction for more than £10,000. The other three originals exist on display in State Library of Victoria, the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, and the Imperial War Museum. Leete’s design was also used for a corn maze in the Skylark Garden Centre in Wimblington to mark the centenary of World War I.

Imitations

The image of Lord Kitchener with his hand pointing directly at the viewer has inspired numerous imitations:

 British World War I recruiting poster featuring the national personification, John Bull, c. 1915. Who's absent Is it you

British World War I recruiting poster featuring the national personification, John Bull, c. 1915. “Who’s absent? Is it you?”

United States, 1917. J. M. Flagg's Uncle Sam recruited soldiers for World War I and World War II. I Want YOU for U.S. Army

United States, 1917. J. M. Flagg‘s Uncle Sam recruited soldiers for World War I and World War II. “I Want YOU for U.S. Army

United States, World War I. Daughter of Zion (in Yiddish) Your Old New Land must have you! Join the Jewish regiment.png

United States, World War I. Daughter of Zion (in Yiddish): “Your Old New Land must have you! Join the Jewish regiment

Reichswehr recruitment poster by Julius Ussy Engelhard, 1919. You too should join the Reichswehr.png

Reichswehr recruitment poster by Julius Ussy Engelhard, 1919. “You too should join the Reichswehr”

Bolshevik recruitment poster from the Civil War of 1920, by Dmitri Moor. You, have you volunteered.png

Bolshevik recruitment poster from the Civil War of 1920, by Dmitri Moor. “You, have you volunteered?

Brazilian Constitutionalist Revolution recruitment poster, 1932. You have a duty to fulfill. Ask your conscience

Brazilian Constitutionalist Revolution recruitment poster, 1932. “You have a duty to fulfill. Ask your conscience

United States 1985 Smokey Bear poster. The Only You  refers to his famous quotation, Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires.png

United States 1985 Smokey Bear poster. The “Only You” refers to his famous quotation, “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires

Alfred Leete

Alfred Leete and his son John, c.1916

Alfred Ambrose Chew Leete (1882–1933) was a British graphic artist. Born at Thorpe Achurch, Northamptonshire, he studied at Kingsholme School and The School of Science and Art (now Weston College) in Weston-super-Mare, before moving to London in 1899 and taking a post as an artist with a printer.

His career as a paid artist had begun in 1897 when the Daily Graphic accepted one of his drawings; later he contributed regularly to a number of magazines including Punch magazine, the Strand Magazine, Tatler, etc. As a commercial artist he designed numerous posters and advertisements, especially in the 1910s and 1920s, for such brands as Rowntrees chocolates, Guinness and Bovril, and his series of advertisements for the Underground Electric Railways Company (the London Underground) were very well known; his work as a wartime propagandist includes the poster for which he is known above all, the Lord Kitchener poster design, which first appeared on the cover of the weekly magazine London Opinion on 5 September 1914.

“His prolific output was characterized by its humour, keen observation of the everyday, and an eye for strong design”

Invitation to one of the regular “smoking” evenings at the London Sketch Club, dated at 11 November 1921. Designed by Alfred Leete.

Leete died in London in 1933. In 2004, Leete’s work was on display in his native Weston at the North Somerset Museum