Malcolm & Dan Joe (WW1)

"Dan-Joe & Malcolm (WW1)" -- TOC

Ch. 18 - "Conclusion"

The total number of Canadian men and boys who went overseas to Fight in WW1 was 425,000; over 60,000 were killed; 172,000 were wounded. Attributable to WW1, was the deaths, overall, of 17 million people with another 20 million wounded. Of the deaths, about 10 million were military personnel and about 7 million civilians.97 WW1 ranks among the deadliest conflicts in human history.98

The Paris Peace Conference opened on January 18th, 1919.

"The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors, following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistice of 1918. It took place in Paris during 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities. The major decisions were the creation of the League of Nations; the five peace treaties with defeated enemies, including the Treaty of Versailles with Germany; the awarding of German and Ottoman overseas possessions as 'mandates,' chiefly to Britain and France; reparations imposed on Germany; and, the drawing of new national boundaries (sometimes with plebiscites) to better reflect the forces of nationalism. The main result was the Treaty of Versailles, with Germany, which in section 231 laid the guilt for the war on 'the aggression of Germany and her allies.' This provision proved humiliating for Germany and set the stage for very high reparations Germany was supposed to pay.99
Dan-Joe's Xmas Card 1919 - Front

Dan-Joe's Xmas Card 1919 - Inside

As it turned out Germany paid only a small portion of what it was charged to pay; reparations ended in 1931. As for the Morrison boys and their family: they paid the full price. As we have seen Malcolm was "Killed in Action," on September 28th, 1916, in one of the Battles of the Somme (Courcelette). As for Dan-Joe: he went through it all; saw it all; got through it all; sick on a number of occasions due to life in the trenches; poisoned with gas; and, shot twice. At the end he was shipped home with Tuberculosis. On November 19th, 1918, Dan-Joe was discharged at Halifax, being, "Medically Unfit." His medical assessment resulted in him being confined at the Kentville Sanatorium in Nova Scotia, but not for long. That December, he managed to get a Christmas card sent from his hospital room: "To sister Aggie," your author's mother.

World War One claimed another life, when, on June 17th, Dan-Joe Morrison died. The newspaper of his home town advertised, "Funeral of Comrade Dan-Joe Morrison will leave his father's residence, Hillside avenue, on Friday at 3 p.m. All returned men requested to attend." Funeral services were held at St. Anne's church, the same Church my mother and father were to be married, in the same month of June, 8 years later in 1928.

"War," as the Athenian historian and philosopher, Thucydides wrote, "Is a violent schoolmaster: it robs men of their day-to-day margin of sufficiency and debases the character of most to the level of circumstances ..." War is the "son of hell, ... the artificial plague of man, a time when the vials of the Apocalypse are poured forth and shaken over countries ... a time of slaughter, famine, beggary, infamy, slavery, despair." Once through it, man, like a drunk in the morning vows: never more. Then, in time, the status quo is established and the same old reasons, the same old conditions that brought on war before will bring it on again, it's just a matter of how much time is needed to build up new strengths and to erode old memories. Men then go to killing one another, yet again, until one side or the other can stand it no more and sues for peace on the best terms it can manage. And, the cycle starts anew: history is full of it: history is built on it.

A regular German soldier who had been fighting in the trenches, and who, after the war, turned to politics gave at Munich, in 1920, one of his mesmerizing speeches to his party, the National Socialist Party: his name was Adolf Hitler. Twenty years later Germany was led into another world war.

The End


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Peter Landry