Cauldron

I Died In Hell (Part 1) - Battle of Passchendaele - Jul 31, 1917 – Nov 10, 1917

Episode Summary

The English Poet Siegfried Sassoon famously wrote: “I died in hell (They called it Passchendaele).” The First World War was an incubator for man-made hellscapes and mechanized death. Each passing season brought some new horrid way for mankind to inflict suffering on itself. Like Dante’s Inferno, each fresh hell had a name; the Marne, Mons, Verdun, the Somme, Tannenberg, Gallipoli, Izonso, the Kaisershlacht. But of these now infamous names, no battle of the Great War was quite like the human experience at Passchendaele. The Third Battle of Ypres played out like a fever dream, full of ghastly visions, insane scenery, and the theater of the macabre. Most of our mental picture of the war - bodies or parts of bodies lying still in rolls of barbed wire, bloated horse bellies half-submerged in the inky water of shell craters, men ordered by fools to be cut down for nothing but a few measly yards- most of this comes from Passchendaele. It’s odd then that this titanic slugfest, the ultimate test of man vs. man vs. nature, has gone somewhat forgotten. The memory of Passchendaele has been replaced in France with the blood and rubble of Verdun, in Great Britain with the sadly romantic Somme, in the U.S. by the bravery of Belleau Wood, in Germany by those murderous final offensives. For those that lived in the mud, though, the memory of that place was seared into the minds forever. It’s for those men, on both sides, now likely all past, that we remember that there was once a place on earth that men called hell. And there they went to die.

Episode Notes

Hello again, and thank you for listening to Cauldron. I'm your host, Cullen, and we have another doozy for you today but first some quick housekeeping. I want to thank all of you that have given the show a 5-star rating. Seventy-three people have taken the time to support the show on iTunes, and it means a lot to me. I especially want to thank Archernova, nap_sack, and EMT_Hank for writing the most recent excellent reviews. You guys rock! If you haven't already - rate review subscribe, it helps the show grow, and I love to get your feedback. Go to facebook, twitter, or Instagram for cool images, videos, and the weekly Livestream. We are a couple of episodes into the new Netflix docuseries, the greatest events of WWII in color, so watch and join us for the discussion. Also, starting December 8 only on Instagram, I'll be setting up polls to pick the battles we cover each month in 2020, so check that out if you want to have a say in what we cover next year! Alright, that is enough of that; let's get stuck in!


 

The English Poet Siegfried Sassoon famously wrote: “I died in hell (They called it Passchendaele).” The First World War was an incubator for man-made hellscapes and mechanized death. Each passing season brought some new horrid way for mankind to inflict suffering on itself. Like Dante’s Inferno, each fresh hell had a name; the Marne, Mons, Verdun, the Somme, Tannenberg, Gallipoli, Izonso, the Kaisershlacht. But of these now infamous names, no battle of the Great War was quite like the human experience at Passchendaele. The Third Battle of Ypres played out like a fever dream, full of ghastly visions, insane scenery, and the theater of the macabre. Most of our mental picture of the war - bodies or parts of bodies lying still in rolls of barbed wire, bloated horse bellies half-submerged in the inky water of shell craters, men ordered by fools to be cut down for nothing but a few measly yards- most of this comes from Passchendaele. It’s odd then that this titanic slugfest, the ultimate test of man vs. man vs. nature, has gone somewhat forgotten. The memory of Passchendaele has been replaced in France with the blood and rubble of Verdun, in Great Britain with the sadly romantic Somme, in the U.S. by the bravery of Belleau Wood, in Germany by those murderous final offensives. For those that lived in the mud, though, the memory of that place was seared into the minds forever. It’s for those men, on both sides, now likely all past, that we remember that there was once a place on earth that men called hell. And there they went to die.

This is episode one of two on Passchendaele.
 

Music - We_Lucky_Few by Hainbach

This weeks sources - Passchendaele by Nick Lloyd, Passchendaele by Steele and Hart, The First World War by John Keegan

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